Category Archives: gardening

green garden bloody marys with tomatillos + late-season tomatoes | bittersweet seasons of change | holly & flora

cilantro-salted tomatillo green bloody marys | bittersweet seasons of change

I love the challenge of taking any vegetable in my garden – at any stage in its life cycle – and turning it into a cocktail. The abundant amount of sunny, 75-degree days kept me donning shorts, pouring the rosé, and harvesting all of the kale, chard, herbs, edible flowers, tomatoes, and tomatillos my garden would spit out, well into mid-November. We have had the most record-breaking, unseasonably warm weather this past month.

Before I share this {very} late fall recipe, I have to say a few things.

From putting in well over 55 hours each week at the restaurant, to observing the backlash of the recent election, to pursuing creative opportunities on the side, some of which I can’t even share with you yet, I have felt devoid of creativity and inspiration. I’ve had great difficulty writing and pouring creativity into this space here. Even when I do get strokes of genius or breaths of innovation, I’m all-too-tired to put action to paper, recipe, or photo. It’s been quite the challenging year for many of us, I feel.

For both me and Steve, we can safely say that 2016 has been the “Year of Change and Secrets.” That’s actually a soft and easy way of describing it. There have been countless highs and lows. Steve and I got engaged, which was wonderful, albeit stressful with respect to timing. We’ve gone through three different executive chefs at work, finally ending up with one of our former, beloved executive sous chefs at the helm. We’ve also lost two of our long-term managers and haven’t realllllly replaced them, so our workload has been more intense.

green garden bloody marys with tomatillos + late-season tomatoes | bittersweet seasons of change | holly & flora green garden bloody marys with tomatillos + late-season tomatoes | bittersweet seasons of change | holly & flora green garden bloody marys with tomatillos + late-season tomatoes | bittersweet seasons of change | holly & flora

And then there’s our side project, which we’ve been working on since April. Keeping it under wraps has been just as exhausting {and thrilling!} as all of the hours before and after work spent quietly building it. Once I can talk about it all, I’ll feel justified in my actions or, in some cases, the lack of them. For now, I simply seek out those moments, where I feel revitalized and recharged. It’s all I can do. I find them when I go for a long run, when I take a lengthy late-night drive, when I sit still in the darkness before the sun rises, and when I stay up late and watch the moon crest above my head.

Okay, I’ll be honest.

I don’t do all of the things I listed above every time I’m stressed. I want to do them, but many nights, it just doesn’t turn out like that. Take two nights ago, for example. I finished off a bottle of bubbles, impulsively booked two nights at a B&B I’d been dying to sneak away to, baked and consumed an entire pan of brownies, signed up for a marathon, and watched almost every Nora Ephron movie ever made. The next day suuuuuuuuuucked, and of course, I was needed at the restaurant to help Steve because he was having complications with his recent hand surgery.

And I couldn’t make it to the B&B.

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summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

summer dill + snap pea shim | tips on growing dill

This is my favorite time of year. I guess I’ve said that about early September, when the aspens are starting to change, and I’ve definitely made mention that late March is a beautiful time of spring, when the first purple crocuses pop up in my front yard. I should more aptly state that I just really enjoy living in the moment and soaking up whatever specialties each season sends my way.

Right now, the garden is seriously showing off. Case in point, I have dill towering above my head at seven feet tall. Seven feet tall! We even had to construct a containing method, so that it wouldn’t tumble over from its weight on the rest of the garden. No complaints. This just means lots of pickling coming up for us.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

I’ve also enjoyed muddling and incorporating dill, along with whatever herbs are within reach, into my cocktails. I really aim to make them refreshing, balanced, and not too heavy-handed on the alcohol. Some might argue, “What’s the point of making a cocktail, if you keep it low on the alcohol content?” Well, for one, if it tastes delicious, I want seconds. Maybe even thirds. So, keeping a low proof (read: not getting day drunk) is optimal for me, especially when I’m out working in the yard in the hot sun.

