And I’d Do It All Again

01 . 05 . 13

Happyolks Cabbage Salad-9

We lounged on the couch all day on the first. No crisp morning run and green juice to follow. No, we just laid there, me curled in tie-dye and yoga pants, you in the flannel with the pink stain on the pocket from where your sharpie exploded in the spring. We ordered bad pizza and watched the new Bourne flick until it got dark and the streetlights out front turned on. You looked at me and reached for my hand at one point with a new look, one I haven’t seen you wear before, it said holy-shit-what-a-freaking-year. I felt the same thing but didn’t say anything. I took your hand and smiled. What a freaking year was right.

This picture has been the screen saver on my phone since it was taken in January of last year. We were home for my holiday break and everything that stood before us seemed bursting and bright, albeit completely undefined. I had one semester of school left and we intended to foster a few more dogs, run a few triathalons, and move. Move somewhere. Anywhere. Away from California, preferably, but we weren’t picky yet. You wanted snow, and I wanted interesting people. We were both undaunted by any of it until the spring. Crap. You mean we actually have to decide, now? New York, Denver, DC? I interviewed in Brooklyn while you filmed Sprout and we crunched the numbers. I wanted the job, but hated the city. Flying home I remember trying to summon every ounce of wisdom Paulo Coelho or Mary Oliver or Oprah would promise me I had inside to turn our sails the right way.

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May came quick. I didn’t get the job in Brooklyn, thankfully, and DC got put on the shelf for later. I passed French 3 and marched to Pomp and Circumstance wearing a cap without a tassel or permanent address. We said goodbye to the ocean the next morning and hit the road. Alaska first. Big fish. Deep introspection. Hours of Mexican train dominos and the very best company. I didn’t know I could love so much outside of my own kin until your grandparents. I sold my car and we camped along I-80 until a flat tire parked us in front of the duplex in Denver that we now call home. You built me a garden, I learned about marmots and bears, mountains and altitude became our new addiction. We made fast friends. You traveled a lot for work, I missed you terribly.

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At the end of the summer I got a “real” job and things changed, again, as they do. For the first time in my life I understood what exhaustion looked and felt like — you saw it in my eyes and in my distance. In the bowels of it all I met people, saw things, felt things that I didn’t even know myself capable. Things were hard. It felt like someone took our little snow globe and glued it to the ceiling, everything looked misshaped and backwards and we held each other upside down like that, so tight, shocked, stunned by it all. We were both free and trapped. Happy, but terrified. Bright eyed and blistered. There were mornings like the one after the first snow, we ran far and fast, in silence, our legs red and tingly from the cold, or that night of the Ben Howard show where I wondered if I was getting closer to or even further from myself, closer to or further away from you. It was a free fall. We made questionable choices, spoke important truths, and held on for dear life as the time and place tested all that we were, are, and will be.

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I looked at the picture of us today, the one on my screen saver of you and me and Buddy, a whole year later, a year older and stronger, and see the best parts of it all. We were so happy. So darn certain that despite the hardship, heartache, and the dramatic changes that lay before us, our love would kick it all in the pants. I look at that picture and I want to go back and tell those two kids that, yeah, it’s gonna be a crazy road, CRAZY TOWN, but keep believing, keep going, because your love will kick life in the pants and guess what, IT TOTALLY DID. Sitting on the yellow couch with you eating pizza a year later, seven years later, really, I’m so glad we postponed our resolutions a day to just give thanks. We made it. It was our hardest and best year.  For all the obvious and secret reasons I love you. I love you so much. I love what we do, I love what we believe, I love how fucking hard we work to make this relationship right. Here’s to you and to 2013. Here’s to the mountains we’ve climbed and the many more before us. We’ve got this.

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Made a little money playing in the bars
With two beat up drums and two old guitars
From the Crescent City to the Great Salt Lake
It ain’t what you got, it’s what you make
 
When the road got rough and the wheels all broke
Couldn’t take more then we could tow
Making something out of nothing with a scratcher and our hope
With two old guitars like a shovel and a rope
 
Rock of Ages, cleave for me
Let me hide myself in Thee
Now I understand
On better terms since Birmingham
Shovels and Rope 
 

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Shaved Cauliflower Salad 

Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit, 2012

  • 1/2 head of a large cauliflower
  • 1 medium sized radicchio, cored
  • 6 inner celery stalks with leaves
  • 1/4 cup chives
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup honey glazed walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp water
  • 4-5 medjool dates, pitted
  • salt/pepper

 

Break out your mandoline and shave the cauliflower as thin as the setting allows. Shave the radicchio by hand with a sharp knife. Place in a mixing bowl. Remove celery leaves and toss into the bowl. Cut the remaining stalks into thin matchsticks and add to the mix. Add parsley leaves and chopped chives.

