Despite being a couple of weeks into spring, this past weekend was witness to a rather significant snowfall in Cleveland, Ohio which was not particularly welcomed by anyone in the city. At a dinner party on Saturday night, we all watched through the giant windows in irked chagrin as snow fell and fell and fell some more. One of the guests thought that telling me “it regularly snows in May” would make me feel better, alas, it didn’t. Luckily, I had an extra-large scoop of Mitchell’s Wild Berry Crumble ice-cream right in front of me which successfully diverted my attention and got me thinking about what I am most excited about for spring.
I love hibernating in the winter, spending as much time as possible with books and hot teas and blankets by the fire. But, give me the first slither of sunshine, and I will instantly transform into a chirpy Easter bunny. So, to help you and I get into the mood, and out of the seasonal depression funk, I thought I would create for us a realistic spring bucket list. One that pushes us slightly beyond our comfort zone but not too much because life (particularly in the spring) is supposed to be enjoyed.
Image from The Portland City Guide
VISIT A BOTANICAL GARDEN
I am going to go out on a limb here and presume that most cities have their own botanical garden. Not that I would really know considering that the last time I spent a morning wandering through what has to be one of the best smelling types of attraction possible was a couple of years ago in Copenhagen. On second thoughts, does the Japanese Garden in Portland count? That was a serious highlight of my time in the city.
Regardless, Cleveland has a Botanical Garden that I have never been to which should be an easy sell to my Mum for a girl’s afternoon. There generally isn’t a bad season to visit a botanical garden; but, since spring is peak flower season, there is something extra special about (finally) leaving the house and going to appreciate some of nature’s most beautiful creations. You know what, as part of this, let’s learn to identify five varieties of flowers (and, no, cacti and roses don’t count).
BAKE A FRUIT DESERT
Am I going all Martha Stewart on you? Maybe. But take one look at this Mango Tart and tell me it doesn’t look sensational?! Then, try to wrap your head around the fact that it is gluten-free, paleo & vegan. I mean really, what a time to be alive! Other potential fruit deserts that I dream of whipping up include this gluten-free & vegan Fruit Tart and these No-Bake Lemon Cookie Fruit Tarts. To be fair, I would be excited to make anything from the Minimalist Baker website — although my priority should probably be to learn how to make something for lunch other than a salad and cheese toast. But, a bucket list needs a little hint of aspirational sugar in it, right?
CONSUME A WEEK’S WORTH OF FARMER’S MARKET PRODUCE
The farmer’s market girl aesthetic is one that I have never fully embraced; but, considering I am pretty certain I want a pair of Birkenstocks come summer, I think this may be the year. Plus, I am all for jumping on-board an aesthetic that stimulates local economies, increases access to local & nutritious food, supports healthy communities, and promotes sustainability. Given that it is the first time in years that I have a place to store food and “cook” (I am learning slowly but surely), I want to make the most of it and look forward to learning more about seasonal produce and trying out recipes that include those items. If you have any favorite (basic) spring recipes – please let me know in the comments below!
FIND “THE” TRENCH
I feel like the worst Brit in the world (jk there are some Brexit politicians whom can take that title), but I do sense that I am growing more out of touch with my roots as each year passes by that there isn’t a beige trench coat hanging in my closet. In my attempt to design a curated closet (more on that soon), I wrote down the items that I thought would be the most practical and useful in the spring months. Some of the items I have, most of them I don’t due to my 26-year aversion to buying basics, but the one that I can’t get off my mind is a classic khaki trench coat. Ever since seeing the Everlane one a couple of months ago, I can’t think about wearing anything else.
Transitional seasons like fall and spring are the best time to wear a trench coat and — judging by my extensive Pinterest research — they are the ultimate way to pull any outfit together. Whether you opt to throw it over a little black dress and leopard-print flats or a tee, high-waisted denim and heel situation, you are guaranteed to look chic as hell. This will be the year that I look chic as hell.
SET UP YOUR OWN COFFEE STATION
Honestly, spending $35 a week on coffee was sooooo spring 2018 (at least that is what I am trying to convince myself) and so far, so much more money in my bank account! At the beginning of the year, I decided that I needed to drastically reduce my Starbucks consumption (one a day, every day) particularly when I am at home and have no need to use it as my office. Over the past couple of months, I have dropped down to 1-2 a week (of both Starbucks & coffees from coffee shops in general) and am only going to one when it also involves a social occasion — getting coffees with friends/my Mum is the best. It hasn’t been as challenging as I thought, mainly because I am working on setting up my own customized coffee station to fulfill my every caffeine need at home.
So far, the Aeropress is making incredible coffee, and I just added this frother to the line-up to assist with making proper weekend lattes and cappuccinos. I am still trying out different coffees and mix-ins, but I will let you know when I find a combo that I like. Then I am going to try out adding yummy things (cinnamon, vanilla, etc.) and healthy things (collagen, inulin powder, etc.) with the hopes that one day I will have my own specialized witches brew.
RUN A CHARITY 5K
I ran my first 5k last fall, and it was pretty challenging, so much so that I don’t even know if I want this to be part of the bucket list. However, it is good to push ourselves and running another 5k would certainly do that. I work out a lot, but I don’t really run, and I would like to start incorporating runs into my weekly workout routine now that the weather is starting to get better. (Side note: I see people running outside in the snow all the time, and I am blown away – how do they not slip and break their necks? I need to know.)