On a recent trip to California, Steve and I stayed in the town of Geyserville. He was taking part in the Alexander Valley Cabernet Academy, where he toured some of the best sites for Cabernet and met some of the most innovative winemakers within the Alexander Valley. I traveled with him, but I went my own direction each day. I made several appointments at some of my favorite wineries, like Benovia and Martinelli, but I also left room to explore.

One of my favorite places I stumbled upon was the most beautiful shop and café, SHED, in the town of Healdsburg, about a ten minute drive south from Geyserville. I could seriously live in this shop, and I actually ended up staying there for a couple of hours. Not only does the shop boast a cocktail bar, complete with shrub cocktails and kombucha on tap, but it also has a proper cheese shop, a gorgeous flower cart, and a sprawling variety of beautiful kitchenware. SHED even offers grain-milling classes, beekeeping courses, and gardening workshops.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

After meeting up with my friend, Duff, for breakfast at the café, I chose to sit up at the bar and enjoy a “shim” cocktail. A shim is the answer to the quandary I spoke of a few paragraphs back: a “sessionable” cocktail that won’t get you over-intoxicated. When I asked the bartender about the drink, she handed me a copy of Dinah Sanders‘ book, The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level. She’s the original coiner of the term, shim. I thumbed through the pages and knew this book was for me. Since then, I’ve been replicating some of her recipes and dabbling a little on my own low-alcohol libations.

This particular recipe lets sake take the lead role, providing a marvelous texture, bright notes, and a floral component that marries perfectly with the herbaceous additions. I began fiddling around with this cocktail about five weeks ago, when Danguole of 10th Kitchen‘s photo of a spring pea sake cocktail popped up on my Instagram feed. Vegetables and herbs in a cocktail? I’m completely in. I love beet juice with gin and carrot juice with vodka, so sake paired with spring peas sounded intriguing.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora


summer dill + snap pea shim


  • 2 snap pea pods with tendrils for garnish
  • 2 slices cucumber
  • 1 sprig dill with extra for garnish
  • 1 half-inch slice preserved lemon {optional}
  • 1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 1/2 ounces Junmai sake {I used Shimizu-No-Mai “Pure”}
  • 1/2 ounce limoncello {my house-made version, yo}
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • soda water
  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the snap pea pods, cucumber, dill, and preserved lemon, along with the St. Germain.
  2. Add ice, the sake, limoncello, and lemon juice.
  3. Shake well and double strain into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Add a splash or so of soda and garnish with a pea tendril and a dill blossom.
  5. Go back for seconds without any guilt.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora


“We drink to connect  —  Perhaps that is why cocktails are a product of the modern world. As our ability to escape our present surroundings has grown, we’ve needed a ritual to bring us back.”

—  Dinah Sanders


summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

This week, specifically, has been a hectic one. This past Friday was the third of eight concerts that we hold at the restaurant throughout the summer. I have learned to dread Friday nights because of this production. I don’t even take vacations during this two month stretch. It may not sound like much, but the amount of brain power, emotional toll, lack of sleep, and physical labor it takes to produce a party of epic proportions at an already busy, upscale steakhouse is staggering. I’m talking well over 1,000 guests, dancing to 80s cover bands, and slurping down pineapple martinis…smh.

I don’t drink heavily on those nights. I mean, I want to, but I already know I’m going to have a “work hangover” the following morning, so why further compound the issue? Seriously, each Friday night sets me back about two days. All I want to do is sleep come Sunday morning. On any other given night of the week, when I’m working, I’m selling wine, putting together wine pairings, and talking with familiar regulars. A Friday night during the concert series? I could be breaking up a brawl outside on the patio, sweeping up broken glass, covering my mouth while mopping up the remnants of someone’s upset stomach, or throwing out “that guy,” who won’t stop creeping out the ladies.

