Springtime awakening

This winter has been hard. Everyone has been saying that, and as much as I pride myself on being a “winter is my favorite” person, I too am glad that springtime is finally here. With all the snow, and the lack of plowing in Philadelphia, I’ve been hibernating pretty hard since January. I’m feeling the cabin-fevery desire to get outside and breathe fresh air and get the Hasen Haus into a more permanent state of awesomeness and unpacked. But where does one start?

When I fixed up my old rowhome in South Philly, Kasy and I had this problem all the time. Where to start? How to start? What do I need to do? What do I want to do? Finally, after years of nibbling at little things around the house we discovered the secret. One room at a time. It’s so simple and obvious, and yet took us awhile to figure out. I’m going through that same problem in the Hasen Haus, as I know all the things I want to do, have limited time and energy to do them, and am doing them as a single-woman this time as opposed to with a domestic (and very handy and talented) partner. The world feels sisyphian and I want to get moving. So, to celebrate the beginning of Spring, and to get back into regular blogging about life etc etc, here we go. One room at a time, until finished.

First up. The outside spaces. Ha! Not even 2 seconds into my new focus and I’m already breaking the “room” rule. Let’s be honest. The weather is only going to get more and more gorgeous, and the inside can wait as long as I can create the ideal outdoor relaxation space. It makes sense. Also, I want to get my hands into some dirt and now that my sewer pipe replacement is complete I can plant things in peace knowing that the front won’t need to be dug up for another 80 years.

ready for planting

I have plants ready for planting and seeds starting. This house is lucky to boast 3 distinct outdoor spaces – a backyard, a big front porch, and a small front yard. The backyard is south facing and where I plan on this ultimate relaxation space to be. Perfect light for growing many edibles and flowers, as well as privacy from the street. The front yard is more a space where I anticipate growing shade tolerant plants and flowers (read: all hydrangeas. yes.) and the front porch is already fine. So backyard focus here we go.

Hasen Haus | back yard before

I spent a touch of time raking up the garbage and rocks and other debris that exist in the backyard, and added some heavy duty garbage bags to the shopping list so I can get rid of the materials that are not useful. I’ve been pulling out the larger rocks to use in building some beds, and this weekend I need to finally bag up the pile of leaves that the previous owner lovingly left for me (and my composter). The first steps in building the backyard will be creating edge beds around the perimeter, getting plants in the ground, and re-seeding the soil for a lush albeit tiny lawn.

I am excited and ready to go!

Old to new

Life has been pretty busy since I bought a house in early December. The holidays came flying by, followed by a very busy work month of January. Now that I’m finally getting back to a normal busy life instead of work-all-the-time busy, I can actually get elbow deep in settling into my new home. I’m about half unpacked but as I started to unpack my meager belongings, in a space that is at least 3 times the size of my 1 bedroom apartment, I found that I needed more storage, shelving, cabinet type pieces. Not wanting to buy brand new or IKEA, I’ve been casually looking online at Craigslist and other vintage/antique wood furniture local finds. The snowy days we’ve had in Philadelphia has created the love of all of my vintage wool blankets, that I received in the splitting of the stuff before Kasy moved onto his boat. The downside of so many lovely wool blankets is…where do you put them in a house built in the 1920s (read: no closets except small weirdly shaped bedroom ones). My new focus – wooden trunks.

blanket trunk 1

Of course, since getting back into blogging is still new for me, I forgot to take a before picture of the trunk. It was beautiful but dusty, dirty, and in desperate need of some oil. After a quick google session, and remembering that I have a full bottle of Ecover Wood Floor Soap, I set out to clean up this little number with my morning coffee. Using the bits of information I gleaned from the internet, I found that by using clean towels and rubbing (with the grain) the wood soap into the wood that it would take up the dirt while oiling the trunk. I used more soap than needbe, wanting to let the linseed oil really penetrate the wood to protect and nourish it long term. I’m going to let it sit overnight, and then wipe any excess oil off before placing any of my prized woolens into it.

wood trunk 2

And here it is! Looking gorgeous and filling out the wee little landing perfectly. I’m sure the cats will appreciate a new sitting location, as well, since it will allow them to view all the activity on both floors while staying out of the way.

