Back to basics

I’ve had a lot of stumbles these past couple of weeks. Whether it was exploding a glass pie dish in the oven (pumpkin pie ruined), individual cookies that turn into a whole sheet pan worth of cookies (still delicious, though), crying a little bit too much (sometimes we all just need a good cry), or not getting the job that I thought I wanted (I didn’t really want it), I feel like 2014 has been a lot of stumbling and fumbling to figure out what it is exactly I’m doing.

Especially as a ‘professional’, I feel like we are defined daily by what we do (see last post), but now I get to do the defining, which is a bit more scary and nerve-wrecking because I have no one to blame but myself (oh right, and I need an income). So, it’s a daily process of defining what I want to do and trying to make a living out of it. It’s coming along slowly but surely, and this blog is definitely part of it. Luckily, if one day doesn’t go as planned, I get to wake up again and start anew.

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the view from home

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What do you do?

It usually comes about while at a party or meeting new people for the first time. After you’ve said your hellos and how are you doings and you want to get to know the person a bit more.

‘So, what do you do?’

It’s the question that everyone hates to answer, (I find) is really awkward to ask, and ultimately ends up defining your ‘career’ as who you are. Culturally speaking, there are few other phrases that get the point across – you just want to learn more about the person – but has come to mean ‘where do you spend 8 hours of your day?’ or (not so subtly) ‘where does your paycheck come from?’

I’ve tried rephrasing it as ‘what do you do for fun?’ or ‘what are you interested in’ – but my (super awkward) personality just isn’t able to carry those phrases with the same fluidity as ‘what do you do’. I admit, I want to break the cycle, but end up continuing it.

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2014!

Woa.

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted on here (sorry to anyone that’s been dying to read about my crazy life)… In all seriousness, I just couldn’t keep up with everything that happened!

When we left off, we were living in the airstream in the beauty of the fall!

And then winter happened, staying in the negatives for weeks..

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And living in the airstream became a little bit difficult lacking water. Joda and I began to realize why mobile homes are most often seen in Arizona and warmer states…

Then, in April, we quit our jobs and headed to Alaska. I was curious of the world outside of traditional jobs and wanted to experience a different way of living. Yes, even more different than the airstream. So we put everything in storage and headed north!

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Our last days at the airstream

… Well, Joda headed north first to do some more serious backcountry expeditions while I visited with family and friends, backpacking and farming on the east coast.

Then we met up in Alaska in May to do some more mild exploring (kayaking out of Homer, exploring in Talkeetna) together and began work in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in June.

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Denali

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Kayaking Kachemak Bay

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Beautiful dumpsters in Seward, AK

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The first of many moose we got to see!

We met amazing people, lived (practically) outside, and took advantage of all that Alaska had to offer!

Right before returned back to the states in October, I got an amazing offer from a friend to start up a café just north of Fort Collins, Colorado. I did weeks of research, business plan writing, and networking only to realize that it probably isn’t a good idea to start a café when you’re flat broke. So, I’m back on the job hunt. We’re back in the central mountains of Colorado. The past year has given me so much insight to business and happiness and work that I think I can make it happen again. And save up enough money until the next adventure comes along!

Everything we need

I cannot emphasize enough how much I love living in the airstream.

The other week, as I posted on facebook about the hard time I was having transitioning (and thus sitting in my car to avoid the hardship of life), friends came out of the woodwork to see if I was okay. While, at that point, I may have been having a hard time to see the good in what we are doing, I now appreciate almost everything about the airstream and love living here.

To be in a space that was designed around everything we need –  mostly eating, sleeping, reading, and writing – is startling at first, but becomes normal relatively quickly. I will not be exercising in my home anytime soon, but that’s what the great outdoors are for!

Space is limited here and, therefore, I can’t just be toting all my fancy-shmancy cookware into a tiny little home. So, fear not for those who are currently thinking, “I bought them expensive things for their wedding and now it’s GONE!” Nope – it’s just in a storage unit down the street to be used when needed and returned thereafter (especially that food processor and kitchenaid!). If you’re wondering what made the cut for what lives permanently in our home, and may be thinking about downsizing your own accumulation of kitchen equipment, here’s a list of what we found we need.

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I’m here.

Something about the fall season beckons me back to writing. Perhaps it’s the shortening of days or the chill in the air or the need to simply rest for a bit, but I feel introspective and contemplative and compelled to put my thoughts into words. I took the summer and the fall to soak up every last drop of the sunshine, but here I am once again – back at this blog.

For those of you who don’t know me personally (or hadn’t heard), I recently moved into an airstream.

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quote of the day

I’m often inspired by the various sources of literature (be it blogs, books, editorials, or just musings) on food these days. I saw this yesterday from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef and it spoke immediately to me heart:

Italy feels like a home to us. We met at least 3 Americans on this trip who have moved to Italy. Each one of them said the same thing: I wanted to stop feeling like a freak for caring about great food. Here, everyone loves food. There’s no divide in Italy. There are no foodies. Everyone, everyone loves food. There is no guilt, no withholding, no sense that certain foods are forbidden. There is simply everyday feasting, long lunches with family, produce in season, great ingredients, dinners that stretch far into the evening, and great conversations around the table.

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That’s my wish for the world

With love,

from Jess’ kitchen

Comfort

It’s Friday night and I (in true small town fashion) went for a long walk with Kale (my dog), did a bunch of dishes that piled up over the course of the week, and (surprisingly) made an intricate meal. After a long week of playing catch up, this was exactly the night and meal-therapy that I needed.

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blessed

Though I’m not having the best April to date, I am being constantly reminded of the amazing blessings of people that are in my life. And that people really are so genuinely wonderful.

A great friend of mine made the following after reading my last blog post. Because of my fragile state of my emotions these days, I immediately burst into tears. I hope this resonates with your heart as it did mine.

So, thank you to all the friends that have called, hung out, insisted on a visit, and reached out to me this month. We’re going to make it through this together.

with love,

from Jess’ kitchen

Revived.

This is a blog that I love.

In recent weeks, I’ve read articles on the interwebs about the death of food writing and how you shouldn’t try and start a food writing career and blah blah blah and I’ve decided I just don’t care. I don’t care if I’m in ‘the know’ or out of ‘the know’ or who I’m trying to be known by. For one second (and maybe forever), I’d like to be me. And, honestly, right now ‘being me’ doesn’t feel like I’m going to be a food writer, but food is something I love.  And coming to a place where I feel okay with great about me and the food I love is really important because most of my life can be related back to it.

So here I am.

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Living Simply, Part 2

I’m not quite sure how many parts to this series there will be, but I’m certainly learning more and more each day about simple living.

1. You will engage in long discussions with spouse about seemingly insignificant (but totally significant) items. For instance, yellow onions. I lost. We have none. Waiting until next grocery trip.

2. When forced, you can use up so many ingredients in the fridge and learn to forgo those that simply are not around. Thinking outside the box and letting go of ‘musts’ or recipe-fixations is necessary.

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