I have radically shifted from wanting to live in the creative hustle of a city like San Francisco or Brooklyn to craving a slow life set in a somewhat janky handmade house nestled in nature. So when I came across this book, Handmade Houses: A Century of Earth-Freindly Home Design, on the 700 shelf at the library this weekend I became completely hypnotized by the fantasy. (Which totally includes a shirtless Jeremy in bellbottoms holding a happy nekkid baby.) I don’t have a library card of my own, so I had my mom check it out for me – since then I’ve been thumbing through the pages, overwhelmed by want.
As Jeremy and I continue to grow our lives together the fuzzy possibility of one day building our very own dream house starts to come in focus. But sometimes that dream house looks like a cobblestone hut in the Himalayas. Other times it looks like a bungalow on stilts with a view of a sunset over the ocean. And sometimes it looks like an Airstream hitched on the back of a Land Rover. But when I’m feeling especially grateful, it looks like the very place I am right now.
I’m getting to that age. You know. The age my mom was when she had me. And Jeremy just turned 35, which is the age my dad was when I was born. And then I found these photos of my dad, younger than I am now, posted on Facebook (that’s him impersonating a vulture in the middle – and he’s on the far left in the other two).
I know my mom and dad once existed without me in the picture but it’s still a shock to the system… to see proof of a time before Kathleen but at the same time know that even then I’ve always been safely tucked away deep inside them. When they were smoking weed with Janis Joplin (yeah, I just outed you on the internet, Mom) or hosing down the evidence of too much tequila out of the back of a VW bug at a car wash… I was there too. Just waiting to join the adventure. To carry on where they left off.
I can’t help but wonder if Jeremy and I have got a free spirited wild child (or a total math & science nerd) tucked away somewhere deep inside us… ready to join the adventure.
I can’t wrap my head around what it would feel like to have a kiddo of our own. So I have to materialize that ambiguity and unknown with dreamings of station wagons, soft white onesies and family road trips and all the places the adventure will take us.
Emma Dime had me over on her blog as a Lovely Lady. Check it out here. This photo was an outtake from the shoot – we have this cat in our neighborhood that we call Orange Cat but it turns out his name is actually Blue. We like to watch him from our breakfast nook – some days he’s chilling on the driveway in the sun, other days he’s being attacked by blue jays or chased up trees by big scary dogs.
Orange cat and lovely lady-ing aside, I also thought I’d share a little more here on having a limited wardrobe. Here are a few keys and tips for rocking a minimalist closet:
• Signature / Statement Pieces – for me right now it’s my Blockshop scarf. It’s always on my neck whether I’m wearing a puffy down vest or a tailored leather jacket
• Great Accessories – like my vintage Ray-Bans
• The Little Details – freshly polished nails or a pop of lipstick can go a long way in making you feel put together
• Quality Staples – having fewer clothes makes me want to spend more on investment pieces like a solid pair of jeans or a jacket that goes with anything
• The Hair – I think hair is one of the first things people notice about personal style – so from having a shaved head to a nest of dreads and anything in between, if you feel good about your hair you’re going to feel good about everything else
• You Are Not Your Clothes – I love fashion and I think it’s a great way to express yourself and connect with others but know that you are not your clothes.
Anything you would add here?
I like to end a very long and hard day, which is every day these days, with some really dark chocolate. I’d love to go into what a long hard day involves but my brain is tired and I’ll probably start crying. Nothing is bad but even the good stuff can feel overwhelming at times. Really dark chocolate helps with that too.
But yesterday wasn’t any ordinary long, hard day. It was also Jeremy’s 35th birthday. So I wanted to do something a little extra special with our daily chocolate indulgence. While Jeremy finished up his long and hard day at school I chopped, blended, melted, toasted, stirred and assembled these tarts while listening to some jazz on Spotify. It was just me and the ingredients and Donald Byrd’s Cristo Redentor getting it on. I was hoping to have everything done by the time Jeremy came home (with a bottle of red in tow) but I had already used up my super hero power to stretch time, meeting a deadline, earlier in the day. So I finished up the tarts while Jeremy worked on his broken computer. We enjoyed the tarts with some Shiraz and Game of Thrones.
When it was all said and done it wasn’t a perfect day and it most certainly wasn’t a perfect birthday. But the chocolate helped.
Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Ginger Tarts
These tarts are vegan (depending on the chocolate you us) and gluten free
Makes three little 4″ tarts or probably one large 9″ tart
For the Crust
1 1/2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 soaked and pitted dates
For the Ganache Tart Filling
1/4 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 bar of really dark chocolate (we use 85 – 88% and make sure it’s vegan if that’s important to you)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Topping
A few finely chopped walnuts
A small handful of coconut flakes
A pinch of salt
Make the crust first by heating your oven to 350F. Combine the almond flour, shredded coconut, salt, melted coconut oil and the soaked dates in a food processor using the S blade. The dough will look crumbly but should stick together if you pinch it with your fingers. Spread it in the bottom of your tart pans using your hands to pack it into the bottom and along the sides of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes – just until the edges of the crust are beginning to brown. Let cool for an hour (I stuck mine in the fridge to cool when I became impatient).
In the meantime toast your walnuts and coconut flakes for the toppings. I do this in a cast iron pan on medium heat for a few minutes – you can also do it in the oven. Just keep an eye on them! They burn fast. Once toasted sprinkle a pinch of salt (and cinnamon if you like) on top. Remove from the pan onto a plate to cool.
For the filling chop up your chocolate bar and put in a small bowl – add the cinnamon. Heat the coconut milk over the stove in a small saucepan until just boiling. Pour the heated coconut milk on top of the chocolate in the bowl. Let sit for a minute. Then whisk to incorporate the chocolate and coconut milk.
Make a layer of the finely chopped crystallized ginger on the tart crust. Then pour the chocolate ganache on top until you fill the crust completely. Top with the toasted walnut and coconut flakes. Let the tart set in the fridge for at least an hour before eating.