I recognized a piece of myself and the people I know in this article.

What particularly struck home for me was the line about how “anxiety-inducing” the question of “where are you from?” can be. I allow people to assume that I am simply “from” Texas. It’s easier than explaining my life story to a random stranger.

I’ve noticed that I more easily adopt other people’s cultures when in their home, country, or space, and it is far more natural to me, than amongst those who did not travel growing up. I also have perspective on “stupid laws” from having lived in places where the laws are rarely or arbitrarily enforced (and breaking the law is common place). “Socialism” or “monarchy” aren’t just concepts used to scare people, to me. I have lived under both types of regimes. I’ve lived in both snowy climates and desert. “Home” tends to be where ever I am at the time. A home base rather than a nostalgic idea of where I grew up.

My first memory is being sick on a train in India…really more of an impression or the feeling that I KNOW that this happened than anything vivid.  Then, after that, it’s probably being surrounded by snowdrifts that towered above me.

I ran into fellow third culture kids in Houston a lot more often.  I never meet anyone like that in Seattle. I kind of miss it and almost feel as though I’m losing a part of myself by staying stationary for so long.

Ask anyone who has spent any amount of time from New Orleans what their favorite place to eat is, and you will get a very detailed litany that likely involves maps and lots of hand gestures/belly rubs.

Get two people who have spent time in New Orleans together, and there is likely to be a heated debate.  Especially if you’re asking for the best po’ boy place.  There are only two correct answers, in my opinion.  1) Guy’s in Uptown and 2) Cochon Butcher for a fancy/modern po’ boy.  Yes, there are other places.  No, I do not want to go there (except under extraordinary circumstances).

I want to grab a six pack of Strawberry Abita or a Daquiri and grilled shrimp po’boy dressed all the way from Guy’s and I want to go to the levee, and I want to sit in the grass, and that about sums it up.

I often get asked “where should I eat?” and “what should I do?” (while in New Orleans) by friends.

This is our classic list.  I’m reposting it here because I send people to Colin and my wedding website, and it would be easier to repost it to an actually active site.  Also, I’m missing the sun and New Orleans today, so I made us cheesy grits, bacon, and eggs for breakfast.

PLACES TO EAT
Looking for Breakfast?

  • If you’re in the French Quarter and want a hearty meal, go to Stanley’s (Shreya’s favorite) or Camelia Grill (Colin’s favorite)
  • If you’re near the Garden District/Magazine St/Uptown, try Surrey’s or Slim Goodies
  • Looking for a Light Breakfast or Afternoon Snack?  Go to Cafe DuMonde.

Looking for Po’ Boys?

  • If you’re Uptown, go to Guy’s!  Colin and Shreya love their grilled shrimp po’ boy.
  • If you’re in the French Quarter, go to Johnny’s or to the Cochon Butcher Shop.

Looking for Fried Chicken?

  • In the French Quarter, go to Fiorella’s or Coop’s Place.  We prefer Fiorella’s, but if you want other types of food, then Coop’s place is better.
  • Otherwise, if you are willing to travel, go to Willie Mae’s Scotch House.  Can’t beat the ambience but get ready to wait in line!
  • Colin swears Popeyes is equally delicious.

Looking for a nice, classic Cajun meal?

  • This is an area of much debate and can get quite pricey!
  • Some downhome cooking in the French Quarter can be found at Mother’s or Coop’s place.
  • If you’re getting all fancy in the French Quarter, head to Galatoire’s or August.
  • Pro Tip: A completely worthwhile experience and meal: August has a $25, 3 course, prixe fix menu on Fridays for lunch.  Mmmm.  Delicious.
  • For something in between, try Cochon or Mandina’s.
  • If you’re heading Uptown, go to Commander’s Palace, Dante’s, or Boucherie.  You won’t regret it!
  • Pro Tip: Friday lunches at Commander’s Palace feature the $0.25 martini.  No, that is not a misplaced decimal point.

Just a good, fancy meal

  • There are listed in no particular order: Bayona (Quarter), Lillete (Uptown), Patois (Uptown), Cafe Amelie (Quarter), or Muriel’s (Quarter).
  • Middling Priced: La Crepe Nanou (Prytania/Uptown)

PLACES TO DRINK

  • Let’s get the main ones out of the way, shall we?  Pimm’s Cup – head to Napoleon House in the Quarter or sit on the porch at Columns and sip on one of these cucumber-y drinks.
  • Hurricanes!  Infamous by Pat O’s (complete with a dueling piano bar) but Lafitte’s also has a pretty tasty one.  These will definitely stain your mouth red, so be prepared.
  • For a unique drinking experience, walk over to the Carousel bar at the Monteleone.  Hope you don’t get motion sick, though.

