Hosting Series: Friendsgiving (2016)

Friendsgiving is quickly moving up my ladder of favorite holidays. There is something so beautiful about bringing together the important people in your life in one room to laugh and share stories and eat really good food. As my biological family starts to spread across the world and see each other less and less, I’ve really started to appreciate some of the friendships I’ve been fortunate to make in Indianapolis since it has truly become my home.

o_1a6lciee06151b1f1n6l15qi1bfs7_new

Photo by Kaboom Pics, Creative Commons

This year promised to be a larger Friendsgiving with more RSVP’s than plates, but I solved that situation with a quick Crate & Barrel run. And then there was the borrowing of tablecloths…and the chairs. BUT! I do have my own napkins and napkin rings now, so I’m really moving up in the world. I spent an embarrassing amount of class time researching recipes and making grocery lists. I also sort of cleaned my house (don’t check the closets). I downloaded some Thanksgiving Mad Libs and gave everyone a question to answer at the dinner table. My friend, Nicole, offered a beautiful prayer reminding us about the importance of creating space for community moments. And we ate food! Wonderful, delicious food!

Caraway lemon turkey and cream cheese mashed potatoes and pomegranate cosmopolitans and bacon-wrapped dates and cinnamon squash and stuffed mushrooms and fried apples and rum pumpkin pie and other delicious things that I have been dreaming about ever since. We chatted and played games for hours and I laughed the hardest that I’ve laughed in months.

I’m thankful for Friendsgiving. And now I get a year to plan for next time!

Anyone else hosting/attending Friendsgiving?

Lindsay Sig

Positive Vibes Only?

Me: “I hate the way my hair parts in the front.”

Someone else: “Well, you’ll just have to learn to love it!”

 

Me: “My client decided not to continue services.”

Someone else: “Well, think of all the great practice you got with that intake!”

 

Me: “I’m grieving about the election.”

Someone else: “Well, we just have to hope for the best!”

 

When did we become so freakin’ positive?

Yes, positive thinking is what gets me through my early mornings and daily commute and evening statistics projects, but when did everyone else decide that “positivity” is the only feeling I am allowed to express? I see wall signs and Facebook posts proclaiming “Positive vibes only!” or “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Yes, that’s all well and good, but as a therapist, it concerns me.

If positivity and re-framing and good thoughts are the only things allowed, what happens when we don’t feel positive? If our family only expects us to be in a good mood, will they be able to handle any of our other emotions? Will our friends be able to make sense of the madness, anger, and frustration that is sometimes part of our crazy, confusing, and exhausting existence on this planet? Will we be able to look within and understand ourselves?

tumblr_oe8x51h9nr1v4yqceo1_1280

Creative Commons

I don’t think we were designed to be positive all the time. I think the whole “time to laugh and time to mourn” thing set us up with the expectation that there will be times in life when we need to do both…and maybe not 99% laughter and the rare 1% mourning, but  sometimes even 50/50 or maybe a whole season of mourning.

I’ve worked with so many clients who can’t figure out how to bring happiness and positivity into their unemployment and health problems and racial tension. I’ve seen the anxiety and depression that can result from just trying so hard to be happy and coming up short. I’ve witnessed the desperation that can lead to social isolation and pills and alcohol because sometimes the world only seems to welcome the “positive people” or offer empty advice.

I used to bottle up all my emotions after days working with families experiencing crisis and trauma until it would all burst out and I’d start randomly crying in meetings. My boss told me I didn’t have to do that anymore. She encouraged me to take some time every day to think about what I had experienced; to allow myself to feel the sadness for a time and acknowledge the emotional toll of my work. She recommended that I have people in my life to check in with me–to make sure I didn’t become overwhelmed and buried underneath the darkness. So, I do that now.

And today, as so many people around me seem to be dealing with some heavy things, I know I can’t fix anything, but I can tell you:

You don’t always have to be happy.

We can cry together.

Things don’t have to make sense.

No one has it all together.

Life is hard.

I can handle your complex emotions.

I’m still your friend.

Lindsay Sig

Friday Foodie: Louie’s Wine Dive and Ripple Kitchen

If you’ve been to my friendly neighborhood of Broad Ripple, you soon will realize the area is pretty much overrun with brew houses and beer food. Our whole main strip is pretty much one place to watch the game after another. It’s great when you’re 22 and want cheese fries, but not so great when you’re looking for a quiet date night spot. That’s why I was excited to see Louie’s Wine Dive and Ripple Kitchen move in to an empty storefront on the corner. Classy food and wine?! Such a welcome addition!

