Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding!!

Well I am currently watching the royal wedding with my roommate, ahhhh!!  So beautiful, Kate Middleton is a fairytale come true!  Really have enjoyed watching the wedding this morning, makes me happy!  They're currently processing in the carriages, those horses are quite impressive!  And now they've gone into Buckingham Palace...I think I'll be missing the first kiss because I have to go to work then :(

A few notes - did y'all see those hats?!?!  Some of them are absolutely INSANE!!  Did you see the one behind the queen that wasn't even a hat but just like this strange thing on the ladies forehead in pinkish?  I thought Kate's mothers outfit was very fitting and flattering to her, the color was beautiful.  Very interesting that Pippa's dress was white as well but maybe that is tradition..I have no idea.  The little kids in the wedding were ADORABLE!

Well beautiful wedding, glad that I can say that I got up and watched it!

A few pics...not very good, sorry!

Beautiful tiara, it's a crowned jewel...

The Queen, couldn't get her to look up, gahhh

Precious little boys singing!!

Procession out of Westminster those kids -
Hary's hair is a little rowdy...
Have a CHARMING day and weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ode to Elephants

Life is the most spectacular show on earth

I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Water for Elephants last night with two of my favorite DCers, boy do I want my own elephant now.  I thought the movie was amazing, the costumes were exquisite, the backdrop and circus were so old timey, and all of the exotic animals were SO cool (especially Rosie the elephant!).   I read the book a year or two ago and although there were scenes that were added or deleted, the feel and look of the movie was what I had imagined in the book (I try not to judge movies too harshly in contrast to a book, I treat them as different entities and try not to judge one off the other).  I love the actors in this movie as well, Reese Witherspoon is just a favorite of mine and does a phenomenal job as Marlena, wife of evil circus owner August (he is does a great job being really hate him by the end of the movie!).  And then there's Robert Pattinson who plays the main character Jacob, he is ever so handsome in this movie and also does a superb job portraying this innocent veterinarian boy who suddenly finds himself on a circus train (not to give too much away).

Tai with her trainer!
Anyway, I did a little research on the animal side of this as I was interested on how they had all of those animals on set - I mean there were just tons - lions, zebras, horses, camels, dogs, giraffes, and of course Rosie the elephant.  I thought they may all be digitalized but it turns out they weren't (or they're just not sharing that on webpages)!  Rosie the elephant was played mainly by a 40 year old elephant named Tai (her favorite treat is marshmallows!)! The cast fell in love with Tai, they said she was the gentlest creature and Reese Witherspoon cried when the set was wrapped because she didn't want to say goodbye to Tai.  Below is a video on the treatment of the animals on the set (there are some gruesome scenes in the movie that portray cruelty to animals), none were harmed in any way in the making of this movie!

If you'd like to watch the trailer I've posted it below as well...I HIGHLY suggest seeing the movie, especially if you're an animal fan (although be aware, there are some rough scenes).  I'm sure after watching you'll understand my current elephant obsession :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The best part of waking up, is coffee in your cup!

...ok so I know it's supposed to be Folgers but I'm not a huge Folgers coffee person.  I am a huge fan of coffee in general though!  I love coffee, I know some say it's not good for you but I don't care, I adore it and would never think of giving it up.  Making coffee allows me the time to wake up for a few minutes and not jump right into my day.  Every morning when my alarm goes off I head right downstairs to begin heating the hot water (I do french press coffee).  I grind the coffee and wait for the water to boil and in that time allow myself to wake up a little.  I bring it back upstairs and sit in my bed, drink coffee and write in this blog.

Not only is coffee great to help ease me into my day but it is also a great community gathering tool.  How many times have you met a friend for coffee?  Or discussed something important over coffee?  I know I have many a time.  Some of my favorite memories are those sitting around a table chatting with friends and overcaffeinating ourselves.

As I was thinking about this blog post (props to Ellie who came up with the idea) I was thinking about coffee and the significance of it and my dad told me a story this weekend that fit right in.  My dad loves Chapel Hill and loves to take walks down Gimghoul Road with our dear friend Sally when he's there.  He told me that he was there a few weekends ago and was walking down the road and saw that the garden was open.  On Gimghoul Road there is a house that has an exquisite garden.  Two sisters in their nineties live there and every spring they open their garden up for the public to walk around in.  My dad and Sally walked up and one of the sisters was sitting on the porch drinking her coffee.  They got to talking and asked, what is it that's helped you live such a long and healthy life.  The sister answered, coffee, as she sipped out of her mug.  She said that she has been drinking a few cups of coffee a day out the same ugly mug for years and that has kept her going.

