Tag Archives: life

surprise!

After I heard that my friend Gillian was flying to England to surprise her mom for her birthday, I decided it’d be perfect to surprise my sister by showing up for her college graduation in Jacksonville, Florida.

graduation girl

I’d been homesick for awhile anyway, and with a new job that provides generous personal leave, everything fell into place. I boarded a plane from Charlottesville last Friday morning and arrived in Jacksonville (after a bout of nausea, serious sinus pressure, and a nearly missed connecting flight) before 11 am, just in time to catch Jenny before extended family arrived. Even though my dad had explicitly mentioned my name in connection to weekend events the day before, Jenny didn’t suspect a thing. In fact, she called me while I was in the grocery store parking lot 5 minutes from the house to talk to me about post-graduation plans.

family graduation

We enjoyed post-graduation hors d’oeuvres courtesy of our mother,

fa2 fa3

spent some time relaxing and shopping on Saturday,

morning cerealregal cat

and hung out with my Florida friends (and the kitten) on Sunday afternoon.

fa14 friends at beachsisters at beach

It was a wonderful, albeit brief, trip home. I’m so glad I survived my first time flying alone to see loved ones and enjoy the Florida weather. Congratulations, Jennifer!

sisters at beach

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week(s) in review

beautiful yellow lily

The past couple weeks have been busy!

In the past two weeks, I (and sometimes Daniel):

  • completed my first and second week at the new job
  • made the discovery that I’m mildly allergic to vinyl
  • bought some greige nail polish at Sephora
  • wore shorts for the first time in 6+ months
  • drank at least one cup of iced tea every day
  • realized we’ve lived in Charlottesville for more than 8 months now
  • went to Staunton to meet Daniel’s dad for breakfast
  • took lots of photographs of flowers
  • ate at a new Mexican restaurant
  • went on a nature walk with a friend
  • lamented the fact that my car AC no longer works
  • thought about growing out my hair (again)
  • attended a portion of the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival
  • bought a vintage denim skirt at Low Vintage
  • ate at Song Song’s Zhou and Bing with a friend (I really love that place)
  • missed my old job
  • finally bought some studs to wear in my second and third ear piercings
  • made chocolate chip banana bread
  • attended a fun potluck
  • tried to make a daisy chain
  • thought up a few new features for Style Wise
  • reduced prices at Water Lily Thrift in honor of spring time
  • contemplated how to balance ambition with contentment
  • felt sorrowful over the return of house centipedes, sugar ants, and spiders
  • talked to a friend on the phone
  • got lots of allergy-induced headaches

pink tree flowers

– Reading: anything and everything on Rachel Held Evans’ blog
– Watching: Treme; King of the Hill
– Listening to: random Pandora stations at work; the Penguin Cafe Orchestra CD my sister got me for Christmas
– Anticipating: life puzzle pieces falling into place so I can take the next steps with confidence

tom tom founder’s fest

tom tom founder's festival

The banner went up for the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival about a month ago when I still worked downtown; I kept telling myself I’d look it up when I got home. I started to hear of food trucks and live music and talks. Friday night, Daniel told me that he was having an awesome time perusing local art, enjoying a bustling downtown atmosphere, and attending a poetry reading. Since I worked ’til 10, I was determined to make the most of it on Saturday.

My friend, Greta, and I headed downtown around noon. We stopped in for some bing (dumplings) and peanut salad at Song Song’s Zhou and Bing, then headed over to Low Vintage, my favorite vintage shop in town, where we bought a few items and chatted with Nora, the owner.

low vintage lo4

The weather was perfect for a lazy stroll down the mall. Eventually, we meandered over to Lee Park to enjoy the live music. We sat on the grass and ate locally made popsicles – I had the Strawberry Hibiscus and Greta had the Banana Macademia Nut. We took our time people watching and generally enjoying the atmosphere.

charlottesville downtown mall flowering tree strawberry popsicle

Spring festivals make sense. We’ve suffered through the dark winter months and we need to celebrate. We need something to gather outside for, to come out of the woodwork for. We need to be reminded that we exist together in a community and that we collectively deserve to enjoy the moment before it passes.

tt5 purple flowering tree

If you live in the Charlottesville area, think about taking part in the final events of the weekend – they’ve got a few interesting talks lined up for this afternoon.

week in review

week in review

Haven’t done one of these in awhile. It’s interesting (to me at least) to see how my blog transitions and adapts over time. But I really do want to record my life as it happens, however broad that description of events turns out to be, so that I can look back on it and remember more of the details instead of letting the mood or feeling of the months and years fog the memories as they were actually experienced.

