Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pizzas, Weddings + Adventures! My Life in SLC

The stunning view near the top of Emigration Canyon while cycling with my love.

The sun is shining, I'm relaxing with my favorite sitting pillow given to me by my friend Megan, nag champa + candles are burning, my speakers are bumpin' Lana Del Rey's latest (listen now) + my journals are at my side.  This is my element.  I'm in the zone.  I am able to reflect + appreciate my life.  I am so in love with my man + my home. Home: one's happy place.

I approach my new home with my whole life packed away in boxes + my heart in his hands.
The gorgeous Wasatch Mountains greet me with silence + beauty.
Exploring our neighborhood hikes behind the U.
Cool kids in love.

Tabs! Papa's Girl + lover of catnip, back pats and wolf documentaries.
Home isn't what it used to be.  Reflecting on my last 5 months in Utah, it's funny that things didn't happen exactly as I thought they would.  I thought I would be able to relax and enjoy the stillness that comes with settling into a new place.  I unpacked in under a week + within two weeks I had cabin fever.  It was just me and my two new cats waiting for Ryan to come home.  I needed to get out, get to work, start meeting people, get back to normal!  I needed to feel at home already.  I had great expectations of smooth transitions into a new yoga studio, a new gardening space, and of course, being around someone you love twenty-four/seven.  I found out, you can't just replace your old home in an instant.  You must find yourself at ease, in the comforts of that happy place you call "home."

Snow aka Snowzies aka Mama's Girl! Lover of brushin's, her mousies + strings.

My first SLC citizen privilige, the library card!

I've barely had the time to maintain a yoga practice. Everything is still so fresh + exciting.  No routines are in place + I have the spirit of a wild horse ready to roam new lands.  I've done more day + weekend trips in the last five months than I have in the last five years.  Ryan + I's hearts yearn for getaways into the mountains, desert, far away places to camp, hike, bike + see more, live more.

I had a plan to move in, unpack, start seeds, grow plants, harvest, can + celebrate one year in Utah with a salsa from Summer '14.  Easy peasy, I thought.  I bought a plot through the Wasatch Community Gardens right on time, ignoring that it was a 20 minute light rail ride out to get to the plot, because that was step one.  I ordered a bunch of seeds from my seed library in Boise because that was step two.  Sadly, I soon recognized my inability to maintain a garden at this location + also devote the hours + energy strengthening a community that was so far from where I actually lived.  I did what I could do, though, I donated the plot to a refugee gardener.   

AFLA's Handmade Seed Bombs!

I briefly joined in with AFLA Artists for Local Agriculture, but after planting some seeds, our garden boxes were vandalized, destroying trellises + little plants that were growing in their home.  I have to say that though it's a bummer to not grow gardens this season, I am also relieved.  I'm in the middle of life's lesson of "Time Management" and I'm back at start with a clean slate.  I am now able to give myself that time + space to truly find my place in my new home.  

While I'm exploring my new Farmer's Markets, shopping around for local goods, dining at amazing (really amazing) new restaurants, making friends, riding in gorgeous canyons, exploring the high desert + so much more, I'm not exactly replacing Boise, but discovering all the joys of Salt Lake.  I'm not focusing on how much I miss home, but embracing all that I have right in front of me.  The mountains are enchanting, the canyons tell me I'm right where I need to be.  I'm in awe with the slick rock, red rock, cairns + arches.  There is no place like any home.  Every place is magical + unique.  You have to introduce yourself to your environment + I am so happy to be acquainted with mine!
Having a good time with AFLA at one of their Community Garden plots! 

Vintage platinum + diamond ring from local jeweler, Antoinette's. 

He captured my heart + brought me home.

First kiss of the Lunar New Year! 

After celebrating the Chinese New Year at the end of January, Ryan I took off for a surprise getaway for the first days of February.  After 3 + a half hours, we arrived in Moab.  We drove to Arches National Park + hiked up to the Delicate Arch.  There, comfortably seated, leaning back into man, enjoying the view of the world-famous arch, he proposed to me.  The ring popped into my line of view + after lots of happy laughing, I said yes + we celebrated quietly in desolate Moab. 

My first vintage engagement ring.  An heirloom ruby (my birthstone) with diamonds + a yellow gold band.

