Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Southern Wedding

Tomorrow we are driving down to the Atlanta area for the wedding of a dear friend of mine from college. I love all weddings but I'm doubly excited for this one because it's my first time as a bridesmaid! My sweet friend (who was also in my wedding almost three years ago) has been the opposite of a bridezilla and the whole process has been such fun. I'm looking forward to lots of girl chat as we get ready, beautiful Southern mountain weather for the outdoor ceremony and reception, and witnessing my friend marry a really great guy.

And one more thing! The bride will be wearing my veil as her something borrowed. I was so touched when she asked about it and was probably even more enthusiastic about the idea than she was. There's something so intimate about sharing something you wore on your wedding day with another bride. That veil has seen a snowy New York day and the inside of a grand cathedral, and now it gets to feel the sun and billow freely in fresh autumn Georgia air.

This is the good stuff, friends.

Image Source / Us with the bride and groom to-be at another dear friend's wedding.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pretty Dried Things

I'm not much of a seasonal decorator. I prefer to mark the shift from summer to fall with things like thicker comforters, extra cups of hot tea, glowy candles on the coffee table while I read, chili and cheese quesadillas, wool sweaters and my favorite pair of red leather boots.

But a few days ago as I enjoyed a crisp walk around the neighborhood, I was inspired by all of the cozy little changes I noticed on front stoops and in windowsills of the houses on and around our block. Plus nature herself was in absolutely lovely form, showing off orange berries on deep green bushes and golden leaves that danced through the air.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Kevin Spacey and Artistry

How was your weekend, friends?

We heard Kevin Spacey give a talk on the arts at UVA on Saturday night and it was really terrific!

He spoke in Frank Underwood's eerie, drawling accent a couple times which was hilarious and totally surreal to hear in person. He was funny and even more accomplished than I knew (did you know he runs an impressive historic theater in London?) and you could tell he has a burning passion for the arts, which I would guess is not the case for all movie stars.

But my favorite moment was when he quoted John Adams, who wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail in 1780:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

Acknowledgement of the importance of art mixed with American patriotism is a surefire way to my heart.

It was a really fun night. Kevin Spacey's talk solidified for my husband that he is indeed his favorite actor. And it impressed me very much to see this very famous, very successful actor demonstrate a true devotion to artistry.

Image Source

Friday, October 17, 2014

Homemade Pizza with Prosciutto, Arugula, and Caramelized Onions

My parents are on vacation out west and on the phone yesterday, my mom was telling me about this incredibly delicious prosciutto and arugula salad they'd had the night before. It was chilled and dressed in a lemony vinaigrette and my mom said it was delightful. 

It must have made an impact on me because I found myself later that day in the grocery store shopping for the supplies to make a homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza for dinner. (Except I forgot the prosciutto. The multitude of mozzarella choices distracted me. My husband saved the day and bought some on his way home.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teaching and Learning

It might be true that teachers do almost as much learning as the students in their charge.

My students teach me so much during our lessons, probably without even realizing it. It might be a raised eyebrow when we're discussing time signatures (a topic that brings up questions for most beginners--ugh, math!) and my challenge is to use new words, to figure out how their mind sees and understands, to use analogies and imagery and charts if necessary to help them make sense of it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Free Fun

Something I've noticed about our new city is that it's brimming with free fun.

Free fun! Fun for free!

At the end of August we met up with some friends at a vineyard at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a beautiful summer day. We spread out blankets and opened up our picnic baskets and fanned ourselves with paper plates while we enjoyed a polo match. It was delightful and felt so fancy, and all we paid for was the wine.

I've lived in quite a variety of places and I don't take this for granted. If you're a New Yorker and you want to watch polo, be prepared to rent a Zipcar, drive out to the Hamptons, and spend a good chunk of change getting yourself into a swanky polo club for the afternoon. Live in Alabama and have a hankering for polo? You're fresh out of luck. But in Charlottesville all you have to do is pack a picnic and drive 20 minutes west on a Sunday afternoon and voilá--free fun!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

City Living

Phew! It feels like ages since I sat down to write. I arrived back home on Monday and the weekend in New York was really wonderful. I thought I'd type out some of the trip's highlights...


The food. We ate some delicious food. Zucchini fritters with tzatziki sauce from a favorite Greek place. The best donut I've ever eaten--a light, and fluffy vanilla bean glazed exterior with a tart, homemade blackberry jam filling. Mussels and frites and haricots verts from my beloved French restaurant in my old neighborhood. Slices of plain cheese pizza from the best pizzeria in NYC. Grilled polenta with mushrooms from my sister-in-law's favorite restaurant in the West Village. A decadent treat I used to sometimes get back in my city days--Hungarian coffee (coffee with almond extract, whipped cream, and cinnamon) from the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

Everything was so yummy.


My brother and I went to one of the most awe-inspiring art exhibits I've ever seen. It's hard to explain really. Hanging from the ceiling of St. John the Divine Cathedral are two, 100-foot long sculptures made from debris the artist found at construction sites. One is a male phoenix and the other is a female phoenix and they are breathtakingly beautiful. This is modern art done extremely well and it would be worth a trip to NYC to see them before the exhibit is taken down.


Meeting my brother's girlfriend was very fun. We all had a lovely meal together and it was great to finally meet her after hearing lots of bits and pieces about her from my brother. She's so sweet!


Lots of gabbing and girl talk with my sister-in-law. I'm so thankful for her! She truly is the sister I never had and our conversations about life and love and family are so good for my soul.


I got to go to Redeemer with my brother! Sadly, Tim Keller preached at the early service so we didn't get to hear him, but the service was very moving and rewarding all the same. The music was especially beautiful and whenever I go to Redeemer I always feel such sincerity and liveliness among the congregation. It's a very special church and we left refreshed.


On Friday afternoon I had a total urge to play frisbee (college campuses on cool, fall days will do that to me) so we hunted around for awhile until we found one in a tiny, packed-to-the-gills hardware store near Columbia. It was actually really funny. The shopkeeper didn't know what a "frisbee" was so we described it as "a flying disc"...."you play catch with it?" He knowingly smiled and said "ahh" before climbing up on a ladder to reach a very, very high shelf, from which he pulled down a dusty, orange frisbee wrapped in cellophane. We payed $5 for it and walked to Morningside Park, as if this were a perfectly normal way to acquire a frisbee. It was all very weird and satisfying.


The best part was time spent with two of my favorite people. I loved being back in "my" city, I loved smelling the familiar smells and getting around on the subway and ordering pricey coffee from cute cafes. But mostly it was so wonderful to see my brother and my sister-in-law in their home environments. I feel terrifically happy to be living on the East Coast again and nearer to the people I love!

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