Life Lately – Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

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(image via IG: @thatpnwlife)

“Not all those who wander are lost”

We’ve all heard that line before (which is apparently from the poem All That is Gold Does Not Glitter written by J. R. R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings), but it was running through my head a while ago and it dawned on me that it could also be flipped:

NOT ALL THOSE WHO ARE LOST, WANDER

(Punctuation Sidebar: should there be a comma between lost and wander? Feels like it needs a pause? Thoughts?)

For example, sometimes the lost will stay in the same place for a while, and even though they want something different they have no idea what that something different might be so instead of wandering they stay… and stay… and stay… until it becomes harder to stay than to get up and wander.

Welcome to my life.

I quit my job in December and have no idea what’s next.  I’m scared sh*tless but it had finally become harder to stay than to go.  It was a good job for nine years and I worked with people who had become like family, but the last four years or so have been a struggle.  It’s a company in the HVAC field and my position was to support the salesman in quoting projects and ordering equipment and all the paperwork and file management and customer service that comes with it.  It paid the bills but I can tell you absolutely that I am NOT passionate about boilers.  Couldn’t care less.  At all.  Seriously.

The feeling of wanting something different had become harder to ignore, but I didn’t know what else I wanted to do or what I was passionate about so the hunt for something new wasn’t easy.  For a while I thought the doula thing was my answer but after receiving what I thought was a clear ‘YES’ to pursue that, it became a clear ‘NO’ a few months later and I’m still a little upset about that, but thankful that I tried it and now I know.

Stress over the work (and life fulfillment) situation started manifesting physically more and more over the last few years, and especially this past year with major neck/shoulder tension, TMJ issues, and headaches (and general b*tchiness if we’re being honest).  All of that compounded my up and down struggles with depression; I hadn’t been my usual happy self in a long time and Mr. Won’t Run had been noticing.  I tried to motivate myself with a post-it on the bathroom mirror – “your job is cake. suck it up. it could be worse”.  Inspiring, right?

Then an unexpected gift arrived.

I feel a little funny sharing about it, but we received a very surprising financial gift from some family for our anniversary.  After lots of discussion with Mr. Won’t Run, lots of prayer, and lots of thinking it through to make sure I wasn’t being rash, I gave my notice at work.  We agreed that I should just quit and take some time to figure out what’s next.  I can’t be a stay-at-home-wife forever, I’ll need to bring home some bacon eventually, but thanks to that gift we have a cushion that’s making the one income thing easier to manage for a little while.  I am still in awe of this situation and feel incredibly undeserving.  I’m sure a ton of people are out there like me who are hating their current jobs and feeling like they don’t have a way out and then this falls into our lap.  I promise to make the most of it!

I feel like good things are coming in February and I’ve given myself a blog-every-day challenge for the month.  Hopefully you don’t get sick of me.  I feel like I’m on a journey and it’s equal parts exciting and terrifying.  I’m trying to focus on the exciting.

So, I am now unemployed and free to wander to my heart’s content!

If only I knew where I wanted to wander to.

The Best Day

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Today was by far the best day I’ve had in a very long time.

Now that I’m not working (separate post coming soon about that), the day started slowly.  Mr. Won’t Run slept later than normal and we weren’t up until about 7:20.  I thought about hopping back into the cozy, warm bed after he left but decided to put my contacts in, brush my teeth, and take Koko for a short walk.  I’m glad I did because we were greeted with this beautiful sunrise.

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I figured I would head to the grocery store to get that errand out of the way early, but when I was walking Koko it appeared that the roads were still a bit icy so I decided to put it off until the afternoon.  In the meantime, I grabbed a cup of coffee and settled on the couch with the laptop, played a few episodes of Fixer Upper (#shiplap), and Koko snuggled up beside me.

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I finally decided to hit the shower and when I got out Mr. Won’t Run texted saying he was taking a half day and asked if I had eaten lunch yet.  I hadn’t, so he came home and we ventured back out together.  We’ve been watching The Fung Bros so my Korean husband had a craving for some real Asian food.  We drove by Boke Bowl but there was no available parking close by so we decided to keep going and hit Double Dragon, but I missed the turn so we decided to keep going into Sellwood and try Jade Bistro & Patisserie.  FYI, Siri pronounces patisserie like “potty spree”, ha!

