31 January 2012

today it felt a little bit like spring. in the midst of cold and gray. in the midst of january. somehow the sun was shining and I was able to go outside for a quick walk to the bank in only one layer instead of three! and as I was walking back to the office I let myself stop. just for a second. I wanted to feel the sun on my face. I wanted to soak in the uv rays and stand for just a minute before the cold returns and settles back in until march. and let me tell you, those few seconds were just what the doctor ordered.

and what does any self-respecting lover of spring do when it's just about to be february and she knows the clouds and the chill are right around the corner? she goes out and buys herself some tulips. bright yellow ones. when all else fails and the frost is about to take over. because the winter blahs are no match for the bright yellow tulip. and when they open just in time to fight the cold that returns to my bones - that will be just what the doctor ordered too.

30 January 2012

remnants of home.

finally finally! I have framed and hung those lovely photos from that lovely lady!

she is the one who inspires me to take photos when I feel silly. and write moments down as they are happening (usually in list form). she inspires me to change my perspective. and notice the details. she inspires me to be thankful for every single moment of every single day. and she was the one who first inspired me to blog. you will see shadows of her influence all over this little site. because her ideas are ones that sneak in the back door and wedge themselves in my head until I just have to try them out for myself.

and now those photos get to inspire me everyday as I walk past them and out my front door.

just in case you want to be inspired too, here's her little shop on etsy. and who doesn't want to be inspired after all?

29 January 2012

washed out.

this one spawned an impromptu living room dance party. and friends, if there's one thing I love it's a good impromptu dance party.

28 January 2012

son lux.

wordless weekends are not so much about wordless music anymore. lately, its just about music that catches me off guard and has me playing it on repeat for days and days. music that slips in quietly behind the scenes and completely makes my day.

like this guy. who created this album in 28 days. start to finish. 28 days. are you kidding me?

27 January 2012

currently loving.

this list is wholly inspired by that great friend that I get so many good ideas from. in the midst of a million things going on in my head and a thousand decisions to be made there have also been so many little things that have made me recognize all that is true and good and beautiful.

in no particular order, all the things I am currently loving in january.

1. polaroid blue skies. they don't come around too often these days.

2. the work and ideas of kinfolk.

3. tulips. especially in the midst of cold that bites through your skin and settles in your bones.

4. that canon ae-1. I think I am in love.

5. nablopomo.

6. the poetry of czeslaw milosz.

7. blank canvas experiments.

8. planning an italian adventure.

9. keeping the christmas playlist around for just a bit longer.

10. fixing the record player. finally.

11. photographing things. or not photographing things.

12. degas dancers at the phillips collection.

13. rediscovering what I am passionate about.

14. instagram.

15. laughing when things are so out of control it's ridiculous.

16. getting to know great street art. like hense.

17. les misérables. well now I am loving that I finally finished it. totally worth the time people. totally.

18. strong black tea and vanilla soy milk.

19. music from m83. and I break horses. and gotye. and definitely bon iver. always bon iver.

26 January 2012

in the bag.

when I was 6 the contents of my tiny disney princess purse were all the things a little girl thinking she is an adult needs. my little pony wallet. dr. pepper bonne bell. and on sundays, the precious moments bible.

now I am 24 and the bag is bigger. quite a bit bigger. now I live in a place where I spend well over an hour on public transportation everyday. and I am always moving from one thing to the next. and that one bag carries around all the elements of my everyday, ordinary life. sometimes I wish I still had that disney princess purse though.

things in my bag on any given day:

bible - I'll admit, the precious moments one had better pictures.

a diary of private prayer - the way he prays is absolutely magnificent. a game-changer, really.

book of the week - granted, I've been reading Les Mis for quite a few.

camera - because I really like to take pictures. and I'm still working on that pesky courage thing.

notebook - because one must always be ready when the urge to play "harriet the spy" strikes.

metro card - that thing is like gold. gold, I tell you.

ipod - how else am I going to drown out the deafening silence of my commute?

planner - yes, I know there is also one on my phone. but I just really love writing things down.

cherry chapsitck - the grown-up equivalent to bonne bell. although not as cool as dr. pepper flavor.

phone - we all say it's for emergencies, but let's be honest, it's for everything else too.

wallet - it has a lot more stuff than the my little pony wallet. but not much more money.

keys - because I occasionally need to get somewhere.

various writing utensils - always more than one. always a multitude colors. please do not ask me why.

gloves - fingerless is important. because I have lots of things with pages that need to be turned.

what's in your bag?

