Happy Presidents Day – Let’s Celebrate Women!

women getty images mom

Sheryl Sanberg of Lean In fame has worked with Getty to add 2,500 images portraying women as leaders. These are just three of those 2,500 that the New York Times posted. You can see the full collection here. Happy Presidents Day and here’s to having a woman president soon!

women images getty profile

women getty images board room


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Happy Valentine’s Day – or Not!

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Image via Pinterest

I know there are those who love Valentine’s Day (pink! hearts! true love! date night! romance!) and those who hate it (too sappy! too commercialized! singles power!). I can confidently say I LIKE Valentine’s Day. It’s not my favorite holiday, but any excuse to buy/receive flowers and chocolates is okay in my book. So instead of a long-winded post about the virtues vs. the deficiencies of the holiday, I’m just going to do a link love instead. Sound good? Here goes:

 


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Peter Pilotto Collab for Target

Peter Pilotto for Target

My friend, Meredith, and I have made it a tradition to wake up early and head to Target whenever a designer collaboration comes out. The Peter Pilotto debut on Sunday was no different. We headed over to our local Target and rushed the doors with about seven other people.

Honestly, I wasn’t quite as excited about this collaboration since I’m not a big pattern/prints fan and this collection is nothing but prints. Nevertheless, I liked the modern cuts and shapes that I saw on the online lookbooks so I figured it was worth waking up early on a Sunday.

In person the items didn’t look as crisp and bright as they appeared online, so I only tried on a handful of items:

Peter Pilotto skirt and top

Tank Green Netting Print | Red Floral Check Print Skirt | Black Check Print Pants

I liked the way the tank fit, but I ended up not getting it because the print was too busy for me. The skirt was probably the worst fitting item I tried on. It puffed out at the waist awkwardly and fell just above the knee. The pants, however, were so comfy!

Peter Pilotto sweatshirt and pants

Light Blue Sweatshirt | Black Checked Pants

I really wanted the sweatshirt even though it’s on the busy side, but after my 5-day, foodie trip to Seattle funds were a little limited and I could only afford one item. So I got the pants! They’re more versatile than the sweatshirt. I can wear them to work, but they’re also comfortable enough to wear with sneakers on the weekend.

Peter Pilotto pants

Now that I look at these photos, I think might get the pants hemmed ever so slightly since I plan on wearing them with these heels or black pumps. In the winter I’ll wear these pants with the Funktional sweatshirt (above) and in the summer I’ll wear them with a loose-fitting, black, short sleeve shirt like this one.

My favorite part is the little pattern detail by the pocket.

Peter Pilotto pant pocket

Have you checked out the collection yet? Did you buy anything? Even though Peter Pilotto isn’t a household name, it sounds like the collaboration was incredibly successful. I’m hoping that the sweatshirt might eventually go on clearance in a few weeks, but it’ll probably be sold out by then. Fingers crossed!

__________________

Update on Lar:

Lar was able to come home from the hospital today – woohoo! She’s still on super strong antibiotics, which are making her feel like crap and she’s emotionally and physically exhausted. Once she gets her strength back up, I’ll have her check out all the sweet comments that you guys have been leaving.


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I Dream of Shiro’s Sushi

shiros-sushi

salmon-nigiri

sushi-shiros

tamagoyaki-shiros

Not so very long ago (say, last week), I didn’t get sushi. Chunks of raw fish or eel or squid or sea urchin? Good for aquariums and not for my belly, says I! Oooo how very wrong I was.

Gone are my days of California rolls and a pouty lip when friends suggest a meal of nigiri. Bring on the raw fish! Particularly if it’s salmon and even more particularly if it’s made by the genius sushi chefs at Shiro’s Sushi in Seattle.

Before being introduced to Shiro’s (thanks, Cath and Troy!), I always thought sushi-lovers were a bit hyperbolic in their love of the stuff. How can cold fish and clumps of rice be satisfying? Turns out I was just eating on the wrong coast. I think I’ll always be an east coast girl through and through… unless I’m eating sushi. Oh heaven!

When we sat down at the sushi bar, Cath and Troy confidently said “Omakase!” I ducked my head down (keeping the planks of raw squid and fish out of eyesight) and looked for the words “roll” and “vegetable” on the menu. When I handed my checked-off menu to the chef, he looked at me (I swear there was a twinkle in his eye) and he said “you let me know if you want anything else as we go along.” And thank goodness!

