Tag Archives: Meleana Shim

When Mana Shim of the Portland Thorns Came Over to Make Salad and I Force-fed Her Gazpacho

So this funny thing happened.

I got a direct Twitter message last August from @meleanashim: “Will you teach me how to cook?! :)”

I’m not kidding! Look! It really happened!

Mana Twitter. MomsicleBlog

You know who Meleana Shim is…. (Hint: She’s a midfielder for the Portland Thorns who scored five goals last year, and she mostly goes by Mana.) Here she is, being force-fed gazpacho.

Meleana Shim eats gazpacho. MomsicleBlog

(If you don’t know who the Portland Thorns are, then go educate yourself here and here, because I’m not going to tell you everything a person like yourself, who is smart and delightful and progressive, should already know.)


I love the Thorns, and I’m gullible, and I have a lot of enthusiasm for cooking.  So after receiving this Twitter message, I jumped out of my seat and thought:

Maybe someone hacked Mana Shim’s account and is playing a cruel joke on me. Who could it be? Family? Angry birds? Baby Woww? (He’s strangely brilliant–like all two year olds–with technology.) 

And then I thought:

She used an exclamation point AND a smiley face: We are TOTALLY going to get along!! 

(I abuse the exclamation point and smiley face to the point that they practically hang around my head in a perpetual cloud of amped-up emotion.)

@evelynshoop @meleanashim. MomsicleBlog

Sometimes my life is a surrealist painting, and this happy interaction was adding some new melting clocks to the scene.

There are a lot of Portland chefs and home cooks whose ninja skills in the kitchen far exceed my culinary belt color, not to mention their being überhip. So I remained skeptical, and tried to be open about my kitchen landscape.

@evelynshoop @meleanashim. MomsicleBlogI hit myself over the head for using wild twice in a row. But Mana didn’t seem fazed.

@evelynshoop @meleanashim. MomsicleBlog

It was probably because I’d replied to a tweet of hers. Mana was profiled at the last home game and I looked her up afterwards and started following her.

Here I am at the game. (Thanks for the photo, Dad.)

Portland Thorns. MomsicleBlog

I came to love the Thorns not because I’m obsessed with the beautiful game, but because of being a confident, nerdy kid who always felt like women could do anything men could do. Then I went to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, and the equality sword got sharpened to a fine point. And then I married my husband who rekindled my love of sports, and we now have our two preschool-age boys, who also love sports, and we watch a lot of ESPN, which seems to constantly hedge its bets on whether women’s sports are really a thing.

When I saw the Thorns’ motto, “She Flies With Her Own Wings,” and felt how the crowd went crazy for the team, I was in love. THIS was how women’s sports should be supported. [Editor’s note: Mike, down in the comments, woke me up to the fact that this is also Oregon’s state motto. Way to go, home state! You are more awesome than I thought, if that’s possible.]

She Flies With Her Own Wings. MomsicleBlog

So Mana and I arranged to talk on the phone, and I cyber-stalked her so that I would have a few questions I could lob to see if she was the real Meleana Shim. Like, what’s the mascot of Kamehameha High School?

In the end I went with, “So you got a yellow card in yesterday’s game?”

“Ha! Yeah! It was such a stupid one.” And then she said something else about the yellow card that I don’t remember, but made her seem like a legitimate soccer player and not one of my family members.

Bro. MomsicleBlog

[Family member, not Mana.]

Mana and I set up a time to meet at my house.

And I started sharpening my knives–what any chef or serial killer would do.

Mana said she didn’t really cook, but she did own a Vitamix, which made me jealous: Our 1995 Hamilton Beach blender had about 300,000 miles on it and smoked a little every time we used it.

Being summer, I thought we would make panzanella, the Italian bread salad that I had learned thanks to Barefoot Contessa. I had grand plans for a three-course meal in my mind, but if Mana really didn’t cook that much, learning some knife skills on willing vegetables and making homemade vinaigrette and croutons would be impressive enough… I hoped.

Homemade Croutons Prep. MomsicleBlog

Plus I’m very chatty when excited, so getting just one dish done could be a challenge.

I was nervous. Would she like me? Would she really show up?

My husband was nervous. I was giving out our home address to people we’d never met, who may or may not be real soccer players.

And Mana, well she probably should have been the most nervous. She was showing up to a house in a labyrinthine neighborhood where none of her teammates would be able to find her, meeting a woman who was sharpening butcher knives. Hopefully she wasn’t going to be chopped up into bits and buried in our backyard.

But she came! And she was a real girl not a tweetbot or a psychopath!

Mana Cooks With Evelyn. MomsicleBlog

And we had wine and made panzanella and chopped up bread for croutons. And we sort of spun around the kitchen with clouds of amped-up emotion hanging over our heads.

