Pyros on the Dance Floor

by Brittany


The great thing about friends falling in love is that we get to go home... a lot... Oh and also their falling in love is nice too. We have an unofficial (which means we get to break it whenever we feel like it) rule that we only attend weddings that one of us is in. So far by the end of this year, we'll have been in three weddings. Which means three trips home! These weddings were a huge factor in why we tried so hard (and succeeded) in getting to the west coast for the summer. Airfare (or bus fare as the case may be) is much cheaper from LA to Seattle than Virginia to Seattle! I am personally very very grateful to Mark and Katie for planning their wedding for the Fourth of July weekend. My Lewellen side has a rich history of extreme pyromania and I have been out of (or across) the country for the fourth for the past five plus years so Jesse has never experienced the glory of the celebration. 

The real pinnacle of our celebration was back when Jesse and I were a brand new couple (just a few days old and most of the family didn't even know he existed). That year we really out did ourselves. The party included several homemade potato cannons, many and various homemade explosives, a few odd canoes/large chunks of styrofoam carried by the tides/driftwood rafts, and enormous amounts of fireworks of questionable legality along with the normal cannon volleys and black powder. 

Below my grandparents' house/small Welsh castle is a secret cove that is invisible from the outer bay because of overlapping sand bars. It was used by rum runners during the prohibition. So we had a battle with some other people who showed up down there. We built fires on the sand bars to light our fireworks and just lobbed all we had at them. Everyone ended up soaked to the skin and no one was majorly hurt, amazingly.... Long story short, I have wanted Jesse to experience our fourths (he was actually slightly terrified by my descriptions, I think....) ever since we met. But he wasn't sure of his work schedule when he bought our airfare and was going to miss it with his non-refundable ticket. When he saw how sad I was, he bought himself a very cheap greyhound bus ticket and embarked on a 25 hour bus ride from LA to Tacoma. Mercifully, our friends Jon and Kaile (pictured above in the tower) were driving up from Vancouver, WA and picked him up in Centralia or one of those scary towns that start with C down there... He arrived only 6 hours before his 2 hour flight would have got him there and it was wonderful... for me. I think he liked it.... He is very noble. 

There was not a full on battle this year (sadly), but there was a cannon, tons of muddy trucks (compliments of my cousins and brothers), illegal fireworks, and more shotguns than there were people (almost) and clay pigeons. We played lots of pool, climbed the tower, saw lots of family and old family friends, snuggled this now one year old baby.... 

...who just wanted to look at the cow, T-bone, and the chickens... and roll in the grass giggling uncontrollably at how hard water balloons are to blow up with my Gwenna girl (a photo would have ruined it).

Then we left the peninsula behind and headed up to Seattle for such a great wedding! Jesse was a groomsman and I was the wedding decorator (Anyone need one? I love doing it!!). Mark and Katie make the best friends, so it was basically all the best people all in one spot with a bonfire and dancing and some great singing. 


The Wedding | Cakes - Guest post by Tracey Grant

by Chelle


Good Morning B (well late afternoon now) - 

Saturday started out so perfectly!  A hot cup of coffee and a slice of amazing lemon cream butter cake. Anyway, you know how we just adore stories of people finding ways to do what they love. Well the story of that slice of cake is one of those stories. I asked Tracey, my friend who made the amazing wedding cakes to write a guest post about how she got into making cakes. She writes for Well of Health as their nutrition writer. Tracey knows so much about health, nutrition, and overall well being and is someone I want to keep learning from. She also makes amazing cake and here's her story: 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Pictured: Tracey and her husband Craig

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Pictured: Tracey and her husband Craig

I suppose baking cakes is just something I kind of fell into. My grandmother always made cakes from scratch, so from the very beginning I have memories of measuring out flour and sugar and cracking eggs into the bowl of her mixer from my perch on the kitchen stool. After I became the gleeful owner of my own stand mixer just out of college, I found myself playing around with recipe after recipe in my free time, the products of which I passed on to friends and colleagues who were more than happy to take them off my hands. It wasn't long before they started asking for their favorites. I didn't start with the intention to sell my treats, I made them for the love of the art. But the seed had been planted in my head, and as more and more opportunities arose, the idea of Twist Catering (more informally known as #traceystreatsies, in its earliest days) began.

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  


This was my third wedding to cater, if you include my own. (For the record, I'm not sure I recommend making your own wedding cake...I was feeling very ambitious when I made that decision.) I never thought I would be bold enough to take on a wedding, but after a friend approached me with the idea about a year ago, the thrill of it enticed me, and I accepted the challenge. That wedding brought a wave of exposure, which has since brought several other opportunities for baby showers, birthday parties, and other small events. 


Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  

While I do have a list of my favorite items to make, I prefer to cater whatever my client has in mind. When it comes to baking, there are so many possibilities! This means that I do a lot of experimenting, adjusting, and learning along the way. Those around me certainly don't mind, as they get the remnants of all the test batches! Most recently, I've been practicing several options for those with dietary restrictions. Requests for gluten free, grain free, dairy free, vegan, low sugar, and paleo treats are growing, as allergies and food sensitivities abound in today's society. This pursuit has been an adventure of learning how to maintain texture, flavor, and functional capability as I manipulate various ingredients to meet the need at hand. Believe it or not, there's quite a bit of math and science that goes into baking! Perhaps that's why as an engineer-turned-dietitian I enjoy it so much.

