Get your latte off my late summer.

latesummer2Somehow, everyone the Internet over started thinking that September constitutes fall. Personally, I blame Starbucks and that infernal Pumpkin Spice Latte. They roll it out September 1st, when most of us are still too sweaty to even consider wrapping our clammy hands around it, and all the sudden everyone is trying to convince us it is time for leaf jumping and butternut squash soup. Pinterest is starting to hemorrhage with pictures of chunky scarves and piles of knobby pumpkins and golden leaves. Fall is here, the Internet screams, paying little attention to the reality that most of us are living.

And that reality? It’s sweaty and hot and not the slightest bit in the mood for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I don’t know about you, but last week was just about the hottest of the summer, gracing the mid-nineties daily. I blew my breakers multiple times running my AC units and resorted to eating mostly salad in an attempt to keep the oven off. I rolled into my office with sweat trickling down the back off my sleeveless sheath and felt my hair rebel against its coiffed waves as the humidity styled it into something akin of a shaggy dog that stuck its paw in a socket.

But it’s not all bad. I continued dining on peaches last week, soaking in my favorite summer food and coupling it with fresh caprese salad for a perfect summer meal. I spent all last Thursday afternoon at the pool, thanking my lucky stars that DC public pools are both free for residents, and stay open till early October. I cranked up the country music in my car and let those summer anthems wash over me.

It isn’t that I am a fall hater. No, I love fall. LOVE IT. I love chunky infinity scarves that wrap around my neck for ages and go perfectly with my thick tights and high boots. I love trees that change colors and scatter leaves that crunch when I walk. I love pumpkin muffins and thick stews and all that is autumnal.

But it isn’t time for that yet, and I feel that one of life’s most important lessons is to love the time we are in rather than the one that is coming. I’m not willing to chase out late summer and stand around sweating in my scarf for fall to show up. I do a little of that every year and then, almost every time, Augustober shows up and reminds me that the postcard fall often doesn’t come until we almost thought it was too late. Plus, fall doesn’t last, and you know what?

WINTER IS COMING. And if last year is any indication, IT NEVER LEAVES. I just can’t even go there. Admittedly, this week has ushered in much cooler temperatures and gray skies that do remind us fall is coming. Still, the highs are upper 70’s and low 80’s and that doesn’t exactly inspire me to bust out some cable knit sweaters.

Ultimately, I don’t want to rush these delicious days of late summer where there is still time to eat a few more ice cream cones and get a handful more freckles. I don’t want to miss out on the last peaches and final dives into blue waters. I don’t want to miss out on the sweetness that is September, a month that hovers between fall and summer, that lets summer go out in a bright flash that reminds us of all we love about her.

So everyone just chill out about those Pumpkin Spice Lattes, ok?

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Jackie & David

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Down by the banks.

Summer2014-221 Summer2014-222 Summer2014-223 Summer2014-224 Summer2014-225 Summer2014-226 Summer2014-227 Summer2014-228 Summer2014-229 Summer2014-230 Summer2014-231 Summer2014-233 Summer2014-234 Summer2014-235 Summer2014-236 Summer2014-237Summer2014-242Summer2014-243Summer2014-245Summer2014-247Summer2014-250Summer2014-252Summer2014-251Hey y’all, how’s your week going?

Over here things are resuming their typical, stressful early semester feel. I have spent most of the last two weeks trying to navigate complicated computer systems that supposedly will make the education world easier but are currently making me wish I that I could just quit. As in, one day I woke up with my lower face numb and swollen and my first thought was MAYBE IT IS A SERIOUS ILLNESS AND I COULD GO TO THE HOSPITAL FOR A WEEK AND EAT FRUIT CUPS AND SOMEONE ELSE COULD DO MY JOB. I’m not trying to be insensitive to those who are ill, just being honest about my reaction. And whining, because with James gone I have lost my captive sympathetic audience. It turns out it was just some bug-bite and I was fine and back to work with no delay, thanks for asking.

But enough of my whining and weekdays. Let’s talk weekends, specifically last weekend when I snuck away to a old plantation house on the James River near Williamsburg with about 20 friends. Usually, I am the one that organizes these type of weekends. This time however, I was the tag-along friend, the one that was mooching off of another group’s annual getaway. For all you organizers out there, I recommend trying this. It is really freeing to just show up with a pillow and whatever food you were assigned to bring and not ask questions.

We fished in the river, soaked up the sun, ate more chocolate covered raisins than should be possible, floated on kick-boards in the pool,  enjoyed the Williamsburg ferry as if it were a cruise, and played loud games while creepy colonial portraits looked on. There was also a lot of baby loving, as our group included three littles under the age of 2, all of which were passed around and kissed constantly all weekend.

