weekends: edition 1

A peek into the weekends of our contributors. Nothing crazy, usually.

April 12-13


Lately, I spend my Saturdays drawing in a studio art class for 5-6 hours. 


Even though there were about 10 things I could be working on, I had a selfish Sunday; ran for 5 miles in the morning and then walked to The Cellar off of Del Mar to try the newly launched Bear Coast Coffee (it did not disappoint).


So, this weekend I finally tried the bourgeois toast joint in San Francisco I heard about on NPR and obsessed over.

I hiked in Tiburon's redwoods and really bonded with my future sister in law. Then drank beer on our friend's roof and watched the sunset. I watched my brother in law graduate nursing school, and my heart was so full of pride for him. We drank whiskey and played Coachella live on TV and danced to arcade fire. 

This weekend was magical. Back to reality, and detoxing.


I spent my weekend cleaning up after barf-fest and preparing for a certain 1-yr-old's birthday. Boring! I can't wait for NEXT weekend. 

people we love - Brian White

Ally edit - this is the first entry to Scout Folks by Abby Oliva, who will be contributing people stories here. Hope you enjoy, and drop her a line if you have any interesting folks you’d like to know more about.


Getting to Know You

Brian White and I decided to meet at Provisions at the Orange Circle, a great place in Old Town to find and enjoy the craft brews for which you will gladly spend a bit (and sometimes, considerably) more. He walked in a few minutes after I arrived, we exchanged hugs and pleasantries, ordered our beers, and found a quiet table to sit and catch up.

After setting down his drink, he took off his jacket revealing a henley that held on to toned shoulder and chest muscles.  

I asked, in my best pseudo-sleaze tone, “dude, have you been working out?”

“I have to, for work,” he answered with slight exasperation.

I paused for a moment, wondering why his employer would require that he work out (and how that could possibly be legal), when he read the look on my face and answered the unspoken question.

“This is what I do all day!” he said with a smile, pointing to his beer.

Best Job Ever

As the “Beer Evangelist” for Monkish Brewing Company in Torrance, California - Mr. White spends a fair amount of time in fellowship with craft beer enthusiasts and sharing the good (beer) news with hopeful converts. Suffice to say he drinks a fair amount of beer. With two other well-known SoCal brewers on his CV (Karl Strauss and The Bruery, respectively), he knows his stuff, and is the perfect guy to approach with your beer wants, needs, and queries. Monkish brews mostly Belgian-style ales, and is relatively new to the brewery scene, just celebrating their 2nd anniversary. I visited their little spot with Ally and her family, and we got to indulge in some of their best work. 

Like any industry, the longer you stay in it, the smaller it gets, and the brewing world is no exception. I asked Brian how he was able to nurture existing relationships while being able to start others.

BW:  You have to keep working on rebranding yourself, but it’s all about networking. You maintain contacts, you don’t burn bridges - you try not to, I’ve burnt some. You make mistakes and learn the hard way. A lot. Basically, it’s just about being a decent human being and just being kind, I think. And honest, not artificial. Being authentic with people. Especially in sales, there’s your typical salesman – and to them you’re just a number and they want to meet goals. I always hated that. Never wanted to be that or do that.

Watching him in motion at the Monkish tasting room, you can see that when it comes to this craft that his knowledge is outweighed only by his passion. During my visit I decided to order a tasting flight and let him take the reigns. I didn't know that Belgian beer had such a range, I was blown away.  

Extra Credit

When he isn’t delighting beer fans, Brian’s taking a stand for at-risk youth and working to provide hope. (No big deal, right?) In 2005 he began searching for a way to help stop human trafficking, a cause that’s gained a significant amount of momentum in the past few years.

BW:  I don’t even remember how I got into it, the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, but I caught onto it… I had this dream of starting an Orange County abolitionist group and I emailed the president of Free the Slaves (Kevin Bales), who wrote one of the books, Disposable People. ...And they invited me to come to San Francisco, so I went up there and met him and his right hand guys. And I think I was at a Thai restaurant and I just thought, “what am I doing here, I’m just some 22-year-old with nothing to give.”

