Little House, Big Crush

I thought I would never get over this beach cottage going pending, but it’s official – I have a new little house crush! At almost $1,000 per square foot, this one’s going to remain a dream. But man, how I would love to weekend in this Bainbridge Island Cottage soaking in every charming inch of its 632 square feet. The house may be small, but the style is grand, and the skies are unlimited!

Bainbridge 1

The cottage sits on a spit adjacent to Fay Bainbridge Park. So, there is waterfront on two sides, plus acres of coastal parkland within walking and/or biking distance.

Bainbridge 2

That red door! I die.

Bainbridge 3

Wainscoting *and* shiplap?!? Too much.

Bainbridge 4

Compact, for sure, but I could spend many a drizzly Pacific Northwest day reading in this room.

Bainbridge 6

With a fire in the stove!

Bainbridge 5

Tiny with a touch of luxury. Love it.

Bainbridge 7

And this adorable gabled bedroom?

Bainbridge 8

With a clawfoot tub?!?! Oh, the lounging that could be done.

Bainbridge 9

I would spend warm summer days on the deck…

Bainbridge 10

…and cool summer nights, stargazing in front of the fire pit. I really don’t need much. Just a little house and a small patch of shorefront is not so much to ask, right?! Put in a good word with RF, will ya??

Bella Burrata!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I recently began dreaming of this burrata caprese we had in Seville. Lightly dressed arugula topped with salty olives, luscious roasted tomatoes, fresh pesto, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and, of course, a creamy sphere of burrata. Oh. My. Goodness. Quite the reminder that I don’t give burrata nearly enough love in my life!

Surprising, really. I’m pretty sure you know by now that I adore me some cheese. Of course, burrata isn’t just any old cheese. Burrata is like Mozarella’s sophisticated city cousin. Mozarella is that super cool girl next door, until Burrata comes to town with her soft curves and smooth moves. Oh, she’s definitely sexier. Mozarella is Audrey Hepburn. Burrata is Sophia Loren.

Why do we ignore it so? Well, first of all, it’s not nearly as easy to come by…at least, the good stuff. Your average supermarket probably has something floating in brine with a “burrata” label on top. But, you need to keep hunting – DiStefano’s is a good place to start. Or, make it yourself! Quality ingredients, including milk from grass-fed cows with a higher fat content, are the key to burrata’s heavenly center that oozes forth when pierced. When done well, all you need is a crusty loaf of bread…or, you know, a spoon. Why not?! You only live once.

That said, burrata is an excellent accompaniment to both sweet and savory dishes, particular in summertime – fresh tomatoes, sweet peaches, onion relish…salads, pastas, the most amazing burger! Here are a few recipes to get you started:

beats burrata

burrata pasta

Pasta with Corn, Burrata, Pancetta, and Chilies

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.16.45 PM

Burrata Pesto Burger

burrata fennel

Lemon and Olive Oil Marinated Fennel with Burrata and Mint

burrata peaches

Grilled Peaches with Burrata, Mint, and Balsamic Drizzle

Friday Finds: If You Can’t Stand the Heat Edition

IMG_6662

Bracing myself for temps in the 90s this weekend. I know, I know…cry you a river. You’ve probably sweltering in triple digits for weeks. But mild weather is why I moved to Seattle! Number 1 reason why I stayed. When the mercury creeps above 80, I get cranky. Really cranky. Is crangry a word? Well, that’s me in high heat. Thankfully, I know it will likely be very short-lived. Days are quickly shrinking up here in our corner of the country; we’ve lost 2 hours of daylight since the solstice. I know that rainy days and 4:30 sunsets are on their way… So, despite the misery of sweltering heat, I’m trying to squeeze as much as I can out of these final weeks of summer…even if that means heading to an air conditioned theater for a summer Blockbuster.:)

NINTCHDBPICT000257397902

Rio is proof positive that older athletes are ON FIRE!! In a year when the youngest Olympians were born after Y2K, many more competitors than Michael Phelps are back for their 4th and 5th games. There are 26 Olympians over 40! Soviet gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, 41, had been competing in the olympic games for 5 years before Simone Biles was born. Australian equestrian Mary Hannah is the oldest competitor at 61. The grandmother of 3 says, “I am going to keep going with this because I feel fit and healthy and why shouldn’t I?” Nobody tells Mary to get out of the kitchen!