And. Those. Biscuits. They get their own paragraph. Sunday we headed across the river to Williamsburg and found our way to brunch at Trellis. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was that I had skipped breakfast but I actually teared up when I ate that biscuit. TEARS. Without a doubt they were the best biscuits I had ever eaten. The ones in that order were actually our second order, and when I woke up from my biscuit-coma nap that afternoon I hated myself for not taking home the bites I couldn’t finish.

But enough about biscuits. As I find myself dragging through some of these busy weekdays, I’m thankful for lazy weekends on river banks and the sorts of people who convince you to get away and take them. I’m thankful for summers that are hanging on through September and quiet weekends before busy weeks. I’m thankful for friends and laughter and food and chubby baby cheeks. And buttery biscuits. Always.

How did you all spend your long weekend?

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Joe & Marla

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The Year of Saying No.

Last spring, in the midst of crying over magazine piles and having visitors for 8 weekends straight, I informed James that next year would my year of saying no. It wasn’t that any one individual thing was bad, or that I wanted to change any one thing, but there was just too much. Next year was going to be different. I would start, for the first time in my 26 over-committing-extroverted-people-pleasing years, to say no to things. To commitments that I didn’t have time for, to visitors that we were honestly too stressed or busy to host, to extra obligations I took on because I was worried others wouldn’t do them.

But next year, I told him, next year I would start saying no. Before I go on, I need to insert that “years” for me are still based on the academic calendar, where the year picks up in August with book lists and syllabi and winds down in June with overdue library fees and student evaluations. July exists as an Elysian paradise outside of time. August is for resolutions and resets, not January when it is cold and depressing and all you want to do is skip the gym, forego early rising, and eat nothing but mac n’ cheese. From a box. The Velveeta brand.

But I digress. Last year we took on too much, and in a moment of tears and the waves of everything overwhelming me, I declared that next year I would start saying no.

And then July lulled me out of my resolve with long Parisian days and more pastries than any human should consume in a month, before I came home to an empty apartment and a seemingly free schedule.

And now we are one month in to my year of no and I have been saying yes to everything. It starts slowly, yes to awesome commitments like a weekend here and a weekend there. Yes to meetings with friends and responsibilities. Yes to photography things over the coming months and ecstatic yesses to the people who mention they are coming to DC. So when some colleagues asked when we could grab brunch soon, I had to sheepishly admit that I was busy every weekend in September. That’s a problem.

I don’t want this to be one of those obnoxious posts where people complain about being busy, which is kind of a backhanded way of announcing “I am important and in demand.” I am complaining about having poor judgement and lacking self-control. That is what busyness is. (Unless you are a parent, and then busyness is trying to keep other people alive and purposeful and you are not getting any judgement from my corner.) It’s a lack of judgement to discern what needs to be done, what I should do, what I want to do, and lacking the control to say no to other things. The power to understand that just because something is good, doesn’t mean I need to do it.

So as we roll into September, I’m trying to get my year of no back on track. I said no to a big commitment this week, but more importantly I’m trying to say more little no’s. Maybe it will be no to writing blog posts sometimes. No to buying clothes I don’t need or want. No to trying to squeeze in two commitments on the same night. No to crammed schedules. No to excess.

Which means that then I have room for glorious resounding yesses, ones that I can indulge in without the aftertaste of stress and burden. Quiet yesses, spontaneous yesses, solitary yesses.

Here’s to saying no.

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This and that.

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That picture has nothing to do with this post. It’s been  one of those weeks. 

This weekend I am heading back home to celebrate that baby that’s coming soon and spend some time with my family. It’s been a busy week and I feel like the all the things I am trying to cram in  means that any intelligible blog post I had planned for this week didn’t happen. So, here is a little this and that.

Have you ever had that awesome corn they serve at Café Habana in NYC and other similar Hispanic restaurants? This recipe is pretty amazingly for making it at home, minus a grill for us apartment folk.

And that corn goes pretty amazing with these tacos and a little shredded purple cabbage.

You know that music video that is everywhere right now? I mean, I’m not usually one to defend TSwift, and I’m not really crazy about it when I hear it on the radio, but the music video…. you had me at Swan Lake tutus. Or any tutus. It’s kind of a weakness.

I’m a little obsessed with this girl’s recaps of The Bachelor franchise. It’s not just because she was one of my favorite contestants ever (but it kind of is), but because she manages to love it, mock it, and explain it all at once. Genius. And don’t even ask if I am devotedly watching Bachelor in Paradise because I’m too ashamed to answer. (But if you are in the area and interested, you can totally come to our awesome viewing parties.)

