The Imagined Life: Kitchen

They call it the heart of the home, and certainly it is the home of my heart. Maybe that's why I always spent so much time there, and why I want to write about it now. Truthfully my one room existence now means that I'm always in the kitchen and the bedroom and the living room and...

But I still find myself standing over the sink, or a cutting board, more then is strictly necessary. The rhythm of chopping veggies, the sound of melting butter, the smells of browning meat or of caramelizing onions, the consistency of rich sauces, and the vision of beautiful dishes coming together - it is a meditation that simultaneously requires all of my concentration and no deep thought.

Cooking is a deeply primal act for me. It awakens a lust in me, a hunger, while also cooling my other overexposed emotions. There's no time for anger over trivial matters when there is food to be explored! I can only imagine that my ancestors were hunters and gatherers, and I'm embracing their singular focus. If only for an hour or two at a time. When the going gets tough, in my case, the tough head for the kitchen, where all my senses may be ensnared.

For a while I was a collector of unique gadgets for the kitchen. Different utensils for different types of food, a tool for each individual job. Space, or lack there of, requires sacrifices though, and I actually enjoy the ingenuity it brings out. A good set of knives, a well tended cutting board (with a thin overlay for meats), one set of pots and pans, an immersion blender, and one set of standard kitchen accessories. What more do I really need?

I have a kitchen and the ability to create in it. What more could I want?


The Imagined Life is fiction, a world of my own creation, explored through small, everyday things and experiences. 

Though there's a little more non-fiction in this one then normal!


The East Coast - D.C., Philly, and the Lehigh Valley

On Sunday Gwen and I left West Virginia, and headed into the scarier wilds of Washington, DC.   It was great to settle into a night with family in a real bed, with food cooked in an oven! But first, we swam!

After feeling a little refreshed in the pool, it was time to do homemade pizzas!

The food was delicious anyway, but all the better for who it was shared with.

We were all excited to see Uncle Epie, but none more then Gwen I think... she really adores that Uncle of hers.

My brother and his wife had to work the next day, but they were able to join us for some breakfast before we all got on our way.

(Not the worst view to start your day with!)
We ate at the cafe next to the National Cathedral, where I got to indulge in some lavender hot chocolate!

We had to say goodbye to Elise at that point, as she had a meeting to jet to, but Ethan showed us around the Bishop's Garden and we checked out the National Cathedral a little bit more.

After making it all the way across the country unscathed, DC gave me about 5 bug bites on each leg (Thanks DC!). The place really is full of blood suckers...  

After that we all loaded up, Ethan to head to work and us to head on to our next destination: Gruncle Wray and Aunt Susie's!

It took us about 3 hours to get to their place near Bethany Beach, Delaware, and we ended up pretty quickly on the beach!

Gwen buried some feet, we jumped around in some waves, and she met some older kids who showed her how they found sand crabs.

It was a great day with some more of our favorite people. (Also note the tattoo... this is the final clear picture of it in this state!)

We spent the night at their house, and ate a nice breakfast the next morning before heading out mid-morning towards Philadelphia.

Gwen and I had a lunch date (its Tuesday now, if you've lost track!) with Tally - who I loved getting to catch up with - after which we had a few hours to kill. We spent them grabbing some Rita's, then playing at a park, then headed to the library for a bit of browsing.

Dinnertime was spent with Ro, Pat, and the girls. It had been a year since Gwen had seen the girl and I had seen Pat, so it was nice to catch up.

After dinner Gwen and I headed up to the Lehigh Valley for our first long stop at my parents! Four days of relaxing a bit and staying in one space!

That didn't mean we were lazy... Gwen wanted to get in a year's worth of playing with her Nonnie and Papa. Nonnie was endlessly playful and patient, coloring, reading, and including Gwen in all her activities which gave me the chance to sit down and relax by myself for the first time since we'd left!

