Sunday, December 16, 2012

reality check

New love can get cocky. You feel like you are on top of the world, everything is perfect, nothing could possibly go wrong. This feeling is enhanced when you are an adult and you have complete control over your free time and how and with whom you spend it. It's so easy to slip into an everyday normalcy and feel smug about how simple it was-- isn't that how it is supposed to be? You almost think to yourself, wow, if I could just have 10 minutes alone I'd be 100% back into this love bubble I've stumbled (or run head first) into. But of course you don't really mean it. 2 minutes in the bathroom is enough recharge time.

And then, the holidays hit. I am one who loves the holidays, but considering that I live 5 hours away from my family, going to visit them is a commitment. One that I've made for about 2 weeks straight. 72 hours after being away from the cozy little cocoon we created together I might as well be a recovering addict. I feel twitchy, off, and a tiny bit heartsick.

Nothing like distance in love to remind me of my own humanity and the fact that I am not invincible.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


James Taylor just has a way of soothing the soul. Ever since I've moved to NC I've developed an even deeper fondness for Carolina In My Mind. Another lovely song about the tar heel state is Copperline. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

begin again

I've been really into the idea of rebirth lately. I feel like my life has just undergone another unexpected turn (when will I stop thinking I can predict and plan for everything?) But this is a really good unexpected turn. The kind you hope for as a little girl. The kind I had rationalized myself out of believing could happen. And now that it is happening, it is that much more surprisingly wonderful. Check out Taylor Swift's new song, Begin Again. Couldn't have said it any better.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Have you ever wanted 2 very different things at the same time? What is it about decisions sometimes that is so hard? Is it that we are at a constant push and pull of what we think we want and what we need? Or balancing the promise of security with the thrill of adventure? How can we ever know what is best without looking into a crystal ball?

People often say to follow your heart. I'm a head thinker, but often it makes it difficult when it comes to matters of the heart. I want lists and pros and cons. I want to consider every possible option and angle. I want to imagine exactly what I might be giving up or gaining when it comes to decisions in my life. Right now I feel like I am standing at the top of the waterfall. The option of jumping makes me tingle all over but who knows what is at the bottom? Is it warm and welcoming and like paradise, or could I end up breaking a leg or scraping a knee to add to my collection of scars? I could also just safely back off the edge, hike back down the mountain and climb into my tent and sleeping bag and probably be no worse or better off. But will I have lived?

I'm glad that I'm an expert orderer when it comes to eating out. I see a menu, know exactly what will satisfy me at that moment and I get it. Thank goodness I don't suffer from indecision in everything in my life-- it would be paralyzing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chapel Thrill

I've said it once and I'll say it again. Going to grad school was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Chapel Hill is an amazing and magical place. I can't believe how many wonderful people I continue to meet and bring into my friend circle here, which makes each day sweeter and sweeter.

Tonight I am going to Late Night with Roy to kick off basketball season here in Carolina. It's supposed to be a fun event with the basketball team doing skits and coach Roy Williams pumping up the fans for the season ahead. GO HEELS!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tonight I put my pj pants on and a big navy blue sweatshirt. I ate dinner, and then went into the kitchen. I filled the red kettle and set it onto the stove. Turned the dial to medium high and walked away. A few minutes later the sound of the whistle started, quiet at first and then louder, signaling that it was time. I pulled the dark blue teapot off the shelf, opened the bag of decaf vanilla loose tea from a little shop here in Chapel Hill, and dropped a spoonful of it into the metal mesh basket inside. The steaming water came next, causing the tea to release its color and flavor. I took out a favorite mug from college, added some sugar and milk to the bottom of it, and when it was time, removed the basket of wet tea leaves. The hot tea poured out into the mug, swirling up the milk and melting the sugar. Yum.

Some may say this is a lot of work, but I like the ritual. I like the simultaneous lack of thinking that goes on as I hum through the steps, as well as the ability to let my mind wander. I also love the result. It's part of self love, after all.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Going southern hemisphere south

Surprise! I am off to Southern Africa for the summer! Look for some posts about my experience there and then it will be back to the good 'ol USA in the fall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

irrational fears

I just got back from a mini vacation in Florida. I have an irrational fear of Crocodiles and Alligators. I ate "gator bites" while I down there. (Little fried bits of alligator tail.) It wasn't so bad.

Last night I dreamt I had to swim across a lake filled with alligators. It was terrifying. 

