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Summer, not so secret

14 Oct

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This summer, I eloped with my best friend. We’re married! We kept our plans secret for as long as we could prior to our city hall date, but the secrecy (that part was so so so fun!) helped to keep the planning-stress at bay, and everything else in perspective.

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I suppose, elopement isn’t technically true, since we did spend some time planning it, however, avoiding the word “wedding” publicly prior to the event actually made it much easier to say no to things that didn’t align with our desire for a low-pressure and fun day. The wedding-industrial-complex is strong (and real), and neither one of us wanted to be pressured into traditions that felt like obligations which would ultimately stress everyone out.

For years, we’ve known we’d skip anything wedding-related that felt stressful or unnecessary, (like an official engagement period, or bridal parties) because we didn’t want to be pressured into doing something that didn’t feel right to us. Also, all the money! We knew going into all this, spending, oh say, the average thirty thousand dollars per american wedding on a single day just doesn’t make sense for us. Our families didn’t need it, our friends didn’t need it, and we did not need it either. What a relief. We did not even spend a fraction of that, though it was hard to sort through all the decisions, once that door was open. We wanted a simple ceremony, a very good meal, and close friends and family to share it with us. Oh, and we wanted to feel and look like ourselves, glasses and all. That was it. No registry, no showers, no matching dresses or rehearsals, and no ugly crying. The celebration was planned quietly over a few months, then revealed to immediate family and close friends as we got closer to the date. Everything was held here in San Francisco, in the city that we’ve made our home in together. Following the celebration, we shared our news with our larger circle of family and friends with an announcement in the mail in the week that followed the ceremony.

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All of that explaining out of the way, it was the most fun, most relaxing and emotionally wonderful day ever. It has been difficult to sit down and write about the day, simply because it feels so hard to describe, and I haven’t been able to get the details or feeling of it all just right. Every time I look back on that day, I feel grateful for our supportive community, and family and I just feel so happy and excited about the person I get to spend my life with. He has always been referred to as my Intern here on my blog, but now he is my husband, but more than that, he is my partner in every way.

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Our out-of-town friends and family stayed in rentals near our house so we could meet up for drinks, picnics and pizza in the days before and after our wedding. The weather was warm and surprisingly lovely for a Thursday in July. Phones were left at home, and the ceremony was performed in the Rotunda at City Hall by the tiny and funny Justice Bernice, and it was all over in under 10 minutes. We kissed, we cheered, we hugged every.single.person within arms reach. After photos, we walked a few blocks to a tucked away bar in Hayes Valley for a little toast, dessert before dinner, plus music and socializing before heading over to our favorite neighborhood restaurant for a long and leisurely meal of deviled eggs, fried chicken and rosé.

Our “no ugly crying” rule was tested a few times during toasts, but quickly saved by a full chorus of our friends spontaneously singing “Islands In the Stream” for us. I thought I might cry, I was laughing so hard. Waitresses came and joined in, the restaurant clapped, and while I can honestly say that song was never significant to us before that moment, it certainly is now.

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Work and then some

29 Jul

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Slow down July! We’re nearly through this month, and I’ve had very few moments to sit down and reflect on the last few weeks. We’ve had brushes with real summer weather and even made it up to the Russian River for a day to nap and swim and picnic in equal measure. We came back with pink thighs (both of us) but recharged after a short, but full day without cell phone service.

I’ve been almost entirely focused on growing my business and being a grown up this summer, doing things like: Getting insurance! Renting a production space! Hiring my first employee! All of these scary-exciting developments have been sped up by some new large wholesale orders that I’ll be sharing more about soon. Moving all the production from the sidewalk and garage to an actual production space was a long-needed move, one that I was afraid to make. Hiring a production assistant was something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months as well, so I could free up those long production and sanding hours, and reinvest that time and energy back into the business.

Long story short, it is really exciting, and also terrifying in a mostly wonderful/OK way. Although, for some realness on the internet, I’ll admit that I’ve had endless worries and anxiety about building up my wholesale orders AND keeping up with online sales and often wake up in the middle night worrying about it. I’m a micromanager and worrier and its been a continual challenge to let go of some details (like sanding and packaging) so I could tackle other bigger projects (like oversees distribution?!).

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This week we’re flying to Seattle then Portland for a family trip + work trip combination, with a little air travel and train travel thrown in FOR FUN! We’re going to visit Intern’s family for a family reunion, plus I’m tacking on some Seattle retail shop visits to promote the wholesale collection. We’ll be stopping in to see my family then hopping on the train to spend a few days in Portland, visiting a few friends, a few more retail shop visits, and hopefully do a little fun-relaxing-exploring before we fly back to San Francisco and kick off another round of wholesale order production.

