Friday, January 30, 2015

Thornton Park Mushrooms

Friday, January 30, 2015

Not sure what it is with our little town, but we see mushrooms that we've never seen before. Could it be the old soil? The old wood on the old houses? The old trees that tent our streets and blanket us in moisture? 

Though I wanted to share all of these pretty mushrooms that we've found, I also wanted to share being old. I know I'm not old. But when I turned 25 earlier this month, I felt like a switch went off and suddenly I am reminiscing about the past more than I ever have. Perhaps it's because I can look back and 10 years ago I was 15. It doesn't feel that long ago. I remember my emotions, how I was feeling, who my friends were, the things I did... I remember the songs that I listened to and how they made me feel. I remember the girls I looked up to and I'm glad that some of them are still my friends today. I remember the boys I had crushes on and the boys that never knew I existed. I remember always wanting to be like my brother, social and always out with friends. I remember my favorite outfits that made me feel confident and my terrible hairstyle choices. I remember the first boy to make me feel loved and the first boy to show me that he really didn't love me. 

It's not school that I miss - I'd rather be working at the museum rather than worrying about assignments. It's not that time of my life that I miss - I'm happiest going home to S and Mordechai knowing that just their presence, the smiles, the laughs, all give me comfort. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what it is that I miss, but I have a wreaking nostalgia when I look back to photos or read past journal entries. Was that really me? It feels like a different life, and at the same time it feels like it wasn't that far away. 

A few friends and I have chatted about this and they say welcome to the quarter-life crisis and that it's totally normal when you turn 25. If this what happens at 25, I don't think I want to grow up anymore. What happens at 30? 35? 40? Instead of spending my evenings reading a new novel or writing in my journal, I'm pouring over my stacks of old journals. I'm reading my teenage years like a young adult novel, chronologically. I'm wasting my present nose-deep in my past. I have all of my most embarrassing moments written down, my most treasured AIM conversations printed, my most romantic movie date ticket stubs, and because of that, I think indulging in a little personal history, personal growth, personal reflection, just might help me get over this obsession with the past. At least I hope. Come save me if I start reading my old LiveJournal entries.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Everyday Moments

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Waking up consists of being nosed by Mordechai on the side of the bed. When it's super cold or he's particularly tired, we have to nudge him from the couch. 

Makeup, hair, getting dressed. The norm. Even our bathroom has insects.
If it's the weekend, you can bet there will be brunch. I recently made almond flavored waffles topped with toasted pecans. This recipe called for whisked egg whites and then to fold them in. It made for a really fluffy batter! 
Our morning walk with M. We take him to the downtown area of restaurants, cafes, and bars near us. I like to watch the people getting their morning coffee, going for their morning run, dropping off their dry cleaning... 
Elevator ride up to my office to start the day!
Phone calls, emails, production schedules, some mundane things and some fun things like meetings with brides and grooms, lunches with vendors, and being creative from time to time. 
By the time I get home, I walk M and feed him, but there's normally about another hour or twos work to get done for the blog editing that I do on the side. And maybe I'll read a little bit, binge watch a TV show like American Horror Story, or write in my journal which I've been trying to do at least weekly. I used to write daily when I was in high school. In college I wrote weekly, and now that I'm a 9-5 person, I've been writing monthly. It's kind of terrible; what's the point to having a journal if I only update monthly? Might as well just look at my Instagram at that point for more life updates. 
Hangs with Mort.
Last walk of the night with M downtown. 

When I first started blogging, capturing every day moments with my camera was one of my favorite things. I loved being able to see the beauty in what sometimes can look so mundane. 2015: I want to take those daily photos again. And write in my journal. And document the little moments that I love to look back on. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

