Monday, August 22, 2016

Field Trip: Whatcom Museum

Saturday when the heat got to be too much and we were feeling uninspired, I figured out a place to go that would take care of us on two counts…
Main Gallery with Installations

We have a lovely museum here in town that has not always been on my radar. When Steve and I lived in Seattle we were members of SAM and even got engaged there! (this was the era before social media…so no sweet photos to dig up unfortunately!) I have had a love of art  that included study in college, and Steve has always been up for an exhibit and to check things out. So you'd think that we would see what the situation held in Bellingham the minute we got here. Sadly, that hasn't been the case. Sure, we have taken part in Art Walks, visited the Galleries, etc. But making the Art Museum here in town a priority hasn't happened. Until now. 

Me with Installation by Ashley V. Blalock

 The Whatcom Museum occupies three building with two having regular hours and being so different visually they are worth the visit in their own right. When you pay admission at one, you are granted access to both. 

Samantha with piece by Elizabeth Gahan

So, Samantha and I first visited the Lightcatcher building to see the Colorfast Installations. It left us breathless. I can't even tell you how something seemingly so simple, and of such basic materials could be so moving. Each installation being made for the space made them even more special. And each one begged for a photo full of color! This being a town full of active, outdoor types we honestly had the place to ourselves barring a few others. It was a colorful, quiet and cool heaven! 

Having the inclusion of video of all the artists talking about their intentions and process made the enjoyment of the art even better. We took our time wandering and taking it in. 

Samantha in the Just Woman Gallery 

And then being able to visit the exhibit Just Women of art made by all women left us both feeling even more inspired. Samantha is feeling ready to tackle some larger pieces of artwork after visiting both exhibits. And I'm feeling edified by seeing the impact of women in art and in the world at large. 

View of Old City Hall Building from the roof of the Lightcatcher
With a quick walk down the block we were in the gorgeous and historic Old City Hall, a Bellingham  landmark, viewing Nostalgic Separation: Mid-Century Bellingham in Historic Color. This exhibit of photos from Bellingham ranging in time from the 1940's thru the 1960's inspired in a different way. It makes me think about the photos we keep, and the ones we don't. The ones that we edit, and the ones that we crop. And it was another reminder to print more and get them off our phones and printed to treasure. 

Photo from Nostalgic Separation Show

We left feeling edified, inspired and ready to create. And also left feeling spoiled that we have such a resource at our disposal.We are planning to become members in the near future to keep a hand in the doings of this remarkable part of our city life. 

Nostalgic Saturation is an ongoing show, while Just Women ends on September 4th. Colorfast is running thru September 18th. So if you get the chance to go share your photos with me & the museum! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

On My Radar: Salt + Pepper + Oil

Thanks to the Downtown Bellingham Partnership's Morning Jam, I was made aware of an exciting new service in town. The Morning Jam brings in people from Bellingham and the surrounding areas to talk about their passions and how they have lined them up with what they do and who they are. 

Oleg Vetkov
Oleg Vetkov is the man behind Salt + Pepper + Oil, a Fresh Ready-to-Cook Meal service. What he shared is that he has a passion for food, and a passion for a well balanced life. He is working to have that for himself and offer it to others in his business! He knows that we are all short on time, but have a love for meals that are nutritious, fresh, and made from ingredients that are sourced responsibly. And that if you aren't burdened with all the prep, there is room to have a little bit more fun in the kitchen!

Sam at the Salt+Pepper+Oil Storefront

Oleg was gracious enough to give my family a couple of meals to take home and try to see how they would go over for a typical family. We are a crew of three, a full time worker, part-time worker, and one 16 year old that is preparing to go back to school soon. The adults in the picture are fairly adventurous, while the 16 year old is working on it! 

Triple Zested Chicken Breast with Caprese Peach Salad (plus utensils)
The first of the two meals we tried was Triple Zested Chicken Breast with Caprese Peach Salad. The ingredients are all labeled to coordinate with instructions on the packaging and in a  really helpful manner, the list of needed utensils is also included. The crew all gathered around to get started! 

Samantha getting busy with the cherry tomatoes!

Though she says she doesn't love them, our daughter Sam was happy to cut the gorgeous cherry tomatoes! The colors were beautiful, and the taste even better! But this was just the beginning of the side salad. Once cut there were ready prepped peaches, fresh mozzarella,  some mint and basil to quickly dice up and a lovely basalmic glaze ready to drizzle over the whole works. Along with the chicken that was ready with an easy coating of the packet of zest and a quick cook we were ready to go. 

Happy Steve with the finished product!
That face you see above? That's a happy guy! This meal was perfect for a summer evening…and the salad was so beautiful. It was like having a restaurant meal…at home. And the cleanup was minimal. What a sweet deal! 

Capicola and Garlic Sauce Flatbreads

Meal two was much like the first! All the ingredients are packaged together and well marked. And this one had us all drooling before we even cut into it…Capicola and Garlic Sauce Flatbreads! We figured it was a great Friday evening meal, because well, pizza! But this…well this was elevated to another level! 

