Friday, July 30, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy weekend, everyone! i'm so glad it's friday--as you can probably tell from the light posting this week, it was a crazy week at work that i capped off with a two-hour drive to my parents' house just outside orlando tonight. but now i'm sitting here with my brother's dog in my lap, getting ready to go to sleep in the bed i grew up in. and tomorrow, i'm celebrating one of my best friends' birthday, and i'm so excited about that--especially since he's in town from boston and i don't get to see him often. (i'm making him a carrot cake using this recipe--i did it two years ago and it was a hit.)

what are you up to this weekend? any exciting plans? if you're looking for some good music, i've been completely obsessed with fun's aim and ignite lately. i think it's pretty much a perfect album--lyrically and melodically--and it's definitely been on repeat on my ipod. what have you been listening to lately?

see you back here monday! xoxo

photo by nikole. i wish my cakes looked as gorgeous as hers. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

morning glory.

do you have a morning routine? mine goes something like this:

wake up.
hit snooze on alarm. several times.
roll out of bed, pet cat.
stumble to coffeemaker (which is about to bite the dust, and that will be a sad, sad day). make a pot of very strong coffee.
jump in shower. primp for work.
pour cup of coffee to go while scarfing down a bowl of cereal.
run out door, coffee cup in hand.

it's admittedly a little hectic, especially considering my propensity to sleep as late as possible. if i were to give myself an extra 15 minutes in the morning, i'm fairly certain my life would change dramatically. (maybe that's my next commitment. hm.)

anyway, there's been many a day when i've wished i could kick that pesky caffeine habit that leads to me heading for the coffeemaker before i do almost anything else in the morning. i love coffee way too much, though, so that probably will never change--however, i have been guzzling diet coke in the afternoon lately, and i kind of hate that. soda is something i gave up completely for a good long while, and it's somehow crept back into my life over the last few weeks. so i need to make a concerted effort to revert to tea--and i'm pretty sure this is the "recipe" i'll be following:

1 cup fresh-brewed green tea
splash of almond milk
honey, to taste

so simple, but so tasty--and it gives me those healthy green tea antioxidants and keeps me away from the diet coke. i haven't tried it iced, and it may be completely counter-intuitive to be drinking hot drinks during summer in florida, but there you have it.

are you tea, coffee, or both? do you love it as much as i do? have you ever kicked a caffeine habit? and oh man, have you tried almond milk? i love it--in my tea and with my cheerios.

photo by loula m. so simple and pretty, no?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

one minute there was road beneath us, the next just sky.

happy wednesday, friends--and sorry for the silence this week! things have been really busy with work, and i didn't want to write you anything boring and filler-y (even though that may be what i'm doing right now). how have your weeks been? have you been busy? are you enjoying this last golden week of july? (and how crazy is it that it's almost august, by the way?)

at this rate, you're probably sick of sarasota sunsets, but i just wanted to share this photograph with you--taken on my evening jog the other night--and tell you that i'll see you here tomorrow with something new. until then, have a fantastic day! xoxo

Friday, July 23, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday, friends! it's the weekend again--yay! what are your plans over the next few days?

for me, it was one of the busiest work weeks i've had in awhile, so i'm looking forward to some down time. i'm also looking forward to a bit of detox: i need to unplug a little, so i'm going to try to limit my computer/electronics time, hit the gym and take some walks, and drink lots of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. my lovely friend t. is coming back to town after a two-week-long vacation, too, so i'm hoping that a little girls night is in order. and my bff k. and i always do what we call the "saturday shop," so i'm looking forward to that, too. (hi, bonesy!)

i hope you have an absolutely fantastic weekend, and i'll see you back here on monday. i'm making an effort to bring you as much original content as i can going forward (more on that next week), so i can't wait to share what i find with you guys. in the meantime, lots of love from sarasota! xoxo

photo by me. i took it on a sunset jog the other night. love my city by the gulf.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the brief wondrous life of oscar wao.