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 3.13.23 PM

Who knew that wearables could keep you cool?! Controlled by a high quality micro-controller and temperature sensor, FRIO extracts heat from the body and cools a pulse point on your wrist to your optimal cooling rate. Designed for exercise, FRIO tracks all kinds of data via a real-time activity monitoring system. But will I feel cooler? Technically, no. Wuut?!? But…”calmer and more refreshed.” Hmm, seems sufficient enough for those of us who get crangry in the heat. Plus, it’s made by a company called IceTron. I’m pretty sure that’s Voltron’s super chill cousin.

frose

I have not yet jumped on the frosé bandwagon, so this is probably the perfect weekend! Have you tried it? If you’ve never made a granita, here’s a handy tutorial, plus recipes for non-boozy alternatives. Seems easy, but time consuming. I might cut straight to the chilled bottle!

Quote of the Week

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
―John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

Now Reading

Adding Dietland to the late-summer reading list. Seems like the perfect follow-up to 90 hours of continuing ed… For a short missive on a related topic, see also Why Am I So Fat?

Now Watching

A 2-mile stretch of buildings in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood is currently being transformed by 54 artists into a 32 building street art corridor called Sodo Track. For insight into the ways public art can transform communities, I recommend: eL Seed: A Project of Peace Painted Across 50 Buildings (TED)

Now Listening

A flashback in honor of the Queen of Pop’s 58th – Madonna (Spotify)  Speaking of, did you see her missing polaroids from 1983?!

Walk a Mile (or many thousands) in Her Shoes

Much has been made recently about Duchess Kate’s travel attire – her shoes in particular. She’s been snapped all over the world in these Sebagos, from New Zealand to India to Canada…and, of course, England.

kate-middleton

I completely appreciate her willingness to pack light and keep it comfortable on the go. Though, I suspect that all the money she saves by repeating this pair – which, btw, are entirely affordable for us commoners retailing for less than $100!  – she pays someone to keep them clean! Taupe and white is a chic choice, but I can’t in a million years imagine maintaining this pristine condition over so many miles. Ah well, #duchessgoals.

If you’d like to walk a few miles in her shoes, the Bala is back in stock, and new styles just launched for fall…

Left Column: Classic Docksider | Meriden Loafer | Meriden Two Eye
Right Column: Claremont Boot | Hutton Cap Toe

 

Travel Hack: NodPod

OMG, this is genius!! I think…

The Ultimate Travel Sleep Solution - NodPod project video thumbnail

My first reaction was that it looks completely awkward and kind of uncomfortable. Plus, there’s that horrible term – head hammock. Eww. I love a hammock, but let’s just hope NodPod becomes the “kleenex” of head hammocks.

I thought about it a little more and remembered my many struggles to keep a pillow/blanket/sweater/arm propped up to support my head for a little flight time shut eye, plus all of the resulting post-flight crinked necks, and realized it was actually the perfect solution. Assuming, of course, that my clumsiness paired with deep redeye sleep wouldn’t result in accidental hanging.

It’s still in the Kickstarter stages, so we’ll have to wait for more real world feedback. What do you think? Would you use a head hammock, err…NodPod??

 

ADU Tour 2016

Since the 2015 ADU Tour posts (one, two, and three) were so popular, I wanted to let you know that tickets are now available for Build Small, Live Large: Portland’s 2016 Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Tour. This year’s event is the weekend of September 17th and 18th, with workshops on Saturday and Self-Guided Tours on Sunday. Early Bird ticket sales end September, 2nd. Visit Accessory Dwellings for more info.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it. I will definitely report back on our experience again this year. Can’t wait to see this one!

PDX ADU

How far would you go for…

…a meal? …a cookie? …a craving?