I definitely earn whatever I’m drinking on Monday afternoon. Lemme tell you…

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

So, now that I’ve painted a picture of what the start of my weekends entails over the summer, I’m sure you’re ready for a drink, yourself. Dinah Sanders’ book of low-alcohol cocktails will keep you engaged and spark your cocktail-concocting creativity. And you won’t curse my name the next morning, if you have a couple of them.

Right now, my sleep schedule is so messed up. As I write, I am also googling ways to use lavender to induce sleep {I’m wide awake at 4:00 AM}. Don’t be surprised if my next blog post includes something sleep-inducing. Regardless, I am still planning on waking at 8:00 to tend to the garden. I’ll pull on my slippers, don my sunnies, and slowly schlep on the flagstone path to water my green children. With squinty eyes and a happy, albeit sleepy, heart, I’ll welcome the heat and beckon the sun. They’ve both been so good to us this year.

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tips for growing dill


  • Site  —  Dill thrives in a spot, protected from strong winds and exposed to full sun. It’s more suitable for outdoor gardening, but it will grow well in containers.
  • Soil  —  Plant dill in rich, well-drained soil.
  • Sun    Dill absolutely loves the sun. I plant mine right in the middle of my garden, and it has grown over seven feet tall. It has also sprung up in a part-shade area of the garden, and although it has only grown to four feet in height, it is still prolific and aromatic.
  • Water    Dill seems to be pretty drought-tolerant; it doesn’t droop when deprived of water for a day or two. Thoroughly water the soil, when it is dry to the touch.
  • Harvesting  —   Clip dill sprigs when needed. Use them unabashedly when quick-pickling or making dill-based cocktails. Dill leaves taste their best, when they are harvested before the plant flowers. Pick them either early in the day or late in the afternoon. If you are harvesting the seeds, cut the seed heads 2-3 weeks after the plant has flowered. Hang the seed heads upside down in a brown, paper bag, in order to catch the seeds. You may also do what we do, and just let the dill flower, go to seed, and shed the seed. We look forward to dill plants sprouting up the following spring. You may either keep them where they sprout or transplant them.
  • Preserving  —  I try to use dill leaves, whenever they are ready. Clip a few sprigs and place them in a glass of water; they will last a few days either on the counter top or in the fridge. You may also layer clippings of dill in a jar of sea salt. Just remove the dill and rinse it, whenever you’re ready to use it. Dill also freezes and dries well. Don’t forget about dill vinegar.

Over the past few weeks, I have been writing a succession of posts on growing and preserving herbs over at the Kitchn. Here are a few links of my favorite posts from the Herb Gardening 101 series, and they are all photographed from my garden:

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & floraCheers to a great rest of the weekend! With tomatoes finally ripening on the vines, herbs spilling over in the flower beds, and eggplants already on the grill, our garden is in full swing. The next two months will be filled with energy and growth and transformation. I’m reveling in this season. And I’m on the lookout for ways to extend my harvest and ways to extend my cocktail-enjoying ability. Bring on the shims, bring on the preserves.

Bring on summer!

XO,

Jayme

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apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | thoughts on intentional living

There’s nothing quite like a scathing but well-deserved comment from a loved-one, before you’ve even set foot on the floor, first thing in the morning. My alarm had gone off, I had snoozed my standard three times, and I was beginning my morning routine of sleepily scrolling through the emails that had popped up during the night, checking my Instagram feed, and noting the happenings on Facebook. I heard Steve mutter something to me. “What’s that?” I didn’t even look up. Sighing, he asked the question again. Staring at my screen, I quickly responded, “Just one second. I need to finish this email.”

Then I caught the tail end of another question he asked, and I answered, “Um, yes.” Judging from Steve’s facial expression, that was clearly the wrong answer, and it did not even pertain to what he asked. I put down my phone, apologized, and begged him to ask me again. I was going to pay full attention this time. Promise. Instead of posing his question again, he curtly stated, “I am tired of playing second fiddle to your cell phone. Every morning.”