In 2013, the opportunity to make an impact presented itself. A friend of his had read a post on Brian’s blog about human trafficking and the desire to be involved in a solution, and this friend just so happened to know the president of the SOLD Project. The SOLD Project is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent child prostitution by educating the at-risk youth in northern Thailand and providing scholarships and resources to break a cycle of poverty and exploitation. Brian was able to meet with the president of the organization and ended up traveling to Thailand with them for an eye-opening and life-changing experience.

BW:  It’s a giant circle. Life always comes full circle even when you’re not aware.

AO: Right. Life, work, relationships, yourself; everything is cyclical.

BW: Except, hopefully, each time it comes out a little bit better.

When he returned to the States, he was brought on as a Southern California representative for them; if you want to learn more about the SOLD Project and need someone to come speak about it – he’s your Huckleberry.

Why We Love Him

Being a beer savvy humanitarian seems reason enough to like someone. The element that puts Brian on another level is his genuine compassion for all walks of life. Whether he is pouring a Seme Della Vita (quite possibly the best beer I have ever had, by the way) or striving to stop oppression – his heart and soul are in it, completely. There is nothing forced or fabricated in the way he interacts with his fellow man. He attributes this authenticity to being totally confident in anything he is offering and discovering a deeper acceptance during graduate school.  

AO:  You have your MA in Theology, how has that impacted the way you look at the world and interact with people?

BW:  I learned to think of everything in context. The reality is that I could have been born somewhere else and I might be the same person and I could have the same passions – but I would be Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim. And you have to be haunted by that fact, that you could be completely different, and ask yourself, “am I just a product of where I am or am I able to think outside of culture?” And so I learned to appreciate everything and be more open and understanding of cultural differences and life experiences. And I’ve kind of gotten rid of an objective truth in a way. That maybe there is a truth that is somewhat objective, but there is only a subjective view of it. Humans are bound to language, culture, to all these things. So when you realize that, you become a kinder person and you don’t judge, because ultimately, what do you know? Just that you’re a person of faith and that faith is good.

This energy, open-mindedness, and organic love for mankind make him one-of-a-kind. 

AO:  What is one thing that you have learned that you would share with the world?

BW:  It’s simple: Live a life of faith, hope, and love.


Learn more about Monkish here http://www.monkishbrewing.com/home
Learn more about the SOLD Project here http://thesoldproject.com/

Follow his personal blog here http://bluecollarlove.blogspot.com/


all photos by Benjamin Squirrell. 


darling dinner

This past Friday, Abby and I had the pleasure of attending a Darling Dinner in LA. 

Google Maps routed us STRAIGHT through South Central (don't tell my mom), but we ended up at a lovely DTLA creative space and shared dinner with new friends. 


It was an amazing experience - the quickness and intensity with which a group of 30 women opened up to each other was really unexpected. I had been anticipating more of a blogger gathering: surface networking, pleasant smiles, exchanged numbers. But it's clear that women, maybe a certain type of woman, maybe an LA woman, needs fellowship. Our common denominator is friendship and candid conversation. 

I hope to participate in more events like this, and help spark a movement of breaking bread with ladies. 


We met up with Faith from New Forage, as well as my friend Maurna. I haven't taken a lot of Friday nights off from Ben and Luna in a while, it's always nice to re-meet my friendly side. And wear a necklace and lipstick without rendering baby damage. 


Thanks, Darling. (Really great food by More Butter Please)

the (mostly) vegan marriage

Ally edit: This is the first blog post from one of my dearest friends and best people I know, Marissa Hewko. She's going to be writing about her food love, cooking, lifestyle, dogs, love, loss, everything. I'm so very proud she's joined our story.  end Ally edit. 


Like everyone in the world, my husband Johnathon was born a vegetarian. The thing is, he stayed that way…like, never-had-a-hamburger-vegetarian. When we first started dating, I’d force-feed him bites of my carnitas and laugh at him when he said bacon smelled gross. When we got married, I was working at a restaurant, meaning evenings were spent at work, not at home. Which left Johnathon on his own for dinner. I’d usually scarf down some faulty plate the chefs made that night and he would create some weird can of beans atop lettuce with salsa on it and call it a burrito bowl.

