11/30/13

Washington, D.C. for the holiday.

My grandparents live in the Washington, D.C. area, which is one of my favorite places in the US. I think it's largely because I associate the area with family reunions and autumn (which everyone knows is the greatest season of all). Almost every year, we take a road trip down for the holiday weekend and spend some time in the city. 

A few photos from our getaway: 

^^Blake and I spent Tuesday night and Wednesday morning exploring the city on our own. we stayed on Capitol Hill (highly recommend this hotel - so close to everything!) and wandered around the Capitol in the pouring rain on Tuesday evening. we also ate that this place and visited the National Zoo on Wednesday.^^
^^the Botanic Gardens are lovely, though we wished we could have seen the Christmas decorations that go up the day after Thanksgiving. we also stopped in the National Museum of Natural History to thaw out our feet, which were frozen 90% of the day.^^
^^on Thursday we headed over to my grandparents' place for Thanksgiving, where we were given place card duty. we made these beautiful things; they smelled amazing. and because these are out of order, here's another photo of Blake at the National Gallery of Art on Wednesday.^^
 ^^we explored Mount Vernon with my sister (Jillian) and her husband (Aaron) on Friday, and decided that the Washingtons had some pretty nice digs on that beautiful river.^^
 ^^I went on a long walk with my parents and sister before the feast, and we forced our poor Pop to pose in front of these cross streets, since his name is Edward and he's a big fan of bacon. we're so clever! the cleverest! there were also many, many games of Dominion played.^^

11/28/13

Giving thanks.


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays - one filled with long drives, family reunions and dozens of traditions. This year, especially, we have much to be thankful for. Our lives are so full, and I hope we're able to share some of the blessing overflow with those around us this season.

Happy Thanksgiving from Virginia!

11/26/13

Midas Touch.

1} side table, 2} deer with gold antlers, 3} Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All - and you can read a recent essay from Allan Gurganus in the New York Times here, 4} gorgeous boots from Sole Society (size 6), 5} wall quote or anything from that beautiful Etsy shop, 6} record player, 7} drinking glasses, 8} headphones

Truly, I'm of the mindset that it's better to give than to receive (pats on back and things), but if I haaad to choose a few pretty items that I've had my eye on this year, this is what I would select. 

I'm all about pretty much anything gold. Like a moth to the flame. Gold is my spirit color, I've decided, and it should be seen everywhere, on all things. Not the real stuff, of course, but I've found that a little splash of gold paint can work wonders

In other news, my nails are painted gold right now, and it's rocking my world. 

11/23/13

And here we are.

Like iPhone photos? Well hey there, you'll be seeing a lot of those around here over the next week or so. In the rush out of our apartment last night (we waited until the laaaast buzzer of the UConn game), I forgot to bring our trusty camera, most especially intended for holidays, family get-togethers and travels. It was a truly massive disappointment, seeing as this week will contain all three muses in the photography trilogy. It's a sad day in Walkerland. 

In any case, we woke up at my parents' house this morning and basked in the majesty of their guest accommodations ("the carriage house," if you're fancy). It's partially wonderful because we're very accustomed to our fairly old (but so lovable!) apartment, and anything stainless steel gives us a minor heart attack. It's also pretty wonderful because my dad is a great (co-) builder, my mom is a great decorator and Pottery Barn furniture is fantastically comfortable. Like sleeping on clouds, I tell you! 

Also, so many adjectives in this post. Yikes. 

We're here in Connecticut until Tuesday afternoon, and we're kind of in our element. We really like our families. They're pretty much the bee's knees. 

11/21/13

Crazy ramblings for your Thursday morning, and a semi-related photo.

*When we were kids, my sister and I begged and begged our parents for a dog, and my parents appeased us with some of the strangest creatures that have ever graced a suburban habitat - rats, chickens, an eclectus parrot, etc. early on, we ended up with hermit crabs, who were interesting by merit of the fact that they could choose their home and walk around in it (such fun). our petstore had those weird painted shells, some with Yankees logos, some with rainbows and flowers and a bright yellow sun. it got a little out of hand, really. I mean, why are we forcing these poor creatures to represent our favorite sports teams? also, why do we care that much? in any case, my sister and I woke up one morning to find that our hermit crabs had eaten. each. other. I can't explain the physics of it, but it happened, and all we had left was a bunch of legs all over the cage. in case you were wondering, this is a highly traumatizing visual when you're five.
*speaking of pets, I'm not sure there's any feeling better than having a floppy-faced bulldog rest his head on your shoulder at night. and I used to be suuuch a germophobe. that dog sniffs goodness knows how many nasties and strange dog bums on the street each day, and I still adore being his headrest. whaaat is happening?
*when I first started my undergrad, I was a kinesiology major. it was pretty much the dorkiest thing I could think of at the time, which is why I did it. even though I switched majors, I learned a lot during my time as a kinesiologist. plus, I got some rad lab goggles out of that scenario. and i got to refer to myself as a "kinesiologist" for a few months.
*do you know what haglund's deformity is? well, I have it, though we've taken to calling it "heffalump's disease" around here, because it sounds a little less terrifying. ultimately, I plan to become an advocate for the heffalump-afflicted everywhere, demanding a  more innocuous medical term to impress and intimidate the non-afflicted with. we will also institute an official "hump day" (Wednesday, obviously), in which all of the heffalumps receive free meals, concert tickets, shoes (orthopedic, obviously), etc., etc. heffalumps, unite!
*have you tried the bagels from Trader Joe's? I am here to testify that they are beyond amazing.