Those words resonated within me. It was true, and I hated to admit it. It’s not like I even care what I am lazily scrolling through, and I know that I’d have a better morning {and relationship!}, if I forewent my daily ritual of catching up on digital details. The guilt of hurting someone I dearly care about tore me apart, and I made a pact then and there that I would not pick up my phone first thing in the morning. I wouldn’t even keep it beside my bed. It would be a tough habit to break.


I felt like Fred Armisen on Portlandia, the “Technology Loop” episode. “Please help me. Please help me.”


So, the past two mornings, I have stored my phone across the room, so I would actually have to get out of bed to turn off my alarm. No more snoozing. No more mindless swiping and tapping. No more trading quality human interaction with my dearest for a one-sided session with a pocket-sized, life-sucking inanimate object. This entire shift of how I choose to spend my morning coincides with an article I read in the latest edition of Uppercase Magazine. The piece focused on how we can fit more intentional creativity into our daily lives, despite the onslaught of digital distractions, and highlighted a book, aptly titled, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. Have you read it?

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

I immediately put that book on hold at the library and decided to make a conscious effort to be more present in my daily life, both in how I interact with others and how I choose to use my personal time. I don’t know if I could go, say, 30 days without social media or my phone; although, it sounds very enticing. Shifting my thoughts toward being more intentional with my actions, however, has yielded some good results, even though I am only three days in on my commitment. I squeezed in a run each morning, started the day with a meditation, and even went outside and connected with my backyard garden. I took time to lie on the ground, take in the smells, look up at the sky, and decide how I wanted to sculpt my day. Why hadn’t I done this any sooner?

I have a long way to go, before these new actions become habits, but I am pointed in the right direction. And I am not exempt from any potholes. In fact, I snoozed this morning, it was raining outside, and I had a raging headache. Initially, I reached for my phone and cozied down in the covers, but I decided against it and forced myself to go out for a run. Even my running wardrobe is currently fighting against me: I have only one matching pair of socks, and I have to wear three of my sports bras to get actual support. No exaggeration. They are that old and stretched out {the bras, that is}. It’s a little embarrassing, and now you know this detail about me. Despite these circumstances, I managed a solid 3-mile run.

So, I’m due for a reward. In the form of a cocktail. It is Friday, after all, and it is important to celebrate the changes we make, right? I’m pretty good at justifying reason for making a drink.

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

I decided upon a whiskey-based cocktail, since I have been on that loop here lately. And since St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, why not an Irish whiskey? This cocktail is slightly sweet, with notes of ripe apricot, has just the right amount of citrus-y acidity, and finishes with a tea-like bitter note. It’s balanced and marries perfectly with the flavor profile of this particular whiskey, Teeling, a small-batch, blended Irish whiskey, which is aged in rum casks.

Teeling’s notes of caramel, baking spices, dried herbs, and orange peel are perfect matches with apricot liqueur, a little lemon juice, a splash of bitters, and a black tea simple syrup. The black tea simple is easy to make and, as I mentioned above, adds a depth of bitterness to the cocktail. Make this simple syrup in advance, so that it has time to cool.


black tea simple syrup


  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 bags organic black tea
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the bags of black tea, and remove from heat.
  2. Let the tea bags steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, carefully pressing out the excess liquid with a spoon.
  3. Place the saucepan back on the stove and bring to a slow boil once again. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • If you wish to make more simple syrup, you can increase the amounts. It’s an easy 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. 
  • This particular recipe for black tea simple syrup will make about 8 cocktails. 
  • The simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator up to one month. If you have any extra, add it to iced coffee or iced tea for an added depth of flavor and sweetener. Black tea simple also marries well with spiced rum. It would be perfect with bourbon and lemon or lemonade, depending upon your desired level of sweetness. 

