Raz Golfs, Whitney Cooks - Fennel, Shallot and Orange Salad

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've told myself I should probably stop rewarding Raz for leaving all day and spending money on golf, but you know what? I like it. He plays with his friends all day and I get time to do whatever I want. Not that I don't get that opportunity when he's around, but you know what I mean.

The grey/mist/rain is making its fall return with a vengeance and the grill has been retired to its little corner of the balcony. You know what that means - "Watching Raz Cook" is coming back! But this time, since he was golfing and I got home from Grandma and Papa's loaded up on oodles of produce, I took the reins. No one under my feet. No one asking questions. Just produce and freedom.

I found the recipe I'm sharing in the latest Sunset magazine. It's from a famous chef in SF. Since Raz had been on an orange kick of late (we were sniffly last week and stocked up on Vitamin C), I thought it sounded like a great option.

Herewith, a zippy little side I served with tilapia and a Bookwalter Winery Couplet 2013 Chardonnay/Viognier blend. Oh, and Snoqualmie ice cream for dessert, of course.

Fennel, Shallot and Orange Salad
Adapted from Sunset Magazine
Serves 4 -6 (but really 2 when you're Raz and Whitney) / 30 minutes


Ingredients:
3 medium fennel bulbs with stalks and fronds
1 medium shallot
2 large oranges
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp each salt and red chile flakes

Directions:
1. Trim fronds and stalks from fennel bulbs, setting aside several small fronds for garnish. Cut bulbs in half lengthwise, cut out core, and slice very thinly lengthwise on a handheld slicer (or just cut with a knife like I did). Slice shallot very thinly (you should have about 1/4 cup), and put both in a large salad bowl.
2. Trim peel from oranges (or peel and then slice the white stuff off like I did). Working over the bowl to catch juices, cut oranges into thirds straight down through top of fruit; then cut crosswise into thick pieces and let fall into bowl.
3. Cut lemon in half crosswise. Set a strainer over same bowl to catch seeds and, twisting with a fork into each lemon half, juice them into bowl (Honestly, I just used our lemon squeezer thingy - so much easier).
4. Add oil, salt and chile flakes to bowl and toss salad gently but thoroughly. Taste and add more salt and chile if you like. Toss again and top with fennel fronds.

And, voila! If you ever want to feed someone after they've spent all day golfing, this is an easy, zesty option. Not that I'm encouraging that life, but, hey, it works for us.

Daddies and Daughters

Friday, September 26, 2014

I know I've been writing about my dad a lot lately, and that has to do with a lot of things. Much of it includes processing the loss I don't think I'll ever move past, and an equal amount has to do with #weddingseason.

The first year after he died, we went to a lot of weddings. And at every one, I had to turn away or remove myself from the reception during the father/daughter dance. They all left me in immediate, embarrassing, soul-shaking sobs. Because as a little girl, I didn't think about the dress or the guy (sorry, Raz) or the flowers. I thought about him walking me down the aisle and giving me that last dance.

Obviously, I never got that dance. And I had to (/still have to) come to terms with that. So, I ran it past Raz, and we eliminated the official parent dancing completely.

Then my high school BFF got married in Sarasota. She had an equally close relationship with her dad, as I've mentioned, and for the first time, I didn't have to worry about turning away. We share the same sorrow and as crushing as it is, and as much as we wouldn't wish it on our worst enemies, I know I took at least a small comfort in knowing I didn't have to worry about how I would react to that dance.

I feel so blessed Raz and I were able to celebrate her and her now husband in Siesta Key. When did we get so old? BRB time to put on age-defying eye cream. 

Sunset in Sarasota.
Waves at Turtle Beach. The colors were unreal. 
Whitney + America + a green pot. 
This bulldog was having the time of his life. For more thoughts from this spot, check my Instagram (@whitpopa).
Voted America's #1 beach. Raz and I will definitely be back. 
28 years loving our daddies. 14 loving each other. 


Married House

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

So, we did it. In the middle of #weddingseason, while we had a whole lot of other demands on our time and too many weekends away, we somehow figured out how to buy. A. House.

WHAT.

We can't wait to nest. We've been wanting to nest since, like, yesterday times infinity, so we really don't know what to do with ourselves. Thankfully, Pinterest has been helping me plan my married house for years now and turns out I have a Nordic wood + fur thing going on I don't hate. Guess it's that half country, Western Euro mutt part of me.







To have a piece of the rock has been a huge goal we can't believe we get to check off. AND THE WHOLE PROCESS WAS TERRIBLE SO NEVER DO IT IF YOU CAN AVOID IT. But, do. It's kinda worth it. Just get a prescription to anti-anxiety meds, or maybe schedule a massage for every other day of the week and a therapy session on your days off while petting a fluffy animal with a big glass of wine. WHATEVER GETS YOU ZEN, SRSLY. And whatever you do, don't be sitting on a cross-country flight while you're waiting to hear back on your offer. The. Worst. 

Next goal: couch. That's when I'll know I've really arrived. Stay tuned to see how it all comes together, and how many eye twitches I give myself along the way. 

Also, does this mean we're real adults now? Don't answer that. 

All images via Pinterest

Remembering my Kouka in Hawaii

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As Raz and I embark on our last wedding of the summer - the wedding of my beautiful BFF from high school - this post is appropriately-timed.

Brittanie and I are as close to the same person as two high school buds can be. We have rhyming first names, the same middle name and [now maiden!] last names starting with the same two letters. This put our lockers right next to each other all four years of high school and nurtured a 14-years-and-counting bond. 

We also lost our dads within a month of each other two years ago.

It was awful.

The ironic silver lining, though, was it all became one more thing that bonded us. 

