herbal white port & tonic

Image and styling: Olaiya Land

I just got back from almost 3 months of working and traveling in Portugal, France and Belgium. The thing I’ve been thinking about most since we got home is how opening myself up to life’s many pleasures on this trip has helped me feel more connected to myself and my creative voice.⠀

I'm the sort of person who tends to slowly tighten the screws until I'm white-knuckling everything and completely miserable. ⠀

I've tried pretty much all the forms of controlling my body and my life: No carbs. Slow carbs. Keto. Beautiful-Mind-level calorie tracking spreadsheets. Mandatory 5am runs. Hours on the treadmill and the elliptical. 16-hour days. 80-hour weeks. Draconian budgets. Juice cleanses. And prescriptive "lifestyle makeovers". So much restricting in so many forms. So much denying myself kindness and pleasure in the name of “self improvement”.

The time I've spent traveling has helped me slowly let go of a restrictive, control-obsessed mindset and offer myself more freedom and joy. When you’re far from home, you’re forced to surrender a bit of control. Grocery stores don’t carry the food you’re used to. Shops keep different hours. Life flows at a different pace.

Image and styling: Olaiya Land

It feels completely reasonable to have pain au chocolat for breakfast if you feel like it. Maybe a pastel de nata with your afternoon coffee. Walking becomes your main mode of transportation. You spend many idle hours on the terrace of your favorite cafe drinking espresso and people-watching. Your work hours shift to leave time for naps and dinners with friends. You drink more wine.

Plus, none of our european friends give two shits about working out all the time. Or drinking protein smoothies. Or spending a gazillion hours a week on work. Our friend Filipe surfs because he loves the ocean. Michel and Cecilia ride their bikes to work and go for long walks in the forest by their house on the weekends. Matilde and Mafalda get around Porto on foot. Sara does yoga. They all eat pastries and drink wine without having any sort of public freak out or the need to talk about how they’re being “naughty”.

After the last 3 months of living a looser, slower, more pleasure-focused lifestyle, I am feeling more relaxed and approving of myself than I ever have. I'm enjoying my work. I'm sleeping well for the first time in years. And Beau and I have had so many ideas for new ways to run our business and build community.⠀

Image and styling: Olaiya Land

If you're feeling like you need to have everything under control all the time, I feel you. I have lived there most of my life. ⠀

But here's a little reminder that pleasure and joy are the sparks that will keep you burning bright for years to come. Loosening the reigns a bit might even get you closer to your goals than doubling down on the hours you spend in the office and the gym.

To help you lean into living a more pleasure-filled life, here’s a super easy recipe for a Herbal White Port and Tonic cocktail. My friend Filipe and I served it at our pop up dinner in Lisbon and it was the perfect drink for a warm night. I hope you carve out some time this weekend to mix up one of these, kick your feet up, turn your phone off and watch the world go by.

If you want to lean into pleasure in a big way, join me in Paris this October for a 6-day photography & creativity workshop! You’ll step out of your day-to-day rhythms, hone your photography skills and get fresh inspiration from being in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

And of course there will be daily doses of buttery croissants, dark chocolate, cave-aged cheeses and natural wines. Because, Paris.

Click here to find your next yes.

Herbal White Port and Tonic

  • 1/4 cup (60 ML) dry white port
  • 1/2 cup (120 ML) tonic water
  • Pinch pink peppercorns
  • Pinch fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

*Note: We made these with Quinta do Infantado white port and Schweppes tonic water. I don’t think there’s any need to use a premium tonic water in this cocktail since the flavors of the port and herbs are fairly strong and would hide the nuances of a more subtle tonic.

Fill and 8 ounce (240 ML) glass with ice. Pour the port and the tonic over the ice. Stir. Top with a pinch of pink peppercorns, a pinch of fennel seeds and the fresh thyme sprig.

Makes 1 cocktail

Image and styling: Olaiya Land

the love list

the love list on


This week I’m working on some new features for the blog. My friend Kyle stopped by yesterday to cook up an amazing dish I’ll be posting next week. I’ll also be announcing the dates of the pop-up dinner I’ve been talking about for what feels like ever. Kyle and I will be teaming up to bring you a menu of bright summer fare served under the stars. I’m thrilled it’s finally happening! Stay tuned for details.

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I’ve been having so much fun collaborating up with other cooks, photographers and creative souls lately, I’ve decided to make that more of a regular occurrence around here. So I’ll be sharing more recipes and stories from some of my creative friends here on the blog.

If you are interested in working on a food, photography or travel project together, shoot me a mail. I love getting to know new folks and sharing knowledge and inspiration with each other!

While I edit the pile of images I shot with Kyle, here’s a little Love List to brighten your weekend!

- First up: The delightful instagram feed of Elie Obeid. I met Elie at Fragments coffee shop the last time I was in Paris. Not only does he make a perfect cup of coffee, he also takes beautiful pictures of his favorite spots in the city. Following along via his feed, I feel like I’m taking a little walk through the streets of Paris every day!

- As long as we're on the topic of photography, there’s an Eggleston exhibit at the Portland Art Museum until August 21. I’m super jazzed to take a little road trip down the coast and check it out. Also, it’s a great excuse to go eat at my favorite spots in Portland. (Hello, Blue Star Donuts!) All my PNW people: see you there!

