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First newlywed kiss

It’s official. The last Githens brother is happily married up.

Andy and Jessie took their vows on the shore of Lake Conroe near Houston, although the balmy southeast Texan air could have fooled me into believing we were on the Gulf of Mexico. Turns out that’s no accident; Galveston is only an hour and a half to the south, where the newlyweds shipped out on Sunday for a honeymoon cruise.

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For years, I’ve considered laundry about as appealing as pinky toenail removal. In college I’d delay doing laundry until I’d worn every last pair of underwear, bikini bottoms, and cross-country running briefs (yes, I had to run in those terrible things). I’d even turn a pair or two inside out before buckling to the chore. Oh, imagine my mother’s horror.

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Now I know the tradition is to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for a year’s worth of good luck, but I have an important interview tomorrow so I’m doubling down on my quota of these lucky legumes. This side dish is quick, bright, and flavorful—exactly right for a quick bite alongside some pre-interview prep.

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No time for a full post tonight but I’d like to share a few photos from Arastradero Preserve, a protected open space in Palo Alto with dusty trails ideal for running. It’s a hilly park, carved into the lower foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but that’s part of the appeal.

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Few items in the produce aisle are as fleshy as figs. If Portobellos are the steak of the mushroom kingdom, then figs are the steak tartar of the fruit world. It’s exactly this fleshiness that scared me off.

That is until last October. Almost a year ago to date I had my first encounter with fresh figs, picked straight from the tree of our friends the McCauls right here in Palo Alto. Mike was doing an away rotation at Stanford Hospital, long before we knew we’d be moving here, and the McCauls graciously offered to host him for the month.

When I flew out for a weekend visit, as a special treat we picked a few figs from the tree and sliced them in half with a sprinkle of sea salt. I inhaled a deep breath, sniffed the striated pink flesh, and took a bite—delicious!

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I’ll preface this post by saying this is not a home design blog. Many fabulous design blogs are there in the world, notably design*sponge and Apartment Therapy, two of my favorites; this isn’t one of them. Design is not my knack, nor my expertise.

But that said, I’ve heard a popular refrain since Mike and I moved out to California: “Show me photos of your new place!” Which I would love to do, because frankly, I’ve really fallen for our little house.

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I suspect everyone has a budgetary Achilles’ heel, even the most rational and responsible spenders. At least this is what I tell myself to feel better about the gads of money I’ve spent at Whole Foods on stinky cheeses and at the local nursery on seedlings and dirt. Yes, dirt.

Prickly yet cute

Among my many downfalls is a weakness for tiny cacti and succulents and diminutive little bowls. For some reason, the petite scale appeals to me.

And perhaps my biggest weakness of all is for books, cookbooks included. One of our previous roommates Michelle introduced me to used book sales several years ago, and I’m afraid to say I haven’t looked back since.

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