#182 Whole Life Festival
01 July 2017 // Del Mar, California
I went to the Del Mar Fair for the first time in a decade… this thing has not changed one bit.
Plant With Purpose got a spot at the Whole Life Festival, a celebration of botany and sustainable agriculture with organizations and thought leaders helping to spread awareness and ideas about holistic environmental health.
Of course, all this was a little bit hard to find behind the rows and rows of trucks selling deep fried pizza, mega turkey legs, and vats of oil.
#183 Beach Cities at Night
02 July 2017 // San Diego, California
I went to college in a beach city, party town, student slum kind-of-world.
I’m realizing that right now, I pretty much live in a grown up version of Isla Vista. But hey, that’s where so many of my happiest memories came from, so no complaints from me.
#184 Kauai Shave Ice
03 July 2017 // San Diego, California
I’ve lost count of trips into the ocean this week.
I’m pretty sure we’re turning into beach bums. And I’m kinda okay with it.
#185 Fourth of July 17
04 July 2017 // San Diego, California
The Fourth of July means unfinished business- The Fourth of July for Americans is less a time of looking back than a time of looking forward, less a time for congratulating ourselves on the exceptionalism of the United States, much more a time for challenging ourselves on the state of the American proposition. (Words from America Mag)
My Fourth this year was a winner. Got to set up the grill for the first time to have family over and the results were great. And living right across from SeaWorld has some perks. I get one of the best firework shows in town without having to even leave the house.
#186 Prosciutto e Melone Doughnuts
05 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Mission 27: Prosciutte e Melone Doughnuts. It’s a pretty farfetched concept, but hear me out.
Have you ever known a weird couple that seems to make no sense on paper, but once you see them vibe together it just works? It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. In the food world, this is prosciutto and melon.
Who would think that the salty, fatty slices of cured pork would mesh so well when wrapped around chilled, juicy cantaloupe pieces? Well, the Italians did, because they tried it out to a good deal of success.
I love sweet and salty combos, and the bacon maple doughnut has been well-established as a good one. I wondered if there might be potential for this odd couple to play well on top of some fried dough as well.
The results: Yes!
I spent a while juicing a cantaloupe to make some melon flavored glaze… that came out even better than I expected. I used my old beignet recipe to make the doughnuts, and while it was hard to work with the shape of doughnut bars, they still came out alright. Maybe not the most visually appeasing recipe, but also, one I was still pretty proud of at the end of the day.
#187 This City at Sunfall
06 July 2017 // San Diego, California
I’ve been able to work under so many different leaders over the years… at work, in churches, in academia. I’ve come across so many different styles and personalities.
There are so many different ways to be a great leader. That said, there’s one thing shared by all the people I looked up to the most while working or serving under them.
Every leader that I’ve looked up to has had humility as one of their core traits. Not an auxiliary trait. Like- it would be impossible to describe them without noting how they were constantly deflecting or sharing praise, showing restraint around the limelight, or completely disinterested in showing off.
Humility unfailingly leaves a bigger impression on me than skill or accomplishments. Two of the best pastors I’ve ever known left a lasting, positive impression on me by apologizing for things misspoken. I remember those moments better than any sermon, and they did a better job than any sermon of making me want to be humble and own my errors.
I know I want to be like that. At the very least, I’m already a very big fan of humble.
#188 Fates and the Furies
07 July 2017 // San Diego, California
“Because it’s true: more than the highlights, the bright events, it was in the small and the daily where she’d found life.”
Book No. 25 of 2017
Here’s one that sat on my reading list for a long time because of all the praise I heard about it. I finally got around to picking it up at Powell’s once I found a really good price on a copy in like-new shape. I brought it with me on a long plane ride and I’m so glad I did.
Groff’s story explores the ins and outs of a marriage that spans decades. It takes a simple story and peels away its layers, little by little, leading you to discover more and more hidden stories behind each character along the way. Her writing shows so much restraint and caution in crafting a clean but striking narrative.
She writes with such sharpness, painting scenes that are both rich and delicate at the same time. I haven’t come across too many authors who have this type of command over words and emotion.