Save the Date Postcards handcrafted by yours truly + the F'yoncé.

Wedding planning is damn near a full time job! Of course, it does give me an excuse to pin compulsively.  My co-planners have been my wedding album on Pinterest + my lovely wing woman in planning anything + everything, Miss Kniss.  A weekend visit from Jen ended up figuring totals for booze.  We drank a mimosa + a hard cider + knocked around numbers for hours + hours just for booze.
Date, location + wedding party have been decided on.  
Rings have been purchased, including my second engagement ring (oopsy daisy!).  
Our save the dates postcards were craftily made by Ryan + I + sent via my favorite way of communicating, snail mail.  
Pretty radical gifts for our groomsmen + bridesmaids have been purchased.

My soul sister + maid of honor Miss Kniss kickin' it with me in the SLC crunchin' numbers + makin' pizzas! 
Ryan picking his ring out at Stroud's Jeweler, making both of our rings SLC local!

Our photographer friends Dylan + Sara have booked a session with us for the end of July up in the wildflower fields in the most beautiful mountain setting of Alta.  My best lady pals + I are planning my
Bachelorette Party in Las Vegas. Very excited to spend a weekend dancing + relaxing before all of the excitement begins!
My wedding cake has been selected after my mom prepared a delicious beet + chocolate cake for us to try.  Her organic wedding beets are happily growing as I type. My family has been preparing for the big party covering all of the bases from painting to building a bridge + other major labors of love!  
Some songs have been chosen + will be performed by a Boise musician + dear darling pal of mine, Miss Gabriella! Invites are being finalized by yours truly. I have been illustrating away as my deadline to get these puppies sent out quickly approaches!

ALTA! The future site of our photos with our pals of Dylan + Sara Photography!

My man in his zone, on his bike, being "mantastic." *Swoon*
I'm working with lists on lists on lists! I will not lie, I'm having a blast with all of it!  Everyday I fall more + more in love with Ryan.  I've found him to be all that I need in a partner in more.  He is my best friend + I am so happy to have him in my life.  He's been such a good sport with my almost complete overhaul of his diet + cleaning products.  Being an all-natural + organic-nazi about things, as I am, doesn't always make my partner happy.  Some days he wants to use Windex + eat all the bagels he wants for breakfast, but instead, he's accepted the all-natural glass cleaner + an occasional Bagel Project bagel as a treat here + there.  He's loved me through my sometimes difficult transition to a new place far from all friends + family.  He's been patient with my needs + wants.  He's heard me out + made adjustment a lot easier for me.
Tapas dinner date at Medtrina.  Lots of incredible meals have been enjoyed in this foodie dream city!

In the comfort of my man's arms at Cactus + Tropicals for the beautiful wedding of Noah + Kate.

A night out on the town with a pit stop to say hello to our
neighbor + pal, Andrea at The Rest/Bodega.

From L to R: Cards Against Humanity Fourth Expansion Pack, Ryan's crafty card development, my sweet, sweet victory!
My great lady friend Paige stopped at a new neighborhood spot, Rye, on our SLC tour.
Above:  My lady friend Dani + I in the sunset waiting for mole + margs!

Home away from home

My first visitors from Boise were my lady friends Dani + Dani.  I was thrilled to have a piece of Idaho with me for a moment in Utah.  We went out to dinner + margs at a popular mexican spot where they enjoyed their favorite mole + I relished in good company!  My friend Paige came down for another former Boisean's Salt Lake City wedding + for a few awesome hours I gave her the first tour of my favorite SLC spots from my quaint neighborhood down to our lively downtown. Other comforts of mine have been a somewhat regular shindig where we host our friends for whiskey + Cards Against Humanity shenanigans.  I've managed to win one game not on my home court, but away, at my foodie-friend-extraordinaire Brooke's dinner party.  At a recent birthday party, I was able to dress up as Minnie Mouse reminding me of all the fun costumes of past Halloweens in Boise.  Feelings of excitement for the first flowers and the change of snow white to lush green as the season changes are one in the same.  Those moments + the warm feelings they bring take me to that universal place I call home.

