How to spend an afternoon in Williamsburg.

We love finding our way to Williamsburg - just far enough outside of Manhattan for it to feel like we've escaped, and close enough for us to be okay leaving the pup. Williamsburg has tons of things to do and places to eat, and the Manhattan skyline looks phenomenal when you head down to the East River. If you have some time to explore Williamsburg, here's what you should have on your list:
^^once you get off the subway at Bedford, take a left and stop in the Bedford Cheese Shop. grab some of their cheese and Mast Brothers Chocolate.^^
^^check out one of the many booksellers that line the street - the selection is usually a step above what you'll see from other street vendors in Manhattan.^^
 ^^have an alfresco lunch at Fabiane's.^^
 ^^and stop at Smorgasburg (if you're there on a Saturday in warmer months) for Grady's Cold Brew or Dough...or one of the other million delicious foods that are available.^^
^^peruse vintage shops for non-working clocks, crazy paintings or a home phone from 1990. you will not be disappointed.^^

There you have it: the recipe for a stellar Brooklyn afternoon. 
(and if you have a bit more time, check out the Brooklyn Bowl and the Brooklyn Brewery.)


Speaking of pancakes...

My sweet Mama's birthday was yesterday, which may be contributing to the fact that I am an absolute grump about not being able to get to Connecticut for this last weekend of summer. Also, my sister and her husband just moved into their new house, and I have yet to see appropriate photo documentation (ahem) so that I can go on living vicariously through her larger-than-500 sq. ft., Pinterest-worthy domestic adventures. There is so much foot stomping going on over here.

The only cure for missing people is banana pancakes. We eat one pancake for each friend or family member we miss. (I kid. I can't even imagine how many pancakes we'd have to eat. Although, of all foods to eat in bulk...)

Some quiet mornings I just stand in the kitchen and drink in the sunshine that peeks through our living room window, the smell of coffee brewing and pancakes browning, the sound of pup snores, the familiar ache of a heart being pulled here and there and all of the little places where I've left pieces along the way. And I think, my goodness, isn't that a lucky thing? Having your heart contained solely within your own chest must be so terribly sad.

(for my mother)
(for holiday weekends in the city, or anywhere)
(for quiet)


Pancakes in bed, and other weekend things.

Our weekend was one of: 
*pizza in Brooklyn Bridge Park (I'm convinced there's no better way to spend a Friday night)
*walks/runs/picnics in Central Park (when the city starts to get me down, CP is always the cure)  
*leisurely mornings with pancakes in bed (next to a snoring pup, who can do no wrong these days)
*knitting (scarves, anyone? because that's all I know how to make)   
*zucchini bread baking (we broke our grater while grating a giant zucchini. woops.)
*a trip up to Columbia (Grant's Tomb is out of this world. also, can I go back to college?) 
*brunch at Sardi's with my grandparents (we love spontaneous visits!) 
*dinner at Absolute Bagels (recommended: the blueberry cream cheese)
*reading (I jumped back into this, which is great)

p.s. Have you had kombucha? I've gotten a little obsessed. I get this kind at Dig Inn. Probiotics for the win!

Happy Monday! 


Weekends in August.

We're wrapping up our August weekends, which have been good to us this year. Lots of visits with family, flowers for our kitchen, long walks around our favorite neighborhoods and double dates with friends. 

August saw good discussion around where we're at right now in our careers, in our dreams, in our marriage. It's been a month of phone calls from loved ones who ask what's up with us these days, but I think we're still fishing for answers. I'm not sure what's up with us this month. We're processing, I suppose. There is a time and season for that, and I'm grateful for it. 

(for popsicles on the High Line)
(for old brick buildings)
(for long walks that ignite conversation) 

p.s. I'm loving this song right now. 
p.p.s. And this is such a beautifully honest portrait of marriage. "You choose where you build your fire, and your heart listens to your choice." My goodness, those words are powerful and so, so true. 


Morning Runs.

Most weekends I run the West Side Highway Running Path, a stretch that runs from the bottom of the island way up to the George Washington Bridge. It's beautiful and not far from our apartment, but I've been craving a new route - something distracting.

On Saturday I woke up in the wee hours of a lovely, temperate morning and headed up to Central Park (about 10 blocks from our apartment) for a run. And it was decided. There is nothing more perfect than the Bethesda Fountain before the waking of the world. I mean really, New York. I dare you to make me love you any more than I do in these moments.

(for larger-than-life places)
(for running shoes, even when they're way beyond being broken in)
(for city squirrels, who know exactly what they want and are not afraid to eat out of your hand to get it) 


Dear husband.

You turned 26 yesterday.

I had the chance to read through some of your birthday notes from family and friends; they described this incredibly smart, deeply passionate, unwaveringly driven man who is filled with such strength of character. These are things I so admire in you, and I am so thankful that I have the joy of being your wife. 

