Weekend Whimsy: A Chill In The Air

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My room is freezing. The temperature has dropped considerably this week and I’ve brought out the heavy blankets and the scarves. But there’s one cold weather preparation I just can’t seem to face –  I can’t turn on the heating and I can’t close the windows, not just yet. Winter lasts so long and our apartment starts to feel stuffy and small so fast. For now, I’m wrapping up really cozy, taking lots of baths and scurrying as quickly as I can from bed to  shower every single morning.

Some whimsy for this chilly pre-Halloween weekend …

This Striped Wool Throw looks like the coziest thing to snuggle up in on a Fall afternoon.

I think I’m going to make this Butternut Squash Spaetzle this weekend – I still have a whole squash leftover from last week’s CSA delivery.

Speaking of food, this article by Gabrielle Hamilton is just wonderful – it’s all about her time in Italy with her Mother-in-Law and it makes you want to marry an Italian and runaway and eat tomatoes and eggplants all day. I read her book, Blood Bones and Butter, last year and her chapters on Italy were some of my favorites.

Last Sunday, I enjoyed an evening of live jazz at Basik. A band performs every week and it feels so seasonal to drink a hard cider with the crisp, Autumn air sneaking in and the saxophone singing away. I highly recommend it…

Happy Weekend!

Finding a Groove

Fall is a season of change. And whilst some of that change is still taking place, the cold weather and I seem to finally be settling in.

Michael’s new schedule has been a real challenge at home. It’s different to have so much time in the house by myself and it’s taken a little getting used to. In fact, I’m still working on it – he’s apt to be in school till 10pm most nights (even Saturday!). I’m a structure loving girl and his school hours have changed the structure we’d grown to love.  My most recent evening-filling activity has been cleaning. I’ve spent the last three nights cleaning out my closet, my chest of drawers, my junk cabinets and so much more. Next week, I’m moving to the storage closet. There is nothing more satisfying or cleansing that getting rid of all of the clutter that’s been swallowing your space. (It takes forever for me to succumb to cleaning as an activity, but once I do, I’m convinced it’s the cure for everything.)

It’s all about adjusting and finding a new groove at my house and I feel like the same could be said for each one of my friends. Something comes along with the chill in Autumn air – the energy to create change.  Summer, with it’s sticky heat and and stretched out days makes for a sloth-like energy. But Fall is momentum. All around me matches are being struck and changes are being made.  It’s wonderful and bewildering, exhausting and exhilarating.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those annoying Fall people who can’t get enough of the hot apple cider and sweater weather, but I often struggle to find my footing amongst all of the fresh starts and bare trees. Change can be daunting. The Earth is changing right now and like it or not, we’re all responding to it in some way or another (even if it’s simply by switching our closets from Summer to Winter).  In the last few years, I’ve learned that there are some small things I can do for myself to make these transitional times a little bit easier. One of those things is so simple, it’s almost embarrassing…

A good book is like a safety blanket for me.  As long as I can whip out my book, escape my worrying mind and travel to some distant world, laugh at some quippy prose or follow a mystery through to it’s reveal, then my day, will be a whole lot more manageable. So, this week, I trundled off to The Strand for a few hours and let myself browse (another instant recipe for happiness). And then, I settled on a book that I’d wanted to read but hadn’t ever really found the right mood for. I should say that the kind of book for this particular quandary is actually pretty important. It can’t be a difficult read. I love an Infinite Jest-sized novel as much as the rest of you, but I need to keep it a little light. (January is my time for mammoth English Lit worthy reading). Books of essays and memoirs are highly recommended – Nora Ephron’s books have gotten me through many a difficult few days.

So when I came across I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley I knew that it was just what the doctor ordered. It’s short, sweet, sad and witty. The perfect thing to lift my mood when I take a crowded subway home at 6pm., a good read for Saturday mornings alone at a coffee shop or Tuesday nights when Michael’s at school late and I’ve got the house to myself. I guess, I’m used to having a companion more often than not. And during times of change, I need one more than ever. A good book, well it’s a damn fine companion.

 

 

Weekend Whimsy: Inspiration

 

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I’m in a bit of an inspiration rut. I just haven’t been  feeling very creative since I’ve returned to New York. I’m looking in all my usual places for wisdom and wonder but everything’s coming up dry. Perhaps this great city of mine will serve to inspire….

In the meantime. Here’s to a relaxing (and hopefully inspiring) weekend.

 

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Sometimes you return to New York energized, invigorated, rested and relaxed. Ready to take on the world, conquer the city, stay up all night dancing and discovering.

And sometimes you return to New York and it’s loud and fast and smelly and you feel quite simple like cuddling up in your bed. Suffice to say, I’m feeling the latter.

So this week, I’ve been a little indulgent. I’ve called my bed my office more than once. I’ve worn pajamas until 2 and drank Breakfast Tea well past breakfast time. I’m trying to be kind to myself about it, promising that’s it’s just for this week (whilst I’m adjust to the insane pace of city life).  I also make myself a bargain: office in bed = you must go to yoga class. It clears my head a bit and it makes me feel far less guilty. Plus, it usually energizes me.