#189 Dunking a Beignet
08 July 2017 // San Diego, California
If you know my dog, you’ll totally why I’ve been a skeptic of letting her off leash at Dog Beach. She has so much wanderlust, I wasn’t sure she’d be able to handle herself.
We only live a few minutes away from Dog Beach, though, which is such a delightful place. I tried taking her there on leash, but seeing her wanting to run free was a bit painful.
Cue the Rocky-style training montage– we’ve been working on a little off-leash training for the past few months.
Then, Saturday became such a proud moment for puppy parents. We cheated a little bit, by letting her let some of her energy out at the dog park, then we took her into the ocean. And she did so good! She tagged along with us the whole time, going after the ball and coming back despite the potential distractions of hundreds of other dogs.
You go, Beignet baby.
#190 OB Photowalk
09 July 2017 // San Diego, California
How I Spent My Pretty Rad Sunday Night:
Met new friends, took in some coffee, ended up on a photo walk around OB. Brought the dog and she turned into the evening's muse.
#191 Roadmap to Reconciliation
10 July 2017 // San Diego, California
“Reconciliation is about how to relate even after forgiveness andjustice have occurred. It’s about how to delve even deeper into re-lationship with one another. An absence of hostility is possible without a spiritual dimension, but reconciliation is not. Reconcili-ation is possible only if we approach it primarily as a spiritual process that requires a posture of hope in the reconciling work of Christ and a commitment from the church to both be and proclaim this type of reconciled community.”
–Brenda Salter McNeil
Book No. 26 of 2017
Of all the books this year, this one may have been the one with some of the most practical use. McNeil offers a good overview of what reconciliation is and breaks down the process into stages: realization of a new reality, identification with the “other,” preparation for lasting change, and activation of change.
This book was also the shortest book I’ve read this year, but if there’s such a thing as a value-to-page ratio, then this was also perhaps the richest. It’s a book that I think would be worth reading in a group setting, especially among a group with a diverse set of viewpoints and experiences.
#192 Beignet Baby
11 July 2017 // San Diego, California
I was talking to a couple of friends recently, telling them about our Beignet adoption experience.
At the shelter, she flashed us a pair of puppy eyes and offered a couple of gentle licks. Compared to the other yappers in the kennel, she seemed to be the only one with the temperament we were looking for. Plus she responded to a couple basic commands, which was pretty promising.
When we first brought her home, she was a total wild child… and stayed that way for the next several months. Puppy energy for days on end. What a trickster.
A year and a half and one big move later, though, and she’s so much more like the dog she made us think she was when we took her home. She hasn’t had an accident in almost forever. She’s never been aggressive, just assertively playful. She eats trash every now and then, but she can also handle the ocean like a champ.
We’ve spent a year and a half living the #lifeofabeignet and I think we got a good one.
#193 Volunteering at the Farm
12 July 2017 // Encinitas, California
Soil is fascinating. Soil is a natural antidepressant. The microbes found in soil have been found to have similar effects on a brain as chemical antidepressants.
Long story short, I love volunteer days spent at Coastal Roots Farm with our Plant With Purpose staff.
#194 Truffle Boy
13 July 2017 // San Diego, California
“I’d always tried to show respect for other people’s religious beliefs because I would never say that I know the one answer, and for a moment that day I shared a belief in a higher force. It made sense. All the parts of the world suddenly fit together as a whole. It’s what I felt the first time I ate truffles at Arcodoro and what I felt the first time I met Jane. Those were moments that came out of the blue.”
Book No. 27 of 2017
This is the first book I’ve read this year by an author younger than me, but it was written with a lot more expertise and experience than a lot of older authors bring.
I discovered Ian when I heard an interview with him on The Sporkful. (At least, I’m pretty sure it was the Sporkful.) He told stories of how he hustled it as a truffle dealer, trying to peddle his gourmet goods in the back kitchens of some of New York’s most reputable restaurants. It reminded me a lot of how Jay-Z often talks about his hustlin’ days, just swapping out the banned substances with truffles. There’s still a lot of shady, cartel-driven business in the gourmet food world. That I learned.
