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Wednesday
Nov192014

move over, adam

Within the first five minutes of the show, I knew I would enjoy BBC's Sherlock, but I didn't know that I would love it so much that I would name my puppy after Martin Freeman's Dr. John Watson (in my mind, this would be his ideal human personality). And I didn't know that, over the years, my celebrity crush on Benedict Cumberbatch would grow to the point where it would eventually knock Adam Brody off first place.

The psychology of a celebrity crush is an interesting thing. It's admittedly weird to get a little thrill when I peruse photos online, but it's also a humorous party conversation starter and (am I being even weirder by saying?) harmless fun for a married woman to engage in.

Clearly, pretty much the entire internet agrees with me on Benedict Cumberbatch's appeal. I'll even admit that I was late to this party. I found him oddly attractive from the first, but my crush grew over time as opposed to a legion of women who fell instantly. It was the interviews that did me in. Aside from those increasingly handsome features and that accent, he's well-spoken, surprisingly down to earth (must be due to his fame late in the game), goofy, and engaged. I like a man who can commit. I mean, my husband had to remind me that I was married when I expressed disappointment the morning I read about his engagement to Sophie Hunter, but that's another story. My point is that celebrity is a very strange thing, and from what I read, I like how he's handling it. It must be fun to be his friend, I think.

In case you aren't convinced, have a different #1, or do not have him on your list entirely (if so, what on earth are you thinking?), read this great article in Elle UK's December issue. Out of all the pieces I've read on him, I like it best. Just be ready for some heart pitter-pattering and heavy sighs---and that's before you even get to the part about him describing Sherlock having sex. Yep, never thought I'd be interested in that when I was reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but what can I say?

{1, 2, 3}

Monday
Nov172014

the pixie

After our trip to Europe this summer, I decided I would be growing out the pixie. It was the easiest cut I'd ever had, styling it took five minutes flat (no hairdryer, no flatiron!), and it was remarkably liberating--but cowlicks and crazy bedhead--and fighting windy days as a tourist (my hair never emerged victorious) got tiring. At least twice a year I wake up and need to do something to my hair and usually follow through within the next 48 hours. This time though there was nothing I could do but wait...and wait.

As a researcher by nature, I had read up on the good and the bad of the pixie cut weeks before getting my hair chopped. So yes, I knew I would be going through an extended awkward phase (two of my friends recently reminded me by sending a buzzfeed article that described it in hilarious detail). On Saturday, ten weeks after my last cut, I got my "duck tail" trimmed to avoid a full-on mullet. It's funny how you get used to your reflection in the mirror--I didn't realize how awkward I must have looked until after the trim.

As I settle in the loooooong stretch before being able to coil my hair and tie it in a precarious knot atop my head (for some reason this hairstyle and a fisherman sweater means "cozy winter" to me), the photos above of the adorable Carey Mulligan give me hope. She rocked every single phase of the growing-out period.

If all else fails, I have my trusty beanie. The one good thing about this miserable not-fall-like weather!

{image via which also has great practical advice for growing out the pixie cut}

Friday
Nov142014

brrr

Those darn windows are shut again.

It's painful to think about how narrow the timeframe for good weather was this year. It is only November and already I've hauled out the big guns--fuzzy socks, blanket-like scarf, hobo coat that makes me feel like a Olsen twin circa their NYU days. I'm not quite sure how I'll survive.

The silver linings are few, mainly that it's sunny and this is an excuse to try the million and one soup recipes that I couldn't even think of touching in the summer. Oh and of course the tea.

Excuse me while I brew my fourth cup of the morning. Stay warm, folks!

{image via}

Thursday
Nov132014

this chicago weekend

 

It was a welcome surprise to discover that--after over a week apart--Michael and I would be going to Chicago for the weekend. So many things to consider, namely where to eat?