When I got a new job with “normal” hours, we began to have dinners together nightly. This created two issues; one: I felt guilty for making meals that contained meat in them because I knew it did not correlate with my husband’s ideals, and two: I was way too lazy to make a veg dish for him and a meat dish for me. So that’s how it happened. We both became vegetarians. I would mostly make cop-out vegetarian dishes like pasta, or tofu stir-fry, things that had zero thought involved. Somewhere along the way, between watching documentaries and blood test results, we decided to take animal product completely out of our diet. That’s when the passion for cooking came flooding in; crazy, obsessive, creative, passion.

I didn’t want to just make a pizza with fake vegan mozzarella topped with tofurkey, or resort to just throwing a bunch of vegetables in the oven with olive oil and calling it dinner (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It wasn’t just about cutting animal out of our diet, it was about putting better, whole, unprocessed foods in our bodies. I had to be innovative and be willing to put thought into every night’s meals and plan them in advance.

It takes effort, but the resulting food is worth it, and most of all, it makes me HAPPY. If I don’t cook for a week, I get depressed - the combination of healthy fuel and expanding my creativity makes me feel fulfilled. It doesn't hurt that my husband does all the dishes every night, and it really doesn't hurt that he's more than happy to eat everything. 

Every Sunday, I pick out meals for the week, gaining inspiration from various vegan food blogs and finding the accidentally vegan recipes in cookbooks I already own. I try not to make the same thing twice in a month, mostly because I get bored eating the same thing all the time and cooking the same thing all the time. I make a grocery list, and shop on Sunday for the entire week. Johnathon says whenever he looks at our shopping card, he doesn’t see a single thing that looks delicious, but then magically, he’s licking his plate every night. That’s the thing with cooking with whole ingredients, they don’t look like much until you transform them, that’s when their beauty comes out.

I look forward to every night that I get to spend with my husband in the kitchen and eating together at the dining room table…and curled up on the couch on lazy evenings. Our kitchen is small so we are forced to be in close contact, sneaking tush squeezes. During dinner we get to talk about our day, vent, rejoice, kiss and be thankful for the little family we have.

I hope you enjoy my food ideas, and feel free to contact me with questions or high fives. 

The pictured foodgasm is an amazing vegan enchilada casserole, recipe coming soon. 

sausage party in Venice // Courtney and Ally

by Courtney and Ally

[Courtney is the stylish one and Ally always has a baby strapped to her.]

[Courtney is the stylish one and Ally always has a baby strapped to her.]

HELLO! We are the main contributors to Scout Folks (for now), still learning to navigate our voices on this forum. Here's a little intro to our dynamic.

Ally: You can read more in the About Us. But for now: Courtney and I live too far apart, but spend a lot of time together. We've been through a few life changes together, and WAY too many hair changes. We're the kind of people that will send each other the exact same photo at the exact same moment. We are hatching a secret plan to spend every family vacation together. 

Courtney: We were lucky enough to find our tribe in Venice this past weekend. It was a rainy weekend, so we cozied up at Wurstkuche with some heavy German food. 

Ally: I pretty much suggest Wurstkuche every time we set foot in LA. 

Courtney: We met up with the folks over at Girl and The Abode and Styled by Katie. I am blessed to be able to call these girls family; as the years have gone by those lines have blurred between family and friendship. It has evolved into something quite rare and beautiful. The friendship is raw, and we can share our deepest thoughts amongst each other, as well as design ideas. 


Courtney: I also love Wurstkuche. They have vegetarian smoked apple sage to crocodile to pork andouille to...every flavor of sausage. My mouth is watering just dreaming about it.


Courtney: Our conversation over exotic sausages and crisp cider is exciting. To think we are sitting at a table of so many creatives; photographers, interior designers, chefs, fashion stylists, illustrators, and graphic designers. It takes my breath away. Ideas bounce off the walls with fierceness; and all I can do is smile because these are my folks.


Ally: I've been longing for this little artist community for a while, and it's so exciting to be around so many energized people. We walked to the Venice General Store, which is fast becoming the inspiration for my being. 


Courtney: Wandering around Venice we naturally group ourselves into pairs. I listen to passing conversations and it fills me with warmth. Life can be hard enough as it is, even just with daily routine. I am thankful for the people I am surrounded by. They are my rocks.


Ally: We finally got into Gjelina!! OMG their panna cotta. I think I'm hungry because my portion of this blog is centered on food. I'm really in love with all my friends right now. They're moving and shaking, and inspiring me to do the same. 

by Ally and Courtney