Nina Simone, Baltimore, and Voices of the Unheard


A couple days ago, I came across this clip of Nina Simone singing “Revolution” at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. It was shown at the end of a very insightful video report from Democracy Now!: Voices of the Unheard in the Baltimore Streets, in which people in Baltimore are interviewed while cleaning up some of the destruction from the recent riots, marching peacefully, and standing in a line next to the police in an effort to keep the streets calm.

There are so many layers to what’s happening there (and all over the country), and multi-faceted reporting like this is crucial to increase understanding of the complexity of the situation. I was really glad I watched it, and I highly recommend.

Then Nina’s voice came on, singing a song I’d never heard before, and it completely captured me.

These are some of the lyrics: Continue reading

‘Round the Web: April 2015


Amidst the devastating earthquake in Nepal, more U.S. police killings of unarmed black men, and Native actors walking off the set of Adam Sandler’s awful racist movie, April held a shining ray of hope: news of Kermit’s glass frog doppelganger, discovered in Costa Rica.

From National Geographic:

“The lime-green amphibian . . . has bulging white eyes with perfect black pupils, much like Jim Henson’s musical puppet. But this frog can’t carry a tune. In fact, it has a long whistle like that of an insect, which, according to a new study, may be why scientists didn’t notice it for so long—Costa Rica’s last glass frog discovery occurred in 1973.”


A mascot for the age of transparency? I don’t know, but something about this creature’s little green see-through body (it’s just 1 inch long!) makes me feel better about the world.

Of course, it’s not the only cool thing I came across this month. ‘Round the Web we go… Continue reading

Joe’s (Amazing) Popcorn Recipe


A movie and popcorn night with Joe never gets old for me. That’s partly because I love movies, partly because I love Joe, and mostly because I love his popcorn.

(Okay, it’s all about the company.) But you guys, Joe’s popcorn is really good.

Which is why I need to share the recipe with you. We’ve tried a few different toppings on popcorn, but this is by far our favourite. I don’t write about food a whole lot, but we eat this at least once a week, and get excited for it every single time. I asked Joe to share the recipe, and he said, “in detail?”

So here it is, the step-by-step guide to possibly the best popcorn you’ll ever taste. Bonus: this recipe includes the secret to perfect stovetop popping (so you don’t end up with any burnt or un-popped kernels).

Joe’s Popcorn

Continue reading

Song to Stop For: Haley Reinhart, Cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”

I’ve seen this song shared by a few folks on social media the past few days, so took a moment to listen this morning. Impressive!

The band is Postmodern Jukebox, which collaborates with different artists to cover pop songs in vintage-style genres like jazz and swing. Haley Reinhart, the vocalist for this cover, was in the tenth season of American Idol, placing third. I had never heard of her, have you?


Hope you enjoy the listen. :) Happy Wednesday, friends.

*Photo via Haley Reinhart News

Happiness, in a Hanging Basket


Last spring while choosing plants for our patio, I deliberated between a couple different ferns at our favourite Portland plant and flower shop, Sammy’s.

One was huge and bushy and beautiful. It was a showpiece, the kind of fern you stop to admire while hiking in the forest. I loved it. But it was so big I thought it might overpower the space, and overshadow the other plants.

The other fern was lovely, too. It was smaller, less bountiful, less of a ‘center stage’ player, but a solid, hardy-looking plant. It’s a better size for our patio, I told myself. It won’t obstruct the view of the trees. It was also less expensive. It’s the fern I bought.

I transplanted that fern from its plastic pot into a wire-frame hanging basket lined with moss, and hung it on a hook above the railing. It was the first plant to grace our new patio, and it looked good. I planted a bunch of starter fuschias in an identical basket and hung it on a hook beside the fern, and the two plants shared the shade all summer. I watered, misted, and trimmed out any browning leaves. The fern grew, a little, but its fronds never became overly full or bushy. It didn’t try to become something it wasn’t.

I liked that fern, a lot.

But I didn’t love it. I always wished I had gotten the bigger one.

Continue reading

Line Break: ‘The Guest House’ by Jalaluddin Rumi

DSC_0374This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

*photo via superfamous

‘Round the Web: March 2015

pigeon ct

How are you guys doing?

March was a bit of a ‘life anniversary’ month for me, as three years ago, on March 1st, Joe and I flew to Delhi from Korea to start our three month trip to India, Indonesia, and Cambodia. I still get so much joy from those memories. (This is the video we made, while on the road, of our time in Rajasthan.)

Life these days still feels adventurous, albeit in a different way than sleeping overnight in the desert or riding motorbikes to fishing villages with names like Banko Banko. This weekend we went to a Swedish film at the NW Film Center, played Settlers of Catan with friends, and drank cold brew coffee in the Pearl District. The sun was shining and the evenings were mild enough to sit out on our balcony. Half the plants survived the winter, the others have yet to reappear. In April, I’ll get the fertilizer out, add some fresh soil, and see what I can revive. :)

Onto the links…

* Who says we can’t peak past middle age? “Finding Success, Well Past the Age of Wunderkind”.