Happy Thursday, and congrats on getting to the end of this nonsense!

11/19/13

DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights.

Brooklyn is growing on me. When we first moved to the city, I was definitely one of those no-way-am-i-moving-to-an-outer-borough types. I had a shallow understanding of what the surrounding communities had to offer, and was still infatuated with Manhattan. I'm still infatuated, in a way, but Manhattan and I are friends in spite of days like these.

And Brooklyn. It has this fantastic, eccentric personality that we eat up on weekend adventures. I'm not sure we'll ever move out there, but I wouldn't rule it out. Especially not after seeing a friend's enormous apartment in DUMBO this weekend. It took us about 10 minutes to get our jaws off the ground. "Your place is soooo great," we kept saying. "Soooo, soooo great." Over 800 square feet of space has the tendency to give us adjective amnesia.

In other news, Lawrence Blake now wears button down shirts and loafers on all occasions. He's such a charmer.

11/17/13

Holiday shops, and other weekend things.

Visiting the holiday shops at Bryant Park is one of my favorite traditions here in the city. We rarely buy anything, but we love to wander. The shops are filled with tourists - families from Germany and France, couples on their honeymoons, students who are drawn to the energy of New York. It's one of those only-in-the-city experiences of different cultures colliding in a patchwork market that looks like it jumped right out of a Tim Allen Christmas movie.

This weekend was pretty stellar, for a few reasons:
*we went to an Alternate Routes concert at Joe's Pub (which is nothing like any pub I've ever been to) on Friday night. a night for the books.
*speaking of books, we stopped by the Strand to pick up a travel book, because we've started to plan our vacation in May. European destination suggestions welcome!
*Blake got his groomsman suit fitted for a friend's wedding in July. that guy in a suit. dreamboat.
*I headed out to Brooklyn on Saturday to visit a coworker who recently had a beautiful little girl. Blake and I met up afterward for brunch and a walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
*sermons in bed on a rainy Sunday.
*we took Gus to the dog park, which is always a ridiculous experience. he's crazy excited the whole walk over, then refuses to go in. we have to drag him through the gate and encourage him for a solid five minutes before he decides that he's actually having fun. weirdo.
*of course, there were the shops at Bryant Park, where we tried chimney cake. walker approved.
*we watched Inception again, after seeing this hypothesis about the ending. mind. blown.
*again, speaking of, I read this awesome exclusive on Leonardo DiCaprio. "A rounded feeling in your mouth, a space where other tastes may grow, a presence defined by an absence." that line. it's poetry.
*Christmas movies, Christmas shopping and Christmas cards. they're all happening over here. I watched 12 Dates of Christmas today and didn't hate it even a little.

11/16/13

Homemade Doughnuts.

Last weekend, I had the urge to whip up this recipe that I found here a while back. We hardly ever eat doughnuts, so when we do, we like to do it right (Doughnut Plant, anyone?)

Truly, they're pretty easy, and they turn out beautifully. They're also really fun to make with someone else ("Look at us! We're making doughnuts!" - Blake Walker). Two caveats: (1) Start them early in the day, since they have to rise. Yeast has been such a killjoy when I've tried to start recipes at night. I have no patience for you, yeast. (2) Invite friends over to eat these babies as soon as they're ready. Sadly, they're not quite as delicious the next day.

Ingredients (slight variation on SK's)--
1 tbsp. yeast
3/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. 2% milk
4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
4 tbsp. butter
grape seed oil

Recipe instructions for the donuts and glaze over here. Enjoy!

11/13/13

Greener grass... or any grass.

Yesterday I was attending meetings in a fairly suburban area, and got to thinking about where we live and how we live and the amount of space in our kitchen and how I've actually tripped over the person and animal I live with more than a few times. And the thought turned to a feeling, a grass-is-greener feeling that rears its ugly head when I dream of dishwashers and washing machines (the luxuries!) and maybe a backyard for puppies and babies (in the future, if we're so blessed).

It happens every few months, this feeling, and it's usually erased by a good weekend appreciating some of what this awesome city has to offer. Really, we've become quite accustomed to living small and making calculated purchases for our home, based on the square footage. But darn you, suburbs, for seeming so much greener this week.

11/11/13

Alpine frost, and other weekend things.

After church yesterday morning, it seemed the perfect day to wander along Central Park, stop by our favorite diner for omelets and make our way home in the chilly November air. Once we closed the door to our apartment, the sky turned dark and a cold shower fell on our little community garden. We curled up on the bed with a stinky pup (in all fairness, the stinkiness is our fault. he's been getting a lot of cheese lately.) to read and make Christmas gift lists.

