Americans like to talk about how hard we work.
Hugh is 7 and a half months old and my garden is ripe within the heyday of summer.
Instead, Justin often proudly remarks that it’s the most productive and healthy garden I’ve (we’ve) ever grown.
Daily life is frequently driven by our imaginings of present bliss and future success.
I have a son.
A garden can lift you up or break you down, and this year, our garden has succeeded at doing both.
The garden really comes into its own by early July.
Zen wisdom states that nothing is permanent.
I water, examine, assess, and enjoy my garden daily, and yet it wasn’t until I started editing these photos snapped two weeks ago that I realized how much had changed in a short amount of time.
When I went to bed last night, I inadvertently rubbed my arm and felt something crusty and scaly: leftover dough stuck to my body, clinging there despite repeated washing of hands.
The summer garden is in its final days.
I know that my garden is a living, breathing entity, a “creature” that will blossom, thrive (or not), and eventually die.
Given the heat of 2015, our yard and garden is rapidly approaching end of July appearances, for better and for worse.
When people ask me what I’ve done in 2015, my answers might sound less than adventurous to you (running and gardening), but the details in each of those “tasks” are greater, and more complicated, than those two words.
The calendar says early April, but garden activity has felt three weeks ahead of the actual date for all of 2015.
In my two-ish seasons of planting last year, I never found a balance between the whimsical and poetic dreams of my aspirational garden, and the realities of planning and structure.
If you’re inclined to reflect on the previous year, I suggest that you save and then categorize a year’s worth of coffee bags.
I edited and uploaded the images for this post almost four weeks ago.
It’s bizarre how we wrap tasks in an artificial scaffolding of lists and timelines, knowing that, inevitably, a surprising gust of wind will blow through, crumbling your weak scaffolding as you scramble to rearrange timelines and to-dos.
June in the garden: a time when anxious planning transforms into fleeting optimism.
We moved in February, leaving behind two years of garden experimentation at our rental house.
Heart’s Kenya Gichathaini: Besides having a truly fun name to say out loud, the Gichathaini provides the perfect example of a washed East African coffee.
My parents flew into town last week for a mid-fall visit, and with their trip falling so close to Halloween, we decided to drive out to Sauvie Island on Sunday to pick carving pumpkins from Columbia Farms.
It’s happened again.
The past few days aside, May and early June felt like summer in the Pacific Northwest.
After a long winter hiatus, when I first picked up the little green notebook in which I record gardening notes, I flipped to see when the last entry was.
In the past year, amidst unpacking, painting, gardening, work, and trips near and far, Portland's weather shifted according to the seasons: Summer involved three months of surreally beautiful dry weather, Fall brought unexpected color change, and Winter, a season I was prepared to "survive", was mild – gentler than previous years', I've heard.
We livened up our weekend pancakes (it's true, we eat pancakes most weekends!), by transforming the chocolate chip rounds into easter shapes: bunnies and chicks.
Two weeks ago, I was packing for our eagerly anticipated trip to Maui, stashing extra sunscreen in suitcase pockets and making a quick dash to Powell's for reading material.
I assure you I've been doing more this past week than eating dessert, but I'm still organizing my thoughts, editing pictures, and brainstorming content.
Any conversation about American food culture eventually comes around to a familiar set of topics: the decline of the "family dinner", the pervasiveness of fast food, and ways to make cooking more convenient.
In my past thoughts about snowshoeing, I conjured up images of myself stylishly bundled up, casually tramping over snow, enjoying a low-impact activity.
No visit to Portland should be considered complete without a day trip to the Oregon Coast.
As July turned to August, I didn't share a garden update because much remained the same.
For the majority of my life, I've lived in places that aren't frequented by trick-or-treaters.
A few weekends ago, Justin and I, along with several friends, drove the ten miles from SE Portland to Sauvie Island, on a pumpkin picking quest.
We flew to England four days before my best friend Brittany's wedding festivities started, both as an attempt to acclimate to the greater time difference from the west coast (now a formidable eight hours instead of five), and to eat, drink, and wander around in one of our favorite cities.
For the past eight months, Justin and I have been working together on a complete overhaul of my former site, Cheery Observations.
We booked tickets for a Plate and Pitchfork farm dinner as soon as we moved to Portland.
Though my parents lived in Seattle for a number of years before I was born, my only contact with the city was in waving goodbye to the skyline as our cruise ship disembarked on its way to Alaska--this cruise was a college graduation present, which is to say, years ago.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the day I took photos of our blooming sunflower turned out to be the only day the sunflower looked healthy and strong.
We've been more than taking advantage of summer in Portland, attempting to pack our weekends with as many warm-weather activities as possible.