25 January 2012

phrases I overuse.

someday I'll figure out why I say the things I say. I'll trace back all these little phrases to their origin. the best friend. the kids at youth group. the episode of friends. I know they all came from someone. because sometimes I just really like the way certain words sound together. and so I say them in succession over and over. and over. someday I'll figure out just why that is.

but right now it is late and I am tired and I have approximately 27 minutes to post or this whole nablopomo thing will be bust. and so the list is short tonight. the list of phrases I overuse.

1. here's the thing.

2. I think I might die. (sometimes I exaggerate. just sometimes.)

3. are you kidding me?

4. in my mind...

5. hey friend!

6. so good!

7. that's amazing!

8. let's be real.

9. oh no. (just like phoebe says it.)

10. that's great.

11. for the most part.

12. may or may not...

13. my favorite thing ever. (see #2)

14. well, there's that.

24 January 2012

photos I did not take.

I am not yet very brave when it comes to taking pictures throughout my day. I'm working on it but I have not mastered the art of boldly snapping away in the midst of strangers and the great unknown. but I still see all of it. and thanks to this genius of a blog, I remember to remember it. to catalog it in my mind and recount it with words.

a few photos I did not take today.

1. people running - always running - to catch the train. bursting through the ticket gates. bounding up the escalator. only to see that the train that is arriving is, in fact, going in the opposite direction.

2. sleeping. vacant stares. daily newspapers masking a tired face. waking up takes a while I suppose.

3. a homeless man alone in the courtyard with the fountain that has dried up in the winter cold. sitting on a tattered and filthy green throw pillow. throwing pieces of bread for the pigeons that are not there. he has such a large supply, breaking off piece after piece and throwing them in and around the fountain. the birds still don't appear.

4. the big red open-top dc tour bus. faithfully arriving at the same time twice every hour. with not a single thing on that top row of seats. except plastic seat covers flapping in the wind.

5. the "regulars." people who have become friends just by virtue of time and place. the daily newspaper man who tries to hand me a morning examiner every morning without fail although I have yet to accept one. the homeless man who is always in the same place and always smiles at me in a fatherly sort of way while telling me to "keep warm out there" or "remember to smile." the morning security officer who faithfully confuses my name with someone else's and continues talking to me even as the elevator doors are closing. the bank teller behind her glass. the train station manager in his booth. I like that we have created a sort of friendship through these shared bits of life.

6. rushing and rushing and rushing. to wait and wait and wait. to order lunch. for the metro. at the grocery store. rushing and waiting. always the same.

7. budget spreadsheet after budget spreadsheet. my mind slowly turning into mush. I'm actually okay without a picture documenting this.

8. an awkward side hug and glances out of the corner of the eye. it seems as though someone paired a first date with a lunch date. on a tuesday. this seems ill-planned to me.

9. lovely friends gathered around wine and cheese and chocolate covered raisins. gleefully watching quite a silly show. we mostly groan and mock but secretly love all the grand romantic gestures. the foundation of genuine community around something so ridiculous astounds and delights me.

10. teenagers walking by the house on their way from cvs. two boys and one girl in the middle. carrying mountain dew and joking about something I cannot hear. isn't this supposed to be a school night? and who even drinks mountain dew anymore? these questions lead to an even bigger one - when did I get so old?