And then I made her try everything in my fridge. Right after Mana said she hated Bloody Mary’s, I made her eat my gazpacho–the cold-tomato-soup cousin of the Bloody Mary.

Meleana Shim Eats Gazpacho. MomsicleBlog

I think I won her over. I mean, my gazpacho is silky and delicious, and we topped it with prosciutto, chopped tomato and cucumber, and hard-boiled egg.

So that’s the story morning glory.


Mana came back for more cooking.

Mana Cooks With K-Pants And Bro. MomsicleBlog

And she invited me to visit her in Hawaii. Although I think I really invited myself.

Mana Evelyn Hawaii. MomsicleBlog



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Favorite Holiday Gifts to Build Experiences & Strengthen Values

My motto for this holiday season is buy local, and buy less. A big take-away from the year for us is that the less stuff the boys have, the better relationship that they develop together (read about that here). This sets a higher bar for what we decide to bring in. We hope to move from our focus being simply buying things we want, to getting things that build experiences and strengthen our values.

This season, I’m in love with the eclectic group of goodies, handmade items, experiences, and artisans below. I would love to hear about your favorite things, too!

1. Puppet Theaters made in Portland by Kristine’s Designs

KristinesDesigns PuppetTheaterI’m not sure who will play with this puppet theater more–me or the boys. It fits in a doorway (via tension rods), and is made in Portland by my friend Kristine Baker.

One thing that I took away from the parenting conference I went to earlier this year is that making opportunities for creative play helps build and strengthen sibling relationships (I will do anything to help them play together!). Plus, who doesn’t love a kids’ puppet show? Cost is $40; $6 shipping (if you’re not close enough for pick-up), production time is 2 weeks. Email Kristine at khbaker2020@gmail.com for info.

2. Portland Thorns’ Season Tickets

Portland Thorns. MomsicleBlogNot only do Thorns games get better average attendance than a number of men’s teams around the country, the games are–of course–wildly entertaining, and the Rose City Riveters (the Thorns supporters) boast some of the only female capos (chant leaders) in soccer. That means that the chants and passion are off the charts. (Check out some pictures here and here.) Remember: We won the national championship last year. This is the cutting edge in sports, and you can be there. The Thorns talent includes U.S. Women’s National Team members Alex Morgan, Rachel Buehler, and Tobin Heath, as well as our family favorite Meleana Shim who had an awesome rookie season and will be back for more in 2014!

Maybe you’re 4,876th on the wait list for Timbers tickets. Keep your spot. But in the meantime, call (503) 553-5555 and get your Thorns seasons tickets. These women deserve devoted fans. You can take the kids, a friend, your husband (I’ll be there with K-Pants because he loves sports and has misogynistic tendencies, which is another story). Grab someone, buy some Olympic Provisions charcuterie at the stadium, and just get there. General admission (which is what you want) is $99 for the season.

3. Scout’s Honor Clothing Company for Modern Tomboys

Scout's Honor Clothing Company for modern tomboys

If you’re someone who thinks about where and how her clothing is made, this is a well-tailored, hip line designed and made in San Francisco.

Scout’s Honor just launched fall 2013, and is the creative baby of my college friend Clare Marie Myers. You can read a lovely little fireside chat with Clare here. Her line is expanding, and two items are available now (the Wrangler that I am swooning over, and a baseball tee that’s perfect for kickball practice). I love supporting people bringing their dreams to reality: Nothing’s better than being able to say that you were there from the beginning!

Clare gave us the code MOMSICLE to use for a 20% discount here through December 10th. My heart is jumping a little faster than normal, because I’ve never had a special code before!

4. Novica, handmade items direct from artisans

Novica NativityLast year I searched high and low for a Nativity set that a) the gremlins couldn’t break, b) wouldn’t break the bank, and c) didn’t have a blonde baby Jesus. The only thing I could find was a plastic Veggie Tales set in which Jesus is a cucumber. Not exactly the Nativity of my dreams.

This year I was determined to find what I was looking for, and my heart leapt when I got to Novica, a partner website of National Geographic that works directly with local artisans worldwide (no middle-people). If I could outfit my tree completely with their ornaments, I would.

We are thrilled with our beautiful, kid-friendly, dark-haired Nativity that my father-in-law helped us get. The gremlins love playing with it (baby Jesus and the animals ride around in a school bus a lot…). Novica empowers artisans by allowing them to sell their goods at fair prices without binding contracts, helping to build sustainable businesses. This is global meets local in the best kind of way. Go check them out!


My friend Cindy introduced me to Kiva two years ago, and I love hearing about other really meaningful gift ideas! Let me know what special artisans or organizations are making it onto your lists.


First photo courtesy of Kristine’s Designs. Third photo courtesy of Scout’s Honor Clothing Company. Fourth photo via Novica.com.