Even so, I think a classic layer cake will always be my favorite. They're simple and beautiful, and I love to assemble and frost them. My style is typically similar to rustic shabby chic, with symmetrical lines and soft, loosely textured dollops of buttercream. Layer cakes have a timeless elegance, and a plated slice exposing the the contrast of airy cake separated by creamy filling is, in a word, lovely.

 

The main cake at Rachelle's wedding is one of my favorites that I've done to date, the eucalyptus leaves bringing color and distinguishing the tiers, and each bite bursting with fresh vanilla and juicy lemon cream. As much as I loved the bright flavor, I couldn't get enough of the decadently rich chocolate cake either. As this was my first foray into a gluten free wedding cake, it took many, many tries to develop it to perfection. At one point I was comparing 4 different versions! And believe me, I always went back for one more taste. Lastly, and not to be forgotten, the brown sugar cake with berry buttercream and vanilla bean frosting exclaimed summertime with every bite.

 

Together, they were a perfect complement to the celebratory atmosphere of the evening: sweet and cheerful, deep and rich, fresh, and full of life. What a joy and an honor to be a part of it all!

For more information about Twist Catering, please contact me at traceystreatsies@gmail.com!

Last night we had a get together and Tracy made this lovely little cake on the right! We printed out pictures from the wedding and had people over so they could pick their favorite pictures and eat some cake! It was so much fun! Your pictures will arrive in the mail soon! Once I figure out how to send them to wherever you are staying! Love you B! 


Paleo Chicken Tacos

by Brittany


Coat the chicken breasts in spices and one of the lime's juices then slice and stir up, making sure it's well seasoned. Saute on pre heated cast iron skillet. Meanwhile, take lettuce leaves and arrange two (they reinforce themselves) on each plate. Then chop the rest of the produce. In a small jar put the remaining lime's juice, mayonnaise, olive oil and a squirt of honey. Screw lid on tightly and shake until it comes together into a creamy dressing (be sure to taste check... if it needs a bit more tartness add some apple cider vinegar to supplement the lime. Also if it could be thicker add more mayonnaise). The chicken should be done by now, so you get to assemble it! Put the raw carrot ribbons into the lettuce first, then the chicken and everything else can be piled on top. Cilantro should be the last before the dressing so it doesn't wilt. 

2 chicken breast sliced in thin strips

4 iceberg lettuce leaves (good strong bowls)

2 carrots peeled into ribbons

1 avocado

1 tomato

cumin

red pepper flakes

chili pepper

salt & pepper

2 limes (juiced) 

1 or 2 squirts of organic mayonnaise

olive oil

honey

1 generous bunch of cilantro

 

IMG_6124 copy.jpg
carrot ribboning

carrot ribboning

I recommend a crisp, dry, white wine on a rooftop or stoop with this song playing in the background. Oh, and some nice warm weather... you know the kind of evening that's still light around 10pm? And it should be eaten around that time too... Happy Friday!

photo credit: Jesse


Apartment Dwelling

by Brittany


As soon as I saw this building I pulled over and started taking pictures... Los Angeles is so big it wasn't likely I would see it again so it had to be done then. It has to be one of the most idyllically designed buildings I have ever seen. I like that it fits perfectly in Southern California and yet I can't actually think of a city here in the states that it would be out of place in. For that matter, I'm pretty much banking on there being this exact building in London someday. And I will live in it on the top floor and climb up that fire escape to the rooftop garden and plant in the pots (over and over cause they will probably die) and drink my morning coffee at that little table on sunny mornings and next to the rounded wall of windows watching the rain drops race down the panes on rainy afternoons. And my evening g&t (I really need to figure out where to get quinine so I can make my own tonic... anyone have ideas? I believe it's called cinchona bark at supplement stores...) on the fire escape with Jesse. I particularly love that opened window that is etched in the far right there...

I mean... the red steps!! For anyone in Los Angeles this was somewhere along 8th street between Koreatown and Downtown. I really should have noticed the address but who can be bothered by that when you have this to photograph?!

We have talked before about apartment living and the unique challenges of making a rented space your own. I really do love the flexibility of renting... especially as we tend to move a lot it's fun to have new and different styles of places to flex my interior styling skills in. Lately several of our friends (including my brother and sister and law) have bought houses and it seems like such a huge step! I'm very excited for them and can't wait to see the beautiful things they do with their homes (that is a huge advantage of owning...)--my brother is incredibly skilled at woodworking and making the drabbest seeming houses into these things of unexpected beauty. Check out their new place on my sister in law's blog and see their progress! 

But all that said, for Jesse and I right now, I couldn't be happier renting teensy tiny apartments. Renting studios is a bit like writing poetry rather than writing prose.... every bit has to count. It's a very serious business to curate the details! 

 


Wedding Day | The Details Part 1

by Chelle


I remember the details of your wedding B! They were so special and perfect. Do you remember walking to the farmers market in the morning to get the bridal bouquets? Or hanging spark plug mobiles from the trees outside? They were fantastic. 

