4 x This Week: Cringing, Worth Living For and Peppermint

Doughnut from General Porpoise
This photo is at the top of this post simply because it is the most aesthetically pleasing. But also this doughnut is delicious.

This post was originally going to be gloomier but for some reason turned out a bit bubbly? Not sure how that happened.

Well, maybe bubbly isn’t the right word. But there are walnuts. And doughnuts. And peppermint.

**1**

Do you ever suddenly remember something embarrassing you said in the past and then sit there cringing in shame? I do. All the time. Especially when my roommates are gone. Then it’s just me and my thoughts, and it is not good.

**2**

I just bought a new loaf of bread the other day. It’s a generic brand but it has walnuts in it. Walnuts! Can you believe it? I LOVE bread with nuts in it. Currently it makes my days worth living for.

Also good? Miraculous Ladybug. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry about it.

**3**

My friend and I have realized that we have a system for Sundays:

  1. Go to General Porpoise for doughnuts.
  2. Work on homework at General Porpoise. Usually a mix of physical computing (which she doesn’t like), resumes/job applications/professional development (which I don’t like). It’s funny because people always ask us what we’re doing messing with wires and stuff, and I wanna say, “Dude, I don’t even know,” but we manage somehow. It’s kinda fun. The physical computing, not the resumes.

    Arduino Build
    It looks like this.
  3. After that, possibly Salt & Straw ice cream, depending on the week. I used to eat it all the time in Portland, so it’s nice that there’s one in Seattle too.
  4. By then we usually realize we need real food, so we bus back to campus and by gyros/shawarma. Twice we’ve gotten some sort of brunch food instead, but for the most part it’s shawarma. Then we retreat to the library’s writing center to eat and do more homework.

… I realize I usually go to church on Sundays too but I’ve become a bit lax on that. Oops.

**4**

I was going to put some stuff in here about wanting to say I’m an artist or graphic designer but not feeling good enough to do so and feeling like an imposter, but instead I will tell you the secret to life:

Peppermint tea.

Okay, okay, so it’s not the secret to life, necessarily, but it’s great for plenty of reasons. Want to relax? Peppermint tea. Stomach hurts? Peppermint tea. Want a drink that feels both cool and hot at the same time? Peppermint tea. Want a tea that doesn’t get bitter the longer you steep it? Peppermint tea. Want to know what I’m drinking as I type this?

P E P P E R M I N T   T E A .

I don’t know if I can say it’s my favorite tea, but it’s definitely up there—and there is always a box around my house, without fail. It’s like winter in a cup when I can’t have winter.

I miss winter. *sigh*

x

4 x This Week: Help I Hate My Characters, More Ambient Music, Shepherd’s Pie, and a Tongue Twister

Monday. 2:54 a.m. Nearly forgot to write this post. So a-here-we-go~

**1**

I’m hitting a bit of a writing wall right now, mostly because of some character things. I may write a longer post about it this week, but for now I’ll try to summarize. Lately none of my characters have been clicking for me, and there have been certain points in time when I’ve just hated all of them. Like, what used to excite me about them has suddenly vanished into thin air. After some introspection, I realized this is likely due to events in my own life—but how so, you may ask?

Well, it has come to my attention that the way I perceive my characters is directly related to the way I perceive people in general—not specific people, mind you, but humanity as a whole. Lately, however, certain people in my life have lessened my opinion of relationships (not necessarily romantic) and other people in general. You know how it is—you run into someone who is so infuriating or downright evil that it makes you want to tear your hair out. So opposite your own soul that you cannot believe they actually exist. So present that it makes you question the sincerity of every other person you have met or ever will meet.

Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Because of personal issues I am dealing with, the characters in my writing are suffering. And, as you may know, writing is usually a pretty personal experience.

My characters now seem too… optimistic about encountering other characters, whereas I suddenly find myself more pessimistic about meeting new people. This also comes at a crucial time when my main character is supposed to be forming her friendships, and creating lasting bonds—something that is now difficult for me.