This week, I (and sometimes Daniel):

  • experienced more snow
  • had a few lovely spring days
  • got my new glasses in the mail
  • got my car fixed
  • got fitted for running shoes (that I may buy eventually)
  • went thrift shopping
  • updated Water Lily Thrift
  • celebrated the first day of spring by wearing pastels and floral prints
  • made Brunswick Stew (it was a success)
  • went to a potluck dinner
  • drank too much coffee
  • acknowledged my tendency to buy too much
  • took in two highway scenic views and breathed the cold air
  • started working on a Fair Trade Charlottesville blog

– Reading: Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston; Sweatshops Still Make Your Clothes by Jake Blumgart for Salon
– Watching: Treme; The Wire
– Listening to: Mates of State
– Anticipating: Spring; starting my new job

food for thought

 

“If you do really like what you’re doing…you can eventually become a master of it…and then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is…it’s absolutely stupid to go on doing things you don’t like…and to teach your children to follow in the same track…to bring up their children to do the same things. It’s all retch and no vomit – it never gets there.” – Alan Watts

end of isolation

bug in paper lantern

For the past two weeks it’s just been Daniel and me. And it’s nice to spend time together – to work and read and relax in the same room for hours on end – but almost everyone else left town and you kind of feel like you’re holed up in a room the size of Charlottesville with nothing to do and only your second half to talk to (which may really just be yourself).

Last night we broke the fast from socialization with a potluck dinner. I sat on a couch squished between two people, leaning forward to take in the conversation, and felt grateful – and lucky – to be a small part of such an interesting, dynamic, funny, and thoughtful group. The isolation was worth it for the chance to realize that.

That being said, the past few weeks have helped me think through and intensify my goals:

  • I’m eating (a little bit) healthier, eating in more, and saving money.
  • I’m taking more walks.
  • I’m considering delving back into the world of portrait photography (I’m offering free photo sessions in the Charlottesville area).
  • The advertisements I put out for my store are slowly but surely bringing in new customers and I’m staying on top of bookkeeping.
  • My fair trade blog venture is bringing me great satisfaction.
  • I’m in the process of working with Fair Trade Towns USA to approve the city of Charlottesville for their Fair Trade directory.

How do you work through periods of isolation? How are you achieving your short and long term goals?

closure

The new year always throws me for a loop. I spent yesterday at home, off work, in a miserable mood, lashing out anytime Daniel so much as spoke to me. I guess a new year makes me feel obligated: to change bad habits, develop good ones, get motivated, achieve everything at once. In the final weeks of a year, I’m in full relaxation mode; not enough time to worry about accomplishing major goals or making significant decisions. It’s the only time, possibly all year, that I feel at ease and live day by day. All that being said, I don’t think I gave myself enough time for closure, and I’m hoping this list will help me sort 2012 out, close the book, and move forward.

blue ridge mountains

Five events that have been the best this year?

  • getting my name in the company newsletter at work
  • my last summer adventures with Florida friends
  • St. Augustine for our anniversary (even though it was brief)
  • seeing Obama in downtown Charlottesville
  • exploring Virginia

fossildandelion

Five events that have been the worst this year?

  • dealing with corporate crap at my former jobs
  • getting poison ivy
  • moving away from close friends and family
  • my bad attitude during Thanksgiving
  • doubting myself so often

kayaking st. augustine

What have you learned this year?

  • I am surprised by my own selflessness and selfishness. The pressure to figure out life really got to me this year, but I think I’ve settled into a more moderate temperament, trying to take opportunity as it comes and not be too hard on myself lest I completely destroy myself with internal verbal harassment.

lichgate

Was it the year that you had in mind?

  • I was so wrapped up in self doubt and work drama at the beginning of 2012 that I don’t really think I envisioned what the year would be like. I knew we might move, but I didn’t think too hard about it. If I had anything in mind, it was that I would become a successful fashion blogger and adored internet presence by the end of the year. It was my temporary solution to being miserable with my non-virtual life. Things were better than that, though, and I’m glad I moved.

wakulla springs flagler

What clothes did you wear the most?

  • My oatmeal colored Mossimo cardigan, like, every day.

dining room

What music did you listen to the most?

  • the Sherwood CD Jenny left in my car
  • Mates of State
  • Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise album (I listen to it a lot every year)
  • various Bluegrass music
  • the Simon & Garfunkel Pandora channel

What have you watched?