There are plenty of terrific restaurants within a mile of our house, but it’s still not uncommon for us to travel across town for my favorite cheesy grits or pollo a la brasa. Though only 10-11 miles away, these typically half hour trips can take closer to an hour (or more!) during rush hour or on a game day. On weekends, we’re known to venture further, 20 miles to Woodinville Cafe for eggs scrambled with hashbrowns, or hop a ferry to Bainbridge’s Streamliner Diner for one of their massive signature omelets.

Recently, I had a craving that I just couldn’t shake. I’ve told you about Breadfarm. We visited on a recent day trip to the small town of Edison. The taste of their incredible little kouign amann had been on my tongue for weeks. That buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pastry dough. The crispy, caramelly exterior. The first time we tried it we had bought the last one and had to share. Tragic. Ever since, I couldn’t shake the taste. So, I finally decided to jump in the car and drive 62 miles to track another one down!

Of course, such whims are gambles. Will they still be open? Will there be any in stock? Was the entire experience nothing but a dream and I’m simply chasing fairy dust?!

As it turns out, Breadfarm now makes two varieties of kouign amman – traditional and chocolate. Oh. my. goodness. Why is it then, dear baker, that are you telling me this when neither are available today?! That’s right. I drove 62 miles for a pastry and came up empty handed. Well…not entirely. To console me, she pulled out a long basket filled with golden palmiers. OK, fine, twist my arm – I’ll take two, thanks.

It was all I could do not to immediately shove them both straight into my mouth, but I had traversed the lower part of Chuckanut Drive in this quest and knew that there were vistas worthy of a few extra miles. With the little brown bag on the seat next to me, I set off.

The road cut through fields thick with corn stalks, perfectly planted rows of oversized sunflowers, and recently tilled land spotted with newly baled hay. Back on Hwy 11, I rounded a mossy, fern-lined series of turns and switchbacks in search of the perfect spot. Ah, yes, the pullout I remembered from another day trip finally appeared. I circled in past a man propped against his bright orange bike, helmet in hand, towards a stone ledge. I stopped and climbed up on a section of rock partially shaded by a rustling oak, looking out across Bellingham Bay at Lummi Island and beyond, and – finally – savored each sweet bite.

Worth every single mile!

IMG_8802

 

 

Friday Finds: Late Summer Edition

IMG_7901

Summertime colds really are the worst. Especially when you feel like summer is coming to a close way too quickly! Nothing but beautiful days behind and ahead of us right now, but I noticed the sun creeping over the horizon much earlier last night. As it does, being sick has put me behind at work, and I’m still rushing to complete my continuing ed course by the end of this month. But, I think we’re going to have to set aside some time to make sure that we don’t miss out on the bounty of these late summer days. I still need to make an heirloom tomato caprese. We haven’t been out on the lake. No outdoor concerts, movies, or festivals of any sort. There have been far too few ice cream cones! What happened to the lazy hazy days? Ours have been hurried and scurried. Time to slow down and enjoy the warmth of the season before fall sets in. It’s hard to think of the next season before it arrives, but I know that I will be welcoming crisp air and hot apple cider before long. Just not yet!! We still have a few more weeks…

blueberry buckle

Well, I guess you know that gluten-free has become pretty mainstream when it hits the Nordstrom blog. Though, this Blueberry Buckle looks pretty delicious! And it doesn’t call for pre-mixed gluten-free flour, just almond flour and polenta. The blueberries have been insanely giant and juicy lately. I need to give this one a try.

perseid-meteor-shower

RF and I have taken many drives in search of a place far enough from the light pollution of the city to enjoy meteor showers, to no avail. Granted, there’s often cloud cover in this area. This weekend, the Perseid Meteor shower is expected to be an “outburst” with more than 200 meteors visible per hour. What?!? The best time to view is after moonset, which in this area is around 1 am on Friday, and 1:30 am on Saturday. If you’re interested in seeking out the show, don’t drive aimlessly – here are some specific tips for The Best Places to See the Perseid Meteor Shower Outside of Seattle.