THINGS TO SEE/DO

  • The performers across from Jackson Square
  • A Ghost Tour
  • Live music on Frenchman at DBA or the Spotted Cat and also at Preservation Hall
  • Grab a daquiri, go to the levee, and sit and enjoy the weather

TIPS

  • Bring cash!  A lot of these places are cash only, unfortunately.
  • Be safe and have fun!

  1. I’ve always thought of myself as having very little bathroom stuff (especially for being female).  Living on a boat has taught me that I have more bathroom things than I thought that I did. Two brushes, three types of hair product, and a facial scrub or two?  TOO MUCH STUFF!
  2. Somewhat related to #1: I can not turn on the hairdryer and have the space heater in the living room on at the same time.  I can not turn the hairdryer on “high” ever.
  3. My bakeware does not fit in the boat oven.  HOW WILL I BAKE CAKE/MUFFINS/ANYTHING?! I do not yet know.
  4. My birthday boat brunch was, unfortunately, cancelled due to inclement weather; however, impromptu boat taco night on Friday was a big success!

Ain’t no party like a taco party

Boat Life Update!

Boat Life is still very much a dream for the Leys.  We realized, however, that since neither of us had actually lived on a boat that perhaps we could not fully appreciate the reality of boatlife.

We looked at renting a loft in South Lake Union, our #boatlife dreams crushed…but LUCKILY that loft fell through because we happened across an ad on craigslist for a boat rental!

Our lives are again full of promise and rainbows as we embark on #boatlife.  Our current state of being summed up:

We are not likely to take THIS boat out anywhere, but we’re investing in floaties to float out into Lake Union and I’ve started researching how we could potentially work/be connected while cruising to Tofino or the San Jauns in the future.

It’s looking involved…

http://www.boats.com/reviews/internet-on-boats-stay-connected-while-getting-away/

Also, what are your yacht rock recommendations?

Feel free to follow along on #boatlife adventures on my instagram or Colin’s “official” instagram.

Why are you a thing?

Seriously.  It’s pinterest-worthy, I suppose.  And I get to show people how “healthy” I am.  However, has anyone made a successful zucchini noodle before?

 

Recently, I made a black bean and pulled pork enchilada bake.  I needed a quick, weeknight dinner.  Had pork and black beans already cooked, plenty of zucchini, and no tortillas.  I’ve been trying to dial back on the sugars and eat more veggies lately and see zucchini everything on the internet, so why not sub the tortillas out for zucchini?  Besides, zucchini noodles are so hawt right now.

See how pretty this looks?  This is BEFORE I baked it.

However, every time I’ve made “zucchini noodles,” it ends up being a watery mess after baking.  This was no exception.

I sliced them using the big slicer on a grater.  I sprinkled them with salt to draw out the water and patted them dry afterwards.

So, if you’ve successfully made a zucchini noodle…please let me know your secrets.

We recently went to a client’s home to finish up some paperwork and get documents signed.  Their home was lovely.  However, what impressed me most was their art on display.  I really loved their aesthetic.

 

For those of you who don’t know, before law school was even a twinkle in Colin’s eye, he wanted to become a photojournalist.  So, he loves a good photographer and is quite picky about his photographs.  He rightly thinks most of my snaps are absolute garbage.  However, I can’t tell the difference so I don’t care.

Currently, his favorite new photographer is this guy, Ray Collins.  Check him out!

Colin says it’s preferable to use an image in these posts. The following image is not Ray Collins’ work but is Colin Ley’s work, salvaged from an otherwise ruined roll of film (developed at the wrong speed, I think?).  Since we’re attorneys, we’re not about to use Ray Collins’ work without his permission.  We do hope to buy a piece someday soon though!

 

We recently thought to ourselves…What if we lived on a boat?

A few things to set the stage…

1) Colin has an aversion to home ownership (he calls B.S. on the “it’s a great investment!” propaganda spewed out by the home and lending industry) and I have an aversion to spending a ridiculous amount of money on rent.  This leaves us at a standstill, so to speak. Especially in Seattle.

2) We are fans of Mr. Money Mustache, though we heard him on the most recent Tim Ferriss Podcast, and he sounds so much like Erlich Bachman that I’m not sure I can take him completely seriously anymore:

3) We have some friends who have embarked on #boatlife and are loving it.