I also learned a lot about why truffles are so valuable and how difficult they are to harvest. And of all the European politics that go into branding a product like a foraged truffle. Another book this one reminded me of was Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. It was a look into the hard work that it takes to make a big idea succeed.
Ultimately, though, I was won over by Ian’s simple passion for his product and how transcendent the whole foraging and distributing experience was for him. He’s got some good stories to tell.
#195 Public Market Dates
14 July 2017 // San Diego, California
A place with lots of good food where you can run into some great people is my kind of place. If some of that good food happens to include lobster rolls, even better.
It’s been a good past week on a couple of fronts– lots of time spent at the Liberty Public Market, going on some long awaited double dates, squeezing in good conversations in between overhead airplane noises, and loving the coast.
#196 A Year After Lola
15 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Today a year ago, my grandma spent her last day on earth after 98 full, abundant years. She would've turned 99 last Monday.
She was the only grandparent of mine who lived long enough for me to get to know. And even if it was only enough overlap for me to have caught her later years, they were enough to let me know I had a family history of hospitality and widespread loving to live up to.
I miss her, but I'm also thankful she lived so long and fully that I got to experience her care and love. She left so much of it to linger, it almost feels like she's still around in the Philippines, waiting for our next visit.
#197 Family Day in OB
16 July 2017 // San Diego, California
My in-laws are in town... just about all of them! On their first full day, Simon taught me how to play Magic the Gathering, we went to church, Beignet went into the ocean, and I finally got to try the steak tartare benedict and guava melon mimosa at Breakfast Republic.
And the fun weekend is turning into a pretty fun week.
#198 Houseful of Fam
17 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Growing up, I was always happiest when my house was fullest. There was a strong correlation between when things were tough and when the house was empty.
I still love a full, packed house, friends or family everywhere, and food. Probably even more so.
When we left Oregon for California, we knew we would have to downsize, and we definitely did. We literally have half the space we used to. But we probably get even more use out of it by not letting that stop us from hosting as many people as we can. This week we had both families over. We had to ask them to bring beach chairs so we’d have enough seats, but it worked.
Get rid of things to make room for people.
In my dream world, my house is a coffee shop in the morning, an Irish pub in the evening, and a hostel overnight.
#199 Lavender Lemonade
18 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Mission No. 26: I’ve had the longest lasting fixation on lavender lemonade. Somehow those two flavors go together really well, despite lemons being bold and aggressive and lavender being a more delicate taste. It’s like a couple of complementary personalities that just meshes the right way.
The Results: The hardest part of this concoction was trying several different spots to try and buy lavender before giving in and ordering some online. But the results were great. I cooked them into a lavender syrup that steeped with the fresh squeezed lemon juice so much better.
#200 Late Night Ticket to Ride
19 July 2017 // San Diego, California
When the concept of your board game is “make trains really long and connect different places,” of course my nephew Luke is gonna want to play.
Little did he realize he signed up for a game that would take us deep into the night.
#201 We Used to Watch the Waves Crash
20 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Going as far back as college, one of my favorite spiritual practices were all those silent prayers of watching one wave crash after the other, vastness and consistency, separation and global connection. Just staring for a few seconds felt like a fistful of Our Fathers.
For the past few years, I’ve found myself living in landlocked places, forced to leave behind this practice. That’s not such a bad thing- having to leave your spiritual comfort zone reminds you that the meaning matters more than the method. But man, I missed it.
Yesterday, I started to wonder if that might’ve been at least a part of the reason I’ve been called back to a coastline. I spent the sunset with a book and a Beignet, watching waves crash. They hadn’t missed a beat.
#202 Nephews in Del Mar
21 July 2017 // San Diego, California
My nephs are in town and everything is great.
Also, I recommend pretty much everything I’ve been reading the past couple weeks: Fates and Furies, Amoris Laetitia, and Romans.
#203 OB Beans Grand Opening
22 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Sadly, it looks like I didn’t win the raffle for free coffee for a month/year. But the raffle tickets came in the form of matcha lattes so it’s all good.
Any of my econ-versed friends want to gve me a good Game Theory explanation for the raffle jars?