i'm on a real reading kick this summer, which is so refreshing. when i was working full-time as an editor a few years ago, i kind of skimped on the reading because my job was, well, reading--and reading pieces that were written for entertainment value (as opposed to academic, medical, technical, etc.). now that my job involves more writing and critical thinking and marketing, the intense desire that i've always previously had for books has returned with a vengeance, and i'm so happy. plus, summer is the best season for reading. really.

my latest conquest was the pulitzer prize-winning the brief wondrous life of oscar wao, by junot diaz. this was a big departure from let the great world spin, which i wrote about here, but it was just as wonderful and moving. the story centers around the de leons, a dominican family made up of oscar, a nerdly, morbidly obese young man in love with love and driven to become the dominican j.r.r. tolkien; his sister, lola, a street- and book-smart young woman who loves her brother unconditionally and wrestles with her relationship with her mother; and beli, oscar and lola's mother. beli's painful but incredibly compelling backstory was one of my favorite parts of the entire book, and it's that story that shapes lola and especially oscar's futures more than they could ever dream of comprehending.

this book is a history lesson, too; it takes its readers not only through oscar, lola, and beli's family history, but also the reign of the horrible dictator rafael trujillo (whom i knew embarassingly little about prior to this book), which directly affects the de leons. still, diaz, to his huge credit, binds the story together tightly; even when he's talking about the big picture--dominican history--he makes sure his reader always relates it to the smaller, but equally moving, story of oscar, lola, beli and the people who make up their worlds. 

diaz's writing is a perfect mixture of authoritative, street-slang-laced spanglish and poetical english, and it propelled me through the novel, kept me flipping pages late into the night. diaz's style, i think, can best be described as joyful, even when the subject he's writing about is decidedly less so.

needless to say, i highly recommend this book--i love it when i come away from a novel inspired by both the subject and the author's writing style, and i did both with the brief wondrous life of oscar wao. diaz's pulitzer is well deserved; i hope that you'll enjoy his work as much as i did.

p.s. my cat is named oscar, and my beloved family dog, who passed away recently, was named lola. loved that connection to this book, too.

next up: the thousand autumns of jacob de zoet, by david mitchell!

photo by joiebutter.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

flickr fave.

i was browsing flickr the other night, looking for inspiration for the blog, when i came across amanda gilligan's beautiful photographs--i just love the light and mood and texture of them. my favorite thing is when a photograph makes me want to put myself in it, to try in wrap myself in the image and feel what i think the photographer might have felt while taking it. amanda's definitely do that for me. (you can also visit her blog here, and her etsy shop here.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

our year from scratch.

have you heard about the wonderful new food blog our year from scratch? run by toronto-based couple jory and aprile, our year from scratch will chronicle the life of two "inexperienced foodies" as they share their adventures in scavenging for fresh, natural food in a big city and cooking almost entirely from scratch (i, personally, would die without my prepackaged snacks, but i know i'd be better off without them).

jory and aprile's blog is only three posts old, but i'm already in love with their beautiful site, pretty writing, and vibrant photographs. i'm kind of a closet foodie myself--i love to cook and bake, but don't do it nearly as often as i should--so i'm thinking i'm going to join these two in their "from scratch" journey when i can.

read more about jory and aprile's project here. i'm sure this is a blog we'll all be bookmarking.

photo via our year from scratch.

Monday, July 19, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

happy monday! are you ready for a new week? i feel like i am--i'm taking a deep breath and jumping right in. and speaking of jumping in, i love these engagement photographs by michael costa. the setting is pretty perfect, and the couple looks so sweet and happy.

how were your weekends? mine was good; i got to catch up with my friend k., who finally came back to town after two weeks away; finished the fantastic book i'd been reading (more to come on that); and went to the beach on sunday afternoon with some work friends. swimming is my new favorite thing; there's nothing quite like the salty, warm water of the gulf washing over you--especially when it's so clear you can see your legs and feet the whole time. follow it with a scoop of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream (green only, please!) in a homemade waffle cone cone from kilwin's on st. armands circle and you've got yourself a perfect day.

here's hoping this week is as good as the weekend--and in that vein, here's my list of commitments for the next seven days:

+ gym it up. now that my membership issues are finally cleared up (yay!), i can get back to a regular routine. and after a carby weekend, i am ready for it.