Gwen and I also headed to our favorite hairdresser, Cindy's, to get Gwen's hair trimmed (she's the only one allowed to touch Gwen's hair... by Gwen's choice!). And I headed to a long awaited appt to finished tattoo #12, my half sleeve ode to camping and our travels.

I am so damn beyond pleased with it!! Alexis does thee most amazing work. Its everything I hoped for and more!

On Friday, our last full day in Pennsylvania, we headed to the Lehigh Valley Zoo to check out the animals.

Gwen got to feed the giraffe!

It was a really nice end to our visit. Saturday morning we had a relaxed morning, eating, dressing, and packing up the car with the last items. Then it was on the road again, for another 6+ hours to our other home away from home - Cape Cod - where we are currently enjoying another week in one location before starting our journey back home.

From DC, all the way up to Cape Cod, we added 720 more miles to our journey! More to come! 


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {Video! My Silly Girls}

Missing this amazing, sweet beast right now!! I can't wait to see her in a week and a half!


Matcha Lattes and Re-Connecting to Routine

If you look on my phone right now you'll see a lot of pictures of homemade matcha lattes. I'm a little obsessed with matcha tea (a traditional, ceremonial green tea powder) right now, with its gentle dose of caffeine, l-theanine, and antioxidants. Okay, more then a little... I set up a monthly delivery! I use this tutorial, with my favorite coconut almond milk and honey to make the most amazing not super sugarly latte:

🍵How to make a matcha latte at home? Matcha lattes at the café are packed with sugar and sweetened milk, here's how to be a badass b and make it DIY at home. Respek thy 🍵 matcha +your hot body⚡️⚡️ Here's what you'll need: Materials: -A chasen bamboo whisk or a high powered blender -Matcha powder from Japan (Look for ceremonial grade from Japan) -Boiled water, cooled for 5 minutes -Almond or coconut milk (unsweetened saves you inflammation + sugar) -Coconut butter (optional if using a blender only, adds satiation) Directions: 1- Boil water and cool for 5 minutes to 175-185 degrees F, matcha is best made with water slightly under boiling. 2-Add your matcha powder to your chawan (matcha bowl) or a bone dry blender and sift slightly with your bamboo whisk. 3- Add slightly cooled after boiling water. Whisk in M and N motions causing your chasen or blend on high. 4-Add your almond, coconut milk or milk of choice. Add coconut butter in to blender only if using. Blend on high or whisk in milk. SERVE ⚡️⚡️⚡️🍵🍵🍵#matchalatte #goldengirl #iquitcoffee
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This is part of my attempt at reconnecting with a healthy routine.

A little story: Before we left Pennsylvania I was carrying around an extra 10lbs which is a whole lot on a naturally slight 5'2" frame. A combination of sitting at a desk 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and eating a few too many sweets, and not feeling like I had the time to hit yoga more then 1x a week, made it almost impossible for me to lose. When we moved to Colorado - and specifically when I started teacher training - suddenly I found myself with time, and more then that, I found myself with the real commitment to change. I started doing yoga 3-5x a week, and I completely revamped my diet. Green smoothies, more veggies in general, and a real cutting of sugary items. I lost 15lbs at which point I decided to loosen up a little because it was not actually a weight I wanted to be at. I let go of some of my restrictions and gained about 4 of those back putting me in a place where I felt strong and healthy.

Mostly, maintenance has been fine. Summer however gets a little hard, and specifically travel in the summer is the hardest time to maintain. This summer I've been doing a little worse then normal. I'm staying up too late, sleeping in a bit in the morning, not making the best food choices and have slacked on my normal yoga routine. I gave up on my regular lifting day without even trying to see if I could make it work. I was feeling sluggish, not my best, and starting to worry about fitting into my very fitted bridesmaid dress for a September wedding!

A few weeks ago I decided to recommit. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to go to bed, I started my regular matcha routine (normally partnered with amazingly yummy pasture raised eggs from some of my students!), upped my green smoothie game, and reigned in my nighttime sweets consumption.