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

It’s always a fun process to name a cocktail. You can play it safe and simply name it by its ingredients, or you can name it after an author, a book, a movie, an inside joke, or a terrible pun. I’m definitely guilty of the terrible pun, but today I will settle on calling this cocktail, the “Irish Breakfast.” Since black tea is a component of the cocktail, it reminded me of “Irish Breakfast” tea. I figured, if it is a true Irish breakfast, however, whiskey must be involved. And I can so joke about this, since I have a little Irish in me. 😉


irish breakfast


  1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, build the cocktail with the whiskey, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass, filled with ice.
  4. Add a splash of soda and garnish with a lemon peel.

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora


Maybe every once in a while we can take a break from doing everything faster and quicker to reflect on who we are and where we are going.”

– Joe Plumeri


What are you doing this weekend? I will be reconnecting to my garden, turning the compost, dead-heading the grasses and shrubs, and mulching the beds with Steve. I’m regretting signing up for a race this Sunday morning. It would normally be fine, but I forgot that it is officially St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and I’m sure the streets of downtown Denver, where the race is held, will be strewn with the aftermath of Saturday night’s debauchery and its accompanying sights and smells. At least I have a beer to look forward to at the end of the race!

  • How do you detach from your wired world? What means do you have to remain balanced?
  • Do you recommend any helpful books or resources?

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

Here is a peek into what’s happening in the garden this week. It still looks pretty brown, dead, and dismal, but there are signs of life popping up here and there, giving me hope that spring is around the corner. The sights around here will be drastically different even within a month. I am beyond ready for you, spring!

Cheers to an amazing weekend and cheers to intentional living!

XO,

Jayme

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spilled nasturtium ice cubes

edible flower ice-cubes + taking stock | 01

I’m just going to waltz along and perpetuate the “I’m in need of some summer cheer!” trend I’ve been setting in this space!  First it was muddled lime caipirinhas, today it is nasturtium ice-cubes, and tomorrow I’ll be starting some marmalade to can over the weekend. These ice-cubes kind of count for a winter treat. They are frozen, after all, right?

Like everyone else, I have spent this week poring over citrus-centric recipes, preserves, cocktails, and colors. I’m also fixated on wintry, citrus-y salads. And my baking addiction has been out of control, and I need to tone down the amount of brownies, crumbles, and cookies that have been occupying my counter top. It doesn’t help that my boyfriend is an excellent baker and gifts me tasty treats from time to time, most recently, a pear-shortbread streusel.

It’s been an up-and-down week here in Denver, as far as weather is concerned. I think it’s almost always the case here. As I walked in from work last night, snow was gently falling, leaving about three inches of sparkling white in our yard. The crazy thing is that I’ll most likely be donning my flops over the weekend.

Fine by me!

I didn’t actually make these edible flower ice cubes recently. In fact, I made them back in late October, when I was still harvesting vegetables and herbs from the garden. I came across a bag of them in the freezer this past week and was reminded how fun and easy it was to make these eye-catching drink decorations. I toss them into green tea, sparkling water, and cocktails. They turn a drab g+t into a work of art.

nasturtiums


edible flower ice-cubes


  • ice-cube tray of your choice
  • distilled water
  • a handful of edible flowers, herbs, or fruit

I had never made edible flower ice-cubes, so I kind of winged it my first attempt. I like to call the way I made my cubes the “abstract and loose” method. It doesn’t require much thought or freezing time. Simply take washed, pesticide-free, edible flowers {here’s a great list of different flowers to consider} and place them in an ice-cube tray. Press them down, as much as you can.

Next, cover with purified water. Press down any petals that want to pop up. If you’d rather not see any air bubbles in the ice-cubes and want a perfectly clear rendition, use distilled water. I was a little lazy and forewent distilling my water. I actually like the pops of white and bubbly lines that resulted. Freeze. Wait. Et voilà!

nasturtiums

Since making these, I found that there are serious techniques for making the most symmetrical and clear ice-cube, graced with a perfectly centered, suspended flower in the center. I call this the “perfectionist” method. It yields a beautiful result, but it takes a little more time and patience. I didn’t have those traits the day I made mine. Do I ever have those traits??