+ on a related note, brave the heat and go running at least one night this week. i did it last week and it felt amazing; i can do it this one. i just have to pick a night when the humidity isn't 100 percent.

+ this is going to sound completely counter-intuitive, but i also want to bake something this week. i'm on the hunt for my great-aunt rita's incredible brownie recipe and i have a list of relatives i need to call to try to get it. i'm determined to succeed, too. i don't mess around when it comes to baked goods.

+ trying a new recipe again sounds good, too. this will be an ongoing commitment, i think, and i'm going to try to share more of what i end up making with you.

+ remember that stuff i posted about on friday? i meant it. and i'm going to try really hard to take my own advice.

+ and finally, start a new book. on the list: ian mcewan's solar; david mitchell's the thousand autumns of jacob de zoet; yann martel's beatrice and virgil. (more on the book i just finished to come.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday, friends--and happy weekend. it was a crazy week for me--busy with work--so i’m looking forward to two days of rest and relaxation, which hopefully will include friend time, beach time, and finishing my book (the brief wondrous life of oscar wao, which i’m thoroughly enjoying). what are your plans? are you doing anything exciting, heading anywhere fun?

i had a little epiphany this week, and it happened on thursday, when i was getting a haircut. before making the appointment to get the cut--which was nothing drastic, just a trim and some layers--i’d been thumbing through magazines and looking through flickr photos and blogs like the sartorialist’s for inspiration. that, of course, led to me pining for some of the clothes, hairstyles, and makeup i saw in the pictures, and i went into my hair appointment hoping that i’d come out a changed woman--that my new cut would magically translate into new style; something like the flawlessly coiffed girls i see parading in and out of starbucks with their skinny vanilla lattes, their makeup application precise, their clothes perfectly pressed. it always looks so effortless for others, doesn’t it?

see, i am the girl who will walk into starbucks and spill her skinny vanilla latte down the front of her white shirt. one side of my hair is usually wavier than the other (unless i flat-iron it into submission, and most days i don’t). my clothes wrinkle the second i put them on, and my manicure is pretty much non-existent. i sweat. i clean up nicely, but i will never be one of those starbucks girls. and that perceived inadequacy is something i’ve struggled with for awhile.

so i’m sitting in the hairstylist’s chair thinking about this, and all of the sudden i realized that, hey, it’s ok. i am a happy person. i have a great family, the best friends anyone could ever ask for, a job that i truly enjoy, the sweetest little white cat you ever did see, an apartment five minutes from the beach that i love more and more each day—the list goes on and on. i’m healthy, i’m happy. i have a lot.

part of the struggle i’ve been having over the past few weeks is, i think, a quarter-life identity crisis. and it’s been a little tough. there are days when i look in the mirror and think, "what do you want to do with your life?" i’ve mentioned before that 27 is my scary age; that i’ve inadvertently set myself up for all of these weird life expectations. but on thursday, i decided that i really need to work toward letting go of all that, to enjoy the moment, and to focus on all of the things i listed above that make me so happy and that are the tapestry of my life. starting now.

have a wonderful weekend, everyone. xoxo

image via the sartorialist. i love how happy and natural this girl looks, don’t you?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

more etsy fashion love...

my sad inability to do vintage is well-documented on this blog--but it doesn't stop me from happily looking through vintage clothes shops on etsy on an almost weekly basis. la collectioneuse par nashville fille is my newest obsession--particularly the dresses section. the three above are my current faves, and at under $50 each, they're a steal.

yay for etsy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

loving: nadinoo.

i really love these pretty pieces from nadinoo--they remind me of liberty of london and, even better, make me want to step outside the nautical, navy-stripes box i've painted myself into recently and work in some more print and pattern. also, i aodre the model's hair and makeup, which reminds me that i desperately need both a haircut and some kind of new skincare product thanks to the ridiculous florida humidity.

also-also, nadinoo is fun to say. yay.

thanks for the the tip-off, jane.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

les fleurs.

fresh flowers are things i love desperately but can never seem to actually get around to purchasing--or arranging. but perusing the beautiful images on the saipua blog has me thinking that maybe i should try a little harder. the photos above make me feel so happy.

do you have fresh flowers in your home?

