A little low-country boil

boil_1It’s getting close to Friday, which means everyone is likely planning parties and food and outings for the weekend. I could go for a little low-country boil, a little of everything tossed into one pot and then scattered on the table for everyone to reach and grab what they want. Happy Thursday! What are you cookin’ up for the weekend?

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Life Lately

five-1The blooms have popped up in the backyard. five-2 five-2aA friend made me a salad for lunch recently and she mixed a can of tuna to go with it. It was my first time having tuna since high school, and now I’m totally on a tuna kick. I love the albacore from Trader Joe’s, and I mix it with a little diced red onion, celery, dill pickle and TJ’s organic mayo that reminds me of Miracle Whip (I realize some people think that’s gross, but to me, it’s like childhood summers). Then, I add my favorite: fresh summer tomatoes.
five-3 I take salads for lunch most days, and I try to keep them interesting. This is one of my favorites: strawberries, spinach, asparagus, cous cous, toasted almonds and raspberry vinaigrette.five-4 When a friend from Missouri, who lives in D.C., but has spent the summer in Russia, comes to visit, you splurge on dessert and talk about the research she’s doing for her PhD in Russian history. You just do.five-5 My sister made me dinner one night. Cous cous spinach salad with vegetable samosas and mint chutney. She’s on her way to being vegan, and it’s fun to see what she’s eating.five-6 I’ve been trying to stay away from too many breads, but the other day I bought a loaf of seven-grain bread from the farmers market, and made garden tomato sandwiches with it all weekend. I divided the loaf so I could freeze some of it. Didn’t last long, though, because I thawed it the following weekend and binged on more tomato sandwiches.  five-7 I celebrated National Night Out in my aunt’s neighborhood last week. It’s one of my favorite neighborhood events. The dough and sauce is provided, but everyone brings their favorite toppings. Then, they’re fired in the brick oven and we all share. five-8 five-9 five-10 five-11 five-12 five-13 My new obsession is the veggetti, the little gadget that turns vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and carrots into noodles. I’ve made shoestring baked sweet potato fries, fettucini alfredo, garlic pasta with portobello mushrooms and a Greek salad with Feta cheese. I love it!five-15five-14five-16It was even my dinner at the movie on the lawn.
five-18 And then there’s this, renewing my passport.five-19 Because this is happening in a few months, and I’m so excited.five-20

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Sharing beef stew with friends

dinner_1Nothing goes together like beef stew and summertime. What? You’ve never heard that? I recommend it.

My friends Mike and Andrea fearlessly combined the two earlier this summer. Bowls of hearty beef stew (made by Mike with Guinness) were paired with refreshing salads, like Maggie’s watermelon/arugula/feta/red onion salad. We dipped crusty French bread. We savored Eric’s homemade brew. We sipped Mike’s wine (that we sorta helped contribute to when we helped harvest grapes here). In the end, there was, of course, singing with the guitar and banjo.

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Baby Rowan (or, the newborn who sleeps in the garden … he’s already cool like that)

blog_rowan_6290blog_rowan_6179_2blog_rowan_6223I love that the first time I ever saw little Rowan Peter he was wrapped tight like a wonton and fast asleep in his crib in middle of rose bushes and a bean tower. He’s a special one, that little Love Bug, the one who brings so much love and so many smiles to his parent’s faces. I recently shared Shoshanna and Eric’s maternity session in their garden (here), and I was so happy when Shoshanna asked me to visit again, and to capture Rowan in his first week of life. Perhaps more than most, Shoshanna and Eric understand love and loss and desire, and it makes my incredibly happy to feel the love so strong between these three. I love every one of those snuggles and smiles and turtle stretches (all of which I’m sure he will roll his eyes at in 15 years).

Thank you, Eric and Shoshanna, for letting me into the cocoon of your home during such a precious time.

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Kelli & Ryan say I Do | Aptos wedding

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I met this ’60-s lovin’, doe-eyed girl with an obsession for zombies and Hershey’s Cookies & Cream almost a year ago. And then a few weeks ago, I watched her marry the blue-eyed, videogame-loving boy she’s been gushing ever since.

On the steps of an old building surrounded by a towering forest in the Aptos hills, Kelli and Ryan said their I Do’s amongst thirty of their most-cherished people.