Clearly, eating the alligator didn't mean conquering my fear. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

what's simple is true

Hey there. I know, it has been a while since I've visited. I was wrapped up with finals and the end of the semester, but I officially finished my first year of graduate school! It feels so soo good. Last August I was hoping I made the right choice, to quit my job, move, and go to school full time. In the moment everything felt so contingent. The earth felt like it was shifting under my feet and I was jumping off a cliff. All of those cliche metaphors for change in your life. But you know what, sometimes we know better than we think we do. Ideas that seem like they *might* be a good idea are actually amazing ones. And if you are lucky, which I often think I am blessed to be, everything worked out for more than the best. 

I went to a graduation party for some friends who will be moving away from North Carolina. In one moment I stopped and looked around and felt so happy. I had amazing friends I had just met 8 months before who felt like family, there was good, simple food, champagne and a bonfire roaring. It was festive and people were happy. I rode my bike to the party which I just had fixed and I think will change my life. Graduate school is hard. There is no two ways about that, but life in North Carolina? It just seems more simple. A self-proclaimed city girl, I can now say that often, simple can be just as good as flashy restaurants and new high heels and taxis. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

girl worth having

“Why don’t you tell me that ‘if the girl had been worth having she’d have waited for you’? No, sir, the girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody.”

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Suddenly, I remembered sitting in a cafe near the bus station in San Sebastian, waiting to head back to my friend's apartment in Bilbao. It had been a wonderful day of eating tapas, exploring the city, and wandering along the coast. 

And I'm back in the coffee shop. 

here but anonymous

I'm having one of those days. Maybe it's because I slept 11 hours. Maybe it's because I've been alone most of the day. Maybe it's because I am coming off of a birthday/wedding/weekend away. I am questioning. Ever have those days when there is a voice in your head that is screaming WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?! 

Yeah, that voice is screaming about one area in particular. An area that people say you should just "know" about. I am all for intuition, but when is it ok to out-rationalize the intuition? Is the intuition just the part of you that is scared to know or accept the truth? Or is it that zinging under your skin that says, Wait, my darling, the best is yet to come. 

I am at a coffee shop. I needed to get out of my apartment, even at 8:30pm on a Tuesday. I just wanted to be around other people, but without the need to engage. I needed to feel like, maybe I am not alone, even if I am not asking others if they ever wonder the same things. I needed subliminal peer pressure to do work. I needed to reign in my mind that is content with wandering all over the universe today. 

Thank God for that other little voice, the one that strokes my hair as I fall asleep at night and reminds me, Don't worry, everything will be all right. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm restless. My birthday is right around the corner, finals and the end of the semester is crushing me, my summer plans are still up in the air. I want answers to things, ends to some things and beginnings to others. People always says life is best lived forward, not backward. Sometimes I can't help looking backwards. For some reason today I thought about how 4 years ago I was living in Southern Spain. I had plans to go to Italy for my birthday, and traveled 2 hours to the nearest airport to board my flight, just to realize that I left my passport at home. After a few hours of feeling totally deflated, I went home with my then-boyfriend, booked new flights, and went back to the airport the next morning to fly to Rome, a city 4 hours from our destination. On my 23rd birthday I woke up in a hostel in the ancient city and spent most of the day on a train out to Cinque Terre. There is a video of me from that day on the train. I'm wearing headphones, my hair is in a messy ponytail, and I am dancing around in my seat. I look healthy and happy. Despite all the challenges of the trip, I felt like everything was right in the world. 

That video reminds me of a clip from a movie preview. Sometimes I just wish that I could flip through the pages of my life and get a tiny glimpse of what the rest is going to look like. Just maybe a little bit? But I suppose if I knew at 17 that at 23 I'd be riding a train through the Italian countryside I'd never believe it. When I was 23 if I was told I'd move to North Carolina to study public health, I'd never believe that. Maybe we don't know because the surprise is part of the journey. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

the way we are

Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It's all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.

Chuck Palahniuk

Sunday, April 8, 2012

all the girls i've been

I just found Nikki Talley and I adore her music. She has a song called Just for the Record. Loves it. 

Still this morning over coffee I grin, thinking over the years of all the girls I've been...

The school girl, the stranger, the sailer, the sad girl, the nun, the straight girl, the dreamer, the lover, the star, the sun, the girl who's funny, the wild-mouthing honey, the girl who drinks all of your wine, the self-centered bird, the self-conscious girl, the valentine.