Antiquing in Mount Dora

Monday, January 12, 2015
Today is my birthday! I'm off enjoying being home with my greyhound for the day, lunching with the girls in the office, after work drinks, and dinner reservations (S made them as a surprise). To start the day, I thought I'd share photos from our weekend in Mount Dora. Five years ago we went for my birthday. S said I could pick something out that would be my birthday gift. It could be one thing worth x amount of dollars, or a few things worth x amount of dollars. I went home with one thing: the most beautiful magnifying glass necklace from a manufacturer in the UK. We found it at the antique mall above which we always have a hard time finding, but know we've found it once we see the gargoyles. 
This year, we decided to do the same thing we did back then; spend the day antiquing and we could both find my gift. We stopped here first, and I was quietly hoping to find another magnifying glass necklace from the same manufacturer and vendor. The vendor that sold my necklace no longer is there, but I was wearing my necklace and asked the shop owner if he knew where the vendor went. He recognized  it, knew the vendor by name, and sent us off to the extensive outdoor antique market. We planned to go there anyway, but now we were equipped with a name, and a booth location. 
We started first with some pastries to snack on at a little cake shop before we walked around the little Mount Dora downtown. We ate warm hand pies (chocolate and pecan,  and apple pie) as well as cream puffs. The cream puffs were so tasty, I could have eaten five more! But, we had lunch reservations after shopping for a little. 
There's a little tea house in Mt. Dora that does high tea, something I definitely wanted to indulge in. We each got our own little tea pot; S enjoyed a calming chamomile/honey/vanilla blend, and I devoured two pots of a liquorice tea. There were finger sandwiches (cucumber and cream cheese was my favorite), jam pastries, crumbly scones, and delectable Queen's sponge cake. I love to snack on little things, whether bits of cheese and charcuterie, mixed nuts, or pastries. It was a relaxing and delicious lunch.
Goblin Market, The Frog and Monkey Pub, One Flight Up Cafe, etc, there are so many great little places that we love to revisit when we go to Mt. Dora. Goblin Market is great for lunch or even just a drink like a glass of wine on their second story that feels like an old lounge looking down on the streets below. The Frog and Monkey Pub is perfect for a pint of Stella Artois and is underground, so we like to score a table by a window and watch people's shoes go by. 
This shop used to be open, but sadly it is now closed, along with a few other antique shops that were on the main street. Five years ago, I stood next to these beautiful, stone bookshelves and posed for a photo:
After enjoying some of our favorite spots in downtown Mt. Dora, we made our way to the outdoor antique market with tons of vendors, Renningers. We were in search of the vendor from years ago, as well as new treasures. Some of the booths are in structures like little shops with store fronts spilling into the "streets." 
Since S and I have been together, nearly eight years now, we've loved to explore antique shops together. It's come to the point where we are in an antique shop and we'll see something for sale that we already own. And, we start to learn the value of items; we'll see our own items for sale and priced much higher than we paid for them. What's that quote by Oscar Wilde? 
"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Mt. Dora is closer to us now that we've moved, so it took roughly half an hour to get there, which is such an improvement from the hour that it used to take! We just might visit more often... On our route, we pass by this old Pan Am plane in the distance, abandoned and on display at some airplane hangar. Every time we pass it, I wish I could get out of the car and sit on it's wings. We didn't sit on its wings, but we did hop out of the car to get a closer look. We didn't cross the plane runway, instead we stood on the train tracks and admired the nostalgia. For some reason, well before the show was ever made, I've loved Pan Am. I've never been on a Pan Am flight that I am aware of, but I love what Pan Am stood for when it was first flying. The opulence of the jet-setter, how luxurious it used to be to fly. Now, it's available to everyone which is wonderful, but being cramped into tiny seats, rushed through airports just to wait in lines, it's not a pleasant experience. I'm nostalgic for a time that I've never been a part of. 
We made it to Renningers, section D, and it took me walking up and down the aisle twice before I saw it. My magnifying glass necklace, the same one that was hanging around my neck. Last time I had seen it, it was one of five different designs. The others were a little more ornate, some with metal coverings that slide across the glass. I opted for one that was simpler, with a little flora/fauna detail holding it to the chain. It is delicate, dainty, functional, well-made, and overall just a beautiful piece of jewelry. However, this time, the vendor did not have a lot of options available, and the same necklace that was around my neck was the prettiest in his display box. So we left, and I felt too embarrassed to ask what the name of the brand is. I didn't want to be seen as the shopper who goes on Google to find a better price, because it wasn't about price, it was about beauty, and nostalgia. 
Instead of going home with another magnifying glass necklace to start a collection, we came home with various treasures. We found a wooden indoor barometer that looks like an old radio, perfect for our bookshelf, as well as a gilded and wooden candle snuffer, something I've been on the hunt for. We also came home with this old beauty. It was on a dusty shelf outside, among other automaton iron banks. There were porcelain clown heads that lifted their hands to their mouths and their eyes rolled back, depositing your coin into a bank. There was a dentist and a patient, flying back off their chairs, the dentist depositing a coin from his pocket. And then there was this beauty, an Acrobat Bank, in which with the push  of a lever, the acrobat kicks a coin toward his companion, depositing it into a slot. So very dreamy, circus-like, sideshow and freakshow-esque. 
S found a few cuckoo clocks, but being handmade intricately, they are almost always out of our budget. This one is tiny, with a waterfall, window plant boxes, and a girl on a swing that bounces to the second, keeping itself wound. She is so very lovely, and adds a therapeutic, lulling tick to our living room.    
Lastly, there's this little purse, about the size of a paperback book. S picked it out for me because it matches my Pan Am carry-on bag with it's blue face and white lines. And of course, because it's of greyhounds. Overall, a very successful birthday trip. Afterwards, there was even Momofuku birthday cake

