Wednesday, November 26, 2008

things i'm thankful for, part two: my friends.

there’s an ani difranco song called “good, bad, ugly” that goes, “strangers are exciting/their mystery never ends/but there’s nothing like looking at your own history/in the faces of your friends.” how true is that? and i think it applies to new friends as well as old ones.

since i moved to sarasota two years ago, my friends—both near and far—have become the most accurate gauge of my personal growth. they are the people i turn to when i’m sad and—better yet—the people i turn to when i’m happy. they are the people who are the most honest with me and with whom i want to be the most honest. they are talented young professionals, husbands and wives, even mothers and fathers. they consistently amaze me with their kindness and generosity, and they make me want to be a better person.

last sunday, i was sitting on the beach (yes, the beach in late november—be jealous) on siesta key with two new sarasota friends. we talked, laughed, watched the sun set, met up with two other friends, watched the drum circle form on the beach and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. and when i left them, i was overwhelmed with this feeling of luckiness and gratitude. yes, the sap is officially dripping from my fingers as i type this, but i can’t imagine where i’d be without my friends, both old and new, who—in great part—have helped shape the quarter-century-old person that i am.

so thank you for the lyrics, ani. you’re so right.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

things i'm thankful for, part one: my family.

since this is thanksgiving week (and a short one, for me, to boot), i thought it would appropriate to do a series of posts on things i’m thankful for—a series that, i think, will culminate in one big list that i’ll put up on thursday. (if you do the same, please link me—i’d love to read your posts/lists!)

it makes sense to start with family, of course. now, i’m not going to lie: my family has had our ups and downs. without getting into too much detail, let’s just say that my mom and i didn’t really start getting along until after i moved away to college (i was never a bad kid—quite the opposite—but her personality and mine clashed all through my teenage years), and my dad and i, while spitting images of each other personality-wise, have our own unique set of issues.

and then there’s my brother, who’s five years younger than me. he and i—though we both love each other dearly—tortured one another for years. we’ll just leave it at that.

you can relate to all this, i’m sure, no?

anyway, after i moved to sarasota more than two years ago, my relationships with both parents started to evolve. i talk to my mom on the phone every day—she is a friend now—and when my dad calls me, i feel like i can speak to him without feeling angry or sad, which is huge step forward. (in fact, i now feel like i can speak to him and actually enjoy the conversation.) and as for my brother, well—the last time i was home, he called me and asked me if i wanted to go out to dinner with him. (i almost cried.) we did, and we just talked—about our lives, our jobs, our parents. it was lovely.

in very large part, it is my family that keeps me grounded. we are not perfect, but we love each other. i remember, after my grandfather’s funeral this past april, sitting on my aunt’s front porch and staring numbly into the empty street. people—extended family members, close friends—were talking quietly to each other, but all of the sudden a brisk wind rushed down the street, ruffling our hair—and in that moment, i could feel my grandfather with me (i like to say he was always trying to ruffle our feathers). without any kind of preface, i looked at my dad and said, “that’s grandpa.” with teary eyes, he looked back at me and replied, “i know.” and my brother and mother knew, too; when i caught their eyes a few moments later, they both smiled and nodded. that’s the thing about families: if you’re lucky, you just get each other. i am really lucky.

p.s. family includes pets. fact.

p.p.s. is anyone else incredibly full of emotion this week? in case you can’t tell, i am—for various reasons, my senses are on high alert; i feel like my heart is going to beat right out of my chest, it’s so full.

{ funny 50s family by flickr user lost fun zone }

Monday, November 24, 2008

loving: foudre blanche.

don’t you just love these beautiful, organic pieces from etsy seller foudre blanche? my favorite is the honeycomb, shown below with a piece titled torn—it’s definitely going on my christmas wish list, especially since it’s a total steal at $16. gorgeous.

speaking of the holidays—what with thanksgiving on thursday (can you believe it?) and all—what’s your gift-giving strategy going to be? i know times are tough this year—are you making gifts? scaling down? or are you going all-out because, hey, it’s the holiday season and it only happens once a year? share!

{ images via foudre blanche }

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

heart and soul.

for some reason, this makes me want to cry. i love it. and isn’t it appropriate with the holidays right around the corner?

from christopher david ryan, via the always inspiring oh joy!.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

of cold, clothes and cookies.

hey, guys. sorry i haven’t posted since last wednesday—my life has been super activity-filled recently, and while i wouldn’t have it any other way, it definitely means blogging has taken a back seat. but here i am today—well, tonight—on a chilly november evening, curled up in my apartment with oscar and thinking about the three c’s i mentioned in the title of this post.

