4/29/11

Today was that kind of day.

There is nothing quite like the first beach day of the season.

The warmth of breakfast still in your stomach.

The smell of sunscreen on pasty-white skin.

The little boys who run by with buckets full of shells, singing Taylor Swift songs.

The dogs that sniff curiously at your sandals.

The sea breeze healing every winter-abused pore.

The sound of a library book's crackling cover.

The comfortable silence between friends who no longer require words in order to speak.

4/27/11

Visiting the Captain.

It's officially spring. I know this because (a) it was 70+ degrees today, (b) new relationships are sprouting up all over Facebook, (c) I squished a bug at lunch, (d) people smiled more than normal, (e) girls were sitting out on the quad, (f) birds were chirping outside our kitchen windows, (g) we made our first visit to Captain Dusty's.

If you live on the North Shore of Massachusetts and you still haven't gone, I feel bad for you.


tasty tasty.


And how beautiful is this sunset? 
Heavenly, I tell you. 



Happy Wednesday!

4/26/11

Ch-ch-ch-changes.

As the blog reaches its 1st birthday (tomorrow), I've made and will continue to make some changes. Good ones, I promise.


With lots of life changes to come, I think it's only appropriate.

So in the next year you can read/watch as we...

1. Move out of our first real apartment (which is technically our third if you count living at my sister/brother-in-law's places for 2 months).
2. Apartment hunt in New York City while staying at my fabulous grandparents' (and I don't just say that because they'll read this) apartment in Manhattan.
3. Sign a lease on an apartment in the city and try to cram all of our clothes and dishes into what I can only assume will be a closet-sized place. What some of these Craigslist sellers call a one-bedroom is preposterous. You are not a one-bedroom if I have to climb a ladder to get to my bed.
4. Graduate. And when I say "we" I mean "I". Husband graduated 2 years ago, and can't wait for me to cross the threshold of undergraduate completion. I told him the other day that I might want to get my master's in Strategic Communication at Columbia and he just about died. And not from happiness. I'll revisit the subject at a later date. Ya know, like when I've made enough money to pay for another degree.
5. Complete an internship in MSLGroup's Compass/Media practice in New York City. Again, this is only me. But during this internship, I get to live with husband. Which means we're kind of doing it together because he'll hear all about it when I get home. Kind of like you will. So we're kind of all in this together (queue Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron).
6. Get hired full-time. At a PR firm. No "but"s, "or"s or "maybe"s. Unless they're from Jesus.
7. Close loans on housing developments and grow MDCapital. And this is really only husband. But I listen and provide encouragement.
8. Adopt a dog. But for real, maybe if I post it on here it'll happen. I can't even look at Goldendoodles anymore without whining like a spoiled toddler about how I want one. Watch this video and you'll see why:


9. Purchase a decent camera. For heaven's sake, I'm sure the world is tired of hearing me explain how "that big ugly spot on the screen" got on my old camera.
10. Travel. This is another "if you write it, it will happen" comment.

And lastly, you'll be able to visit the blog to see how we adapt to a new city while growing in our relationship. It'll be a wonderful, crazy, challenging, rewarding, beautiful ride. I love that you're joining us!

4/25/11

Easy Taco Casserole

Mama made this tonight.
It tasted like home.
Back to Massachusetts tomorrow for the last 3 weeks of my undergrad!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. onions
1 1.25-oz package of taco seasoning mix
3/4 c. water
1 16-oz can refried beans
1 8-oz jar taco sauce
2 1/2 c. tortilla chips, crushed
1 3/4 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c. lettuce, shredded
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes

Directions:
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In medium skillet over medium-high heat, combine ground beef and onions; cook and stir until beef is browned. Drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix and water, simmer 10 minutes. In medium bowl, combine refried beans and taco sauce. In ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish, layer half of bean mixture, half of beef mixture, 2 cups tortilla chips and 1 cup of cheese. Top with remaining bean mixture and beef mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; top with remaining tortilla chips and cheese. Return to oven; bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with lettuce and tomatoes. Makes 6 servings.

4/23/11

Easter Crafts

I spent most of the day making Easter crafts with my mom, Christy, and the Walkers. And while these activities can't even touch on the profundity of the occasion, they do remind me of how greatly I am blessed - by family, by food, by laughter, by changing seasons and gatherings of love. 

If you're looking for some last-minute ways to celebrate life and the coming of spring, try one of these. 

1. Easter Chick Cupcakes (Betty Crocker) - recipe here


2. Robin's Egg Nest Treats (Kellogg's) - recipe here

Little bird nests. 

 Big bird nests. (Not to be confused with Big Bird's nest. heh.)

3. Sugar Eggs - we made these as kids so my mom still had the molds and decorative supplies. You can read about how Martha Stewart does it here

Clockwise from top left:
Creating the scene.
Sealing the two shells together.
Letting outside decoration dry.
Finished product #1.
Finished product #2.
Christy with her egg.

4. Dyed Eggs - a yearly tradition with the Walker family. 


Which inevitably becomes egg throwing between husband and his brothers...