So so true

Friday, April 6, 2012

sandwiches and spirituality

I was to believe that Jesus cares more that I don't waste food than eat meat on Good Friday.

At the beginning of the week I had a pound of ground beef, so I made it into some meatballs and hamburgers. It made 3 servings of meatballs and 1 hamburger. Well, I've had the meatballs twice, and then had free dinner at school last night. Considering that the burger has been in there since Monday night, I figured I needed to eat it today. I'll make no pretense, it was delicious. I didn't have Non-italian bread crumbs when I made it so I crushed up some pretzel chips and used that instead and also added dijon and garlic. It came out surprisingly well!- Today I slapped that baby between a whole wheat bagel thin with provolone, mustard and some greens. Happy lunch in my belly.

I'm going to a seder tonight and helping to do the cooking this afternoon. The Jews might not agree with my cheeseburger, the Catholics won't agree with my brisket tonight.

Maybe I need to be Agnostic. Or a Unitarian. Some religion with less rules regarding deliciousness.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

old dog, new tricks

There are 15 days until my birthday. Then I will be 27. It sounds old. It doesn't feel old though.

Today I laid by the pool reading for school, went for a run in the torrential downpour, and for the first time ever, drank a beer in the shower because the idea sounded refreshing. 

These don't sound like things that old people do. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

the air is so thick and opaque

It seems that summer humidity is setting in on the first day of Spring. There is a thick layer of yellow pollen on my car and the picnic table. I have a big paper to write. 

This is the kind of night where I need a storm. I want to hear the winds blow, the sky crash, and the sound of rain against my window panes. That type of weather feels simultaneously like a rebirth and an excuse to hunker down, throwing myself into academic pursuits. Outside world be dammed, I am in here warm and dry, trying my best while you throw the worst from the sky. 

I do hope it it storms. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a nice thought

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once

-John Green

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

musings on living alone

I like it. For now. But after having a visitor for three nights-- someone to wake up to and fall asleep with-- I'm reminded how nice that is. Especially if that person makes you laugh and washes your breakfast dishes for you. Having the bed made by someone else is also a bonus. Some things are better when they are shared. 

For now I'll drink tea and do my homework in my pajamas late into the night. I'll run to the bus in the morning with my backpack on and wet hair blowing behind me. I'm cool with that. 

I'm also happy knowing each day I can love where I am because I am one day closer to another life. One where maybe I am putting littles to bed in feetie pjs and helping them with their coloring. I'll pack them lunches of peanut butter and jelly and help them put their tiny backpacks on as they scurry to the bus. My husband can wash the dinner dishes. I think that part will be fun too. Eventually. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I need to be pinched. My life has felt UNREAL lately. You know when everything is going well, and you are getting everything you want? Yeah? Me neither. I'm not complaining, my life is pretty grand in many ways, but it still shocks me when the stars align sometimes. In my head I am still that girl who wore sneakers that were too big for her, whose jeans were baggy in the butt in middle school, and who had braces far too long into high school. Popular girls made fun of me for bringing my lunch in a cooler. (Maybe I deserved that...) 

But reality has a way of changing. I'm 26 now. I was recently elected president of my grad program. I just saw a press release about some volunteer work I did in the Dominican Republic on the school's website. My friend sent me some gorgeous photos she took of me over the holidays. I think I am going to Africa for the summer. (Fingers crossed.) I'm growing up. Or maybe, I am just growing into those shoes that were too big for me when I was 16. I needed time to learn who I was and what I wanted and how to make that happen. Suddenly, and surprisingly, it's happening. 

"Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh never mind, You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You're not as fat as you imagine."

"Whatever you do, Don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself too much either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's." 

-Baz Luhrmann

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

heart like mine

I saw Miranda Lambert on Sunday night in Greensboro, NC. It was a PHENOMENAL show. I think there are few performers who are as good live as recorded and Miranda totally rocked it. I just want to go shopping and grab drinks with her.

One of my favorite songs of hers is Heart Like Mine

Well I heard Jesus, he drank wine 
And I bet we'd get along just fine
He could calm the storm and heal the blind
And I bet he's understand a heart like mine 

Monday, February 20, 2012

these are the ways you love yourself (to forgive)- re-post

I read this today, on The Wild and Wily Ways of a Bombshell Brunette. I hope she doesn't mind, but I have to re-post this, because it's amazing and true. I think there is something in there that speaks to each of us. 