Lobster Roll

One of my favorite solo trips was a driving tour of New Hampshire, Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In August, it was an absolute necessity to stop for a lobster roll. My memory of this particular detour, however accurate or not, is idyllic – meandering down a quiet coastal road, golden reeds sprouting up along the waterway, sunlight flicking across the water’s undulating surface. Just as it had been described to me, a small shack gradually came into view in the middle of a pier. I parked in a small gravelly lot and walked the creaky planks to a window in a bright white shiplap wall. I couldn’t tell you now what words were exchanged, or with whom, but I walked away with a little paper basket, a few napkins, and a Coke. There were a couple of picnic tables on the dock. I sat up on top of the table, peacefully, alone, watching a lone boat bob in the distance and soaking up the heat of the day. In my lap, a fluffy golden bun toasted and piled high with buttery chunks of “lobstah” beckoned. So overstuffed was the bread that I plucked off a few of the tender meaty pieces and popped them into my mouth, savoring their richness, before sinking into the sandwich itself. In an instant, I was three-quarters of the way through the roll, then suddenly realized that I hadn’t touched the accompanying plastic bucket of slaw. In my experience, one either loves or hates cole slaw. I fall in the love category. But no, that couldn’t be my last bite; I had to pause. I devoured the creamy cabbage, then slowed my pace for the final bites of my meal. There are only a few things on which I enjoy loads of butter – RF’s grilled cheese sandwiches, RF’s mac and cheese, and lobster rolls. Butter perfectly fuses the briney shellfish to the crispy bread; one seemingly melts into the other. My tastebuds were delighted and overwhelmed all at once. Buzzed. Like a culinary blackout, I can’t remember the rest. I have no idea where that little shack is, how I got there, or where I went from there. The entire experience is like a dream. I can tell you that, if you ever get a chance, you should absolutely take a Road Trip Devoted Entirely to Lobster Rolls.

Quote of the Week:

“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Now Reading:

Beyond Foosball: Office Perks that Employees Actually Want – a sandbox?!? Like, a literal sandbox?

Now Watching:

Sunspring – a short science fiction movie written by AI. Or a pretentious film student. You decide.:)

Now Listening:

The POTUS Playlist, of course – day and night.

Hair Impaired

As someone with super-fine, stick-straight hair, I am completely envious of anyone whose hair has great texture, body, and curls! Oh, to swoop up a giant mop of curls on top of my head. I know, I know…plenty of curly haired women have expressed the same envy about my super soft, shiny, lack of frizz. We always want what we don’t have.

I frequently bemoan my lack of styling skills, as well, chalking it up to simply being “hair impaired”. I have tinkered with every tool out there in the great quest for something other than a straight bob of varying lengths. Alas, it is simply not my skill. Curls end up crimped. Crimping ends up crazy! And don’t even get me started on trying new styles. Bangs bomb. Layers are lackadaisical.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I just need a few good accessories instead. Can’t say that I’m entirely sure what to do with them…where to put them…how to secure them – barrettes have been known to slide right off! But, a little bling could be the cure for all of my pileous peculiarities…

Adrienne Hair Clips | Javelin Barrette | Minarette Bobbies
Bloomed Hairclip | Itsie Floral Headband

Double Triangle | Metal Mania | Crisscross Bella

Dazzling Duo | Split Headband | Smooth Crescent
Crystal Baguette | Feather Bobbies

Hashtag: Hammock

I think I’m finally turning the corner on this nasty cold, but still feel pretty groggy. Since most of my travel dreams typically involve air travel, I can’t say that clogged ears and a pressure-filled head have me feeling very wanderlusty. Oh, but what I wouldn’t give for a breezy afternoon (or night!) swaying in a hammock.

Hammocks are like cradles for adults. I love ’em. Especially when looking out at the ocean, or rocking to sleep under a star-filled sky. Instant stress relief! So yeah, I want to go to there…

hammock maldives

beach-hammock

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 5.16.47 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 5.18.41 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 5.21.33 PM

hammock

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 5.22.43 PM

hammock lights

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 5.04.31 PM.png