Thursday, May 27, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 5.27.21

A Jolt of West Coast Love

My girlfriend, Jillian, scored an incredible deal on a flight out to Charlotte from San Diego last week and I couldn't have been happier to see her and to have some time together to catch up! Jillian and I met in grad school way back in the day. When we first moved to Charlotte, she was the only person I knew and she did an amazing job welcoming my family and showing me all the best spots! A couple short years later, Jillian took new job teaching at the University of San Diego and off she went (who could blame her?). It was fun switch roles a bit this week and take her to a couple of Charlotte's new destinations. The city has exploded in the few years she's been away! Cheers to our next visit, I already miss you! (And she heard about the flight deal through an app called Hopper.)

Yard Updates/Refresh

This yard project is so overdue. The easement beside our lot is missing a sidewalk. The city just never put one in. Over the years, the grassy area has been encroached upon by neighboring fescue seed (that's competing with our zoysia) and it's basically an eyesore. Additionally, the ivy (NOT planted by me) is out of control and taking over everything all around the yard. You all know I love my houseplants; however, yard work/pruning/weeding is not my jam. Unfortunately, the landscaping around this house has suffered from our own neglect and mismanagement. We are finally addressing a few of the more problematic areas and I'm very excited to share the progress with you. Here's just a small sneak peak of what's coming: 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

OMGoodness. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book I've had on my "to-read" list for YEARS and I finally got around to picking it up. Geneva had it checked out from the library and recommended I not put it off any longer. I read it in a day --at the expense of everything else I was supposed to accomplish. Some books are like that. This was one of them. My friend, Tracie, says the movie is one of her all-time favorites. It's directed by the author of the book so I have high hopes. Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Both??

Knock Off Birkenstocks

The first time I saw the yellow suede pair of Arizona Birks on my friend, Laura, I wanted a pair of my own. However, the holidays were coming and I was making a real effort not to buy myself anything so I waited. Of course, they sold out and have never become available again (unless you want them lined in shearing  --which I do not). Anyhoo... flash forward to last week when I was INFLUENCED on Instagram into checking out the Amazon knock-offs. They're really kinda great! However, I will say, like actual Birkenstocks, these also take a little time to break in. The bonus is they have a nice cushion under the heel --which the real ones lack. They come in tons of colors and are true to size. 

Cauliflower [Florets] with Chipotle-Cashew Sauce

The recipe, from Milk Street Magazine (November/December 2019), actually calls for cauliflower steaks --but I'm super lazy and subbed prepared cauliflower florets from the bag instead. Wow. This dish was packed with flavor and I loved every bite! Whether you use 2 pounds of steaks or florets, you'll toss in olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper and roast until fork-tender in a 450ยบ oven 20-30 minutes (flip halfway if you're doing steaks). Here's the magic: To make the sauce, stir together 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 finely grated medium garlic clove, 3/4 cup chopped roasted cashews, 1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (mined), 2 tablespoons adobo sauce, 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used olive oil), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spoon over the warm cauliflower. Prepare to be wowed. 

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