Thursday, March 31, 2011

Liz's Memory

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the death of my dear friend Liz.  I write this post not because I'm sad (because that's not the point of this blog) but because Liz was one of the happiest people I knew, so stay with me, I'll get there.

Liz and I were very close in college but our relationship started in high school as she was a year below me at Garrison (even though she was actually older than me).  Liz was the only friend of mine who knew me both in high school and college, we had a special bond because of that.  She was one of my little sisters in my sorority and was destined for great things.  She died suddenly during the spring of her senior year, I won't get into the details but it was a huge shock to everyone that knew her.

I still miss Liz a lot, I wish I could have shared some of life after college with her - I think she would have really enjoyed it.  Liz was the first person, other than my grandfather, that I was close to that I have lost in my life.  It was really hard when she died.  But in the past two years I have grown to understand that death is a part of life and as hard as it is, it happens, and we must learn and grow from it.

As I said earlier, Liz was one of the happiest people I know.  She knew just about everyone at Sewanee and was always so positive and friendly to anyone she met.  We used to have so much fun in college, on Sundays after a crazy weekend, sitting around with a bunch of friends doing stupid things and laughing until our stomachs hurt.  One of my favorite memories of Liz happened after our annual sorority bowling ball.  We were sitting in our sorority living room chatting and suddenly Liz just decides to dump a cup of water on my friend Sara's head.  Sara, rush chair at the time, turned around and said, "you will never be rush chair"...and alas Liz was rush chair the next year.  I still think of that night and have to giggle a bit.

And that is why thinking of Liz's memory makes me smile.  Two years later I have grown to accept that she is gone and focused on trying to keep her memory alive.  Liz's memory will always make me smile because she was always smiling and laughing herself.  As I think I've written before, I think it's important to talk about death and keep the person's spirit alive.  Sometimes it can be hard and awkward but it is still important.  I try to carry Liz's spirit with me.  Her enthusiastic energy and positive personality remind me to always stay positive no matter what.

Liz was a wonderful friend to me for 7 years.  I always smile when I think about her up in heaven and there is many a time when I have asked for her help.  It gives the Sewanee angel a whole new meaning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Art of Walking

Most Sundays when I'm home my mom, dad and I take a bit of a jaunt over in Robert E. Lee Park.  We walk and talk and make our way all the way to this one tree where we touch it and turn around, I enjoy it immensely.  In college I took an amazing class called Walk the Land.  Every Monday afternoon we would gather in a classroom, discuss our reading for the day, and then head out somewhere on the domain for a long walk.  Most of the time we didn't follow a trail, we just bushwhacked are way down or up a mountain until we found whatever Dr. Potter was looking for.  Walking the Land was one of the best classes I took at Sewanee, we talked about what walking means to people, and how it shapes them.  We talked about different excursions across America and why people choose to hike trails like the Appalachian Trail, what motivates and drives them to do it.  We read stories of famous hikers and learned about views on the art of walking.  It was an absolutely amazing and inspiring experience in my Sewanee career.

View from a beautiful hiking day at Sewanee

Dr. Potter, my amazing professor, yes he plays
the guitar and banjo often around Sewanee
Senior year of college my friends and I also hiked the perimeter trail around Sewanee, a trail over 20 miles around the domain.  It took us two days and we camped out at the forestry cabin in between, it was a ton of fun.  A few of my friends had taken the Walking the Land class so we were ready to soak in everything that a long hike had to offer.  We spent hours talking about all kinds of things from what we were going to do after college to our favorite music to our deepest passions and desires for life, all the while enjoying the beautiful scenery and bluffs around us.  It is to this day one of my favorite memories of my time at Sewanee.

Enjoying Sewanee on the perimeter trail
Although in DC I don't have as much of an opportunity to stroll off to a beautiful view after dinner (which we often did at Sewanee), I do love walking around the city and looking at the beautiful row houses and buildings.  I try to continue my love of walking as much as possible, last summer one of my best friends and I hiked a mountain or two in the Adirondeck's which, although a little grueling, was a very neat experience.