23 January 2012

films I could watch again and again.

tonight I saw a movie that did not live up to the hype my mind had originally hyped. I blame myself, really. I should have had a bit more grace. but it did remind me how rare really good films are. so while this certain movie shall remain nameless, I will go ahead and name some of the ones that are worth it. in no particular order, a dozen films (there could be dozens and dozens) that I could watch over and over forever and ever. go ahead and have yourself a mini-movie-marathon. or just watch the trailers/clips below.

1. amelie.

2. almost famous.

3. lars and the real girl.

4. everything is illuminated. favorite book. phenomenal film.

5. juno.

6. man on wire.

7. the fall.

8. in america.

9. the royal tenenbaums. (such a close tie with the darjeeling limited.)

10. away we go.

11. good will hunting.

12. mr. magorium's wonder emporium.

what are some of your favorites?

22 January 2012

bon iver. again.

hello iceland. you are beautiful.

I know he is all the rage right now. and that you've probably gotten sick of hearing about him from me in one way or another. or another. but he is the one I always come back to when I don't know where else to go. when I need to be reminded of lots of things about myself. reminded to embrace uncertainty. and vulnerability. and even sometimes melancholy. and in this cold, dreary weather, he reminds me of summer concerts with beautiful friends. concerts that made me just really happy to be alive. I know that sounds a bit extreme. after all, he just makes silly music. but I'm not even exaggerating. I promise. silly music like this feeds my soul and makes me happy to be alive. plus, how cute is that kid?

in other news, come back tomorrow for the week of lists. oh, how I love a good list.

21 January 2012

gabriel yared.

this wordless weekend I am loving mademoiselle paloma. and a film that was so beautifully made it could have been wordless and I would have loved it just as much. but oh those words. I really loved them too. especially when printed in that book that consumed me in its delightfully slow burn. and gave me a whole new way of looking at the world. and friends, you know how much I love a new perspective. please go read the elegance of the hedgehog. and then watch the hedgehog. and then tell me what you think.

20 January 2012


working until 9pm on a friday night is the worst. then again. so is losing one of your gloves on a night when it is about 20 degrees. and there is a strong chance of freezing rain tomorrow.

19 January 2012

non può tornare indietro ora.

the first purchase has been made. an apartment in florence for eight nights. that's right. eight. whole. nights. I don't even think I can wait.

18 January 2012

I miss the sun today.

a photo for a day that is blustery and cold and biting. a photo for a day when I feel like I'm getting sick and want to crawl back into bed and stay there until the cherry blossoms bloom. come back, nice weather. I am not fond of this cold day.

17 January 2012

thoughts from :: sunday night.

okay people, it's about to get real. sentences have been forming in my head for days. erratic thoughts have lodged themselves somewhere and the only way to get them out is to write them down. and I have written them down. in every place but this terribly public one. but I started this thing to write more honestly and share more honestly. I started it to prove to myself that I could be real in someplace other than the most hidden part of my heart. so here it is. mom, don't freak out.

growing up is hard. growing up when your family is falling apart is hard. growing up when you feel really freaking alone is hard. God is good. but life is hard. being broken and longing for Home in the capital H sense is hard. when I put #19 on the list I wanted to understand what it's like to rejoice - truly live a worshipful life - in the midst of all that is hard. I wanted to understand how joy could remain when happiness faltered. I wanted to understand how God is faithful when everything and everyone else is not. although it was a goal for 25, I sort of thought it would take a long time. I sort of thought I would end the year with the words "work in progress" beside it. and yet here I am.

and I never expected it to happen quite like this. for it to take marriages ending and lives ending and things to change so quickly. I never expected everything to get so turned inside out and upside down all at once. and yet here I am.

here I am driving home with tears overflowing to the point that I wonder if I am a danger to my fellow evening travelers. and here I am feeling like the jigsaw puzzles I used to put together when I was young. everything seemed so pretty and neat and together until my little brother came over and threw everything asunder with his chubby toddler hands. but it's not his fault this time. it's no one's fault this time. I am a mess and I am in a million tiny pieces.

but here's the crazy thing. the sort of amazing thing.