Remember the post about wedding party inspiration? Well it worked! Everyone did a great job and all the details came together. One of my favorite memories from the day was seeing how the bridesmaids and the groomsmen looked so well matched! Everyone chose their own wardrobe and look at the result! B, can't believe you found yours for $2. It was perfect! Melissa did the flowers and they were stunning. We sat down and worked out that I wanted lots of green and white and pussy willow (because that was my favorite tree to climb when I was little). 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Flowers: Melissa Cushman

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Flowers: Melissa Cushman

Props to the men for sticking to the color pallet and choosing textures! Loved it. 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist 

Remember when I visited you and Jesse and we went to that fantastic old antique shop with the slate tiles. That's where I found a stack of linen hand embroidered napkins. It took months of visiting thrift stores, antique shops, hours of washing and ironing, but by May I had 200 mismatched vintage napkins. I couldn't do this with all the details but I did find someone who could. Vintage Ambiance. This is an awesome Seattle based company that rents vintage things for weddings (and well anything else you'd want it for). We rented the silverware, and it was the same price as normal table settings what a treat. It looked lovely! 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Cutlery: Vintage Ambiance

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Cutlery: Vintage Ambiance

Eucalyptus sprigs scattered through the tables with babies breath incorporated the wispy romantic feel my wedding dress with the details of the reception. I chose eucalyptus because it's australian and also grows in California where Joel grew up.  

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Cake: Tracy Grant Cake Topper: Ellen Mauro 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Cake: Tracy Grant Cake Topper: Ellen Mauro 

The wedding cakes were so pretty. The chocolate ones were gluten free for Joel and the white one was a lemon vanilla cream creation of all sorts of goodness! 

Poet: Matt Rowe 

Another one of my favorite details from the day was the gift for guest. We had Matt Rowe - an on demand poet- sit with his typewriter and compose poems for whoever wanted one. We never vetted him so had no idea what type of poems he would write- but they were brilliant! Did you get one??


Art Museums & Hardware Stores

by Brittany


1. A few blocks from the last studio we stayed in here (our housing fell through last minute so we stayed in one place for the first month and now are in another place for the next few months), was the LA County Museum.... I never actually went inside, but the grounds and coffee shop and bar are stunning. I sat for hours there and read and photographed and people watched. 2. Jesse thinks he should make a tumblr of things that make his Brittany cry. One thing that definitely would make the list is school groups and tourist groups in neon t-shirts. Oh my stars. It is heartbreaking! They always flock in the prettiest locales! And ruin all my photos. (I am not actually super emotional... well not publicly, but it is true... this is the kind of thing that could and has made me shed very real tears). 3. I respect a museum cafe that cares enough to be beautiful. 4. This is actually from a hardware store not the museum... I loved the keys and sharp objects behind him... I have a thing for crowded peg boards.

Hardware stores are something I cannot walk by without entering. You never know what they will carry! There is a growing trend to call hipster shops "general stores" when in reality they are very niche designer shops....the complete opposite of a general store. (Ok I admit that maybe this is one of the other things that makes me cry, but it also makes me very happy since it means I can still one day be a real shop keeper). Anyways! I have this theory that hardware stores are the only remnant left of real general stores. I have found some of my prettiest white ceramic dishes stacked half hazard on shelves so dusty they are only rivaled by the objects they hold. Also, bright yellow handlebar tape in faded packaging from the 70s for only a dollar. Moka pots. And spark plugs. And string. And ropes. Bundt pans. Vintage fans that have never been used.... and they always have the most beautiful heavy walnut sets of small drawers that take up all the walls. 

This same day I went to another hardware store and I was the only customer. The aisles were filled with boxes of half unpacked merchandise and the shop keeper was preoccupied with the World Cup. And I loved it! It was so old and vast...like the best kind of bookstores that you get lost in. They didn't have what I was looking for (I'm thinking it doesn't exist) so I was treating myself to some spark plug gazing when suddenly all the lights went black. It only lasted for a minute then they flickered back on to reveal the ashen faces of myself and the shop keeper looking at each other from down a few aisles. He laughed nervously and said something about how that was weird when suddenly the lights went out again and an alarm started blaring from an unknown source. Scenes from every assassin movie ever flashed through my head and I started stumbling and weaving my way through the boxes and dimness. Once out in the garish brightness of the LA midday the alarm seemed even louder and I tried to scuttle as dignifiedly as I could...not stopping till I was in my car with the doors locked. Then I started worrying about the old shop keeper... so I drove by the back door that opened onto the alleyway and everything was quiet. I hope he didn't get assassinated! I should go back and check....  


Wedding Day | Details for Him

by Chelle


Hey B - So men are so much fun! I love suits, shaving cream, old spice. All of it. For the wedding day it was fun to think thru how the day would be a combination of Chelle and Joel. Here's what we came up with for the man! 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist    Suite: Moods of Norway 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist    Suite: Moods of Norway 

Joel found this suite at Kulmans in downtown seattle. It's a Moods of Norway suite and I love everything about their brand from the hot pink suite lining in Joel's suit down to the promise embroidered inside the coast stating this item was made by beautiful blonde girls. I l also love this quote from their website:

Our main goal, besides making our grandmas happy, is to make happy clothes for happy people around the world.

Mission accomplished Moods of Norway, well done. 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist    Suite: Moods of Norway 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist    Suite: Moods of Norway 

For wedding day undershirt Joel got Mack Weldon: smart underwear for smart men. He also got these awesome packs for the groomsmen as a thank you. This is another amazing brand who we would buy everything from for the rest of our lives if we could. The day before the wedding Joel realized one of the shirts was the wrong size. He emailed them asking if he could exchange it - thinking the gift would be late. It arrived the next day. They'd had one in the office, though they were out of stock online - so they sent it to us and we never got a bill. 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist   Undershirt: Mack Weldon 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist   Undershirt: Mack Weldon 

