aoop face

So my hours are shifting at work and I’m starting to get that feeling of spending more time in the four(ish) outfits I can wear with my uniform. The monotony is starting to get to me and so my days off have become a rotation of leggings, a tank top, and sweater as I work on the never ending duties of the kind of stay-at-home partner while David brings home the bacon. It’s so boring and my friends from the good ol’ days would be shocked at the lack of tights, skirts and dresses. Also I’m not even a stay-at-home. But I guess that’s a different story that would be way more boring to go into. So for now, SKIRTS. DRESSES. ACCESSORIES.

Also sorry for the cop-out photos in the garage. I tried to edit them but realized I’m way too lazy to do anything more than lighten them a bit. David and I are getting so lazy. I see blurry ones and I’m all “meh, good enough”. Also you know what the magic trick to make short hair look longer is? Roll the top part, like the hair that you would cut if you wanted bangs. Roll them back and pin it secretly with a bobby pin. I just learned how to use a bobby pin properly and it blew my mind. I mean, it means I break them at a much higher rate (“break” meaning that they get twisted so that one prong’s inside touches the other’s outside, like fingers crossed for luck. But anyway, for anyone who doesn’t know how to use a bobby pin, you hook the part of your hair that you’re moving, then twist it underneath and try to hook it to the hair on your scalp, that ends up underneath the moved hair. If you do it right, you’ll have a moment of fear where you think it’s going to hurt but it doesn’t. It just feels planted. In my head every reader is like um really this is the part of life that stumps you? But whatever. I gave myself a gold star in life for figuring it out.

Also I don’t know how I feel about the belt with the sweater. I think I wrote back in the Moose about how belts intimidate me but a quick search couldn’t find it. Well–belts intimidate me. I never know how to use them, especially because I always self-consciously try to drown out the top of my pants and any potential fat bulges with a ton of tank tops and layers and sweaters. But I figured I’d give this a shot. The whole point of this outfit after all was getting a little creative with my clothes. Right now I’m wearing black tights, a black work dress and my jellyfish sweatshirt over it to keep me warm till I get to work and put on my work shirt and sweater. Glamorous.

skirt out head downwha i see


(this is my “walk away politely from paparazzi” pose, awesome I know)


I confess, I don’t actually like brussel sprouts

It’s true–I’ve never liked them. Neither does my sister. When we were little, we refused to eat brussels sprouts* because the neighbor girl Amanda said they were gross. Before that we had no idea. Imagine–going the first six years of your life never knowing that brussels sprouts were, in fact, absolutely disgusting. Granted we weren’t sure if we had ever eaten them, but we’d be damned if we’d get trapped into it in the future. The whole thing took place over dinner, where Amanda was in attendance and round, leafy veggie balls were on our plates.

“I don’t like brussels sprouts,” she quickly informed my mom.

“We don’t either!! They’re gross!!” chimed my sister and I simultaneously.

My mom looked at us and made one more of the many snap decisions of parenting.

“Well then it’s a good thing these are baby cabbages


I know it’s silly, but it’s stuck as a nickname. And, to be perfectly frank, my sister and I both love baby cabbages. We love them to bits. And every time I share a picture of them on instagram it’s a guaranteed hit. Which is all that matters? (That’s a lie, there are things that matter than instagram responses… just not a lot of them). Anyway I’ve been on a massive brussels sprout kick and it’s awesome. Pinterest has only fueled this addiction so yup. From me to you my friends.cookingthemup

I’ve done this one once, and it was alright. I think the teriyaki needed a little tweaking, which is usually par for the course in online recipes. No one knows how to do teriyaki sauce properly. I have one recipe I use, but I always have to make some changes and I only half like half of them written down. I haven’t made it in a while, so I imagine if I dust up on my skills it’ll still take a few meals to get it right. Still, though, it tasted good!

This one, however, this one is the holy grail of delicious. I’m so in love with any and everything with craisins. Or cranberries. I took out the croutons and added bacon to this, and I threw in some mustard with the dressing. Just a smidge. Perfection. I make it super spicy, too, which is just an amazing mix. Omnomnomnomnom.

