Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Friday Distraction

I say Friday even though I'm posting this Thursday. Bookmark me, and come waste your Friday afternoon hours with these links, I invite you.

Also, talking about Friday makes me feel like it's the weekend already, and I'm needing to feel that round about now. (this week is so OVER)

These things:

Making this lemon zest cake is a priority.

Lately I've fallen in love with the Marie Antionette soundtrack all over again. It's amazing, classic one minute, indie rock the next.

Really enjoyed this post by my friend Total TamNation, I think a few 20somethings will find this oh so very easy to relate to.

Love this quote on 'wonder'. 

Soooo, I'm kind of famous. As you'll see here on this website.  I'm so embarrassed, or I should just say that right? I'm actually really amused, my first paid gig in the USA.

Speaking of my fine accomplishments, here my first published article in a while. It's about a start up craft distillery in Delaware. (See page 20-21)

I want this dress!

I adore Rachel from Smile and Wave's home, see it here on Apartment Therapy (I wish I never discovered this website)

a Beautiful post on tree planting in Mozambique.

Lastly, prepare to waste an embarrassing amount of time on 'Man Men with things drawn on them', only cool if you're a Mad Men groupie.

We have dreams of another camping trip this weekend, if nothing else we hope to find a lake to go splash around in like the locals do. Rumor has it temperatures will reach into the triple digits.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

21 things I didn't expect would make me this happy: The housewife edition

Let's just say I didn't grow up with real chores like most normal kids. Well at least normal American kids. We had a cleaning lady for most of my life so scrubbing and ironing and stain removal doesn't not come natural to me.

Now I'm married, working, uhm, let's say 'freelance', and have my very own kitchen. It's been a learning experience...
Sometimes I read 'cleaning tips' in the Real Simple and I'm like "What?! I didn't know you have to clean that".

Anyway, in these last few months I've found the strangest joy in the strangest places. I always thought traveling, good food, girl talk, camping and sleeping in made me happy... I mean it does, but I didn't think new dishwashing liquid that smell of orange blossoms would make me equally happy.

Here are a few more happy makers:

1  A new pair of yellow gloves

2 First time recipe attempt success

3 Second time recipe attempt success

4 Easy Iron shirts

5 Finding that a certain clothing item doesn't have to be ironed at all.

6 Going out to eat. Nothing tastes as good as having a clean kitchen in the morning.
 7 Clean and warm post dryer laundry love. That's a thing right?

8 When I can cover an oven dish in foil well enough so that I don't have to wash it afterwards and just toss out the foil. Major accomplishment around here.

9 Successfully growing herbs
10 When dinner can also be left over lunch the next day. Score!

11 Non Stick Anything

12 The smell of bleach, the smell of success.
13 When all the socks in the laundry basket match up. This might have only happened once. IN MY LIFE

14 Making up this house rule where the bed doesn't need to be made on weekends.

15 Dusting.
16 When clothes pass the 'sniff test', less laundry to do! yay.

17 That satisfying sense of achievement  once all the floors are swept .
18 An empty trash can.

19 Finding enough quarters to do the laundry

20 Fresh flowers everywhere is a sure highlight.

21 This new shower curtain

 Isn't life just the weirdest?


Monday, June 24, 2013

Camping and marriage

You know, a pleasant surprise? Like buying a second hand book and finding someone left a 20 dollar note inside, a forgotten bookmark maybe. Paying for economy, getting the bump up to business class. Waking up and it's a Saturday not a work day. Buying one and getting a whole other one for free, unexpectedly!

I don't really know how this feels, but I can tell you about the most pleasant of surprises. Marrying this handsome guy, discovering how much you both love camping AFTER the wedding.
Ben and I met in Vietnam, we didn't do outdoorsy things there, we lived in South Africa together briefly, did a few more outdoorsy things but not really. Spent a year in a long distance engagement, so, as you can imagine, not much outdoors action going on there.
Till we get married, we survive the wild Northwestern never ending winter, finding a passionate love for being outside, being outside together, and more recently camping.
Ben didn't know marrying me that I'd happily deal with sleeping on the ground, brave outhouses, smell like mosquito repellant and miss a shower here and there for the pure joy of camping. We freaking love it!

A most happy surprise we have been to each other.

This is us camping rustic style in Big Meadow Lake over the weekend.

How cool are our orange chairs? Ben won them in an office draw a day before our camping trip. So bright and kind of tacky, I love them!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yes... it's another post about Northwest nature stuff.

See the previous post? The one where I went to a big city?
Okay good,
so I can go on crushing on our nature hikes and drives and views I'm falling in love with around here.
This here is the top of Mt. Spokane and it's hiking trails:


We don't have too many mountain ranges in Jo'burg, only a few lovely hills. I know Colorado and the Western side of Washington think Mt. Spokane is adorable. To me, it's the best. My first mountain you could say.

Celebrating the melted snow we decided to drive up to the very top. To take a million pictures, breath in the freshest air, dream of flying kites and enjoy the 360 views. I can highly recommend it if you're heart can survive the hairpin turns towards the top.

After being on 'top of the world' we decided to head back down a little ways for an afternoon hike.

Remember those childhood books where you could chose between what should happens next? Well I don't but every American child seems to. So are some of the hiking trails up on Mt. Spokane. In the winter these trails function as cross-country skiing trails, so the paths are wide, allowing for hand hold hiking (my favorite kind of hiking).  The area where we hiked had about 4 different paths to choose from. We hiked in a few miles and chose to come back a different way. For some reason this is more fun than you're average loop hike.

Please forgive the bad quality of this photo, but you get 'the picture' right? (I laughed at my own joke there)

You'll have to get used to this space being flooded with more 'we're-always-outside-in-green-with-blue-and-some-yellow' for the next few months. Having survived my first real hard core winter (Canada chuckles) I understand the need to take advantage of months with sunshine, above freezing temperatures and ice free paths.

We want to go camping this weekend so there will more of this kind of nonsense coming up. (Well that and Mexico we hope!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Seattle whirl

I spent this passing weekend being seduced by Seattle with it's clear blue skies, craft distilleries, sunsets, Ikea, skyscrapers and cosmopolitaness. 
Let me share a few iphone snaps, just in case you guys had any concerns, based on the past few posts, that I've turned into a nature bare foot fairy... I love you nature, I do, but  I also love you big city and want you to adopt me. 

Touring Batch 206
With me, the lovely Amanda,
I haven't had a Tiger since the Vietnam days, tasted like adventure and being scared sh*tless to me.
My welcome home bouquet from a husband happy to have me back.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yellowstone: The Views and thoughts on beauty

Yellowstone stole my breath a couple of times over those few short days. Taking in gorgeous views is something spiritual for me. I always find myself promising to never use words like 'awesome' and 'amazing' out of context. Buy one get one free burgers aren't awesome, Creation is awesome. At the same time I'm also frustrated with how limiting two languages are in expressing just how much I'm enjoying something magnificent. I usually end up saying 'ah, that, this, those are so beautiful' over and over, taking photos and saying a prayer in my heart. A prayer that thanks God for giving us the capacity to appreciate beauty, it's something heavenly isn't it? To stand gazing up at mountains or down wild flower valleys. Imagine not having that.

"We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it." C.S. Lewis