  • TV: Friday Night Lights, The Office, The Middle, My So-Called Life, The Cosby Show
  • Movies: Bernie, Take This Waltz, Perks of Being a Wallflower…

carter mountain

Which people did you hang out with most?

  • Andrea and Mike in Tallahassee, a little group of church goers/PhD students here.

What new people did you come to know?

  • Many, many new people. We’ve met a lot of great people here: Daniel’s colleagues, church friends, small group friends, and my coworkers.

obama in charlottesville

What is the best thing you’ve read?

  • Fiction: Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games triology. 
  • Nonfiction: Still by Lauren Winner

Did you do anything this year that you’ve never done before?

  • I traveled to Virginia for the first time, moved far away from family for the first time, and became a barista.

Did some of your friends become parents this year?

  • Yes, but not close friends.

What was your biggest achievement in 2012?

  • Managing to make money selling vintage online.

snow

Best bargain?

  • A limited edition print of Jacob’s Ladder from Israel that I got for .50.

What did you spend the most money on?

  • the U-Haul truck.

What do you wish you’d done more?

  • woken up earlier.
  • practiced the banjo.

Favorite video of the year?

yellow leavescouple photo

What did you do on your birthday in 2012?

  • ate Chinese food at home and felt sad.

How would you describe your style in 2012?

  • uncertain. I spent a lot of time over-thinking my personal style. I think it’s settled down into a sort of casual-girly-grunge thing.

shenandoah valley

 

(list from happy, honey, & lark; from Rodeo)

lately.

outfitI haven’t really talked about the day to day here lately and that’s really what this blog is all about. Here’s an update on the past couple of weeks:

  • I rediscovered my computer’s Recycle Bin after accidentally deleting it two+ years ago. It feels good to know those 3,761 items are gone for good.
  • A man walked into the shop near close last week and handed my coworker and me a single pink tulip each. It brightened my day.
  • Daniel survived the end-of-semester panic and is now safely within winter break.
  • Most of our friends left town to visit family for the holiday; it’s a bit sad.
  • A small portion of Daniel’s family is coming to visit just in time for Christmas.
  • I restarted work on a scrapbook of lithograph prints from nineteenth century biology books; it’s tedious work for someone who doesn’t enjoy scrapbooking, but I’m pleased with the results so far.
  • I started Reading Women’s Stories: Female Characters in the Hebrew Bible. It’s a nice introduction to literary theory and Biblical poetry.
  • Daniel introduced me to Deadwood, an HBO series about the post-Civil War, American gold rush. It’s fascinating, humorous, and disturbing.
  • I bought a few American Apparel pieces on ebay.
  • I made a few decisions regarding future educational and career goals.
  • A new friend (and former Zumba instructor) invited me over for a weekend Zumba class.
  • I miss ballet.
  • This is my first year formally partaking in the Advent season; I’m convinced it’s a necessary first step toward Christmas. It encourages contemplation and separation from the Christmas rush. I think participating in Advent is the reason I look forward to Christmas this year.
  • I’m loving British fashion blogs.

Things have been a bit dull, but there’s nothing to complain about. I am grateful to live in a place I love near wonderful people, even if the bulk of them are currently out of town.

a poem for Advent

Light of Christ

She held it cupped in her wrinkled palms,
across her lifeline, it burned
And fragmented and grew.
She peered in, squinting hard,
Hands to nose
Stars igniting in her eyes.

She clenched it then, tightly
Pushed it away with the force of her now
elongated arm, like a sigh, or fainting,
or a fervent dance.

She didn’t let go.
Afraid, though, of
The Revealing:
over-exposure,
Conviction – no trial necessary

But it hurt, holding its
heat, its heaviness
She shuttered her eyes

Release.
She knows it’s gone.
She can see the sun with her eyelids pinched tight.
A whisper, a knowing – she musters the courage to
Look.

She is enwrapped in a gown of radiance
frothy and feathered and laden with silk,
A light that imparts light
A glow that reveals, not her own:
griminess, despair, darkness.
The light of truth and love,
The light of Christ encroaching on:
decay, vanity, deceit,
Death.

Embraced, ignited,
A girl on fire
Enshrouded in the revealing and
Holy Light of Christ.

here and heaven

A series of clicks on amazon brought me to an incredible, folksy album called The Goat Rodeo Sessions on which string greats Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile play 11 nuanced, melodically complex, introspective songs. Singer Aoife O’Donavan joins them on a couple of songs and Here and Heaven in particular hit me in that place where music becomes more than just organized frequencies – where life is explained, where beauty is at the forefront and, until the music stops, nothing else matters.