So there you have it...proof that coffee is an important and wonderful part of life.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back in the country

Well we ended up going down to Buckingham for Easter, UNC lost on Friday night so we packed up our stuff and headed south for the night.  It was a ton of fun and absolutely beautiful weather.  We spent most of the weekend on the farm and a lot of time fishing...Tighe has always been dubbed the "little fisherman" in the fam but we all caught at least one fish, and Tighe definitely did not catch the most fish (on Saturday she was the last one to catch one!!).  The annual Easter egg hunt was a hit, although Duncan stole all of my eggs AND found the golden egg...revenge, next year!

Anyway, great time was had by all - lots of fun fam bonding.  I'm at home today and wanted to post the gem of a photo that I was talking about on Thursday - may be a little blurry because I had to take a photo of it with my phone but you get the gist, you can see our tennis shoes in the pic (and lovely frowns)...enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Dresses

I am having the hardest time finding an Easter dress this year!  Every spring as a little gift to myself I allow myself to splurge on a fun springy dress for Easter...but so far no luck!  I'm very disappointed in Ann Taylor Loft which is my typical go to for my lovely Easter frock; their selection this year is horrendous, I didn't even try anything on (not to mention they had no sizes in the store).  I've also visited Urban, South Moon Under, The Bead, and Cloud 9 and have found very little (truthfully I probably could have found something at Cloud 9 but wasn't positive what I wanted yet).  Anyway, my last attempt today is Anthropology so I thought I'd spend my time this morning sharing some of the dresses I've found online that I'm going to try and snag tonight...if Anthro doesn't work I'm going to be up a creek without a paddle (ok I have plenty of dresses in my closest I could fall back on but still!).

I mean I would probably be absolutely fine without a dress considering I still don't even know where I'm going for Easter!  It's all dependent on my brother's lax game tomorrow night, if he wins they play on Sunday (which I am morally opposed to but oh well) which means we'll be traveling down to Chapel Hill (the games are at Durham but I refuse to say I'm going to Durham, gross) and spending Easter there.  If he loses we'll be in Buckingham where there will probably be about 5 other people at church...either way my dad has promised that we will still have our annual Easter egg hunt (a big deal in our household) - I'm hoping to win it all this year and stay as far away from Duncan as possible (he always steals my eggs)...Tighe's already trying to rally for a 30 second head way!

And back to dresses...

I absolutely adore this one but I think it is
a wee bit expensive...

So we'll see what my shopping extravaganza tonight brings...I'm not getting my hopes up too much.  Gosh, this reminds me of a picture that I so wish I had in DC with me to post here.  When my sister and I were little my mom dressed us up in these huge Easter dresses one year (they had crinoline in them and were super itchy, we had worn them as flower girls in a wedding).  It was my brothers baptism I think and immediately after church my sister and I ran upstairs to put on our play clothes for the Easter egg hunt.  We came back down and my mom insisted we put back on our dresses for a family photo, we were livid.  The picture sits on our piano in the living room, it's an adorable family photo, minus Tighe and I who are scowling at the camera and have our tennis shoes on with our dresses :)

Happy almost Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Yesterday evening I went for a nice long run around the mall.  As I was returning from my run and heading back to my car I remembered how much I like that time of day, dusk.  The sun is setting, people are out walking, the weather is still warm, it's just a lovely time of day - especially this time of year.  I'm not sure what exactly it is but everything is just a little more peaceful at dusk and everyone a little happier.  I guess the stress of the day is over, people are enjoying being outside, and the stress of the next day has not caught up yet - a perfect trifecta.

In college we used to take walks at dusk.  Right after dinner we would walk around campus, or out to the bluff to watch the sunset - it was always perfect.  At the beach we sit out on the deck, have a drink and watch the sunset - everyones back from their days, showered off the sand, and rejuvenated.  Even at home dusk is lovely - we're either inside getting ready for dinner or outside enjoying the weather and eating outside.