For a moment I considered taking a break from writing my main work and focusing on some other side thing, but I felt a little better about my characters today than I did yesterday. Mostly I think it’s just personal stuff I need to sort through.

The most interesting thing about this whole experience is probably that I never realized just how closely my characters were connected to my own state of being. Whether or not that is a good thing, well, I guess I’ll find out in the weeks to come.

**2**

Flipping the switch here, I’m always looking for ambient, soundtrack-like music, particularly when I’m writing. Some time ago I posted about jazzhop or something like that. This week it’s, let’s see—“chillstep,” which I guess is like dubstep, but… chill; lofi (lofi hip hop?); and some trap-Japanese mix, which sounds weird (I mean the name, not the actual music), but is good.

**3**

I tend to make this shepherd’s pie a lot, using this recipe. Just made one today, actually.

**4**

Tongue twister I heard somewhere that my sister and I quote a lot:

How many Lowe’s could Rob Lowe rob if Rob Lowe could rob Lowe’s?

x

4 x This Week: Jazzhop, Mean Dreams, Recycling Gods, and Baked Salmon

Books: York and The Night Circus
York by Laura Ruby and The Night Cirucs by Erin Morgenstern. One’s an “about time I read this” and the other’s an “about time I reread this.” The last one’s a journal. No significance. She’s only there for aesthetic purposes.

This week’s picture I chose because I liked it. No other reason. I haven’t even started reading York yet, but it’s on my list, okay?

But just look at that typography. So gorgeous.

**1**

First off, let’s start with some atmosphere. For the past few days I’ve been listening to jazz-adjacent instrumental music. And by jazz-adjacent, I mean in the realm of “jazzhop” or “jazzy hip hop” or “lounge music,” according to the videos. I dunno, the category of  jazz has always been fairly nebulous to me, because one minute you’re at cocktail piano levels, the next you’re nearer to swing, and then maybe smooth jazz, or even ragtime, and those all sound pretty different. Wikipedia has this list of jazz subgenres, in which jazzhop does not appear. Which is kind a sad, because the name jazzhop has grown on me.

But anyway, there’s like eight hours of jazzhop on these three videos:

I’m also really fond of this Studio Ghibli jazz covers collection.

Really good for studying/focusing/writing or whatever.

And if you’re looking for a new show to watch and you really appreciate this jazzhop vibe, may I recommend an anime called K (sometimes called K Project). Great jazz hop-ish soundtrack, also really like the color tints they add to the animation.

**2**

Rant. I had a dream a few days ago where an internship that I had applied to (in-dream) called me back and told me I got the job, and it was in L.A., and I went, and I think I was involved in product design, and me and my coworkers made grilled cheese sandwiches in the break room. I woke up once again jobless and without grilled cheese, and so far it’s one of the meanest dreams I’ve ever had.

**3**

This may be a Pacific Northwest thing, but having stayed in Phoenix for some time now, I have to ask: why no recycling? I feel a bit snotty saying this, but I guess I’m more environmentally-aware than I’d previously thought (or more privileged in that recycling cans in Seattle are everywhere). Let me break it down for you.

I a) cannot drink the tap water in Phoenix because it is not 100% savory and is not 100% unquestionable, according to my sister, so I have to b) buy bottled water, whose bottles I c) then have to throw away because d) I cannot find a recycling bin in my sister’s entire apartment complex.

It’s official. I have taken recycling for granted. I apologize to the recycling gods for the sheer number of plastic bottles I have sent down the trash chute.

**4**

I thought I’d share my experience baking salmon. I bake salmon a lot. I love it. Another Pacific Northwest thing, I guess. It’s actually pretty easy and fast, if you can find salmon on the cheap. So here’s how it goes.

How to bake a salmon in the oven.