Ryan's dad + his wife out to dinner with us at Fresco.  
His family has been so wonderful to me.  We go out for dinners with his dad + his wife trying new places + revisiting favorites.  We've traded our own grown + harvested goodies.  I've given them canned salsa, tomato sauce + pickles.  They returned the gift and gave me a bag full of cherries from his backyard + invite us over for fresh homemade ice cream! His mom has been there for us since day one, offering us dinners while we moved my stuff in.  We've went shopping and out to lunches + dinners.  Her + her partner are so beautiful + sweet to me!  We spent time down in St George visiting his brother + his lovely family.  Are you familiar with "Jeepin'?"  You take a jeep out + ride it up steep inclines, rough declines, slick rock, desert + whatever your heart desires!  So. Much. Fun.  Jeepin', sand dune climbin', trail hikin', bike ridin', pizza + s'mores makin' fun!  One of his dear cousins in Washington D.C. send us a congratulatory gift card to Takashi, the best sushi spot in SLC, to celebrate our engagement.  I met a couple of his cousins last night who traveled by train all the way to Salt Lake by the recommendation of their late grandmother + we received our first wedding gift from them!  I'm so lucky to be welcomed to such a warm + loving family.  I already feel like the Mrs. Simmons I will soon be!  

Running down the sand dunes with Ryan's niece + nephews while visiting for the weekend in St George.

Adri-made surprise Valentine's Day pizza for Ryan!

Home is where you'll find my oven preheating to 500 degrees

Cooking for two has been just slightly more difficult than single girl cooking.  I'm used to limited carbs, cheese as treats + leftovers.  Ryan is a bagel/grilled cheese/pizza kind of guy.  He loves his bread + cheese + he's not so into eating leftovers.  Some nights have been quite a challenge, but somehow, I've managed to make plenty of amazing meals for the two of us.  Some meals derive from my cravings, others cater a little bit more to Ryan's.  I couldn't tell you how many pizzas I've made for Ryan, but I can certainly show you some of the delicious pies he's sinked his teeth into!
Adri-made veggie pizza (above).
L to R (below): Adri-made Arugula + Goat Cheese (a tribute pizza to Tony's in Boise) + another veggie pizza!

Adri-made surprise pizza with Chorizo + Spinach for my grandma's birthday.
Above: Adri-made Spinach Margerita, a house favorite!
Below L to R:  Slice of Spinach Margarita, Pizzas at Vinto, a very walkable pizza spot nearby.

Another Spinach Margerita with Three Cheeses.
Gluten-Free Pizza with Red Onions, Red Bell Pepper + Basil made by Miss Kniss + myself!

                                                                                                                                                                Home Is
Synching your heart to your location
What you make it
A safe place to go
All the things that drive you happy
Unique textures
A place to be you
Where bonds are built

Much love from my happy place to yours,
Mrs-to-be Adri B 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Reflection, Future + Aphrodisiacs | From Side A --> Side B


It's the night after the loveliest of lady friends gathered for one last celebration before I leave Boise.  I'm so incredibly touched by their generosity + thoughtfulness.  I never thought I'd have such a supportive crew of gal pals, but I've been super fortunate to discover the best of friends. + They've raised me up with all of their love.  Looking back on the past 5 years in Boise, it hasn't always been this comfortable.

Wine Cork Idaho handmade by yours truly! A gift to my grandparents for Xmas 2013.

 I've endured through 5 and a half years of some major growing up and transformation.  Prior to my return to Boise, I spent a few of the wildest years of my life in Orlando where I experienced the best of times and suffered the worst of times.  I enjoyed going out to the best dance clubs, meeting so many interesting characters, partying in VIP - sometimes with a celebrity, and a lot more that I'll never remember.  I also lived a seriously dark life.  I dealt with a mentally + physically abusive friendship, an eating disorder, a drinking problem + depression.  I lived in a 24/7 party atmosphere that in my heart was un-welcomed, but peer pressure prevailed.  I drank most of my problems away, or so I thought.  I literally saw no other way to do handle my life at the time.  After two and a half years, my personal belongings stolen + room having been destroyed not once but twice by my "best friend,"  losing almost all of my self esteem + hope for the future, I moved to New York to get "it" together (it being my life).  I quit drinking for 10 weeks, started journaling + saved up for a new start back in Boise.