I love taking walks with friends and family, it is about the best way to catch up with people and have a real conversation about life.  How can you not fee invigorated and rejuvenated after a good jaunt?  What's your favorite place to take a walk or go hiking?  the beach?  the mountains?  in the city?  out on the farm?  The possibilities are endless and the memories made while walking or hiking are priceless, enjoy them.

Taking a walk with old friends is simply the best :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Miniature Horses

As I've briefly stated in one or two other posts, I have a mild obsession with all things miniature.  As a child I was a huge fan of the dollhouse and polly pocket...and from there my love for miniatures grew!  Today, one of my very favorite miniature things are miniature horses.  Have you ever seen one?  They are absolutely adorable!  We had one at the barn at Sewanee, his name was Biscuit and he had the bluest eyes and longest tongue you'd ever seen!  I like them more than regular horses because, although I enjoy riding, miniature horses are not so intimidating and they are so cute!

I've been asking my mom for years if I can have far I haven't had any luck trying to put one in our backyard.  I'm hoping that one day we can have one down on our family farm (or maybe even two!) and I can come down and see them, they're great companions for regular sized horses!  Anyway, take a look at some of these presch animals:

Look at that sweet thing!
They like to socialize with all kinds of animals!
They get along great with dogs - Chip (my dog) would love them!

How can you resist?

So now that you know a little more about my love for miniature horses, what kind of things do you enjoy a lot?  What quirks shape who you are?  Do you love miniature horses as much as me :)

Have a great day!

Friday, March 25, 2011


So this weekend my grandparents are coming into town to see my brothers' lacrosse game.  I thought I would spend a little time writing about my grandparents because they are precious and I love them dearly.  I have two "official" grandparents left and one adopted grandmother, my dad's mom, my mom's dad, and Edith.

Pop at the Claremont looking at some of the
old pictures.
My grandfather, "Pop" as we call him is simply adorable.  He was in the military and fought in the Korean war and has always lived his life in a very structured, military-like way.  Sometimes he even tries to pay my brothers to keep their rooms doesn't usually work very well though.  He's wonderful and still very active, he spends many a day down on our family farm bush-hogging and cutting down everything in site...much to the families chagrin sometimes.  He comes up for our games, travels around the country to our colleges, and loves his family more than anything else.  He's a bit quiet and reserved and is usually just taking everything...a nice contrast to my grandmother.  He's the sweetest man and would do whatever he could for the four grandchildren with the drop of a hat.  In fact, he has.  When Tighe was sick he travelled with me and my brothers out to California with only a day or two notice.  He is a true southern gentleman in every sense of the word and I can't wait to see him this weekend, I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving!

I think I've already shared this pic but I love
it so much I have to share it again!
Then there's Mimi's, almost exactly the opposite of Pop, but love her all the same.  Mimi is one of those people that when you go somewhere with her she has to stop about ten times to say hi to people.  An extrovert in every sense of the word, she can talk longer than anyone I know, she could strike up a conversation with a tree!  What I love about Mimi is her openness towards people and ideas, she is so accepting of people and truly wants to help in any way she can.  She has about 5-10 adopted daughters that she's brought into the family to try and help.  Mimi is also extremely religious.  Although we don't always share the same religious views I very much respect her spirituality and how connected she is with her faith.  Oh Mimi, she is truly one of a kind - if you've ever met her you'd know.  She's the matriarch of the Hutchins family and has done an incredible job of keeping her four children and thirteen grandchildren together.  If you've ever seen the show Brothers and Sisters, that is what our family is like as well.  There is always an issue or a controversy but no matter what, Mimi puts her heart into trying to solve it.