Monday, July 12, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

hi, everyone--how were your weekends?

mine was good. i came home from work on friday, stripped off all my clothes, put on pajamas and proceeded to lounge in my bed with oscar-cat and my book for the entire rest of the night. then, on saturday, i woke up late (really late) to the odd realization that i hadn't spoken to another human being in about 10 hours, so up i got and off to ikea i went. it was a good trip--i got exactly what i went for (some picture frames, a side table, and a couple of other little home items); you can't beat those prices--and a bit of an adventure, to boot: google maps decided to take me there via the most backwoods-florida route ever. i drove through cow-towns, rural countryside, and i think i also may have found the only mountain in the state of florida. interesting roadside scenery, indeed.

then i came home and the great clothes purge of 2010 began. i cleaned out my entire closet, which was a mess; organized all the clothes i'm keeping (and repurposed a bookshelf while doing it); and moved everything else into consign, goodwill, or trash piles. i also got all my kitchen items in order and rearranged some other knick-knacks, and i have to say, my apartment really feels much more like home. i still have a lot to do (paint the bedroom being number one on that list), but it's amazing the difference a little tlc can make. and also what i can get accomplished when everyone i know goes out of town and i'm all by my lonesome.

it's also amazing what a difference a weekend of nesting can make on my mental landscape. i still have that "want-to-move-somewhere-new" feeling, but i also am feeling that, since i can't do that at the moment, i should start embracing what i have--starting (after my family and friendships) with my  home. for the first time since i moved into my apartment, i'm really and truly looking forward to coming home to it. now i just have to keep it clean!

and on that note, here's my list of little goals for the week. tell me yours, too, ok?

+ doing pilates every night. (nothing beats that stretched-out feeling before bed.)
+ trying a new recipe.
+ focus-focus-focusing on a big work project.
+ keeping the newly lovely apartment clean, as mentioned
+ trying to flush out some ideas i have about next steps in my career (first step: work on a professional website!)
+ finishing my new book (above), which so far i'm loving. i have a feeling it's going to be a summer of reading.

have a wonderful monday, friends! xoxo

photos by me

Friday, July 9, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday, loves--and happy weekend, too! did you have a good week? i had monday off, but--as my friend j. said--the four-day work week felt more like a 5.5-day one. still, it's good to busy.

what are your plans over the next couple of days? i'm going to let myself relax--sleep in, go to the beach if it's not face-meltingly hot (and maybe even if it is), clean out my closet, cook some food for the upcoming week, do a teeny-tiny bit of consulting work, possibly start a new book, and hopefully get going on that whole self-reflection thing. in an odd turn of events, almost every single one of my closest sarasota friends is going to be out of town this weekend, and although i'm going to miss each one of them like crazy, i'm secretly excited to spend some time with myself. and i'm not going to hold myself to any of the items on the above-mentioned list, nor am i going to restrict myself from doing other things if the opportunities arise. i'm just going to be. 

now tell me your plans--and i'll see you back here on monday.

this photo just exudes relaxation, no? via here

Thursday, July 8, 2010

loving: steven alan (plus some other thoughts).

yes, yes, i've hopped on the steven alan bandwagon, but really, what's not to love? i'd throw on this open-backed dress with a pair of flipflops in a heartbeat, then head straight to the beach with one of these blankets and that cute striped sweater to throw on when the temperatures dip at night. (ok, maybe the beach i'm referring to at the moment is in maine, not florida, but you get my point.) love, love, love.

in other news, i'm having a pretty good week. i haven't done much of the hard "where-do-i-want-my-life-to-go" thinking yet, but i've keeping busy, going to bed earlier, eating much healthier (my metabolism is thanking me), and feeling more content. i'm also working on living mid-thought, as jane wrote yesterday. i'm generally a happy person--my friends joke that it's rainbows and unicorns with me--but lately i've been feeling like i'm pretending a bit. i want to feel happy all the way through, and i think that reflection will help. especially this weekend, when almost every sarasota friend i know will be out of town and i plan on digging my toes into the sand at the beach.