By the end of the night I was a full-fledged omakaser after watching Cath and Troy chopstick mouthful after mouthful of intriguing-looking delights. For those of you who don’t know, omakase basically means you entrust your menu to the chef, so s/he’ll make you whatever is fresh and most delicious. I love the idea of putting your gustatory trust in the hands of a virtuoso sushi chef. There’s something wholy (and holy) satisfying in surrendering yourself to what is beautifully presented before you. That mean that sometimes you get sea urchin (still scares me a bit), but it also means you get a salmon nigiri that melts in your mouth like warmed butter and pure joy.

Another part of the beauty of omakase is that you don’t just get a big ole plateful of sushi in your lap at once. The chef hand-rolls each nigiri, so you wait every few minutes in between these melt-in-your-mouth mini monuments of delight (now who’s hyperbolic?!). And while you wait, you can chat to the chef and your fellow diners. Suddenly the meal is more than just food, it’s about a relationship to what you are eating and who you are eating with.

Have you guys seen the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”? If you haven’t, do! I think it’s on Netflix at the moment. I watched it many months ago before my personal sushi enlightenment last week and it gave me an inkling of what I experienced at Shiro’s.

Now tell me, have you guys always been sushi lovers or did it take you a while to come around to it? If you are a sushi lover where is the best place you’ve had sushi? I now feel like I should move to California or the PNW just so I can always drift away into omakase bliss whenever I need to.

——-

Dear Cath,

Thank you so much to you and Troy! I really never understood you guys when you would go on and on about good sushi in LA. I really don’t think it makes sense until you have amazing sushi. So much of my sushi life has been from grocery stores and subpar sushi places. I still will be partial to vegetable rolls when I’m in those places, but I’ll always be yearning for the real thing.

I think that tamagoyaki is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted in my life. And unlike most desserts where the sugar leaves you craving more and more, this was such a perfect balance just as it was. Not more. Not less. Perfection.

You guys basically are responsible if Matt and I end up moving out to the west coast.

Love you like tamagoyaki,

Lar

______

Update to our readers:

Lar wrote this post before her surgery last week so I figured I should include an update on her progress. On Friday she had to go back into the hospital because she was developing an abscess from the surgery and had a high fever. The good news is the doctors were able to drain the infected area before it got really bad, but it has made the recovery process more drawn out. Lar is still in the hospital, but should be released early this week. I’ll keep you all posted and just want to thank you again for all of your wonderful words of support.

xoxo, Cath

 

 

 


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AsianCajuns Guide to Seattle

A guide to seattle
Photo credit

Yes, this is a very impartial, biased guide to Seattle, but we had so much fun eating our way around the city and following our friends’ recommendations that I wanted to share it with you. The shops section is lacking a bit so fill free to leave a comment with some suggestions and I’ll add it to the post.

pike place market Pike Place Starbucks The Walrus and the Carpenter Top Pot Doughnuts Ba Bar Dicks Seattle

Drinking & Dining:

  • Percy’s & Co – We just went here for some cocktails and olives, but I would have loved to stay for dinner because I liked the low lighting and modern farm/victorian feel of the decor. My Negroni was spot on and Lar ordered a mocktail that she really enjoyed.
  • Hot Cakes – Stood in line after dinner for about 30 minutes for boozy shakes that did not disappoint. I wish they had more seating for the night crowds, but I would have eaten my s’more shake standing up if I had to.
  • Pike Place Market – Touristy, but still fantastic. If it was a warmer day, I would have purchased some cheese, fresh bread, olives, fresh flowers (just because), and a bottle of wine from the multitude of vendors for a picnic. It was also fun to join the throng of Japanese tourists at the original Starbucks. My iced decaf tall soy latte was perfect.
  • Ballard Farmers Market - Open every Sunday on a closed-off street in the historic section of the Ballard neighborhood. We loved the sauerkraut tent (seriously – so many different flavors!), the gluten-free bakery, and the mini doughnuts stand.
  • Dick’s - Delicious, nostalgic burgers that you order at a walk-up window. We went to the Wallingford location after drinks and it was the perfect end to a long evening.
  • Top Pot Doughnuts – I loved the old fashion cake doughnuts, but my favorite was actually the cranberry mint rooibos tea Lar and I sipped on.
  • Ba Bar - So, so, so good! I wish all Vietnamese street food-inspired cuisine tasted this good. Order the congee and your life will never be the same.
  • Shiro’s Sushi - the. best. sushi. ever. Stay tuned for Lar’s post on Monday all about this place.
  • Din Tai Fung – unfortunately overrated, but still good. I enjoyed the soup dumplings more than Troy and Lar (they didn’t think they were very flavorful), but the whole experience seemed watered-down and Americanized. We went to the new, fancy location in the university district. I’ve heard the other locations feel more authentic.
  • Brouwer’s – Troy and I went for the great beer selection, but stayed for the delicious food. The muscles and cioppino were out of this world.
  • The Walrus & the Carpenter – Great oysters. Great staff. I loved the vibe in this tiny spot in Ballard.