So spend some time enjoying dusk - go for a walk or a run, have a cocktail, sit outside.  It's the perfect time to let the day fade away and just enjoy the here and now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Snail Mail

Isn't it the best when you open your mailbox and amid all of the bills and junk mail there is a precious gem with your name on it?  You open it up and it is always an unexpected surprise to hear from a great the mail.  Letters are one of my favorite things.  Now, I have to admit, I used to be a LOT better at sending snail mail than I am now, but I'm hoping in the next month I'll have a little more free time to write more letters.

I keep all the letters that people write to me (ok I know, I'm a bit of a packrat).  If I go under my bed at home I'll find letters from all occasions - from get well letters, to just saying hi, to camp mail, or happy birthday.  There's something special about letters, different from e-mails.  It's like a little piece of someone wrapped up and mailed off.  You can pull it back out forever and have that special memory of that person.

One of my all time favorite letters that I've written is from when I was 11 years old.  It was my first summer at camp and I hated it.  I tried every way I could to get picked up or sneak out.  My grandmother gave me a letter a few years ago that I had written to her.  It is hysterical, I'll have to try and pull it out next time I go home.  I went on and on about how much I hated camp and how I would do anything if she just picked me up.  I think the last line was something like, there is no sunshine in my day.  Looking back on it I always burst into laughter since I ended up adoring camp and going back for ten years, but sometimes that's what letters will do to you.  Bring back a little piece of something that would have otherwise been lost in time.

Do you write letters to people?  I challenge you (and myself) to spend a little time this week writing someone you love a letter, you can be sure they'll appreciate it and it will brighten their day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Party

This weekend at Sewanee it is spring party weekend, one of my most favorite weekends there.  It just always ends up being so much fun.  The weather is beautiful, you can wear sun dresses, everyones happy, and there are just parties galore, I do wish I could be there!  I guess there's just something about the spring in Sewanee, it gets warmer earlier than up here and you see people everywhere you go.  Anyway, I used to adore taking photos during spring party so I thought I'd pull a few out and reminisce of the days when come Thursday everything was about having fun and going to parties.

One year we followed Molly around McClurg...

Love this pic, every's so happy at Phiesta
We used to have outdoor bands the Friday of spring party, so fun!

Fiji Island, always a good time

Molly Pitcher, always hysterical

Makes me laugh seeing this

That was a great day.
Ahhh, lots of fun...hopefully this weekend will be fun up north too :)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Attitude of gratitude

How do you like the new layout?  Still playing with it but would love to know what you think...there's so much out there but I figured I should start somewhere at least!

Anyway, today I wanted to write about having an attitude of gratitude.  This phrase specifically reminds me of one summer as a counselor at summer camp.  That summer before camp I was in a bad car accident and had to come to camp two weeks late.  I was put in a smaller cabin with one of my closest friends and we only had six campers.  It was the same cabin that I had been in when I was 15 and it was by far my favorite.  That summer we made our theme "attitude of gratitude" and tried to carry that theme through everything we did.  Those campers constantly reminded me to be grateful for what I had.  It would have been easy to sulk down and feel sorry for yourself after being hurt but thanks to that cabin in The End, I never did.  They took our cabin theme and ran with it.  To this day we still talk about how special that summer was (now those campers are sophomores and juniors in college) and how we carry attitude of gratitude with us.

And thus where this blog post and todays slogan come from.  It's so easy to get wrapped up in things and forget to step back and see the bigger picture, I know I forget to do that often.  During the Lenten season I always try to be more reverent and inner-looking but I admit I have not done the best at it this year.  My challenge to myself and to you is during this last week of lent to take a little more time to appreciate and be thankful for what's around you.  Be grateful for your family, friends, pets, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else in your life.  Tell them that you're grateful for them.  Practice appreciating people.  Even when the little things start to build up and you begin to feel as if the world is closing in around you, step back, take a deep breath, and think attitude of gratitude.

I'm really going to try to do this.  I know it will be hard because work right now is super stressful and busy but it is so important not to get lost or caught up in that.  I will take a few minutes each day and express my attitude of gratitude.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

That reminds me of something

Do you ever smell something and it automatically triggers a memory or a place?  Does it change your mood or take you back somewhere you hadn't thought about in ages?  Our sense of smell is linked to the brain's limbic system which is an area of the brain closely associated with memory and simple terms, our sense of smell can trigger a strong emotional response very quickly.