Forgive yourself the nights you climb into bed full-face of makeup, too tired to take it off. forgive yourself the days when one latte is not enough, when the two major food groups are coffee and sugar. forgive yourself that one night when at two am you woke to use the bathroom and inhaled an entire chocolate bar instead. forgive the time spent with a man you now have not one nice thing to say about. and forgive just how long it took to get over him. he was not good and not kind and he is not your fault. keep some secrets closer. forgive yourself for actually loving the gentle curve of your hips. and to hell with a society which suggests you might not or should not. they herald your womanhood, the man you marry will lose himself in them, they will hoist groceries and children. they are sturdy--anchoring you firmly to this earth. forgive the nights you cannot sleep--sadness or some unnamed force pressing heavy on your chest. forgive the mistakes of the last several years. so you made them. okay. enough. move on. the mistakes and the fault-lines, they are the foundation. forgive yourself that you did not choose an easier path. and forgive yourself the sadness you caused those around you. the broken-promises and cutting words and the things left unsaid. fear was large and biting. forgive the anger you feel. feel it and then look again with kinder eyes. forgive yourself for not handling it all better, for feeling like you let others down. the path is not done, the road is not finished, why are you trying so hard to rush the whole thing? celebrate the fact that your story has some major departures. go ahead and use that expensive serum that promises to diminish those fine lines. protect and preserve your skin. but when the day does come when forehead creases no longer fade into the background, give thanks. humanity made visible! you will be loved all the more for this. you will love yourself all the more for this.  and please, for the love of all that is good and holy forgive yourself for loving a man who cannot love you back. love him anyway. send that love into the world and let it fill you up. the only way to know the story is to go out and and write it. live your way into it. ferociously. begin to live and work and fight and love with an unparalleled ferocity. let fear dictate nothing. unfurl your chest, you have all the armor you'll ever need. see with wide eyes and don't forget to laugh.

Friday, February 17, 2012

veggie monster

Last weekend, I ate a lot of meat. Pastrami, meatballs, BBQ, bacon...for a near vegetarian I felt like I needed to go on detox this week. This week, I ate a lot of salad. I think I perfected my new favorite salad:

Mixed greens
1/4 cup of chickpeas
Handful of Craisins 
Chopped carrots
Crumbled goat cheese
Crushed pita chips  
(occasionally sliced turkey) 

Dressing: a drizzle of garlic infused olive oil and a few shakes of red wine vinegar, with some salt and pepper to taste. 

Try it! Yummy, filling and healthy. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


For the first time ever, I can hear my downstairs neighbors doing the horizontal tango. 

Man, that's a lot of headboard banging. I thought that only happened in movies. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you are all feeling happy and loved today. Think for a moment about all the people you have loved in life and the people who have loved you. Pretty astounding isn't it?! 

Here are some fun V-day links from around the web:

Tonight I am making gluten free brownies for one of my girlfriends here in grad school. I came across this chocolate gluten free cake recipe that looks pretty yummy. 

Red lipstick is perfect for Valentine's Day

You never know, the love of your life could be right around the corner.

I'm watching the movie Valentine's Day tonight, eating desserts, and drinking wine with some fabulous lady friends. Do you have fun plans?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012


I recognize that I have been delinquent on this blog. I'd like to say I have a good reason. All I can think of is a line from 500 Days of Summer:

"What happened?"
"What always happens. Life." 

School has been busy, I'm searching for the perfect summer internship overseas, spending amazing weekends with my friends at school and working on sorting out my love life. In a word, "life." 

I will hopefully put something thoughtful up soon. Hope you are all enjoying your own "life."

And I found this lovely new food blog today, Eat This Poem. Check it out. It looks delicious.

Friday, January 27, 2012


We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
         George Bernard Shaw
Hope you have a wonderful, playful weekend!  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

that which sustains us

Maybe you have figured this out by now: I love food. Not just eating it, but cooking it as well. I just had one of those days where nothing really went quite wrong but I was feeling overwhelmed BY THE WEIGH OF THE WORLD (Throws head back and sighs for dramatic measure.) So I went for a walk and let my mind wander. Well, it didn't take too long to start thinking about the meals I cooked this week: vegetarian fajitas, curried lentil soup, roasted chicken with potatoes, breakfast burrito. Not too bad of a week in the kitchen. Tonight I am thinking I might make shrimp tacos. I've never been much of a baker, even though I try sometimes, but cooking-- Chopping, sauteeing, braising, roasting, caramelizing, all of those real cooking savory food words-- I LOVE. I always think about Julie and Julia when I've had a rough day. Julie Powell makes a comment to her husband:

"Chocolate cream pie! You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing. You can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That's such a comfort."