how's everything going with you? xoxo

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

let the great world spin.

on august 7, 1974, a man strung a tightrope wire between the twin towers and walked back and forth as pedestrians hundreds of feet below him craned their necks and stared upward, undoubtedly questioning if what they were seeing was actually happening. it's one of those joyous historical events that i wish i had been alive to see, a celebration of life, freedom, and new york city.

last night, i finished colum mccann's book let the great world spin--the centerpoint of which is that very tightrope walk--and i am in awe. mccann's prose is beautiful; and the story, which is about grief and balance and love and new york city and the ways we all muddle through our lives, is touching. i haven't read a book this good in awhile, and i heartily recommend it to anyone looking for something to get lost in for a day or two. it's not a light read, by any means, but it's beautiful. also, this is a book that needs to be held, needs to be dog-eared. don't read it on a kindle or an ipad, ok?

p.s. my birthday is august 7. i kind of love it even more now.

lovely artwork via all the mountains

Monday, July 5, 2010

the (holiday!) weekend + committing to...

happy monday, everyone--how were your weekends? for those of you here in the states, did you have a great fourth of july weekend? and were you off work today like i was? (i hope so!) i had a nice couple of days: i spent saturday helping my friend t. move into and unpack her brand-new house, then went back over on sunday and helped unpack some more, then we sat by outside by her pool and enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather and a view of the siesta key fireworks show. then, today, slept in, ran some errands, did a little work, and mostly relaxed. in truth,  it was a perfect weekend.

still, in spite of all the perfectness, i felt a little "off" all weekend--the remnants of last week, i think. but as i helped t. put away and rearrange her things, and realized how happy it made me, i decided i need to do a little physical and mental rearranging myself. so here are the things that, in the spirit of my health, i'm committing to this week:

+ living by michael pollan's motto: "eat food. not too much. mostly plants." (alternately: not eating french fries or drinking diet coke by the liter, and having fruit, yogurt, or nuts instead of chocolate as a mid-afternoon snack--both habits i've fallen into over the last two weeks.)

+ keeping up with the running. it feels great, especially in the cooler (relatively speaking) evening hours.

+ cleaning out my closet. there's a direct correlation between my mental state and the state of my apartment, and right now my bedroom looks like a tornado hit it. i really need to commit to getting it organized, starting with my closet, where there are tons of clothes that need to be sorted, hung up, consigned, or goodwilled. bedrooms should be sanctuaries, right? i owe that to myself.

+ continuing to evaluate (and re-evaluate) the present and think about the future. more on this throughout the week, i'm sure.

p.s. if you do anything this week, you should read shanna's guest bloggers' tribute to their grandparents. starting with molly's. lovely, lovely.

Friday, July 2, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

 happy weekend, friends--and to those of you in the u.s., happy fourth of july weekend! what are your plans? do you have today or monday off? are you going to be able to catch some pretty fireworks? will you relax, sleep in, stay near home, or do you have big plans?

me, i'm hoping for a combination of both. tonight should be low-key: laundry, a movie, a good sleep. on saturday i'm helping my friend t. move, and on sunday--the fourth--i'd like to spend some time at the beach and maybe watch the fireworks from a seat on the sand.

i've also been in a bit of a funk since tuesday, as i'm sure you can tell from wednesday's post, so i need to spend some time away from the computer thinking about what it is i need to do next in my life and re-evaluating where i am right now. full disclosure: my 27th birthday is coming up in august, and 27, for some reason, is my scary age--i feel like, by this point, i should have conquered some major personal life goals (own a home, be married or at least on the road to married), and even though i know that's not fair to myself, i need to think about why i feel that way so i can start to remedy it. i'm a bit overly sensitive, so it helps when i force myself to take a step back and examine things from as practical an angle as is possible for me.

it's a funny thing, this life, isn't it?

anyway, whatever your plans, i hope you have a fantastic weekend. i'm off on monday, but i plan to post, so i'll see you back here then. xoxo.

image via mary ruffle

Thursday, July 1, 2010


i'm so into stripes right now it's not even funny, which is why i'm completely loving these pretty striped items at ruche...perfect for summer.