First, pick yourself out a good fish. Salmon or steelhead will work. Steelhead is pretty much like salmon only it’s actually classified as a trout. But whatever, still tasty. So, when you go to get your fish, smell it—fresh fish either has no smell or a slightly sweet smell. Fish that smells like fish is old fish. You can also check for freshness by looking at the eyes: clear eyes, fresh fish. You’ll want a good fillet, so the eye thing might not help. But who knows.

Fillets: typically I go for a fillet of one whole side with the skin still on. You can get it without skin, but I find the fish has better texture, is more moist and stays together better if you bake it with the skin. Plus salmon skin is delicious, especially the parts that get all crunchy in the olive oil (more on that later.)

So now you have this fish. If you’re not gonna use it right away, wrap it in some plastic wrap, then wrap that in foil, and put it in the freezer, then defrost it whenever you want to use it. Otherwise, take the fillet and rinse it with some cold water. Just let some sink water run over it, then pat it dry with a paper towel.

Get a baking sheet and line it with foil. It makes cleanup easier.

Put a drizzle of oil on the foil-lined sheet and spread it around for a thin layer. Then put the salmon on the sheet, skin-side down. Get some more olive oil, and cover the whole salmon. Make sure it’s entirely covered, you’ll probably have to use your hands to rub the oil around.

Once that’s done, seasoning. Usually I just stick to salt, pepper, and some paprika for fanciness. One trick, though: for even more fanciness, sub out the salt for some smoked sea salt. It makes it taste a little bit more like you grilled it on an open fire, even though you clearly did not.

Okay, now the oven. 425 degrees for 15 minutes usually does it for one whole salmon fillet. Once time’s up, you’ll want to check the salmon by taking a knife and sticking it in the thickest part of  the fish. The knife should go through easy, and when you look inside the cut, the meat should be opaque, and not translucent like the way raw salmon usually is.

That’s pretty much it. If you’re a lemon-and-salmon type of person, I would advise against baking the salmon with lemons on top. While it looks pro, baking lemons makes the lemons (and thus the fish) kinda bitter, so I’m not totally in love with the idea. Try just squeezing some fresh lemon instead.

Aaaaand you’re done! Easy peasy salmon. If you’ve got leftovers you can save them, or you can mash up the salmon with some cream cheese + mayonnaise + maybe more salt to make a salmon dip. Maybe throw in some onion powder. Chives. It’s good with chips, or on a bagel.

x

4 x This Week: Bohemian Rhapsody, Noodle Soup, and Say No to the Zombie Apocalypse

Noodle Soup from Silk Road Noodle Bar
Perfection in a bowl. Noodle soup from the Silk Road Noodle Bar. Not sure what it’s called, but it’s number A1.

I’m changing up the numbering style for this post, maybe this’ll be better?

Also I realize that I’m just ripping all of my pictures straight off my instagram account. Oh well. I’ll try to give you more original material next week.

**1**

Right now (well, before I took a break to write out this post) I’m listening to/singing Bohemian Rhapsody while sitting on my living room couch, writing. The lights in this room are out. But not for atmosphere, no. It’s because the light switch is broken *cry*. So far, I’ve written about five lines of text. This is my Sunday.

**2**

I saw my friends in Seattle! I missed them so much, even though it’s only been like a month since I’ve last seen them. Instead of making a depressing comment about how I’m sad to be back in my home town of Washougal (near Vancouver– not the Canada–and across the river from Portland– not the Maine), I’m gonna recommend some food places I went to this week.

Silk Road Noodle Bar. For some reason I always end up going there at like 4:00 p.m. when it’s empty. Like, really empty. But you should get whatever noodle soup A1 is (I can’t remember the name, just the number). It is all I have ever wanted in a noodle soup.

Portage Bay Cafe: Breakfast. Yum. I’ve only been there the one time, but omigosh it was delicious.

**3**

On my hell no list: caffeine and zombie apocalypse movies. I have indulged in both this week and have realized my mistake.

