All the links, none of the apple picking.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetAll weekend we intended to go do fall things. Everyone else was hitting pumpkin patches and apple orchards, and we really, truly, definitely intended to do likewise. But it just didn’t happen. Scheduling constraints, last-minute remembering of commitments I had forgotten, deep laziness- all of these things got in the way. And even though I really wish that I  taken advantage of that crazy good fall weather we had, I’m not actually terribly sorry. Because I got work done, and we had some delightfully lazy times around the house. We took long naps, longer walks, and spent Saturday evening playing cards with friends. I came home from a party early on Friday night and sat in my pj’s painting my nails (#girlsgonewild) and we reheated leftover soup all weekend long. I hit Eastern Market for 1$/lb produce late Sunday afternoon, and Sunday morning James and I had a McDonalds breakfast week because I had spent all week craving a McGriddle. All in all, a solid weekend, even if it wasn’t dotted and document with as much autumnal splendor as I had originally hoped.Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetI also spent some aimless time drifting around the Interwebs, and I thought I would send you some nice Monday distractions (if you happen to be working on this holiday) or entertainment (if you get to be home). I know, I know – it is the unspoken rule of the blogging world that we all share lists of random links on Fridays, BUT I’m going to be a rebel over here.

Next time we sneak away for a weekend in the Big Apple, I’m excited to use this as our eating guide. Every last one of her recipes is perfect, so I know all these places will be full of tasty treats.

As someone who proudly spent every summer during college working as a camp counselor instead of doing internships, I love this. (Of course, I did scramble for one the summer after graduating, only to find out that I hated my planned career…. so there’s that too.)

A part of my heart will always be in Stars Hollow, so this gave me all the feely feels.

What if Twilight gender roles were reversed? Spoiler: everything would still be awful.

The weirdest fashion fad around right now.

Single women aren’t just imagining that it’s hard to find men- it really is.

Fall food is my favorite. I’ve been eating lots of Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup, my favorite kale chicken, and I will probably break down and make this and these sometime very soon. I also have high hopes for these, as I did some recipe testing for Caroline’s book and she has all sorts of tasty paleo treats.In other food news, I’m starting to troll recipes for our annual donut making party, so feel free to share if you have a good one! (Baked donuts need not apply- this is a night for frying!)

Happy Monday!


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I’m glad I exist.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetThere is really not much happening in our lives these days.

Blog posts have slowed down lately, due in part to my utter angst about trying to pick a new blog name (spoiler: I hate everything other than names that are already taken), and my desire to not just spill more drivel into the internet.  I don’t just want to write posts with repeat splashes of my Instagram feed. [Oops.] I want to blog about things that matter or at least things that are happening, and honestly – not much is.

At least, not much that is exciting. I’m still teaching, still slogging through the endless grading that accompanies teaching, but you don’t really need to hear about that. The biggest thing that happened in teaching lately is probably that I managed to correctly use the phrase “bye Felicia” in class — and only because I googled it last week to understand why everyone was suddenly adding this random phrase to things. Needless to say, my students were impressed. Or pretended to be, which I will obviously take, as the only thing teachers love more than real enthusiasm, is feigned enthusiasm. Because it shows you care enough to try.Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

I’m still reading, taking notes, and swimming forward in thesis work. I’ve told a couple people that starting a dissertation is like slowly drowning in a beautiful ocean. You love the ocean, but you know you have to get out or it will kill you. You start grasping at anything solid around you, strapping it together to build a raft that will sail you to shore. Once you are on the raft, it’s easy. But for now- I’m just grasping at fragments that pass by, hoping that this cobbled raft of an idea is enough to keep me and my committee afloat.

And we are still doing the many things that make daily life fun. Friends, food, binges of quality TV shows. Walks around our neighborhood to enjoy the changing seasons. Long runs to listen to audio books or chat with my running buddy. We started hosting Bible Study in our home last month, and I spend Wednesday evenings leading games for children’s church.  We laugh a lot in our home, and let laundry sit in the dryer for days before it gets folded.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetLife is sweet, but it is not very blog-worthy. And that’s ok with me.

