Monday, May 28, 2012


It's been a good holiday weekend with a good mix of activities and people.

Cookouts, margaritas, movies (lots of movies), gardening, crafts, cleaning

Today I spent plenty of time alone (something this introvert needs) trying to forget about the overwhelming week coming up.

Instead, I spent some time getting my new planter ready for my largest tomato baby.

Even better was the blue coconut slush Ravena brought me back from her return trip to Richmond.

blue tongue

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Everywhere is home

water towers

Chelsea Hotel

I hopped a bus on Thursday bound for New York City with Scarlet for nothing more complicated than I see possibility in buildings with water towers perched on top. Because creative energy seeps from the pores of its denizens much like steam escapes subway grates. I can occupy a bar stool once sat in by Billy Collins and eat barbecue at an establishment owned by the guy who brought sexy back. It's a town where anyone can blend in, even a girl who travels 4 hours only to sip a drink mixed with lavender honey in a dark bar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

List: Endorsed, 5.16.12

wide open americana

- We're Alive: A Story of Survival, I discovered this zombie podcast a little over a year ago but struggled to get into it. Much of the acting was weak or over-the-top. However, I gave it another try on my drive up to Lancaster, PA and can say that I'm officially hooked. A few of the actors have found their footing, and I'm completely wrapped up in the story. Listening to We're Alive has the feel of an old school radio serial (a good thing!), including sound effects that completely help immerse you in the middle of that world. I dread the day I actually catch up and have to wait for new episodes!

- This zombie infograph, via The Comicbook Nerd

- Campfire Chic, While there is nothing zombie-specific about Kam's blog, she seems to be a little bit sci-fi nerd and all adventuress! Her stories of climbing, hiking, and outdoor adventures are some of my favorite. Plus, they're bound to be good training in the event zombies attack ;-)

- Newsflesh series by Mira Grant, I love the origin story and political thriller aspects of this zombie series. I reviewed the first book in the series here and can't wait to pick up the series finale when it comes out later this month.

Endorsed is inspired by the Slate Culture Gabfest (and the numerous other lists that circulate online).

Traveling through Lancaster County

I spent a couple of days last week at a workshop in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It was a whirlwind trip with many hours spent in the car, but the journey was worth it (lots of learning and spending a little bit of time in a beautiful part of the country).

One of my favorite parts of visiting new places is hunting down unique places to stay. Adaptive reuse of historic structures is my absolute favorite. I get as giddy as a kid at a carnival. Ecologically sensible, preserves a bit of history, and is almost always more aesthetically appealing. I ended up spending this trip at Lancaster's Cork Factory Hotel. Built in 1865, it began producing cork in 1875 and later Kerr glass bottles in the 1960s.

The hotel, itself, was cozy and the staff very accommodating. The lobby was reminiscent of how I would imagine old roadside inns were. Dark, exposed beams and low lighting welcomed me when I walked in the door. The registration desk was just that, a simple desk staffed by only one person. I also loved all of the brickwork and was smitten with the exposed brick wall in my hotel room.

Cork Factory Hotel

Cork Factory Hotel stack Franklin and Marshall

disturbing sprawl

farmland obsessed

Lancaster was a bloody, sprawling catastrophe outside of its historic downtown and Franklin and Marshall. Target and other strip malls were overtaking farms and the surrounding countryside. The Amish tourist attraction above was sandwiched between the Target and another series of shops.

I managed to escape for an hour or so and found a back road to Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, PA. I hadn't been to Amish country in years, and I was little blown away by the seeming exploitation of this culture. Everything was geared toward tourists, and it had a very Epcot feel. I was very conscious of the culture and not wanting to be that girl. I bypassed several photo opportunities because the thought of taking the picture made me so uncomfortable.

How do you handle picture taking in the midst of other cultures?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

a month of brunches

brunch #3

vanilla yogurt + homemade (by Ravena) granola

brunch #2

coconut risotto + a bit of cream + bananas + cinnamon

morning smoothie #weekinthelife

banana + coconut + spinach smoothie

brunch #1

Uncle Austin's Mexican pancakes with coconut

Bananas, ice and perhaps some berries crushed in a blender. With sleep barely removed from eyes and hair piled on top of my head, this is how my mornings roll during the week. Breakfast rarely happens. I decided to start recording my Sunday breakfasts a couple of months ago because I found these meals and quite moments of reflection some of my favorite hours of the week.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Adventures in Gardening: week 5

grow, baby, grow

Some people have human babies and animal babies they photograph and track.
Well, baby humans aren't really on my radar screen, and baby animals leave me
breathless and sneezing. I have, however, wanted to grow my own food for the
past few years, and I finally took the plunge this year.