Longman & Eagle was a foregone conclusion. We'd enjoyed their brunch immensely during our first anniversary visit two years ago. It was time to see if it lived up to our memories (and perhaps surpass Foreign Cinema as our favorite brunch place of all time, hmm?). Because they don't take reservations, we were at their doorstep at 9 am on the dot, ready to eat. They didn't disappoint, so please stop by when you're in the city--and think about checking in one of their six rooms too! And leave room for a donut... They have a perfectly hipster space next door that only served three varieties (so why it took me forever to choose mine is a mystery).

The Aviary was another must. It's no secret that Michael and I love our cocktails, and "The Aviary" and "Chicago" have been synoymous in our minds for a very long time. While they do take reservations, the short notice made it impossible to get one on a Saturday night, so we lined up, crossing our gloved fingers that we'd snag a seat. It was the most creative drinking experience ever. British bartenders may corner the market on cheeky, clever drinks, but what Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas have created is sheer genius. Yes, some drinks were more style than substance, but even those you couldn't begrudge because they were like magic tricks for adults! And those were the bad ones--two in particular I still think about before I go to bed. They were that inventive and delicious.

I snuck in some culture--Michael allowed himself to be dragged to the Art Institute and (gasp!) went over his two-hour museum limit. He let me ooh and ahh over my favorite Seurat, and we had a lot of laughs guessing titles in the contemporary and modern sections (hint: like choosing "C" in a multiple-choice exam, "Untitled" gives you pretty good odds). We spent extra time looking at the Dalis and Kandinskys because they're my brother's favorites.

We walked a lot, did some window-shopping and some shopping-shopping. He got me a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery and commiserated when I expressed my disappointment. And when we settled in our seats for what was surprisingly our best meal of the trip at Publican Quality Meats (the deli, not the restaurant), I marveled at how it had become second nature for him to just maintain a cheery facade after I got grumpy from walking for thirty minutes instead of the sixteen that Google Maps promised, how I peacefully accepted that our daily plans would be awkwardly interrupted by someone's need for a long mid-afternoon nap, and how all of it was just so much darn fun. Now if only we could find a way to bring Watson along on all of these adventures...

Friday
Oct312014

that austin weekend

Months later, and Austin--and all of the amazing things we did there--are still on my mind.

The food truck scene really is something to talk about (even though they don't actually get driven anywhere, making them faux food trucks in my disgruntled opinion). Out of the six or so that we sampled, the clear victor among the very worthy contenders was Mmmpanadas. How good was it, you may wonder. Well, consider the fact that even though Michael and I are die-hard carnivores, we still talk about their soyrizo and brie empanadas with dreamy-voiced nostalgia. Yes. That good.

The bar scene is great. As I previously mentioned, the ambiance alone would make Whisler's a must-visit. The tasty drinks don't hurt either. Half Step stood out for me among all of the tempting options on Rainey Street. I had a really memorable dessert cocktail there that I still wish I'd gotten the recipe for. Weather Up takes their drinks seriously--if you're into "sippers" as I like to call them, this is the place for you. But I think if you only had time for one drink (the second stop should be Whisler's but just in case...) then it has to be Midnight Cowboy. Speakeasy-style craft cocktail bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days, and Michael and I have been to our fair share. This one really nails it. I almost felt like something illegal was going on in the backroom, and the drinks made me wish I'd had on a flapper dress and very red lips.

Food-wise, I just cannot shut up about Qui. I love it so much I almost wrote an entire blog post about it--and am still tempted to, in fact. I have very strong feelings about restaurants, and this is the first one I've ever actively wished existed in the city that I live in. What Paul Qui did to Filipino food was incredible. And to be able to enjoy dish after dish in such a beautifully designed restaurant with such perfect service... It was one of the best nights of my life.

Our follow-up dinner the night after, at Barley Swine, was nothing to sneeze at either. It's an excellent introduction to tasting menus--14-15 courses at a very reasonable price. Michael and I agree that we may like Catbird Seat a teensy bit more, but Barley Swine has a laidback, playful attitude with their dishes that sometimes leads to misses but overall makes for a memorable and very enjoyable meal.