No extra ingredients are needed, but placement and timing are key. This post on Gardenista lays it out well. Simply fill an ice-cube tray 1/3 full with water. Freeze. Next, place a flower on the frozen surface and add more water, until the tray is 2/3 full. Freeze. Finally, add the final layer of water and fill to the top. Freeze. This method yields exactly the scenario I described in the previous paragraph. I’ll have to do this next time because their suspended rose ice-cubes are absolutely beautiful.

nasturtiumsnasturtiumsBe creative with your ice-cube additives and use organic herbs, like mint, and toss into mojitos, tea, or lemonade. I’ve also made ice-cubes with fresh or frozen fruit . As the cubes melt, the fruit adds flavor and provides a frozen treat to enjoy, as the drink warms up. Makes me want to take my time sipping.

Need some more inspiration?

nasturtiumsWhat versions of ice-cubes have you made? I know I want to bring back that retro punch ring. Are you also planning any citrus-inspired recipes or have a link to share? I’ll definitely attempt a few recipes this weekend, specifically, some marmalade riffs. I am closing with a piece inspired by one of my favorite bloggers and fellow Floridian, Keira Lennox. She is a florist with an inspiring Instagram account and routinely posts at A Pretty Penny. Every once in a while, she writes a “Taking Stock” post. A kind of “checking in” of sorts, where she describes what’s going on in her life.

I plan on checking in and “Taking Stock” in the middle of each month, so feel free to play along. Happy weekending!


taking stock | 01


Making  |  good use of my library card for new music and audiobooks!
Cooking  |  actually re-heating canned and frozen soups from the summer, serving alongside this bread.
Drinking Ruby Trust Cellars’ Gunslinger, Syrah blend. Yes, Colorado makes good wine!
Reading  |  Charlie Trotter’s Lessons in Wine Service, Winter Cocktails, by María Del Mar Sacasa, and, of course, the Botanical Interests’ seed catalog.
Wanting  |  to start waking up on time and a little earlier. I’m striving for 8:00.
Looking  |  unabashedly forward to the return of Merlot.
Playing  |  lots of scales and chord progressions on the piano. #newyearsresolutions
Wasting  |  my time, worrying what people will think. Stop. This. Now.
Drawing  |  triangles in my sketchbook and calligraphy each evening.
Wishing  |  to feel well-rested.
Enjoying  |  all the possibilities of the citrus season. I am beyond excited to make marmalade and syrups with all of the oranges and lemons.
Waiting  |  for Guffman. Sorry! That’s what first came to mind {…but I covet that ‘stache!}. Seriously, waiting to hear some news. I am hoping that it’s of the good variety!
Liking  |  the way my foam roller makes me enjoy the pain in my IT bands.
Wondering  |  what my cats are thinking.
Loving  |  how seriously my boyfriend takes his beer and beer pairings.
Hoping  |  I can get finally get to the point, where I treat myself how I treat my best friend.
Marveling  |  at my ability to devour 81 square inches of brownies in less than 36 hours. My sister can vouch. She made a batch with me, via phone and over the internets, in Florida.
Needing  |  another glass of wine. Even more so, to just go to bed.
Smelling  |  all of the citrus I bought this week. I still need to do something with it and not just dream up recipes and stalk Pinterest friends.
Wearing  |  a red bandana, black Nike shorts, yellow flats with rosettes, and a turquoise LS athletic shirt, layered over a navy blue Nike tank. There’s a reason I’m not writing a fashion blog.
Following  |  Pen and Peplum’s #52handlettered prompts over the next 52 weeks.
Noticing  |  how I love my cats to a serious fault.
Pinning  |  lots of citrus drinks.
Thinking  |  I should take my Advanced Sommelier test and then re-thinking if it even matters or would even make a difference in my life.
Feeling  |  happy that my uncle has a clean bill of health at 87 and grateful that I have my aunt as a friend, resource, and secret-keeper.
Listening  |  to Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder”. I am secretly in love with some pop. Please, don’t judge. On a more serious note, I am listening to Jo Robinson’s audiobook, Eating on the Wild Side.
Learning  |  how to master Copperplate Calligraphy.
Giggling  |  with my boyfriend about how hilarious Captain Murphy was on Sealab 2021.
Feeling  |  tired from one glass of wine but excited to meet my friend, Aimee, for coffee and calligraphy-talk in the morning.