It was a day they won’t forget. One that started with floral arrangements designed that morning at the inn and a wedding dress’ broken zipper (good luck, actually). There was champagne and strawberries, endless layers of liquid eyeliner, a pink little sum’n, laughs between friends, phone calls from the groom and the that rush of relief and excitement when the show was ready to hit the road.

The ceremony was heartfelt, with the ceremony lead by a best friends and lovely poems read by close friends. In the end, there were plenty of kisses, lots of laughing, hair-flinging dancing and cheers by everyone.

Congratulations, Kelli and Ryan. Thank you for letting me capture your details.

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Four days on the beach | Dillon Beach 2014

blog-dillon14_2642It was another year at Dillon Beach. Another year of oysters on the grill. Of dogs running off of their leashes and into those foamy waves. Of those blue hues in the morning, and golden flare in the evening, and all those warm rays warming my skin in between.

Dillon Beach on the Marin County coastline has been a friend-and-family tradition for years now. I’ve shared with you here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here – I guess I’m a little obsessed.

This year, I found myself on the sandy shoreline most days, where my Aussie/Chow and I usually had the beach to ourselves. She loved to greet passing dogs and seeing just how far she could walk into a wave before it would topple over her back and her eyes would get wide and she’d hop out to dry safety. I was most happy with my summery magazine stack, Kindle loaded with new books and a beach blanket.

Here’s a peak, all taken with le trust iPhone.

blog-dillon14_2240Oysters on the first night / Garden veggies for dinner / Red Saltwater sandals with a red cocktail:blog-dillon-3 blog-dillon-4My favorite time of day / Sun setting over the dunes:blog-dillon-51 That light on the pier / Crabbing for days and days:blog-dillon-5blog-dillon-7 blog-dillon-7aCountdown to pull in the crab nets:blog-dillon-8 blog-dillon-7bAn oldie, but goodie / Lawsons Landing:blog-dillon-7cblog-dillon-7dMy aunt and my dog / Two of my favorite things:blog-dillon-6blog-dillon-9 blog-dillon-10 I couldn’t resist climbing the dunes just before dark / Well worth it:blog-dillon-11 blog-dillon-12blog-dillon-14ablog-dillon-13blog-dillon-14cblog-dillon-18blog-dillon-15Sara pup was scared of fireworks / Aunt Jo let her on the camper couch, while I nestled in the dog bed on the floor:
blog-dillon-19 Wanderings:blog-dillon-20 I love the colors and the shadows:blog-dillon-21 blog-dillon-22 blog-dillon-23 blog-dillon-24My attempt for “healthy” / And my family:blog-dillon-25blog-dillon-26The trailerhood:blog-dillon-28blog-dillon-29

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blog-dillon-32 blog-dillon-33 Would you call this a doggie eye roll? / “Another selfie, mom?”blog-dillon-36 blog-dillon-37 Her favorite place in the world.blog-dillon-38 blog-dillon-39 blog-dillon-40 blog-dillon-41 blog-dillon-42 Beachcombing:blog-dillon-43 blog-dillon-44 blog-dillon-45 blog-dillon-46 blog-dillon-47 blog-dillon-49 blog-dillon-50

Until next time …

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Loving Love Bug

blog_1I met Shoshanna and Eric on a camping trip earlier this summer. I liked them from the beginning: they described their blooming garden; they made homemade yogurt for breakfast at the picnic table (yep, I remember those weird things); they led us in beautiful songs around the campfire, Eric on the guitar and Shoshanna doing lead back-up with her sweet voice.

They were also crazy in love with Love Bug, that little baby growing so big and lively in Shoshanna’s belly. That baby is going to be so infused with love, I thought.

The other night, as the sun was turning that golden color of summer, I joined the growing family at their home, a garden oasis in the suburbs, and tried to capture their life. Belly rubs. Picking the basil. Collecting brown chicken eggs. Grilling the most delicious dinner (and then devouring Eric’s homemade peach cobbler — omg). Doing their thang.

And four days later, quite earlier than expected, Love Bug decided to join the world. I can’t wait to meet you Rowan Peter! (Thank you for waiting until we could take a few pictures). You are so incredibly loved by your momma and daddy, but also by all of us self-proclaimed aunts and uncles.

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