In 2008 I returned to Boise with almost nothing.  I didn't tell anyone about my plans to return nor my arrival except for my family + one friend.  I wanted new friends that I could choose based on their positivity, loyalty, + ability to be a friend without the influence of drugs + alcohol.  I lived in a studio apartment off of 5th + Franklin, close to downtown for the first 3 years where I dealt with a lot of hard times as I was trying to better my life.  I found myself alone with my journal, writing my way through a lot of painful events.  I found myself falling back into old habits + making those same friends that I thought I could avoid.
One fourth of July morning, I decided I wanted a garden + roommates.  I moved out of my studio apartment that summer + into a home with a lady I found through Craigslist.  She was older than me + was everything I had hoped to one day become.  My new roommate Jen, with time and a whole hell of a lot of patience, has opened my eyes + heart to see + feel what real friendship + love truly is.  She's helped me through a few bad dudes + some shady lady friends.  Not to mention, Jen encouraged me to start this blog and was my biggest food fan, helping me recognize my passion + potential with growing and cooking food.  She provided a very warm + safe environment that made me truly feel at home.

All smiles as I've put the past behind me.  I choose to love who + where I am in the present.
I'm now living on my own in the best one bedroom apartment in the same neighborhood where I started my new life back in Boise.  I continue to seek Jen's advice, but it's more often that I'm calling her over to thank her or to fill her in on all of the happy happenings in my life.  Recently, I've been reaping what I for many years have sown. I now have a pretty fantastic, supportive + loving circle of lady friends I wouldn't trade for anything in the world!  Restorative yoga + cycling have replaced the long-gone days of binge drinking and hangovers.  My heart has guided me to the farm + to the kitchen where I'm happiest.  Farming + gardening allows me to connect with nature + know that what I'm putting into my body is good, clean food.  My inner artist comes alive when I'm in the kitchen bringing recipes to life, transforming my harvest into a fancy dish.  I thrive while educating others on the importance of organic, non-gmo food for your body + the environment.  I encourage others to find their passions, love themselves just as they are + have no regrets.

Life is strange + super difficult at times, but through diligence + strength, everything will work out.  Trust yourself + the situation.

And then I found LOVE

Never before have I been so in love, so sure + ready to go through anything + everything with a partner.
I love you, Ryan M. Simmons! 

My first visit to SLC!
With that, I'm happy to announce that I'm about to start a new chapter in my life.  After years of learning to love myself and accept love from others, I've found someone who makes me so incredibly happy, loves me more than what I thought was possible + wants nothing more than to be with me.  With my heart completely open + trusting what the universe has presented me, I will be moving to Salt Lake City to be with the one I love the most!

I have less than one week until I'm beside the one I love, Ryan, with all of my belongings packed + on our way to Utah.  I will say a loving goodbye to the past 5 years - the good and the bad with forgiveness + thanks.  I will miss my old life here in Boise but embrace the new challenges + adventures that will be in my new home, Salt Lake City!

With the new year, which Ryan + I have rain checked for the 31st - which turned out to be the Chinese New Year (HELLO, MASCULINE WOOD HORSE!), there are many beautiful things in store that I have yet to discover.  I'll share what I do know + give you glimpses into my new chapter!  The rest, we'll have to let unfold as the Universe chooses when and what to reveal.

Nothing but love for the birthday boy, Ryan - or is it George? Kisses xoxo 

2014 --> Making the Move

Sent me the keys in the mail.  He knows how to make me swoon! 

1. New Home | BOI --> SLC

About to use my growing power for the little meow meows!!
I'll be moving to a condo close to downtown + everything else I could ever need!  My new roommates include one handsome man (Ryan) + his two precious felines (Snow + Tabitha).  I can't wait to make fancy meals for my man + give endless amounts of love + my own Adri-grown Catnip from Earthly Delights (my old farm!) seeds to purring kittens.

I have a new city to explore.  New flavors to enjoy + new restaurants to visit.  I'll be able to bike new streets, take the TRAX, wander around every which way.  I'll be able to get a taste of the local hotspots.  Browse the antique stores + discover new thrift stores.
Meet my new fancy feline babies! Snow + Tabitha!

This pretty princess is Snow B! She already owns my heart!
Fancy cat Tabitha in her little castle! EEE! 

Franz + I kickin' it in Park City, UT!