XO,

Jayme

PS – “Taking Stock” inspired by Keira, who was inspired by Sydney, who was inspired inspired by Pip.

nasturtiumsnasturtiums nasturtiums nasturtiums PicTapGo-Image tabby cat ash nasturtiums


Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self.

It’s about accepting all of yourself.”

– Tyra Banks


 

swiss chard from the garden in fall leaves

hello, goodbye

Well, hello and happy….December!?! Yeah, I know it’s been awhile. I just got back from spending a week down in sunny Florida, in my hometown, to recharge, recenter, and visit my family. I had the most amazing and memorable time. The days there seriously flew by, and all of a sudden, here I am back in Denver, just as I was finally beginning to relax and regain a little sanity.

It is good to get back into the swing of things; although, I could easily trade Denver’s cooler temperatures and snow boots for the palm trees and sunshine I’m already missing.

Lately, in the midst of harvesting the last of the garden and preparing for a hectic holiday season, I’ve been meditating on the simple fact that time is truly a gift. We have the opportunity to either waste it, leisurely enjoy it, or make the most of it and squeeze every last drop out of it. Personally, I haven’t been the best steward of my time as of late. I have run myself ragged, been overly self-critical to an almost crippling degree, and not given myself the rest that I need for proper functioning.

So, here are my thoughts on saying “hello” to what I want more of and saying “goodbye” to the stuff that no longer serves a purpose, accompanied by some photos of our garden’s beautiful, final hurrah. And if you need a little reading music, this little song pairs quite perfectly.

Let’s rewind a few months back to summer. That blurry photo above? That pretty much depicts how my summer felt. My job at the restaurant demanded six-day workweeks because of our weekly summer concert series, a revamp of our by-the-glass wine list, and a cocktail list makeover. In the midst of the busyness, I squeezed in a trip to assist with wine-making in Oregon, flew down to Georgia for a weekend family reunion, and took a press trip to France.

Steve and I even did our first radio interview on Wine Life Radio back in September {if you want to laugh at my nervous self, talking about the restaurant, bubbles, and Pinot Noir, you can give a listen here}. As soon as I felt I had a moment to catch my breath, though, I would have a wine article due, or I’d glance out at the garden and realize I had herbs to harvest and tomatoes to pick, process, and preserve.

And then there was the blog.

I would eschew writing a post because I felt didn’t have the perfect photos, or I had gotten behind and felt the post was no longer relevant. And that is when the blog temporarily curled up and died. What once gave me joy became a looming, demanding burden in my mind’s eye. I have had to accept that there may never be a “perfect time” to write, and that the imperfections along the way and the messy reality are, surprisingly, captivating and endearing. I am realizing that it is also okay to give myself permission to actually live my life and not to feel compelled to document its evolution along the way. It is really okay to take a break.

All of this sounds so simple. Why is it always so difficult to actually put into practice? I’m totally chastising myself here.

I am realizing that living a “fulfilled” life does not necessarily mean cramming it full of activities, obligations, and projects. A fulfilled life means feeding ourselves with proper rest, letting go of things {projects, people, objects} that no longer serve a purpose, and making room for what we deem important at this point in our lives. So, yeah, I am ready for some change.