A friend of Joel's suggested Nordstrom's standard white dress shirt for a wedding day shirt. I think part of this day became building a personal brand. As a lot of Joel's job (and mine for that matter) involves developing ideas for brands learning to develop our own has been pretty fun. The idea of a clean crisp white shirt seems so Don Draper (okay staying away from all other aspects of his character but man that guys style!) 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist   Dress Shirt: Nordstrom    Suite: Moods of Norway 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist   Dress Shirt: Nordstrom    Suite: Moods of Norway 

Joel found his skinny green tie on ebay - classic! We found a cool store on  Etsy that made monogramed skinny tie clips - groomsmen gifts oh and Joel gift! 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Monogramed Tie Clip: Etsy

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Monogramed Tie Clip: Etsy

The shoes. So manly. So perfect. 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Shoes: John Varvatos

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Shoes: John Varvatos

The final product: My hansom husband. 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Suite: Moods of Norway 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Suite: Moods of Norway 


Wedding Day | Details for Her

by Chelle


Oh my goodness B! The pictures are here! It's so fun to look over each detail and see it all meld together into the day Joel and I got married. Andria Lindquist did an amazing job of capturing the moments and the details. All photos are her rendering of our day. It'll be a week of wedding posts so get ready- and after this week back to normal life!   To start with - the details for her

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist     Dress from: Cicada Bridal 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist     Dress from: Cicada Bridal 

This was the first dress I tried on- it's was called the Nikita.  Mom and I found it at  Cicada Bridal. It gave the day a  dreamily romantic feel. I added the sleeves for a wispy etherial effect. Cicada included all alterations in the initial cost for the dress. 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Garter: Etsy

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Garter: Etsy

For anyone planning a wedding Etsy is the heaven of thoughtful details and beautifully crafted pieces. I found this garter and it game with a tosser and a keeper - how perfect! 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Shoes: Joyay d'Orsay 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist  Shoes: Joyay d'Orsay 

These Joyay d'Orsay Heels are the dreamy once in a life time heels. I found them thru the BHDLN website and they were created by Badgley Mischka

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Necklace: Grandfather's gift to my Grandmother on their wedding day

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Necklace: Grandfather's gift to my Grandmother on their wedding day

Being all about the story this necklace was the perfect "something old," as it was a gift my grandfather gave my grandmother on their wedding day and comes all the way thru the years and over the water from Australia.

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Headpiece: Paris Romance Style from Erica Elizabeth Design

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Headpiece: Paris Romance Style from Erica Elizabeth Design

This headpiece was the perfect mix of veil and 1920's headpiece and the name itself sold me. It came in the most beautiful packaging and will be something I hope I can hand down to  someone someday.

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Headpiece: Paris Romance Style from Erica Elizabeth Design Suite: Moods of Norway 

Photo Credit: Andria Lindquist Headpiece: Paris Romance Style from Erica Elizabeth Design Suite: Moods of Norway 


Instax and Stories

by Chelle


So you know how we both love stories? Well you love story stories and I love people's stories. Anyway I wanted to show you the gift Joel and I gave each other for the wedding. We both came up with the ideas separately and this was the result: 

Typically  I can’t remember conversations from yesterday and Joel can’t remember things from when we first met. The funny thing is we compensate each other and it works. He tells me people's names when I forget them and I tell him... well... I guess we'll have to wait a few more years for that to start working. 

With that in mind it's sort of funny that we ended up doing this for each other gift. Both oblivious to what the other was doing. I bought a big Moleskin and spent a few months compiling journal entries that began in 2010 that mentioned Joel. Some are really funny and some are really sad. I downloaded Disk Aid,  got all our old texts in a word document, and put favorites in the book. I included notes from Joel, pictures form dates, concert tickets and all sorts of fun memories along with a letter about how excited I was to be marrying him. It was a really fun process leading up to the wedding because it made me so excited about our story

Joel’s gift to me was a blank book, an Instax camera, film, and some Washi Masking Tape. He included a letter to me about how excited he was to be marrying me and how this book was to document all the memories we would make in the future.

I opened my gift the morning of the wedding and our awesome photographer, Andria, saw the camera and said – “hey want me to snap a few shots." She got the whole wedding day! She handed us a stack of pics as we drove off in our Uber. They were stunning.  It was so fun to see pictures from the day right away.

As we were sitting on the beach in Curaçao writing down our favorite memories from the wedding in the little book Joel gave me and decided we’d put them in the “memory book,” which I had made him

 

During our trip Joel carried our little instax and Tripod so we could get fun photos together all around the island. One night we ordered room service and worked on our book. I know I know this is the stuff steamy romance novels are made of right? Ha! But seriously we had a blast looking over photos from the trip, writing down memories and taking a minute to document it all so we could look back and remember. 

Andira offers instax as a part of her wedding day deal, and I think other photographers may as well. I loved getting those photos right away and am looking forward to seeing ours in a week or two! 

Anyway that's our story book from the wedding. I'll have a few more posts for you about favorite things from the day before I get back to the every day posts. Love you B! 

Bye for now 


Seasoning and Cleaning your Cast Iron Pan

by Chelle


The thought of cast iron has been so intimidating. There seem to be so many don'ts and one false move - there goes years of seasoning. So this post is about getting over fear and just going for it. Just kidding - but seriously that's what it felt like.

So I've read numerous blogs about the best way to season cast iron pans and there seem to be quite a few "only ways," to do it. After consulting the internet, you (B), and several other domestic experts here is my "only way" to season a cast iron pan:

You will need:

Olive Oil and Coarse Sea Salt 

A hot heat (oven or a camp fire if you happen to be taking your cast iron pan out into the wilds.) 