Caffeine affects my system pretty badly, and mixed with my anxiety it feels pretty much like a race to death. Heart pounding. Hands shaking. Paranoia, paranoia, paranoia.

One sunny afternoon I decided I would drink a white mocha (which I’ve had before, by the way), but there was a bit more caffeine in this one, and I was jittery for hours afterwards. But, like, I like the smell of coffee. And the taste is good at times. But coffee does not like me. So warning to my future self: never again.

Now, zombie apocalypse movies. I have always hated them. And always will. I watched one with some friends on the Fourth of July, thinking that it can’t be that bad.

It was that bad.

I don’t think I scare that easily, but there are four subjects that I stay away from in movies and books at all costs:

  1. zombies
  2. apocalypses
  3. deep outer space
  4. and diseases.

This movie that I watched ticked off three of these four items. And no, it did not include deep outer space. Anyway, it was a bad idea. At first I thought it just made me more depressed and uncomfortable, but then I realized it actually scared me. Like actually scared me. It’s been five days and I’m still having horror flashbacks.

Again, warning to my future self: NEVER AGAIN.

**4**

I started reading Emma by Jane Austen this week. So far, I like it. From Austen I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice (one of my favorite books) and Persuasion. Some time ago I read that P&P, Persuasion, and Emma are the three essentials from Austen, but a quick internet search tells me that that might not be the truth. Thoughts on Austen, anyone?

***

That’s all, I think. Man, I want some noodles now.

July Is Blueberry Season (And New Post Season?)

Blueberries from our backyard!First of all: July is blueberry season and these lovelies are from my backyard. Best blueberries I’ve ever had.

July is also Jackie-is-sorry-she-didn’t-post-a-single-thing-in-June month. Apologies. Next week I’m going to try something new, though. Something art-related. Now, we all know that I am terrible at starting projects. And documenting them. Especially during the summer. But I’m gonna do it anyway. Updates soon.

Um, I’m on Instagram now too… Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. Instagram feed in the sidebar.

Also, I just read this awesome new book, Uprooted by Naomi Novik:

Uprooted by Naomi NovikI finished it in two-ish days. And I loved Agnieszka! This book was so great and magical. GO FORTH AND READ!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

It’s an Éclair Day

Eclair

Today is an Éclair Day. Usually I buy éclairs (or other fancy-looking deserts) to celebrate something, or I buy them because I’m a little down. Unfortunately right now it’s the latter.

The éclair tastes good, though. To quote a friend, “It’s like ice cream inside a doughnut.”

Yum.

Food Post!

June has been a great month for food for me, so I decided that I should post about it, especially because I’ve definitely hit a posting slump. So without further ado: food!

We decided to mix a whole bunch of celebration events together into one big celebration, so we ended up going to Sunday brunch at Skamania Lodge, which is usually only reserved for very special occasions. So for my graduation/for my sister’s birthday/as a thank you to a friend, we enjoyed quite a lovely brunch. My favorite part? Congratulations ice cream:

Celabratory Ice Cream

There was also a cool bowl of apples there. Not for eating, but still cool:

Bowl of Apples at Skamania

We also went to McCormick & Schmick’s because someone had given us a gift card. I ordered a very well-presented lobster cobb salad. It’s so prety!

Lobster Cobb Salad

I recently went to a friends house, where her mom was baking some fresh pandesal (a Filipino bread). We helped roll them into balls, and after we baked them we ate them with cocktail weenies (they were cheese-filled cocktail weenies, which we were originally supposed to roast outside in the fire pit, but it rained so we just ate them with bread instead). I encourage you to try some– fresh pandesal is fluffy, warm goodness.