But, it turns out to not be as welcome as I was hoping. For starters, Louie’s is a chain (I knew there was one on Mass Ave, but didn’t realize it was a national thing). Sadly, chains (in my experience) tend to bring several things I don’t like that include standard decor, uninspired food, and average service. I was pretty spot-on because Louie’s included all of those things.

images

I was lured in after a coupon sent to my house that advertised BOGO tacos and you KNOW that I love tacos, but the menu only serves pork and shrimp tacos and neither one was really speaking to me. (Side note: seemed a little strange that the wine restaurant would be advertising their tacos since they occupy such a small place on the menu, but whatever) Louie’s is supposed to have elevated twists on comfort food, but I found the menu a bit too eclectic for my taste. The appetizers boasted deviled eggs and black pepper calamari while dinner was a mix of burgers, fish n’ chips, and assorted pasta dishes. I’m not quite sure what I wanted Louie’s to be, but I think I was hoping for a little more Chicken Alfredo and a little less Pork Gnocchi. My friend and I split some appetizers (meatballs and cheese curds) before heading out for something a little more substantial somewhere else.

I’m not saying it’s terrible, but I am saying it’s a little boring and flat. And since I live next to my favorite Italian restaurant that also serves wine, I think I’ll keep my high expectations and keep going there.

Anyone else tried Louie’s?

Lindsay Sig

Hosting Series: Fall Brunch (again)

One of my FAVORITE annual traditions is hosting a fall brunch for the beautiful ladies in my house church (you may remember this event from last year). I love finding new recipes, setting a pretty table, and of course, catching up with my friends over cinnamon tea. I find something so beautiful about creating a table full of collected treasures from my mom (tablecloth and runner), from my mother-in-law (napkins and rings), and from my wedding (dishes, candles, and serving trays). I savor opportunities to pull out “the nice things” from my hospitality cabinet and use them for every day life.

As I’ve written before, I don’t find it my talent to create new recipes, but instead, I like to “test” other people’s and write about my experiences trying something new and making suggestions for future use. Recipes, like my scientific research, tend to have a very low rate of “replication studies,” so I’ve decided that’s where I come in.

img_2114-1

For this brunch, I tried:

Chai Spiced Pear Coffee Cake from Cooking and Beer. (Top layers were delicious, bottom layer was a little dry.)

Amish-Style Apple and Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. (I was expecting apple crisp, so it tasted a little too healthy. That’s on me, though.)

Butternut Squash, Arugula and Bacon Quiche from Gimme Some Oven. (BEAUTIFUL to serve and absolutely delicious. Definitely a do-again.)

AND

Fall Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Maple Yogurt from Eating Made Easy. (I couldn’t find persimmons anywhere in my grocery store, so I substituted apples.)

fullsizerender

Overall, it was a delightful brunch. My friends showed up, my house looked nice, and I had an opportunity to plan something that didn’t have to do with school. Husband popped up at the end and devoured all the leftovers (minus the oatmeal, of course) so I’m considering it a great success. Now I get to plan recipes for next year!

Lindsay Sig

Friday Foodie: The Gallery Pastry Shop

Oh, hello, lovely bloggers. Is there anything much better than fresh pastries? No? What about fresh pastries a block away from your house? Even better!! I am so loving all of the delightful shops popping up in the 54th Street shops in SoBro and I pretty much assumed since its grand opening that The Gallery Pastry Shop and I were going to be close friends. I visited for the first time during opening week (It’s a block away! I have to be a good neighbor!) for a girls night with my church friends. I stopped in again the week after to treat my sister to brunch (custom omelets, anyone??) AND went back a third time last Friday to take a macaroon baking class with my mom.

After three visits, I’ve pretty much decided that The Gallery Pastry Shop is the place to be. It’s co-owned by a real live pastry chef, Ben Hardy, and he is pretty much the breath and soul of this place. I’ve seen him every visit as he works on new and exciting creations in his open kitchen. The menu features pastries, plated desserts, and charcuterie boards, along with a full selection of red and white wines. Delicacies are enjoyed in an industrial, but warm setting surrounded by unique lighting fixtures, hand-crafted wood tables, and an array of market seating. AND it’s open late! I so appreciate the late-night dessert trend as the perfect ending to a movie night or friend date or really whatever.

img_1838

The treats are amazing (a tad expensive), but after you learn the process that goes into making such delicious things (it took us 3 hours to make macaroons!), I have a little more grace about the price. I can see brunch becoming a Broad Ripple hot spot (especially with 1/2 price bottles on Sundays), so now is the time to go before it gets too popular and you have to wait for a table. Our macaroon class was incredibly detailed and informative (I’ll post the next class schedule soon in case anyone else wants to schedule some much-needed baking time). I think they could adjust their item inventory numbers a bit since they’ve been out of multiple things when I’ve ordered off the menu, but I have complete confidence they’ll figure it out and I’m trusting that this pastry shop will bring us delicious wonders for a long time to come!