To season the new pan pour olive oil in it and rub it in. Then place in an oven heated to 350 for an hour, or place on a camp fire and watch it for about 20 minutes. I made the second one up, but it worked just fine.

Why olive oil? I just use that in my cooking most of the time. So go with the oil of your choice (maybe research a little more, but apparently higher heat oils are better and olive oil isn't the highest but I prefer that flavor.)

To clean your pan let pour olive oil (or oil that you've chosen) into pan while still warm. Later, after it has cooled, get coarse sea salt and towel (designated to cast iron cleaning) and pour a liberal amount of slat (1/8 to 1/4 cup) and use to rag to wipe out pan. Leaving the oil to soak in awhile helps loosen up whatever contents are stubbornly sticking to the insides. 

So there you have it. Not that scary a all - and actually pretty fun and satisfying. So wherever you find yourself when you decide to season your cast iron - either at home in your kitchen or out on the trails - don't be intimidated! 

Here's a clip from our most recent camping trip. This app is amazing! Our new friend Zak made this movie of our trip: 

And here is my favorite recipe from the weekend: 

Boil pot of water with salt and olive oil

Put in desired amount of small potatoes

Boil until they are soft

Remove from heat and drain

Heat olive oil in a pan 

Smash boiled potatoes with olive oil bottle (or whatever would work)

Salt as desired

And fry over a camp fire! Sooo good!!! 


Your Title was way too clever to match

by Chelle


Personality tests are my favorite! Poor Joel has humored me and taken all of the personality tests known to man. What a gem. This picture sums it up. Or it's just a fun memory from our weekend at Ocean Shores. ( We went camping with some friends for one of their birthdays and here are some photos from that.) 

I was laughing as you described your personality results because my options are Hitler and Mother Theresa- so I could really turn out either way. Part of the reason I love these tests so much is that I often feel too complicated to understand and having a test with my results mapped out will help make me understood. True to my INFJ ness. 

It's so funny. Even writing this blog, it's only recently that I feel like I can actually use my voice. The past two years have been working up to being able to just be me. I still keep a little back. Maintain the mystery? In true INFJ form. 

And then we have my Joel. Joel is one of the life of the party types-ENFP. This is one thing I really love about Joel's ENFP - ness

Luckily, ENFPs know how to relax, and they are perfectly capable of switching from a passionate, driven idealist in the workplace to that imaginative and enthusiastic free spirit on the dance floor"

But I know PERSONALITY TYPES DON'T DEFINE US. They are just helpful! I may write back with another test later. How funny that you wrote me about Myers Briggs. He's my favorite. I'll leave you with some pics from the weekend. 





The Ad-man & the Psychopath

by Brittany


Roasted Strawberry Basil Popsicle

1 can full fat coconut milk

2 good handfuls strawberries

4-5 basil leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1 splash gin

Wash and arrange strawberries flat on roasting pan. If necessary, chop in halves or quarters, but the larger they are the prettier they'll look frozen! Place in oven at 350 for 15 min or until they start to sizzle and brown in places (your kitchen will smell heavenly!). Meanwhile, chop the basil very finely and combine with all liquids. Once strawberries are roasted add to liquid and pour into popsicle mold and freeze in the back-most corner of freezer. I got four full size popsicles and three minis out of this. 


Ok Chelley! Now that your popsicles are freezing, how about a little personality discussion?! I have always hated taking personality tests...particularly with Jesse because every single time I would get an utter psychopath as a result (no joke... the lists of notable people with similar personalities were filled with dictators, murderers and general n'er do gooders) and Jesse would get these glowing results saying he was the life of every party, friend to everyone, leader, sensitive, sexy, etc.... anything good and complimentary, he got it. In all fairness, I am a bit crazy (and I hadn't found out about my special mutation back then...more on that later) and Jesse IS completely charming and the life of MY party (hence why I married the guy...) but I'm hardly "Sid Vicious"(-Tom)!

So yesterday, in some downtime, I took this version of the Meyers Brigg again and, while I do still share personality types with a handful of Nazis and Nero, the result was much, much more accurate!! It was such a relief to discover that there actually is a good side to me!

So last night we ate popsicles and Jesse took the quiz, too, and we poured over our results together... it was so fun and hilarious and sweet. Turns out Jesse and I have both changed quite a bit in our results... and yes, Jesse's notable mates did not include any Nazis or Dictators but mine had Audrey Hepburn, Sofia Coppola and Bob Dylan. So I was happy. Also it turns out over the past few years our personalities have become more and more similar! Mine is ISFP and his is ESFP! He used to be ENFJ (I know.... only one letter is the same!  Apparently SPs are "Explorers" which seems spot on, given how much we travel and move around and haunt the alleyways of cities! Also it explained our mutual dislike of philosophical discussions! A lot of people thought/think we are a frivolous couple but we talk about what comes up in private and simply don't desire to or see the need to discuss it further!  I love how personalities change and grow and mesh together with the ones we love! Here is something Jesse said about it that I liked:

"When people take tests like this, a lot of times they feel like it's telling them who they are--that it provides a rationalization for remaining certain ways. But that's wrong. We aren't born with a firm personality. Our results are the outcome of answers to questions that we provide based on who we are right now. The personality it tells us we have is something we can observe the bad and good in, and then make efforts to change. I used to be far more concerned with what people thought of me and with being a leader to everyone around me all the time. I care less about that now, so my answers produced a personality type that cares less about it. How sad would it have been if I spent my whole life thinking that was my personality, so that's how I had to stay? To be honest, it was mostly just annoying."

