The kind of weekend…

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It was the kind of weekend where sleepy mornings turned over to a cup of coffee. Or two. Then three and four. Where a moody sky reached out to the cool morning air – meeting in the middle for a spectacular public display of affection. Where the same conversation I keep having in my head tried to find its way out of my mouth but the path of least resistance led to my tear ducts instead. Where dreams of never ending tunnels and teething babies left me with the distinct feeling that I’m forgetting something. It was the kind of weekend where moments of still surrender were punctuated with a sense of urgency that comes from a constant craving for uncertainty … or perhaps the four cups of coffee in one sitting could be the culprit. It was the kind of weekend where nothing felt quite right but everything couldn’t be more perfect.

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Whole 30 | Day 23

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When I first embarked on the Whole30 I would read tweets and blog posts from people talking about being on Day 23 and LOVING it!!! Meanwhile, I was on Day 4 and going through some pretty emotional refined carb and wine withdrawals. I was feeling like I would never reach Day 23. Ever. That time would stand still and I would be craving cupcakes forever.

But here I am. Day 23. And I love how I feel but I’m not triple exclamation mark loving everything about the Whole30. In fact, I have become pretty neutral about the whole thing. When I think about cravings or wine, or anything else I think I’d love to have a taste of, it’s as if I’m viewing those emotions from the 3rd person – from the outside looking in. Being this emotionally detached from my food has been kind of a blessing and a curse. I mentioned in my last Whole30 post that my outlook on food has shifted from this thing of desire and cravings to a means of nourishment. Cultural and social context has been all but stripped from my meals – and I was feeling a little bit sad about it.

But this tuna steak I pan seared last Friday was a game changer. It was straight up sexy. We’re talking a mouthgasm delivered straight to my tastebuds sexy. After my first bite (standing over the kitchen counter) I insisted that we sit at the dining room table (versus the breakfast nook or couch) to savor our meal. After the second bite I considered lighting a candle to celebrate my dinner plate getting its groove back – but forget about it – I didn’t want to let that tuna steak out of my sight.

It comes down to the sauce. If I’m learning anything in the kitchen from this Whole30 experiment is that it always comes down to the sauce. So even if you don’t eat fish – I beg of you – pan sear a block of tofu and pour this sauce on top. You can thank me later.

I’m not going to post my food & workout log this week. Mostly because it pretty much looks identical to the past two weeks. Plus this tuna steak. And some zucchini pad thai – also a game changer – that I’ll be posting next week.

So here’s the pan seared tuna recipe. I found it here – the top hit when I Googled “pan seared tuna steak”.

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Cilantro and Lime Tuna Steak
2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, sliced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, grated
2-3 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 (8-12 ounce) block sushi-quality tuna
1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced

In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, coconut aminos, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Pour 1/2 of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.

Go here for the recipe for the cauliflowered rice pilaf I served with it (or buy Well Fed).

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Mustache Bash No. 3

Recently, my friends, Justin and Audrey, over at Shop Good asked me to design a t-shirt for their third annual Mustache Bash. I enthusiastically obliged. But when they also asked me to photograph the event I went through a list of reasons why I couldn’t: “I’m not a real photographer.” “I don’t really know how to use my camera.” “Why me when there is so much talent in OKC?” “My friend so-and-so who’s a photographer would be so much better for this job!” 

Justin is probably one of the most chill people I’ve ever met. Even when he’s talking about things that would get most people riled up – like the problem with the word “hipster” – he still speaks calmly… without urgency or raising his voice. So when I’m all spazzy saying “Photograph!? I couldn’t possibly… You know I’m not a real photographer right? No guarantees.” He simply replies “You can do it.” with the kind of reassurance that makes me believe him.

And with that … I did it. Here’s what I captured:

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I’ve expressed my desire to be able to capture the more candid moments in life – the un-art directed snaps where you have to work with what you’ve got – and this gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that. I’m thankful that Justin and Audrey gave me the push and encouragement to practice becoming the kind of photographer I want to be. Admittedly, I’m a bit heavy-handed on the color adjusting in post. I use Photoshop as a crutch to make the photos a little more stylish and to make up for my lack of skills in getting it right, right out of the camera. But I can live with that, for now.