Anyway, thought I would do a little tribute to the grandparents since I love them dearly (although I didn't have a chance to write about Edith, I'll save her for another day).  Do you have grandparents that you are close to?  What makes them special?  Even though older people can sometimes get on your nerves I feel very strongly about keeping in touch and reaching out to my grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and family friends.  They will not be around forever and while they are here I want to learn and know as much as I can about what has shaped their lives and the stories they have to tell.  So spend a moment this weekend giving an older relative or friend a call, I can assure you when you get off the phone you'll be happy you did.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


As you can probably tell, I've added a playlist to my blog, I hope you like it!  It reminds me of my love of music.  If you know me, you know that I'm the type a person that has a song for just about everything, I have a constant playlist in my head.  Songs, like smells, elicit memories from different times in my life that make me nostalgic and happy.  I guess my love of music began as a child, I can remember a kayak ride with my cousin where my mom was teaching us camp songs, we loved it.  Or my dad putting on Elvis and all of us dancing around the family room, jumping on couches and playing the air guitar.  Music was an important part of my life growing up.

My love of music is grounded in many areas but the place where I truly embraced music and singing is camp.  Music was a huge part of the camp traditions.  We sang after every meal, during team meetings, to say hello, to say goodbye, and just about everywhere in between.  We made up songs, brought back old songs and continued with the new songs.  Music brought us together at camp.  Today, when I hear a song that is a camp song I am immediately transported back to the summer memories.

My teammates and I wrote a song for our annual
camp song competition under this tree.
My love of music continued on and as I grew up I learned more about songs and artists that I enjoyed.  My freshman year roommate was a huge music fan (also an old camp friend) and she turned me on to bands like Talking Heads and Belle and Sebastian.  From there my love of music has only grown, I listen to Joni Mitchell and think of a trip to the lake in college, or Bruce Springsteen and think of all of my cousins rocking out at the beach when we were about five.  James Taylor will always remind me of my mom and TAPS will be something I sing to my children as they drift off to sleep.  A good song or artist can inspire you, reinvigorate you, and energize you.  Music can make you laugh, make you cry, make you dance until your feet hurt.  There's a song for just about everything.  

How did you come to your love of music?  What songs or artists evoke precious memories?  What does music mean to you?  Take a moment today and listen to a song you love, I can assure you by the end of the song you'll have a smile on your face and your mind will be racing back to a musical memory.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

True Friends

Good morning!  So I don't have much time this morning as I have to be at work an hour earlier for the board meeting but I thought I'd share this youtube.  Even if you've already seen it, watch it again.  As they say at the end of the video, "love knows no limits and true friendship lasts a lifetime".  It's a precious video showing just that, enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kid Favorites

Growing up I had a few shows that I loved to watch.  Seeing re-runs on TV always make me smile.  I think I'd have to say that my favorite show growing up was Full House.  I adored it...surprise surprise, as I'm a huge fan of family shows even now(queue Full House opening song...I tried to get the Full House theme song to play first when you opened my blog but not sure if it worked).  There was DJ, the oldest, who was always annoyed at Stephanie, the middle child who always said "how rude"(still say that to this day), and then Michelle, the baby.  Then there was Uncle Jesse and later Becky, Uncle Joey, and the girls dad, Danny Tanner (played by Bob Saget...I still get sad when I see him as a sleez on Entourage).  Oh yeah, then there was the neighbor and DJ's best friend Kimmy who always made fun of Stephanie.  They were one big happy family and I loved them.

Michelle was played Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen...another obsession of my sister and I's growing up.  We ADORED MK & A's movie series...I can still sing all of the songs from Mary Kate and Ashley's Sleepover Party(seriously I can).  My sister and I used to try and be them and do detective work like they did in their detective movies.  I think we owned almost all of the movies..including major motion picture It Takes Two which I can also still recite half the movie.  Do you remember any of these?

What about Pippi Longstocking, ever watch that?  Another one where I can still sing the songs, Pippi Longstocking is coming into your town...I was always amazed that she could lift up her horse!  I watched this movie over again in college and still loved loved it!  

