This Labor Day weekend we flew to Portland to visit Ryan’s family. His cousins David and Ana were in town all the way from Spain, so we kissed Sylvia goodbye and headed north to see them. Aside from the thick smoke caused by forest fires looming over the entire state of Oregon, we had a wonderful time: cooking meals together, jumping on trampolines with our nieces, meeting their guinea pigs Pepe and Nick, swimming in the pool—including a few rounds of Marco Polo, sampling fresh crispy churros con chocolate in a boutique shop near downtown, taking long walks through the lush Durham Park just steps away from the house where Ryan grew up, all the while practicing our Spanish with the relatives. One night for dinner, Ana prepared a pastel, a savory quiche-like dish with eggs, potatoes, and white asparagus, topped with a tangy red sauce made from roasted pimentos, raw garlic, and cream. We will definitely be posting about it here soon, but until then, this simple appetizer we are sharing today reminds us of when we visited them in Spain—hopping from bar to bar and sampling the few vegetarian tapas options we could find. Say hola to blistered shishito peppers with garlic and ginger.
Can someone please transport us back to Japan? We fell in love with the country five years ago when we visited for the first time. It was the height of summer, and even though it was incredibly hot and humid, we didn’t let the weather slow us down. Every day we would walk for miles—never taking a cab—exploring the immaculate cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, and Miyajima. We have never felt so welcomed in any new place before, and the people were warm, polite, and always helpful. On several occasions as we stood on the sidewalk looking at our map, strangers approached us and not only asked if we needed assistance, but then walked with us for several blocks to make sure we arrived at the correct destination. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Los Angeles anymore.
This post was created in partnership with Kroger. All opinions are our own.
We both came out to our parents soon after we started dating. Three months after our first kiss, Ryan flew to Oregon to visit family for Christmas. He had just turned twenty and still hadn’t revealed his secret to anyone back home, but he had met someone special and wanted to share the excitement with his parents. After days of anxiously waiting for the right moment to tell them, it finally presented itself: they were sitting quietly in the family room, reading after dinner. He paced outside the door rehearsing the words he had practiced a hundred times in his head. After one last deep breath, he walked in and took a seat on the couch.
“I have something to tell you.”
They both looked up from their newspapers and said nothing, waiting for what was coming next.
“I met someone at school this semester.”
Silence. His heart was racing.
“…and his name is Adam.”
His mom just smiled. “We’ve always known, we were just waiting for you to tell us.”
The entire family was supportive from day one—even Ryan’s grandmother, a devout Catholic in her 80’s, loved and accepted Adam like a grandson, greeting him every time with huge hugs and home-cooked tortilla con papas. We both feel fortunate to come from such loving and accepting homes, but for many people, this is not the case. So in honor of National Pride Month, we created a rainbow recipe to spread awareness about a campaign that is helping LGBT kids around the country.
Last Wednesday we were Husbands That Hike. Traci York, the talented woman behind Vanilla and Bean, invited us to participate in a campaign where bloggers all over the country would post nature photos on Earth Day to help spread awareness about the sale of public lands to private companies. For our contribution, we made plans to take pictures at Point Mugu State Park in Malibu, one our favorite spots in Southern California. Just over an hour’s drive, we wound through canyons and zipped through tunnels, finally arriving at the vista where your breath is taken away by the spectacular greeting of the Pacific Ocean. Adam’s brother Josh rode with us, and the windows were rolled down as we cruised along Pacific Coast Highway, finally arriving at the Ray Miller Trail. The three of us trekked over eleven miles through the beautiful Santa Monica mountains surrounded by wildflowers that blanketed the hillsides and lined the path with every color of the rainbow. It was a perfect day for a hike with pleasant temperatures, cool breezes, and ocean views nearly the entire time. On the way to the park, we picked up sandwiches from a local Italian deli for our lunch on the trail, but next time… we’re packing these babies. This outstanding recipe is from Lily Diamond’s new cookbook Kale & Caramel, so turn on the oven, and let us all say its glorious title together: burrata artichoke tartines with roasted lemon mint pesto!
Our first kiss. September 23, 2001. Los Angeles, California. We had known each other for almost four months. Ryan had just moved back to USC for his sophomore year of college after a summer break in Portland, spent chatting together for hours every night over aol instant messenger. We had been on several casual dates since his return, and the only physical contact was a friendly hug at the end of each evening. But this night was different. Little did we know, as we sat nervously on the couch in Adam’s tiny Los Feliz apartment watching the Ken Burn’s Jazz documentary, that this night would be the beginning of a relationship that would eventually turn into a lifelong marriage. Neither of us ever had a boyfriend before, so this was all new territory and somewhat daunting. Ryan was feeling brave, and before getting together at the apartment that night he proposed a big question over the archaic dial-up internet connection, “What’s the deal with us?” And for good reason: we had been on a handful of dates, and didn’t go a day without speaking on the phone, sometimes for hours on end, but there was still no sign of a kiss. Well, cupid must have had perfect aim that warm Sunday evening, or perhaps there was some particularly romantic jazz music playing in the film, but whatever it was, we found ourselves moving closer and closer on the couch. Miles was wailing on the trumpet and Art Blakey pounded on his drums, while cupid pulled his arrow all the way back, further than he had ever pulled before, and using all his concentration and focus, he let go—never taking his eyes from the arrow as it shot through the air, pierced both of our hearts, and our lips touched for the very first time. Five years after that fateful night, we were married in front of 150 of our closest friends and family, and we have never looked back.