“i want to throw out all my clothes and start over” was the declaration i made to my friend k. a week or two ago, and the declaration i’ve made to a few other friends since then. and while you might be raising an eyebrow while reading this—i know, times are tight; the holidays are approaching; my clothing budget is practically nil—i can’t help it. it’s just the way i feel. so please, indulge me for this one post, my dears.

the thing is, this desire to overhaul my wardrobe actually came while i was doing a clean sweep of my closet. i realized last summer that my little apartment was full of clothes that i hadn’t worn in years—you may remember me loathingly mentioning my goodwill pile and its home in the corner of my kitchen. well, i finally bagged up everything and hauled it over to the local drop-off—and i felt free. i was happy the clothes would go to someone who needed them, and happy that i finally had more space in my closet.

that is, until the weather turned cool this weekend and i realized that i’d given all but one of my sweaters to goodwill, and the one that’s left over has three-quarter-length sleeves—yes, i live in florida, but a morning temperature of 40 degrees is still just too cold for three-quarter-length sleeves. (seriously.) and as i was pawing through the rest of my items, i realized there’s not a lot of cohesion in my closet—i tend to shop in pieces, not outfits, and because of that i either repeat ensembles or rely heavily on a rotation of jeans and the tops that i just have to have, but that—again—don’t lend themselves to collaboration. thank god i work in a creative field, i’m not sure what i would do if i had to wear suits or actual professional attire.

(also, since writing that post about revamping the way i think about health, i’ve lost a couple pounds. in fact, i’ve actually gone down a pants size. baggy jeans also lend themselves to wanting to shop. and to wanting to keep up the healthiness.)

so, yes. i want new clothes. but i also want to evolve my style. for a long time—a couple of years, really—i gravitated toward a sort of boho-ish, nouveau hippie look. i like flowy, vintage-inspired tops and layers and long scarves. i always will. but as i become more aware of my body—and what looks good on it—i’ve started to admit to myself that my personal style is actually much more classic and tailored and clean-lined. think j.crew as opposed to urban outfitters. it’s been an interesting realization.

anyway, i strolled into the gap—purveyor of all things classic—and its sister store, banana republic, on friday night while on a frantic search for the perfect birthday-party top, and i was smitten with a lot of the items i saw there—cozy sweaters, dark-washed denim, pretty tops. above are a few of my favorite pieces from target, gap, banana and j.crew.

have you all seen your styles evolve as time goes by? how would you describe your fashion “personality”?

p.s. the cookies i mentioned in the title of this post refer to my excitement that the holidays are approaching—my little pink baker’s heart is so excited to make dozens of lovely confections in my stand mixer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

maegan over at …lovemaegan wrote a genius blog post titled “i’ve learned that…” a few days ago. i had a great time poring over her list, and—since i am a list lover, myself—decided to come up with my own. this is by no means comprehensive; it’s just a fun little amalgam of things i’ve learned and things i love, served up to you, my dears, on this quiet wednesday.

what i’ve learned:

Link+ being genuine and warm will never steer you wrong.
+ it’s much more fun being optimistic than pessimistic.
+ bright shoes (personally, i prefer yellow) make any outfit much more fun.
+ expensive beauty products aren’t an end-all-be-all. i use bare escentuals mineral makeup, for example, but also maybelline great lash mascara, eucerin night cream and dove shampoo (although i do love bumble & bumble, too).
+ the above item also applies to clothes. some of the cutest pieces i own are from target or old navy.
+ there’s really something to be said for being financially responsible. i’m working on that.
+ i can’t imagine dreading going to work every day; i am so, so lucky that i truly enjoy my job—and the people i work with and for.
+ pets make life better. there’s no debating this.
+ i can actually drink beer now. is this something that happens with age?
+ a core group of friends is crucial. i am lucky to have one that i adore.

how about you? what have you learned? i plan to revisit this list fairly regularly…

happy hump day, darlings!

