How novel, I know, I love Fall. When I moved off to the West Coast from my homeland (the Midwest) many people asked if I would miss the change of seasons. First, LA does have seasons they are just subtle. Second, I don’t miss most of the seasons from the Midwest. I do miss Fall in the Midwest, it’s the only thing it does better than the West Coast. Here are five things to help you celebrate Fall.
1) Forneris Farms – Harvest Festival: If you do live in Los Angeles County this will simulate Fall for you. You must do the corn maze.
2) Vintage Halloween Pillows: I love this sort of Halloween decoration that doesn’t look super cheap and isn’t super creepy. Halloween can be beautiful and fun.
3) Pumpkin Necklace: Get in the spirit of the season with some classy, yet festive jewelry.
4) Felted Acorns: I am going to be honest and say I have no idea what I would do with these. Put them in a bowl perhaps (which my kid would likely empty out and hide these) but they are so dang cute, I want them nonetheless to remind me of my Midwest roots.
5) Threshold Set of 3 Decorative Fall Items: Target does not as easily allow you to “borrow” photos as easy so I can’t show you these. But they are hold pumpkins and the like. Both appropriate for Halloween time AND once we get into Thanksgiving time.
The video for this song is endlessly amusing to me. I swore Wes Anderson had to have directed it. (It’s not.)
I am pretty sure it is a regular guitar but in my mind it’s a ukulele. It could be the tambourine that is underpinning this song that highlights the plucky sound of the song. It has a very steady rhythm that gives it an upbeat feel and
The singer (who is not actually named Vance Joy according to the Internet) has a very old timey sound to me. I feel like I am listening to the song through a transistor radio.
I am supposing that is an intention sound based on the video which has an old school feel (Pan Am tickets!!!)
The sound is simple but I love it. I find myself listening to it once a day and then realizing I am singing it to myself as I go about the rest of the day. A great summer song, while you’re cruising off to the beach (though hopefully you don’t run into actual riptides.)
Official Video for Riptide
Though I have dabbled in down beat electronica thanks to my husband’s influences, I can count on one hand true house music/DJ mixes I like. So I have no idea why when I was doing my mindless review of Buzzfeed articles, I decided I needed to listen to this song which was discussed in an article.
This song IS summer.
It has beautiful steel drums underpinning it which just scream tropical island. The beat is perfectly paced; fast and lively without being exhausting, there is still a laid back beach feel. The female singer’s voice is smooth and warm.
And while I don’t think most people pay attention to lyrics in house music, I love the lyrics “Ask me what I did with my life? I spent it with you. If I lose my fame and fortune, it really don’t matter as long as I got you baby.” It just reminds me of what is truly important in life…LOVE.
I listened to this at my desk at work and bopped along like an idiot without a care. It was also perfect while I was poolside in Vegas. Really this song should just be on repeat for the rest of the summer no matter where you are and probably as the months turn cold again.
The video is pretty awesome too. The premise is a guy using a virtual reality hood to experience being on a tropic getaway.
Video for I Got U
Eat: Giant Lima Bean Soup with Bacon - I know, bacon is overdone. I was more interested in the giant lima beans. I love lima beans though I know they are quite unpopular. This looks amazing.
Want: Hand Made Iron Frying Pans – These are are beautiful pans that would stand up well to whatever you throw at them.
Think: Man With Alzheimer’s Proves the Heart Remembers - Okay, seriously. Think about this and your heart
Look: Pictures of Baby Hippo at the Berlin Zoo – So much cute that you may faint a little.
Laugh: 25 Desserts That Are Actually Punishment – Buzzfeed is such an easy place to go for laughs. But this list is one that made me laugh more than usual.
It is no secret that I love cooking. However, the last three months have been extremely hectic, which has meant on daily basis cooking just wasn’t happening. Determined not to start living out of take out containers I started spending time on Sundays, the one relatively calm day, cooking so that the week would have home cooking. Here is what I turn to to cook ahead of time.
1. Steel Cut Oats in the Crock Pot: I love steel cut oats but I don’t think in the entire time I have known of their existence I have ever had time to cook them without a crock pot. This recipe is so easy and makes enough for 2 people for about 2 to 3 days.