Might have to do another post some other time as now I'm thinking about all of the Nickelodeon shows I loved (I hope all of this isn't making you think I didn't go outside as a child...don't worry, I spent lots of time outside exploring).  There's nothing like taking your memory back to your childhood and thinking about some of the things you loved, they seem so simple now but at the time these shows and movies were like gold...and must have driven my parents crazy!  What were some of your favorite shows growing up?  Do you still seem them playing re-runs every once in awhile?  Take a trip down memory lane and think about those favorites, I have a feeling when your done you'll have a smile on your face.


Monday, March 21, 2011


Good Morning!  I hope you enjoyed the lovely the spring weekend!  As I was running this weekend I noticed lots of daffodils coming up and it made me ever so happy.  Daffodils are one of my most favorite flowers.  They represent so many things, the coming of spring being the most commonly known.  They represent rebirth, new beginnings, honesty, and truth.  One of the reasons I love them so much is because they just pop up naturally, for the most part they're not planted or planned.  To this end, they come up at just the right time, reminding us that spring is upon us.

Although all of these reasons make me love daffodils ever so much, there is another reason why daffodils always make me smile.  My grandfather.  They were his favorite flower.  At his funeral all of the grandchildren put a daffodil on his grave because they were his favorites.  My grandfather loved many things in nature; he was an avid bird watcher, took trips around the world to see animals, and could tell you where to get the best melon on the eastern shore.  That said, daffodils have always been the thing that remind me of him the most.  Every spring when I see the first daffodil bloom I can't help but smile and think of him.  

It makes me happy to have this special reminder of him.  It gives me strength to see daffodils because it reminds me that my grandfather is out there somewhere watching over me.  Daffodils keep my grandfather's legacy alive.  I know I will always think of my granddad every spring, with new beginnings and rebirth, daffodils also remind me of the great life my grandfather led.

I believe remembering those who've left this world is an important part of keeping them alive.  Death, although always sad and heartbreaking, is a part of life.  I believe we honor those who've died by continuing to have them in our lives, by remembering their legacy and passing it on to the next generation.  That way their spirit will never die.  Do you have something that reminds you of someone you've lost?  Does it make you happy to see that thing and think of the time and memories you've spent with that person?  What do you hope to be the thing that people see and think of you when you leave this world?  

Sorry this post is a bit deep for a Monday morning, hope it gives you something to think about during the week ahead!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marcel the Shell...

...with shoes on

I love youtube videos, they're just hysterical to watch - I think because most of them are the perfect segment of time to keep your attention.  My all time favorite youtube is Marcel the Shell with shoes on, have you watched it?  If not check it out here:

The little shell is just so adorable!  Do you know what I where as a hat?  A lentil...ahhh love that shell!  Did you know that Marcel the shell is going to be a book?  I will definitely be buying that as soon as it comes out!

So this brings me to a topic of love that I have not written about yet, miniature things.  I know it probably sounds kind of strange but as a kid I just adored dollhouses and dioramas where you created a miniature scene.  As I've grown up my love of miniatures has day I'll write about my adoration for miniature horses!  Anyway, Marcel fits right into this category, it (not sure if Marcel is a boy or girl) is just so precious!

Do you have some type of weird thing that you love?  A collection?  World of Warcraft?  Embrace it and enjoy it, who cares what other people think!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Colors...and my inner preppiness

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  In keeping with the green spirit I wanted to spend today writing about colors I love.  Growing up I acquired quite a liking for pink and green...yes, I was pretty preppy in high school and the beginnings of college.  OK, so I had a bit of an obsession with pink and green, my friends used to say my room looked like pink and green exploded in it.  Although today my obsession has subsided and  I wouldn't consider myself quite the prepster I was then, I still have my moments when my love for color and preppiness take over.

Sooo today I thought I'd find some images that were colorful and fun and just made me happy for the spring and summer ahead...I mean how can I resist, it's ACTUALLY nice out finally!

