Gender Equality Link Round Up


I have been reading a lot about feminism in the last few years.  I think I identified as a feminist even as a young kid.  In the last few years, I have encountered a lot of really good information about the state of gender equality and  workers rights in this country.  Here are some of the highlights:

Why I’m a Feminist by Laci Green

Violence Against Women – It’s a Men’s Issue by Jackson Katz

The Sexy Lie by Caroline Heldman

A Practical Wedding writes about feminism in a manner that I find really accessible.  I really like that feminism is woven in to conversations about parties, weddings, and life.

That Time Beyonce’s Album Invalidated Every Criticism of Feminism Ever by Christina Coleman    Of the articles and video’s posted here, this impacted me most.




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Pig Newtons



I have read a lot push back against the idea that Pinterest can be a legitimate source of inspiration.  I think the idea is that food on Pinterest is overly complicated and  difficult to execute.  In a lot of cases – probably.   Whether Pinterest is a realistic inspiration board or not, it is such a nice place to explore ideas and look at pretty things.  Follow me at or comment below with your Pinterest handle.  Lets swap pretty ideas :)


I saw these sandwiches and I had to try them.  Especially after my fig fail from last year, I wanted to see if I could execute something tasty with figs.  I did it!   Super easy to put together and so, so tasty.  Make this now while the figs are still in season.



How to:

Split your croissants

Mix equal parts chevre and butter – adds goat cheese flavor and is easier to spread.

Saute onions.

Spread chevre butter on the croissant halves, add arugula, and sauted onions.  Layer on prosciutto and figs.

If you are here in Portland, take the sandwiches and go on a romantic picnic with your sweetie while the weather is still nice.



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Twitterville Book Review


I just finished Shel Israel’s Twitterville and I absolutely loved it.  I have attempted to read several books about Twitter and found them all frustrating because they don’t address my central question = What’s the point?

Shel Isreal does a great job of telling a story about Twitter.  Its not a self help book or an instruction manual.  It is a history of Twitter and snapshots into cool ways that people are using Twitter.  It frames Twitter as a neighborhood or pub – a friendly place to meet new people.

The biggest insight from Twitterville: Twitter is often a more useful listening tool than talking tool.

Some ways that I have been able to listen via Twitter are

- News curated for my particular interest.

- Thoughts from other professionals in my field who I don’t know outside of Twitter.

- People’s opinion about brands that I am invested in or interested in.


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Tomato season in Portland!  I get so obsessed.  Last year, I ate nothing but tomatoes and good bread for about three weeks.  My tomato obsession this year is gazpacho.  Gazpacho is a Spanish, chilled tomato soup.



It is great summer food because it is tasty, refreshing, and you don’t have to cook anything.  It is also surprisingly filling for veggie soup.  Another nice thing about this presentation of tomatoes is that it includes salt and vinegar so if you are still making it past the peak of tomato season, you can still punch up the flavor.


Typically, I don’t include recipes in my posts because a quick google search will find you a great recipe.  In this case, I had to sift through several recipes before I found even a good base.  Therefore, you will find what I make listed below and the good source recipe I found linked.  Don’t make tomato smoothie – tomato smoothie is not gazpacho no matter what Food and Wine magazine tries to tell you.



Tweaked from You’re Doing it Wrong – Gazpacho 

2 lbs Tomatoes

1/2  Cucumber

1/2 Red Onion

Red Bell Pepper

4 cloves Garlic

1/3 cup Almonds

1/2 slice bread – stale is fine

Olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Blend all ingredients until creamy.  Do not omit the almonds and bread – they look strange but are vital for authentic texture and flavor.  Refrigerate or freeze until chilled.

I served mine in shot glasses as tastes at a party but bowls is fine if you are eating gazpacho as your main course.


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How to Launch a Successful Meetup


Over the last two years, I have launched three meetups.  Two were pretty clear flops.  The successful Meetup has 500+ members, hosts three monthly events with 20-50 attendees, and is about to grow again.  The original event in the successful Meetup had a super simple format – coffee first then to another location for dinner and an activity like pool.

I have learned that an organizer needs several things to be successful. 1) The ability to commit to regularly hosting.  2) A handful of friends to come to the first few events.  3) A good idea.

For me, the good idea has been the hardest to come by.  I did a few things in preparation for the successful meetup that I neglected for the flops.

-I got to know what my target audience needed by attending other Meetups that catered to them and talking to folks about what they want.

-I also traveled to cities with a larger population of my target audience and experienced their kick ass events.  I brought home the things that worked for my target population in the larger city.




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Farmers Market Snacking Cake


The first few weeks of August in Portland are spectacular.  Everywhere you walk, there are blackberry bushes overflowing with ripe berries.  The air is heavy with the smell of jam.  The farmers markets are filled with all sorts of exotic berries.

My eyes are always too big for my stomach.  I cart home flats of berries with no hope of eating them all before they get mushy or threaten to grow mold.  So, I make cherry snacking cake.



Cherry snacking cake is not too sweet and tastes like cherry fruit rather than fake cherry syrup.  Its really good as an afternoon snack with an Arnold Palmer.  . . or glass of sweet tea . . . or really anything to combat the 90+ days and no air conditioning that seems to be causing all native Portlanders to melt.  Me?  I say bring it!  My California soul is thrilled with the heat.