You can barely walk a block in SE Portland without hearing a soft 'cluck cluck' or an insistent 'bok bok' from a back or side yard.
We inherited two spectacular plants with this house, one in the front yard and one in the backyard.
June was a productive month for our 4x4 garden, the multiple container plants scattered about our driveway, and the flowers in both the front and back yards.
It's disconcerting to visit a new place with certain expectations, only to arrive and find that your expectations missed the mark.
Like many cities, Portland contains numerous neighborhoods.
Everyone knows about Portland's rain, but you probably were unaware of the amount of daylight Portland receives.
When a family member or friend visits your new city for the first time, excitement often mixes with nervous energy.
The last time I wrote about gardening and general backyard maintenance, I was still cleaning things up and progress inched along.
A few weeks ago, I planned a bike ride that took me from our house in Portland's Sunnyside neighborhood down to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and back, roughly 10 miles in total.
What makes a product so alluring that you'd leave your grocery store line to investigate it?
To me, one of the most exciting parts of home rentership, aside from doing laundry whenever I want and not hearing the neighbor's conversations, is having a yard.
As part of my ongoing egg project, my latest learning curve centered around hard-boiling eggs.
We kicked off a beautiful Portland weekend by taking a late Friday afternoon stroll along the Southwest waterfront.
We've been in Portland for 10 days and it's rained 8 of those days.
When we originally planned our move to the West Coast, we envisioned a once-in-a-lifetime road trip across the country.
We landed in Portland on Wednesday night, after an enjoyable drive from Brooklyn to St.
We're apparently gluttons for exhaustion, so in between bouts of endless packing, we had our last marathon Manhattan weekend, with energy provided by my visiting parents.
I hesitate to use the term 'bucket list' for fear of accidentally linking myself with Jack Nicholson, but with a week or so remaining in Brooklyn, I have no choice but to create a mini-list of things to see before we leave for the West Coast.
Moving to Brooklyn changed me.
You can never predict the course that friendships will take in your life, and that's certainly been the case with my friendship with Rachel.
When I was in the kitchen with Alison and Michael of Butter + Love, I watched the entire process of jam cookie creation.
We took a day trip this weekend with our end destination determined, but no other parts of the day fleshed out.
In fact: Coffee from Ethiopia was our favorite throughout the year--we had a total of 8 Ethiopian coffees, with Guatemalan coffee closely behind with 7 bags.
My dad is a therapist to troubled adolescent boys, and a good one at that.
I'll remember this year's Christmas as the year things got back on track.
Don't you hate it when your favorite television show surprises you with a sneaky 'clips' episode, in which the writers use a subpar story line to weave together the season's funniest or most heartfelt moments?
Justin and I spent last weekend in Baltimore visiting several of our friends.
Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Justin!
Sam and Evi are good friends of ours from Washington, DC.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends.
Working from home has its perks (hot chocolate breaks, cuddles with my cat, sweatshirts), but sometimes I just have to get out of the apartment.
How do I describe the rush of seeing elite athletes run by me, clocking 4:30 minute miles?
All of these pictures were taken before that unexpected snowstorm we had on Saturday.
Considering we received 2 inches of snow on Saturday, today's weather is chillier than your typical Halloween.
Oliver Strand wrote that these bottles look as if they belong in a "cooler on the porch".
I had to mail back (
my) the 85mm lens yesterday.
I rented the Nikon 85mm 1.4 G for five days and have had an enormous amount of fun photographing with this incredible lens.
The last my parents visited Central Park, they were younger than I am now!
Our goal this year was to leave the city by 10:30 and eat a picnic lunch on one of the shaded lawns.
I frequently walk between Brooklyn's Park Slope and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods, either via Union Street or Carroll Street.
In most Copenhagen guidebooks, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is placed in the list of 'top 10 musts', along with a haphazard collections of other 'must' items that includes smorrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), Fredericksborg Slot, the National Gallery, the main harbor of Nyhavn, Tivoli, and Danish design.
Over the past four years, my college roommate, maid of honor, and dear friend Brittany has slowly become British.
If Copenhagen were the meat (or cheese, if you're a vegetarian!) of our trip, then London served as the sandwich bread for said meat.
We just flew home from a nine day trip to London and Copenhagen.
I grew up outside of Washington, DC, before spending over four years after college in the DC area.
In May, I shared that I was gathering items to start my own fire escape garden.
If you haven't visited the World Trade Center site recently, you might be surprised by the formidable appearance of One World Trade Center.
My brother and sister-in-law were in town this week, visiting Brooklyn and New York for the first time in years.
Do you hate plastic bags as much as I do?
For the past year I've relied almost entirely on matrix metering, with the occasional spot metering thrown in when I'm shooting food at home.
