Happy Monday: I Enjoy Yard Work?!?

IMG_2082

#wokeuplikethis #nofilter

Happy Monday! I am pleased as punch to have some blogging time this morning, but I am a little perplexed. I have been undergoing . . . changes. I understand that at various points of a woman’s life, certain things . . . evolve. But I never thought I would start to enjoy yard work?

Growing up, yard work was a definite thing–that I would avoid. While my mother is a serious gardener (in addition to keeping a beautifully organized home) who knows all the Latin names of plants, I hate worms. And blisters. And getting dirt under my fingernails. Yard work was always like running–I liked the idea of it at times, but as soon as I was standing in the sun sweating, I would start to think, wouldn’t reading be a better use of my time?

Until now, my gardening has been limited to growing essential food: tomatoes, zucchini, basil. Even then, I became overwhelmed with the weeds and volunteer hours of my local community garden and was summarily kicked out after my plot (10′ x 20′ plot of sheer hubris) became a jungle.

But something changed this year. Between us and our neighbors, we took down several ill-advised trees (seriously, someone planted a sequoia in a four-foot-wide space), and my previously shady back yard became suffused with light! Which meant my sad, patchy, weedy lawn (all 200 square feet of it) was much easier to see. And I became obsessed.

I suddenly found myself at Fred Meyer with an armload of products: weed killer! Moss killer! Lawn seed! I feverishly applied each in turn, setting up an old sprinkler and coaxing my lawn back to life. Not only did I start mowing it regularly, but I even edged it–by hand–last Friday. It took two hours! And I had blisters!

And it turns out that taking care of your lawn is like making your bed: the surrounding space suddenly looks 100% better. So I found myself thinking, “I should really rake those leaves,” and “I bet I could weed the whole area while Sarah is napping,” and “Scott should really sweep back here,” (I am not sweeping). And then I started bringing a book and an iced coffee out back and enjoying my back yard. Outside. We had a barbecue this weekend and it was awesome. Could hiking be in my future?!? HA HA HA only under protest.

But apparently this impulse isn’t going anywhere–I’ve caught myself eyeing the fallen leaves and weeds in the front yard and thinking, “Gee, I could clean that all up in a couple of days.” So I guess this is me now. I may even plant some perennials this fall and actually do most of the work, instead of standing back in awe as my mom goes to town!

Well! That was longer than I thought. On to links!

Geekery

The new Thor trailer is out and boy oh boy, if you’re a fan of Walter Simonson’s iconic run, you’re in for a treat!

Speaking of Walter Simonson’s Thor, my podcast with Miles Stokes, THOR: The Lightning and the Storm, is almost complete! The penultimate episode is up now.

Portlanders, there’s another geeky wine event coming up next month! Pairings Portland is throwing a Game of Thrones Wine Tasting Flight August 9-12. Eight wines paired to eight characters for $25!

What are you enjoying right now? Post below!

Advertisements

My Favorite Podcasts

PodcastNow that I am a bonafide podcaster with THOR: The Lightning and the Storm (two more episodes to record, sob!), I have been listening to a lot of podcasts–and I love it!

I was never really much of a podcast listener before (except for my very favorite, Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men), but I started to explore different shows to get a good idea of what I did and didn’t like–and what I thought worked well for the listener and didn’t.

What surprised me was the difference in approaches and, frankly, quality. Nothing is more disappointing than finding a podcast whose topic seems tailor-made for me, and whose hosts seem really enthusiastic, only to find that the execution totally turns me off. It’s rare that I’m willing to wade through 20 minutes of aimless chit chat before they get to the meat of the topic–unless I really love the hosts–and a lack of knowledge that is easily Google-able irks me. Also, there are a lot of podcasts that are an hour (or longer!) that would be better shorter.

But! I’m not here to bitch about podcasts I don’t like, I’m here to talk about the ones I love! So without further ado, in no particular order . . .

Gilmore Guys: This was one of the first non-X-Plain podcasts I started listening to, around the time the Gilmore Girls revival aired. Now remember when I said there are a lot of hour-plus podcasts that could easily be half an hour? Many of Gilmore Guys‘ episodes hover around three hours. Their discussion of “Fall” is five hours and forty minutes. But I love it! Hosts Kevin T. Porter (a longtime Gilmore Girls fan) and Demi Adejuyigbe (a newbie who watched as they recorded) have put together an enormously entertaining show with great guests and fantastic features (for example, playing the original WB promos for each episode and checking Television Without Pity‘s forums to see what viewers thought when it originally aired), and it’s just fabulous. This is definitely for hardcore Gilmore Girls fans–it’s simply too much of a time commitment otherwise. They’re now covering Bunheads, another Sherman-Palladino show I never even watched, but I’ll probably listen to all of them.

Titan Up the Defense: Yes I have guested on this show, but I already loved it. Hosts Hub and Cory alternate covering issues of New Teen Titans and Defenders, and it is hilarious and delightful. I enjoy their format: first Hub does a brief recap to begin the episode, and then he and Cory discuss. They end with “Minutiae” (complete with a peppy song) where they select the “best” insult, fashion, characters, etc. It helps to have some knowledge of the Titans and Marvel, but you don’t need to read along to enjoy this podcast (I don’t). Episodes are about an hour long.