Julie, I hear ya. Maybe it's roasting and blending up a butternut squash soup for me, but I find such comfort in the hum of the kitchen, and the quiet success of a delicious meal.

Monday, January 23, 2012

fun fact

I love doughnuts. There are a lot of sweets I can just walk past. Sheet cake? No interest. Lemon tarts? Pass. But chocolate cake doughnuts? BE STILL MY HEART. I was known to occasionally walk from my office at 3pm to the Dunkin Doughnuts down the street, purchase a single chocolate cake doughnut, and eat it on the walk back. No, I could not wait until I got in the office and made a cup of tea.

I saw this recipe for homemade chocolate cake doughnuts today. I cannot make them because I would eat the entire pan in less than an hour. But if someone could make them that has more self control than me, please, let me know how the recipe is. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

life rules- brunch

Acceptable people to have brunch with: 

1) Your girlfriends: For the purpose catching up on everyone's night before over pancakes and eggs benedict. It's a perfect meal to pig out on early enough in the day where you still have time to burn it off.

2) Your new boyfriend's parents: It's less stressful than dinner because there is an allotted amount of time. It's not usually that expensive so you don't have to feel awkward about the parents picking up the check. You can look chic yet still conservative. Perfect parent brunch outfit: skinny jeans, flats, a cardigan and colorful scarf with some cute earrings. Voila. 

3) That guy you just started dating and slept over at your place for the first time: Let's be honest, if he wants to go out for brunch after, he likes you. If he has to run out to meet friends/ run a marathon/ watch football he's just not that into you. It's a good barometer. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

experience of love

“For most of us, the experience of love, even if it doesn’t work out—perhaps especially when it doesn’t work out—promises that here is one thing that validates, that vindicates life. And though subsequent years might alter this view, until some of us give up on it altogether, when love first strikes there’s nothing like it, is there? Agreed?”
—Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Monday, January 16, 2012

suddenly settling

After a week of volunteering at a clinic in the Dominican Republic, I am back in North Carolina. It was an incredible experience, both personally and professionally. Once I get back on my feet here, I'll share more. 

I came across this song today, and it felt in line with how I felt when I came back from the DR. I felt overwhelmed by expectations of settling down and making relationship decisions before I left, but after a full week of serving others and doing the work that I love deep down, I was reminded that I am on the right path. I am doing what I am meant to be doing right now. That feels pretty good. 

Friday, January 6, 2012


She's got a bumper like a billboard
Covered in stickers of her favorite band
She's got a handful of records that she turns to
When she needs to land
She's a saturday night parade through the streets
and all eyes come to see including me

She carries memories around like souvenirs down in her 
She should have let some go by now but can't seem to 
drop it
Says forgiveness ain't nothing but a lifeless tire on 
the shoulder of her soul
That never rolls

For as much as she stumbled she's runnin'
For as much as she runs she's still here
Always hoping to find something quicker than heaven
To make the damage of her days disappear
Just like Guinevere
Just like Guinevere

She don't hold onto nothin' new for very long
Yeah she writes you in as just one more tale
and then you're gone
'Cause she once fell hard 'cause she dropped her guard
And no one gets to stay it's just too late

For as much as she stumbled she's runnin'
For as much as she runs she's still here
Always hoping to find something quicker than heaven
To make the damage of her days disappear
Just like Guinevere
Just like Guinevere

For as much as she stumbled she's runnin'
For as much as she runs she's still here

For as much as she stumbled she's runnin'
For as much as she runs she's still here
Always hoping to find something quicker than heaven
To make the damage of her days disappear
Just like Guinevere
Just like Guinevere

Lean into me Guinevere
Be mine tonight Guinevere

Thursday, January 5, 2012

just when i thought i had it figured out

When it rains it pours/hurricanes/tornados/earthquakes. 

I leave for the Dominican Republic on Saturday morning for a week. I need winter break detox. As a technology addict, it might be good for me to have a few days without being in touch with people. Clear. My. Mind. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

life guidelines

There are times I think I'm doing things on principle, but mostly I just do what feels good. 

But that's a principle, too. 

-Story People

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Why does New Year's Eve feel like everything and nothing all at the same time?

Is anyone else glad when the 48 hours between Dec 31 and Jan 1 are over?