Said It: Jimmy Fallon…on Taco Shells

Jimmy_Fallon

“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)

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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”…

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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.

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(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.”

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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

Before You Say Goodnight (2 Sleep Rituals to Try)

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Do you have any rituals before you fall asleep?

During a recent eye check-up, my new optometrist asked me how my eyes feel first thing in the morning. “Not great,” I said. “They kind of hurt until I put my contacts in.” He determined I have dry eyes. (They have been this way for YEARS. I thought it was just ‘my eyes’. Weird how we just accept some things.)

Along with using drops 4 times/day, he suggested I put a hot compress over my eyes for 10 minutes every night before bed. Easy, right? The problem is, that’s usually my prime reading time. And I’m supposed to do this for six weeks.

So I asked Joe if he would read aloud to me. Right now he’s 1/4 of the way through “Life” by Keith Richards, which I read a couple years ago and loved. I dampen a washcloth with super, super hot water, crawl under the covers, place it over my eyelids, and disappear into Joe’s/Keith Richard’s voice, talking about his early days in London with the Stones. It’s so relaxing, and my eyes feel amazing after. Even if you have normal/not dry eyes, I highly recommend, especially if you work on the computer much of the day, like me. The damp heat feels like it resets your eyes, and preps them for a great sleep.

On that note, there’s another pre-sleep ritual I want to share with you guys. Continue reading

How to Keep Warm in the Woods

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Choose a sunny Sunday at the start of spring.

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Drive two hours Southeast from Portland, to the Mt. Hood National Forest…

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and hike a mile-and-a-half among old-growth trees, to the bathhouses.  Continue reading

‘Round the Web: February 2015

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Wow, February flew by. Is it just me, or does the 28 days versus 30 or 31 make this month feel an entire week shorter? It seems I just posted January’s ‘Round the Web, and here we are again. Anyway, I’ve got the goods, friends. These links cover everything from Tindering to parenting to psychedelics.

Side note: I know I’m just one of many, many people who were devastated when Jon Stewart announced his upcoming departure from The Daily Show — hence the image above, in tribute. I don’t use the word devastated lightly. Stewart makes American politics bearable, in a Thank God I’m laughing so I don’t cry’ kind of way. The man is irreplaceable. But I respect his choice, summed up by what he said in this interview following his announcement: “You shouldn’t stay somewhere just because you can.” A good reminder not to get complacent, no matter what level of success you’re at.

Onto the links…

* Rolling Stone breaks down 9 things they learned from Stewart’s post-announcement interview on the Employee of the Month podcast, including #1: He’s not retiring.

* Wow. Did you see this incredible dance piece by Sergei Polunin, to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church?”

* What you learn in your 40s. “There are no grownups . . . there are no soul mates.” Wise, witty article by Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé.

* The Trip Treatment. Fascinating, in-depth read at The New Yorker on new research into psychedelics for treating effects of illness.

* I like this idea of a Capsule Wardrobe. Who doesn’t want only things they love to wear in their closet? Here’s how to do it.

* Whoa. Maybe I’m just an out-of-touch married lady, but Tindering in New York sounds nuts to me: “Except for ordering their drinks, none of the people I was with that night spoke to any other actual human beings . . . Each of them had six or seven Tinder chats going simultaneously.” Insightful piece from the New York Times.

* What a cool kitchen makeover in this California home. The transformative power of paint always blows me away.

* 300 Awesome Free Things for entrepreneurs. If you ‘re a freelancer/blogger/internet user of any kind, this is a pretty amazing resource. I especially love the huge list of free stock photography sites…invaluable!

* Whatever you do, Keep the Channel Open.

* Empowering Kids with Our Trust. A thoughtful piece on what I imagine is one of the toughest parts of parenting, written by my friend Sarah Conley.

* Because it’s Valentine’s month, after all: 5 Ways to Rekindle the Sexual Fire in Your Relationship.

* How do you guys get your news? I mentioned The Skimm in my Flash of Life post last week, but it’s worth recommending again: “The daily e-mail newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day. We do the reading for you – across subject lines and party lines – and break it down with fresh editorial content.” Founded by two female news media veterans. (Thanks, Dianna!)

* Lastly, this image won the World Press Photo of the Year 2014. Progress.

And that’s a wrap. See you in March, everyone.