I may, in fact, be having a complete and utter emotional breakdown. but I am not actually feeling as melodramatically despondent as it may sound. my heart aches, yes. I am completely broken, yes. but more than that - so much more than that - I am whole. or rather, I am hopeful that I will be soon be whole. I am not happy but I am joyful. and in lots of ways that doesn't make sense, but in one really big way, it makes perfect sense.

because I am learning that the joy of the Lord is a gosh-darn real thing. it's not about happiness and fun and laughter all the time. I was never promised that life. but I was promised that when I walk through fire I will not be alone. the fire's there for sure. but I have someone bringing me through it. bringing me through it in one piece. better, even.

and I am learning that if I can praise God in the midst of the innumerable blessings I experience every single minute, I better be able to praise him in the crappy times too. and what's even crazier is that I cannot believe how happy I am in this realization. how blessed am I that I have been counted worthy enough to praise him in the midst of my brokenness?

and I am learning that it's not about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses - although I would never say no to a pair of those. it's about seeing the world as it is and still knowing that it will be better. seeing the world as it really is and knowing that it will be otherwise. and it's only because of that persistent joy of the Lord that has been sticking on me like honey lately. it's only because of that faith as tiny as a pin-prick that things begin change and perspective shifts from illusion to reality. because it's not about how much faith I have. it's about who I have faith in. thank goodness for that. because most of the time my faith is way smaller than a mustard seed.

and here's one other thing about the joy of the Lord. it's there because I am also learning how to pray without ceasing. and when I say without ceasing, I mean without ceasing. I am praying even when I don't know I'm praying. because here's the thing: what other choice do I have? nothing else works. not talking about it until I'm blue in the face. not ignoring it. nothing else. not one thing.

and so now I am home with tears still coming. but they are full of a million tiny pieces of me mixed with loads of hope. and loads of grace I don't deserve. and I made it home without seriously injuring anyone. so there is joy in that too, I suppose.

16 January 2012

olafur arnalds.

one more beautiful song for wordless weekend while I am trying to order all my thoughts.

one more night to wonder if I can really say all that I want to say.

but he makes a lot of things seem more possible than I think they are.

15 January 2012

the xx.

the rest of wordless weekend. so many words on the way. honest words. necessary words.

14 January 2012


every few months I come back to this and can't stop listening.

13 January 2012

missing home tonight.

"I never realize how much I like being home unless I've been somewhere really different for a while."

12 January 2012

sometimes I wonder why it is that I like to surround myself with old things. I know the word "vintage" is so trendy and hip right now. but let me be the first to tell you, friends. from the moment the eight-year-old me put on that pair of green floral overalls and left the right strap unhooked. I am many things but trendy and hip are two things I am not.

and yet. I find myself seeking out things that are "vintage." things that have been loved by someone else and now are loved by me. from cameras to record players to typewriters and furniture. I love it when something was not mine first. when I know it traveled through all this time to finally land in my hands.

maybe it is the storyteller in me. the one who finds comfort in history and legacy and tradition. the one who is amazed by the idea that something had this whole life before finding me. to know that a camera once took pictures of birthdays and vacations and everyday moments of life. that it captured the ordinary instant for someone then like it does for me now. to know that a typewriter wrote letters to people who were loved. people who were dealing with life like I am dealing with life. to know that a record player has a million little imperfections but is consistent. consistent in its scratchy simple playing of songs I could hear on iTunes with perfect clarity. because sometimes I like not having all that clarity. sometimes I like when things are flawed and raw. that sounds just like real life to me.

so bring on the trendy hipster record shops. the "vintage" thrift stores. bring on the history. bring on the stories.

11 January 2012

czeslaw milosz

love means to learn to look at yourself
the way one looks at distant things,
for you are only one thing among many.
and whoever sees that way heals his heart,
without knowing it, from various ills -
a bird and a tree say to him: friend.

then he wants to use himself and things
so that they stand in the glow of ripeness.

it doesn't matter whether he knows what he serves:
who serves best does not always understand.
I could write pages and pages about how this changes the way I think about love. the way I think about the world. the way I think about myself. but for now, I'll just read it over and over again. and hope that you will too. and hope that you will tell me how it changes the way you think.