A bit more on mine, I really hope you read it, Chelle, cause it's eery how right it is! Things like, "ISFPs live completely in the present...refusing to prepare extensive plans for the future"! That cracked me up in terms of our friendship, and warmed my heart in terms of Jesse and my's relationship! It got the artistic, sensitivity to aesthetics, the unpredictability, the risk taking (remember my breaking into abandoned houses stage?!) and the coldness to people while still being wildly passionate all right! And a lot of the weaknesses were right too.... ha!

Anyways, you and Joel should make an evening date of this, if you haven't already! I can't wait to hear what you (both) are and see the friendship stuff! 

xo, B

p.s. our friend Ryan came up with that title for us: the ad-man & the psychopath... I kind of adore it! Thanks Ryan!


Strappy Heels & Floppy Hats

by Brittany


1. Black floppy hat: I've been looking for this hat for months now. I had just tried on a gorgeous Rag & Bone one that cost $175... it was beautiful and made me determined not to settle. So you can imagine how excited I was to leave that shop and walk one block to goodwill and this made in Amsterdam hat for $1.99! Plus I found the two other items I'd been looking for for months... all in a ten minute check! (I can't be the only one that goes to Goodwill at least once a week, right? Good. I mean, the 50% off tags change each week and they get new stuff everyday....).

2. Buttery soft worn-in leather jacket: two weeks ago I found a high end vegan leather jacket at the same goodwill and it was on the 5.99 rack and it fit perfectly so I was like, "Its 5.99... I could get this and still look for a real leather one." But once I got the the check out the cashier took one look at it and said she needed to do a price check. I told her politely that it was on the 5.99 rack with all the other jackets. But she was like, "but this is really nice..." I was like.... "ya! that's the point of thrifting!!!!!" (obviously in my head) Anyways... her boss raised it to 9.99 which was more than even the full on coats are! So I refused to buy it. And then I find this one!! Real leather and only 4.99!!!! Thrilled is an understatement. 

3. Strappy heels: again...I've been looking for the perfect strappy black heel for summer evenings! These are just lovely. 

4. The perfect white teacup: I think the title sums this one up... another thrifting find!

5. Almond oil: organic, gluten free lotions are hard to come by (not to mention ridiculously expensive) and when you spend two to three days in the ocean you absolutely must use something! So I took a cue from our friend Tori and got some sweet almond oil and a pretty amber dropper... I absolutely love it!! and a 4 oz bottle from Whole Foods goes a long way and is only $4.49. I've been using oil as a face moisturizer for a while now and its so much better than lotion! Absorbs fast and doesn't sit on top of your skin. The almond oil makes your limbs just glow! And reflect the sun with out feeling the least bit sticky (I was afraid of this as I am very sensitive to that dreadful feeling.... I won't even eat an orange if I don't have access to a sink). Plus, doesn't it just look so simple and elegant with that gorgeous amber glass?!

6. Morning Journey by James Hilton: another stellar British book... parts of it take place in Hollywood! On the very street my favorite coffee shop is on! And in the neighborhood we will be living in July and August! Also this book gave me a new appreciation for the job of directors (aside from Wes Anderson, I never gave them too much thought...there are a few others I know and like but they tend to be invisible artists).

This quote sums up Los Angeles nicely:

Once he had been stranded in Los Angeles for a few hours he had been curious enough to ask a taximan to drive him around Hollywood, but the expedition had covered such dreary territory that he could only (in fairness to such a world famous name) conclude the driver must have lost his way.

James Hilton, Morning Journey

To be fair, there are a lot of enjoyable things here but they are so far from each other that it is nearly impossible to remember you like LA while driving through it. And he is spot on about Hollywood itself... so far as I have seen. Although, like him, I keep thinking I must be just a block off or something. Unbelievably ugly! 

 


Coffee & Bikes

by Brittany


This article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed and I just loved what the owner of Heritage Coffee (the only place to get Stumptown in Chicago, at least when we lived there) had to say:

"Why coffee, anyway? "No matter where you go in the world, you'll be able to access a bike and coffee," says Mike. "The cultures have come up together. In both worlds, you can be such a geek, such a pro, and know everything about coffee/bikes—but there's also the idea that it's just coffee. It's just a bike. You just want to ride it, you just want to drink it, you just want it to be part of your life."

I still miss my old black Schwinn (we had to sell it when we left Chicago) so I'm thinking I need to be scouring craigslist here in LA for another. 

A few things from around the web:

The Kindness of Strangers segment of This American Life from a few weeks ago. I cannot stop picturing this and replaying it in my mind. I used to dream of doing this on the Eleventh St Bridge in Tacoma when it was closed to traffic.

Apparently fruit flies just love wine and are too dumb to get out of a wine bottle.... The flies and I have been waging war the past few days and I am the obvious winner. 


Charming is another way of saying...

by Chelle


Some call would call it charming. Wood floors, creaky doors, a claw foot tub. I'd be in that bunch. Then I moved it. Suddenly it became a hazard to my health. The breeding ground of black mold. I could feel it slowly seeping into my body and destroying my very core. And then I realized I was being a bit dramatic and before jumping to any conclusions I should try to identify the problem. After about two minutes of serious thinking I've found it. DUST. No matter how many times I sweep the next day there is a pile twice as large hiding in the exact same corner. 

So this is a post to those who have wooden floors that seem to soak up any bit of dust. You're not alone. This is a cry for help. A call to action. A safe place to share how you deal with your dust. 