Cons to #boatlife

A bit leaky/humid, lots of maintenance projects, small kitchen, the bathrooms, and lack of space

Humidity: I lived in Houston for a good chunk of time and am not so opposed to humidity.  Also, it can be rectified with a de-humidifier.  As for leak-potential…see below under “maintenance.”

Maintenance: we can look at it as a chore, or as a bunch of “fun” projects to do.  Plus, is it really so different when you own a home?

Lack of Space: Many of the rentals we have been looking at are not that big

Small kitchen & the bathrooms: #sigh.

Pros to #boatlife

Cool community, mobile, potential for boat-cations, investment opportunity(?), less driving, less competitive than buying a home OR renting a home

Considerations

We needed to know the true cost of boat ownership to make an informed decision.  Plus, we needed to get an idea of what it is really like.  In my head, I was picturing these old, dilapidated barges that are tied up along the canal and had an aversion to that.

We visited our friends who are living la vida #boatlife.  Their boat is super nice and cozy.  Probably bigger than many of the apartments that we have been considering.  They are moored up right by his office (he can walk) and his wife works remotely/visits clients.

Currently, Colin and I drive to work.  It takes 30-45 minutes in time each way, requires tank fill-ups every other week (at least, maybe more when trips to the mountain or ocean are factored in), and is a source of stress when you consider traffic.  There are marinas within walking distance of our office.  There are more marinas within easy biking distance.  The climbing gym is also within biking distance of work.  Plus, there are grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants within walking or biking distance of most of these marinas.

Additionally, some of the marinas allow Air B’n’B.  It is a dream of ours to set up our business in a way that allows us to take extended trips to fun places – Thailand, Costa Rica, Spain, and many many more places.  In a rental, we would just be frittering that money away while we are gone.  In boat (or home) ownership, we could potentially rent out the home and recoup some costs.


Let’s get down to costs, though.  A decent boat is going to cost us anywhere from $50,000 – $100,000.  We are looking at a 90’s or later boat, fiberglass due to the restrictions on wooden boats at most insurance companies and marinas, that is set up in a comfortable and livable way.  Sailboats are out of the question because the living quarters are generally in a dark hole.  For further costs, I created a spreadsheet.

Assuming we live on the boat for three years, buy a $60,000 boat, provide a downpayment of 20%, and receive a loan rate of 3.25%:

Price of Boat 60,000
Down Payment 12,000
Monthly Commitment
Boat Payment (10yr Boat Loan) 469.00
Moorage (incl. 1st and last month avged out) 791.67
Pump Out (usually included with Moorage) 0.00
Boat Maintenance (assuming 10% of boat cost/year) 500.00
Insurance 200.00
Internet 80.00
Survey (avged out over 3 years) 27.78

This comes out to a monthly commitment of $2,068.44/month.  I haven’t included gas and utilities because I don’t know how much they are.  Some marinas include SOME of these costs and some do not.  Let’s say that they will add an additional $200/month at most.  This brings the monthly total to $2,268.44/month.

If, instead, we buy a $90,000 boat, provide a 20% down payment, and receive a loan rate of 3.25%, we are looking at:

Monthly $$
Boat Payment (10yr) 704.00
Moorage 791.67
Pump Out 0.00
Boat Maintenance 750.00
Insurance 200.00
Internet 80.00
Survey 27.78

This comes out to more like a $2,753.44/month monthly commitment, including an additional $200/month in utilities or additional expenses.


The lowest rent that we have found on a place that we would be willing to live in (has enough space/amenities and is convenient enough) is $1,800/month.  The lowest.  Here are the costs that we are looking at for Renting:

Rent 1800
G/S/W 50
Electric 150
Internet 80
Deposit (1st, last, and security avged over 3 years) 150
Insurance 15
Parking (assuming either we need a permit or pay at a garage) 100

This comes out to a monthly commitment of $2,345/month on the low side.

Now, the rental homes that we actually really like (and aren’t just compromising on) are more in the $2,000 – $2,300/month range.  That puts our monthly commitment at more like $2,786.67/month (I won’t bore you with the spreadsheet on this one, but I assume that the utilities go up a little and that we don’t pay for parking).


These bare costs don’t factor in the additional fun of having a boat – being able to motor around to places or hosting cool-ass boat parties in the summer in Seattle.

It also doesn’t factor in the additional time savings of potentially not having to commute (at least not by car) and the healthy lifestyle increase of walking and biking more.  Aside: This isn’t just an idealistic view, when we lived in Ballard, I rarely used my car during the week.  I walked to the little grocery store up the hill or biked over to Fred Meyer.  I took the bus or rode my bike to work downtown.  I rode my bike to the gym and back.  So, these are realistic aspirations.

