Thursday, February 22, 2018

My dad retired and we went skiing in Wisconsin




That's right. My old dad retired. We celebrated with a big family dinner at Surly Brewery which was awesome. There were giant pretzels and beer for all!




The real party was a week later when we took our annual Witt-Blue-Bachman sleep away ski trip. This time we stayed on Turtle Lake and skiied in Cumberland. I think it was our best cabin yet. We enjoyed excellent food and drink, lounging, ping pong, bumper pool and watching some netflix. Bowie mostly enjoyed running. Non stop.
Grandma and Grandpa brought lots of fun projects like slime.


Running: Action shot.




Josh in the weird indoor sauna.
Big muscles opening his popper.
We also made it out for some winter appreciation- a walk on the ice and skiing. Bowie did not want to be in the ski pulk so he had to go back to the warming house and got the award for shortest ski ever. He also spent time on our ice walk hiding under the sled and pooping.









Super beautiful and relaxing getaway with some of my favorite people. I can confirm that my dad is an expert at being retired.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Austin, Tx



Josh and I took some time between Christmas and New Years to visit Austin, Tx. We are so thankful to my parents for watching Bowie so we could travel just the two of us. The time together was relaxing and restorative. You can see above that we left Minneapolis in the midst of a polar vortex or a snow bomb or whatever it's called. The bad news is that Austin wasn't much warmer but 45 seemed pretty warm in comparison.





The first thing we did when we arrived was to walk to Vera Cruz for tacos and aqua fresca. Austin has the BEST food trucks and also has a lot of them. We anticipated a lot of eating and drinking on this trip but were surprised to find all the super healthy options available to us. Instead of alcohol we drank a lot of coffee, kombucha and fresh juice. And also alcohol. I have a thing for beverages and Austin did not disappoint. Also Topo Chico is superior to La Croix and anything in a glass bottle has a place in my heart.






I didn't get any photos of our airbnb but it had an adorable backyard oasis with a hot tub and a pool. You can look at it here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16881707 and you should definitely stay there if you want an amazing host and this back yard. We went in the hot tub as much as possible. We were walking distance from all of the amazing food on Cesar Chavez and from Rainy Street, which is a portion of the city where all the homes had been gutted and turned into bars and restaurants. It was so fun to walk down a city block and know that we could go inside each house for a different surprise.


We loved breakfast (and salty dog kombucha) from Cenote, which was walking distance from our airbnb.




We also loved the Japanese/Texan fusion at Ramen Tatsu-ya. Brisket ramen. Um yes. Topo Chico whisky high ball. Yes and yes. Chili cheese takoyaki. Definitely.





Were were able to hit up graffiti hill on a warm day- which was truly so cool and fun. It's open to anybody who wants to graffiti and there were a ton of people making new additions. The place was littered with bottles of spray paint and color and music blasting. It was so fun. From there we also walked to Book People and I got about a million new book suggestions and bought "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman and it's outrageously good.

We ended up on gross South Congress, which everybody suggested but I do not suggest. It was very touristy and expensive and felt a little like a hipper Wisconsin Dells. Torcy's Tacos were gross and we got locked out of our bank account so it felt a little sad.


We rebounded by renting bikes and visiting Barton Springs, a year round gorgeous cold spring/swimming pool in Zilker Park. I wish it has been warm enough to swim (although plenty of people were swimming). We still dipped our toes.




We also had the opportunity to see a show at Electric Church. I'm so happy my husband salmons me to the best local music at the best venues whenever we travel. The bands were fun and the venue was even better. During the shows they have a dude creating live visuals on the screen behind the band of found film clips and oil and paint mixtures. Very trippy and a great addition. I mainly enjoyed talking to people around the bonfire out back. Everybody was really nice and welcoming and I just love Austin.


So I definitely didn't take the best photos of this vacay but in sum Austin is a fantastic city. We managed to make a lot of friends (a.k.a. every mystical person or parent of young children within 10 feet of wherever we were). Austin is growing so rapidly that I worry it won't have the same local charm in a couple of years as it gets too expensive and expansive. I was struck that we didn't see a single chain store while we were there. Every business is small and independent and cool and I hope that never changes. I'd love to go back again when it's hot and we can see more music but for now I think we did everything we wanted AND managed to take naps and hot tubs. We missed Bowie a lot and were glad to get back to him and I'm really excited to begin planning our next travels to include him.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kombucha

My co-worker Becca is basically the coolest person ever. She's a yoga instructor who does things like bake bread when she has spare time that's not spent working out. I really enjoy her, even though she has RBF and I have to make certain she's not judging me (j/k Becca you're gorgeous). Anyhow I was of course super jealous of her when she let me taste her home made kombucha and it was delicious. I immediately wanted to copy her and make my own at home. She was kind enough to bring me a SCOBY and guide me through the process. If you aren't familiar with Kombucha it's a fermented tea that is a probiotic elixir of health. It's sweet and sour and carbonated and I'm doing a terrible job of explaining it so you can read more here: http://whatiskombucha.com/
 
The SCOBY is akin to a sourdough starter. It is the magic that makes the kombucha happen. It also looks like a body part in formaldehyde. Thirsty yet? I like kombucha because I really like the flavor. It's similar to a ginger ale and I find it to be refreshing. I also the think the benefits of the probiotics (in digestion, fighting off viruses and overall cleansing of the body) are essential. I currently take a daily probiotic supplement and have noticed a huge different physically since starting it. I feel less bloated and my stomach can take on foods that used to make me feel sick (certain dairy and meat products) without the pain. When I drink kombucha I'm able to skip taking my pill that day. It's cheap to make at home and makes me feel incredibly industrious.
 