As far as the Bash goes – it was a blast to see a block party bringing Oklahoma City to life on a Thursday evening.

Day 5: Wine and Bikes in Vienna

At the close of only Day 4 I was mentally exhausted and couldn’t possibly make another decision. So when Jeremy suggested a wine and bike tour, an excursion he stumbled across while researching bike rentals, I was all in. Because at that point nothing in the world sounded better than bikes, wine and not having to make a single decision for myself. Also, I’ve never been to a wine tasting so I figure Vienna might be a great place to have that first.

So after a full night of sleep we met up with our group at a train station (all Aussies and Americans) and took an hour long ride to the Wachau Valley. We got our cruisers and went along our way.

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At our first winery we tried four different white wines and learned how to say “cheers” in German – which is by looking each other in the eye and saying “prost”. It’s also another way of saying “I have not poisoned your wine.”
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We learned the 5 S’s to wine tasting:
1. Swirl
2. Smell
3. Sip
4. Savor
5. Swallow

We studied the legs on our tastings and began to develop an new-found appreciation for white wine (I’ve always been a red drinker). From there we rode our bikes to a restaurant where Jeremy and I ate roasted root veggies with a fried egg on top – followed by local chocolates and schnapps. Then we split up to explore the town a bit. Jeremy and I decided to climb to the top of some mountain ruins – once inhabited by Richard the Lionheart.

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The coolest part about climbing these ruins was how unmanicured it all was. There wasn’t an abundance of signage and there were zero safety precautions. No guards keeping me from climbing to the highest point of the caste – no safety rails to keep us from jumping over the edge. I loved that.

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From there we met up with our group and made our way to the next winery where we sampled three more whites and shared chocolate bars with our tour buddies. We all picked up a bottle or two of wine and made our way by ferry across the river.

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Making the decision to take a dip in the Danube wasn’t difficult but damn it was cold. My Aussie friends, Allison and Suzy, were completely unfazed and dove in head first. I was a little more … timid … about the freezing water and perhaps a little distracted by the baby duckies!

I chatted with Suzy and Allison on the long stretch back into town and on the train ride back we busted open another bottle of wine to enjoy as we talked politics and art with our new friends. It was such a fun day. All-in-all we tasted seven wines over 16 miles – and it was probably one of the best days we had the entire trip. And I’ve decided I want to retire to the Wachau Valley and grow grapes when I’m 50. Wouldn’t that be a dream?

About Face

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There are so many complex discussions to be had around beauty, aging, plastic surgery and feminism. I used to think the most feminist approach to these topics was to just live and let live. To do what you want. 

But these days… with impossible standards of beauty and a nation that glorifies adolescence as the pinnacle of what we should all strive to look like, at no matter what age, I think it’s important to start having some discussions around getting older.  I still feel like it’s important to do what you want but let’s drop the shame and start talking about it. Let’s celebrate our choices when it comes to makeup and fashion and even plastic surgery. But even more, let’s celebrate the things we’ve learned and experienced and given to the world as we get older. Let’s talk about it. 

Yesterday, my sister and I watched the HBO documentary About Face: Supermodels Then and Now. The documentary itself, to be honest, was kind of a bore but there were a few sound bites that really got me thinking. 

“To me the most beautiful thing there is in another human is confidence, and nothing says ‘I’m not confident’ as much as Botox.”– Paulina Porizkova, About Face

Even though I highlight this quote, I’m not saying I necessarily agree. What I’m more interested in here is how build confidence in the first place. 

“When I finished my college education my agent said to me …’The key to beauty is to be always educating yourself, always learning something new, always doing something new and to have something to talk about.’ And I never forgot that, and I think that’s how one ages beautifully.”– Cheryl Tiegs, About Face

I love this. And while I’m hardly “old” I’m definitely aging. And the more I learn and experience what life has to offer, the more beautiful and confident I feel. 

So let’s chat. Have you seen this documentary? What do you think?