This weekend, I’m flying to Portland to take a food styling + photography workshop with one of my favorite bloggers, Local Haven. She does amazing work, and the workshop is offered in this super cool event space in the heart of the city. I am so, so excited.
But ever since I purchased my ticket, there’s been a subtle queasiness associated with my trip; a little anxiety nagging at me from somewhere deep within. I’ve been hesitant to mention the workshop to anyone, and I’ve questioned the trip since I hung up the phone confirming my reservation. If I was forced to admit my plans, I shrugged it off—”It’s no big deal!” or “I’m just doing it for fun, and I’ve never been to Portland!” or my favorite, “It’s silly, I know! It doesn’t mean anything.” And the reason is quite simple: I feel like an imposter.
Of course, this isn’t a new phenomenon. When we explore something new, or outside of what we’re deemed capable of or knowledgeable about, we feel the need to make it seem casual. That way, a) no one is going to judge us (“She’s not a photographer! Who does she think she is?!”) and b) we negate the fear of failure (“I wasn’t great at that, but it was only for fun anyways”). I think this is especially true once you’re in a life phase that expects you to be established wherever you are—career, relationship, family, et cetera. The openness to learning somehow seems to fade with the passage of time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, beating myself up for having these feelings and for not moving confidently in the direction of a passion I’ve discovered. There is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that needs to be made excuses for. If I’m honest, I’m proud for putting myself out there, and trying something new. I would berate any friend of mine who told me they were “too old” or “too inexperienced” to pursue something that interested them, something that lit some sort of fire within them. To ignore it would be crazy—that’s what I would say to them.
Still, it’s hard to make that case to myself. Instead, I see beautiful pictures on Instagram, or read about a talented stylist and think, “There is no way I will ever be that good.” And maybe I won’t. But to deny the part of myself that feels joy and excitement in those creative moments is only allowing the insecurity and fear to win.
So I will go to Portland. I will let the creativity and the inspiration in. I will stop worrying about what others think. I will allow myself to fail and to keep failing. I’ll grow. And I will make a promise to myself—despite the external and internal voices—to never stop learning.
On that note, let’s make some ice cubes! Guys, I think my new thing might be creating beautiful ice cubes. You can do so much with them! And darn if they aren’t just pretty. They bring a boring ol’ cocktail to the next level in a major way.
I will say, these take a little time (and patience) to make. You have to let each layer set completely before adding the next. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. I would say a solid 3-4 hours per layer. So, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit if you’re making these for a special occasion, or, if you’re like me, a Tuesday night.
Once they are done though, they are complete show-stoppers. I kept the cocktail super simple and I recommend using only clear liquor and mixers. Go with a classic—the cubes will add the punch. Plus, as the cubes melt the cocktail continues to morph into something more delicious with each passing moment. What was once a gin + tonic is now a gin + tonic with grapefruit and orange flavors subtly hitting your tastebuds at unexpected moments. YES.
Ombre Ice Cubes
makes approximately 20 1-inch cubes
- 5 pink grapefruits
- 4 blood oranges
- ice cube trays; I love my extra-large Tolovo tray and my 1-inch Dexas trays
Juice the grapefruits and oranges into separate containers; Strain each of the liquids again through a fine mesh strainer if you have one. Take a little orange and grapefruit juice and mix them together in another container, adding more of either juice until you have created the desired color. The blood orange juice is really potent, so start with a small amount. Repeat again, creating a different shade than the one you already made. Sidenote: Feel free to add water to your juices to create the desired shades. Line the juices up in order from darkest to lightest; this will be your pouring order.
Fill each cube up 1/4 of the way up; freeze 3-4 until completely set. Add another 1/4 of the next shade on top of the frozen shade; freeze until completely set. Repeat for the other two shades of juice.
Once completely frozen, pop them into any drink of choice! Here I made a simple gin + tonic, using 2 oz of gin and about 5 oz of good tonic. Fever Tree makes a great one but really any ol’ tonic or seltzer would be great. If you’re a vodka fan, go vodka. The world is your ombre ice cube.
Barware notes: The wine glasses pictured are old; I bought them ages ago (sorry!). The little wobbly glass at the bottom is from Muji. That store has some rad stuff.