For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree until smooth. Mix with the veggies and add lemon zest or more citrus juice and salt to your liking.

For the walnuts, preheat the oven to 350.’ Massage walnuts with honey and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 + minutes or until just toasty. Comine with salad mixture and serve at room temperature.

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  • Gorgeous salad! 2012 was a great year for me as well :) Happy New Year!!

  • Grace

    Beautifully written Kelsey. Congratulations on all that you accomplished in 2012. I hope 2013 dazzles you!

  • Sharmila

    You did make it. And 2013 is going to try you all over again. But you will love the ups and downs of it all, together as you are, sharing it with each other. What a beautiful post, filled with happiness and promise. And I have to make this salad for us.

  • Sini

    Happy New Year 2013! I love reading your posts – you are such a talented writer.

  • Smiling. Huge. The love like you two have, it’s worth fighting for. I know because I’ve witnessed, first hand, the way your face lights up when you talk about Shaun, and the knowing glances he gives you from across the table. It has truly been incredible and inspiring to witness your love grow so massive these past couple of months. 2013 is your year, girl. Big love.

  • Sarah B.

    beautiful. what a precious creature you are K. congrats on such love, you two. very very beautiful post. tears. xo

  • Selina

    This was so beautiful that i wanted to cry. Your words are magic.

  • I’m always amazed by the way you say so much without revealing too much. Beautiful. This salad looks so fresh in this cold winter. Thanks for a beautiful idea!

  • Cynthia D

    Inspiring and courageous as usual. You’re both treasures.

  • Beautiful… Your words captivate me and make me fall in love again… Thank you!

  • ‘It felt like someone took our little snow globe and glued it to the ceiling, everything looked misshaped and backwards and we held each other upside down like that, so tight, shocked, stunned by it all.’ – I love this image, connected with it so much. You’re such a lovely soul, dear Kelsey. So happy that you have a deep, true, real love. xo

  • This is beautiful, Kelsey. I always feel like someone gave me a big ol’ internet gift each time you write a new post. Thanks for this. Man, Sam and I are coming up on one year living together and we were talking a lot about resolutions, goals, where we’ve come from and where we want to go … and GOD relationships are hard, aren’t they? I look at a few photos of us from right before we moved in together, taking such huge risks to join our lives, and realize we had no idea how much work was to come. But also how much reward and bliss and happiness. Maybe the more work it takes the better it is in the end? Who knows for sure, I guess. So I’m babbling, but I loved this. Happy New Year!

  • I am mesmerized by your writing, Kelsey. It feels so good to look back and know you’d do it all over again, challenges and all. I like to look through photos of the past year, looking for signs in our faces that we had an understanding even before things happened that we’ll make it together…And I always feel warm inside, knowing we always do. Here’s to a brilliant 2013, filled with love. xoxo

  • Your writing is beautiful and your food photography is exquisite. So glad I found your blog! Happy 2013.
    P.S That salad looks good!

  • What a BEAUTIFUL post. Thank you so much for warming my heart this New Year. Wishing you the best!

  • this is really a quite lovely essay, i soaked up every word of it. thanks for sharing! happy new year =)

  • Yes, yes. I love this. I know just what you mean. We had a year full of changes over here, too, including our own move to “somewhere that is not here,” which happened to be your state, as these things go. And I had DC dreams that went on hold myself. I’ve found that again and again, I am wide-eyed and hopeful, not knowing what trouble I’ll see in the place just beyond the curve in the road, the place I’m desperate to inhabit. But I’m glad I can still be so naive, I think. Because the hard work and love keep kicking life in the pants, as you said so well, and it’s always worth the hardship. Thanks for another lovely post, and all the best to you in 2013!

  • This is beautiful. Happy New Year to you both.