It's been happening for a long time now, this thing between you and me. Long enough that the lines between your dreams and mine have started to overlap, morph with continued discussion and shared growth. More and more I understand that what we have is such a good, larger-than-life thing, even when days are long and seasons are filled with change. 

You are my person, and we will take your 27th year by storm. I love you so. 


Russell Orchards.

A couple weeks back we met up with one of Blake's best friends from college and stopped by an orchard to get our quota of fresh air and wide open spaces before heading back to the city. Also, we'll take any opportunity to see pigs up close. They're a little bit like Gus, in a way (don't tell him we said that).

(for apple cider donuts)
(for almost-fall weather)
(for old friends, and the chance to catch up in person)


In which Christy goes to college.

My little sister, the youngest of our brood, heads off to college on Monday. She came into the city yesterday and spent the night at our apartment, where I wracked my brain for some invaluable sisterly advice that I could pass down to her. I'm coming up short in that department these days. My goodness, I used to be so good at advice-giving (I kid). But she's such a little grown up already, and ready to take the world by storm.

Besides, sometimes it's just the togetherness that counts.

(for sisters)
(for friends who are welcoming and kind)
(for someone to join you on an early morning walk with the dog)


A summer reading list.

For a decent chunk of my elementary school years, my grade was comprised of only me and Loo (we shared a classroom with the grade above or below us), which allowed us to grow up as uniform-wearing, violin-playing, poem-writing, Dick Van Dyke-loving nerds, unaware that all of these things were fairly unusual and decidedly uncool. Not that it would have mattered. Coolness is a non-issue when your outfit options boil down to wearing the ascot or not wearing the ascot. Also, ignorance is bliss.

One of the many benefits of having your dearest friend as your only classmate is the nearly guaranteed dress-down day vouchers. Each year, every class competed for vouchers awarded to the student who read the most pages over the summer. Loo and I would have weekly check-ins on our reading progress, setting us up for a solid tie at the beginning of the school year. Sneaky.

When we graduated from high school, the missing reading list felt like a gaping hole in the season. Highly dramatic, I know. Such is the attachment of nerds to books. So I've started creating them for myself, with a mix of biography, non-fiction, fiction and history (as all good reading lists should be).

Here are a few recommendations from this summer's assortment:
- Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand: The story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic miler who survives a POW camp during WWII. Such a great testament to the power of determination, grace and forgiveness. I could not put this book down.
- The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton: I adore anything by Kate Morton. She's a fantastic storyteller. I can't always get invested in fantasy, but this story of a girl searching for her family and their past was engrossing.
- Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg: I know this book has received mixed reviews, but I love it. I think it has a significant message for all women - lean in to whatever it is you're passionate about, and don't settle. Plus, Sandberg is one of my top ten favorite powerful women. Aaaand cut, before I pull a Leslie Knope.
- The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, John Piper and Justin Taylor: A great read for anyone who loves words and wants to better understand their impact in our relationships with each other and with the Creator of speech, Himself.
- Food Matters, Mark Bittman: I will read almost anything written by Bittman, because I think he has a great perspective on food and the way it is used and abused in our culture today. This is Responsible Eating 101.
- Lunch in Paris, Elizabeth Bard: This is a great memoir on love and food in Paris, with recipes creatively woven throughout. I'm infatuated with French food and language, so this book was drool-worthy.


My parents take Manhattan.

Today, we had the greatest time showing my parents some of our favorite spots here in the city. 
Are they not the cutest? 

This love they have for each other and for those around them is something else. 


In case you were interested in my bathroom walls.

 ^^This breakfast smoothie is amazing. Also, dog bum.^^
With Blake and Gus out of town for the last few weeks, we're just getting back into the swing of our routine. We had a whole list of highly glamorous tasks to accomplish today (gym, hardware store, order contacts, file pet insurance claim... we could hardly wait to wake up and get started). But it's the little things, isn't it? Gosh, I've missed these little things.

And BIG NEWS. We painted our bathroom.

Feel free to disregard this backstory, as it's the most boring of all time and really only exists as self-congratulatory documentation:

We live in an old walkup in Hell's Kitchen. It's filled with gay couples and their dogs, students of Fordham, a couple of families with mysterious sources of income and a super who makes a lot of promises (we aren't holding our breath for the new stove). An eclectic place, but not a fancy one. And because the whole apartment renting situation is something I didn't grow up with, the boundaries of apartment repair responsibility are also somewhat foreign.

Example: the peeling paint on the bathroom walls (the ventilating screen is one million years old) that drives me absolutely bananas. Bananas, I'm telling you.

For months (more than a year?) I've looked at that peeling paint and thought, Is this my responsibility? Probably. Do I have the time to paint the bathroom right now? Probably not. Should I re-prioritize so that I can take care of this situation that makes me insane every single day? Probably. 

These conversations with myself. They could go on forever.

The point being, we finally had enough of these shenanigans and painted the bathroom this morning. Words can't even describe my joy in this moment. Please excuse me while I go stare at my bathroom walls.