2. Egg White Muffins: Another good office breakfast option. I use silicone muffin cupswhich save time in clean up as the egg releases better than from a muffin pan. I usually just use whatever I can find in the fridge for these. I like to throw some spinach because it is unoffensive and helps me eat more veggies. [Fancy recipes for more ideas]
3. Roast Chicken in the Crockpot: In all honesty, my husband is typically the one that cooks the chicken. Mondays we typically do some sort of meat in the crockpot to have it throughout the week and he has taken charge of the task. This is similar to the recipe he uses minus the cayenne. We did use cayenne the first time but it was a bit too sharp for our taste.
4. Salad Prep: I try to eat lots of salad especially for lunch. But the key to actually making salad is to prepping ahead. Like roasting beets and cooking grains to put in the salad ahead of time.
In the past 3 months I have probably listened to Kill Your Heros about a million times. It all started when I had to deal with some annoying things at work. I would go into the details but they are boring. What it meant was I really needed some fast hard hitting rock and roll.
I started with listening to This Kid’s Not All Right by AWOLnation. Also a song I have listened to a million times. And then I branched out. While I liked some of AWOLnations other songs, these 2 really stuck it for me. This Kid’s Not All Right is dark and mean. It is angry to be sure. I loved it when I was dealing with an annoying things at work. Especially because it throws in a small amount of curse words which you can mouth to yourself while bouncing along to your work.
Kill Your Heros has a similar sound to This Kid’s Not Alright but is lighter and happier rather than dark and angry. You can definitely feel the difference in energy. I love the lyrics so much for Kill Your Heros. I liked one so much I made it my mantra for 2014. “Never let your fears decide your fate.” As I listened I thought about all the times I turned down opportunities or flat our avoided them because I was scared to death. Scared I would fail or scared something bad would happen. And yet many times when I had done something even though I was scared it turned out wonderfully (Prime example: Move to strange city where I don’t know anyone…Los Angeles. Where I have known lived for over 12 years!)
Even if you don’t need encouragement to take risks because you are like Richard Branson, this song is amazing and bouncy. I don’t know how many times in the past few months I have gotten caught by a coworker bouncing in my chair in my office while listening to this song.
Kill Your Hero’s Official Video
I can be a bit of a bit of luddite at times. I feel like sometimes people use technology when in reality something no tech or low tech would do. I despise technology for technology’s sake. But that does not mean I would rather be living in a tent with no electricity or computers (or running water!)
Here is some technology that I feel, has made my life generally better:
- Jawbone Headset: I live in Los Angeles, so I am in my car A LOT. While I enjoy listening to music or sifting through my thoughts during my various drives, it is so nice to also use the time in a productive way. The jawbone allows me to comply with the law (must use hands free) and be heard. I talk to my mom the most in my drives around town and before the jawbone she was constantly having difficulty hearing me and vice versa. And it is far more comfortable than the lame headset that comes with an iPhone that start to feel like you are being stabbed in the ear.
- Kindle Paperwhite: I didn’t even KNOW I needed or wanted this but my husband knows me better than I know myself and got this for me as a gift. It’s not as popular as the “you can do a million other things than read” kindles but I already have an iPad. I like the paperwhite because it is backlit so those nights when my toddler is refusing to go to sleep, I can sit in the dark of his room waiting him out and getting some reading in. Yet even with the light, it is not as tiring on your eyes as a computer/tablet. It’s much more like a book, in my luddite opinion and I resisted having an e-reader. I have read so much more since I got my Kindle. The only danger is I can so easily buy books. It can be too easy for someone who loves books and reading .
- Evernote: The Evernote app has changed my life. I have been a list maker for…a long long time. I don’t remember a time before I made lists. The problem is if you make a paper list or a list on your desktop you might be someplace and NOT have your list. I have Evernote on all my electronics (work computer, home computer, iPad, iPhone.) and my lists sync between ALL of them. So now I am never without my lists.
- Crockpot: I don’t think it even matters what brand crockpot I have, we recently upgraded only because we could (with credit card points) but really a good ceramic crockpot isn’t expensive or hard to find. A crockpot is like having your own cook. You just dump a bunch of stuff in and when you get home from work, there is deviousness waiting for you. When I was a kid, I teased my mom about her crockpot use. Who knows why? But now, I totally get it. I love my crockpot!
These are some necessities for me when I am sick:
1. Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat Tea: When I have a cold as of late, it seems to like to hang out in my throat, making me sound like Fran Drescher. This tea tastes good and helps ease sore and dry throats.
2. Cute and Comfy Lounge wear: As silly as it may seem, I like to have some cute lounge wear when I’m sick. Nothing worse than feeling bad and feeling ugly too. My in-laws got me a luxurious pair of pj pants from Anthropolgie that are perfect for still feeling stylish while I hack up a lung.