Lindsay Sig

Weekend Wander: Caffeine Crawl

Happy October, everyone! So far, this month has been a strange mix of wearing sweaters in 85 degree weather, staying up late coughing with fall colds, staying up even later trying to finish writing clinical reports, and planning MY UPCOMING TRIP TO ICELAND! (more on this later). Husband and I have been running into each other at odd hours these days as we both try to balance a mixture of midterms, oven repairs, orthodontic appointments, long commutes, and lots of tears.

BUT! We’ve made it to October, which is 1/2 way through my semester, which means I’m 1/4 way through 2nd year, so see? Progress!

AND! It’s the perfect time for this weekend’s upcoming Caffeine Crawl. (I could sure go for some caffeine right about now!) This is my first year learning about the Crawl, so I was excited to be approached about sharing it with all of you! Since I don’t know much about it, I’m going to let their provided press release share the details. Hope to see some of you there!

indy-header

Caffeine Crawl is Indiana’s biggest annual coffee celebration, with 3 years of excellent fall Crawls on the books. October 14 ­ 15 will bring the buzz back with 12 local coffee, tea, chocolate and bakery companies participating. Friday evening will kickoff with 2 routes including a 2.5 mile biking / jogging friendly route, and Saturday features 3 routes covering the morning and afternoon. Sponsors and participants include Brew the Way, Bites Coffee and Dessert Bar, Wholesome!, Bee Coffee Roasters, Foundry Provisions, General American Doughnut, Hubbard & Cravens Coffee & Tea, Liberation Roasting Company, Mile Square Coffee Roastery, Rabble Coffee, Thirsty Scholar, Tinker Coffee, Uel Zing, InterAmerican Coffee, Barista Magazine, and Earnest Eats.

Crawlers will follow a Caffeine Crawl tour guide on a pre­assigned route, and each business will showcase its unique skills and style with a short, educational presentation and a delicious sample at each stop. Overall routes are shorter in distance this year, and Crawlers will provide their own driving transportation between route stops ­ multiple time and featured participant options are available. The festivities lead up to a Saturday evening After Crawl Party hosted by Brew The Way and Bites Coffee and Dessert Bar, and Crawlers will receive a ‘swag bag’ with take home treats from participating shops and sponsors. Highlighting a diverse variety of local businesses, we’re thrilled to welcome you back to Indianapolis for a caffeinated weekend to remember!

Tickets to Caffeine Crawl cost $25 ­ $30, and are available at http://www.caffeinecrawl.com/indianapolis­2016.

Lindsay Sig

Foodie Friday: Rebar Indy

Let’s talk about Rebar-Indy’s “new” downtown place to get your drink on and I say “new” because it used to be Paddy’s Legal Beagle and was a frequent stopping point for attorneys working the city-county building circuit since it’s basically across the street. But, Paddy’s closed and Rebar Indy opened with a new industrial feel in the small surroundings. Advertising as Indy’s “modern local”, Rebar is hoping to attract the young professional crowd while still paying homage to what made the location popular in the first place.

Let’s start with the weird part first. It is directly attached to a 24/7 bail bonds location, which can either be charming or uncomfortable, depending on your point of view. But you definitely have to walk through a long line of people waiting for a bail bond while you’re waiting to get a drink. It’s an odd/probably sobering clash of worlds.

Atmosphere is cool, but there is only so much space, so it got busy to the point of being uncomfortable as the night went on.

img_1891

Now, let’s move to the food. Rebar’s feature is their “pour your own beer” wall located at the back where you use a card to sample as much or as little from the beers on tap. Cool concept that I’ve seen a lot in the wine world, but not as much for beer. Too bad I don’t like beer. I do like fries, though, and I was excited about the 3 fry sauces (Bloody Mary, curry, and house blend) that accompanied my order. Sadly, none of them really stood out. I also ordered some hamburger sliders, but they were super bland, like a piece of dried meat on a bun. Fine when you’re starving or intoxicated, but not fine for a foodie dinner.

BUT THEY DO HAVE ADULT MILKSHAKES! And that was exciting! But they brought me the wrong one and it was honestly so sweet that I couldn’t finish it. And then the sliders and fries started going to war in my stomach and I started to regret my decision of coming downtown and began that “I’m sick” mental conversation where you promise to only eat salads for the rest of your life. (My friend ordered pork sliders and felt the same thing.)

img_1882

So, we went home. But not until the staff tossed my leftovers! Like I had them boxed up and then they disappeared off my table and I didn’t get to take them to Husband. Sad.

Conclusion? Cool concept, interesting location, but best to hit up on a random Tuesday night. And skip the sliders.

Lindsay Sig