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I don’t know about you, but I am even more excited about making changes in the fall season, than I am come New Year’s Day. I guess it all traces back to my childhood, when I counted down the days until I could buy brand-new school supplies, go shopping for back-to-school clothes, and open those blank spiral-bound notebooks, just waiting for the first scribble. A fresh, new start with endless opportunity. Those memories symbolize change, newness, the learning of new skills, and the implementation of ideas. It was all so invigorating!

So, here are five actions I’m implementing right now, along with five that I’d rather never see in my life again.


5 Things I am Saying “Hello” to Right Now


  1. Being okay with where I am right at this moment. I don’t want to look back at the past or be upset with myself for not being where I think I should be. I want more contentment with the process of becoming. I could also add to this point, “manifesting happiness.” It is a choice. I am choosing peace and choosing to cultivate a positive outlook!
  2. Moving more. I want to run and feel physically strong. When I take the time to work out and fuel my body, my confidence rises. I am setting myself up to run a half marathon next year, and so far, I’ve already peaked at four miles just this evening. I’m still in my running clothes, as I’m typing this!
  3. Spending intentionally. My dear friend, Batya Stepelman, of the Sparrows + Spatulas blog, recently inspired me. She and her husband went on a “shopping fast” for a couple of months and saved an impressive amount. I am going to eat at home, deal creatively with the wardrobe I have, and rent movies from the library. No more absent-minded purchases!
  4. Creating daily. I’m not talking about placing unrealistic pressures upon me, but I am talking about looking for ways create more – sketching regularly, practicing my piano, making a new cocktail or recipe, or writing a haiku. Even rearranging furniture counts!
  5. Getting up earlier. I work late. That’s the nasty truth right now. It is so challenging, however, to simply put myself to bed, when I get home, sometimes around midnight. Can you imagine getting off work at 5:00 and then going to bed within an hour? Yeah, not likely. I am going to force myself to get up at the same time each day. The days are so short right now, and if I don’t get enough sunlight hours, I get seriously depressed.

5 Things I am Saying “Goodbye” to Right Now


  1. Procrastinating. I think I just might the world’s worst procrastinator. Sometimes it works out great, like when I clean my house, empty my email, and polish the glassware, all because I am nervous about a writing assignment. The procrastination feels justified! I was reading Real Simple recently and had a profound epiphany from one of their articles: if a task only takes five minutes, do it now, instead of putting it on your to-do list.
  2. Comparing myself to others. This one is lethal for me. Comparing my work, life, or ideas to someone else’s is creatively stifling. It kills friendships and prevents any forward movement in my own life. As I reinvent my creative and design career, I tend to look at others, who have “succeeded” and sometimes find myself depressed. I am trying to simply work hard and congratulate myself on my progress, as well as being genuinely happy for the success of others!
  3. Feeling guilty about relaxing. I have a tough time doing nothing. As soon as I lie down on the couch, my mind is racing onto the next project, and I am scanning the living room for my to-do list. I think that I will be a better relaxer, when I stop the procrastinating!
  4. Thinking the world is out to get me. I tend to brace myself, when I venture out into the world. All of that tension and worry is wasted energy, and my emotional state is a product of my own making, not a product of my environment.
  5. Over-committing. This one is a tough one. Sometimes, the timing just isn’t right. The opportunity might sound amazing, but what does it cost me or my family? My health, peace, sleep, and sanity are much more valuable to me. Instead of saying an emphatic “yes” to helping a friend or taking on another project, I am going to say, “I will get back with you.”

 

I will go ahead and close this post with a few more photos. They do speak a million words, and I have already written a little over my norm here already! Here’s to all of us living more intentionally, welcoming more creativity into our lives, respecting boundaries, being authentic with our answers, slowing down, knowing when to say no, and letting old habits die.

I wish you a very happy beginning to the holiday season!

XO,

Jayme

 

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