Wednesday, December 26

Lately

Hello!
Smuggler's Cove, Tortola, BVI
 I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the holiday season.
JD and I are heading to the British Virgin Islands in the morning, weather permitting.
A nasty little storm is currently bearing down on the northeast. 
Hopefully, things go smoothly and the storm gets out of here quickly.
The sound of the wind whipping around outside my window isn't very pleasant.

I'm not expecting to blog very much over the next week, 
but if I can find some internet access I'll certainly try. :)

Until then... enjoy the week and have a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25

Friday, December 21

Flashback Friday: Italy

I find it fascinating how a something as simple as a scent can send you back in time.

A few days ago I stood in front my dresser. A little tin of Rosebud Salve sat between a book on the Queen's English that I picked up in London and my makeup tray. Until days earlier it had been forgotten about, buried in a purse that has been out of rotation. I had gone looking for it thinking that the balm could be a cure for the dryness of my favorite Nars lipstick (which is Heatwave by the way). The color is so lovely but it dries out my lips too much. I picked up the tin, twisted off the cover, and applied a thin layer to my lips. In an instant I saw the garden we sat in in Florence on the walk back froPiazzale Michelangelo on our first day, our lunch at the wine bar, and views of the Duomo from every point in the city. I saw the bridges in Venice that we came to know well as we explored the city. I saw the old narrow streets, the odd paintings on the ceiling of our hotel room, and gondolas slowly gliding down the canals. I saw our picnic in the park in Rome, the crowds in front the the Spanish Steps, and remembered how nervous I was standing against the iron railing on the third level of the Coliseum. Every last detail came rushing back.
Right before we had left for Italy, I picked up the small tin of Rosebud Salve from Sephora. I used it frequently last winter and during our trip. Up until the other day, I had no idea that it held such memories for me. I guess that's the funny thing about memories and what can trigger them. Something as subtle as the floral scent of my lip balm had attached itself to my thoughts of Italy.

Oh and, Happy 14th Baktun everyone! 
I hope the next 144,000 days are a blast!

Wednesday, December 19

More of Boston

A walk through the Common.
Since we went up to Boston on a whim, the hotel I usually like to stay at
didn't have any vacancies. We started from scratch and looked up hotels on Trip Advisor
in the car on the drive up. I found a place in the Back Bay that sounded promising
and reasonably priced. Even better, it was a located in lovely old building.
(It's called 463 Beacon Street Guest House in case you're wondering.)
I couldn't imagine living in such a place at a time when it was a private residence.
What am I saying? I definitely could imagine it. I'm sure it was fantastic.
What were once much larger rooms have been converted to smaller ones
to accomodate guests. On the walls lining the staircase were old hotel advertisements
(we're talking illustrations) and photos of Boston mostly taken in the first quarter
of the twentieth century. I stopped to examine them every time we went up or down.
The staff was friendly and attentive, our room was clean, and the location 
wasn't half bad either. Then again, Boston is a small city and walking around 
is only made difficult by the cold air, not the distance. I know I sound like 
an advertisement, which this certainly is not! I just love Boston.

Tuesday, December 18

Weekend View

Friday evening, we spontaneously decided to head up to Boston.
JD has been busy with finals (his last one is this Friday) and needed
to get out of the city. Where better to go than my other favorite city?
I am in love with Boston, I really should have gone to school there.
And I think after this trip, JD has jumped on the band wagon.

While in town we visited with our friends Alice & John, explored
some areas of Boston that we haven't before, and learned that I am 
terrible at bowling. We went Saturday night with Alice, John, and
their friends from New Zealand. Seriously, I didn't think I would be
as terrible as I was. There was a half hour stretch where I may as
well have deposited the ball directly into gutter and pushed it down
the lane. It would have been less embarrassing.

Monday, December 17

Friday

There are no words for what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
I cannot begin to fathom what they must be going through right now.
This world can be such a terrifying place. There is too much evil.
My heart breaks thinking about those sweet, innocent children and 
the teachers who sacrificed their own lives to protect them.

Something needs to be done to prevent such tragedies from happening.
Senseless, horrific shootings are being reported much too often these days.
I think it's time that we, as a nation, address mental illness. 

Thursday, December 13

The Night Circus

First let me say that I absolutely loved this book!

The story begins with two magicians, one who is a popular performer and one who is more 
mysterious and in the shadows. They agree to a challenge of skill between their students. 
One of those students in the performer's daughter Celia, the other is Marco, a young boy plucked 
from an orphanage. The two grow up, a venue is created for their challenge, and eventually, it begins. 
Celia and Marco are both a part of the circus but in very different ways. The two fall madly in love 
in that star crossed lover sort of way. In order for there to be a winner, one of them must die. 

The book is set up in a series of heavily detailed smaller stories all tied together into one larger tale. 
This structure allows for reading smaller portions at a time without feeling like losing your place 
or missing something. At first the stories seem independent of each other. They are told in 
different years, jumping around in long stretches of time from the founding of the circus 
to the latest date, the year 1902, which seems to be the present. It can get quite confusing at parts, 
forcing you to flip back a few stories to check the dates. The author's approach to the passage 
of time is clever. It leaves you constantly wondering and unsure of what will happen at the close. 