My pasty skin needs this makeup meets sunscreen meets powder perfection. But it’s a little pricey. Anyone have any other similar recommendations that are slightly more budget friendly?

In the meantime, I’ve been protecting my pasty self with that Old Navy hat, even if my brother-in-law routinely asks me if I am going on tour with Jason Mraz. For the fall I’m kind of liking this one, but not sure I would ever be able to rock it. How do you feel about hats?

Have you heard of that show where people let experts pick their spouse? On one hand, I kind of hate it because the whole you-can-just-get-divorced-at-the-end-of-the-experiment thing isn’t really the view of marriage I think we should be taking. But on the other hand, it automatically started loading on Hulu the other night, and as James – my TV moral compass – is gone, I just couldn’t turn it off. I got a little fascinated with it and am hardcore rooting for Jamie and Doug to make it work.  And I only included this because I knew that those of you who would judge me for this had already done so by the open Bachelor love and I had nothing left to lose. 

This just shows what I have always known: DC is taking all my money. By the way, this was created by that amazing baby brother economist of mine and I am pretty proud.

Love how comfy this jersey dress looks. Kind of like wearing pajamas to work. Nicer, more expensive pajamas, but still. Meaning, it is absolutely nothing like my pajamas, but kind of like the Platonic ideal of pajamas.

What this and that have been floating around in your head this week?

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Beach day.

Summer2014-182 Summer2014-186 This past weekend I escaped away to the beach with my brother, brother-in-law, and soon to be sister-in-law.  Looking back, I am tempted to say that I don’t know where this summer went. How is it almost september, almost time to go back to school, almost time for busy weekends and more responsibilities? Except, I know where all the summer has gone. It went to Kentucky and to Paris, to pain-killers and to car shopping, to visits from loved ones. It was wonderful, and I am blessed to even be able to have the luxury of a summer — thank you Academia.

But still.

The next two weekends I am out of town and then studying regains control of my Saturdays. So this last weekend, we slipped out of the city and headed towards the seashore in Delaware. I couldn’t have told you anything about Delaware before Saturday, and it is one of those states like Rhode Island and Vermont where my geography breaks down and I’m not entirely sure where it is. All I had heard was that there were some great beaches.Summer2014-183DELAWARE I AM SO SORRY AND I TAKE IT ALL BACK. You are glorious.  We stopped for some Chick-fil-a breakfast [Insert moment of silence where I stare off into the distance and think about those chicken minis that I rarely make it early enough to get.] and some Delaware locals heading to DC warned us about the terrible traffic. Instead, they recommended some back roads that took us through the stunning countryside, tiny towns, and about a million garage sales. Which we obviously stopped at and rolled into the beach with a coffee table and side table in the trunk of my car. BEACHES AND BARGAINS. Paradise.

What was not paradise was trying to find parking at Dewey Beach. After driving around for a while, I finally just asked a friendly women doing yard-work if we could park in her driveway for the day and she kindly let us. Paradise restored.  Then off to the beach with some of my favorite people! And a whole lot of sunscreen because I glow in the dark and have a deep fear of skin cancer.
Summer2014-188 Summer2014-191 Summer2014-193 That girl there? I GET TO BE RELATED TO HER. My baby brother couldn’t have chosen a better lady to marry. I think I’ll just go jump for joy. Summer2014-197 And then I will enlist others into my jump shot, because you know how I feel about it. [I also debated long and hard about putting these pictures up because, you know, they feature thighs of much less than model quality. But then I decided that maybe we all need a little more acceptance and glorification of normal bodies.]Summer2014-199 After quite a few failed jumpshots, a “kind” soul on the beach took to critiquing us as we jumped and offering pointers. Very helpful. Summer2014-200 Summer2014-202 Summer2014-205When we had finally cooked ourselves to a nice splotchy pink, we left the beach and headed to a shaved-ice stand between a grungy crab shack and a gas station. Yes, we are the classiest beach goers you ever did see. But seriously, that shaved ice was good, and Richard, the shaved ice chef, made us samples of almost all the flavors before we ordered. Summer2014-207 snocone Summer2014-212 Summer2014-218Richard also had to give us a tutorial in eating crabs, as our zeal to whack away at a crab did not come with any practical knowledge. I might have eaten some gills before Richard swooped in, pulled a knife out of his back pocket, and cleaned our crab for us. 
Summer2014-219 This is a food that my landlocked native southern self just doesn’t know how to approach and I can’t eat shellfish without thinking of Jim Gaffigan’s routine on seafood.  But they are so pretty that it was worth a try. Plus, it kind of seemed like summer itself: something so beautiful that you try to scrape out every last bit.Summer2014-220How are you spending these last weekends of summer?

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