November 30, 2012


Today marks the end of my first month at Braid Creative. It has simultaneously flown, and languorously rolled, by.

Moving to a geographically independent job has been a life-changer. Truly. Not only have I loved working from home this last month, I'm eternally grateful that Tara and Kathleen have given me the personal responsibility to structure my own work day. We stay connected through Google Hangouts and shared to-do lists, but as long as I get my work done, I'm free to take breaks throughout the day to take a yoga class, or make ice cream, or rearrange all the furniture in the house... you get the idea. It suits me. If I'm struggling on a piece of copy, I can stop and very constructively procrastinate by doing a load of laundry or raking the yard while my brain subconsciously sorts itself out. (As a beneficial byproduct, my house is pretty damn clean all the time now. I don't think I'd be able to focus properly if it wasn't. So much so that it's worked itself into my morning routine. Speaking of!...)

I've also restructured my morning routine. I still rise before Micah and enjoy a tiny Bodum-ful of coffee. But now I also "walk to work" for about 30 - 45 minutes each morning. I wind around the Old West and Watts-Hillandale neighborhoods of Durham, pretending each of the houses are mine, imagining what I would change about each of the front yards, and watching the season change one day at a time. By the time I get home, my muscles feel loose and warm, and my brain feels like I've got a headstart on the day. It's nice to stretch and awaken physically before sitting down and using my mind-muscles for awhile. Balanced. I make myself breakfast, tidy up (make the bed - put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher - put up any palette that might be lingering from the night before), and sit down to check my email and begin.

It should be noted that I only worked part-time this past month. Full-time starts next Monday! - and while the workload will increase, the personal responsibility and flexible schedule will stay the same. I'm curious to see how I will continue to adapt to said flexibility. What other activities will I start to schedule regularly? (I'd like to become a little more connected to the comings and goings-on and eatings and drinkings of Durham.) Will I ever take a nap in the middle of the day? Will I ever need more space for my "office?" Only time will tell.

November 28, 2012


Except for some peas and the above kale, our garden is done for the year. This was our first time planting a vegetable garden together, and we learned so much. Most importantly, I think, that you cannot underestimate the importance of prepping your soil. Our backyard is solid clay about a foot down, and it was physically painful to see our plant babies hit that wall and stop growing. If we owned this property, I think we would invest in raised beds, or a tiller or something, but alas.

Crops that did really well: basil, rosemary, mint, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, bush beans, peas.

Crops that did "meh" or poorly, mostly due to the soil: beets, turnips, garlic, green onions, bell peppers, cucumbers.

Crops that succumbed to motherfucking pests: eggplant, larger tomatoes, broccoli, arugula, summer squash (if you consider end rot to be a pest, which I do).

(You can read all of my garden posts here. It really was a rollercoaster of a ride, you guys. Good times.) 

Of course, even after writing this, I can't wait to start over next spring. I've already ordered a few seed catalogs to peruse on particularly cold winter nights - I'd like to experiment with weird heirloom versions of crops that did well this year, and try a few new things as well.

(I just realized our lease is up in April - so there's a solid chance that we won't even be dealing with the same soil situation, should we decide to move. What a strange time to have to move for gardeners though - things need to be in the ground by then for sure. Huh. Food for thought, quite literally.)

November 26, 2012


Above: Thanksgiving edition! Turkey and green bean casserole leftovers with fried stuffing hash and a poached egg. Side of yogurt, granola, and cranberry sauce. And those buttery freezer rolls that I love but always forget about until Thanksgiving... rolls around again.

This weekend, I recovered and lazed from Thanksgiving vacation. I decided to decorate the house for the holidays this year. It's always a Decision - I've travelled for Christmas for the last (almost) 10 years, so it's always the question of: is it worth it, if I'm gone for the actual day, or the whole actual week? Is it worth storing the Stuff for the rest of the year? This year I've decided it is - probably swayed by the fact that my home is also now my office, so I'll get to enjoy the decorations for drastically more time. I'm thinking of just stringing up some tiny lights inside, and creating some bouquets out of the holly / spruce / miscellaneous evergreen plants in the backyard. More "winter" than "Christmas." ...But maybe a small fake tree if Micah's gung-ho about it.

November 21, 2012


Above: Before, and after. I used a #3 (3/8") clipper all over. Taken with Photobooth. See past haircuts here and here. See a similar stinkface here.

So, I shaved my head again. Kind of on a whim, but kind of because I was tired of dealing with it, and thinking about what to do with it (should I grow it out? - in a big afro-pouf, or in an undercut swoop?, etc., etc., every month), and paying for monthly haircuts when I could be paying for monthly massages. I love my hair - it's thick and corkscrew-curly and looks better the dirtier it gets. Sometimes I feel like I should grow it out because it would look so awesome. But I love keeping it like this. Little maintenance, big impact. It suits my style and the amount of energy I'm willing to put into it. Also, I could argue it's just another piece of the Never-Ending Edit puzzle - but only a small, (hopefully) non-pretentious piece.

November 19, 2012


Top two: Saturday's breakfast. Micah's migas! Cheesy scrambled eggs, roasted Brussels sprouts, sliced avocado, salsa, toasty tortilla strips.

Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Breakfast fondue? Shirred eggs with parmesan and sopressata, sausage gravy, and toasty herb focaccia (from Loaf).

This weekend, my mom and one of my brothers are visiting! My dad flies in today as well, from "Beer Camp" in northern Michigan. It's the first time they've ever visited Durham at the same time, and they're staying all week. I'm excited to catch up with them, since I've haven't seen them since July (and when Micah and I visit at Christmas, our time together will be limited).

I'm also knee-deep in Braid now. It's been exhilarating to stretch and use my creative muscles in such a different way - and to see the immediate impact they can have on creative entrepreneurs' lives. Powerful. (That deserves it's own post, I think.)

November 14, 2012


Top: Spicy mashed sweet potatoes, fried herb mushrooms, arugula, and a sunny-side-up egg.

Bottom: Buttery scrambled egg whites with caramelized onions, wilted arugula, goat cheese, and homemade hot pepper jelly.

I've been having a lot of fun with my lunches recently. The fridge is packed with odds and ends that need using, and, well - I'm home almost all day, so time isn't a constraint (not that these took a long time to throw together).

I also realize they're basically turning into Weekend Breakfasts (not that that's a bad thing). Long live egg piles!

November 13, 2012


Yesterday, on a whim, I scheduled another VVA donation pick-up. I think there was just some residual fire under my ass from Kathleen's visit (which was actually also the impetus for this blog - I do love a good ass-fire). My pick-up options were today, or next Tuesday. I picked today to keep up my momentum (and so the bags of Stuff wouldn't just be sitting around my place for a week, ruining everything).

In all, I donated 16 tops, 4 jackets/sweaters, 3 dresses, 3 pairs of tights (I've realized over the last year that they are just not for me - so cute, but so constricting!), and 3 purses/bags.

I look forward to the day when I can more easily count the items I own, rather than the items I donate. 

November 12, 2012


Above: Sunday's breakfast. Poached egg, kale chips, and goat cheese on a bed of arugula and baked sweet potatoes. With a side of cheesy biscuits and homemade hot pepper jelly. And a grapefruit mimosa.

Kathleen and Jeremy visited this weekend, so Weekend Breakfast became Coffee Table Weekend Breakfast Party. I got my first taste of the slippery work/life balance that my new position at Braid requires/promises. I got to show off Micah's mad cooking skillz - and my crunchy-crazy new hometown. I got to try a yoga class for the first time. But most of all - I got to hang out with my friends. My tribe, if you will. Kathleen has more here.

November 7, 2012


Above: a 360ยบ-ish view of the living room as it is today (well - and yesterday. Damn you, Daylight Savings!, for my newfound cozy-but-low winter light). (Also! Proof that these were taken on two different days: disappearing plants, and moving candles. It's like one of those "SPOT THE SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THESE TWO PHOTOS" games! Stylist fail.)

Alright! SO. I had to change the way I thought about this space before I rearranged it. It's one room - but really, it's three: an entryway, a cozy hang-out living room, and a home office. Instead of finding nooks and corners for each overlapping function, I cut the room in two. 

When you open the front door now, to the left is the living room. We're actually closer to the TV now than we were before! (We just started watching Walking Dead - and I love being as close to those zombies as possible.) To the immediate right  is my home office, and past that is what I now jokingly refer to as "the reception area." The club chairs are in the same place, but now I've tucked the record player between them to create a little more purpose for that area. I love how the fireplace gives the record player this odd prominence. And there's a straight line from the front door to the rest of the duplex - my entryway. (I also use it for yoga.) 

At first, I was a bit worried about shoving the couch in the corner, all close to the door and whatnot. Bad feng shui? Or maybe because I usually try to give more breathing space around furniture. I told myself I'd just give it a few days and see how it felt after the newness wore off. And? - I like it. I like having one arm up against the wall - It's becoming my new favorite reading spot. I also like how the two big windows that used to be behind the couch are now opened up to the room. I also also like that now when Micah and I make a floor palette in front of the TV on weekends (...and some weekdays...), there's still a clear path from the door to the rest of the duplex. Before, we'd have to awkwardly inch around it. But we did it. 'Cause palettes are worth it. 

November 5, 2012


Above: Saturday's breakfast. Roasted grapefruit, cranberry oatmeal, and toast with butter, strawberry jam and black pepper.

Yes, my quest to roast everything that will sit still long enough to be roasted continues! Grapefruit - why not, right? I rubbed a little bit of brown sugar and Christmas spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and maybe cloves?) on top of each half and broiled them for 5 - 10 minutes. Magic. The juice would be SO good in some sort of wintery cocktail.

This weekend, I pulled up all remaining summer crop plants: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants. All that remains now is my kale, some herbs, and Micah's peas. I trimmed back the lavender, repotted some mums, and will turn over the soil in all the plots sometime this week. On Sunday, we ate at Scratch - I had shirred eggs and buttery toast, and Micah had some sort of hot mess gravy pile called "the S.O.S." Later, he grilled us a bunch of food for the upcoming week while I hung out in an adirondack chair under wool blankets, cozy and drinky on grapefruit mimosas (yeah - I'm on a grapefruit kick). Perfect.