I guess what really stands out for me about the trip is how I want to do the entire thing again. Michael struggles with me not wanting to order the same thing twice, much less eat at the same restaurant unless it is a true and serious love. But with Austin, I would do the entire trip over again, each one of those bars and those same dinners and ending it all with that wonderful Farmers Market that had a gorgeous lake view and adorable kids and beautiful wildflowers. I bet Michael would insist on Barlata for tapas again too.

But there are so many other places to eat and drink... I know a local would tell us that we've barely scratched the surface. What a dilemma. We'll just have to duke it out when we visit again. Which I hope will be soon.

{image via}

Tuesday
Oct282014

thanks, taylor

Last night, after weeks of anticipation, some friends gathered in my living room to listen to--and talk about--Taylor Swift's 1989. We differed on our favorites, but all agreed that it was a hit. It wasn't only the album (or being with friends in general) that made the evening so enjoyable for me, though. It was something I hadn't done in a while--probably not since high school.

Remember how time seemed endless in high school? Aside from those hideous pleated red-and-green plaid skirts we had to wear, I remember a lot of waiting. Laying in the soccer field, sitting on the concrete bleachers facing the field, walking to and from two cafeterias, leaning against the wall where everyone could be found... And to pass the time, there was a lot of talking. Some of the best conversations I ever had were in high school. I mean, we had so much time that things got deep. There were existential topics like whether hell really existed and what it was actually like (I went to a Catholic school), what it really meant to save yourself for marriage and if boys should too (again, Catholic school). And there were very detailed analyses of anything and everything related to pop culture. It was a time when I thought I would always know every single word to every single song of my favorite bands, when my friends and I all watched the same shows and had (what we thought were) brilliant insights about our favorite characters. We watched all of the movies that came out, even the terrible ones---cough, Dungeons and Dragons, cough.

The sixteen-year-old me would have raised an eyebrow and been open-mouthed in disbelief at how little TV I watch these days and my appalling change to approximately two movies a year. But she would have been thrilled (and so approving) of last night. When the most important thing for two hours was a single album. Because she knew, with all her teenage, angsty experience, how music can change your life and how the least it deserves is some of my undivided attention and time.

Tuesday
Oct212014

anniversary weekend

"How did you know?" It's a question I've been asked, both before and after I got married. How did I know it was Michael? I've given both long-winded and concise answers to this question while feeling like the words aren't quite the right ones. Don't get me wrong, I did know. For someone like me, someone who second- and fourth- and ninety-eight- guesses everything and who returns something to a store only to buy it back later, to say bye to Michael the day before the wedding and have no nerves, no doubts, no heaviness in the pit of my stomach, just a serene happiness, is virtually miraculous. (It was actually the most amazing feeling ever, this absolute sense of surety.)

I still don't have a perfectly articulated answer, but I will say this: Seven years ago, I met this guy at a party, and we teased each other about looking underage. We moved on to a bar where he proceeded to buy me Surfer(s) on Acid (typing this out is making me embarrassed, but we were in college, okay?), and the rest is history. Several months later, he was driving me back from the library, we were talking about our families, and I found myself thinking, I could marry this person. (And years later, I discovered he thought the same thing then too.)

We decided that, instead of a fancy dinner or going on a mini-trip, we'd throw a bbq (but not tell people why because I thought that would just be weird) to celebrate. We couldn't resist sneaking a few toasts in at Patterson House on Friday night, but the Saturday party prep--working in the kitchen together for hours--was just as fun. And of course, having everyone over, different friends we've made over the three years we've been in Nashville, was even better. I remember just looking at him and thinking, we have a community here, we've made a home.  

Sunday was the perfect winding-down. I stayed in bed reading forever, and then we spent hours catching up on our favorite tv shows. Slow, lazy, nothing special, just right.

Of course, there are days, weekends, the occasional week, where everything goes wrong. When I wonder that maybe I didn't know, that maybe my gut should have said something, darnit. But those moments pass, and all of the memories we make, big and small, continuously form into an ever stronger foundation that I hope will sustain us for the seven, twenty-one, forty-nine years (and beyond) to come.

{image via}