I used to feel guilty when I neglected this space, but now I think I am too busy to feel that guilt. I’m also aware that most of my posts in the past few months have been primarily about how busy I think I am. Even I’m tired of reading that. I’m really neglecting a much longer list of things, hobbies and interests and the blog happens to be one of them. I’ve started to find it harder and harder to write about anything personal beyond work and work-related worrying, but that could be an excuse I’ve invented to keep the blog on the back back unlit burner for now. Intern and I are both in a very work-y place personally, a phase that fits well with where we are right now in our lives. I know we both won’t always be working this hard, or feeling driven to work all the time, but we also know we may not have another phase of our lives where our attention isn’t split, so now might really be the best and only time to work this hard.

 

Summer scenes

2 Jul

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June quickly turned into July this year. We’ve been bouncing along between warm days and fog-wind days, which are more often than not, the norm for San Francisco summer. We’re deep into summer produce from our Eatwell CSA– stone fruit and squash are on the menu for the next many many weeks. Our garden is almost 90% neglected and unplanted this year. The drought made that decision for us this season, though even if we weren’t in a severe drought, I can’t imagine having time to garden right now. Our artichoke plant produced a lot this year, nearly all of the artichokes were left on the plant to flower. Our big beautiful and productive lemon tree was hacked back to nearly nothing by our landlord for unknown reasons, so we’ve had very few meyer lemons for the past 6 months. The only thing really thriving in the backyard is honeysuckle and lots of volunteer nasturtiums planted last year or the year before. The squirrels and wind have done a good job of moving the seeds around to different parts of the yard.

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Two things // June

3 Jun

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Last month I wrote a very brief post about two things I was currently infatuated with. I still feel the same way about those two things but this month, I’ve got two new things to feel strong feelings for. Item one: Kimchi! For the last two weeks the pantry tucked away at the back of our house has been giving off a sorta pungent (fermented) scent– especially on warm days. Home fermentation guys! After the big event in May, Austin of Fermenters Club sent us home with two pints of ready-to-ferment kimchi. All we had to to was cover them with cheese cloth, and keep an eye on the liquid level and prepare ourselves for a kinda kimchi-scented kitchen for 1-2 weeks. I tasted them raw, then one week into the fermentation process, then again this weekend, 15 days after we got them started. I like a forkful of kimchi anytime, but we also make kimchi fried rice for weeknight dinners pretty frequently with leftover rice and random vegetables we’ve got in the fridge. Throw an egg on that and dinner is delicious. We’ve tried a few variations of kimchi fried rice– this one from Serious Eats is pretty basic but good.

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Item two: ROASTED CAULIFLOWER. My mom recently told me that I used to call cauliflower “fake broccoli” when I was little. I’ve always felt that way about cauliflower, because my love for broccoli has always been much, much stronger. Cauliflower was in my opinion, the bland boring sister to cauliflower, that is until  4 weeks ago when I fell for roasted, crispy, sweet and salty cauliflower. I am converted. We’ve had it at least once a week roasted with olive oil, sea salt and Aleppo pepper. I will eat it straight out of the oven, burning my mouth and fingers, or, the more adult way, tossed with roasted garlic, arugula, good olive oil and pasta with a little pecorino romano on top. Now I know that roasting is going to make almost any boring vegetable delicious (broccoli, cabbage, radishes, brussels sprouts) but roasted cauliflower is really really good.

 

Maybe blurry May

27 May

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The month of May has been a blur. I’ve been busy with the shop, packaging and fulfilling orders and sanding, always sanding. I also spent a few blurry and busy few weeks prepping for the big summer Skill Exchange event over at StoreFrontLab. It was my dream lineup of teachers and workshops, but it was as always, an intense experience to bring it all together. I somehow seem to forget that putting on events takes a lot out of me, physically and emotionally, even though I do enjoy most of the organizing, planning, and final results. The results, by the way, were wonderful. Joanna wrote a very lovely recap of her experience as a student at Skill Exchange over at Jojotastic.

All of our teachers were passionate and so generous with their time and skills– in the coming weeks I’ll share photos and a full recap of the whole event, captured by photographer Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food. I am very excited to see these photos! For much of the day I was so busy running around behind the scenes, I know I missed quite a few skills. I put together a short video of a few moments, but I’m already eager to see what else Kimberley captured of our day.  I realize now that I’ve almost completely stopped toting my camera around, and most of the time have become too lazy/forgetful to take photos at home. I’d blame it on being busy, but being busy just seems like a dumb excuse. I forced Intern to take the above photo of me, and it may be the one and only photo of me there, and probably the only one of me looking way less stressed than I actually felt. The other photos were taken during a leisurely late lunch mid-week in mid-May, when Intern and I both snuck away from work to take care of a few errands in Hayes Valley, and have nothing to do with the contents of this blog post. Feels like an appropriate way to sum up the past few weeks– lots of unrelated everything-all-at-once.

 

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