10 January 2012

today I came home to a care package of sorts from a lovely friend. some earrings I will most definitely be wearing to work tomorrow. because they will match everything. I tell you, that girl knows me. I love that.

there was also a card with sweet words on the outside and even sweeter words (her own) on the inside.

when the world says "give up" hope whispers "hold on just a little longer."

she told me that when she saw it she instantly thought it was me. I was kind of shocked by that. because a lot of the time I am a glass-half-empty type of girl. a lot of the time I am prone to melodramatic despair.

but lately. in one of the most difficult seasons of my life. hope has somehow become natural. I find myself finding joy in the midst of my sadness and humor in the midst of my confusion. I find myself still seeing the glass as half-empty but knowing, without a doubt, that it will get filled up eventually. one day it will be overflowing.

so thanks lovely friend. for the rockin' jewelry. and especially for the kind words. and really thanks to lots of lovely friends. you may not have given me jewelery but your kind words have not gone unnoticed. your words from a million different mediums and a thousand different places have been nestled in my melodramatic heart and are more important than I can even say. they are the hope that keeps me holding on just a little longer. you are the hope that keeps me holding on just a little longer.

09 January 2012

a wordless weekend indeed.

never before have I lived in a place like this. where power lunches actually mean something and my local news is your national news and - you know - decisions that affect the whole world get made.

never before have I experienced life like this. where I am consistently overwhelmed with people to meet and decisions to make and what seems like miniscule moments of time to manage between a million different things.

and yet here I am. the actions of growing up I suppose.

and sometimes I forget that in the midst of all this, I also live in a place with some of the most amazing pieces of beauty in the world. I forget that when I am overwhelmed with all the decisions I have to make, I can actually choose, just for one day, not to make them. I can choose, instead, to visit a special exhibition on edgar degas and his ballet dancers. I can choose to wander among paintings by van gogh and renoir and rothko. and I can choose to spend $25 and an afternoon shooting two rolls of film on a silly little camera. I can choose to let myself be an introvert for a few hours.

and that's what I did with my truly wordless weekend. I walked. I listened to pretty music. and I took some pictures. and it was just what I needed.

listened to:

gymnopedie no.1

and a nursery rhyme for another summer

and winter beats


08 January 2012

I break horses.

song from a truly wordless (and needed) weekend. scans and words on the way.

07 January 2012

wendell berry.

if we represent knowledge as a tree, we know that things that are divided are yet connected. we know that to observe the divisions and ignore the connections is to destroy the tree.

06 January 2012

wordless weekend is starting early. because I still can't shake this mood. and because I don't really feel like I have a lot of words left in me right now. and because take away shows really are the best. especially when they are with two of my favorite people for melancholy moods. because they remind me that to be melancholy is okay. to be quiet is okay. to be a bit unsettled is okay. it can be a good thing. it can be beautiful.

05 January 2012

today was a weird day. bad mood I just could not shake. inadequacies surfacing and trying to consume me like wildfire. loneliness following me around. feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions I am avoiding. uninspired. melancholy. uncertain.

thank goodness tomorrow is a new day. thank goodness every new day means a new start. thank goodness for that.

(one thing that helped a bit.)

04 January 2012

lessons from life in a snow globe.

going home for christmas this year was different for a million reasons. not least of which was the complete absence of snow unless you count what they are making up there at the ski resorts. which I don't. global warming aside, this year was the first time I went home really feeling like an adult instead of a child returning home just a bit taller. and it got me thinking about all the unique ways in which I got to grow up. and it made the past shine in new ways. because like most things that are good in quiet, unassuming ways, I totally took it all for granted.

1. how to build an epic snowman. it's all about the accessories. obviously.

2. how to exploit nature. yes, I was the girl who sold you a pine cone for $5. yes, I could negotiate up to $20 for a sugar pine. yes, you were the dumb tourist who agreed to all of this.