Otherwise I just cut them up, chop some potatoes and mix them both with oil, balsamic vinegar, a dash of red wine vinegar and some baby carrots. Bake till ready.

Oh and also? I figured out how to properly cut a brussels sprout so that it doesn’t flake into a gazillion pieces. The trick is aiming. After you cut the bottom and peel off the outermost layer, you cut between what is now the outside. I don’t know, maybe everyone knows this, but I felt like a fucking genius when I figured out how to keep my brussels sprouts from falling apart.

one solo

*I wrote this whole post using “brussel sprouts” and getting irritated that spell check said it was wrong. I finally googled it and who’d a thought–it’s brussels sprouts. How does that make any sense?? Anyone?

Camping this weekend was one big reset button

david and marcipretty woodslyrasnugglesfirebreathing dog

I know it’s like the most basic thing on the planet, but being outside, camping or even something more casual, makes me feel more connected and grounded to my world. David and I have had a rough couple of weeks, dealing with everything from understaffing at work to speeding tickets to a couple of bleck social interactions. I think it was mostly the shifting weather, though. Springing forward is never easy for me and it tried it’s best to take out David as well.

But! BUT! We went camping! It was beautiful and so much fun. There were potatoes cooked in delicious bacon grease right over the campfire, marshmallows dipped in baileys, toasted over the fire, and then shoved into strawberries. Chocolate-cashew-marshmallow-bacon bark. Turkey burgers. David and I spent all of Saturday laying low with headaches, but we just sat by the fire literally the full day and it was amazing. We walked down to the Puget Sound in the middle of the night and laid at the end of the road listening to a booming loud chorus of frogs.

We took Lyra with us and she was just a champ! There were lots of other dogs and she stayed pretty mellow about it. She also showed off her completely domesticated self–while all the other canines hovered beyond their humans, she tried her best to lay by our feet, even when it meant being less than three feet away from the fire. At the end we just gave up and laid her across our laps where she snored for a couple hours before bed.

The friends who put this event on do it as a way of celebrating their marriage, which I think took place in that same area. I’m not actually that sure because I wasn’t at their wedding. I met (the wife) during the two months I worked at this store when I took a year off from college. Like seriously, two months of her being my manager and they’ve included me in their adventures ever since. These friends are amazing. Their talents at cultivating and developing friendships is a fucking superpower it’s so impressive, and I’m just so thrilled I managed to find myself in their orbit. David is, too. The power couple brings their parents and family along, too, and the father of the groom is David’s spirit guide, basically. He gets his accordion out, David tunes his guitar, and they just jam for hours. It’s seriously one of the cutest things ever, and I love watching him fit in this group so seamlessly.

The only part even close to meh was not actually bringing my phone charger and needing my phone to last the whole trip. I mean, it was totally liberating and kept me from distracting myself with the internet (mostly) but also meant that I took like less than a handful of photos the whole trip. Still, though. I did manage to get a video of the guitar + accordion jam session, although it’s completely pitch black and very unfiltered.


My best friend is my mirror


When I was in high school, I met the coolest chick on the planet. I thought she was gorgeous and amazing and smart, and I was just blown away by how advanced she was. She was everything I wanted to push myself to be, and she’s even the reason I’m interested in politics. It was the first time I ever became aware of her. I was loitering in the halls outside our shared class and overheard her talking to another classmate, another woman I fiercely admire for her politics and activism, chatting about Bush’s pushing the oil pipeline agenda in Alaska. She was holding her pocket folio , you know what I’m talkin’ bout, and it sporting a bold, clear bumper sticker. DONT BLAME ME I DIDNT VOTE. I was fifteen and so engulfed in my own tiny microcosm and I didn’t yet think I was allowed to know about The Adult World, the World of Grownups. I tried to figure out what her bumper sticker meant–was it because she was too young to vote but would have made the right decision? Or was it something deeper, a satire perhaps on apathy? My brain couldn’t quite form that last question, but it tried grasping at it. It wasn’t too long after that my brain traced a fragile line between the dots of fierce patriotic outpourings from 9-11 and the subtle ease of Bush’s success with Alaskan oil. Words like American Interests Aboard called out in a faint echo behind my ears and stayed there, developing and expanding and adding until I graduated with a BA in Political Science, a minor in Economics. A lot about my beliefs have changed and evolved, but my general fascination in political science, and the specific topics that keep my interest, remain tied to that first encounter with my best friend. Her and I have moved in a similar direction with our beliefs, although with me closer to the center. Whenever we get together and catch up, it feels like spinning around clasping hands together in the yard, only with my feet acting as the anchor while she spins in the wider circle. I want to join her, I think, in her beliefs but I’m not sure how to get there without losing my balance.