Fjallraven Seattle Uwajimaya

Shopping:

  • Fjallraven Seattle – Lar and I love our Fjallraven backpacks. You’d think we were getting paid to blog about them since we both wear them everywhere and have featured them here, here and here. I had no idea Fjallraven had any stateside stores so when Lar and I were walking around downtown Seattle and passed by the Fjallraven store, we did a double take and then ran inside. I was so tempted to buy another backpack when I saw the rainbow wall of backpacks and Lar fell in love with this hat.
  • Uwajimaya – a Japanese grocery/mega store. The housewares section reminds me of Pearl River Mart in New York. Plus, Troy and I found giant Pocky, which we’ve been looking for all over Atlanta.
  • Kinokuniya – the Japanese bookstore adjoining Uwajimaya. Yes, it sells plenty of Japanese books, but it also has a great selection of international magazines, books, and gifts.
  • Glass Baby – Beautiful handmade glass votives and cups in every color of the rainbow. Plus, ten percent of all revenues is donated to organizations dedicated to healing.
  • E. Smith Mercantile – An amazingly curated shop with a bar in the back. I loved the old-timey, apothecary feel to it and wish I had had more time to spend in it.
  • Elliott Bay Book Company – Lar and I are suckers for independent book stores and Elliott Bay is HUGE. We spent hours browsing the shelves. Troy loved it because they serve good beer in the store cafe.

_________________

Dearest Readers,

Instead of writing Lar (who is currently sleeping in a hospital bed after a successful surgery today), I want to write a quick thank you note to you. All of your support and kindness about Lar’s surgery was so wonderful and I’m so incredibly grateful for it.

If all goes well, Lar will be sent home later today. Keep your fingers crossed!

xoxo, Cath


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My Endometriosis Story: It’s Surgery Time (again)!

And this is how I feel about that:

what-the-what
Photo via Pinterest 

As my fellow endo-suffers understand, one of the worst aspects of this chronic disease is that so little is known about it. Partly this is due to the fact that it effects women and not men (in the past women were told the pain was all in their heads), it can only be officially diagnosed by surgery, and, happily, it’s not terminal. Endometriosis can be “just” excruciatingly painful and debilitating, leave a woman infertile or, like me, send you into the hospital for emergency surgery because of a ruptured endometrial cyst.

Most doctors don’t know much about endo, so it’s often misdiagnosed. For much of my teens and all of my 20s I was told I had IBS and to stay on birth control to manage the pain of my period. I self-diagnosed the disease about three years ago and it was confirmed this summer during my emergency surgery. But even after surgery, no medical professional could tell me much about endo. So again I got busy on the internet and read lots of books.

A few years ago I started myself on a fairly rigorous anti-inflammatory diet. It’s about 75% vegan (I’ll eat fish sometimes but no dairy and no other meat), gluten-free, sugar-free and alcohol-free. Apart from when I travel, I stick to this diet pretty religiously. I tried anything holistic that I thought might prevent more pain: acupuncture, herbal tinctures, eliminating chemical products in the house and what I use on my body, meditation, yoga. It all helped my stress at times, but usually didn’t make much difference in my pain (it did clear up my IBS symptoms though so I still stick with it).

This summer when I landed in the hospital for two weeks, I was so mad. I did this diet thing! I had needles stuck in me! I meditated goddamnit! (Maybe I haven’t just quite reached a place of nirvana just yet). I was and am also so very fearful. In the hospital there were moments when the doctors had no idea what was wrong with me and Matt thought he would loose me (thinking of the fear in his eyes even now makes my brain numb). The most unfortunate aspect of my hospital stay is that my emergency surgery didn’t “fix” me. Many endo patients will have anywhere from one to 25 surgeries during their fertile years because even though they try to remove as much of the endometrial cells as they can, usually they don’t get them all. So, eventually, the endometrial cells left behind will grow and cause pain and potentially more cysts, which usually leads to more surgery.

Of all happy coincidences, it just so happens that some of the top surgical endometriosis specialists are in Atlanta at The Center for Endometriosis Care. They are much more aggressive in their treatment of the disease and because this is their specialty, they know exactly what to look for and where to look for it.

