Friday, May 31, 2013

A Summary of May

Hello my dears, are you having a good day? I hope so. I am beyond excited because as I write this my brother is on his way home from Texas with our sister in tow! I can’t wait to all hang out. This is one of the last times we will all be together for what I’m assuming will be a while, as my brother is moving to Ohio for grad school at the end of June.

I haven’t had time to sit down and finish one of the 16 posts I have started in the last month (spastic much?) so until then, I thought I’d share a whole bunch of Instagram photos to show you some cheerful moments from the month of May:
Above, left to right: Cheeky marketing material from Madewell, my parents on an 18 mile bike ride organized by the city, and a homemade loaf of the best bread of all time.  The bottom two photos are from a Sunday evening stop in Berne, Indiana, which contains elements from the original Berne in my dear Switzerland, including the insignia of Vaud, my former canton. ...sigh...oh les souvenirs...
Top: Me with the sweet and smiley Alaina and a massive ice cream that I wasn't able to finish by myself but was oh so delicious.
Bottom: Banana Cinnamon Cupcakes made for a coworker's birthday (they were delicious!) and my brother and I on his graduation day.

 Top row: coral flats to brighten up a gloomy day, my favorite kind of Beetle, and the beginnings of my container garden
Middle row: a bug's eye view of the grainery behind my office, enjoying some cherries on my lunch break, and some quirky new duds from a recent shopping trip
Bottom row: a random abandoned house that I wouldn't mind buying and fixing up, yes there's a lion head guarding my bookshelf (I got him here), and in an unusual burst of fashion-consciousness, the outfit I wore to my brother's graduation ceremony.

So it's not much, but it's been a good month. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Things I'm Really Good At

Dancing. lol tho, this is so not true.

To balance out last Monday's post, I thought I'd better talk about some things I'm really good at so we can all accept and appreciate me for my flaws AND virtues. Also, only talking and thinking about things you're bad at gets depressing very quickly. So happy thoughts today, kids!

1. Making mixes. Not to toot my own horn (ok, who am I kidding, that's what this post is all about), but I'm kind of excellent at making music mixes. Roadtrips, rainy days, game nights, you name it and I can make a mix that will set your world on fire. Or at least gently blow a warm breeze across your world.

2. Baking. It's my jam. Pun intended. If my skills in the world of baked goods lack in one area, it's that I'm not great at making frosting look pretty on cupcakes.  But no one has ever complained about the flavor. In fact, my tasty treats are best enjoyed sitting down, as people are prone to fainting with joy after a few bites. Yes, I am grossly exaggerating.

3. Napping. Practice makes perfect, people. And if there's one thing I've been practicing for a quarter of a century, it's napping. 20 minute nap? No problem. 2 hour nap? Even better. 12 hour night's sleep? Step into my office.  Most days I can get by without taking a nap but anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am crankier than a wet cat if I don't get to snooze on Sunday afternoons.

4. Hypochondria.  Give me a twinge or an ache and after two minutes of intense Googling, I will have diagnosed myself with a terrible disease.  I've become even better at it since I got a smartphone. If my calculations are correct, I currently have no less than 3 serious medical conditions, only one of which is terminal. If there's one thing I can thank my anxiety for, it's that it's made me much more efficient at jumping to drastic conclusions. /sarcasm.

5. Organizing closets. My room may not always be neat as a pin but I cannot rest unless my closet is organized.  This means clothes arranged by color and season, shoes paired and lined up.  I will happily organize your closet for you for a small fee.

6. Having one hundred hobbies.  Can someone be really good at being adequate? Or is that too much of an oxymoron? If I have any special skill, it’s that I’m ok in everything while excelling in little.  That’s not like an awkward insult or some veiled plea for compliments.  I can paint, draw, garden, swim, cook, bike, decorate, take photographs, sing, play the piano, speak French but I’m not like really really awesome at any one of those things. I’m an expert at dabbling, if you will. While it would be cool to be like a secret musical genius or the next Annie Leibovitz, I’m actually ok with my across the board mediocrity.  Except baking, because I’m clearly amazing at that.

