7.23.2013

away

edelweiss

Away this week to spend some time with family celebrating the life of my grandpa, who was driving one weekend and gone by the next. As cool air envelops Boston again, I hope that everyone everywhere is finding some time to dip their toes in the stuff of life this summer.

Back soon.

photo via

7.19.2013

sbql

Here's a song, a book, a quote, a look...all part of my past, my present, and dreams of my future.

Linking up with Jenna for sbql.

sbql1

song // You and I by Ingrid Michaelson
book // James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
quote // Ana├»s Nin
look // Tribal Print Shorts and Comfy Tees

7.18.2013

wedding planning

wedding
via

I cannot believe it's been more than half a year since I said 'yes' to Joe and we shivered our way home with a new ring on my finger. It has been so lovely. Everyone loves to talk about an engagement, and it's such a sweet time for us to dream about the next big steps in our lives...graduating, a wedding, new jobs, a new home...

But planning for our wedding is honestly something we've not devoted a lot of time to. For awhile, we were trying to make magic happen. We wanted everyone there, we wanted beauty and comfort, we wanted amazing food, and we wanted it for cheap. Then I got sick of calling venues and Joe got all philosophical about the meaning of marriage, and we both sat down and had a big talk about what we really wanted this day to look like for us.

For the record, I love weddings. I love getting a new dress and seeing everyone in their finest. I cry when any couple says 'I do'. Food and liquor? Give me more. And since the time I let go of my teenage fear of embarrassing myself, I will happily spend the whole evening dancing my pants off (not literally...I wear dresses to weddings...come on).

But for us...planning a big wedding is just not our style. In the fantasy world where we have abundant time and dollars, our wedding looks a little something like this.

But that's not this world. I am not one of those brides who has an opinion on everything anything. And I have to tell you, since we backed off our plans a bit, a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders.

Now, we're not going all elope-y on you, but we are cutting out a lot of the major elements people usually have to plan for weddings: rehearsal dinners, bridal parties, a DJ, and the list goes on. The plan for right now is to have a small ceremony with our closest beans, followed by a big dinner at a big restaurant. That way, we can include most of our loved ones without having to work out too many details. And the biggest perk? Having a big dinner is a lot cheaper than having a reception.

And since the stress has decreased tenfold, I'm finding the whole planning experience to be so much more fun...and isn't that how it's supposed to be?

The one place I'm still uncertain about is flowers. They are such an expensive part of any wedding, but I'm so drawn to the idea of lavender and sunflowers and wheat, and it's hard to let go of that fantasy.

What kind of wedding do you want or did you have? Any advice?

7.11.2013

lately

We are almost halfway through July. I don't know how we got here. On hot Sunday afternoons, when I go back and forth between half-hearted cleaning and old episodes of Queer Eye, I wonder if the summer is flying by without me. Then I plan dinner with the girls, head out to volunteer, get coffee with a colleague, catch a yoga class, and wonder when I'll ever get a quiet Sunday afternoon again.

girls night

That's dinner last week with the girls from the office. I'm so lucky to have such amazing ladies to spend my days with (though it can be difficult to get much done when you're surrounded by such great conversationalists).

Anyway, summer is flying by, and here's what I've been up to...

[exercising] Yoga. Boston's first all-donation studio. I'm alllll over it.

[enjoying] Our little window air conditioner. On the fourth, we dragged ourselves out into the heat for lunch and were then overwhelmed by the temperatures and had to drag ourselves home with much less water in our systems. I got decidedly cranky (I get cranky like a little kid...with full-on whining and pouting) and when we finally made it home, I fell asleep for a long nap in front of the cool air in our bedroom. Thank. goodness.

[reading] Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safron Foer. I think I need to write a whole post on this amazing book. I will never try to convert someone to vegetarianism...it's a choice that's right for me, but I know my choices aren't right for everyone. But the truth about the meat industry in its current form is pretty startling and awful, and I do encourage everyone to understand where their food (all of it) is coming from.

[craving] Change. Life is great. We have a lovely little apartment, a wedding in the works, beautiful people around us, and lots to look forward to. But after three years of the same grad school, neighborhood, and apartment, I'm getting excited for a change of scenery. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been scanning the classifieds or job listings lately.

[eating] Strawberries and Nutella. They're a bit outside of the normal scope of my diet, but we celebrated two birthdays (see birthday girls above) at my place with angel food cake and its accompaniments, and someone had to finish the strawberries and Nutella.