When I left Scotland to visit everyone in Atlanta for the holidays and then spend a month in Seattle, I had no plan of having another surgery done before returning to the UK. I still have painful flashbacks to what I think of as hospital PTSD from this summer. But when I met Dr. Sinervo in early January it was the first time that a doctor didn’t blow off my symptoms or give me a helpless blank look when I asked about how to move forward living with this chronic disease. Okay. Let’s talk. Even if that talk involves googlygooglygoogly (aka scary times).

I’m equal parts terrified, hopeful, bewildered (more surgery? really?!), but c’est la vie, eh? This journey has been about love and surrender and learning. One foot in front of the other. Breathe.

——-

Dear Cath and Readers,

Thanks for listening to me ramble about my health. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about any of this stuff because I still haven’t come to terms with a lot of it: the fear and pain I still remember from this summer, having another surgery done so soon, and what does it mean afterward? Cured? Healed? None of the above? But one of the things that helped me the most when I was doing my obsessive Googling for endo info was hearing other women’s stories. They are all different — no woman seems to experience endo in the same way — but it was comforting to feel not so alone in these varied experiences of suffering.

And I know suffering is not a very schnazzy topic for a lifestyle/fashion blog, but thank you for sticking with me/us through this.

Much, Much LOVE,

Lar


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AsianCajuns in Seattle

AsianCajuns-Wallingford-Seattle

Cath and I got to spend five lovely days together in the beautiful, piney, hilly city of Seattle! We hope that while we nibbled nigiri, picked fruit and veg at Pike Place and did some thrift shopping, you guys stayed warm and toasty.

Cath and Troy had a maddening leisurely nine hours at Sea Tac before they could fly home to icy Atlanta last night on the red eye. And I know that’s the least of the crazy ice stories from the south east.

We’ll have some delectable posts coming up soon on our Seattle-ness (what a wonderful city you have, Seattlites!). I feel so very lucky that even though this past year has been a struggle health-wise it’s more than made up for it in the number of times I’ve been able to see my twinie! Next up? We’ll be in Atlanta together again for about 2.5 weeks while I have surgery #2 (for my endo) and recovery. Silver linings abound.

—–

Dear Cath,

Oy, I can’t believe you guys had to do that nine hour waiting game yesterday. I know you must still feel the greasies and the sleepies, that special combination only obtained by long hours cattled in an airport and long flight.

So glad you guys got home okay. Did you have to sled on your suitcases to get from MARTA to your house? Can’t wait to see you Sunday — sooo sooooon!

Love you like rain loves the PNW,

Lar

 

 


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Sun Worship

San-Luis-Obispo

Pismo-beach

Avila-beach

Tacos-de-Alcapulco

Pismo-beach-SLO

Monarch-butterfly-grove

Pismo-beach-town

Mustang

Avila-pier

SLO-sunset

Sun! Lots of brilliant warm glowiness hitting my face — ahhhh heaven. My body is totally breathing a sigh of relief from the influx of much-needed vitamin D. Thank you, thank you, San Luis Obispo (and Pam!).

I truly forget how very dark Scotland can be. I complain about the darkness constantly to anyone with a pair of ears, but at a cellular level I think my body believes it will forever be lacking a key vitamin and has learned to live with it — ungracefully. Our few weeks in Atlanta were pretty gray and now Matt and I are in Seattle for a month — more perpetual grayness. But the second we stepped off the plane in San Luis for a long weekend I swear I became a different person. With sun I’m the lighter, happier, blissed-out version of my Scottish self.

Apart from the glorious sun, this SLO trip was: cool nights by the fire, the sweetest raspberries, orange trees ready for the picking, cool sand and even cooler waters, deeelicious for-reals Mexican food, Monarch butterflies, water swirling around pier posts, avocados that taste like avocados, the murmur of prayer, desert hills, sparkling water.

We are back in Seattle now and I feel like a tantrum-throwing two-year-old. Wahhhhh! Where’s my sun?! I want my sun!!! And there aren’t enough SAD lamps in the world to make up for the real thing. Maybe I’ll just move SLO to Edinburgh. Sounds like the most feasible option to me.

In the meantime, the best next thing? A visit from my twinie!!! Cath and Troy get here Friday and I can not wait!!! They will add some much needed glow to the pacific northwest.

I hope those of you under piles of snow right now feel the heat of the sun through these piccies and have lovely beachy day dreams to keep you warm and roasty toasty.