#204 Hanging With Marly & JP
23 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Thanks, ComicCon and Puesto , for giving us a chance to get back together and catch up with Marly and JP. It had been a minute!
And it was great getting to finally meet ya, JP. Come back to SD soon.
#205 Perfect Little World
24 July 2017 // San Diego, California
“It amazed Izzy the way the children rushed through so many complicated emotions without space between each one. Everything rose so quickly to the surface and then subsided, like firecrackers, and what had originally been so jarring to her, their unguarded emotion, now filled her with great comfort, that anything, no matter what it was, would eventually give way to something else.”
Book No. 28 of 2017
At first, the premise of this book sounded really interesting to me. I was ready to read about a (probably dystopian) world where instead of parent-child bonds, all children are raised in bulk, with general society serving a collective parental role.
This book was written to be pretty fast paced, and its world is rich and lively. But the concept is kind of underwhelming. It turns out that the collective approach to raising parents is simply a psychological experiment underwritten by the owners of a Mega-Corporation. And what results isn’t too different from the collectivist style of parenting in many non-Western cultures, combined with the publicity and drama of reality TV.
#206 David & Dayna
25 July 2017 // San Diego, California
The last time I saw David, our wives weren’t even in the picture. It’s been almost ten years.
We teamed up to take on some BBQ ribs and had several years to get caught up on. It was a blast and it was great meeting Dayna. We gotta hang out again– more than once a decade.
#207 Staff Beach Day
26 July 2017 // San Diego, California
I came back from Bocce ball to find my whole office intensely focused on the sand. At first I figured we were making a really intense sand castle. After all, we have a lot of technical people. Maybe we just wanted a lot of structural integrity.
I asked what was up and no one replied. They were so into it. I also thought it might’ve been some zen garden project, and everyone was really focused.
Turns out, everyone was looking for a set of wedding rings that had gotten lost. About an hour later: success. One was found, the other was in the car the whole time. Congrats to Ellen and Matt, and thanks for the team bonding!
#208 Seared Scallops on Udon Noodle
27 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Mission No. 27: Make a dish that perfectly highlights scallops as the star. Scallops are amazing, after all.
The Results: This was a pretty easy dish to make, since I was so comfortable with all the ingredients that went in. Udon noodles were my base, and I made a pretty good sauce from soy and garlic. The stars of the show, the scallops, were complemented by bits of bacon oil and brown butter, with a bit of mushroom.
#209 Kenzie Karaoke
28 July 2017 // San Diego, California
I don't like goodbyes. I like karaoke much better. If I have to say goodbye, I'll make sure that's balanced out with a good dose of karaoke.
F'real though, Kenzie, we just started being co-workers! I love my job and so much of that is because of the team I get to work with. Most of that team and culture was recruited and developed by such an HR powerhouse.
Good luck to Team Leas. The Bay won't know what hit it. Thanks for bringing me on board in time for a few great months of working together.
#210 Walk in the Park
29 July 2017 // San Diego, California
This weekend, I met and had spontaneous conversations with: a couple managing a crazy long distance relationship (she’s recently widowed and lives in Mexico while he travels 300 days a year for work), a woman in her 80’s who plays basketball at the gym every week and goes to Alabama for tournaments, her genuinely joyful friend who survived a terrible tragedy you’d never expect, an Iraqi refugee who is working hard to help other recent arrivals with their transition, and another Iraqi who was working for the UN at the time the compound was bombed in 2003.
And I took a nice walk in the park with my family.
30 July 2017 // San Diego, California
You know how I like, have absolutely no hobbies or interests at all and need a new one? And how I need something new to spend money on because I have way too much cash all the time?
To help myself with that situation, I bought a surfboard. It’s taken me long enough, with how much time I’ve spent living in surfer paradises.
#212 Pints for Pups
31 July 2017 // San Diego, California
Beignet still hasn’t figured out how to start a little side hustle to pay her share of the rent. We’re hoping she can go viral and change that soon with royalty payments. Until that happens, though, we’ve figured out how to get her to save us $1 on pints. Thanks, Culture!