I had this experience just last night.  Yesterday was the first pretty toasty day here in DC and when I walked upstairs to my bedroom my room smelled a bit musty.  My mind immediately thought, it smells like summer, because that smell was associated with my room being warm and stuffy like in the summer, a conditioned response....can you tell I was a psychology major?  Anyway, that got me excited for what's to come.

Kind of a random post but I have a very strong sense of smell so always notice when a smell elicits a memory or a place.  This past weekend as I walked into my grandfather's house I smelled that same distinct smell that I always do in his house.  Or when I use herbal essences shampoo the smell always reminds me of bathing in the river at camp because that's the only shampoo we used to be able to use because it was biodegradable.

It's pretty great when you smell something that you're not expecting and it reminds you of something from long ago, when it happens you just have to smile.  What smells remind you of another time or place?  Have you had that sense recently where you suddenly smell something and it elicits a memory?

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers, it's spring!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Buckingham: Mt. Pleasant Edition

I had a wonderful time down in Virginia this weekend...although the weather didn't exactly cooperate.  As I wrote on Thursday, I went down to my grandfather's house in Buckingham, VA to spend a few days in the country.  It was so nice to just unplug for a few days and truly relax - no phones, no computers, just conversations and stories.  Some days I feel like we miss that these days, everyone is so connected that organic and natural stories go by the wayside - if there's a lull in the conversation everyone goes to check their phone.  

Anyway, on Friday we spent the morning at Mt Pleasant, our family farm that has been in our family since 1745.  If I could go back in time I would for sure come back to Mt. Pleasant when it was a working farm and the house was still there.  Back then my grandfather's family all lived there - his father was one of seven siblings and five of them lived their almost their whole lives.  In 1984 there was a fire and the beautiful brick house burned to the ground.  I've heard many stories about the house and the family and all of the history and stories that lived inside the house, to have seen it would have been a site.  But what can you do.  It's so neat to hear the stories and the history that came before me, my grandfather has so much knowledge of our family.

I did have a chance to snap a few photos while I was there (although I would have loved to have had an SLR for this occasion) so you can get a feel for what I'm talking about.  Today the farm is a tree farm and my grandfather still does most of the upkeep.

Cool farm equipment

Family Cemetery

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Buckingham: General Store Edition

So I'm going to do this post in two parts as today I can't seem to find the pictures I want to show you all and so I'll have to take some more and post them on Monday.  This weekend I'm headed down south to the very very very small town of Buckingham.  Now when I say small town I mean there is a gas station, a church, and my grandfather's old store and that makes up the center of town...ok I think there is a courthouse somewhere I'm just not sure where.  Anyway, my mom's side of the family is from this teeny little town of Buckingham and I have been going down there my whole life.

As a child we would go down to Buckingham and spend all of our days at my grandfather's general store.  His store was one of the last remaining general stores that I know of (I took a class at Sewanee that explored the fall of the general store among other things...I'll save that for another post though) and we absolutely adored it.  In the morning we'd get up and have pop-tarts (that's what he always got us and we loved them since we were never allowed to eat them at home) and then call down to the store to say we were coming.  The funny thing is the store is about a minute walk from my grandfather's house but we were never allowed to go down until he came out waiting for us.  We would run down into his arms and thus our day at the store began.

Really didn't look too different than this!
We would do different things throughout the day at the store.  We had a tricycle and firetruck in the back that we would ride back and forth from one side to the other.  We would organize all of the rows of food and other stuff.  We would stand in the freezer until we were too cold and had to come out.  When we were older we learned how to work the register and loved doing that.  We'd do crafts, play games, pretty much anything you could think of, we'd do.  It was a special place, at the time we sometimes found it boring and not as much fun as going to the beach, but looking back, what a cool experience to have.  To have been a part of a true general store that are somewhat extinct now is very neat to me.  And when I say true general store, I mean true.  People would come in to the store at the same time every day to get their stuff and socialize - there was the coffee crowd in the morning, the lunch crowd in the afternoon, and then there were always just a few people sitting around the middle of the store chatting, sometimes for hours on end.  