The High Line is one of my favorite places in all of Manhattan.
It would be amazing if Justin and I are able to maintain our tradition of visiting The Hendry House once a year.
We had beautiful, seasonal wildflowers at our wedding, but I've since remarked that if I were to marry again again (you know--in a parallel universe), I'd be tempted to carry stunning greens (or even a bouquet of asparagus).
I had to share a picture of this beer bottle.
On Memorial Day, Justin and I rode the ferry from Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 to Governors Island.
Portland is surrounded by mountains and bordered by the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.
We picked up these vibrant tulips last weekend at the Greenmarket.
In the months leading up to our Portland trip, Justin and I joked that we were going to come back to Brooklyn sleep deprived, full of amazing food, and overly caffeinated.
I'm still organizing and editing the many pictures we took in Portland, with the hopes of sharing these pictures and thoughts on the various aspects of the city (coffee, food, nature) by next week!
We flew the red eye back from Portland, Oregon tonight (last night?!).
I had planned this post for tomorrow, but today's weather makes it a necessity.
This past Saturday felt like our first spring-like Saturday of the year.
Snow & Graham's illustrators must feel as glum about March as the rest of us.
Exercise: I went back to where it all began!
It's time for my second travel feature!
We just returned from a weekend trip to Long Island's East End.
On Saturday, we took a day trip to Upper Manhattan, specifically West 110th-122nd Streets.
I made my very first cake this weekend, in honor of my mother-in-law's birthday.
A few weeks ago I read that artist Will Ryman had created giant metal roses to line 10 blocks of Park Avenue.
In April, Justin and I are taking a long-anticipated trip to Portland, Oregon.
Thoughts: A wide aperture worked well when the camera was pointed away from the sky.
Note: It was incredibly difficult to narrow each month down to a solitary picture, especially when most months contained trips, birthdays, weddings, and incredible food.
Getting home yesterday was not as calm and leisurely as expected.
Is it really the last weekend before Christmas?
A plant is nestled inside this glass bulb, roots and all.
A reflection on this year’s Thanksgiving dinner starts out in a nearly identical fashion to last year’s Thanksgiving dinner post: we’ve just moved; we want to cook Thanksgiving dinner because we love sourcing and cooking elaborate meals; we view Thanksgiving as a fitting celebration after an exhausting move.
How was I to resist Kate's head bumps and cute poses?
After traveling for much of October and knowing that things are about to become fairly hectic with our impending move, this past Saturday Justin and I drove up to the Mohonk Preserve for a crisp late Fall hike.
No city does Halloween like New York and its boroughs.
To sit on, to read on, and most importantly (in Brooklyn at least) to decorate for Halloween.
Highlights of our weekend trip, including what to see and where to stay, will be posted soon.
Justin and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this weekend with a trip to the Berkshires (post forthcoming)!
As I quickly mentioned in the previous post, we drove out to Neversink, New York on Saturday for a barn dinner hosted by Neversink Farm and prepared by the staff of the West Village's Bobo restaurant.
Our Saturday was...long.
Each September 11th since 2003, 88 searchlights are placed next to the World Trade Center site, lighting up the Manhattan skyline.
Governors Island is a 172 acre island located half a mile from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
We spent Saturday on Governors Island.
The current rainy, slightly chilly weather is a much welcome break from the agonizing heat we've had this summer.
We just returned from a long weekend in Cape Cod.
Justin and I spent an idyllic weekend in the Hudson Valley, including a 'died-and-gone-to-heaven' meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns (more on that in a later post).
The Dalmatia Coast hugs the Adriatic, encapsulating the land between Split and Dubrovnik, including all of the islands in between (biggest=Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet).
Temperatures climbed and kept climbing this past holiday weekend.
I'm dedicating several of my next posts to pictures from our recent trip to the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.
Two weeks ago today, we started our honeymoon in London, England.
Cheery Observations will be on a brief hiatus, as Justin & I jet off on our honeymoon.
We spent Memorial Day weekend in Denver, CO and its surrounding mountains and canyons.
For the past few weeks, flowers resembling fuzzy orbs have been popping up everywhere.
My parents live on 5 acres on the outskirts of a medium size town in Virginia.
Justin and I took a quick visit to D.C.
Late this past Fall, right after moving to New York, we wandered down to the Dumbo location of the Brooklyn Flea.
This particular Dogwood tree outside of our apartment was a blink or you'll miss it situation.
This past week of warm weather has me completely spoiled.
After watching with increasing horror as the snow piled up in Washington, DC, where we used to live, we're finally getting our own taste of winter weather.
Yesterday, we took advantage of the refreshing sunny weather to wander through Central Park.