We started with Steamed Hum Bao with barbecue pork, and please note the red stamp.  On our way to lunch Mr. Won’t Run was asking me where we had the good hum bao and I told him I had no recollection of ever eating hum bao in Portland.  He was like “no, remember, they put the red stamp on it, you know, the red stamp” but that did nothing to jog my memory.  He mentioned it was in Southeast and the only Asian place I could think of over there was Jade Bistro but he wasn’t sure that was the place.  But, it is.  Now it’s kind of a joke… “you know, the red stamp!!”  It’s also a running joke that my memory sucks.

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He got the Beef Noodle Soup (pho), we shared the Fried Coconut Shrimp Skewers, and I had the Beef Salad.

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You guys, this beef salad is everything!  I could eat it every day and be so happy.  The meat was perfectly cooked and the “spicy lemongrass roasted rice dressing” was my favorite sweet + spicy combo.  The fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and lettuce made it taste so fresh.  Oh, and it’s gluten-free, so if I ever have to give up gluten I can take comfort in knowing I can still eat this salad!

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After lunch we walked around the neighborhood checking out the shops.  We went into Columbia Sportswear and they’re having a great winter sale at the moment – you’re welcome.  Then we hit the antique shops.   First up was Sellwood Collective, and then Raven Antiques & Military where I really wanted this gem for our wall, it’s perfect, right?

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I do love that old cash register from 1900 though, if only I had a place for it.  And an extra $650.

We also checked out Rusted Rooster Antiques, and if you’re looking for dishes/china this is the place to be!

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We also stopped at Savory Spice Shop but I didn’t snap any pictures.  Basically any spice you can imagine is there and you can buy bulk so however much or little as you want, and the gals working were extremely nice and helpful.

The next obvious stop was the Hurry Back Ice Cream food cart!  They make their Philadelphia style (no eggs) ice cream in that tiny little cart and you can get it in a cone or on top of brownies or pie!!  We went with the pie.  Mr. Won’t Run had the apple pie with a scoop of Madagascar Vanilla and a scoop of Cinnamon, and I had the cherry pie with a scoop of Cardamom Chocolate Chip.  So delicious, and the owner was so helpful and fun to chat with!

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And then… WE WENT BOWLING!!!  I don’t even remember the last time I went bowling, I’m pretty sure it was when Mr. Won’t Run and I were dating, so 10+ years ago.  I was on track to win the first game but we messed up and he rolled the very last frame of my turn and he got a strike, so we called that whole game the practice round.  He won the next two and I’m attributing it to my lack of arm strength, I’m only good for one game apparently.  Oh yeah, and I totally B I T . I T .  Not sure how it happened, but I lost my footing on the last step so I instinctively took a step forward but that was over the line and those lanes are SLICK!  I went down hard onto both knees and almost bashed my teeth in on the edge of the gutter but thankfully my hands got there before my face.  It was hilarious!  Mr. Won’t Run was really sweet and came over to help me up, I’m really not sure how he wasn’t doubled over in laughter.

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Today… it was spontaneous and unplanned and spent with my favorite guy.  It was perfect and felt like the good old days of dating.

Mr. Won’t Run’s job keeps him pretty busy and he works weird schedules so sometimes there are days our schedules just don’t match up and we don’t get much quality time together.  On the occasional day where he’s able to take the afternoon off I could never join him because of the day job, so now that I’m not working for a while I’m hoping days like this will make up for the evenings and weekends that we don’t get to see each other.

I’m looking forward to more days like this.

Local Love – Stafford Farms & Vintage, and The Little Door

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*** Update: Exciting news from The Little Door ***