3. how to shovel a car out of snow. my dad thought this would be a good lesson for me to learn. he thought it would make me appreciate life more. it did not.

4. how to drive a boat before learning how to drive a car. also, who even gets to learn how to windsurf these days? regular surfing is so overrated in my opinion.

5. how to stack firewood. every summer, my dad would come home with loads upon loads of huge rounds of timber. and every fall, he would create a "family fun day" where we would all get together in a dysfunctional sort of assembly line and cut and stack said wood for our winter use. I don't know if I would call it "fun" but I did learn my way around a giant wood splitter and my spatial abilities when it comes to stacking hundreds of logs are unmatched. these skills have come in handy all the time in my life as a lumberjack. oh wait...

6. how to wear a halloween costume over a snowsuit. or how to wear a snowsuit as a halloween costume. (see bunny ears channeling my good friend, ralphie.)

7. how to get hopelessly lost in the wilderness and not worry about it. my unbeatable lack of navigation proved itself at a young age when I would be playing in the forest that was my backyard and suddenly find myself completely lost. after the third time I stopped even worrying about it. I knew I would find my way back somehow. or mom would send the police to find me.

8. how to apply snow chains. yes, I learned on a four-wheeler.

9. how to drive on ice and in snowstorms. I became so talented that I would often drive to school in a complete blizzard unfazed. while applying makeup. skills. and complete stupidity.

10. how to "keep tahoe blue!" and "don't feed the bears!" the two favorite town taglines taught me the importance of water clarity. and the fact that if you leave food open in your car you may have a bear living inside it by the morning.

11. how to appreciate nature. terrifically cliche to say, I know. but let's face it. how can you live in a town surrounded by snow covered mountains, with north america's second largest fresh-water lake right in the middle and not understand, at least a little bit, the vast intricacy and phenomenal beauty of the natural world?

03 January 2012

is this cheating?

how is it that a girl who owns five (now six if you scroll to the bottom of this post) cameras has actually fallen in love with the one on her phone and a little instagram app? quite concerning, really.

nevertheless. here's what happened in december.

christmas party bonfires.

dance party after-parties with my favorites. (see the one who writes such wonderful words.)

joyful reunions over wine and good stories. (see the international traveler and the brilliant foodie.)

morning walks to the office. again and again.

home. sweet home.

apple hill and sweet memories of apple picking and tree climbing.

evening walks in dc.

and the one that will change everything. (scans on the way, people. on the way.)

02 January 2012

it's a strange and satisfying feeling to suddenly realize that you are comfortable being yourself. I spent years and years worrying about how people were thinking of me. years of keeping my mouth shut for fear of saying something wrong. years of trying to shave off parts of myself so I would fit in and not be as awkward as I really am. so my brokenness and messiness would not be so painfully obvious.

and then I spent more years and years unlearning that. fighting against comparisons and perceived inadequacies and forcing myself to be...myself. but you see the irony in that, right? I mean for one thing, it sort of defeats the purpose when I am still trying so hard to be someone. plus, how can I make myself be who I am when I don't even know who that is?

then, all of a sudden. I was sitting there, talking to someone at a party and it hit me. I was actually saying what I was thinking. I was actually doing what I wanted to do instead of what I thought other people wanted me to do. and when I did something terrifically awkward (which, let's be honest, I am prone to do quite often) I was okay with it. I was being myself. and it was actually kind of easy.

it turns our that being true to who I am is not the hard part. the hard part is figuring out who that is. now that I am finally discovering and embracing that, the "being myself" part comes kind of naturally. I sort of wish I had figured this out sooner.

01 January 2012


just because it's the new year. and just because we want to kick off january nablopomo right. a short list of things to begin in this most auspicious and wonderful year. please note that these are NOT new years resolutions. I will not succumb to those...

1. get that record player working. if I can't listen to bon iver on vinyl soon I might explode.

2. load up the new (old) canon.

3. chalk it up. share some secrets. reveal the details.

4. get my butt to another country.

5. write. write. write.