Adorable mismatching little girls...the colors are so bright and fun!
Awesome cake, how can you not love pink
and green after looking at this?!

This is a page from Kate Spade's blog, it's a blog all about color!  I've always just been a big Kate Spade fan, everything is always so colorful and classic!

Can you guess where these prints are from?  If you guessed
Lilly Pullitzer, you're correct!  

I found this through dailycandy and am loving
their website, you can get samples of perfumes
for $3, check it 
out (isn't this bottle amazing?!)

I hope you enjoyed these images and they make you smile.  I know that all I can think about now is summertime...sitting on the beach soaking in the the sun, can't wait!  What's your favorite color?  What colors and images make you happy?

To quote from an old favorite song...

Think Pink 
If your like no other girl 
(think pink) 
and u will discover girl 
(think pink)
it's your favorite color girl,
it's the color of the world

...yup, used to love that song :) :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brunch Edition: The Blue Chair

It's been a few weeks since I've done a brunch edition so I thought I'd get back to writing about my favorite meal in my favorite places.  Today I'm writing about The Blue Chair, an adorable little spot in the cozy little town of Sewanee, TN.  As a student there were not too many places around Sewanee to go for brunch...The Blue Chair was about the only option.  That was ok though, you could never get tired of Blue Chair!

It sure is a special spot, by the time my friends and I graduated from Sewanee they were asking us who was going to come in all the time like we did, we loved it.  We used to go for just about every ocassion.  They have a pretty standard brunch menu, I always loved the breakfast sandwich (croissant with egg and cheese) or the eggs benedict.   Their coffee is absolutely amazing!  We used to sit there for hours getting over-caffeinated and chatting about who knows what.  It was always the perfect start to a Saturday morning.

One of my favorite memories of Blue Chair involves afternoon strolls to sit outside.  My friend Callie would come upstairs in our dorm and see if we'd like to walk down.  It was the perfect activity for a nice spring day; walking through campus, stopping to chat with people along the way, watching the kids get out at Sewanee Elementary, and ending at our favorite spot.  We'd order a coffee and my personal favorite from Blue Chair, a muffin, and go sit outside.  More times than one we'd be sitting there and some of our other friends would walk up, it was always the best when it was pure coincidence.  We'd sit and talk about our classes, our experiences, Sewanee in general.  Those afternoon conversations were always some of the more spiritual serious conversations as we discussed our beliefs and where they would lead us.

The Blue Chair is such a special place.  It's usually the first place where we all reconvene when we're back on the mountain.  It's the place where we had our last meal at Sewanee before we all parted ways after graduation.  It's the spot we'd come to relax and rewind, to laugh at ourselves and each other, to question what we'd learned, to figure out what life had in store for us.  Although the food is great, it's the atmosphere and memories that make the spot special to me.  If you happen to be in Sewanee, TN any time soon, you've got to try it!

(and one thing I didn't even mention, The Blue Chair employs women from The Blue Monarch, a residential program to get abused women back on their feet...Blue Chair believes in social responsibility as well!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Forward!

Good morning readers!  I hope everyone remembered to change their clocks yesterday since we went into daylight savings time!  Although we lost an hour yesterday in the end daylight savings time always makes me very excited of the weather to come.  That extra time in the evening allows us to do so much more with our days...especially for those of us who work a 9-5 job.  I love getting out of work and having it still be light outside!

For some reason the first thing I always think about when I think of being outside in the evening is catching fireflies with my siblings and cousins as a child.  This was about one of our favorite things to do, just as dusk hit and it began to get dark we would go out with our mason jars and try to catch as many fireflies as we could.  It was pure happiness being out there, the weather was warm, we were at the beach, and the only worry in the world was if the fireflies would live if we put them in a jar.