7. Spelling. One of the highlights of my life was winning the school spelling bee in eighth grade. I placed third in the district and that was without really doing any studying (she said, braggingly). I probably could have gone to state and then the national but I was too busy having ninety-nine other hobbies way cooler than spelling.

8. Being single. Again, one of those things that just comes naturally after years of practice.  Recently out of a relationship? Come up to the mountain and receive my wisdom, grasshopper. I have freshly baked cookies.

9. Finding other people’s things.  You know when you lose something and you’re tearing your house apart looking for it because you have no idea where you put it last? Me too. Except I have this weird knack for being able to find things for other people. If I lose my glasses, I’m toast. But if you’ve lost yours, I’ll probably be able to find them for you.

10. Figuring out what I don’t want to do with my life.  If you had to analyze the way I live my life, you could say I use the process of elimination. There are probably quicker ways to find your niche but so far I just keep finding all the things I’m not suited for. I think after another 20 years of living and working in various places, I’ll be about 50% closer to figuring it out. But we all know how bad I am at math so don’t bet on it.

What are you amazing at? Brag about yourselves, friends. Make me jealous of your mad skills! Show me how lucky I am to have you as a reader! (Just kidding, I know I'm pretty lucky. Thanks, you sweet thing.)

Top photo of Fred Astaire by Bob Landry, published in LIFE magazine, 1945

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Weekend

Vogue, August 1958

Oh what a lovely day it is outside today! I can't help but be in a good mood. It's Friday, my mom and grandfather joined me for lunch, and I had a heaping ice cream cone.  Did you know calories don't count if you are eating in the sunshine?  Yes, it's true. ;)
Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends! Got any fun plans? For once I don't, but I don't mind. Looking forward to doing a bit of reading and writing and tending to my deck garden. If it's warm enough, I may even  go for a swim. I'm glad it's that season again.

Anyway, here are some things I enjoyed around the web this week:

+ Blooming Monogram. This is such a cool DIY. Add flowers to your life even if you don't have a green thumb.

+ This weekend marks the official start of summer and the official start of camping season (in my book anyway) which means it's time again for my favorite summer dessert...S'MORES! Unfortunately my family will be kicking things off from the comfort of our home instead of around a campfire like last year. But to keep in the spirit, I'm going to make these pretzel s'mores anyway.

+ A thing of immense beauty: macro shots of a fiery-throated hummingbird. And just plain cute: this bunny.

+ The world's smallest hotel. Copenhagen, you are too cute. (via dwell)

+ Speaking of real estate, check out these random renovated places New Yorkers live. I think it would be so cool to live in an old storefront. (via New York Mag)

+ "Know How" by Kings of Convenience
Know-How by Kings of Convenience on Grooveshark

Take it easy today...xx

Monday, May 20, 2013

Things I'm Really Bad At

Girlfriend, I get sad about my hair too.

Today I feel like celebrating mediocrity. Not just mediocrity, but complete and utter inadequacy. Why? Because I feel like I'm too obsessed with perfection. Sometimes I just get so tired of being GOOD at everything all the time, you know? In case you've never met me before, that is a joke.

But seriously, I feel like people online (and bloggers in particular) are concerned with presenting this carefully manicured version of themselves when it's not really an accurate picture of who they are. I'm not saying we have to let it all hang out all the time but sometimes just post a picture of your messy kitchen, ok? Let me know you're human.

Just not on Instagram. I do not have time for your realness there. Sunshine and puppies and glitter only, ok?

Anyway just to keep myself humble, here are ten things I'm really bad at.
Like, let me be your cautionary tale bad.

1) Folding laundry. I am seriously so bad at it. Ask anyone I've ever lived with and they will tell you it's true. No matter how carefully I try, it always looks like a child did it. Scratch that, a child would probably do a better job than I.  Do they have folding shirt classes at Old Navy? Because I need to take one.