My current solution: the good old hot water, murphy's oil, and a mop. It sounds labor intensive but it really just takes five minutes. I do an initial sweep to get the larger offenders and let the bucket fill with hot water. I add a capful of murphy's oil. Then I mop the entire place. It smells clean and fresh and I stop sneezing for the evening. 

This is just one of the many quirks of the new place but I wanted to write about it as I've never encountered such stubborn, persistent dust. So if you struggle with dust, no you're not alone! Also if you have any ideas of what to do please share your wisdom! 




Curaçao

by Chelle


Dear B -

We're back! Here are a few snapshots of the island. We rented a car and drove up and down the 40 miles island several times. The west side had sandy beaches with tourists intent on snorkeling or diving and the east side had cliffs and crashing waves that claimed to be great for surfing... but I don't know how that would work. It of corse also had the sunrise. Which we planned to wake up and see. Three times. We didn't quite make it. But we did catch several sunsets. 

My story for you from our island. We were driving down a little road and I saw a goat- so obviously we had to stop so I could feed it. I threw a piece of bread to the goat (I didn't get out of the car) and out of no where 40 goats came trotting up for lunch - it's the 5th picture below.  Then the goat herder came out of no where and started yelling at us. We hit the gas and drove away but had to circle back as it was a dead end. Three minutes later we cautiously drove back and there was no trace of goat herder or goats. 

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To Honeymoon in the Tropics

by Chelle


Dear B-

We've been back for about two weeks and tonight is the first night I've had a minute to look through some photos and think of where to start. We had so much fun! There will be more to come about the island itself  and I'm holding off of the wedding posts until I have get the photos from Andira- but as for the honeymoon part - what a fantastic invention. It was so much fun to get to spend uninterrupted with this handsome fellow on this little island. Some of my favorite parts were trips to the grocery store to get the ingredients for beach picnics,  heading out in our little car for a day of driving and finding hidden beaches, card games, sitting in the sun reading our books, staying up late, waking up even later, and getting to spend time with this dreamy man. 

Thanks so much for all your help during the wedding season! It was such a fun week leading up to the wedding and then just a perfect day and I can't wait to write more! 

Love you! 

1. Joel in our car navigating our way around the island 2. Matching keds 3. The rain in the heat was magical 3. We payed $7 for this deck and they were worth every cent 4. The man in stripes 5. Sunset in black and white 


Washington to California

by Brittany


1. on our anniversary we returned to the seminary on the cliff in Tacoma where we got married... a much sunnier day this year! This is the spot we would have been married in (and where my parents were married) if it hadn't been a freak thunderstorm! 2. We followed signs for Big Tree... because Jesse had heard stories about it from his childhood neighbor and seen it when he drove down the coast. It was big. 3. We were so relieved to be out of the deep dark redwoods and mountainous switchbacks so we took two pictures of us and our trusty new car (Jesse and my brother Desmond worked super hard to make sure it wouldn't send us plunging off Highway 1). Her name is under debate currently... I thought The Countess seemed suitable but Jesse thinks it's far too impersonal. So I'll keep you posted. 4. We got to see all the places Jesse lived (we started at the tip top of Washington, in Port Townsend and drove down to Los Angeles... I think we should drive on down to Mexico to finish the job. We'll see. So we stopped in Portland for a few days, then Ashland, OR, then Arcata, CA, then San Francisco and Morro Bay, CA. We got to meet Mia's sweet little family... new baby Arlo (the brightest eyed baby ever!) and her husband Rex! And stay in a trailer! 5. And we made it to LA... we've been here for a week and a half now and have lived in two places already! We're in for a real nomadic summer! And I couldn't be more thrilled about it.


To be a Beach Babe

by Brittany


1. Pack a few books... you never know which one will actually capture your brain and be the perfect book to laze about with. I've included a longer meanderingly beautiful tale of people (Certain Women) and a surprisingly good gothic mystery story (Rebecca) from back when books had potential to be boring... to be clear, this one is not boring. It's delightfully, shiveringly, enthralling. (The Alfred Hitchcock movie based on Rebecca is top notch as well!)

2. Cremo Cream shaving cream: I've just discovered this myself... apparently I cut my legs a few too many times so Jesse researched and bought this for me. While it's not quite as amazing as they say (that is probably due to my own shaving methods... blood always flows.) I have nothing but praise for it aesthetically! I mean, look at it! So classy... also I got the men's version cause I liked the red better than the pink. It doesn't smell like cologne, it's a light citrus bergamot scent. Anyways! You will want silky smooth legs for laying out and swimming with so this is a must.

3. Rosewater: it is probably the most enjoyable feeling to mist your entire face and neck with this and breath deeply. The perfect refresher after a hot afternoon on the beach. Just mist your face, breath deep then gently wipe away the salt and you will be ready for your equally hot date. (p.s. don't get this for yourself... I come bearing gifts)!

4. Hippie Sunscreen: cause they tell me sunscreen gives cancer and so does sun... so let's turn to the hippies!

5. RMS Lip2Cheek: this just may be as good as they say it is! Plus it's dual purpose, which is always a bonus when packing! And it's very light and not at all cake-y on the lips... the better to kiss with. The pigment is not at all light so a little goes a long ways, which is nice considering the price tag!

