Tag Archives: life

My Trip Back Home Away from Home

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Last Tuesday I embarked on the long eleven and a half hour drive home to grieve Capistrano’s passing, and to regroup, return to some familiarity, comfort and support. It had been nearly five months since I moved out of my parents house, living on my own in Portland. Many life changes. Many good life changes.

Santa Cruz is what it is. It hasn’t changed much. Pretty much exactly as I expected it. It’s so crazy to be able to just jump in my car and have the freedom to change into a completely different city.  700 miles later, and I am back to my home away from home. It was a long drive, I won’t lie, but once it’s over you think “well, that wasn’t so bad”. It was full of rain, wind, buffalo, rainbows, tumbleweeds, crazy California drivers, traffic, and cruise control. Coming home was exactly the thing I needed and I am so glad I listened to my gut and my heart and what I needed most to help heal.

My stepmom has since redecorated and renovated my bedroom with lovely wall decor and a comfy couch. It was my room, but nearly unrecognizable. The orange and grey walls are no more. Now it’s Edison bulbs, antlers, and Turner prints.

In a way, it was a mechanism of avoidance, just up and leaving my apartment. There was too much space, not enough energy that I’m used to with the little one being around. Every time I walked into my apartment, I was so used to his greeting, him sitting on the couch or hiding under my covers till my return. Walking back in Monday evening, it felt so dead. So cold. So different. The power of space, a space, is not to be underestimated. It can be quite overwhelming, similar to the way that your sense of smell can bring back childhood memories.

I revisited my faithful running trail near the backwoods of our neighborhood, went to my family’s favorite breakfast joint, visited all four of my grandparents, brought home some of my grandma’s homegrown apples from her farm, had home cooked meals shared at the dining room table, cuddled with my Lily, had the honor of participating in my stepmom’s girlfriends “old hen” brunch extravaganza full of boozy french toast, bacon and swedish tea, met up with a former lovely dental hygiene instructor to discuss my current job hunting frustrations and to catch up in general, spent several hours surprising lovely people from hygiene school and assisting my “little buddy” during clinic, had a wonderful dinner with two lovely people dear to my heart, had a great sushi lunch and catching-up time with this beautiful, crafty lady and wonderful mother, tried out a new Italian restaurant with my family that was surprisingly scrumptious, attended a Harvest party (with pumpkin macarons in tow, of course) and reconnected with a bunch of great Santa Cruzans and Shopper’s peeps dear to my heart, met up with my Ayurvedic guru owl friend for another delicious meal and great catch-up time talk, and made a trip to Costco with mom, scoring some apple pie moonshine and my favorite apple pie. Yep, I brought my man home a $10 delicious Costco pie instead of making one. Tis okay though, I’m making a homemade bourbon pumpkin one to make up for it. Oh yes, and how could I forget a meal at my favorite restaurant, Malabar.

So yeah, good times. I felt so much better about coming home, re-energized and inspired to take another go at this. To keep going at this. To not give up or lose hope. To remind myself of all of the lovely people I have in my life, that I have a home base to fall back on, that that place is there. It isn’t going anywhere. And I can come home anytime.

The comfort in knowing that alone is worth the 24 hours and 1,400 miles of travel time.

Tomorrow it’s just me and my man, cooking up our own Thanksgiving feast of feasts. The day after that, we are unplugging. Friday is a “no-electronics, additional consumption or outside communications” day. We’re taking a day off to just be, to be together. Face time. Much needed time. What’s on your menu for your turkey (or Tofurkey) filled weekend?

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Good Things: This Weekend

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My boyfriend rules. Yesterday morning he did all my dishes, did all the laundry, took out all the trash, and MADE ME BREAKFAST. I think I’ll keep him…

Pictured above: Roasted root veggies (rainbow carrots, parsnips) with spinach, crumbled country sausage, over easy eggs, and pumpkin english muffins. Oh, and pumpkin chai too! (which I am totally bummed that TJ’s is completely sold out of! Wahhh, I want more pumpkin chai!) I was in heaven.

Look at this little snuggly fox. He’s been such a burrower lately…

I’ve been teaching myself how to draw for the last few weeks, slowly but surely, and this was my latest creation. My first proper rose drawing! I’m so proud of myself.

Pumpkin pistachio oatmeal with pumpkin yogurt, licorice tea, and the new November Bon Appetit on a rainy fall day… my kind of idea of perfection, if there even is such a thing.

Pumpkin apple streudel cake. Recipe coming soon!

Got this little pip squeak a new squeak mouse toy, a new fascination! Blueberry waffles with pumpkin yogurt and pumpkin chai. Chocolate peanut butter eyeball truffles! So spooky and deliciously good! And some spooky sidewalk decorations! Love it!