GREAT BIG HUGE AWESOME News Alert! This year I'm getting the biggest and best Christmas present EVER! Imagine this farm field will be turning into our cedar tree lined driveway that will lead you back to our new reclaimed wood whitewashed barn store that will be the new and permanent home of The Little Door! And what is super exciting for us…is that the new location will be on our family farm off of 65th (just down the street from our current location on Stafford but before Lee's Farm…literally 1–2 minutes from where we are right now). So not only will you get to come out and shop for all of the goodies you are used to…but you can also say hi to our cows, visit our gardens and enjoy the rolling hills and views of our farm land💚. So here is the plan…The Little Door will be closing at the current location on January 10th in order to start turning our focus to the constructing of our new and wonderful location and barn…for a proposed Grand Re-Opening date of March 1 at our new location! We have a lot of work to do in a short time…but we can't wait and are soooo excited!!! Our current and wonderful business partner, Jeanie Braun ❤️ of Stafford Farms & Vintage) will be taking this opportunity to switch focus to her family and their construction company. So she will be closing her store on January 10th as well, but on a permanent level. A decision I know that was extremely difficult for her to make and I know we will all miss her and Stafford Farms & Vintage. We have benefited immensely from her business partnership and I have gained a wonderful friend in the process!!! Now…with all of that said…please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We want to hear from you about any cool ideas you may have, fun comments or your shared excitement for the new venture (which by the way…we can't wait for you to be a part of…our customers mean the world to us!!!) So we have decided to keep our sale running until our close date of January 10th…so if there is anything you have had your eye on…now's the time to come and get it!!! Or just stop in to say Hi…we'd love to see you! XOXOXO, Angela😘

A post shared by Angela (@shopthelittledoor) on

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Original Post:

If you’ve ever driven down Stafford Road through Wilsonville you may have seen this cute little shop with two names – Stafford Farms & Vintage, and The Little Door.  It’s part of the Farmlandia Farm Loop and I’d driven by it plenty of times but finally stopped in just last month and I’ll definitely be back.

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So why does it have two names?  It’s because two friends partnered up and joined their stores.  How fun does that sound?!  Jeanie Bruan has Stafford Farms & Vintage, and Angela Dickson joined in 2014 with The Little Door, and it resulted in the cutest little home décor / vintage / antique / garden accessories store.

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There’s so much great stuff, new and old, with a variety of styles like Boho Vintage, Romantic Beach Cottage, French Country, Shabby Chic, and Rustic Elegance.  My style is something like log-cabin-industrial-minimalist-french-country (is that a thing?), and I found plenty of things I liked!  I am admittedly not up on my antique pricing knowledge, but when I checked out the tags on some larger items I expected them to be much higher.

I absolutely loved how it was decorated and set up.  It’s a small space but there was so much to see.  I’ve noticed that antique type shops like this can be hard to peruse because there’s just so much stuff and often there’s no rhyme or reason as to how things are organized, but this place does a great job of organizing and it feels like everything was purposefully placed with thought and care.

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I met Jeanie the day I was there and she was so nice and fun to chat with.  Good thing I had my OSU hat on because they are a Beaver family.  Don’t let that deter you if you’re a Duck, good home décor crosses all barriers, haha!

If this type of place is your thing, check out the Farm Girls Roadshow they’re part of this weekend, it’s a progressive shopping event in the West Linn/Lake Oswego/Wilsonville area – sounds really fun!

Want to check out the shop for yourself?  Here’s more info:

26015 SW Stafford Road
Wilsonville, OR 97070
(about 1.5 miles east off I-5 exit 286)

Mon-Sat, 11-4
Sun, 12-4

Stafford Farms & Vintage
Website / Facebook / Instagram

The Little Door
Facebook / Instagram

This post is not sponsored in any way, I’m just sharing a fun local place I really like!  Jeanie might remember me so if you stop by tell you heard about them here :)

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What the Friday!

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{Lovely Portland in the Fall image by Jane at In the Pink and Green}

1. A whole month of blogging in September and now my first October post isn’t until the 23rd!!  I may need a refresher on how this whole blogging thing works.  I’ve had plenty on my mind to share, but work has been a bit crazy this month with my partner-in-crime out of the office for the last 5 weeks, so the last thing I want to do when I get home is get back on the computer.  Thank goodness she’s back on Monday, work isn’t as fun without her!

2. The weather in Oregon is finally cooling off and starting to feel like Fall and I always get back into tea this time of year.  Tea is one of the things I try to buy organic, but this new Dirty Chai from Celestial Seasonings was too interesting to pass up – CHAI TEA + ESPRESSO!  The chai spices aren’t overpowering, and the espresso is light and doesn’t leave a bitter coffee flavor at all.  Added a splash of creamer and it was that perfect cup that gives you the cozy blanket + roaring fireplace feeling.  That makes sense, right?  Or am I just a crazy Fall person?  The only problem is that the first time I had it was Tuesday evening around 5:30pm.  Apparently I didn’t register the part where it said espresso, but it finally clicked about 9 hours later.  It’s now in the morning tea rotation.