The key, when you have housemates native to Portland, is to sneak into the kitchen late at night when things have cooled down so you don’t accidentally bake the housemates along with the cake.  I substituted 1.5 cups cherry puree for the bananas in this banana bread recipe and omitted the cinnamon.





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Farmers Market



I have always loved the idea of a farmers market – gorgeous produce, people engaged with their local community, and a chance to soak up summer sun.  I reality has been consistently stressful.  I run around trying to find the things on my list and worrying about the best price among so many vendors.  I have tried a couple of different ways to go through a farmers market to make it less stressful and finally found the solution.

I don’t go in with a plan for the what I am going to cook for the week like I would with a grocery store.  Instead, I go in with a few platform ideas and look for tasty produce to pile on top.  Some platforms I have used are salad greens, toast, pasta, and pizza.  Almost all produce taste’s good on one of the above.


With this strategy in place, I get to enjoy the farmers market.  Wander around, buy whatever looks good, and not stress too much about how I am going to prepare it.  Next project CSA’s.  If you participate in a CSA – let me know!  I want to know how you enjoy the experience without getting drowned in zucchini.

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In the Moment with my Amo


My grandmother was in town this weekend!  One of the things that struck me about spending time with her is how good she is at being in the moment and rooted in her own experience.  Following her at her rhythm allowed me to experience so much more or Portland than I normally do.


We happened upon a free live opera in the rose garden Friday night.  While we wandered around the rose garden, she was completely focused on finding the best rose smell.  Once the Opera started up, she started cry – live music just does that to her.


We sat and watched some folks play life size chess in a park downtown.  We tried to figure out the game and were completely content sitting quietly and watching them play.


It was so much easier to explore and see Portland through new eyes when I was with her.  I think some things that helped me be in the moment was 1) doing things I haven’t done before.  2) Not needing to be anywhere at any given time.  3)  cultivating a mindset of play  and exploration.


What helps you be in the moment?

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Cool Things this Weekend



AM Sunflower Surprise 2

Art by my rad grandma, Beth Summers

My grandmother is coming in to town this weekend!  She is 78 years old and is arriving via solitary road trip.  My grandmother is an incredibly cool person.  She worked hard as a teacher all her life to support her family.  She always wanted to travel and be a professional artist but didn’t have too many opportunities to do so – until she retired.  She now has a thriving professional art career and visited something like 50 countries with her late spouse.  When he passed in February, she committed herself to continuing to have adventures and live the life she loves.  She went to Iceland by herself in July and is now on a solo roadtrip from SoCal to Portland.  I am so excited to see her and so proud of her.

I asked my friends where I should take this badass, art loving woman and got some great recommendations so I wanted to share some of them with you.

More amazing work by Beth.

More amazing work by Beth.


The 17th annual Alberta Street Art Festival is happening this Saturday.  Art, music, beer and more for just a $2 suggested donation.  Looks awesome.

It is free family and community day at the Portland Art Museum on Sunday.  The Portland Art Museum is featuring plein air painters which is awesome because I am pretty sure that is one of the types of painting in which my grandma is interested.

Whenever Amo talks about Portland, she talks about berries.  Since we are in the height of berry season here, we will absolutely hit the Beaverton Farmers Market for some tasty berries.


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Stuffed Artichoke with Homemade Aioli


I had an amazing time in Tahoe.  I got a chance to meet KJ’s family who are warm and welcoming and lovely.  The lake was gorgeous and, since I was staying with fellow foodies, the food was amazing.

While I was in Tahoe, I got a little rebellious.  Maybe it was just the freedom of being on vacation.  Perhaps I have gotten spoiled by living in Oregon for 3 years now and the great stretches of beaches, forest, and park.  All of Tahoe’s No Trespassing signs may have come as a bit of a shock to my system.


Whatever the cause, I was feeling a bit rebellious on the night that we made dinner as a group.  I broke two of my cardinal cooking rules.  1) Never cook something new for guests.  2) Let the product shine.

I made Stuffed Artichoke with Homemade Aioli.  I had never cooked an artichoke and never mind made a homemade aioli.  Steaming an artichoke is fairly simple as is making homemade aioli.     The results are spectacular – an amazing, buttery vegetable served with garlicky, rich aioli.  I would highly recommend it.


All that said – don’t stuff it.  No seriously.  It sounds like a good idea- stuffing always makes things more delicious, right?  Nope!  It covered up the artichoke flavor and the stuffing was a weird, gummy texture.  We ate around it so the dish was still tasty.

Which leads me back to my rules- 1) Let the product shine.  2) Never cook something new for guests.   After the weekend in Tahoe, I am revising my rules.  1) Let the product shine – always, always, always – no excuses.    2) Only cook something new for guests if they are warm and welcoming and kind and willing to eat around the flops.  KJs family really are lovely people.


There was something really satisfying about making my own aioli.  Kind of like a foodie merit badge?  It was work in the form of a whole lot of whisking.  Ultimately, not too much work though and it came together successfully on my first try.


So this weekend, steam an artichoke, whisk up some homemade aioli, and crack a bottle of very dry wine and enjoy your foodie cred :)



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