I also recommitted to as much yoga as I can with Gwen home from school, started hitting the machines before my Tuesday night yoga class, figured out how to take Gwen to the gym with me on Thursday mornings, and cashed in on a consult I won with an herbalist (I love seeing what nature can do to support everything else I'm doing).

We are traveling now, so a lot of routine has changed, again! But recommitting before we left has helped me to make better choices on the road. The more you move, the more your body craves movement; the better you eat, the better you feel, and the more you want to keep that good energy going. Moreover I just feel good again!

Here's to healthy living and a healthy life. That's a choice I always want to make.


Southen Route Out

Gwen and I are in Pennsylvania right now, relaxing at my parents, but I'm taking the chance to review our drive out. We took a much more Southern route to the East Coast this time around, checking a few more states off of our list in the process!

We left first thing on Wednesday, our longest day of the trip out. Our destination was Arcadia Lake in Oklahoma, first meeting a friend nearby for dinner, then camping by the lake.

It was a long drive out, 9.5 hours without stops, driving halfway across Kansas, before turning south and heading into Oklahoma.

It was hot that night, but the breezes off the lake were nice. And we got to awake to a pretty great view.

Gwen loved that we could walk right down to the water from our site. She was very mad at me that we were just staying there for the rest of the trip! Ha!

The next day was followed by the shortest day of this drive out... only 4 hours on to our next stop, so we got to take it easy and stopped at a National Wildlife Refuge for a break and lunch.

They had a 1-mile paved loop trail to walk along and see some water loving wildlife. We saw a few Egrets, and one of my favorite birds, the Indigo Bunting.

There were also about a million frogs!

We had a mini picnic in the car when we got back, before doing their 6-mile scenic drive, then heading back on the road.

That evening (Thursday) we arrived in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas.

This was a rustic site in the woods (pit toilets only) which Gwen wasn't sure about, but it was beautiful and had one of our favorite water areas... and absolutely beautiful creek with waterfall.

Gwen was such a fish this trip, and was in the water swimming every chance she got.

She even got brave and jumped off the waterfall.

It was a beautiful place and we were happy to have stopped there.
The next morning we drove the rest of the way across Arkansas and into Kentucky.

(Friday) we passed through Tennessee before getting to our destination, the beautiful Land Between the Lakes.

Our site was nice, a quick walk to the bathrooms and to the lake. Gwen of course wanted to swim!

I was thrilled that night to be able to hit up a warm shower! Gwen made some friends with the kids from a neighboring site, so while she played I got to fit in a quick wash.

We also got to enjoy something we miss greatly in Colorado... Fireflies!

We don't have fireflies in Colorado, so we always look for them when we come out East.

On Saturday we left Kentucky, heading into our final camping stop in another National Forest, this time in West Virginia.

Monongahela National Forest was another more rustic site without anything but a pit toilet, but Gwen was okay with it this time. Especially since I surprised her with pancakes for dinner!

We also made friends with the people camping in the next site, a lovely family with three boys.

Gwen ran around with them that night, and the Grandmother brought ma a cup of coffee the next morning!

There was another creek nearby and of course those lovely trees that are so familiar to me on the East Coast! It was so much cooler here too then in any of the other stops. Oklahoma and Arkansas had been in the 90s until well into the evening, and Kentucky hadn't been much better. But in West Virginia it was in the 70s when we arrived and probably dropped into the high 50s during the night. We slept great!!

When we woke on Sunday, we were invited to breakfast with the sweet family next door, bacon and sausage and eggs, biscuits and pancakes, and orange juice until we were full! Thanks to weather conditions, a nice site, and sweet tent neighbors, I think this ended up being our favorite stop overall.

We started out after that, finishing the journey East by heading to DC and my brother!
5 days, 3.5 new states, and ~2,150 miles down. The first part of our journey is done!