Had this story been presented in chronological order I feel that it would have 
lost some of it's appeal. For one, the ending would have been much more predictable.
There was a point where Marco asked a question of Celia that alerted me to the ending. 
I had a feeling that that was the way that things would play out, but the constant changing 
of stories and dates pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind while I wondered
 about other mysteries. There are a lot of them, mysteries, and they unravel slowly with time, 
making you want to skip ahead a few chapters, but as soon as you start the next little story 
you get so wrapped up in it that you forget all about the other one. 

 Through the smaller stories you are able to see the circus 
from every perspective. You get to experience The Cirque de Reves from the eyes of it's creators, 
performers, and patrons. You see the outside forces at work and discover the secrets before 
the other characters, except Poppet, she probably already knows the lot of it.


I liked the characters, thought they were well developed and interesting and was surprised 
to see that most of them were actually important to the story. I so often find that most characters 
filling the pages of stories are not integral to it's outcome. I like that everyone had a purpose
in this story. How very Jane Austen, she liked her characters to be useful.

I would definitely add The Night Circus to your reading list!

Wednesday, December 12

The Christmas Tree

Found it!

Sunday morning we went out to get a Christmas tree for JD's apartment.
Tree shopping in Manhattan is interesting. Tree size and price appears to vary by neighborhood. 
In the fancier areas where apartments are much larger the trees that line the sidewalks are taller 
and significantly more expensive. Of course there are smaller trees available everywhere,
but they're not cheap either. The going rate in the West Village for a six foot tree is about $80 
if you go to any of the sidewalk set ups, in Tribeca it's $100 plus. When did trees get to be
so expensive? Shelling out $100 for a tree doesn't seem to fall within the spirit of Christmas.
After scouting, we ended up doing best by going to the market across the street.
The selection was more limited but prices were (a little more) fair. 
The taller trees were all the same price with the smaller trees going for just a little less.
Needless to say, we decided on the biggest one we could find and then posed
for a series of ridiculously embarrassing pictures with it. 
And no, they will never see the light of day.

Next year, when JD and I will (hopefully) have a tiny little apartment of our own we will 
have to sleep under the tree. A scene to an early episode of How I Met Your Mother comes 
to mind. The one where Lily stole Christmas when she got into a fight with Ted. All of the
decorations crowded her tiny apartment to the point where she couldn't open the door.

Tuesday, December 11

Lost and Found

Saturday morning I flipped open my suitcase and pulled out a skirt I recently 
ordered from Topshop. I was unsure of whether or not I should keep it and wanted 
JD's opinion on the matter. I loved how it looked online but when it arrived in the mail,
well, it looked a little bit costume-y. We both agreed that it could work, I should keep it. 
I put the skirt back in my suitcase and took out my outfit for the day and got ready. 
JD went off to school for a review session and some studying, I went Christmas shopping 
around the village, eventually ending up in Chelsea. When we reconvened at the apartment 
later in the day, JD noticed that he had forgotten to take the garbage out before he left.
 A small yellow garbage bag sat next to the nightstand. He shook his head and said 
something along the lines of "I can't believe I didn't throw the garbage out this morning, 
I could have sworn I did." I looked at the yellow bag, filled with crumpled pieces of paper
and a red cup from a trip to Starbucks last weekend, and thought nothing of it. 

We settled in, made a snack, and began to get ready for the evening. 
My hair was curled, makeup touched up, clutch packed.
For once, I was dressed before JD finished ironing his shirt.
All that was left to do was to put on my shoes and we would be ready to head out 
to dinner before hoping on a train to Brooklyn to see The Rolling Stones. 
I flipped open my suitcase and pushed a blue polka dot scarf off to the side, 
I lifted out a pair of flats, and shifted the remaining clothes around. 
My Rag & Bone boots were not there. I looked around on the floor, thoroughly
checking under the couch to no avail. I told JD I couldn't find my shoes. 
He asked if I had remembered to bring them. This was plausible, after all
I had forgotten my hairbrush, and several other things I had meant to bring. Plus, 
I hadn't worn the boots since arriving. Could I have left them at home?
I carefully retraced my steps, starting in my bedroom where I placed them in 
a plastic bag for transport. "I remember putting them in my suitcase", I told him. 
My eyes nervously shot to the yellow bag resting against the nightstand. 
I had been sitting on the floor in my room while Paisley buried her face in my slippers. 
I grabbed a plastic bag, put the shoes inside, and tied the top in a knot. 
I could feel the color draining out of my face. My voice barely a cracking whisper,
"I had them in a yellow plastic bag..." JD stood up immediately, pushing back his desk chair 
and said "I think I thew them out." He grabbed a pair of rubber gloves, threw on a sweatshirt, 
and headed out to the garbage. Minutes later the apartment door creaked open and in walked 
a triumphant JD holding a yellow plastic bag with Gristedes printed across the front 
in black letters, just like the one still sitting on the floor in JD's bedroom.
"I knew I threw out the garbage today" he snuck in between rounds of apologies.
Luckily, garbage day was the day before, and no one in his building brought anything
down over of the course of the day. In the bottom of a large garbage bin line with a
black mint scented bag (JD thought that this was an important thing to mention)
sat my favorite shoes and nothing else. JD had been prepared to dig for them,
it was either that run up the street to Rag & Bone to replace them. 