So, Raz and I are now on our way to celebrate my amazing friend who has endured so much and who - like me - dreamed of her dad walking her down the aisle on her wedding day. She wrote so poignantly about that on her blog, Three Bracelets. I'm honored to be invited to see how her dad will present himself and glad we're able to make the trip to Florida for her day. Stay tuned for more. 

You'll see in the following images something really cool that happened when we were in Hawaii for our other friends' wedding last month. Hawaii has always been special to my family because it's the place I gave my dad his nickname Kouka (Doug in Hawaiian) when I was 13. He always seems to find me there.

And on this last trip, we walked by a sign in our hotel lobby the day before our last night on the big island advertising a lantern ceremony honoring lost loved ones. If that wasn't my dad saying aloha, I don't know what is. 

And to share that honor with what felt like several hundred others on the same spot our friends had gotten married two days prior was extra special indeed. 

Sharpies waiting for me to get my art on.
Some of what I wrote to him.
More of what I wrote to him. I loved honoring him in Hawaii. 
Just getting interviewed for the local news, nbd. Also, check out my beautiful fish drawing. (Disregard my extra chin)
Some of the other lanterns. I did not stalk them at all. 
Charlotte's message to my dad <3


Sunset + sail boat. Some of my dad's favorite things. 
#nofilter.
Off to release! Major social anxiety setting in. Working through it. 
Watching it float away. 
Beautiful lanterns all around us.

If you'd like more information about the hospice center that sponsored this event, you can read more about them here. If you'd like to know more about our resort, check out their website. And, trust me, if you truly believe your lost loved ones are out there, you will see them. Again and again.  

Friends with Boats

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This is my favorite time of year in Seattle. It's still hot, but you can feel the cool air start to creep in, especially in the morning. Brown leaves. The city is just so, so pretty. I've been here six (six!) years now and the vistas never get old.

When I first moved to Seattle after college, I made a list of goals. One of them was to find a friend with a boat. Since then, I've found a few :). Here are some pics from one of our last summer days boating and crabbing.

That beautiful city tho.
Yachting, nbd (not my friend's boat, ha!).
Crab time! 
So, so gorj.
Pulling up the pot. I had never done that before. My baby biceps were a little sore the next day. 
We got one! He was too small so we had to throw him back, but what counts is I held him and we stared at each other and he didn't pinch me. Look at those claws. 


Something Special

Thursday, September 4, 2014

For our wedding, I wanted to make sure we included an element that would live long past the one day that gave me a persistent eye twitch as I was planning it.

After my GBF said Raz and I looked like a white Jay-Z and Beyonce in our engagement photos, I was inspired by this blog post to get a sketch commissioned that we could use across all our wedding papers and beyond.

Our fave booty-tooching engagement photo.

I emailed Kelli, the writer of the aforementioned blog post, to ask for a connection to the artist of her sketch. She offered something even better - her now fiance who is an artist in the Bay Area. Just a few emails led to the perfect cartoon version of Raz and Whit. 
How cute are we?!

And I used it everywhere. I used the original engagement image for our save the dates and the sketch for our invitations. I had it blown up and put in a HUGE frame I got from a sample sale for $10 one of my first weeks at Nordstrom. We used it as our guest book. 
Hopefully we'll get to hang this in our married house. Actively house hunting now. Pray for us!
 I also used it on programs. IT. WAS. EVERY. WHERE.

:)

In all important events, I try to think of the ways we can make them live on. The sketch and all its uses not only gave me a wedding motif, but it also gave me some fun leave-behinds I'll have forever. True, personal art that will always remind us of one of the most special and foundational moments of our lives.

And that is invaluable. 
Sketch: Timothy Lamb
Photos: Andria Lindquist

Product Next Door - Nike+ Fuelband

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When I was little, I got to hear a lot about my dad's time at the University of Oregon going to grad school. He talked about a lot of things, including that Steve Prefontaine got his start on the Oregon track. And Steve Prefontaine was one of the first people to really rep Nike. So my dad loved Nike, too. That's really how connections were made and allegiances were built in our house. It made sense to us.

So, when I met Raz and he was obsessed with Nike, a part of me thought "Here we gooooo..." and another part of me thought about Steve, Oregon and my dad, and smiled. In the nearly four years of our relationship, I have amassed an entire Nike workout/lounging wardrobe. It's actually really amazing. Raz will stop at the outlets on the way home from visiting his parents in Oregon and come in like Santa with bags and bags of new things for me. Christmas on Queen Anne, er'body! I swear, if he could get Prima something Nike she wouldn't murder and bury in her water dish, he would.

I know. It's really not real life. I'm disgustingly, amazingly lucky.

And for my birthday this year, Raz got me one of Nike's latest toys - a Nike+ Fuelband. It's been a little over a month now and I'm slowly working through my obsession with it. I set my daily goal (2,200 - a combination of steps taken and calories burned + Nike technology to decide what "fuel" means) 200 higher than the "average" 26-29-year-old, because obvi I'm not average.

On the nights I don't go on a walk or to the gym, I may or may not have to run in place while I'm brushing my teeth at 11 p.m. to hit my goal, but it's worth it. Wearing my Fuelband keeps me thinking of ways to be more active during the day, and seeing that I'm ahead of other chicks like me gets me all puffy like a rooster who knows he's king of the coop. I track my progress on the Nike+ app and hate myself if I don't maintain my streak (which often happens when I'm sitting on planes all day).

I totally recommend the Fuelband and will be rocking it until I wear it out completely, just like I did with my Lady and the Tramp VHS back in the day. It lends itself well to a black and gold arm party. And we all know black is always the new black.

The little FUEL scrolling across looks like a robot lives in my bracelet. Definitely feeling that. 
Shoes: Nike Free TR Connect 2 via Nordstrom

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