So, over three years, we are looking at *potentially* a savings of thousands by investing in #boatlife.  Plus, a boat load (pun intended) of happiness and lifestyle gains.  So, even if we BREAK EVEN, we have gained in the lifestyle and happiness departments which is…let’s face it…worth it on its own.

If we factor in any of the following three things or a combination of any of the three things: 1) we Air B’n’B the boat for standard market rates often enough to recoup the yearly maintenance costs; 2) we receive a mortgage interest rate deduction (we looked into it and it’s a maybe); or 3) we sell the boat at the end of the 3 years…

Then we are looking at ADDITIONAL SAVINGS/a recoupment on our investment.

There’s also the additional option of keeping the boat, of course, at the end of the three years and turning it into an investment by renting it or Air B’n’B-ing it.

All to say…back off our moorage slip, folks.  We’re calling dibs.  And…what am I missing from my calculations?

This year for Valentine’s Day, I got a bunch of bruises and Colin launched himself off of some jumps and generally “shredded.”  And then we ate fried chicken.

We hope your Valentine’s Day was also fun and exciting, even though it is a corporate fiction created to make people feel bad and pit them against each other in mindless consumerism.

All to say, LayRoots and the Lawyer-Human movement have been a true passion of ours and we are so very excited that we get to help people worry less and live awesome lives.  We love our Lawyer-Human community.  We look forward to growing it and staying in touch with all the people already a part of it.  ::party on::

 

Colin’s favorite place on earth.  Look at him jumping for joy.

In stories of being unprepared and suffering the consequences, take for example our camp trip in the Grand Tetons.

We arrived in the midst of a blizzard, after dark.  We found the only area open to camping and proceeded to set up our camp.  It was -10 without the wind chill.  Much to our delight, we found a bathroom in the campground that was clean AND heated.  Colin had read on the internet, though now we have to say that it was most likely not a completely reputable source OR was someone who subscribed to the Wim Hof method, on how to modify our 3 season camping set up to be a winter camping set up.  I had an extra blanket for us to cover ourselves.

We nearly lost some digits.  I don’t say this to exaggerate.  We began to lose feeling in our feet and hands as the night bore on and cold settled into our bones, creeping up through the ground and through the seams of the tent.  In order to survive the night (as it was too late to leave), we spent time in the heated bathroom and set up a propane heater to blast its magic into the tent from the outside.  It was so cold, however, that much of the heat instantly dissipated, and it only served to keep the cold at bay for so long.

Although we have great camping and outdoor gear for the Pacific Northwest, it was not sufficient for true cold.

Due to our discomfort, we were able to witness a beautiful sunrise on the Grand Tetons.  We warmed our oatmeal and our fingers by the side of the propane heater as the light slowly illuminated the view.  We walked around in the deep, powdery snow.

After realizing that we were not getting any warmer, we jumped into the car…the heater on full blast…drove a section of the park with cell phone signal and promptly booked a hotel room in Jackson Hole for that night.  On our way into town, we saw foxes, and bison, and moose, and a wolf.  With a hotel room to look forward to, a heater warming our toes, and beauty around us…our life was looking pretty grand.

 

Once we got to Jackson Hole, we stopped at a really great coffee shop and checked into the hotel.  It was the best hotel room that we have ever stayed in.

We’ve already started making plans to climb the Tetons in 2017.

 

 

We began our journey in Texas.  Christmas visiting the doggies (formerly our dogs, but my parents have lovingly adopted them and the dogs have settled into a life of comfort and attention that they seem to rather enjoy), my family, and good friends.

My brother and I dragged Colin along to watch Star Wars and then we proceeded to watch ALL of the original Star Wars movie in a long, holiday marathon.  Then we heard the sad news about Carrie Fischer.

I really enjoyed the latest Star Wars.  Much more than the first of this new installment only because it seemed like a far more original story line.  Also, it provided more background leading into the originals that made me feel for the sacrifice made to get those Death Star plans to R2D2, my favorite movie robot.

Yes, I’m a nerd.

As we began the long drive through Texas – I love Texas but it is mostly very boring to drive through and Texas lasts FOREVER – we stopped in Amarillo along the way at the Big Texan and though I dissuaded Colin from attempting the 72oz steak challenge, we did see what we’d be potentially up against.  A lot of folks complained about the Big Texan, but I was pretty happy with my steak.

^ Not a 72 oz steak.  But this is:

My hand for reference