A couple weeks ago we had dinner with some friends who we see far too infrequently. After dinner, our friend Davey selected poems for us to each read aloud, as he knows way more about poetry than your average modern American. The one he picked for me was perfect, and I’ve thought about it so much since then, rolling over the phrases in my head. So many poems are grand, serious, emotional. But this poem by Wendy Cope, this poem sums up the sweet joy of the little moments that make a life full. And so in lieu of a grand photo-spread of awesome things, here is a poem about eating an orange.

The Orange
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.

Here’s to productive days, and being delighted by little things. Here’s to sharing oranges and being so happy to just exist in a world full of ordinary pleasures.


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SoulCycle, or, I am a WARRIOR because the wall said so.

I love fads.

I know that we are all supposed to be unabashedly original, marching to the beat of our own hip drum and all, but I just don’t see the appeal. First of all, everyone trying to be original ends up being exactly the same, and second of all — bandwagons are full of fun people. Might as well jump on and enjoy the ride. If I had to rank my favorite bandwagons, food and exercise would definitely be at the top. Everyone’s doing the Whole30? Why yes, I want to do it too. My co-workers are all going to try out a Hip, Hop, and Shake class? Obviously I want to be involved.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetWhich is why I knew it was only a matter of time until I dragged myself into a SoulCycle studio. SoulCycle, the superior cousin of spin class, which just about killed me back in the day. SoulCycle, which blends working out with therapy sessions — if therapy sessions were hosted in a deafening nightclub that you went to at 7:30 am. SoulCycle, which promises not only a perfect physical workout, but also a spiritual rejuvenation. SoulCycle, which I really know most about from that one episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where Kimmy gets sucked into its cult-like aura. SoulCycle, which everyone is raving about and thus I had to try.

When my future sister-in-law arranged a weekend in DC to dress shop, we decided it was a perfect opportunity to hit up a SoulCycle studio, dragging my other SIL and another a bridesmaid in tow. Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetEven though I was thrilled to be doing SoulCycle, I have to admit that I wasn’t actually sold on it being up to the hype. But yesterday morning at 6:15, I rolled out of bed and dragged myself to Georgetown for the early morning class. Everything was bright white and dotted with the signature SoulCycle yellow splashes — peppy and perfectly in order, exactly like the girls who signed us in and required wavers so we don’t sue when we fall into trances or whatever and flip over on our bikes.  Our posse had strategically picked a line of bikes in the back of the dark room, planning to hide our shame behind the regulars, a mass of perfect shoulder muscles and brightly colored Lycra leggings. As we started to warm up, I snickered at all the writing splashed across the walls, especially the massive letters that read: “ATHLETE. LEGEND. WARRIOR. RENEGADE. ROCKSTAR.” These people do know that we are riding bikes and going nowhere, right? They do know that those weights we will be lifting halfway through weigh 1 pound???

But then our guru instructor came in, commands were yelled, candles lit, lights turned off, and I was frantically doing push-ups in tune to “Genie in a Bottle,” of which I remember a startling number of lyrics from middle school. So many push-ups, as we peddled faster and harder, harder and faster, and the instructor periodically yelled at the back row to keep our hands in place on the bar.

About halfway through, we started doing arm work with weights- those weights  that I had sneered at upon entering. But now that I had been biking and doing push-ups for 20 minutes, they seemed changed. They were boulders that I could not possibly lift, no matter how Sisyphusian my strength. They were burdens I could not shoulder, no matter my resolve. They were impossible. But lift them I did, because I was, as the wall reminded me in my dark hour– ATHLETE. LEGEND.Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetFollowing weights, I was physically exhausted, but still not sold on the “soul” in this cycle. Yes, our instructor was on a platform lit only by candles, and yes, the walls were speaking to me in the darkness, and yes, everyone was zoned in with not a single cell phone in sight. But still.

Then she blew out the candles and started marching around in the darkness as the music swelled — an inspirational song like the type that they play when survivors cross finish lines in symbolic fundraising 5K races for noble causes. And as I really just wanted to go make a brunch reservation, she made us turn up the resistance and go faster, yelling: “Shut your eyes. Listen to my voice – I WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS.”