Ryan + Franz tolerating each other at best in Park City, UT!

This is the view along Ryan's riding got to be kiddin' me!! Gorgeous change of scenery.

2. New Ride | Dump Loop --> Canyons

Boy, I'll tell ya, I was a bit overwhelmed when I looked down the Avenues while up on the bench, in a car, safe + sound with my seat belt fastened.  The Avenues are just the ride up and out of the neighborhood.  On a ride up to Park City, Ryan showed me his normal riding route.  Let me just tell you, he's got better legs than Tina Turner + now I see why!  I'm in for some wild rides!  After a couple months of training, he says it gets easier.  I conquered most of my riding goals by completing the Dump Loop about 5 times + going on weekly rides with some lady friends over the late summer/early fall.  By the end of February, Ryan + I will be hitting the road on our bikes looking to conquer new goals together!

Modeling as much of my new gear as possible!  Santa Simmons is TOO good!!

Lazer helmet + glasses, knee warmers, Smartwool arm warmers, Terry short shorts + leggings, a riding shirt, Shimano shirt, shoe covers for my Pearl Izumi shoes (not pictured!) + a nice jacket!  WEEE!!! 
This big sexy is my man on a Sunday ride this past fall! :) :) :)

His + Hers bikes!! We'll be hitting the road this spring!!
3. New Practice | Yoga Tree --> Avenues Yoga

When I started my practice at Yoga Tree, I was looking to build strength + tone up with little impact.  I was hoping that I could also hop on board with the non-physical mental fine tuning as well.  Like I've mentioned in other posts, it was love at first pose! My practice has exceeded all of my expectations + hopes with the help of my instructors, inspirations, + friends Jennifer + Colbie. Colbie, has guided me towards Avenues Yoga in Salt Lake City were in my new chapter in life, I will start a new chapter of my practice.  One of the areas we've been working on from the start is my heart.  Well, I think it's safe to say we opened that one up, 'eh ladies?!

Right outside of Liberty Heights Fresh (my new SLC version of the Boise Co-op). Easy transition! 

4. New Farm | Earthly Delights --> BUG Farm

I will always be a part of the Earthly Delights Farm Family.  Though, this year I won't be crashing the new crew's lunch with any birthday party surprises.  Instead, I have found the equivalent of Earthly Delights Farm in SLC, BUG Farm.  I'm not sure if there's a "Casey" of the farm + if they like to talk about sex while referring to all things growing, green, + farming, but a girl has got to get her hands in the dirt + have the freshest, local, organic produce!  Without a space of my own, I hope to bring my Earthly Delights-influenced, Adri-powered growing skills to a new farm.  Let's see what we can grow in Utah! YEEHAW!

My last hoorah with Earthly Delights Farm! Packing up my great grandkids! ;)

APHRODISIAC FOOD | What Love Tastes Like
Dining + drinking with my love.

Grilled Goat Cheese Ricotta + Spinach w/ a lovely Bordeaux!

Squash Quesadilla!

Dirty Girl Scout + the Saketini at The Red Door in Salt Lake City!  12 Martinis of Xmas!

Someone had a birthday!  Cake made by his friend Sara!

I'm always down with a new organic beer!  Ryan's friend Deb has great taste!

These pizzas are from Settebello Pizzeria in Salt Lake City.  Absolutely divine!

Birthday Paella made by yours truly! Seafood Paella w/ mussels, calamari + shrimp.  Saffron + seafood are ultimate aphrodisiacs! 

Aphrodisiac dessert.  Chocolate!

Birthday Cava 

Spanish sparkling to go with the spanish dinner!

High West Whiskey made in Park City!  Gotta drink like the locals!

Rye Knot + The Pickpocket at Red Feather Lounge in Boise, ID

Ryan is the bartender for my grandparents!

White Russians!

Pizza Naan for Xmas Eve!

Left - Ryan + I's bottle after 4 days.  Right - My Grandpa's bottle after one night.

Santa Simmons sitting on Santa Sandra's lap!  Precious moment!

Until we meet again Boise, I will miss you!
I leave behind a fine city with incredible citizens.
I'm off to embrace the changes + opportunities in 2014.
I am happy to start this new chapter with Ryan.
May you all find love + positive changes in the new year!
Stay tuned!