These days, sadly, catching fireflies is not what I usually spend my time doing after work.  It is lovely though to leave work and go running when it is still light out or eat dinner outside and watch the sun go down.  In the city it seems like everyone is outside at this time.  People are walking their dogs or catching up with neighbors.  Everyone is just a bit happier because the weight of winter has been lifted off their shoulders.  This is one of my favorite things about spring, happiness levels seem to increase because it is not so cold, flowers are blooming, and people are coming out of hibernation again....and it means summer, my favorite season, is only one season away!

What's your favorite thing about spring?  Do you do anything special during that hour or two extra of sunlight?  Make sure to enjoy that extra sunlight and have a great day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Snap, memory captured!

I love taking pictures and documenting events in my life.  I have often been known as the photographer among my friends, the one that always has to stop and snap a pic.  I'm ok with it though, I love looking back at pictures, and if I didn't do it, who else would?  The other day I was talking with a friend and we were talking about pictures of her and her fiance and it reminding me that I had taken a bunch when we were in thing I knew it was 11:30 and I had spent the whole night looking back through my old facebook albums (I have about 100).

I guess I'm a very nostalgic person so looking at a picture always brings back so many memories and makes me so happy.  Lately I've been really contemplating buying a SLR camera and taking a photography class.  I have a co-worker who loves taking pictures and blogs about it.  It makes me want to start taking photos more seriously than with my point and shoot.  I did take some photography classes in high school and adored them, maybe that will be a summer project.

I used to love love scrapbooking.  After a summer at camp I would come home and spend weeks laying out my scrapbook and putting it together (I know I sound like a grandma...).  Sadly, my scrapbooking phase has not been very successful lately.  I've been trying to finish a scrapbook from my 2007 summer in England for 4 years now...I've pretty much given up.  It is so much fun to look back at my old scrapbooks now and see how me and my friends have changed.

Anyway, a short stint on my love of photos, to end here are a few of my favorite shots:

Trip to Napa
4th of July parade
makes me laugh
Berkeley hills
First family pic after Tighe was sick

Florida birds
disclaimer: she does not need a walker
reminds me of being little
cool Napa shack
Beach walk in the snow
Unexpected warm day on the lake
mom's texting?
favorite tree at sunset
cowpasture river
can't help but smile

...I could go on doing this for hours!  As you can tell, pictures mean a lot to me, I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my faves (although there are tons more...)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

It's a rainy day here in DC and that got me thinking, what about rain makes me happy?  Of course the first thing that popped into my head was CAMP!  I went/was a counselor at Camp Mont Shenandoah for ten years and absolutely adored it.  One memory that pops into my head when I think about rain is two hour rest hour, don't you wish you still had that at work?  The best was when you went to rest hour and it started raining and you fell asleep to the rain beating down on the tin roof.  You'd wake up at about the time the bell should be going off for afternoon activities but nothing rings...TWO HOUR REST HOUR!

I think I enjoyed this much more as an older camper and counselor but the opportunity to sleep for two hours in the middle of the day, it doesn't get much better than that.  It was always so cozy in the cabins when it rained, there'd be a bit of a breeze and all you'd want to do was cuddle under your covers and go to sleep to the pitter patter of rain on the tin roof.

Other rainy day activities were fun too.  If it rained for awhile they would cancel activities and we would all go to west lodge and do things all together.  One of my favorite games we'd play was the bunkmate game.  In this game what you do is split into two groups and each bunkmate gets separated.  Both groups are asked questions about themselves but the other group does not know the answer.  The two groups come together and the counselor then asks the bunkmate to answer the question for what her bunkmate would say.  There is then one winner per cabin and then one group of bunkmates per cabin compete in front of the camp.  It is tons of fun and very entertaining on a rainy day!

Although rain is definitely not my favorite, it's nice to think about fun memories that allow you to enjoy the rain.  What are your favorite rainy day memories?

Here are a few camp photos, enjoy!

the river after a big storm

hanging out in the cabin

lip sync in west lodge

Final Banquet