3. Tried this year’s version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (you know, with actual pumpkin in it)… still not a fan.  Anyone else brave enough to admit that?

4. Jem and the Holograms opens today – no thank you.  Question for movie producers… why make a version of something that is “loosely based” on the original?  All you’re going to do is piss off the fans who loved it, especially when you change everything that was lovable about it!  How does that make sense?  Me and my inner 9 year old have no desire to see this.

5. Are you local and looking for some pumpkin patch fun this weekend?  Head to Our Table in Sherwood for the second weekend of their ORGANIC U-PICK PUMPKIN PATCH!  Get your gourd on and take a hay ride around the farm, snap a photo in the farmer photo booth, use their pumpkin carving station to spare your home from kitchen guts, and check out their seasonal treats like caramel apples and popcorn balls – this Saturday and Sunday, 10-6!

6. Speaking of local, I discovered a new-to-me local blogger recently – REAL FOOD, WHOLE LIFE – her site is beautiful and she has recipes like this Tuscan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce that needs to get in my mouth ASAP!

7. And in more local news (sorry, can’t help it), my friend Heather from Aspen Summit has partnered with Casey from Menagerie (an adorable boutique in a restored 1979 airstream!), and they’re opening a storefront in Portland called WORK/SHOP.  It will be a botanical gift boutique as well as a collective work space where they can host classes like brush lettering, macramé, fiber art wall hangings, smudge sticks, etc.  Want more info?  Sign up for their newsletter here, store opens Friday, November 13th!

8. So, it’s October, and that means a lot of pink ribbon stuff for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The last few years I’ve had mixed feelings about this.  Is anyone on the planet not aware of breast cancer?  Yes, awareness of the disease is important, awareness of early detection measures is very important, but let’s up our awareness of PREVENTION!  I’d love to see more mainstream talk about the environmental factors, chemicals, and radiation that are known and suspected of being linked to cancers.  Obviously there’s no surefire prevention method (besides removing certain body parts), but let’s do what we can to protect ourselves in the areas we have control over.  I may not be able to change my family medical history, but I can certainly make different choices in the things I put in and on my body today.  Let’s educate ourselves so we can make informed choices.  Let’s focus more on what we CAN do instead of throwing up our hands and just hoping for a cure one day.  Let’s try stopping it before it starts.  It’s easy to see a pink ribbon on a product, buy it, and feel like you contributed to the cause, but before you get your ribbon on, check out the 5 tips in this article to make sure your support is making the impact you want – #3 makes me want to punch someone in the face!  #RethinkThePink

9. On a lighter note… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the amazing scent of wintry pine trees should NEVER be used as a bathroom air freshener.  Merry Poopy Christmas. (By the way, did you know it’s wintry and not wintery? I like wintery better.)

What do you have planned for the weekend?
I’ve got laundry on the agenda, and getting together for dinner with some college friends!  If anyone mentions how long it’s been since we’ve been in college I’m going to stab myself with a fork and then order another glass of wine.

Living the Co-op Life

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Finding a co-op is kind of like dating.  You meet, get to know each other, fall in love, and make a commitment.  It’s the classic love story.

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I’m kidding, but not totally.  I met Our Table thanks to that food blogger conference a few months ago, I returned once a week or so to get to know it better, and when I found myself talking to friends about it non-stop while sporting a cheesy grin I knew it was love!  My analogy falls apart at this point since I totally want to share my co-op with friends and family.  An open co-op relationship is a lot easier than an open dating relationship.

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After a few months in love, I wanted to show Our Table how much they meant to me so I decided to become an official consumer member.  You don’t have to be a member to shop there or attend events (like the Swell Granola tasting this Saturday!), but being a member does come with some benefits:

  • Participate in a local, cooperatively owned business, vote in Co-op elections, and run for the Board of Directors
  • Lower food prices – 10% off everything at our on-farm grocery on the 2nd Saturday of each month
  • Access to exclusive on-farm events and U-pick days, special small-batch produce and prepared foods
  • Discounts on educational classes
  • Share of the Co-op’s profits — earn a patronage dividend based on your total purchases in years when the Cooperative makes sufficient profits

I love that being a member means I own a part of it, I get a say and my voice matters.  I’m excited to see the whole co-op election process and get to know the people on the Board.  I doubt any of them needed to hire Olivia Pope to get elected, but I would imagine they all take their positions just as seriously and do it for a real love of the co-op.