For anyone in Philadelphia, I purchased this item from Attainable Vintage, along with another wooden trunk and a fantastic highboy style dresser. Both of those pieces still need some restoration love, but I am really excited to welcome all three of these into my house.

Welcoming a new chapter

2014 is here. Hello.


2013 wasn’t terrible but it was full of many emotional ups and downs, as my heart healing post-breakup continued and completed itself. I finally feel pretty damn good about life again and things with me and my dear ex-partner are in a great place friendship-wise, which I am forever thankful for. I think I can official say that my heartbreak is healed. I am ready to go out into the world and be normal again.

2013 was a year of new things, new adventures, new levels of bravery, tears, laughter, hugs, friends, and promise. It ended with an impulse last-minute adoption of a kitten from a political figure who I know from Newark NJ and the purchase of a house. Two things I would never had expected my life to contain in years and months prior to them happening.

littleb home

My life is in boxes right now as I transition from my amazing, warm, loving cocoon of an apartment in West Philly to a house a few blocks further west. I love this apartment and will be sad to leave it. This was the place of my healing. This was the place of my finding independence after the end of a 5 year serious relationship. This was the place of learning about myself. This was the place of turning 30 and 31. This was the place where I felt myself get comfortable with the person I had grown into, and learned to love that person. I will miss the trolleys running past my windows. I will miss the close proximity to my favorite West Philly coffee shop (across the street). I will miss so much about this special little 1-bedroom.



So here we are, on day two of the New Year. Movers are arriving tomorrow morning, assuming the snow warning does not make it impossible for the quick 6 block move I’m making. My life is drastically changing in ways that are foreign and yet, feel oh so right. I feel hopeful for this year. A year of shedding friendships that do not make me feel good and growing friendships that feel right. A year of continuing to get brave and go on my second solo bike tour. A year of feeling strong and committed to myself. A year of love and life.


A year I’ll be documenting it all with a photo a day again on Flickr.

A year of being a better person to myself and to others.

a vacation of firsts

first time visiting wisonsin.
first time camping alone.
first time going on a bike tour alone.
first time vacationing alone.
first time heading to a place where i know nobody.
first time i’m going to have to put my bicycle together by myself.
first time i’m planning the logistics, from beginning to end.




i’m nervous and excited to do this trip, which i have deemed my spirit quest. this is going to be a big trip for me, since i will not have the loving and logistic filled embrace of all of the planning that kasy would always do for any of our bike tours. after years of watching him do the heavy lift of logistic planning, i know that i know what to do and i know that i am capable. this is the first time i will force my own hand in doing it all myself.

this is growth.
this is summer vacation.
this is going to be awesome.

see you in a couple of weeks!

on running, and growing, and breathing


in college i liked to run. i’ve never been very good at it, and continue to have abysmal pacing skills and a lack of inner strength to push myself (oh how that is such a symptom of most aspects of my life). when i started riding bikes more consistently before leaving new jersey, and then all the time when moving to philadelphia, running fell by the wayside and was quickly forgotten.

over the eight years since moving to philadelphia, i’ve tried running again a few times and found that i have grown to hate it. the slowness, compared to riding, the pacing, the need to push myself in so many different ways than long distance riding. and yet, in the fall of 2012, i started flirting with running again. i signed up for a few runs and ran with friends. motivation to take myself out for a run, especially in the winter, is hard to find but it is starting to get better.