Letting yourself slow down, take a breath and catch up isn’t a bad thing. In a city like New York you really have to remind yourself of that. It feels so lazy, so indulgent. But some part of me knows this time is actually critical to all that time I spend cavorting around the city.

 

Back to bed I go friends.

 

 

Weekend Whimsy: Taking Yourself On A Date

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On my last day in LA, when my family had long gone, I took myself out on a date. My flight didn’t depart until 11pm and I had a whole day to myself in a way that you never get a day to yourself when you’re home. It was magical. I meditated, I packed, I took myself out for a perfect cappuccino. And then (even though the weather in LA is glorious) just because I felt like it, I took myself to a movie. 

I went to the fancy indie cinema and I got to sit in a big plush chair. I bought myself tea and overpriced organic chocolate and I didn’t worry about money or what anyone else wanted. I saw Short Term 12 and it was incredible. It was beautiful and sad and honest and funny and joyful and exquisite. And the end, the end was everything the end of a movie should be.

I can’t recommend the film, the acting (Brie Larson for the win) or the directing enough. After my movie, I took myself to get an In N Out burger and I called my best friend and we spoke for exactly 1 hour. And then I poured myself a glass of wine and ended my date. It was the most wonderful day. It wasn’t about doing anything special, it wasn’t about being alone per say (I work alone and get a good amount of alone time). But it was about embracing the alone time and letting myself know that it was just for me to do exactly what I wanted to do. It was about making that alone time special. 

So, this weekend, this week, this month, I encourage you to take yourself out on a date. Pretend your city isn’t your city, pretend there are no friends and no work and no money worries and no errands and no boyfriends to distract you. Pretend no one needs you and you are alone in New York (or wherever you live) for 24 hours and take yourself out on a little date.  

Happy Weekend!

Autumn From Afar

Word from New York is that fall has begun but here it’s summer, summer, summer.  Tomorrow I’m going to the farmer’s market to buy as many figs as possible before I have to leave. Otherwise it’s family time day and night.

It’s all a bit of a whirlwind but here are a few things to love this first fall day:

The blog Sarah Lawrence Girls is making me nostalgic for September classes and sharp pencils – some pretty damn fine ladies  coming out of my college if I say so myself.

Fall is the perfect time of year to dress like Diane Keaton – specifically the Annie Hall years.

Rhiannon by Best Coast – the way to start a fall morning. With tea and pancakes and bacon – yes please.

On Judgement in the City of Angels

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Greetings from the land of plenty (otherwise known as the West Coast). I arrived in LA yesterday to start a week long adventure with my family who are visiting from Wales. Though there’s already been a few hiccups (oh, there’s people staying the apartment we’ve rented? ok.), it’s sure to be a delight. We’ve got a packed weekend of touristy afternoons and hopefully some beach filled ones too. 

Every time I come to LA I sort of fall in love with it a little bit. I stay with my very best friend, we go to yoga and the famers market in the mornings and we cook dinner and drink wine on the patio in the evenings. She already knows all of the good people and places to spend  time on so I manage to skip that whole “what is real here???” experience. She’s out of town this week (much to my chagrin) and it already feels a little bit less wonderful without her here (literally, I woke up to a very cloudy day and I feel I deserve a refund). 

Anyway, I’m really going to work on cultivating some peace whilst I’m here. I’ve been given the great gift of time in a beautiful place and I am intent on spending some of that time recharging. I have a lot of morning meditations, writing and sun rises on the patio planned during my downtime from the family. September has been so go go go that I’d love to use the jet-lag to my advantage and eek out a few hours of serenity each morning. 

Michael and I have been talking a lot about judgement these days. Our need/habit for judging others:  how it’s the lowest form of defense but also the easiest, how it’s such a safe place to go during times of vulnerability. I don’t find it in my every day life, but I’m not exempt from it either and it’s a terrible act that I never  noticing myself doing it until I’m in a truly vulnerable place. I feel myself seeking and searching for anything to judge just so I can acquire a sense of control and comfort. The worst part is, that nothing positive happens when I do this. There is no sweet relief or release, it is just negative energy that bubbles inside of you. Dark, critical thoughts that inevitably turn on you and make you feel worse (as you can see, I’m of the great habit of judging myself for judging others). So what’s the escape from this? How not to judge? I’m not really sure of the answer but I am going to try to take a moment, right when I feel those critical thoughts and ask myself what I’m really feeling. What is all of this judgement masking? And could I just use a short break, a cup of tea, a phone call to Michael, a yoga class – anything to address what I’m really feeling, instead of hiding from it and entering the black hole of judgement. 

A Lot Like Growing Up

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I turned 25.

I stood up inside of a tree.

I read poetry.

I went to a pajama party.

I saw a seal.