I’ve been trying to branch out from my usual coffee shop hangouts (ie. Crema) and tried a few new places last week. Both uber hipsterish and a bit overrated, but still delicious. I tried the newish Heart on Burnside and the downtown location of Stumptown. Heart’s soy latte (at a whopping $4) was honestly not the best. A bit watered down and slightly bitter, I’ve had better. Also got a buckwheat fig roll that was decent, but definitely not worth another $4 or so. Regardless, I could’ve had a more substantial meal for those, but it was nice to hang out in and the vintage botany posters were uber pretty.

I didn’t get any decaf at Stumptown, just a fig anise scone supplied by Little T American Baker, which was a definite new experience for my taste buds. Good, but not sure if I would ever try again. What can I say, I’m spoiled with Bakery Bar!

Oh yeah, so this came in the mail a few days ago. An official OFFICIAL copy of my license! That was kinda nice… it’s all sealed and pretty and stuff.

Met up with some friends last night at a neighborhood eatery, Nepo 42.

Had some fried chick’n ‘n waffles with bacon and sage maple syrup with nice, tall, dark and handsome stout. Holy yum!

Love the tongue shots! Yeah super fast shutter speed, GO!

Kitty cuddle time is the best time.

My man also introduced me (finally) to the Batman series and we’ve been watching one a day since Friday. We saw the 1st Friday, the 2nd last night, and we’re about to go out and see the current 3rd one at the Mission Theater this evening. Batman marathon rules!

In other awesomesauce news: I received a complimentary copy of Breakfast in Bridgetown from the author himself for being able to identify a dish at a restaurant on his blog (Swedish meatballs from Broder)! Paul is a Portland foodie writer, specializing in the best of the best brunch places around PDX. Think of it as your Yelp brunch guide in hard copy form. He even includes critical information about expected wait times, the brand of coffee served (hey, this city is practically fueled on the stuff), the best “feel good” and healthy options, and if they have wifi available.  I’ve always admired the book at Powell’s, checked out a copy at the library a few weeks ago, and now I have my own copy. Thanks again, Paul! You rule. Oh yeah, and not to mention a gift certificate for dinner at Besaws was tucked inside the pages too! So excited to finally check them out!

Also, today I did something very special and exciting. A girlfriend of a friend and I connected, and I was able to flex my love for food photography this morning for a very special brunch event. And it looks like this will be a regular thing! I will post about it soon. It deserves its own post for recognition. I’m so excited to look over the photos tonight and the next few days!

Keep Calm and Decorate On

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Went a little fall decorating crazy at Trader Joe’s yesterday. They have my favorite seasonal pumpkin peppers! Have you seen these before? They’re the best. They are long stems with mini pumpkin looking peppers hanging off the sides. I purchase a bundle every year!

So stoked to bust out the candles again. I love candle-lit dinners at home, getting cozy away from the rain. And they always smell so amazing! I love rosemary-sage, pumpkin, and coconut ones the best.

Pumpkin smoothies all the time!

We tried this Nosedive merlot last night (only about $8 at TJs!) and really liked it! Not bad for a cheapie. 

Post-dinner cuddle love.

Yep. All these books.

These little orange ceramic pumpkin-like pots with succulents in them are also for sale at TJs! I love the bright pop of orange color, plus the fact that I can’t easily kill these kinds of plants. Although I probably will anyhow.

Slow baked lemon-thyme salmon. Delicious.

This is my all-time favorite salad recipe. Roasted butternut squash in spinach with green beans in a tangy garlic mustard vinaigrette. I also love adding some dried cranberries and some form of nut (candied pecans, rosemary almonds, or pistachios!). It’s a perfect Thanksgiving side dish, also!

How cute is this candied apple? Picked this up at Fred Meyer the other night. I couldn’t resist. It looks way cuter than it tastes though. The green apple was wayyyy too sour. But maybe I’ll make my own sometime soon?

Also, good news! Got the test results back for the kitty and things came back negative, so it doesn’t look like he has the fatal FIP disease. Not 100%, but really giving us hope right now and his spirits are on the mend. We’re just going to take things day by day. I can’t tell you what a relief this is. This past week I’ve pretty much cried at least once at some point each day, worried sick about his fate, not being able to imagine life going on without him. It’s terrible to see the ones you love suffer, especially when they’re so innocent and helpless in every possible way. His fever went away, and he’s eating more again. Purring like never before and being the best cuddle bug ever. This kitten has stolen my heart to the millionth degree.

I love you, Capi. 

Friday Radar

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1) The tables were turned! I finally got my teeth cleaned yesterday. Now if only I could get a job there… 2) Voodoo Donuts and new Night Owl Pumpkin Ale glass, perfect for drinking milk, 3) Took kitty to the specialist opthamologist  vet (again) to check up on his eyes. Still taking things day by day but he’s hanging in like a trooper, 4) Fall colors and acorns make me happy, 5) What would I do without Pepino’s in my life? and 6) I started my first day temping/working as a registered dental hygienist! (A whole other story in itself that would be way too long to discuss so we’ll leave it at that.)