2) Sports/Athletic Pursuits in general. If you’ve seen me play, you know why. I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy but I’m 80% sure that people only invite me to volleyball get-togethers for comic relief.  It’s ok you guys, you can tell me the truth.

3) Math. I have not one but three certified math teachers in my family and yet the ability and desire to quickly and efficiently learn how to solve numerical problems is beyond me.

4) Estimating. Distances, heights, weights, depths, you name it and I will grossly overestimate it. This is obviously related to my poor math skills. Example: last summer someone asked me how tall I thought the Statue of Liberty was and I said 2,000 feet. Dead serious. That’s like 500 feet higher than the Empire State Building. Like, calm down Ellie.

5) Remembering names. I never forget a face but you could be called Penelope Avocado Greensleeves the Third and I would not remember it. Actually that’s pretty unique, I might commit that one to memory.

6) Rapping. I know, I was just as surprised as you are.

7) Returning personal emails. It’s not that I don’t want to write you back, I just take forever to figure out what I want to say in return. I may take myself too seriously.

8) The morning. I need at least an hour of wakefulness and a hearty breakfast before I interact with humanity. Sleeping is one of my top three favorite things and I’m always cranky when it’s over. I apologize to my family, coworkers, and any roommates past and future.

9) Doing my hair. I can bust out an acceptable bun when I need to but 80% of the time it looks like I combed it with a rake. “I love your hair like that” is not a thing I hear often but I don’t let it keep me up at night. I just don’t have the patience for gels and irons and standing in the bathroom for an extra half hour. You’ll just have to accept me as I am, ok?

10) Sticking to spending limits. I’m not saying I have a shopping problem but every time I go, I set a limit of X dollars. Which works great until I see something that is more than X dollars and suddenly I have to have it. Spoiler alert: I have trouble saying no to myself.  I honestly don’t know how people operate with joint checking accounts. 

Is there anything you are particularly terrible at? Please, share! We’re all friends here. I promise it will only make me love you more.
Photo from Vogue Italia, March 2007

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wedding Dress Shopping

One year ago this month, I came home from Texas and jumped into a flurry of wedding-related activities with my sister and my mother. At the top of the list was shopping for a dress. One afternoon the three of us went out for lunch and headed to a bridal shop, me with my old Minolta in tow.  This is my first and only dress-shopping experience thus far and it was not at all like they picture it on the shows.  I half-expected to be there for hours while Eva tried on dress after dress, with harried shop assistants running around with armfuls of tulle and lace.  Perhaps there would be an endless back-and-forth, maybe a minor fit thrown and ultimately my mother and I wailing in each other’s arms: “SHE’S TRANSFORMED INTO A BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY WAAAH.” 

It’s not to say that the whole dress-shopping experience wasn’t fun and a little emotional, because it was both of those things. Eva looked beautiful in everything she tried on and the saleswoman was almost personally offended when she turned down the offer of buying a veil.

Like, calm down, woman. The sanctity of marriage is not ruined because my sister won't be wearing some extra tulle on her head.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May

Today for the first time in a while, I got to take my lunch break in the park behind the office. And it was wonderful. The temperature is pushing 80 degrees but there’s no humidity yet so it was perfect for lolling in the grass with my shoes off.

Oh hello, blue sky. Won't you stay for awhile?

Spring is slowly working its way across the creek.

Dandelions and sandals make me smile.

Other reasons to smile today:

-Sleeping with the windows open. (Until 4 am, when the bird choir began to practice in the tree next to the house.)
-In exactly one month, my sister is coming home for a visit, hooray!
-Snapchat is my new favorite app. If you have a smartphone, please download it and add me (eelycarols), I promise to send you hilarious and strictly SFW pictures.
-An unspent gift card to my favorite bookstore burning a hole in my pocket
-Some much needed words of encouragement:
"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God."-Isaiah 50:10

It is indeed shaping up to be a happy May. 

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