Flatbread ingredients

The flatbreads were incredibly easy to put together. Everything was ready to go and it was a matter of cutting open the packages, and putting everything on the flatbreads based on preferences. We all decided we were game for everything, and just went for it! 

Flatbread with side salad
And we were so glad we did! We made a side salad on our own to go with this meal, but all we could talk about was the flatbread. In our family lingo it tasted like "more" which meant we all wanted lots more of it! It was SO GOOD. The serving of sliced capicola that came with it was so generous that there was enough for Steve to make himself a small cheese plate the next day and include it. But all he could talk about was the flatbread. The heat, the cheese, it was a perfect combo. 

So, needless to say we are all converts to Salt+Pepper+Oil and have already put an order in for a couple of items on his next menu. The ordering is so flexible and having the option to either go by and say hi and pick it up, or have it delivered is really cool. We think being able to eat well, have it be easy, have your family help (bonus!), and feel like you are trying innovative, locally made items is worth our dollar. I hope you decide to give it a try! Let me know if you do and what you think! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Field Trip: Renegade Craft Fair - West Coast Tour

Thanks to catching a shout out about it on Moorea Seal's snap chat (yay for the practical uses of social media!) Samantha and I were able to attend the Renegade Craft Fair on it's Seattle stop on it's West Coast Tour. It was our first visit to this fair and we found a lot to love about it! Sidebar, if you ever get the chance to visit Moorea's store in Seattle I highly recommend it. Sam and I have had the luck to meet her twice and both times have found her to be gracious, warm and so much fun! This time found her oohing and aahing over the puppies that were coming by, greeting everyone as if long lost friends, and just being the cool, sweet friend that everyone want to hang with. 

It was held at Hanger 30 in Mangusen Park. It's a beautiful setting that was at one time a Seaplane base. My husband remembers visiting it as a kid with his family as his Dad was in the Navy! It's a big, airy atrium like space filled with gorgeous crafts, warm and creative vendors…and lots of beautiful dogs along with their owners! 

A vendor that was new to us that we were glad to stumble upon was Mane Message with her beautiful tray of Vintage French hair barrettes. She has so many different hair options that we will be checking out in the future via her online store, but at that moment we only had eyes for these beauties! Can you guess which three came home with us? 

There were so many things to go crazy over! We had taken a peek at the vendor list and had some idea of where we would like to make our purchases. And then the rest we left to chance. And it's a good thing too, since there was so much to fall in love with. 

And there were people to fall in love with too! We had plans to check out Snash as I had been mulling over one of their rings for some time…it's just a matter of figuring out which word! While mulling over their display we met MaryJo Bono and decided if we ever moved to New York where I believe she lives we would probably become stalkers! She is the funniest, warmest, coolest ever! I mean, her skirt had the Golden Girls on it! And she had great stories, was really helpful and started us out on our Snash ring addiction. Mine says "Girl Gang," Sam's says "gross."  Seriously fun! And a highlight for me, as I like my craft with a side of sly fun…having worked at a scrapbook store I like when things aren't taken too seriously. SaveSave

There is so much I didn't get a photo of, and so much more we would have loved to bring home. We are looking forward to the Winter Show happening in December on the 17th and 18th. We relaxed that evening with one of the teas we picked up from the colorful and fragrant booth manned by the lovely owners of T-We Tea. A tea company based out of San Francisco, their booth caught our eye with it's color palate and hilarious tea names, and then hooked us with the delicious tastes. We came home with three tins and expect to continue with a love for the branch. I mean, Cougar Tranquilizer? I'm thinking their tea will come in handy for gifts this year! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Deep Thoughts: A Change in the Air

Do you feel it? Around this time of year I can always feel the advance of Fall. It's just a small glimpse. And I'm not talking about the appearance of school supplies, or Back to School sales. When walking the dog a few leaves trickle down. When the sun sets in the evening there is a glow to it that feels like Fall. And school starts in the month of August this year, rather than after Labor day which makes me feel cheated of some our precious time. 

And it feels bittersweet. Time marches on. Our oldest is already out of High School and our youngest enters her Junior year in a scant few weeks. Time feels precious and important. This is a time of change for our family. We are down to three in our home and with two of us working it makes summer sometimes a tricky proposition. 

So, we are trying our best to make the most of what feels like the final weeks of summer. Going to the Drive In movies with friends. Taking our meals to eat outside. Some of us (not me!) going on mountain bike rides. Going to craft fairs in Seattle for fun (more on that later). And trying not to leave any summer fun left behind.

There are things that we don't want to forget that we are trying to get to. There are many craft ideas that we are hoping to tackle before school starts. Patching jeans. Modifying some thrift store sweaters. Maybe try some bleach dye techniques. 

What are you hoping to tackle before the summer is out? Any day trips to take, any crafts to tackle before we are back to the Fall schedule? I would love to hear what you are up to!