~C. xx

ps. If you enjoy these links, feel free to share the love and pass this post on…through facebook, email, twitter, secret handshakes…whatever moves you :) I appreciate it! Thank you, as always, for reading.

Line Break: ‘Gargoyles’ by Susan Glickman

steamSunlight in the window
a cup of lemon tea.
Nothing is about to happen.
This moment is mine —
I hold it in my hand and say
Yes, this is a new day,
I don’t believe we’ve met before,
then lean on my porch,
pretending to be a man in shirtsleeves, smoking,
or a grandmother resting her years.

I can feel myself fitting into the long corridors
of balcony-loungers all over the city:
we are the gargoyles of the great cathedral.
It is our scrutiny which brings pink
to geraniums, red to the tiles of the roof,
a vivid blue to the ribbons
in a little girl’s hair.

It is our vigilance that fills the air
with breakfast smells, and the memory
of last night’s rain. We are
the attentive ones, the guardians,
drinkers of tea
in the cup of the day.

*photo by Zugr via Unsplash

Postcard: U Bein Bridge, Myanmar

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I’ve always loved this photo Joe took when he was travelling solo through Myanmar in the summer of 2012. Built in the late 1800’s (with reclaimed wood from a royal palace), U Bein Bridge spans a lake called Taungthaman, and is thought to be the longest and oldest teakwood bridge in the world.

In Joe’s words: I took this picture from a rowboat. On one side was a small town and on the other side was a really elaborate temple with mirrored mosaics. The rower stood on one end with double oars. We went around the lake and there was a little island with a chicken farmer. We went under the bridge a few times to get different views of it. The posts that held the bridge up were so rotting it looked like it was going to fall over. Locals still use that bridge every day. There was a constant stream of people —carrying food from the farms, riding bikes, Burmese tourists, and monks.

Flash of Life: Half Past February

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How are you guys doing? The cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Portland, and I have to say I feel extra lucky to live in this part of the world right now, with spring already showing up. Joe and I took a day trip to the coast on Sunday, and it was so mild kids were playing in the sand in shorts!

I enjoyed doing this “Flash of Life” writing exercise last month — did any of you try it? After I posted it, a friend wrote to say she had been feeling really blocked with journaling/writing, and doing this helped a lot, which I was happy to hear. She also had the idea that this could be a great conversation tool with your partner. What do you think?

You can find a blank list at Pip’s blog here for any of you who want to copy it and give it a go. The fun part is you can modify the list however you like, just choosing the word prompts you feel inspired by.

Making: Final touches to my new portfolio (will be publishing it on the site soon!)

Feeling: Grateful for sunshine

Sipping: Chai lattes

Thinking: It’s time to tune up (and dust off) my guitar and learn this song

Wondering: What our next home will look like (no rush, just daydreaming)

Hoping: For a two-bedroom bungalow

Reading: Tiny Beautiful Things (almost finished), the awesome news source The Skimm

Deciding: On an epic camping trip we might take this summer

Cooking: Honestly, we’re really into baked potatoes these days (with cheese, beans, plain yogurt, and salad)

Watching: Transparent, the incredible (Golden-Globe winning) show about a transgender woman and her family. (Available in Canada on Shomi.) Also…The Bachelor.

Wanting: New Converse sneakers

Loving: Weekly classes at The Yoga Space

Remembering: Travelling through India, almost three years ago

Hope you’re all having a great week :)

xx~C.

*photo by Rula Sibai via Unsplash

Tiny Beautiful Things

Tiny Beautiful Things

Four different girlfriends recommended this book to me last year, so I’m guessing many of you may be familiar with it as well. Have you read it? If not, a little background: Tiny Beautiful Things is written by Cheryl Strayed, who had me in tears within the first few pages of her bestselling memoir Wild.

Strayed used to be the anonymous advice columnist of “Dear Sugar” from the online literary magazine The Rumpus. Though she’s not a therapist (making her, in her words, “totally unqualified for this gig”), she’s a pretty masterful storyteller. Her approach to giving advice includes sharing pieces of her own life — raw, wise, vivid recollections that illuminate the advice-seekers problems, and show them ways toward resolution. Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of letters from the column: the questions posed to Sugar, and the responses she offers.

My friend Lesia lent me the book a couple weeks ago, and it’s been trumping the other book on my nightstand. You know when that happens?

One of the most striking aspects of  Tiny Beautiful Things is Continue reading

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