* Wow, what a wonderful photo series on dads (and their kids) who take parental leave in Sweden. I would LOVE to see more images like these in mainstream media.

* A guide for first-time visitors to New Orleans. (“Yes, you need to go have beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and yes, they are just square donuts.”)

* “The best thing you can do for yourself — and all the women around you”. Wise words from Elizabeth Gilbert.

* Have you taken the Love Language Test? (My #1: quality time.)

* The ghost children of China’s one-child policy. “Ms. Lu, who is 42, has grown consumed by a desperation that she has cursed her child merely by giving birth to him.”

* I watched this movie while having a sleepover with girlfriends on Friday night. Hint: Rob Lowe, saxophone, 1985.

* This female former manager at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post wrote a public apology to the mothers she used to work with. Worth the read.

* humanae is a project cataloging “all possible human skin tones”…with pantone codes. See the work-in-progress.

* My 21 year-old sister Abby is living in Austria for four months, doing a study-abroad semester of university. Which means she spends her weekends galavanting around Europe. Here is Amsterdam, through her eyes.

Happy reading, everyone.

xx ~C.

p.s. Photo of birds in flight is by Melissa McFadden. Find her on instagram at florenceeva.

Said It: Jimmy Fallon…on Taco Shells


“Thank you, hard taco shells,

for surviving the long journey from factory,

to supermarket, to my plate and then breaking

the moment I put something inside you.

Thank you.”

(Joe and I have been watching a lot of Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show lately…and eating a lot of tacos, so this ‘Thank you note’ resonated.)

Happy Friday, everyone!

p.s. 15 of Jimmy’s most thoughtful thank you notes.

Shotgun House in New Orleans (+ a $25 Airbnb credit…for you)


When our friends Dianna and Evan got engaged last July, we knew there was a chance the wedding would be in Louisiana, where Dianna is from. They were torn between having it there or in Oregon, but in the end, an opportunity came their way to get married at this amazing Bed & Breakfast outside of Lafayette, two hours west of New Orleans. The big day is coming up at the end of May, and Joe and I are going!

Dianna and Evan are planning a Southern-style wedding, complete with 200 guests, a “crawfish boil” at the rehearsal dinner, a huge bridal party (eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen), a “second line” parade to marching band music (played by their DJ), and an outdoor dinner and dancing. Here is a glimpse of the property where they’ll be saying “I do”…


It’s a house that was built in the 1800s, which, according to the site, borders the edge of a “primordial Louisiana swamp”. I’m excited to experience not only the wedding, which is obviously going to be epic, but some of  ‘the South’, as Dianna refers to it. She and I became friends five years ago while teaching English in Korea, and by chance both of us ended up moving to Portland. Dianna has told me many, many stories about her family, college years, and the Southern culture she grew up in. (Even though she has lived in Oregon since 2012, she still says “ya’ll” in approximately every other sentence. :)) This lady loves tradition, and has been dreaming about her wedding day since she was a little girl.


(Dianna, Evan, Joe, and me ~ first Portland Halloween.)

When Joe and I started talking plans for the trip, we knew we wanted to extend it a few days so we could visit New Orleans. It’s a city neither of us have been to, but that’s high on both of our ‘really want to go there’ lists. I suggested we invite his parents to join us, and the day after he mentioned the idea to them, they booked flights. Sue and Al have been to New Orleans, but since they live in Illinois and we only get to see each other a few times a year, this is a perfect opportunity to hang out. In blues bars. Eating gumbo.

It was also an excellent reason to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon on one of my favourite websites: Airbnb.

Most of you have likely at least heard of Airbnb, if not used the service yourself. But if not, the company’s tagline sums it up: Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 + countries.

Joe and I are HUGE fans. Basically, rather than renting  a hotel when you go on a trip, you rent a home. Or part of a home. Or a cottage. Or a treehouse/trailer/loft/converted garage. Pretty much any option you can imagine — for any kind of budget — is available, all over the world. The company started in San Francisco in 2008, and just keeps growing.

So far, we have used Airbnb for trips within Oregon as well as to Victoria. My favourite is… Continue reading

New Documentary: I Am Big Bird

I just heard about this documentary, which has been making festival rounds since 2014, and receiving critical praise such as “Sheer joy” (Cinema Sentries), “Fascinating” (The Toronto Star), “A magical delight” (Culver City Explorer), and a “Triumphant tearjerker” (POV Magazine).

From the film’s website:

“I AM BIG BIRD is a feature-length documentary about Caroll Spinney, who has been Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969… and at 80 years old, he has no intention of stopping. Think you know everything there is to know about Sesame Street ? You don’t.”

Iam BigBird

Think this might be one to suggest for our documentary club. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone.

p.s. 8 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sesame Street, and screenings and more info on I Am Big Bird


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