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The thing that keeps bringing me back though, and is available to non-members as well, is just the fact that I know exactly where my food comes from, and if I want more info all I have to do is ask.  I don’t even know how to express the peace of mind that gives me.  With a  new article every day about toxic food additives, pesticides, GMOs, meat recalls, and foods being bad for you that were touted as healthy the day before, knowing what to buy can be stressful.

I will admit to being a bit paralyzed at times in the grocery store, trying to decipher ingredients and weed through all the advertising claims you’re never sure you can believe.  The easy answer there is to skip the packaged foods and focus on the produce and meat/seafood sections, but that has it’s own issues.  Which veggies should you purchase organic vs. conventional (and what do I do with them once I get them home?), was that chicken free-range (and what exactly does free-range mean?), was that cow slaughtered humanely (and how can I even verify that?).

So many questions but so few answers.  Most of the time I’d end up feeling like no decision was the right one and I’d just hit Taco Bell on the way home.  Obviously that makes no sense since we can all agree that Taco Bell is never the right decision.  Not even if they bring back the rolled chicken tacos!

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Knowing that I can walk into the On-Farm Grocery and shop without having to question everything is such a relief!  Grocery shopping is fun again, and coupling that with the CSA has been getting me back into the kitchen which my husband is certainly a fan of.  It doesn’t hurt that the Our Table staff is amazing as well!  Whether it’s Royce or Colleen in the store (or anyone else you deal with), they’re going to greet you with a genuine smile and they’ll help you find exactly what you need.  It feels how I imagine the old timey General Stores were (local people, local food), but thankfully it has modern conveniences like a commercial kitchen and indoor plumbing!

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What really struck me at the member potluck last weekend is that a co-op is a community, people coming together for a common goal.  To get the most out of it you need to get involved, and the best way to do that is become a member and truly own your food instead of just buying it.  If you’re local and interested, swipe right click here.

Already a member?  Comment below and introduce yourself, I’d love to meet you!

To learn more about Our Table and their co-op/csa/farming ways, check them out here:
Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
13390 SW Morgan Rd
Sherwood, OR  97140
503-217-4304

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(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)

FALLing for Veggies

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It’s finally Fall!  Temperatures are dropping, leaves are changing, gourds are ripening, and I couldn’t love it more!!

Part of the CSA fun is learning what’s in season in the area.  Sure, I can go to the grocery store and buy oranges every day of the year, but if you stop to think about it, oranges are only grown in certain areas and at certain times, so how are there always oranges available?  Eating locally has opened my eyes to eating seasonally as well.  So what do Fall veggies from Our Table look like?

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Pretty similar to Summer veggies at this point, but leeks are new!

Thank goodness the Our Table blog lists what’s coming each week with cooking ideas.  I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten leeks, and I know for a fact I’ve never cooked with them.  Apparently they’re part of the Allium family, like garlic and onions; might have to try one of these tasty sounding options:

What’s your favorite thing to do with leeks?

Sadly, I didn’t make it in to my favorite farm store this weekend.  Insert sad, crying, pouty face here.  I’m feeling under the weather thanks to fellow employees bringing their second hand germs to work – thanks a lot back-to-school-season.  If it weren’t for the dog, I probably wouldn’t have ever moved from bed this weekend.

How weird is it to be sad about missing grocery shopping?  Not so weird when it’s a place that knows you by name, treats you like a friend, and has fireplace seating!

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Maybe this is the Theraflu talking, but I’m counting down the days until we’re reunited!

 

(The fun legal disclosure: This September is membership month at Our Table and I’m partnering with them for a blog series sharing my co-op story and how they help me eat local.  I  am receiving a small discount on purchases I make, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  If I didn’t genuinely love this place I would not be telling you about it.  Check out all my Our Table coverage here!)