Sunday, July 27, 2014

GIRLS RETREAT IN LEXINGTON



Whew. You guys, I had such a weekend. One of those where I kept saying aloud during the weekend how great of a weekend it was. Some of it had to do with how much I needed a few days exactly like this. Some of it had to do with the beautiful surroundings of a house on a farm in Lexington, VA. A lot of it had to do with the ladies that were with me on this trip.  

I started a beautiful book called, 'Gilead', a few months ago. The book's premise is simple; an elderly man who has been the pastor in his small town of Gilead all his life and is now near the end of his life is writing a letter to his young son, with the hopes that his son will know him better, even after he is gone. It's a poetic and melodic book, and it holds you to a certain pace and mood that is hard to break from and re-enter easily. Which is why, months later, I was still not done with it and it was driving me crazy. My number one agenda with my time away this weekend was to finish this book, and that I did, in the most appropriate setting for this book - on a porch, bathed by the breeze and sound of windchimes, surrounded by green fields and giant trees. In that kind of suspended space, I whipped through the last half of the book in lightening speed and was sad when I found myself at the end of it. There is nothing quite like this feeling of being quenched and then immediately hungry again for a good read. 

The rest of the weekend was more of this. In that wide open space - physical and mental- my mind was able to unfurl and I could feel it stretch out, languidly. That kind of stretching can do a world of good. There were enough moments to journal, to take a walk, to wander through the house, to just sit and lay about. We also picked wild raspberries, took turns cooking, and I got to play the piano and practice on my new ukelele. 

And the food, oh the food. There was pear and ginger margaritas and Puerto Rican pasteleon, a fruit and granola muesli with mocha, chicken quesadilla with guacamole, salsa, and a watermelon and feta salad. There was rhubarb bourbon cocktails and wild raspberries off of bushes. There was garlic toast with anchovies and capers, a Caesar salad with a new take on Caesar dressing, red wine and handmade tagliatelle made from spelt flour for saffron tagliatelle with spiced butter. There was crepe filled with wild raspberries and bourbon whipped cream. There was cinnamon scones, fresh homemade bread, a meat and cheese platter, gruyere soufflĂ© and mimosas. I KNOW. 

Each one of these ladies that I was on this retreat with is wonderful. They are a rad bunch and they each, in their individual ways, compel me to reach deeper and be truer. They are also good at comforting, cracking jokes and cooking. 

Extra bonus, it was also my birthday on one of these days, which meant I felt even more of an impetus to soak everything up. 

Now that the words are out of the way, a ton of pictures! These here are from the first and very last part of the weekend, there are a few more in between that I will share later on this week:


































Wednesday, July 23, 2014

HOLDING ON TO JULY FOR DEAR LIFE


One of the things I am resolved to do one of these years is to put on my big girl pants and grow some of my own vegetables and fruit. Ken and I keep talking about it but we can't seem to find a spare moment. In the meanwhile, I will gratefully take gorgeous vegetables grown in other people's gardens. Those cucumbers up there are going to be turned into a cuke and onion salad, if you were wondering. 

I've told Ken that a grand and romantic gesture he can do for me one day is to plant me an apple tree. He came back with something about how I don't ever want to live in one place long enough for us to grow an apple tree. The man gets practical, real quick. 

I'm turning 31 in two days and in the spirit of embracing my 30s, I'm making a list of things I want to accomplish in the next five years, including things like growing vegetables and paying off one of my most horrendous student loans. Growing and growing up, I'm excited about the list!  

And for the sake of posting some random photos waiting patiently in my phone to be shared:



These days in the car, Sloane sings songs by herself with great aplomb.  It's the most adorable thing ever. It's a little bit of pride, a gush of love, a cup of appreciating the sheer adorableness, and a dash of sadness that this is a fleeting time. 

During our nighttime rituals tonight, wherein I sing her several songs, she told me to shush and elected to sing herself the songs that I usually sing to her.


My dear friend Hilary came to visit last week from California with her boyfriend, who I got to meet for the very first time. Both of them are absolute gems. 



I especially love a breakfast that is roasted vegetables with a fried egg on top. Washed down with a protein shake and I am superwoman ready to go take on the world! At the very least, my day.



So there was this band that I really wanted to go see the other night, and we had big plans to make a date night out of it. Due to several factors, we had to put the kibosh on it and instead, a night of crossfit made special because we got to do it together! Followed by sushi and ending with thoughts of we must do this more often. 

And last but not least: you guys, I'm on my way to reaching my goal of handstand push ups by the end of the summer!


Friday, July 18, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS ITS FRIDAY

Hey! It's friday + a few lovely things I've been pinning these days:


Fresh fruit mimosas should probably happen as soon as possible.


Gorgeous cakes with flowers from here and and here


I love the idea of these Shipping containers for your backyard for extra space


Teepees in kids' rooms seemed a little too elaborate, but now that Sloane is older and I know she would love one, they keep catching my eye..like this one and this.


Download fun desktop wallpapers from DesignLoveFest.


Lovely installations from the street artist, Escif 



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TEXAS BEACH



A thing that is making me supremely happy these days: the tub of perfectly ripe watermelon sitting in my fridge. Ken has been really upping his watermelon-selecting game this summer. He is at about 5 for 1 at this point, and I'm really impressed.  "You did it again!" I yelled yesterday as I cracked into a giant watermelon to reveal a smooth surface of red and ripe goodness. 

Just for the record, and because I had a sort of tough day at work today, let me list a few other things that got me feeling happy these past couple of days:

+ Working out at the crossfit gym and in our garage gym. All that sweating and pushing myself and getting stronger and being aware of what my body can do? Love it. Love it even more that I can do it with Ken.
+ Scooping up my daughter in the mornings and having her be so happy to see me. It's like a reset button every morning.
Freshly vacuumed carpet. I was that lady wife who eyeballed her husband real good because he looked so sexy vacuuming all of the carpet this past weekend. 
+ Having kinda conversations with Sloane. Ohhhhh you guys, it's the best. More on this later. 
+ Friends visiting us... like this past weekend! And going to the river. Finally.  

I've been trying to get us over to the river for months now, and we finally did it, with our friends in tow. These friends of ours also have an adorable two-ish year old and the grownups had the best time watching the kids having the best time.  Sloane has talked about how she went to the 'water' and played with Jameson everyday so far since. 




Texas Beach is probably my favorite river spot. It's a sort of hike to get there and there are stairs and some mud spots and such, but it is lush and green and gorgeous. 





These two. 



And these two! 





This little gentlemen found his way to the ladies and was showing off his alphabet skills.







Hey Texas Beach, we'll be back...especially if Sloane has anything to say about it!