Happy Easter! 
May you celebrate and remember the significance of the day.
Jesus loves. Jesus saves.

4/21/11

And the living is easy.

Around this time last year, I was finishing up my internship in the city, planning a wedding and packing for Italy.

This year I'm finishing up my last semester of college, planning for graduation and other friends' summer weddings, and packing up our first apartment to move back into the city. Ah, change. You always throw me for a loop.

But today I'm mostly anticipating the joys of summer...


The lemonade that goes down like an antidepressant and gives you the clear sense that you just drank something impossibly pink. Toes wiggling in the sand as you throw your head back to embrace sunshine that can only be described as divinely inspired. Books wrinkled along the edges where page has met pool water. Country music blasting as you sing along like you just don't care, though surely the neighbors do. Parades through town that once embarrassed you well into the school year, but now only fill you with nostalgia.

We will be friends again very soon, dear one. For three blissful weeks between graduation and the internship of my dreams, I will worry of nothing more than which novel I will devour, how long I will sit in the sun and the amount of fruit that I can eat in one sitting.

4/19/11

Be Inspired.

This morning I started writing a Contemporary art analysis for my Art History course. Truth be told, I'm enjoying it more than any normal human being probably would.

Mostly because this is really inspiring me...

Andy Warhol, "The Souper Dress" - 1967

I love that Andy Warhol is asking a lot of American culture with this piece. He's merging the worlds of advertising, fashion and art so effortlessly while making at least a dozen discernible points about the changing American persona. Warhol made commercial branding a part of individual branding, and in doing so perpetuated the concern with a marketing-saturated modern America. Not only this, but the dress plays on the individual's changing sense of connectedness to culture and made women active participators in that culture. It's a feminist icon, a cultural mouthpiece, a brilliant advertising stunt, and a fashion statement. 

Wouldn't wear it, but I love it. 

4/17/11

Dear Weekend.

You were a gem. 

What I loved about you:

breakfast with Rachel at Stephy's, where we celebrated my internship.
a card, stickers and "Way to Go!" ballon from Rachel. 
2 paper outlines completed.
2 delicious smoothies.
a trip back to Stephy's with husband.
pancakes. 
muffins.
the gym.
Indian food at Rebekah's.
Scrubs.
Golden Goose: supporting friends at Gordon's funniest event.
public relations reading. 
steak fondue.
a trip to A.C. Moore and Target.
sleeping in.
church.
walks and talks down by the beach.
and dinner with these lovelies who I haven't seen enough in the past year...

Rebecca, Courtney, Jessica, Kristen, me.
 

Love,  S.

4/16/11

Dear Follower.

Confession:
Sometimes I miss dance so much that I turn on Pandora's Paul Cardall station and dance for husband in the living room. 
Or I dance for good luck before UConn basketball games. 
Or I dance when I eat something tasty. 
Or I dance in the car when a good song comes on the radio. 
Or I dance because it's raining. 


"There's a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good." Edwin Denby.

4/15/11

Dear Smoothie, you changed my afternoon. Maybe also my life.

This afternoon calls for a pick-me-up of the smoothie variety. 

I'm currently working on two long papers (one for Poetics, the other for Victorian Literature) that are tearing out my soul. I've been so wrapped up in post-grad plans that what I used to love about English and Communication Arts has become a mundane means to an end. I need an outlet. I really do. I've already discussed plans for a craft table with husband. 

Watch out, world! This weekend I'm buying a glue gun and I think I know how to use it! 

I took all that pent-up creativity to the kitchen and created this. The banana mango smoothie to top all other banana mango smoothies. Om nom nom nom. 


Recipe:

1 1/2 c. skim milk
1 banana
6 oz. frozen mango chunks
1 small container of La Creme yogurt 
(This is the greatest yogurt. I eat it every day.)

So easy.

4/14/11

Dear Future Self.


Someday, maybe by the time you're 25, you'll be as classy and fabulous as you'd hoped. 
Then you can find yourself a new dream. 

4/13/11

Dear April 13th.

You were pretty great. 

You delivered thunderstorms in the morning (the best thing to wake up to), 
an excellent workout at the gym, 
the Wellness Fair (one of my favorite Gordon traditions),
a brief interaction with the Nordic Berries man (who I met 2 years ago and have never forgotten, mostly because of his delicious Nordic Berry samples. See here.),
a 10th monthiversary dinner to come,
and an internship offer from my top choice - MSLGROUP. Which I've already accepted.  

Check out the website here.

The program runs from June 13th - August 5th, and I'll be working in the Media Relations practice. We've started looking for places in New York, and we're expecting to move at the beginning of June.

See ya, North Shore.

Love, S

p.s. God is good. And not just on April 13th.

4/12/11

The Walkers walk for hunger.

On May 1, husband and I will be participating in Project Bread's Walk for Hunger.


The Walk for Hunger is an annual tradition in Boston. Since 1969, volunteers have taken steps to support emergency food programs for families in crisis. 