Do you know what? She did. I might have declared brash things to James afterwards about how I wanted her to be the doula when we someday have kids, because all of the sudden I was giving it everything I had and I knew that she had my back. And in that dark room, I found myself focusing on so many things that have been tying me up in knots lately, controlling me with fear, and I kind of feel like God and I had a little moment of quiet in the midst of the blaring music right there in the studio. When she yelled for us to leave it all on the floor, I felt like I did and y’all–

I might have cried just a tad.

But not pathetic tears, not “I hate this workout” tears. They were the tears of someone who felt like I was having space to let go of so many tensions that I wasn’t sure I could drop.

They were the tears of a WARRIOR, RENEGADE, and ROCKSTAR. They were ridiculous in every way, and maybe that’s why they were needed.

We stretched it out afterwards, washed up in the swank bathroom with complimentary products, snagged some free hair ties and gum, and took full advantage of that full-length mirror for some post-soul selfies. We brunched and basked in that post exercise glow, and then decided to be thoroughly basic and top our morning of trendy exercise and brunch with a seasonal Starbucks beverage.

But as goofy as it sounds, my soul does feel just a little bit lighter from that cycle.

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Five for fall.

tumblr_nccgtipgus1qhvtlqo1_500209b76c8a5e3cc23e6e5dae4c4a8e7b8I guess I should join the entire cyber world in welcoming October in as if it was truly THE greatest thing that ever happened.  Because come October first, we all start instantly expecting the world to look like that first picture, when really it  just looks like the last picture here in DC. Torrential rains, all weekend long.

But, those rains do bring cold air, dark skies, and branches that whip about, even if they are still almost entirely green, so I am officially getting on the fall train. I will continue to staunchly maintain that November is really where it’s at (take that, all ye over-zealous Anne Shirley quoters who live way south of Canada), but I’m not about to continue abstaining for some fall excitement and clothing.

It’s been a busy week with not much time for writing that wasn’t work related, but I wanted to drop in for a quick Friday five of fallness that I am embracing.

  1. Tonight I am doing my ceremonial watching of The Village. I’m not sure why, but that movie is fall to me, and the second those dark winds start blowing, I have to watch it. Go watch the trailer and get all fall-like and excited. And obviously it isn’t a real horror movie, as I am maybe the biggest weenie of all time about scary things.
  2. Whereas my summer motto is DO NOT ADD ANY HEAT to our apartment, I’ve been burning candles constantly to keep things cozy. This is my favorite, but James is not exactly a fan. I sniffed some great fall candles in the $1 section of Target the other day, so I think I might have to scatter those all around the house, as if it was a low budget college sorority initiation. Which I’m sure James will love.
  3. The definitive order of fall Starbucks beverages: Salted Caramel Mocha, Toasted Graham Latte, Cinnamon Chai, ice water, breathes of fresh air, Pumpkin Spice Latte. Move over, PSL, your reign is not universal.
  4. I will spend all month wanting to eat nothing but Reese’s pumpkins and (hopefully?) resisting. But on the subject of candy, this is pretty interesting. Something to keep in mind next time everyone gets upset about campaign spending. Good to know that our priorities are in line. Of course, this weekend I plan to indulge a bunch, candy or otherwise, because on Sunday morning I am going to a SoulCycle class for the first time and using that for a carte blanche all weekend. That works, right? (Have you been to one? Am I going to die/love it/hate it?)
  5. At the very end of last winter I invested in some great new boots on major sale, to finally replace my beloved vagabond boots. They have sat dormant all winter, but they are coming out, and bringing my army of obnoxiously colored tights with them. I’m trying to avoid buying many (any?) new clothes this fall, as my end-of-the-summer clothing purge showed me I lack nothing, but I am excited for the seasons to change and add some new life in my clothing rotations. But in interest of full disclosure, I did buy this dream of a tunic last month that is so silky and perfect that I think it fulfills all new clothing needs.

What are you looking forward to with fall?

Images via links from here.

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I love camping because…

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I love camping because we haven’t been in awhile, not since the last time we were at Assateague, in fact, and it always feels good to get away from the city for a bit. I love camping because I love the Eastern Shore and its long rows of southern trees, punctuating the drive between rivers and bridges and boats. I love camping because it involves a little roadtripping to get there, and I love roadtripping because it means stops at Chick-Fil-A and the endless creation of lip-synch music videos, sent out across social media to annoy all of our loved ones.