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Our Travels // Buffalo

Wednesday, January 07, 2015
We visited Buffalo, NY for New Years and a wedding. One of our first stops was S's sister that lives in a log cabin that the family built themselves (swoon) on many acres of land. Being there in winter was magical. Growing up, my family used to visit the Catskills mountains and we used to hike to the creek. We did the same with S's family here, and it was refreshing. 
Their dog loved playing in the ice cold water and scaling the sides of the hills down to the creek. The water was high due to the melted snow from weeks previous, so we couldn't make our way to the waterfall, but we caught a glimpse of the smaller one. 
The earth is an amazing thing. On their land there are piles of natural shale making it's way out of the ground. They use it as mulch around their plants and landscaping. The layers and various colors are beautiful. There are also so many useful plants on their property like goldenrod for making tea. 
We visited an outdoorsy store where I purchased some wool socks - so cozy for winters up north! See the taxidermy? As someone who has lived in Florida for the past 13 years, I do not own a pair of wool socks. One year during winter I tried playing in the snow with my cousins in my boots and thin cotton socks, my toes were frozen within five minutes. Wool socks keep your soul warm. 
I really wanted to go ice skating! When I was growing up in New York we took ice skating lessons, but I have not ice skated in a long time. There is a new skating rink on the canal of downtown Buffalo, as well as one on the main street. We went to the smaller one on main street with a shorter wait time. I struggled a bit to get used to the balance, but I had fun! I am proud to admit that I did not slip and fall - but that's not saying much considering I did not go very fast. S's nephew plays hockey so he was spinning circles around us and spraying up ice like a theater show. 
We visited a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Buffalo. This one was built in 1904, and at the time it must have looked so futuristic! This house is surrounded by old Victorian houses, just plopped in the middle of a neighborhood. 
So many gorgeous brass details like these numbers above and the light fixtures below.

We had a New Years Eve wedding in this basilica - look familiar? We visited this church last time we visited Buffalo. It was a gorgeous backdrop for a wedding ceremony, still decorated from the holidays. 
While at the church, a snow storm was approaching. Before hopping in the car to head to the reception, we had to snap a photo of the snow flurries around us. (And my fur coat is from an old Halloween costume when I went as Margot Tenenbaum that I bought at a vintage shop. It's definitely a statement piece...)
This politician right here. My brother in law, looking out the window at the snow storm bringing in the fog just before the reception. The hotel had a view of Buffalo's ball drop for the new year countdown. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

This Christmas

Saturday, January 03, 2015
This Christmas, like them all, was enjoyable because I spent it with family. Growing up, we'd spend Christmas Eve with my mom's side of the family in Manhattan, and Christmas Day with my dad's side of the family in Staten Island, close to where we lived. Christmas Eve, my mom's aunt would dress up as Santa Clause to surprise me and my cousins just before presents. Christmas Day, there was a mountain of presents for me and my cousins after opening our own presents at home from our parents (cough, Santa). There was good food, sweets, and lots of people. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, my parents cousins, and more. Christmas was always lively.

This year, it was my mom and her boyfriend, my brother and his girlfriend, my cousin, and S of course. Edit: S's brother came too, S2, who reads this blog and made me feel bad that he wasn't included in my list at first. On Christmas Eve my mom and I spent the day baking batches of cookies and prepping all of Christmas Day's food. We made my mom's flan, spooned cornbread, and spinach and rice torte, some of my favorite side dishes. On Christmas Day, we started with french toast, like we do every year. My mom makes it with challah bread and puts cinnamon and vanilla extract in the egg batter. It's soo good!

We exchanged gifts and I have to say, this year, everything was so thoughtful. I have a great cookbook that I can't wait to read as well as a strange book that I've admired since high school called The Codex Seraphinianus. We skyped with my aunt and cousins, we snacked on cheese and drank prosecco. Throughout the day we had Christmas movies and music playing, it was perfect. I hope everyone's holiday was just as lovely!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

Friday, January 02, 2015

I feel as if I learned so much in 2014:

I learned how to put myself first instead of constantly trying to please others. 
I learned that not everyone is going to like me, so I ought to genuinely be myself for those that do. 
I learned that wants and needs change as quick as the direction of the wind, and if I don't want a dog one day, I may learn about a really fantastic breed and meet a pup that steals my heart the next day. 
I learned that I will faint when I get blood work done. 
I learned that I have a knack for reading peoples tarot cards. 
I learned that I can juggle a full time job at a museum, a full time writing job at home, the responsibilities of a dog, a marriage, cooking and cleaning, and still make time for friends and travel. 
I learned how to be a wedding guest and not just see weddings as work. 
I learned that I am surrounded by some amazing women (and men!) that are good people and insanely smart at what they do. From my fellow event managers to artists, writers, traveling students, politicians, teachers, and marketers, I am surrounded by brilliant and inspiring people that I get to call friends and family.

I learned that I have a love for the bubbles of champagne and how it always feel celebratory when drinking a glass. I hope everyone has a glass of champagne tonight to celebrate the next year. Happy new year!
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