——-

Dear Cath,

Atlanta, Seattle, and then Atlanta. I feel so spoiled!!! This is the most I’ve seen you in years!!! Getting more surgery sucks, but I feel like it has the biggest silver lining known to cloud-land (aka, the sky).

I think you would really like SLO, but I think I will forever be biased about it because of the sunny sun sun and the Scissor Sisters and having a SIL there who is the hostest with the mostest. Can you believe we’ve never been to Cali together? You in LA and me in SLO and SF. We should meet in the middle. Between the bright lights of Los Angeles and the tawdry lights of San Jose.

I can’t wait to see you guys!!!!!!

MUCHO LOVES,

Lar


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Ramen Pop-Up Shop

Last week Troy and I went to Guy Wong’s first evening of his ramen pop-up shop at Octane Coffee in Grant Park. The pop-up started at 6pm. We arrived hungry at 6:30pm, saw that the line was insanely long, and then decided to come back the following week.

ramen

And we did! This time we brought our friends, Ellen and Sam, and arrived at 5pm. We were 17th in line and had our piping hot bowls of ramen by 6:30 p.m. Totally worth the wait.

Miso ramen

Ramen pop up

ramen back room

ramen chopsticks

In addition to ramen, there are a few other delicious items on the menu. We all got an order of the Soft Shell BLT Bun (soft shell crab, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and sambal mayo) and two orders of the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) for the table. Everything was melt-in-your-mouth good, but I think the bun was my favorite.

soft shell crab buns

Guy switches up the menu a little bit every week. This week the two ramen options were beef stew and shoyu. I ordered the shoyu ramen: savory, soy sauce broth, pork belly, shoyu egg, spinach, menma, scallion, and naruto maki. Sooooo yummy.

ramen bowl

If you’re in Atlanta and craving a bowl of ramen, come by Octane around five on Sunday. Bring some friends, then grab a coffee or cocktail while you wait and make an evening of it.

I’ll be out of town this Sunday (visiting Lar in Seattle – woohoo!), otherwise I’d totally go back to Octane this weekend. Local readers, let me know if you go!

________________

Dearest Lar,

I hope you had a smarvelous time in San Luis Obispo! Your instagram of the beach made me so jealous. I hope you were able to soak up plenty of vitamin D and eat plenty of Mexican food.

Alison and Greg’s wedding party on Saturday was wonderful. I wish you could have been there! They used the quaich that you and Matt gave them, which was awesome because it brought a little bit of Scotland to their party. I took a quick video and will show you when we see each other in four days!

Love, Cath


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Happy-Making

I am always down for a few days after Lar and I part ways. This week has been no different (Lar left on Sunday). To fight off the blues, I’m focusing on the positive and surrounding myself with things/thoughts that make me happy:

dogs on the couch
1. My dogs. They can be a pain in the arse and expensive, but I love Wheatie and Toby – even if it means I have to keep my couch covered 90% of the time.

gem doll

2. Jem Doll. Lar and I found our Jem dolls when we were going through boxes at our parents’ house. Jem dolls were like a slightly bigger and flashier Barbie. Her earrings used to light up if you flipped a switch on her back. And look at those tights!


Letter from Bill Clinton

3. Letter from Bill Clinton. This was another find from the boxes in my parents’ garage. Lar and I used to think we could be besties with Chelsea Clinton because she lived in D.C. and did ballet just like us. So we wrote her a letter and were a little disappointed when all we got in response was a typed note from her dad.

 

Warby Parker Glasses

4. Lar and Matt. I love this photo of the two of them – especially their matching hipster Warby Parker glasses.

desk mug

5. My desk/vanity. Earlier this month I cleaned off my vanity, threw away all of my old makeup, and made some more space so I could also use it as a desk. I feel a lot more calm sitting at it, sipping on tea, doing school work or blogging than I used to.

Writing this post already makes me feel better. Maybe I should start a gratitude journal. Have you ever kept one?

___________________

Dearest Lar,

I would be ten times more depressed if I wasn’t going to see you next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND! After getting to visit you in Scotland for Thanksgiving, then having you in town for two weeks for Christmas, and now getting to visit you in Seattle this month, I’m so spoiled. I could get used to this!

I think I really could handle this long distance thing better if I got to see you twice month. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

I hope you’re adjusting to west coast time. You’ll probably get used to it right before you have to fly back to Scotland ;) That’s an 8 hour time difference!

Have fun this weekend in California. Takes lots of pics and bask in the sunshine for me!

Love, Cath


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