  • Erica

    This salad is deeeelightful, this post is lovely, and Shovels and Rope are the besssst. Made the salad with red cabbage because my local store was out of radicchio and it ended up very slaw-y but still very yummy. Will it act the same with radicchio? Will it keep for a day or so? Will be bringing it to our next potluck, for sure, and the dressing will be a great go-to for me while I’m on my paleo kick for a while! Thanks!

  • i love this. you are so inspirational… in your words, presence and aesthetic. happy new year!!!

  • This looks delicious!!!!

  • This is so beautiful, Kelsey, and so true. Life holds such surprises—challenges we didn’t expect, and moments of grace and wonder and clearness that this, yes THIS, is where we should be going.

    And so we continue onward, whatever the road might hold.

    May your path into the new year hold much joy (and pizza, and couch, and all the rest). That picture of the three of you is one for the ages.

  • Brian

    What a year it was… And I expect this year will be equally exciting and challenging. These are the things that make us stronger. Wishing you and yours a prosperous 2013

  • Lovely post. Congrats on surviving and thriving through a tough year!

  • Beautiful pictures as always and a lovely reflection as usual. I have had cauliflower on the brain. Can’t wait to try this salad. Happy New Year!

  • Beautifully written and seriously, what a year it was! I never shaved cauliflower this way before but I am loving the idea . Happy New Year and wish this year bring you more joy and smile :)

  • I’ve been trying to work out what to say about this post since I read it yesterday and I still don’t have any more words than ‘yeah’. I love this, I can relate to every word of it and have found myself thinking about it a lot today. Thank you xo

  • This reflection brought tears to my eyes, K. What a year for you both.

  • It’s the hard days that make us better but walking through that it’s hard to see past the difficulties we face. I’m excited for your 2013. May it be filled with joy, smiling faces and more of your amazing food.

  • Beautiful. And then some. Happy happy new year!

  • Wow. I just finished reading this post and plan to do so again a few more times. I hope your 2013 contains just as much love. Thank you for all that you share here. xo

  • Beautiful, through and through. I enjoyed reading this, and I love the salad flavor combo.
    I suspect you & I had a similar year. We too longed to leave California, and found ourselves in Kansas. We feel calm here, but our body is still telling us the stress levels are high. When will all the dust settle?

    xo,
    Christina

    PS Love really does kick everything in the pants. Amen.

  • Loved this post. Happy 2013, Kelsey.

  • This is a truly lovely and very mature post. I loved reading it. It is so affirming to look back on the hard stuff and know you can make it. Lots of us are rooting for you guys. Bravo and happy new year!

  • THIS post. Thank you. That photo of you two speaks so loudly. We’ve had quite the year(s) as well, and I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon. The looking back + reflection part is the best. It makes you feel like you can concur anything. I’m rooting for you two this year and can’t wait to meet!

  • What an effing amazing post! You are a fabulous writer. I love that we are at an age now where looking back is full of lessons and experience. Here’s to a great 2013 for you both! Side note, this salad. Simply stunning!

  • I loved this post. I’m sitting at work and am trying to keep it together. Your words really struck a chord in me. I feel like my boyfriend and I (and our dog) are where you three were a year ago: eating pizza on a couch wishing for snow and interesting people. We’ve had quite the past few months (and I don’t think it will change anytime soon) but our love for one another is alive and kicking.

  • How’d you get so smart, lady? Sounds like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, and that you’ve worked hard to get there. What a feeling. May 2013 be everything you want it to be and more. xo.

  • Happy New Year, Kelsey! Another honest and beautifully written post. Oh, and the salad looks delish- dates+cauliflower= awesome combo I need to try.

  • i love this salad.
    i love this space.
    i wish you both the very best of new years, full to bursting with goodness, spunk and adventure. it is so deserved.
    cheers,
    molly

  • Just found you through Tastespotting. Beautiful photos, beautiful words and a great recipe. Welcome to Denver. It is a great city and I hope you continue to like it. So much you have to look forward too!

  • I LOVE cauliflower, but I’ve never thought about thinly slicing it like this. Thanks for sharing! Beautiful site–this is my first visit here, and I’ll be back!

  • your first RA

    I always thought of you as unique and special but you continue to mesmerize me with your depth of wisdom and ability to cook. I wish you the best of luck as you continue on in Denver or wherever your path takes you.