By signing up and paying to participate in a charity 5k, you are doing a little bit for charity and committing to run. There is no way I would run a 5k without (at least) a couple of practice runs before, so it seems like a good way to get me out and about as a running woman. After all, the only thing worse than paying to run a 5k is paying to run a 5k and not running it. If I were the ideal version of myself, I would make this a seasonal thing. Alas, I am not, so let’s start with one this spring.
Image via The Stockholm City Guide
TRY ONE NEW (TO YOU) CUISINE
Food is undoubtedly one of the best parts of traveling (well really living in general) as there is nothing more exciting than being able to try a dish you have never heard of before or seeing the same vegetable prepared differently to that which you are accustomed. There are so many cuisines in the world — many of which are terribly underappreciated by western mouths and tastebuds. So, this spring, let’s commit to trying one new (to us) cuisine or going back and revisiting one that we haven’t had in a very long time.
Cleveland has a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant that I only went to once in high-school and would love to revisit, so that is on my list. I also just found a Guatemalan restaurant in the area, and I don’t think that I have ever tried that cuisine, so B-O-O-M that is added to the spring bucket list. And, I also just learned (due to my Googling ‘ethnic restaurant Cleveland’) that there is a Nepali restaurant in these parts that I haven’t previously heard of and where I can consume copious amounts of Momos aka Tibetan dumplings. In other words, I am imploring us both to do a little research on what cuisines are available around our current areas and opt to try something new. Report back with your findings!
EMBRACE LIGHTER SCENTS
No matter how far seasonally you are into spring, you can still take things into your own hands and transform your interior space and bodily scent to reflect the warmer days to come. Pack away your heavy, sensual perfumes and candles with notes of frankincense, ginger, or pine and replace them with something a little more acclimated to the natural warmth and Easter bunnies. I have no idea what my spring perfume will be, perhaps Maison Margiela’s Under The Lemon Trees which is “inspired by the memory of a sunny escape in the countryside” or the forever chic Roos & Roos A Capella with its combination of ivy leaf, rosebud, and white woods. Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia looks like spring in a bottle (pro tip: smell should still be your main priority), and Egyptian Musk Oil is an option no matter the season — ask Caroline Kennedy.
Candle wise. Currently, I have Stop and Smell The: Daffodils by DW Home burning on my desk. Not only is the smell sweet, floral, and refreshing but it also is in a sunshine yellow holder which makes the whole ambiance of my “work area” so much brighter, lighter, and more desirable to spend 80% of my time. I also have two candles from Victoria London (via T.J. Maxx) that are Vanilla & Silver Birch which give them the perfect masculine edge and make me feel infinitely sophisticated. Other candles that I would like to introduce to my desk include this Red Berry Amber one from Anthropologie, a Cedarwood & Lavender one from Outdoor Fellow, and the Rainbow Bar from 19-69 which is supposed to smell like the West Coast Highway with its notes of bergamot, cypress, cardamom, sea breeze, and cedar-wood.
JOIN A BOOK CLUB
Last week I officially bought my first ever book club book. This is like a REAL-LIFE book club, where I am going to show up to a place on my own and hopefully not embarrass myself with my reflections on the Pulitzer-prize winning novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I am eager to go because I have always wanted to be a part of an in-person book club and this one is run by a new group that focuses on the vibrant cultures both from around the world and in Cleveland. If I weren’t going to try and make this a regular-ish thing, I would probably commit to reading Belletrist’s monthly book (I love reading their newsletter). While I generally do end up reading their chosen books, it is always on my own time as there isn’t too much conversation to get involved with during the featured month.
If you have friends who also like to read, consider starting your own book club! That is the DREAM and — if you can pull it off — should make you feel fortunate to have such cool life companions. I will probably write a dispatch about my first book club experience; but, so far, I like the fact that it has got me to purchase and start reading a book that wasn’t even on my radar. And, I am hoping, that knowing we are going to discuss it is going to make my brain think a little bit harder while reading. But, who knows. Do you like the idea of a book club? Or do we think it never works?
ADVENTURE USING ATLAS OBSCURA
A few years ago during winter break, I had Mum and Mel trampling through the snow at Lakeview Cemetary trying to find the Haserot Angel. Despite it being freezing and rapidly getting dark in the graveyard, we had put in so much effort up until that point to see her that I didn’t want to give up! Finally, we did locate her, and to this day the Haserot Angel is still a joke (or I like to think a fond memory) between the three of us. How did I find out about her? Atlas Obscura of course! Otherwise known as my favorite website on the planet thanks to their thousands (millions?) of entries documenting the world’s hidden wonders and obscurities.
There is such random stuff listed that I am willing to bet you my vintage YSL slides that you will find something near you that you have never heard of before. So, this spring, I think you should go and check out one of them. On my end, there are four museums in Cleveland that I haven’t been to (Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick, Dittrick Medical Museum, The Percy Skuy Collection on the History of Contraception, and the International Women’s Air & Space Museum), so you will know where to find me while it continues snowing.
What are you considering adding to your spring bucket list? Any you have already crossed off?
Let me know in the comments below!