My grandfather's general store was the center of the town, a true community gathering space.  One story that I can't resist writing about is that of the witches.  There were these two ladies that lived in the back woods of Buckingham that my grandfather would pick up and bring down to the store from time to time.  They were sisters and didn't have any kind of transportation to get out of there house.  One time my grandfather asked my sister and I to come with him to get them.  So we hopped in the truck and drove on over...they got in the car and my sister and I looked at each other and mouthed witches.  They were these ladies with about half their teeth, dark brown braids in their hair and just about every characteristic you would think a witch would have.  They would look back at us in the truck and smile and Tighe and I would squeeze each others hands, we jumped out of the truck and ran to my mom.  They also smelled funny.  They came into the store and did all of their shopping (usually people just picked up a few items) and then my grandfather took them back to their house.  Tighe and I were scared for days...

So that's a glimpse of Buckingham and my grandfather's old general store.  It closed down a few years back and is now my uncles candle factory.  It was such a unique and different spot and I am thankful to have been able to grow up experiencing true country people and community that gathered there (I'll have to save Ms. Lester for another day, a true Appalachian woman).  I'm excited to get out of the city for a few days and get back to a simpler way of life, no cell phone service, no internet, as my brother used to say, "just me and my imagination".  I urge all of you to do the same once in awhile.  Go back to a special spot that meant something to you growing up.  Think about what that spot meant to you at the time and how it influenced who you are today.  Take a break from the hustle and bustle and just relax in the country, I'm sure you won't regret it!

More to come on Monday, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sewanee Angel

Last week in my post about Liz I mentioned the Sewanee angel but wanted to save the explanation for another post.  The story of the Sewanee Angel is that within the gates dwell Sewanee angels.  When you leave the Sewanee gates you tap the roof of your car to take your Sewanee angel with you to protect you while you are away from the University.  When you return through the gates you tap the top of your car again to let your Sewanee angel roam free with all of the other angels on the mountain.

Below you will find the official story of the Sewanee Angel:

It's a lovely Sewanee tradition and if you are ever in Sewanee you will see students and alumni tapping the roof of their car when they leave and enter the gates.  It makes me happy to think that a Sewanee angel is always looking out for me and brings me a little piece of Sewanee wherever I go.  As you've probably noticed by now, Sewanee is a very special place for me - such a unique spot where I learned so much about myself and who I wanted to be.  These little traditions are what make the place so mystical and of the reasons why the Sewanee bond is so strong.

Do you have any special traditions from the college that you went to?  What makes your university special and unique?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just for fun

I love playing sports.  Growing up I played softball for six years...until I was 11 and they started getting serious about the sport and I switched to lacrosse.  I did gymnastics, field hockey, basketball (although I was terrible and my mom would pay me if I shot the ball), and tennis.  Then in the summers at camp we would play all kinds of sports as well including volleyball (my nemesis), wiffle ball, and my personal favorite - deck tennis.  Deck tennis is a game where you have two teams and a net and throw the ring back and forth (see rings below).  It is absolutely fabulously fun (although kind of hard to explain - think the basics of volleyball but with catching and throwing a ring?)!

Anyway, now that I'm older I don't always have a chance to participate in games of the sort as often.  But a few weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I wanted to sign-up for tennis classes and I did!  Yesterday was my first class and it was a lot of fun!  I was definitely a bit rusty but it was nice to get back out there and work on my strokes and run around a bit...especially after the night before and a big breakfast at Ted's Bulletin.  I really do love tennis, it's one of those games that you can pick back up whenever and get back into it.  I'm excited for this class and to get back into a sport...I mean running and working out are ok but there's nothing like getting a good workout from a sport you like!

What's your favorite sport?  Have you played it recently?  Maybe it's time to get back out there and start playing around!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Summer's least in pictures!

Beautiful sunset
It's been gloomy and cold here in DC this past week so I though I'd spend today with some pics of spring and summer and all things bright and cheery, enjoy!
Bethany Beach outside my grandma's house

Being a DC tourist 

Berkeley veggies...mmm
Stranded on the beach...thanks mom and dad
My dad going down the that's gotta
make you laugh!

Debordieu beach trip, yesss
Greensview in Sewanee...favorite view on the mountain

...before you know it spring and summer will be upon us and gloomy days behind, so slap on a smile and face the thing you know you'll be on the beach with a drink in your hand!  Have a great weekend!