 My five week-old tomato babies. From seed to salad.

Go here for beautiful writing on tomatoes (and more).

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Art of doing very little

Last week was really busy at work with all day fish meetings, city council meetings in faraway cities, and other stuff. I was lucky enough to be able to stop in the midst of all that and have dinner with Katie, a college friend who happened to be in town. Katie and I spent a couple of years in college traveling around with a few others doing college debate. I love that we can just pick right up whenever we see each other.

ceiling at Lincoln
 Lights at Lincoln Restaurant, where you should go if you have the chance. 

Still, busy weeks (and knowing even busier weeks are coming up) make me want to hole up in my apartment on the weekend and spend time reading and writing (and maybe even making). So, this weekend I wallowed in the art of doing pretty much nothing. I left my apartment to see the Avengers*, buy a few groceries**, and a visit to the Merrifield Garden Center.

orchids Tomato accessories

I was on the hunt for another succulent and some advice on my growing tomato plants. I'm intimidated that I chose beefsteak tomatoes. All of my reading and conversations with my mom lead me to believe I'm going to have some massive plants on my balcony. I love the colorful cages above for giving my future plants some stability.

 Merrifield is one of my happy places.

Needless to say, it was a relaxing weekend with very little to share. :-)

* <3  
** Fixings for homemade kale pesto

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Deliverance: An ode to the Chattooga

Kennebec River  
The Kennebec River...not the Chattooga

Until this weekend, I had never seen Deliverance. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this (whatever), but I kept getting it confused with The River Wild with Kevin Bacon. This past week Deliverance came up at work during a coworker's going away celebration. It was shot on the Chattooga, and it turns out a few staff have some interesting stories (funny, colorful tales that I'm probably not allowed to tell for legal reasons :-)) of their own time on the river. I considered it serendipitous that I saw the DVD on sale for $5 this weekend. After I got over the shock of it starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight instead of Kevin Bacon, I tossed it in the cart.

Dudes! Why have I never seen this movie? Burt Reynolds opens the movie with an environmentally charged rant against dam building and the killing of this wild river that is pretty indicative of the time in which it debuted. If you know anything about what I do, you know this is my bailiwick (well, a more radical version of my supposed pragmatic bailiwick). I also didn't realize how much this movie has infiltrated pop culture. Dueling banjos and so many other lines were surprisingly familiar.

Let's talk a little bit about the hillbillies (mountain people, rednecks, whatever). They were made creepier because they reminded me of my own run-in with the locals on a project several years ago. I wish I were exaggerating when I say this, but two guys with just as few teeth as those in Deliverance did their best to convince us to get in their pickup. This, of course, was shortly after another local fishing near the river called me a bitch with a southern slur when asking me to move my car. Thinking back, it's probably best I hadn't seen this movie earlier in life.

P.S. That river...gorgeous! The Chattooga clearly stole the show.

P.P.S. Has anyone seen Cabin in the Woods? Was the seen where they stop at the gas station on the way up the mountain satirizing a eerily similar scene in Deliverance?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Book It, the adult version

Atomic Books

Megan over at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life has issued a gargantuan summer reading challenge. I'm not even kidding. Take a look at some of the different categories she lists below.

Read a book you were supposed to read in school, but either bailed on or Cliff-Noted. 
Read a memoir or narrative nonfiction book. 
Read a book that you've always wanted to read but haven't gotten around to yet.
Read a pair of books that have antonyms in the titles.
Find a book written the year you were born that was later made into a movie. Read the book and watch the movie.
Read a trilogy. Total page count for all three books together must be at least 500 pages.

You can see the full list and sign up for the challenge here. Thanks to Jessica of Sweet Green Tangerine for first posting about it! I want to play along, but I just don't know if I can squeeze in that many books. Of course, my mom always told me that I gained nothing by not trying ;-)