so in february, valentine’s day to be specific, i ran my first 5k in 45 minutes and felt pretty good about that. in march, with a good friend, i ran a 5 mile run in 1 hour and felt pretty good about that. in april, by myself, i ran a 5k in 45 again and continued to feel pretty good about that. i am such a slow runner but at the place i am in life right now i’m more interested in the committing to something mentally and sometimes physically difficult and actually completing it. my PR each and every time is going to the run and finishing. maybe i’m too soft on myself (well, i know i am) but this feels like the right goal.

and then i signed up for a half marathon. the run is in late october 2013, which leaves me plenty of time to keep running and get used to runs longer than 5 miles. running is such a mental game for me, but then again post-breakup depression makes most things in life a mental game of motivation. i started “training” this week and ran the stairs of the Art Museum last night with some friends. even at the hardest, fastest scurries up the stairs taking them two at a time, my body felt like exploding with pain and yet it felt so good mentally, emotionally, and physically. so i’m still continuing to run and every day is a struggle to get out of bed and put on running shoes. i don’t really know what i’m getting out of it yet, other than learning that it’s ok to push myself and it’s ok to try and run through my emotions and it’s ok to set the bar a bit high knowing that i might fall flat on my face.

i still hate running. but i’m starting to love myself.
so that’s something.

year one

52 | 365 : Vacation is over

a year ago today, we decided to break up. after five loving years together.

this past year has been hard, friends. but i feel healthier and stronger and regardless of us both trying to move on, i am so utterly thankful that this was a love filled amicable breakup.

i think one of the hardest realizations to come to is that love is not enough. sometimes you are better off not being romantic partners, no matter how much you care about each other. sometimes you have to break your own heart in order for both of you to find true happiness. being unsatisfied and comfortable is not the way to live, even if it is full of love and respect. and saying that outloud is one of the hardest things i’ve ever had to do.

the past twelve months have taught me a lot. mostly taught me about love.*

the words of thoreau have been on my mind

“the only remedy for love is to love more.”

how true, henry. how true.

*i am working on a little personal zine about lessons learned through amicable heartbreak. stay tuned.

Recipe | Vegan Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

Of course I had all good intentions of posting this back when the weather was still primarily winter feeling, here in Philadelphia, but life got in the way as it sometimes tends to. Spring has arrived and the weather has been absolutely lovely, but evenings are still pretty chilly. I’m sure dinners of warm comfort food will still be desired for a few more weeks until the evenings warm up. Perhaps something like this is exactly what you’re looking for…

Vegan Pumpkin Macaroni + Cheese

Vegan Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Sauce
Time: barely anything, especially if you do this while boiling pasta and sauteeing veggies
Yeilds: enough to generously coat 1lb of pasta and sauteed veggies

-1 can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
-2.5 cups of water
-2 tbsp mustard
-1 cup nutritional yeast
-1/4 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp garlic
-1 tsp black pepper
-dash of soy sauce

1. Whisk together pumpkin puree, water, and mustard until evenly combined
2. Add all dry ingredients and whisk until evenly combined
3. Either simmer on the stove, in a pot, until bubbling and thickened or pour over cooked pasta and your choice of sauteed veggies, in a large casserole dish, and bake in the oven at 300F for 15 minutes.

I prefer to pour over cooked pasta and sauteed veggies, and mix really well to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed and coating everything as well as possible (I tend to mix straight in the casserole dish, mostly out of a desire to not dirty another pot or bowl). Pop the casserole dish into the oven, at an estimated 300F, and bake until it’s a little thicker and bubbly (you’re preference on casserole consistency might be different from mine, so do a visual check to see when you want to take it out and serve). Somehow the consistency and warmth of that process is exactly what I want when I yearn for comfort food like this.

In the photo above, I used this sauce with penne pasta, homemade seitan that was chopped and sauteed until crispy in soy sauce, and local kale, also sauteed. It was so good, I think I’m making it again for dinner tonight. Best part, as a single gal this amount of food is enough for 2 dinners and a lunch. Talk about advanced, delicious, meal planning.