I packed a lunch every day for Michael’s first week of school.

I filmed a trailer.

I attended a beautiful wedding (at the Plaaaaaza).

I (finally) re-arranged our bedroom.

And now, now that it’s all been done, I’m back.

It’s too hot and too busy to be September but somehow it still is.

This summer was intense but beautiful. The whole thing was definitely permeated by the sense of an ending to the freedom that Michael and I have tried so hard to cultivate. That end was scary, but it  marked the beginning of something truly special: a new level of commitment to our lives and our development, to our careers and our dreams. It feels a lot like growing up. Though we tried to slough off this pressure we rarely managed to. Instead, we did the best we could. We packed sun drenched afternoons with dates and dalliances and we curled up in bed as often and as late as possible and we held on tight to what we knew. Now that it’s all begun it feels far less ominous. This is our world now:  early mornings, long days, short nights for catching up and cooking dinner, one glorious Sunday a week dedicated to laying or adventuring or whatever strikes our fancy. Plus,  a  million little other things in between (read: guests, work, homework, family, birthdays, holidays). We’re just taking it one day at a time.

Birthdays are Bigger in Texas

Barton Springs circa 1982 via thealcade.tumblr.com

Barton Springs circa 1982 via thealcade.tumblr.com

Austin is a wonder. It feels young and exciting, but also more relaxing than New York. There are new restaurants and food trucks to try, charming vintage boutiques to peruse and some swell bars for enjoying many a margarita. Plus, there’s live music – The Continental is one of my dad’s favorites (but I haven’t been able to go yet). And finally, there is the water. There is so much water everywhere and I can’t even begin to express how much joy this brings me. It was 102 degrees yesterday, but after a dip in the crystal clear (and absolutely freezing) Barton Springs, I felt cool and relaxed and like I’d just spent 5 days in Hawaii. The day before my birthday, I went inner-tubing on Lake Travis – it is possibly the most fun activity I did in my 24th year (and just in the nick of time). Suffice to say, Michael and I spent hours daydreaming about setting up shop in one of the many little bungalows on South Congress; with their gardens and affordable rent prices, how could we not?!

I also celebrated my 25th birthday with Michael and my dad. A quarter century old and a lot to celebrate. It was the perfect Most Special Day. There were mimosas, Happy Birthday songs performed live, birthday cake for breakfast and a big celebratory dinner in the evening. It was made all the more special because I had the great gift of spending it with my dad. It made the start of this year feel pretty magical. Plus, Michael bestowed on me a truly wonderful gift. For now, I’m dubbing it, The Birthday Book – a beautiful leather-bound notebook filled with letters from my very closest circle of friends. Each year they will write something new in The Birthday Book – some years it will be the story of how we met, others our silliest adventures. It is a book of love and memories and it made me cry immediately.

My Austin favorites from this trip:

Torchy’s Tacos – We checked out the one in South Congress. I will be dragging my dad back there for the fried avocado taco and the Baja shrimp taco for sure!

GourDough’s Specialty Doughnuts – Another wonderful Austin food truck. Doughnuts topped with insane ingredients including Grilled Bananas & Cream Cheese Icing with Brown Sugar and also Fudge Chocolate Icing with Grilled Strawberries – too, too good. There’s also a fried chicken one but I’m a little scared of it!

Flashback – A wonderful vintage boutique that’s well organized and well curated. It even has a great sale room in the back. I picked up many a birthday treat in there.

South Congress Books – For rare, vintage and new books. A great little book store that I could spend a few long hours in!

We’re off to explore Portland today. There are walking tours, rose gardens and lots more food trucks ahead of us.

My Portland favorites will be up next week!

– Violet

 

 

 

Champagne and Sparkles

1016715_636478654797_458171614_nToday begins the first of my birthday celebrations. Being a Leo means my birthday is more like a birthweek and all of my most special friends must participate in the madness. Since I will be off exploring the West Coast on my actual birthday, I am headed out for dinner and drinks tomorrow evening. I’m looking forward to lots of birthday cake frosting, shimmery dresses and pretty glassware. Plus, laughter and love with some damn fine friends.

A few links to brighten up your Tuesday – there are so many lovely summery things to be grateful for this month like parks and books and Woody Allen movies (and that the heatwave is finally over!).

Happy week friends!

The trailer for the new Woody Allen movie ‘Blue Jasmine‘. He’s released a film every Summer for the last few years and enjoying his neurotic conversation alongside bevy of celebrities has become a bit of a Summer tradition

Michael and I discovered Brooklyn Bridge Park this week – we explored Piers 5 and 6 and my are they something! We played Volleyball on the real sand courts and kicked a soccer ball around with a view of Manhattan. We’re going to try and enjoy their pop up pool this week! Brooklyn, you never fail to win my heart.

I just bought How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti. I’ve been eyeing the novel all summer and I’ve bought it as my vacation read. I finished the first prologue on the subway home and have already found myself intrigued and bemused.

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