{ image above via the sartorialist. the yellow shoes = perfection; a perfect illustration of point no. 3! }

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

happy veterans' day.

i’m going to tell you a little story today, and it goes something like this: once upon a time, a baby boy was born in a small coal-mining city in northeast pennsylvania. the baby’s name was john (though he was called jack), and he was the oldest of three children. jack—tenacious and driven even from childhood—spent the seasons of his youth in that coal-mining city, attending local schools, working odd jobs at local businesses and, eventually, falling in love with and marrying a local girl, one of his sister’s friends, named jane.

soon after his wedding, jack deployed to combat in world war II, fighting in five battles and climbing through the ranks to become a brigadier general—at one point serving as a liaison for gen. george s. patton. after retiring from active duty and returning to jane and the little pennsylvania city where he got his start, he became deputy director of the local economic development office and was on the board of more nonprofit organizations than can be counted on both hands. he also helped found a local soup kitchen for disabled veterans, because he knew that he’d been given so much and that so many of his fellow vets had so little. and in the midst of all of this, he and jane had two children, a boy and a girl.

as the years wore on, jack remained active in the organizations closest to his heart, although he was able to do less and less as his health began to fail. but he was always proud of his community and his country, and even prouder of his greatest accomplishment, his family—of his 66-year marriage to jane, of his son and daughter, and of his grandchildren.

in 2007, jack’s health began to deteroriate more rapidly and he passed away in april of this past year. he was given a full military sendoff on a cloudless, sunny day—exactly what he would have wanted. so on this veterans’ day—in the middle of fall, two days before what would have been his 90th birthday—i want to make sure i take a moment to remember jack: a fearless leader, a faithful husband and—most important, to me personally—my dear, dear grandfather.

{ photo above of my grandparents, jane and jack, circa the 1950s, scanned and resized for this blog. i adore this photo, and you can easily see why. }

Monday, November 10, 2008


a few snapshots of my weekend, taken by my lovely friend shun. isn’t the light pretty in these photos? there’s something so timeless about them, i think…

how were your weekends, my dears?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

new obsession (or: old love, leave me alone...)

“real-life” friends of mine who read this blog will recognize the link i’m about to post, because i sent them an “oh-my-gosh-i-just-found-this-incredible-web-site” e-mail yesterday. um, talk about feeling schmoopy!

dear old love is a collection of anonymous notes, submitted by readers, addressed to past loves and crushes—requited or unrequited. site founder andy salsberg edits the submissions, attaches a clever headline to them and posts every day.

and guess what? when i started reading the entries, i thought for sure i was going to feel sad, but a lot of them made me laugh, and some of them were pretty heartwarming. below are a few of my favorites; you can click here to read more. (warning: the site is addicting!)

You Hauled

I would have moved anywhere with you. I just wish you asked.

Pet Peeved

I don’t care that you miss my dog. When you cheated on me, you cheated on him, too.

Literary Award

I know I’ve won, because I’m the one you call to talk about books.

Only in Dreams

When we dated I was distant and couldn’t get fully into you. Now that we’re apart you’re the only one I have sex dreams about.

what would you say to an old love? i’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


i stayed up until 12:30 last night, laying in bed, watching the results of the 2008 united states presidential election. i watched pennsylvania, ohio and florida (i’m so proud) go blue. i watched newscasters officially call the race at 11 p.m. i watched john mccain give a gracious conciliatory speech from his post in arizona. and then i watched barack obama walk onto the stage in chicago’s grant park and deliver a speech that transfixed me and moved me to tears.


as obama left the stage to thunderous cheers and applause, and i leaned against my pillows, my eyes wet and my emotions on fire, this line—from a book i know well—ran through my mind:

“and in that moment, i swear we were infinite.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election day.

i am feeling cautiously optimistic. nervously hopeful. but mostly, really, really, really ready for change.

tonight, after a workout, i’m going to park myself on my couch and watch election coverage until i absolutely have to go to sleep. i’m also going to whip up this recipe, which the oh-so-lovely molly of orangette posted (um, i’m totally in love with her blog, by the way). sure, it kind of negates the aforementioned workout, but on a night like this, we need comfort food. and hey, i’ll eat it with a salad.

what’s your favorite comfort food? what are you doing tonight? are you having an election party or, like me, are you going to be glued to the tube?

p.s. i know that election day far and away trumps halloween, but since i didn’t post yesterday, i just have to say that i had a fantastic friday (dressed up in fairy princess garb, no less) and that i hope you did, too! what were your costumes?

p.p.s. one last psa: this blog is going up around 1:45 p.m. eastern time, which means that there’s still tons of time for you to get out and vote if you haven’t. please, please, please go. for all of our sakes.

{ image above taken by moi. sorry for the gratuitous boob shot, but i'm proud of my sticker...and that's how obama and i roll; he's close to my heart! }