November 29, 2011

Getting Stuff Done


This week I am working my booty off to get my photo work done so I can relax into the Christmas season and enjoy every last morsel of cheer. I have a Thanksgiving "recap" to write and a few fun little Christmas craft projects planned to share with you. I also have a to-do list for the apartment that could make Santa weep tears of hot cocoa. But one thing at a time and it'll all get done. And if it doesn't get done, it wasn't worth doing in the first place.

For now, I'm pouring a cup of hot peppermint tea and listening to my "White Christmas" station on Pandora. If you're a fan of the more classic, "oldie" holiday tunes, you can't go wrong with this station. It's marvelous.

The above illustration is a print by Mary Kate McDevitt. She has a sweet etsy shop and I already purchased this print from her over the summer. I love etsy; there is so much variety, it always feels like a treasure hunt. And it feels good to buy stuff that is handmade, designed with care, not mass-produced. Do you shop etsy? What are your favorite shops?

(poster print by illustrator Mary Kate McDevitt)

November 23, 2011

Gratitude and Nuzzlefests

How is tomorrow Thanksgiving? It seriously snuck up on me this year, like a devious turkey popping out of the bushes. Even more frightening is the fact that we're ready. After 3 grocery store trips and one massive refrigerator clean-out, we're ready. Last week was crazy. It left me exhausted and dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions. My car was in the shop getting a new transmission, Sean's car died on us on a rainy Wednesday night and needed a new battery. Needless to say, I am completely looking forward to the long holiday weekend ahead.

Having An Attitude of Gratitude

Lately I've been envying people who can just go home, have dinner, and sit and relax, read a book, knit, or do whatever they want. It's not easy trying to start up your own business when you're still working a 9-5. Not easy at all. But I love it, and we soldier through. We do what we can and make the best of the situation, even if it's less than ideal at the moment. I am thankful for Sean and his love and support. He knows that my photography makes me happy and fulfills me, and he's willing to give up time with me in the evening so I can make it happen. He's seriously a rock star of a husband. I am reminded of this constantly.

With the crazy schedules and traveling every other weekend, we jumped on an opportunity to have an adventurous date night last week. A friend of ours posted on Facebook that he had 2 tickets to the Jets-Patriots game last weekend. After hemming and hawing for about 10 seconds, we decided to go for it. It was Sean's first Patriots game, we had amazing seats, and although we were completely surrounded by incredibly frightening, drunk, and angry Jets fans, we had an amazing time. And the Patriots won. Bam! It was worth every penny we spent for a night out together.

Some little things that made me happy lately are:

Setting the timer on the stove for 45 minutes when I get home from work and power-cleaning the apartment. I can get a lot done when I set my mind to it!

Being able to laugh with Sean over the ridiculousness of car repairs.

Our dinner date last Tuesday night, going out for Indian food, sharing a bottle of red wine, and cooling our burnt taste buds with ice cream.

Snuggles with my kitty. He has been crawling into my arms almost every time I sit down at the computer and we have little nuzzlefests. We're gross, I know.

Watching this video of parents getting an amazing surprise at a Bruins' game. It is probably the best video I have seen all year.

My Thanksgiving Menu

Sean and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving together in Connecticut this year since he has to work, so I will be cooking up a storm tomorrow for us to enjoy when he gets home from his shift. I often have conflicted feelings about not being able to spend holidays like this with our families. It seems so easy for some people. But I also grew up with my dad, a firefighter of 35 years, working on holidays, and learning that it's not about just being all together for one day, it's about doing what you can, when you can, to make the time you do have together count. If that means having Thanksgiving dinner at 7pm, or on Saturday, or celebrating a family Christmas in January, it's what we do.

Tomorrow I'll be making:
And for dessert I am making my very first ever pie! All-American apple pie with vanilla ice cream. I am so excited to make it. I confess, however, that I'm using a pre-made frozen GF pie crust, which can be found at Whole Foods in the GF freezer section. Please don't flame me. Most of you know by now that baking is not my forte.