[planning] Wedding dress shopping! Any recommendations in the area?

[anticipating] My comp exams! Sometimes it feels like they'll never get here...other times they're just around the corner. Either way, I will be so glad when they are over.

What have you been up to? How are you enjoying this hot, humid summer?

7.09.2013

shadow box

It's funny how ominous the phrase "shadow box" sounds...like a place where secrets are kept.

But that's not how they started. Sailors used to believe it was bad luck if their shadows touched the land before they did. So an arriving sailor would encase medals and souvenirs and other memorabilia into a box to carry onto land. It was his shadow in that box, and in this way, it was protected.

When we were little, my room would occasionally become overrun with the stuff of childhood: a few too many used books, doll clothes left by the neighbor, trinkets and tags and little pieces of nature I tried so desperately to preserve. When it started to drive my mom up the wall, she'd sit on the bedroom floor with me, pile everything in the middle of the room, and begin the sorting: trash, donate, keep.

It's a habit that hasn't left me. I am almost always looking around our place with my trash-donate-keep glasses on.

Except when I'm looking at my shadow box.

shadow box

Here is where I keep the stuff of my shadow, the stuff of childhood, the stuff that has no purpose but needs a place.

My mom recently donned her own trash-donate-keep glasses again. As my parents joyously anticipate retirement and a simpler old age, she is already paring things down, emptying the shadow boxes filled with the stuff of their lives together. On our last visit, my sister and I picked through all those things, finding memories in every nook. Soon, mini tea sets and china kittens will arrive at my front door in a cardboard box, and in my own shadow, I will find places for the things that have for so long been a part of our shadow.

shadow box

shadow box

shadow box

They're only things, I guess. But they are things that will be held between chubby little fingers someday, just as they were held by so many chubby fingers in the past. And I will be glad to have them.

7.06.2013

riding the heat wave

fireworks
via

Happy belated Fourth, all!

It's hottttttt.

There's a thermometer in our bedroom, and in the last five minutes, it crept up to 90.0 degrees. We have an air conditioner in there too, but really...90.0 degrees? I don't know if it's worth the extra few dollars it would cost to bring that place down about 20 degrees just to have it shoot back up.

It seems like forever ago when I was gushing all about how inspiring this oppressive heat is. Now, I am sitting at my computer, feeling my skin pulsing with heat. And I am just trying to convince myself to get out there and do something...make some ice cream! Go shopping! Clean up! Even those exclamation points feel like too much effort.

I think we'll ride this one out until the sun goes down. Then we might make our way out for an evening walk and a good long talk with Mother Nature about what summer is supposed to look like in Boston.

In the mean time, there is a fan and a frozen fruit smoothie calling my name.

Stay cool, friends. And enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!

xoxo

7.03.2013

how i learned to hate camping

Things I like about camping:

1. Food on a stick
2. Chatting around campfires
3. Swimming
4. Stars
5. Not showering, wearing cute outfits, or putting on makeup

Unfortunately, they aren't quite offset by the things I don't like about camping:

1. Rain (and general damp)
2. Mosquitoes
3. (Not) sleeping on the ground
4. Absence of toilets/presence of portapotties
5. Not showering, wearing cute outfits, or putting on makeup
6. Dirt in the tent
7. Post-trip laundry

We spent this past weekend in Maine, where I went on my second official camping trip and learned all the things I hate about camping. (My first trip was one night on a beach on the North Sea, so I'm not sure it counts.)

I actually did have a good time, and will likely go on more camping trips in the future. But, give me a choice, and I will always opt for a hotel in Europe or a house at the Jersey shore or staying with friends in New York City. (Or even a cabin in the woods...indoor plumbing, people.) It's not the country I dislike (though I dearly missed the city on this trip). It's mostly that I am very untalented at being uncomfortable.

I was kind of hoping to discover that I'm a rugged outdoorswoman, inspired by nature and baked beans. Instead, I discovered that I like mattresses and running water. And I really hate mosquitoes. The seasoned campers insisted it was the worst they'd ever experienced. I hope so. Because 26 bites on one foot is enough to sour my weekend at least slightly.

I did have fun though. And I returned home with a new appreciation for modern comforts. I didn't manage to snap any photos, but I wish I had captured a few of my favorite moments...the lazy river and our tubing adventure, the roaring fire rimmed with corn on the cob and skewers of hot dogs and marshmallows, all twenty of us lounging on the beach...

So let's just remember it like this...

camping
via

Camping...yay or nay?