I participated in the walk my freshman year, and I look forward to making the 20 miles this year with the hubs.

If you'd like to donate to our walk, please sponsor us here.
Our team name is: Walkers Walking

Or click here to participate with us!

4/11/11

Babies and Butterflies

Yesterday I went to second-cousin Sara's baby shower
I love baby showers.
What's not to love?

She went with a butterfly theme. It was adorable. 

I helped MIL with this lovely candy buffet. 
It comes naturally to her because her name is Candy

My Monday is lagging. I'm blaming it on the sugar coma. 

4/7/11

Dear Husband.

You are wonderful, patient, and kind. I am the luckiest. Truly.

I know that I can be a bit crazy. Especially when I'm stressed about work and school and finding a job and apartment hunting in New York City. Thanks for putting up with me when all I can think about is being...

here.

 or here.

or here.

In reality, all I need is to be with you. Anywhere. Even sketchy Bev where homeless men steal boots and we have to parallel park every day. 

Thanks for understanding my dreams and helping them come true. You're good at that. I know that life wouldn't be nearly as wonderful without you by my side. 

As soon as we can, though, let's take a vacation. Somewhere sunny and warm. 

You know I've got the bug. The travel bug. You love that about me, right?

I love you.

- Wife

4/5/11

My closet is smiling.

In the last year or so, I've made some additions to my wardrobe...
Red pumps. For the love of all things classy.

Dress pants. For the interviews.

The J.Crew Cotton Cady Aveline. For the baby showers and Easter brunches.

The J.Crew bridesmaid dress. For your friend's summer wedding.

The wedding dress. For the most lovely day of your life.

The schoolboy blazer. For the work day.

The silk dress. For evenings out.

And the most recent addition: the cap and gown. For the day you've been anticipating for 4 years.

Can I be a grown-up now?

4/4/11

On Becoming My Parents

I know people who live in constant fear that they are becoming their parents. And while I have been blessed with good, loving parents, I sometimes have those moments when I am reminded of the power of DNA. The idiosyncrasies adopted from these two people became all the more apparent when I get married - when my husband asks why dirty dishes drive me crazy, why twangy country music makes me comfortable or why I never use salt. It's rarely frightening. Mostly funny. Always a little weird. 

It took me 21 years to realize that I'm not becoming the people who raised me. I've learned from them, but I won't absorb their personalities any more than a house absorbs the definitions of its building materials. 

This weekend I spent a few hours with a beautiful two-year-old girl who spoke with a "why" stutter. Every comment was followed by the question, sometimes even before the previous "why" had been satisfied. She was wonderfully inquisitive. I wanted to answer all her questions fully, not dismissing them as if she were a chore. And, as these things do, it got me thinking. 10 years from now when I'm (hopefully) a parent, what do I want my kids to learn from me?

First, I'd want them to know that I believe in something and Someone bigger - Someone who loves them unconditionally and is jealous for them. Someone who has generously allowed me to be their mama. I want to teach them that they need to find their own thing and run with it, that they are talented and lovely. I want them to see the world for the beauty that it holds, to look past the ugliness and realize that most people are good and all people are different. I want them to learn to live with compassion, with drive, with hunger for God, with an energy that is entirely their own. They should know that I want the best for them, even if what's best for them isn't what's fun for me. I want them to learn to dance and sing, to hug and kiss, to say goodnight and to never go to bed angry. They need to learn that home is always open to them. They should see the value of education and the power of a good book. I want them to fall in love and have families of their own. I want them to learn how to overcome pain and to see truth. I hope, with all of my heart, that they will learn these things from me. 

The worries of parenting seem to come in droves, keeping mamas and daddies awake in fear of their own failure as parents: Was he ready to ride his bike around town by himself? Did I remind her that I'm proud of her? Is his fever something that I should be concerned about? Will she make friends at her new school? 

I read mommy blogs. I have parent friends. I hear these things. 

But I think there are stronger messages of graver importance that are far too often overlooked. In all likelihood, Junior won't remember that you didn't buy his favorite soda or that you were fifteen minutes late picking him up from school. I think one of the most important lessons that you can teach your children is simply this:

Mommy and Daddy love each other. 

By teaching your kids that you love your spouse, you tell them that committed relationships are positive and possible. They learn how to resolve conflict and how to serve another person. They understand that love is difficult, but so, so worth it. 

While I am not becoming my parents and will not actually be a parent for some time, I realize that most of what I want to translate into my parenting has been learned from my mom and dad. I'm blessed, I suppose. It's a beautiful thing. 

4/1/11

A little music for your Friday night.

I'm exhausted because I spent the day here:


But it was a good day - filled with interviews, brainstorming, lectures, Q&A's, and other PR exercises. MSLGroup is amazing, and I was privileged to be able to spend seven hours at their New York headquarters.

Since I'm too tired to write anything of real consequence, I'll let my Poetics professor, Dr. Bird, entertain you. He will occasionally play the piano for us before class begins, and this was his latest treasure:

(Please excuse the close-up of my planner in the first few seconds.)