Pandesal

If you’re ever in Astoria, Oregon, check out the Bowpicker. It’s a cute little boat parked comfortably on the side of the road that serves one thing, and one thing only: fish and chips. But these are no ordinary fish and chips, no– they are they best fish and chips I’ve ever had on the face of this earth. Seriously. YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS. Here’s a picture of the boat that my dad took. I ate the fish and chips way before I remembered to take a picture…

The Bowpicker

And lastly, if you’re in the area you might as well go to Tillamook, Oregon. Yes, that is where Tilamook cheese comes  from, but when my family and I go there we usually go to the Blue Heron, which has the best brie cheese I’ve ever had. Usually the grocery store variety tastes something like chlorine to me, but the brie that comes from Blue Heron is fresh and utterly delicious. Here’s a picture that in no way does the actual thing justice:

Brie from Blue Heron

This doesn’t really have to do with food, but they recently remodeled the bathrooms at Blue Heron, and they’re honestly the coolest bathrooms I’ve ever seen. I want a bathroom like that. There are chandeliers in the bathroom (!) and the faucets are really unique. Here:

Bathroom Chandelier at Blue  Heron

Bathroom Sink at Blue Heron

And finally, I just had to mention that I am now very much in love with raw almonds. I mean I really liked them before, but now they’ve become something of a staple for me. Before, I used to eat pistachios all the time, but then the price of pistachios went way, way up, and so I turned to almonds. I’ve never really liked them roasted and salted, and I just think that the subtle flavor in the raw ones is just superior. So… almonds forever!

Almonds

That about wraps it up for food. Enjoy!

Turning Pages, Making Apologies & Eating Cookies

Oo Lala Cookie from the Three Girls Bakery in Seattle

Is it really already May? 26? It can’t be! That means I haven’t posted anything in over a month. A month! Well, I guess the apology’s coming first: sorry I’ve been gone for so long! Stuff’s just been stacking up and before I knew it, a month had come and gone.

But I’m back! And I’m going to be back on schedule with the posts soon, especially because school’s going to be out.

Speaking of school being out– here comes the “turning pages” portion of the post. I’ll be graduating high school soon and moving onto college in the fall. I’ll be going to the University of Washington up in Seattle, and I’m super excited. ( But I’ll still be posting, don’t worry!) At the same time, though, it’s kind of weird. I’m moving onto a new phase in my life, and I can feel the winds of change a blowin’. For the better, I think. Well mostly.

I can also feel the change in my writing– it’s getting better, feeling healthier, kind of less like I’m trying to shove it into a box and more like I’m wrapping it in a pretty gift wrap… if that makes any sense. I know I probably say this a lot, but I think that this is the year I finally finish that novel. Finger’s crossed!

I also changed the banner, finally. I like this one a lot better. Let’s hope that this is the one!

And finally, my family and I went up to Seattle for the weekend, and I had an Oo Lala shortbread cookie from the Three Girls Bakery at the Pike Market. I love shortbread and pistachios, and this cookie was the epitome of shortbread-pistachio awesomeness. If you’re ever in Seattle, I highly recommend this place. Just had to mention it (and get a picture of a cookie in there).

I’ll probably be writing a less-fluffy, more substantial post in the near future. Emphasis on near. But for now, this will have to do.

I wish you all cookies and pleasant pages.

 

This Post is Green

Nothing too profound going on right now in Jackie-land. But the little things in life are nice too, aren’t they?

My life is looking increasingly green this month, a nice, springy sort of green that I very much like.

(And I just put together that it’s also March and St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner.)

Things that are green:

  1. My sister and I found this two dollar bill in a tip jar. What?!?!?!two dollar bill in a tip jar
  2. Just discovered green tea frappuccinos at Starbucks. They remind me of green tea Kit-Kat bars, which taste like creamy, crunchy heaven. Yummmm.green tea frappuccino
  3. This one’s not really green so much as it has the feeling of being new and green– I’ve got a new short story lined up, and hopefully that will be good enough to share real soon. Hooray!
  4. There’s also a story I’ve been meaning to share with all of you for a while now. There’s a green turtle in it. I’ll probably post it within the next few days

Green green green!

*cough pretty photos taken by my sister cough*