Okay so I decided to make my first batch a small batch just to see how it goes. I bought a gallon jar at the co-op. After a simple rinse with white vinegar and water I made a sweet tea of only black tea and organic sugar.
 
Here are the EXACT products I used.
Then I dumped in the SCOBY and some of Becca's kombucha as a starter. I covered it with a coffee filter and a rubber band and let it sit on my counter.
Just chillin.
After 2 weeks I put a straw in and started tasting every couple of days. At first it was way too sweet and I didn't taste any of the vinegar bite I like so much. Ultimately it took about 3 weeks to get to the taste that I like. I was surprised at how perfect it tasted. I've paid way too much to buy this in a bottle at the co-op and here I'd cheaply and with little effort made it just as well in my own kitchen. Besides being entirely impressed with myself I was happy at the control I had over the balance of sweet and sour.
I had enough to put in 3 bottles. My husband (who was supportive but seemed skeptical) loves it too. Since my first test batch turned out so great it was a no-brainer to have another go with a full gallon. I did everything exactly the same and am anxiously awaiting this finished product. If all goes well I plan to start brewing two at a time as soon as my SCOBY is big enough. I'm going to try experimenting with different tea flavors and if that goes well I'll experiment with adding some fruit juice. The future holds many kombucha adventures.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Podcast Obsession

My 33rd birthday is a couple of months away and for some reason I've had it in my head for a few years now that my 33rd year would be my best year ever. I don't really know why I thought I had to wait until I'm 33 to be my best but that's just how my brain works. So now that it is creeping up I'm getting a head start- which is totally a thing that I would do. I've been making some slow and steady life changes since the new year to spend my time more wisely. I found that I was getting pretty phone addicted and spending a lot of mindless time that could be better spent on things I love doing. The first thing I did was delete my Facebook and commit to spending that time in different ways.  Increasing the frequency of blog posting is something I've been wanting to make a priority, for instance, and I hope to post about more of these changes to my life in the near future. This post is dedicated to one of my new habits, which is devouring podcasts. I found I was getting angry at the radio for playing the same stupid songs over and over and I was also angry at talk radio for being too political, too depressing, too celebrity gossip. For all the time I spend in my car I figured I could listen to something that taught me about new things or at the very least didn't make me mad. I'm a podcast addict now. I wanted to share the ones that I can't get enough of. If you know of any great podcasts please share them with me, too! I don't know how many more my phone can hold but I'll give it my best shot.  
 
 
My friends Kelsey and Erik make this podcast with their friend Ryan. It's about Ryan's mom Suzanne who is a psychic and energy healer. Each episode explores these gifts from a different angle. It's creepy and fascinating and really well done and I'm so proud of my friends for making this. Bowie is also featured in an episode...

If you've read the books this is the podcast version. People talk about embarrassing moments from growing up and read old diaries and love letters and stuff. It's hilarious and totally relatable.

This is a local team who also do Darkness Radio. It's totally hit or miss but it's definitely all things paranormal. I'm a junkie.

This is my favorite way to hear new music. Josh has the philosophy that you have to listen to every song they play and not skip them because if you've got time to listen to a podcast you've got the time to hear it all the way through. This is a good way to think about it because I'm quick to make judgments but listening to stuff I would normally ignore has been enlightening. Everything that makes it on this show is good, too. Right now I'm a couple episodes behind and trying to catch up fast because they just announced the Tiny Desk Concert winner and I'm dying to hear them.

This is basically a dude telling creepy stories but the catch is that he super researches them and they're all historically accurate.

Best interviewer ever. I tried listening to The Nerdist and I felt like Chris Hardwick talked way too much. Marc Maron asks great questions and has great guests. I like his voice a lot, too. If you listen to one podcast in your whole life you MUST listen to the WTF with Barack Obama and then cry your eyes out because he's such an awesome dude.

People telling really, really, really great stories.

This is my FAVORITE podcast of all time and the one that got me interested in podcasts. It's Starlee Kine who is, in my opinion, the star of This American Life and wins the award for most interesting voice. In this show she solves quirky mysteries. There is only one season. The greatest mystery of Mystery Show is why Gimlit cancelled it before season 2 could be released and whether or not there will be a season 2 (fingers crossed so tight).

This show is about internet things but not totally. I don't know how to explain it. Just check it out.

This is by a local gal who has a book and a blog already about miscarrying, losing her father and her husband all within the span of 6 weeks. She talks to guests about super sad and difficult life circumstances that are otherwise really difficult to talk about. It's sad but also really empowering and really, really well done.

All about things you cannot see like courage, sound and norms. It's sciencey and creative and the ladies who make this show are downright cute.