Fill in the Blanks

I have another installment of fill-in-the-blank Friday, courtesy of Lauren at the little things we do. I know it's Wednesday, but I answered these last week and then never posted them, so here you go! As always, feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog!

1. A nervous habit I have is fidgeting. I am a toe-tapping, knee shaking, head-bobbling fidgeter.

2. Something that makes me sad is the number of people trying their hardest to accomplish life goals, and how hard it can be. Finding a partner, finding a job, trying to get pregnant, trying to pay off debt. We're all struggling with something and it's not easy.

3. Today I am thankful for my home and warmth. I woke up chilly this morning due to the temperature drop, and was reminded that there are people who do not have a warm bed, a roof over their heads, or the option to get up and turn up the heat if they need to. I am blessed, indeed.

4. My favorite room in the house/apartment is the kitchen/living room. They are open to each other and I love that it's a cozy space that encourages interaction, even if we're not physically in the same "room".

5. I can't stand people that cannot find one positive thing to talk about once in a while. The world is not so terrible.

6. If I had an extra $100 to spend today on whatever I wanted, I would spend it on frames so I can hang up the photos I recently had printed.

7. The last person I hung out with was my friend Katie! I stopped by her place in Rhode Island on my way home last Saturday and we got lunch and caught up. I am so thankful for our friendship. We worked together for a year when we both moved down here to Connecticut. She moved home after that year, but we've gotten closer and she's an amazing woman and friend. She is always there to listen and give advice, and she's just a joy to be around. I was so excited to meet her adorable new pup, Kipper! Kip's a rescue pup, and they also have Ruby (a.k.a. "Big Rubes") and Nanny (a.k.a. "Nanny Bananny", not pictured). I love this family. LOVE.

What are you plans for the holiday weekend? Are you going to decorate for Christmas? Watch football? Brave the stores at 3am for a flat screen? What's on your Thanksgiving menu? Whatever you do this weekend, enjoy it!

From our family to yours, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!

November 7, 2011

Knit One, Purl Two

It's been so long since I picked up knitting needles or a crochet hook. It feels like ages. I donated most of the yarn I had last year to my sister since she can whip up a woven creation in no time, and for a while my materials had been sitting in the back of my closet, untouched, collecting dust. But...I got the itch. And I blame Pinterest.

If you've never heard of Pinterest, it's a highly addictive visual idea board where you "pin" pictures of things that you see that you like, ranging from recipes to crafts to photography to things you'd like to bookmark to purchase at a later date. Like Facebook sharing, you can Like, Comment, or Share people's pins, follow people's boards, and browse what is popular in the pinning world.

So in the world of Pinterest I started seeing more and more cute scarves and crafts that I am dying to try. Here's the problem: I never graduated beyond knitting and purling. I never made anything more than scarves. And now I want to make everything! Well, not everything, but definitely this. And this. And probably at least one of each of this and this.

Sadly, this is all I have to show for right now.

 10 rows of knitting and purling that I just realized I already screwed up.

That should keep me busy through the long, cold winter, right? I can't even talk about driving home from work in the dark today. I can't. I already miss the sun.

Do you have any crafty hobbies you enjoy? Are you working on any fun projects? I would love to hear!

For now, I leave you with a sleepy kitty.

November 4, 2011

Merrily We Roll Into the Weekend

Have you had a good week? I have been a bit of a crazy person on an emotional rollercoaster, but overall I have enjoyed this week. I feel like I'm finally getting into a groove of updating and not writing novels for blog posts. Would you agree? Sometimes novels are good, but there's a time and place for tangents, and off I go on one again...

I am heading to Boston early in the morning to shoot a wedding, and the weather is looking to be - well, I'm not going to say it after last weekend's craziness. Mother Nature is a saucy minx lately, and I would hate to jinx the forecast. But I am excited for my couple and the location. It'll be an amazing day!