6. Lavender Oil: to repel mosquitos and whatever other nasty sting-y things may be down there!

7. Sunglasses: well, this is a bit obvious... but they needed to be there to balance out the photo!


Guest Post: Alyssa Burkhardt on Wedding Registries

by Brittany


A quick introduction: Alyssa is one of my friends from Chicago... we met in our community group and have so much in common! I wish you, Chelle, could meet her! Someday! Anyways, for now you are officially introduced via the blogging world. You can check out her sweet blog, J &A, and you will see a few familiar faces. She took over my nanny job... which is the best thing ever, because she sends me pictures of my sweet (not so) baby boys and we have communal Pinterest fests all through nap times... it's the best. Everyone should get a Pinterest buddy (link to her extremely well curated Pinterest). Which brings me to why she's here! Alyssa has wonderful taste! We (You and I) were talking about registries the other day and I was curious... what are some other ladies' must haves for registries? Here is Alyssa's list! Enjoy!

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Hi! I’m Alyssa (:

And those people up there are Husband and I years ago when we first began “us”. Congratulations on getting married to your favorite person! I am so SO excited for you!! You are going to love being married and I think this season of preparation is exceptionally sweet and fun.

So Wedding Registering. Yay! I have to admit when my husband and I began registering I was bewildered. I didn't have a clue what we would need and Bed, Bath, and Beyond just was not my style. But sadly you can't register at antique stores and I know the people that wanted us to register really just wanted some direction in how to love and bless us. So we took up the registering gun thing (so fun!) and registered our little hearts out. We will soon celebrate 4 years of wedded bliss and its sweet to look around our little home and see the gifts from the wedding here and there and everywhere and they have truly been such a blessing and daily reminder of the people who gave them to us.

A lot of my "Registering Musts" are very practical (read boring) but I think it is very important that you register for beautiful things, and beautiful doesn't necessarily mean that crazy expensive dinnerware set from Nordstrom. Beauty is what is made well and you enjoy. We have lived in 3 different homes so far and they have gotten smaller and with less and less storage with each new home. Yeah, I know, we're kind of working backwards... but anyway. Right now we really don't have any kitchen storage which means all of my kitchen things are on display. But we have worked hard to make sure that most of what we own we enjoy for practicality AND for aesthetics. So it works! I've come to really enjoy our storageless kitchen and I think it may be my favorite one so far. Your home will be an expression of you (you, meaning you and husband ;)) and that expression is communicated through the little details of practical every day life together. Such as……

A Beautiful Tablecloth A beautiful tablecloth makes such a difference in creating a home especially if you're going to be moving around a lot. It instantly creates a lovely familiarity to wherever you are and is really versatile. Picnic blanket? Makeshift curtain? Gotcha.

A Good Pot & Pan There's so much more that you can register for the kitchen but I think a good pot and pan takes you very very far.

A Wooden Cutting Board This thing is amazing! You can use this everywhere and for everything! We use it as a plate when we're just having cheese, tomatoes, and bread for dinner. We place it over our sink to create extra counter space. We use it in the summer to eat outside instead of bringing plates out. See? Incredible. Definitely ask for one of these.

A Beautiful Pitcher We received a glass one of these for our wedding and when I opened it I thought "great, I am NEVER going to use this...." then proceeded to use it every single day! I started out using it as a vase actually and that’s where I began to see the beauty in its curves and simplicity and after that it made anything I put in it that much lovelier. It just brings such an air of class. To orange juice, to lemonade in the summer, and those fruity waters where you stick a bunch of fruit in your water and it tastes so much better. Sheesh, you could probably stick soda in there and it would make it look classy.

Chocolate, Lots & Lots of Chocolate Okay, Okay, I know this is way unconventional, but so fun! I think wedding registry's can get very boring and this will bring anyone who reads your registry a laugh and provide your guest with tighter finances something on a smaller scale to bless you with. Think of that sweet little elderly couple who's known you your whole life and still calls you "sweetie pie". Plus, chocolate kisses are awesome. The end.

Nice Sheets Sheets are expensive. Good sheets that will bring you joyous sleep all of your days are VERY expensive. Let's let the millionaire uncle bless you with that gift.

A Cookie Jar A super practical way to show your new husband that you love and adore him and think he's the best ever is to put yummy things in a cookie jar just for him. Well for both of you, because you are going to be one now. And it makes a really cute storage container should your lover not like cookies.

Candles Another way to make anywhere feel like home and bring an air of romance. That and men can be stinky. Romance and stinky don't mix. Candles remedy that. Beautiful Bowls Remember my storageless kitchen?

Beautiful Bowls make a HUGE difference. I used to be all about plastic bowls (I know, I'm ashamed, can we still be friends?) practical and practically destruction proof but really very ugly. They got donated to some poor soul long ago and the pretty bowls are still going strong. And again, you can use them for lots and lots of different things. Are you catching onto the versatility theme yet?

Towels Because you need them.

Knives I would personally recommend skipping the sets and just going for the big cool looking ones. Brittany has the best knives, reeeeeally big and intimidating. You'll probably receive lots of jokes about why you need such big knives, but just smile and look adoringly at your beloved and it will all be ok.

A Record Player So I actually don’t know if you can register for this or not…. but if you can you definitely should! You could have nothing else in your new home together other than some yummy food, candles, and music, and it will be the best home you have ever known.

So there you go! This is all I think you need to be happily married materially speaking. Well this and a few other things (silver ware, plates, furniture, etc. etc.) but everything else you can get at thrift stores and it will be way cooler and more personal than anything at Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You don't need much, all you really need is love anyway (;

So excited for you! Hope you have a blast shooting everything with the registry gun!

~Alyssa