A few things that have been on my radar this past week:

  • If you haven’t heard of Tiny Buddha before, I highly recommend you check them out. I’ve been following them for several years now, and their inspirational stories never cease to amaze me. Ironically, each topic always seems to exactly fit what I’m going through in the moment of my life, as well. These recent few were ones that stood out to me this past week: 1) Taking Small Steps to do the Thing That Scares You, 2) Learning to Forgive Yourself even when You’ve Hurt Someone Else, and 3) Make Up Your Mind to go with The Flow.
  • This featured photographer/designer & musician on VSCO. His photography is mindblowingly beautiful. I love the idea of approaching strangers and recording a little glimpse of their life, what’s in their bag. I believe someone’s belongings tell a lot about a person… don’t you agree? (See his Flickr page here.)
  • I can’t stop listening to this. Yea, pretty old school, but I’m lovin’ me some Phil Collins lately… like, majorly. I’m not sure what took me so long. I’m an 80’s child, whatcanIsay? (I can’t leave Genesis out, also… this song AND video RULES.)
  • This graphic is pretty dang cute.
  • Caramel apple spice snack tea? Yes please. Tastes just like apple cider, but better.
  • Checked this book out from the library and made the saffron pistachio bread (recipe soon). Love everything that’s in here. Beautiful photography AND recipes. I fell in love with it so much that I’m going to order my own copy.
  • Went a little Amazon crazy with my saved points and got this and this. Plus a few books about food writing and blogging! Yeah! I can’t wait to learn more about web and graphic design eventually, too.
  • There’s supposed to be rain this whole weekend in Portland! So excited for it to finally arrive. This is what I’ve been waiting for!
  • Trader Joe’s just came out with a bunch of new pumpkin items! My dream come true! Pumpkin spice macarons (remember the ones I made? I’m going to compare although the cashier today told me they were the best pumpkin item they have in the store!), pumpkin greek yogurt, pumpkin spice chai, pumpkin chocolate mousse cake… what?! I bought a bunch of baby white pumpkins, some succulents in these great ceramic orange pots, and some of those seasonal pumpkin peppers to decorate. I love the colors of fall!

I plan on making a nice dinner and dessert tonight, and just hanging out this weekend cozy inside from the rain, reading with the kitty and drinking tea. Have a happy day and weekend! xo

Hellos & Heartache

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Things have been busy. Things have been in limbo.

With my mom being here this past week, I haven’t had much down time to do whatever (ie. blog, edit pictures, whathaveyou). We had a lot of fun though. Ate a lot of great food, went on some hikes and walks, drank a ton of beer, and she loved up my kitty to no end.

I bought a new camera last weekend. My dream camera, aka. a Canon 5D Mark ii. You may be familiar. I’ve been hoping for this baby for over 3 years. After thinking long and hard about making that financial leap right now, I decided to go for it. Living in this new place, I’ve felt that my previous dSLR just wasn’t capturing life the way I really saw it through the lens, and in the way I that I wanted to convey it to others. I’ll admit, she’s a dream, and I am so happy. I actually want to take pictures again. I want to capture everything. And thankfully, I did get it used, so that helped quite a bit. Now it’s time to sell my ole Nikon D50. Sorry girl.

The last few days have been a bit rough. I don’t want to go into too much detail, other than I might have to go through some difficult heartache sometime within the near future. All I will say is this: please pray for my kitty and I. That is all I ask.

Thank you, and I will be back soon with more photos to fill in when I feel at a loss for words.

Lovely Things, Lately

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Can you believe today is the last day of summer? I’m a little bit in disbelief. But I am oh so happy it is feeling like fall out there! The last 2 days have finally gotten down into the low 60s and it has been grey and overcast out. THIS is the kind of Portland weather I have been waiting for! I feel like a new woman. It was 90 plus degrees last weekend, and every window in my apartment was open. For the first time in 3 months since I’ve been living here, I was so cold I finally had to shut my windows yesterday. It has been so nice and cozy in my apartment with a pumpkin candle burning, snuggling with the kitty, roasting delicious winter squash in the oven, looking up lots of yummy fall recipes to make… I love the feel of fall in the air.

In other news, and it’s a bit of late news to my blog (better late than never, right?), but I am now officially a licensed dental hygienist in the state of Oregon! I finally got the news last Friday. That little piece of paper… the things I did to get that. It’s wild when I begin to think about it. All of the hurdles jumped over, road blocks, the moments (many, many moments) when I questioned my success and my abilities… it all turned out. I’m still in shock. So. Much. Stress. Like I’ve said many times, and will continue to say the rest of my life, that was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. But it’ll pay off. Right? Kylie RDH here I come!