I love camping because it doesn’t matter how you look, and even if you looked halfway decent before setting out, you won’t by the time the wind has whipped your hair every which way and you are perpetually adding and removing layers, a constant dance of hot and cold that nature demands this time of year. I love camping because it is ok to not wash your face, and just wear a ball cap all weekend.

I love camping at Assateague especially, because you get to stand on the beach at that massive ocean and feel so tiny, get to fall asleep with the battering of the wind against the tent and the waves upon the shore… even when said massive wind gives a touch of danger to the whole affair, as you aren’t quite sure if your massive tent will make it through the night, even after being braced by two picnic tables. I love camping because it means making time for flying kits, examining the underbellies of horseshoe crabs, and playing cards by the light of a camp lantern. I love camping at Assateague because PONIES.

I love camping because of late night s’mores, and breakfast s’mores, and post breakfast last chance s’mores. I love camping because of trail mix and hot chocolate and that faint taste of sand and ash that gets in everything. I love camping because of this sausage medley made over the fire and an amazing bacon breakfast hash the next morning. I love camping because it is totally acceptable to eat that awesome hash directly out of the skillet after all the plates blew away. [James loves camping because of beans you cook directly in the can over the flames… but obviously my version of camping is a tad more gourmet/high maintenance. Not ashamed.]

And I love camping because I got to do it with these people, my favorite people, my family, and they are just the best. I love them more than ponies and beach views and breakfast hash, and even more than s’mores. Which might just be my highest compliment.

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Clara at one year.

I know, I know – there have been a lot of photoshoots posted over here lately instead of my usual titillating discourses on such worthy subjects as our current activities and eating habits. But I couldn’t resist sharing one more, because BABIES in BASKETS with BALLOONS. Plus, it is kind of fun to remember when Clara was born last year, and then when she couldn’t quite sit up on her own last spring, and now she is walking! Happy one year on this earth Clara!  Clara Claraoneyear-8 Clara2 Claraoneyear-18 Claraoneyear-38Claraoneyear-29 Claraoneyear-53 Claraoneyear-55 Clara3 Claraoneyear-64 Claraoneyear-84

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Highs & Lows

…from the weekend.

galtian2High: A bunch of the students that went to France with me his summer came over for a crêpe party Friday night (recipe here). We waxed nostalgic about the wonder of our time in France, ate about a million crêpes slathered in Nutella, and even braved the very un-French pumpkin goat cheese I found at the store. Our table looked absolutely nothing like that photo above, but I love it (from here) so I am using it instead of the one grainy iphone pic I took of my table covered in chalkboard paper and loaded with all sorts of toppings.

Low: The subsequent dishes and morning-after crêpe gluttony coma.

High: I photographed a sweet one-year old baby on Saturday morning… in a tiny hot-air balloon setup made from a basket and bright balloons. It would not be a stretch to say that it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

Low: We ended the shoot when said precious set-up ended with a twice toppled baby and probably a forever phobia of baskets.

High: After a long hiatus of summer and fun, we got back on our Saturday schedule where I go be productive at coffee shops in the afternoon while James chills at home.

Low: Tried that Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not impressed.

High: Saturday night we went to a party where all the food was from the delicious frozen foods party section- mini White Castle burgers, buffalo chicken wantons, frozen pizza, etc.

Low: Repeat food gluttony coma. (Obviously, my current version of [mostly]whole[maybe]30 doesn’t exist on weekends.)

High: An early morning, pre-church, 11 mile run with my running buddy on Sunday morning.

Low: But later, at church, prayer time? You mean accidental naptime? Early runs do not always an alert worshiper make.

High: We finished updating our Adventure Wall!

Low: We will most assuredly never get our security deposit back.

Low: Walked down to Navy Yard to explore all the new things happening down there and ordered tasty Starbucks seasonal beverages (the Salted Caramel Mocha obviously), only to find that we had no wallets on us.

High: World’s kindest barista gave us free drinks and a request to pay it forward.

High: Had dinner with good friends we see far too rarely in their lovely home, topping the evening off with some classy poetry.

And no low, because third time’s the charm, and the food was tasty AND not designed to kill us.

Hope your weekend was mostly highs, with just enough lows to keep it real.

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