Monday, December 10

The Rolling Stones

When The Rolling Stones announced they'd be playing at the Prudential Center
in December I was so excited. Trying to get tickets for those two shows was such 
a nightmare, they sold out in minutes. I'll never understand how that is possible.
What is the secret to getting through before someone else? It's just crazy.
Needless to say I was disappointed. I've been saying for years that should
they ever tour again I needed to go. They're my favorite band.
When a third show was announced at the Barclays Center I had little hope
of finding tickets but somehow, I got extremely lucky. Our seats were perfect. 
We were the first row in our section, and since the arena is so small, though 
we were at the back corner we could still see. The Barclays Center is a great 
venue to see a show, I really don't think there's a bad seat in the house. 
JD and I were impressed with the design, both of the seating and the 
concession areas. It was a nice touch that they have local vendors.

The show was amazing! I've been told that The Rolling Stones put on a great show,
but I wasn't expecting them to sound better live than they do on the records. 
Mick Jagger must have run at least three and a half miles during their performance.
The man danced non-stop for over two hours. The set list was perfect, they opened
the show with Get Off Of My Cloud and closed it with Satisfaction after saying
goodnight at the close of Sympathy for the Devil and coming back out to play
You Can't Always Get What You Want and Jumping Jack Flash.
Oh and Mary J. Blige even came out to sing Gimme Shelter!
You know, it's quite impressive when a band can play for over two hours,
and not have enough time to play all of their best songs. 
JD was the a little disappointed that they didn't play his favorite,
Under My Thumb, but I think he was most annoyed with me for accurately
predicting the entire set list and leaving it out from the start. 

I cannot say how happy I am that we were able to see them.

The show as seen through my iPhone, & JD's too..
 Mary J. Blige and Mick Jagger having a dance off during Gimme Shelter.

Wednesday, December 5

Christmas Time in New York


There's something wonderful about Christmas time in New York.
Frosty displays fill shop windows, strings of lights line apartment windows,
and if we're lucky enough for snow, people with children and enough space 
will make snowmen to guard their doors. 
One of my favorite parts is probably the most simple.
I love seeing the trees lining the streets, the smell of them.
Decorating for Christmas has been a little delayed over here.
We are still in the process of repairing our den so two rooms worth of 
furniture are currently occupying the space where our Christmas tree usually goes.
We are hoping to get the new floor down by next week, but we'll see.

In other news, I already feel behind on my Christmas shopping.
It's been tricky this year, I have lots of ideas for gifts but nothing solid.
In truth, it's been difficult to even come up with suggestions for myself.

What's on your wish list this year?

Tuesday, December 4

Chelsea Market

This weekend JD needed to spend a lot of time working on one of his final
projects for school. So after a quick trip to Chelsea Market on Saturday to check out 
a Rag & Bone sample sale we headed over to the school where he spent 
the afternoon editing videos and I did some reading.

I always love going to Chelsea Market,
whether it's to pick up fish for dinner, wandering around the shops, 
or just for a snack. When JD first moved to Manhattan we would have lunch 
at Chelsea Thai on the weekends and wander around Chelsea Baskets.
I've been reading this book for over a month now. (It's called The Night Circus 
by Erin Morgenstern) I love it so far, and when I love a book I tend to read it 
as slowly as possible so it doesn't end. Usually, I speed right through and drag out 
the last couple of chapters, but since this story is told in a series of smaller stories 
(think Love Actually in book form), it has been pretty easy to put down and pick up again.
I'm so excited to review it once I'm finished, but who knows
when that will be. As the stories have started to come together more,
I'd assume that that review will be coming sooner than later.
Probably by the end of next week.

Monday, December 3

The Highline

On Saturday, JD and I went for a walk on the Highline.
I love the Highline, but as it has become more and more popular
over the last couple of years, it has become too busy to be enjoyable.
On warm, sunny days you end up shuffling behind throngs of tourists who
have come to see what it's all about, constantly having to stop for pictures and
people who get distracted and suddenly stop walking in the middle of the path.
Basically, I am not a fan of crowds, and navigating a narrow walkway packed
with slow moving people is more trouble than it's worth. 

But on gray days when the air is cold and the wind blows over the elevated
park, the crowd thins. Spring and Summer are when the Highline is at it's best
(beautiful flowers, vendors, and perfect weather) and worst (too crowded). 
But the end of Autumn, the very beginning of Winter is just as lovely.

I hope you had a lovely weekend.