Dirtcast: I have a confession to make: I love celebrity gossip. I used to love Perez Hilton, and I read Crazy Days and Nights every day. Dirtcast is hosted by Jezebel‘s Madeleine Davies, and what I love most about that show is that it’s an hour-long mix of current and “vintage” gossip. I mean, celebrity gossip was so much better before social media happened and every minor celebrity could posts tons of garbage photos on Instagram, amirite? Recent episodes explored Twin Peaks set gossip from the ’90s, the cult of Gwyneth Paltrow, and how most celebrity couples are actually PR contracts. Fascinating.

The Four Top: I originally learned about host Katherine Cole when I was researching Portland wine tastemakers for a client I was working with. Cole not only wrote the Oregonian‘s wine column for 13 years, but she’s published the books Rosé All DayHow to Fake Your Way Through a Wine List, and more. Now she’s the host of OPB’s The Four Top, which is a bi-weekly round table discussion during which culinary media insiders tackle all kinds of savory topics in food and beverage culture. It’s divided into “courses,” ending with “dessert”–whatever each guest is currently enjoying. Recent episodes have covered the evolution of grocery stores (which is my jam), whether cannabis will destroy the restaurant industry, and undocumented labor in kitchens. I love this podcast because not only do I enjoy eating and preparing food, but food is so important that its issues affect all aspects of our lives–financially, politically, and ethically. Episodes are typically under an hour, which makes them perfect to listen to while cooking dinner.

Four podcasts seems like a pretty short list, but that’s really all I have time to listen to! What do you like (or dislike) in a podcast, and what are your favorites? Post below!

10-Item Summer 2017 Wardrobe: Stripes & Coral

Woo! I finally have all the pics together for my 10-Item Summer Wardrobe (such as they are), and I am psyched to share this–and to wear this! (Hey, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it). As longtime readers know, I adopted the capsule wardrobe approach after reading Jennifer L. Scott’s Madame Chic books (be sure to check out her blog, The Daily Connoisseur, as well). The premise: collect 10 “core items” that either go together and complement each other, then augment it with “extras” such as T-shirts, outerwear, evening wear, etc.

Unfortunately, due to the light and the different times I took these photos, the colors aren’t just right (and my clothes look a little wrinkly–that’s totally my fault). But I swear these all go together, and I’m pretty happy!

Another note: you may notice a couple returns from a few years ago. While I do practice the 10-item wardrobe, I don’t always purge everything I’m not wearing in a particular season. For example, right after I had Sarah and I was in super-breastfeeding mode, I went down a size, and some of my shorts were too big. I saved them just in case, and guess what–I’m glad I did. Since most of last year’s summer wardrobe just plain wore out (after many years of service), I was glad I kept some pieces in reserve!

But without further ado, let’s . . . a-do this! (™ Hub Hubbard.)

1_10ItemS17

Pale pink Merona cotton sweater. I got this for free at my friend Melissa’s Naked Lady party and built a lot of this wardrobe around it! Love it, and it pairs well with coral and red.

10 item wardrobe

Thread & Supply blue “menswear” shirt.

2_10ItemS17

You think you’ve seen this shirt a million times, but guess what: it’s a new J Crew Factory striped boatneck shirt! After many years, I realized the underarms of my old one . . . turned black. Fortunately I was literally at J Crew Factory when I discovered this.

3_10ItemS17

J Crew Factory sunwashed slim chino. My husband got me these for Mother’s Day, and I love them. I would never have picked them, because they get dirty as f*ck every time I wear them, but they wash well and are more comfortable in the heat that jeans.

4_10ItemS17

J Crew Factory coral seersucker shorts. These are from at least four years ago!

6_10ItemS17

J Crew Factory 5″ chino shorts in aqua. These are kind of like a chambray? Very old. 

7_10ItemS17

J Crew Factory striped daybreak dress. I love this because it looks structured, but it’s made of stretch material. It looks like they’re out of this particular stripe, sad.

8_10ItemS17

LOFT striped dress. This dress is ancient (at least five years) and I think it was actually supposed to be a swimsuit coverup? It’s my favorite summer dress: it’s cute and doesn’t hug my body.

10-Item Wardrobe

Floral dress, made by me maybe five or six years ago? Pattern by Amy Butler.

So there are my 10 pieces! On to the extras: T-shirts!

10-Item Wardrobe

J Crew Factory “fruit salad” T-shirt. I’ve had this for years and it’s a little too sheer now, so I wear a camisole under it.

X1_10ItemS17

J Crew Factory collector T-shirt–another gift from my husband. Looks like it’s out of stock online.

X2_10ItemS17

J Crew studio T-shirt. A perfect basic!

X3_10ItemS17

J Crew Factory perfect fit shell. These are my new favorites–they really do fit perfectly, and they’re a little more polished than a tank top.

FullSizeRender 27

J Crew Factory striped boatneck short-sleeved T-shirt. I don’t think they have this on the site anymore (I picked it up last year) and it’s too bad, it wears well like the long-sleeved one!

X4_10ItemS17

Novelty shirts! My sister Jessica gave me the Star Wars shirt, and I picked up the tank visiting Carmel this spring for a family reunion. Guest starring my toes.

Ahhh. I love using the 10-item wardrobe because it makes everything easier. My drawers are organized, I can see all my clothes, and it makes laundry a snap (and necessary). It’s also been really interesting to see which items hold up well (the dress I made, certain J Crew items) and which did not (most T-shirts).

What do you think? Is anyone else out there doing this? Post below!