That night we celebrated with dinner from Bollywood and drinks at the Bye & Bye.

Getting ready for job hunting.

Lovely dahlias from last Saturday’s farmers market at PSU. I’m so sad the season is almost over!

Capi saying good morning to all of the other window kitties.

I recently discovered my new favorite loose tea ever. Whole Foods carries Ayurvedic tea blends specified to balance each dosha and I recently picked up a few ounces of “Pitta”. Sure enough, there are the cooling herbs in there like mint and dried whole roses, and I’m not sure what else, but it’s amazingly delicious! I’m addicted!

Also, I finally found Shock Top’s seasonal pumpkin wheat ale! STOKED! I think I still prefer TJ’s seasonal one a bit better but it’s still nice, crisp and light. Speaking of which, where is that stuff? It should be out any day now…

I’ve been (finally) crafting together my collection of magazine recipes into a binder! I’m organizing them by magazine, ie. Martha, Bon Appetit, Sunset, Rachael Ray. Turns out I have more Rachael Ray then anything else! Weird.

We went here last weekend. I tried the “Yolko Ono”, a breakfast sandwich with pesto, parmesan, a home made sausage patty with an egg. And after we ate, I couldn’t get the Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love” out of my head for the rest of the day.

New yellow tights make me so happy!

This designer. They opened a retail space for him in Portland recently and it’s absolutely gorgeous!

This came in the mail yesterday! There’s a whole section on peanut butter AND pumpkin recipes. My life is complete.

I hope you all have a wonderful last weekend of summer ahead! We’re heading out to the pumpkin patches and corn maize that’s supposedly shaped into the Portlandia logo! Portland, you’re so crazy I love you.

What I’m Grateful For

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Hopefully many of you have now found where I’m newly located. Thanks for making it here. After moving and going through many changes of my own, I figured it was rather appropriate to change up my blog. I felt that it was too stagnant and not exactly what I wanted. I feel that WordPress will grant me more flexibility, organization and creativity over the blog, shaping it into my vision, able to reflect more of who I am and what I desire to express. I’ve sincerely been wanting to get back into the “right” hemisphere side of my brain, because lord knows the last two years of stress and dental hygiene school made it almost rot to pieces. Now is the time to make some changes.

Although some days can be the pits, and it has been hard to be patient waiting to finally be an RDH and get my license, I have to remind myself that I have so much to be grateful for and to enjoy this time while I have it, not dwelling in misery, guilt and anxiety that I’m not able to do much about the situation. I have great health, some loving supportive people in my life (particularly my grandparents… I don’t know what I would do without them), the best apartment I could ever imagine in the best location I could ever imagine, a wonderful, affection and frisky kitty that I have the pleasure of witnessing growing into a tomcat, a wonderful boyfriend that I have the pleasure of sharing new experiences with, yummy food (and beer!) in my fridge, a car for convenience, and most importantly, my independence. I can pretty much do anything I please. I have plenty to keep me busy.

This. This is what I need to remind myself of. Nothing will stand in the way of me, success, and my goal. No one else’s success will influence or determine my success. Sometimes things work out for reasons I do not yet know. Maybe there’s a reason I have to wait this long. Nobody knows. 

In the meantime, I have all of these things to be grateful for…

Kitty kisses.

Beer tasting flights.

Spontaneous picnics in the park.

Observing kitty/boyfriend naps.

Classic grilled cheese and tomato bisque soup, imagining it the way your mom used to make it for you. Pure comfort.

Although I don’t do caffeine, discovering this great idea as the best way I can use up my gifted bag of ground coffee is delicious. I like mine with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom, plus a tablespoon or two of sweetened condensed milk.  My heightened anxiety and heart palpitations can suffer in the meantime for this deliciousness.

Getting out for a walk and breath of fresh air around my apartment on a sunny evening.

Look at those canines!

More of this little rascal.

This man.

Making tasty dinners for this man. (Recipe to follow soon.)

Pitchers of PBR.

And pizza.

And meatballs.

And more beer. (I’m so in love with this stout it’s ridiculous.)

Gigantic scoops of blackberry cobbler and peanut butter curry ice cream (AHEM, my new favorite ice cream shop).

This thing was seriously as big as my face.

The ridiculous plethora of good bars around here. We’re totally spoiled.

Sweet Italian vermouth and lemonata.

Late night walks crossing the Willamette.

My bike.

Discovering awesome new cafes and bakeries.

Laurelhurst Park.

My new juicer.

Taking care of my health and teeth (#1 priority, of course).

My kitty-filled apartment complex.

All of this delicious food from a cart for $8. Hot ‘n sour soup, chow mein, lemon chicken, and sauteed veggies. (Beer not included.)

This place.