Sunset in Darien, CT 11/4/11

Here are some fill in the blanks courtesy of Lauren at the little things we do to send you into the weekend...As always, feel free to answer these in the comments or on your own blog! 

1. My favorite thing about this week was/is getting to spend real quality time with Sean, Loki, and some friends.

2. Colder weather makes me wish we had a cozy, crackling fireplace.

3. Three things that make me terribly happy as of late are flannel, my husband, and my photos.

4. If I could only wear one kind of shoe for the rest of my life, I'd choose flats. They're comfy and can be casual or dressy.

5. My personality type is friendly extrovert with homebody tendencies.

6. I have a serious problem resisting a second cup of coffee. I am trying to wean myself off that dependency.

7. My favorite color to wear is blue! However, I usually wear a lot of black, gray and brown, with pops of color.

November 3, 2011

Extended Family

Living away from our families can be hard, some days. It seems to get harder around the holidays, when I'm feeling more sentimental, missing the traditions I grew up with. It makes me appreciate the time we do spend at home that much more, especially on the random in between days where something reminds me of my brother's sense of humor, or I catch a whiff of salty sea air or the smell of the first snow falling on crunchy leaves. There are lonely days. It's easier with Loki keeping me company, but there are days or nights when I just wish more than anything that we were a short drive away from Mom and Dad's and I could just stop in for dinner or a quick visit. Or just a Saturday morning cup of coffee.

We are, however, blessed. We are blessed with close friends who live nearby and in our assorted late 20s, both married and single, no kids (yet). We have become each other's family.

We share Sunday dinners. We play games. We enjoy beverages. We laugh.

When hurricanes strike, we cook lasagna on the grill.

With no kids to take trick or treating, we eat pizza and watch Ghostbusters.

Our families extend beyond blood relationships. These are people who have become a solid part of the foundation in our lives. They are irreplaceable.

And it makes it just a bit easier on those days when I am missing home, when I want nothing more than to curl up on the puffy green couch with my mom, that there's someone nearby whose couch I can curl up on, enjoy a glass of wine, and find the same comfort of family and familiarity.

November 2, 2011


written November 1

If you're anything like me, the moment it is November 1, Halloween is over (regardless of whether or not your town postponed trick or treating due to snow - what??) and the holiday season is upon us. I'm not saying my Christmas tree is up and Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby are crooning over the Xbox - I know, I know, a crackly old turntable would be so much more romantic - but there's just this feeling in the air. It's a feeling that makes me think of sparkles and snow and crackly fires and ribbons and sitting around a table feasting and laughing. Thanksgiving is 3 short weeks away, and the promise of time spent with family, eating food and being all sorts of jolly, it just gets me feeling all warm and full of happy, mushy feelings.

This past weekend's snowstorm may have made these feeling even more apparent. As I adventured all over town on Saturday shooting a wedding, it was pretty clear that October-fall as we know it is over. October-fall and November-fall are completely different seasons as far as I'm concerned. One is all about pumpkin spice, foliage and the slightly brisk feeling in the air. The other is colder, crisper, the first real need for winter hats and coats and gloves. High school football games and marching bands with instruments frozen to fingertips. Pumpkin spice is traded for peppermint hot cocoa.

Today just feels different.

There is much to plan and look forward to, but it's also a great time of year to reflect and slow down. It's easy to get caught up in the "I need to shop" and "I need to prepare for 20 people to invade my house this weekend". Just slow down. Take a deep breath. Let the cold air fill you with energy. Snuggle into that sweater a little tighter. The first thing I asked myself this morning was How can it possibly already be November? That's what happens when life starts getting away from you. I am gripping as tight as I can to each day, to savor each feeling and experience of the season. The smell of the yarn that my grandmother crocheted into a winter hat for me in high school, after 8 months of being stored in a plastic tub. Wriggling into my fingers into my wool mittens...I am holding onto these things so tight.

My mantra going forward is simplify. One day, one moment at a time. I constantly find myself focusing so hard on the future that I miss the now.

There is no time like the present.