  • Thank you for sharing this, both your struggles and triumphs. I too, can so relate to where you are at this past year, and love that you share it so beautifully.

  • Oh darling dearest Kelsey (tempted to say bear but that’s your dad’s thing..)

    So I’m just gonna go ahead and say that I have longed for your next post (this post). I have missed your honest, wild and absolutely gorgeous wisdom. Can I go ahead and say I love you. I’m gonna. Life is to short not to.

    So happy for your happiness. That’s for certain.

    Big hugs from Sweden and the Earthsprouty world to both of you amazing souls

  • Life has a tendency to do that doesn’t it? Your post has absolutely summed up many years that my husband and I have been together. We left California once too, to Kentucky, and it was a whole different world. A world that brought more changes than we ever expected and a world that introduced us to friends we still have 20 years later. It also brought a baby boy who turned 16 this year and received his driver’s license, and that world is now throwing so much at me that I’m hanging on tight.
    A beautiful post, a beautiful reflection, and beautiful photos… as always. Your photos always seem to bring me a touch of peace. Thank you! I can’t wait to read about this year!!

  • I would love to eat this fresh salad! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Such a delicious post…and I love, love listening to Shovels and Rope.

  • I love those kinds of moments, between spaces. Too many people just don’t see them, I’m happy you do :)

  • This is such a beautiful post! I don’t comment often because life seems crazy but always read and love the little glimpse into your life through the words you write and yor beautiful photos. Here is to a fantastic New Year!

  • Rye

    When we moved to this side of town, I was apprehensive but trusted my intuition. The glorious fact that YOU & he are my near neighbors eases any uncertainty. Good vibes. Continue to be a fighter – you will always win!

  • I was browsing through other people’s blogs because I’m just starting my own. I’m a massage therapist and veggie/vegan cook living in France and running a Spa B&B. This is without doubt, the best of all posts I’ve seen over the last few days – and there have been some brilliant & inspiring posts! Your openness is extraordinarily raw but so heartfelt and compassionate. And your style of photography exceptional. Blessings on you and all your blogs for many new years to come! Love this from someone who’s name I’ve forgotten, sadly… “It’s not the experience that shapes you, it’s your attitude to the experience”. Et voila! Bon appetite!

  • deetledee

    Found your blog by following the recipe from pinterest. LOVED this post! So unique and honest with heartfelt introspection. I especially enjoyed seeing the recipe by photo-essay while you spoke of your life and not the food being prepared. You certainly have a gift for writing. Looking forward to seeing how 2013 unfolds…

  • Ju

    Wow, I just started to read your blogs and recipes and I am thankful to have found it. This one made me tear up a little. Thought provoking. Nice. Keep on keepin’ on. This is good, really good.

  • beautiful post and beautiful writing. your writing is always inspiring, thanks for sharing bits of your life and thoughts with us all. cheers to more milestones and memories in 2013!

  • your blog it wonderful.
    I’m loving the salads!!!!

  • This looks absolutely delicious, I will certainly be trying it… xv

  • You all have an ability to make the simple look gorgeous. Thank you for the inspiring work and inventive recipes.

  • Angobanjo

    This is one of those salads you can add/subtract depending on what you have on hand. I didn’t have chives so added green onions. And I couldn’t resist adding gorgonzola I happened to have. Great dressing especially with Meyer lemons.

  • A lovely dish, well worth the effort for color alone. Tasty, too!

  • So wonderful to stumble upon your blog. Beautiful story.

  • This brought me to tears. ABSOLUTELY beautiful! I hope that 2013 is everything you’ve needed it to be so far!

  • Melanie

    In the recipe, where or at what point are the dates added, and are they chopped?

  • Rafa

    Buenisima receta! Tratare de hacerlo con los vegetales de nuestra huerta.
    Muchas gracias por compartir sabiduría!

  • What a lovely combination ! I can’t wait to try it
    it looks amazing and surely it will taste better than it looks
    Thanks for sharing

  • Merci ! A great great recipe tested today. We loved it ! Thanks, your blog is so beautiful !

  • Jenny

    New to your blog. What an absolutely gorgeous post. Your writing is so rich, moving, eloquent.

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Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.