In the summer after that school year, we cemented a very close friendship. It was still too early for driving cars, but we found out that she was in walking distance to the house I just moved into. The convenience had a huge impact on our friendship, especially since we had the incentive of meeting directly in the middle where there was a convenience store that sold pints of ice cream for not too much money. We spent long days together walking her dog out in the trails behind her house and hanging out in parks and have a lot of very innocent and silly shenanagins. I remember one day in particular, where we spent the whole day with her dad’s camera, taking photos outside. Our adventure in vanity, way before the time of Selfies, was over 1000 photos. Mostly portraits of our faces in different expressions, showcasing us practicing a whole range of emotions. We took photos from a ton of different angles as we posed playing outside with her dog, goofing around in their vegetable garden and walking around the neighborhood block. It was a ton of fun and very awkwardly insightful when we sorted through the photos later. I think I’ve never learned so much about how I look, to myself and to the world, and about what level of control I have over it. It was fascinating. And hilarious, because oh man only the intensity of being a misunderstood adolescent could lead to that much introspective navel-gazing. I wish I still had those pictures, because I know they’d be a trip.

A lot of people thought (probably still think, really) that we were dating, which we always thought really funny since I spent the entirety of our relationship very openly and publicly dating a different girl. Still, we set ourselves up for that confusion in a way. At the end of the year, when our (very beloved) english teacher invited students to read pieces of literature or poetry in front of the class, I was one in the ranks. I recited Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends as an homage to our time together, and it’s still a poem that makes me sentimental. We’ve stayed incredibly close friends, even when the times between talking stretch longer than either of us likes. Each time we get together it feels like two puzzle pieces clicking back into place and I love that person that she brings out in me. I feel smart around her, and curious. She makes me realize how much I’m actually paying attention to the world around me, which is a really good feeling as well as a reminder. I never feel I’m paying enough attention to what surrounds me, and I think it makes me lazy and grossly passive.

Anyway as I’ve said, this friend and I have stayed close, despite the huge changes in who we are as individuals.  And after I had been in college for almost a year, we had a date together where we spent the whole day together, exploring a new park, getting coffee with that english teacher, and finishing off the night with an epic Mario Kart battle. We had a camera with us and, for what I think was the the last time, we took a bunch of photos together. I mean, like, only a fucking eentsy fraction of the first batch, only like 40 or something, but still. A lot, for any normal outing standard (before lifestyle blogging, though, I guess,). I was looking through the only ones I saved from the outing and I thought they were just the coolest. For whatever reason, we traded the camera back and forth, recording each part of an adventure with matching photos, identical poses and backgrounds. When I saw the last one of me, the super intense happy face with the yellow shirt, my first thought was instantly “that’s the happiest moment I’ve ever captured”. It was like living in that moment again, feeling that giddy euphoria of a perfect day where you spend most of it trying to catch your breath from laughing so hard.


Anecdotally it’s almost a sad memory, in a way that’s more powerful than just nostalgia. I look past the tinted shading from my current perspective, the one reminding me the euphoria was more likely due to an unmedicated mania, and that I was grappling with a crippling trauma at the same time involving the person I was dating. Still, though, none of it mattered on that day, and it still doesn’t have to matter when I revisit the memory, which is freeing, letting me enjoy the best part.