- If you’re looking for a great recipe for your next bbq or summer shindig, check out this Potato-less Potato Salad. (Is your brain hurting yet?) Sherrie over at With Food + Love made this little gem of a salad from lightly blanched, perfectly tender radishes. It has all the classic flavors of potato salad, without all the carbs. Even if you aren’t trying to lay off the simple starches like me, this salad is a refreshing reinterpretation of a classic that’s delicious in its own right.

- I love, love, love this article on scruffy hospitality my friend Lillian posted on Facebook! Scruffy hospitality entails: “Not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home.” I’m definitely guilty of feeling like I can’t have friends over if the house isn’t in perfect order. This was a good reminder that inviting friends into our home is first and foremost about connecting with the people we love.

- And no Love List would be complete without a cocktail! Check out these Golden Raspberry Lillet Cocktails Heidi Swanson posted over at Quitokeeto. Lillet cocktails, always and forever.

photo:  Heidi Swanson

Happy Weekend, friends!


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grapefruit-sage margaritas

grapefruit-sage margaritas on
grapefruit-sage margaritas on

Every March, Beau and I pack ourselves off to Palm Springs. To my mind, the main selling point of this desert oasis is that there isn’t anything to do there. I mean, there are some things. But not many. The restaurants worth visiting can be counted on one hand. The shops are mainly full of touristy kitsch. There are two small museums. 

I’m sure the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism would enthusiastically point out that there is a tram that scales the side of a mountain, there are numerous golf courses and pristine tennis courts, there are mid-century modern architectural gems scattered over the valley. And all of this is true. But somehow, none of it is very compelling. 

palm springs on
palm springs on

Maybe my Seattle brain becomes addled by the rays of desert sunshine beaming down on my head. Maybe the temperatures in the mid to high eighties induce a sort of stupor I am incapable of resisting. Whatever the cause, when I arrive in Palm Springs the desire I feel in Paris or Lisbon or San Francisco to explore and seek out the latest and greatest simply evaporates.

Which is why I adore this sleepy resort town.

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It is the perfect venue for what I like to call the Total Unplug. The Total Unplug involves going to bed when I’m tired and waking when well-rested rather than when an alarm on my phone tells me to. It involves early morning hikes on several of the Coachella Valley’s many gorgeous mountain trails. It involves road trips to Cabazon past the dinosaurs made famous in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure to eat at In-N-Out Burger (which, by the way, is as amazing as everyone says). Most of all, it involves lots of lounging by the pool while reading, napping and sometimes even just staring at the palm trees swaying overhead. 

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Our hotel has a no-cell-phones-by-the-pool-policy, which forces me to stop checking my email and social media every two seconds. Getting enough sleep allows me to recharge in a way that feels unattainable at home. Everything about Palm Springs conspires to promote a magnificent laziness in me. And this laziness allows me to reflect on the state of affairs in my Seattle life and realize that staying up until 3am obsessing over which of the hundreds of rugs I’ve pinned will be just right for our new living room (for example) might not be the best use of my time. 

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Palm Springs itself is a balm for the overworked, overconnected, urban soul. But should one require a more powerful mental palliative, I recommend a visit to the Saturday farmers market to pick up a basket of fragrant citrus and a stop at the Rite-Aid for a bottle of tequila. Once back at your hotel room, you can mix up a first-rate margarita that should dispel any lingering stress or desire to check your Feedly. 

grapefruit-sage margaritas on
palm springs on
grapefruit-sage margaritas on

Luckily enough, you don’t even have to be in Palm Springs to enjoy a margarita and a moment of relaxation. Though I highly recommend the Total Unplug, even a Mini Unplug should lift your spirits. To help you on your way, I’m sharing a recipe for Grapefruit-Sage Margaritas. Now that I’m home, this drink reminds me of the bright Southern California sun and the desert lavender that was in full bloom during our trip. Despite its name, it smells to me like a heady mix of ripe grapefruit and dusky sage. When I first smelled it, I immediately knew I needed to translate it into a cocktail that would transport me back to desert hikes among the wildflowers and a Palm-Springs state of mind. I’m hoping that as I transition back into the day-to-day, mixing up a pitcher of these margaritas once in awhile will help me remember to sit down, unplug and just watch the trees swaying in the breeze.

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palm springs on

grapefruit-sage margaritas on

Grapefruit-Sage Margaritas

  • 4 tablespoons mild honey
  • 10-15 large sage leaves, sliced, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup tequila (preferably reposado or añejo)
  • About 2 tablespoons medium-coarse sea salt, for the rim
grapefruit-sage margaritas on

First, make the honey-sage simple syrup: Place the honey, sage and two tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. (Alternately, you can heat the honey, sage and water in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until it bubbles.) Set aside to steep for 5 minutes then strain to remove the sage. Set aside to cool.

When you are ready to assemble the margaritas, dip a q-tip in the honey-sage simple syrup and run it around the rim of your glasses (or use your finger). Place the salt on a small plate then roll the honeyed rim of your glasses in the salt. Fill the glasses with ice.

In a large shaker, combine 1/4 cup of the simple syrup, the grapefruit juice and the tequila. Fill about halfway with ice. Shake for 30 seconds then strain the margaritas into glasses. Garnish each with a sage leaf and serve immediately.

Makes 4 drinks. 


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