Admittedly, we've jumped the gun on Christmas this year. Some years need a little premature Christmas spirit. And so I've started decorating, little by little, since I always feel the need to throw everything together the day we get home from Thanksgiving away. This weekend, we also spent way too much time (it's best not to calculate the minutes/hours of these things.) choosing holiday candles. That business is a sickness, I tell you. Do you know what alpine frost smells like? Well, neither did we, but BAM! it's a regular alpine frost all over our bathroom right now. Like actually experiencing frost in the Alps. I've never been, but obviously I no longer need to go.

In other news:
*Blake threw his back out while playing with the toddlers in children's church on Sunday. Please take a moment to fully digest how old that statement makes us sound. In all seriousness, I feel bad for the guy. But he got a rockstar backrub out of the situation, so I think he might be milking it for a few more days...
*Gus got a moose (the cutest little thing) to add to his woodland creature toy collection. It is now a voiceless, antler-less moose. Poor moose.
*I had two coffee dates with old friends, who are moving on with exciting new life plans. Bittersweet and highly-caffeinated, that's how I'm feeling.
*On Friday morning, we made pumpkin protein pancakes and watched Disney movies, because if we're not 90 years old, we're 9.
*We headed downtown on Saturday for a walk through the Union Square Greenmarket, lunch at an old sandwich shop and book browsing at Barnes & Noble. There might have been a hot chocolate from City Bakery thrown in there, too. That stuff is insane. Two sips and I was down for the count.
*It wouldn't be a weekend without a few walks/runs in the park. So we did some of that, too.

Happy Monday, friends. 

11/9/13

Top of the Rock.

We're trying to be a bit more intentional with the time we spend together these days - focusing on conversation and new experiences. During the holidays, we're planning a series of dates that help us fully appreciate each other and the season (the very best of the best, in my strong opinion). I'm hoping for a trip to the holiday shops at Bryant Park, a couple of nice dinners out and some low-key Christmas movie watching by the fire (of our Christmas tree candle). Blake will be gunning for UConn basketball game nights with Chipotle, I'm sure; doesn't exactly capture the spirit of the season, but you win some, you lose some.

Yesterday we walked to Rockefeller Center to head up to the Top of the Rock. We'd never been, but I love a good rooftop, so I had high hopes. The elevator ride alone is pretty awesome, and the views speak for themselves. This city still takes our breath away regularly, and we're so thankful that we get to be a part of its framework for a little while.

On the way home, we watched the setup of the tree in Rockefeller Center, which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. The very best of the best, I tell you.
^^those fantastic Central Park leaves. swoon.^^

11/7/13

These rainy days.

^^classic Gus.^^
These rainy days, man. I'm kind of loving them. Manhattan is a new breed of beautiful in the rain, and the mood is ideal for this time of year. It's as if the universe were saying, alright, i'll give you a couple of days, but after these days i'm going to kick you around pretty good until the holidays are over. Well, bring it on, universe. I've got my lists. I've got my calendars. I've got my lists of lists I need to make. But I so wish this season were a little longer. I would be just fiiiine with 6 months of autumn.

I'm taking the day off tomorrow. Earlier this week, I found out that all of my rollover vacation days needed to be used up by September 30th. So that was exciting, and prompted me to reevaluate my "hold onto those vacation days until the last possible second" strategy. Plus, I have a comp day that needs using, so here we are. Tomorrow we'll be playing tourist, and I'm pretty excited. It's been a lifelong (or week-long. whatever.) dream of mine to play tourist in this city of ours. It doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.

Happy almost weekend!

11/5/13

Lately.

^^We discovered ramen, and decided it's delicious. I wandered past Lincoln Center on my way home from a run and got distracted by their new art installations.^^
^^Loo and I looked stunning in blue wigs, and Heather was a very convincing Leslie Knope. Gus found the most comfortable place to relax during my at-home workouts.^^
^^We celebrated Andrea's birthday in Chinatown, and I made way too many (double batch definitely not necessary) pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for a colleague's birthday.^^
^^The leaves in Central Park looked lovely this past weekend, and Blake blew everyone away with his impressions during game night.^^
^^We made this pistachio cherry cake for Joanna's birthday (so many fall birthdays. it's insane.) and I went to a fundraiser for a colleague running a marathon for She's the First.^^
^^Loo and I wandered Tufts on a rainy Sunday and we took over an enormous table at Flatiron Hall for a(nother) birthday celebration with friends.^^
 ^^We headed to Carmine's for a family-style dinner with friends and celebrated (surprise) another birthday at small group.^^
 ^^I went to a fascinating lecture on GMOs at the New York City Bar Association; that building is beyond beautiful. We ended up with the greatest seats for Duncan Sheik's performance at 54 Below.^^
^^Our department offsite was at the New York Academy of Art (I spy Miley...), and I saw many sunsets from our office on the Hudson.^^