3. Chicken and rice soup: Skip the noodles please. The noodles in chicken noodle soup are rarely good and after being bogged down in broth they are not improved. I recently made awesome chicken and wild rice soup. 1) dice half a yellow onion and a garlic clove or two, cook in some olive oil until tender 2) aid veggies, I like carrots and celery diced in the food processor, cook for a little bit. 3) add chicken and some chicken stock. I just bought a pre-made rotisserie chicken and stripped it and store bought stock. If you feel ambitious you could make your own. 4) Add some water and let simmer for a while so all the flavors mix.
4. Ricola: Again, my colds tend to reside in my chest/throat. Ricola isn’t super sweet or chemically tasting. Although I prefer the lemon and honey flavor.
5. Netflix: I don’t get to enjoy as much movie and tv as I once did before my son was born but if he is off at daycare or asleep, netflix is my go to for some bad tv or movie to take my mind off my suffering.
I don’t usually like to mark anniversaries of sad events, especially deaths because it is better to celebrate a person’s life than remember their exit. But today, on my way home from work I had a sudden need to listen to Pearl Jam’s Release. Since my marriage into the Jamily, this song has been one that really touched me and reminded me of my dad’s passing. As Eddie started toward the crescendo of the song, my thoughts went to the date. Was it December 4th? Yes, it had to be because I dated a letter today with the 4th. And as Eddie’s voice ached with “Oh dear dad/Can you see me now/I am myself/Like you somehow.” I ugly cried in my car because I realized it had been 13 years since my father left this world.
I don’t really recall December 4, 2000 well. It started sometime in the middle of the night when the hospital called to tell us my father had passed away. I did not want to go into his room and “say good bye” because I had a belief that if I saw my father’s body, it would erase all my memories of his life. I don’t believe I cried that night. We returned home in the early morning hours and my uncle who had been staying with us instructed us all to try and get some sleep. Honestly, most of the following days are a blur with brief snippets of remembrance of consoling hugs, gentle reminders to “eat something” and comments about how loved my father was.
I only remember the date now as a marker. My life changed after December 4, 2000. There is the life I had when my father was alive and there is the life that has happened since my father passed. After December 4, 2000, I moved to Los Angeles. I graduated from law school. I married my husband. I had my son, who is named after my dad. I would have loved to see how my dad would have been as a grandparent. I imagine he would have handled my son much as he talked to me as child, which was the same amount of respect he spoke to adults. Taking seriously my son’s concerns even if they involve concerns about volcanos in the middle of Los Angeles.
I think I am most sad that we never got to have a chance to know each other as adults. I was only 21 when he passed away; too young to see him as anything but my dad. Too young for him to see me as a grown woman. In the last 13 years my relationship with my mom has grown and matured. We talk about parenthood now and the issues with getting anything done with a toddler under foot. I would love to compare parenthood tales with my dad and get his thoughts on my work life as an attorney. It is his fault after all that I went to law school (“What’s the worst that can happen?” he said).
Though today I feel sadness. I also feel my dad watching over me and it was him tugging at me to listen to Release (even though I am pretty sure my dad didn’t know who Pearl Jam was) letting me know he is there if I need to talk to him. “Meet me on the other side”
Love you, Dad.
Eat: Pumpkin S’more Doughnut Muffin – I am not big into baking. I love cooking but baking just requires too much attention to detail (i.e. actually measuring stuff). Will someone come make these for me? They look so amazing!
Want: Homemade Gin Kit - Is this even legal? I am not sure but it certainly looks interesting. Sometimes I think I should start a blog called “Mmmm Gin!”
Think: Dark & Disturbing World of Thomas the Train - If you are a parent of a small child, you have probably been forced to watch at least one episode of Thomas & Friends. This show is torture for me and my husband which of course means our son is obsessed with it. In fact, we had created a game for ourselves in which we would try and guess how many seconds into an episode it would be before someone was “cross” about something. Someone is always cross on that show. This article discussed the darker aspects of the cartoon which only adults seem to see. If you are reading this and thinking “who thinks about cartoons this much?” you probably don’t have kids.
Look: Adventure is Calling – My husband has renewed his interest in astronomy and found this excellent time lapse video of the Arizona sky. It *almost* makes me want to go camping. I said ALMOST.
Laugh: People with No Kids - This is so funny IF you have kids. It’s funny because it’s true.