NEUTRAL TERRITORY: FALL FASHIONS

Call us vanilla, but we tend to gravitate towards neutrals at all times of year. But this year, we're thrilled to have myriad shades to choose from other than black and navy blue. This season, we're loading up on creamy whites, ballet pinks, and light camels. What better way to liven up a predictably dreary time of year? 

ANAIS MITCHELL

I might be late to the game on this one but the power and beauty behind this artist's music is too big to keep to myself...

It was super late at night a few weeks ago, goofing around on youtube, when my little sis introduced me to Mitchell's song, Shepherd.  We watched NPR's Tiny Desk video of her performance live and I was moved.  The song is hauntingly beautiful and tearfully sad, that kind of sadness that works its way deep into your core.  Mitchell sings about life, loss and renewal in this piece.  And despite the tragedy, I feel a surprising sense of hope by the end of the song, which admittedly helps me dry my tears.  There is magic in her voice and in her ability to get me to feel so vulnerably human.  

Folk music usually has a way of stirring my soul this way but Shepherd just hasn't left me since.  

OIL OF OREGANO

We love oregano on nearly everything: pizza, pasta, chicken! But did you know that the oil distilled from this yummy herb's stem packs serious health benefits? Be warned: this oil is potent in flavor and effect! We recommend taking it in capsule form to avoid the harsh taste. Used internally, oil of oregano has incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Recent studies even suggest that it may be effective in combatting a multitude of cancers including prostate, breast, and colon cancers. It also effectively kills off bad bacteria and yeast, making it a great supplement for those battling acne or chronic yeast infections. When mixed with a carrier oil, oil of oregano can be applied topically. Exercise caution and talk to your doctor if you aren't sure about interactions with other medicine you're taking: this is one seriously strong ingredient. 

HOMEFRONT SUSHI

From left:  California Roll, Philly Roll, and Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice

From left:  California Roll, Philly Roll, and Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice

For the first time ever, my roommates and I decided to make sushi -- at home, from scratch.  We had a sense it would be an ambitious project, with plenty of unexpected twists and turn.  And...we were right!

Gathering all of the ingredients was super easy, particularly because we stopped by Fish King in Glendale for some premium grade fish.  We opted for salmon and tuna, leaving with half a pound (turns out this is definitely more than enough to feed six).  Spicy mayo, sesame flakes, seaweed paper, soy paper, chili sauce, ginger and wasabi rounded out our list.  For the rice, we picked up a bag of sushi rice (which has a shorter grain), rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Rainbow Roll

Rainbow Roll

Admittedly, the toughest part was getting the rice right.  It's more complicated than we imagined, involving a bit of cooling fanning, spreading, and blending of ingredients to get it tacky enough to hold together.  Tucking the roll tight was also surprisingly tricky.  Not to mention remembering to keep your hands wet to avoid getting sticky fingers.  Lots to pay attention to but it was downright fun and totally delicious. 

Sushi chefs, r.e.s.p.e.c.t!

 

IMAGINING A NEW LIFE

A few weeks ago, I quit my job. I started working in the beauty industry as an intern when I was just 19. I graduated a semester early from university, worked full-time throughout my senior year, and for the most part didn’t look back. It was still hard to find a job then for people just graduating, and I knew that as a Creative Writing major, I’d be lucky to be one of the few of my peers who found employment. I did my best to climb as quickly as possible, joining a small company where I knew I’d have the opportunity to get my hands dirty, learn tons, and make some mistakes. It was just one more step in a life shaped like a connect-the-dots worksheet. A responsible, navigated decision.

I loved the people I worked with. I loved my boss. But I didn’t love the work I was doing. I didn’t feel proud of myself. My work environment was extremely high stress. I spent evenings after work wrapped in a blanket, unable to do anything other than veg out and watch Modern Family. I stopped writing. I often became frustrated to the point of tears by simple things like not being able to open a jar. I found myself saying things like, “I just want to go home,” and “I just want to sleep,” constantly. I was overwhelmed, depressed, and totally anxiety-ridden.

It was only when I came to the realization that I didn’t have to live my life that way that I truly began to understand why I felt so trapped. I looked at where I was and thought, if I am trying to “tough it out” because I’m too afraid to take a risk now, how am I ever going to take a risk later? 

I have no plans for getting a new job. I am doing what I love—freelance copywriting and social media, working on a business with Celene, and finishing the book I started almost 2 years ago. Sure, it might not work out. I could drain my savings account and need to get another job in a few months. But I have no children, no mortgage, and a fabulous support system. So if I can’t be brave now, when will I be? I hate self-help books, and inspirational quotes have always made me giggle. But there’s a proverb that I just keep repeating: Move and the way will open. So I’m moving because I’m the only one who can make myself happy. I don’t mind doubting what I’ve been taught. I don’t mind figuring it out as I go. And truly, imagining a new life for yourself is a pretty exciting thing.