The best part, my favorite part of this whole memory trip, was that each picture was only one half of a whole. I faintly remember doing it deliberately, trading off to make sure each of us had a photo like the other one. It turned into a joke, with us making sure we were copying the same expressions as well. I think we are like mirrors, though. At least that’s how it feels to me when I’m around her. Not that she’s the mirror, that is, but rather like when I’m with her, she’s holding up a mirror that I can look into and see what I used to be like. It’s a fascinating form of accountability, and it only works because we still let each other grow. Neither of us holds the other’s views or values against each other, but instead we’ve been free to grow our separate ways, and when we get together, we knit the new experiences and perspectives onto our memories of who we used to be. She lets me see not just who I used to be, but how I’ve grown since then, and what part of that growth is good and what parts might need to be pruned. Each time I see her is like the cosmic wellness check up, letting me see just exactly how much more Grown’d Up I am compared to last visit.


Oh and also? Having pink hair was the fucking bomb.

What to Wear, brought to you by thrifting

full length skirt up

It’s not a sponsored post, it’s just the theme of Nicole’s What to Wear today. {lol, me do a sponsor post, as if} Although I didn’t manage 100% because I don’t thrift shoes or tights, and yet I have a bunch of thrifted skirts*. I have names for my clothes, do you have names for yours? I have my 90s HouseWife Dress, I have my Space Cadet Dress, I have my Taxi Cab Dress, my Where’s Waldo Dress. This skirt? It’s my Appropriated Mexican Culture Skirt. It was thrifted, which gives me a free pass on racism? It’s not racist? It’s an homage? I don’t know. I know my high school bestie could tell me, if I ever wore the skirt around her. I just like the print and try and roll with it, kay? Is that just the worst thing I’ve admitted on this blog? Probably. Also the next paragraph is just one big long rant about shitty dog owners who don’t leash their pets, so feel free to skip it. I was grumpy writing it and apparently I’m just going to post it as is. I have no disclaimer beyond that, really, except that it’s been a pretty shitty week dealing with shitty, irresponsible people who refuse to act like grown ups. It’s the kind of week where I feel like looking around and yelling “Oh come on, am I the only one trying here?” I can’t (and won’t) go into any of those details, so I stick to ranting about dog owners. It’s my thing.

grump face

It’s just that looking at these photos makes me just want to spend this whole post ranting about shitty dog owners. I hate them. I hate people with dogs**. So much unpicked-up poop and off leash dogs and bad doggie manners. We took these in our parking garage and this woman interrupted the photos (awkward!) when her tiny white curly haired dog went barking and running around the whole garage off leash. Because that’s totally not unsafe at allllll. Ugh. I know it can lose my friends, but man I take leashes seriously. I don’t care who you are or what your excuse is–if you have your dog off of a leash anywhere other than the middle of the forest or an off-leash dog park, I judge you. And yeah if it’s in the middle of the forest and I’m there and your dog runs up to me, I judge you. If it’s anywhere near a road, I will think you’re a fucking irresponsible jerk. If your dog runs around out of control while you frantically call for them, I will think you’re an irresponsible asshole jerk. My hard-lined dogmatic views are part of what makes me an asshole in real life, I’ll totally own up to it. Leash your dogs, because otherwise they’ll get hurt, killed, or hurt another dog, and when that happens, as sad as I feel for the dog, I just want to rub it in your face and remind you that it’s your fault, because you had fair warning. Says the girl who lost her dog (not Lyra, she’s fine)*** the one time that dog (not Lyra) was off leash in a quiet, residential neighborhood with no cars. Well, one car. It was a truck and a cat across the street and no one could have predicted that our low energy, sweet, super smart & well trained dog (not Lyra) would bolt to catch a cat. She never even chases cats. She was raised with cats and couldn’t care less. Which goes to show…. you can’t predict what your dog does. Nor can you predict traffic patterns. So don’t be an asshole and leash your dog. I promise–be responsible and train them properly, and they won’t resent you for it. Dogs don’t hold grudges and just like being outside, regardless of a leash.

Oh hey look more pictures of clothes!lookingdownkeffiyehhmmparkinggarage


*I didn’t shave my legs = tights a necessity

**dog owners /= dog people. Dog people I take on a case by case basis, but I like most of them.

*** not Lyra. It happened with the dog we had growing up, when I was in high school, and the whole thing was just nightmarish.