Best of 2013: Year In Review

2013 will be remembered for:
  • a snowstorm so big that b & i skiied from our apartment to the state house lawn, and then on to the bar
  • a sunset ski proposal at sparrow farm
  • wedding planning
  • skiing up and down hills and over fields
  • an evolving circle of vermont friends
  • a spring meeting in boston including my first red sox game
  • exploring seattle, san fran & the california coast- a delightful and overdue visit to my friend lex paired with interesting work site visits
  • an indiana engagement party
  • holidays, family gatherings, and sweet summer visits to the cape
  • a new orange bike, and mastering clipless petals
  • dinners on the porch
  • the births of a new generation: welcome tanner, henry, owen, teo & eamon!
  • the most memorable & incredible wedding to b, surrounded by our dearest community
  • a peaceful minimoon to lake champlain, and a fall getaway to portsmouth
  • meeting teo at the hospital, and watching him grow each week while witnessing his parents growing into their new roles
  • the passing of fred, loyal companion to gran
  • a best friend returning [at least temporarily] to central vermont- heaven!
  • quiet holidays enjoyed with my parents, b & lu
Best Books I read in 2013:
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Best Movies I saw in 2013:
  • Skyfall
  • Orange Is The New Black (tv series)
  • The Way Way Back
  • The Spectacular Now
Best Music I was introduced to in 2013:
  • Della Mae
  • Family of the Year
  • Passenger
And looking ahead to 2014:
  • hopefully much more snow.
  • being a better blogger.
  • work trip to atlanta.
  • a honeymoon!
  • visits with friends.
  • new music & fun shows.
  • continuing to broaden our circle of friends in vermont.
  • a wedding in steamboat?
(see: 2012201120102009)


"Strange-- how love always leaves a trail." 
- Ann Voskamp


a christmas exhortation by roger greeley.

That there may be love (I will be loving)
That there may be peace (I will be peaceful)
That there may be joy (I will be joyful)
That there may be warmth (I will be warm)
That there may be kindness (I will be kind)
That there may be friendship (I will be a friend)
When the candle is spent, and the yule log ash; and wreath removed
and the tree stand put away,
I shall keep alive, in my life, love-peace-joy
and kindness-friendship-and warmth. (at least I hope that I do,
for if I don't, the season passed me by 
without my even knowing it.)


sunday snow day.

after an earlyish morning walk in 8+ inches of snow: circled up in my long undies on the futon with a snoring pup's head resting on my knee. christmas tree twinkling, balsam fir candle burning, hot coffee, the perfect chocolate croissant, gregory alan isakov singing, a good book [and 22 grant applications] to read.


gratitude for work holiday parties and fun coworkers. for down comforters on chilly mornings, and for down jackets and hand knit hats & gloves on frigid days. for the artisans of vermont and craft fairs. and for one-on-one girl time with my bff. for fresh (hard to breathe) cold air, leftover quiche, and for dinner parties with lots of friends. xo



on sunday i finally made the butternut squash mac & cheese. SO good. i recommend this one big time- sweet, savory, light[er than if all cheese], and gooey. will definitely make again.

monday, i actually don't remember eating dinner. oh! i had a fried egg & toast after a work event. (see- it's not a gourmet show over here every night)

last night, i made spaghetti squash (roasted in the oven) with a sauce of tomato, sausage, mushroom & onion. served with roasted cauliflower and parm.

tonight i made an awesome carmelized apple & blue cheese pizza. with the addition of bacon and carmelized onion, because bacon makes everything better.

this week we'll also have quiche (a variation on this roasted sweet potato recipe)- i'm going for sweet potato, onion, bacon & goat cheese.

finally, i'm going to make this coconut lime chicken soup, though i'm concerned about the lack of 'thai seasoning'-- couldn't find it at the store. help, what should i use instead?

all around- yum.

oh christmas tree.

on saturday we headed out to get our christmas tree. this was our third time going to this fabulous tree farm with jenna & al. it's rather impressive to think about the past three years.
year one: 4 different last names.
year two: three different last names.
year three: two last names and one baby. 


grateful for friends who feel like family, for pups wrestling in the snow, for cute babes in funny hats, for a sweet smelling tree, and for some good old holiday cheer.


what the heart cannot forget by joyce sutphen

everything remembers something. the rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

the cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself for the fall. 

the turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

the tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards its long ago.

and the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. the feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting the child.

the heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget. 



a few delicious new recipes i've enjoyed recently:

pumpkin cheesecake (i skipped the bourbon, and the special top layer).

easy shrimp scampi.

pasta fagioli soup (served with my favorite cooking light biscuits!).

later this week we'll be trying:

BLT chopped salad.

butternut squash mac & cheese.


giving thanks.

yesterday was a wonderfully peaceful and gratitude-filled thanksgiving day. we started slowly, as i drank my coffee and read in bed under the down comforter. brett did some work on the couch with lu snuggled in. then they headed out for the first ski of the season in the fields, and i headed up to my folks house for some more food prep. our plates were full: delicious local turkey, stuffing that would make grandmommy proud, potatoes, brussels, squash, gravy & cranberry. it was a quiet and wonderful little celebration with just the four of us, followed by a chilly walk. we gathered with friends in the evening to enjoy pie and cheer. for family, for friends, for good food and for health: i am grateful.


gratitude lately.

i've been a little quiet over here, because things have been a little tough lately. the important things-- they are okay. but between some changes at work, a cold that left me hacking, a backache that has me going to the chiropractor, and the passing of my step-grandfather... it's hard not to settle into a routine of self pity. but i can honestly say that there is also a lot to be grateful for as well.

and so, let's appreciate the good.

gratitude for dinner parties with friends. the first time teo smiled at me. a new pair of booties. pork tacos with guacamole. for time with friends- new friends & the oldest of friends. gratitude for the first night with a down comforter while the snow falls outside. for a good book, sleepytime tea and an episode of orange is the new black. for wonderful friends celebrating an engagement, and the anticipation of a baby's arrival. for putting a little extra effort into my outfit on a day that i am dreading. gratitude for my workout group and their motivation. gratitude for learning alongside b and being a team.


della mae.

sometimes  a friend tells me about a band they know i will like, and as soon as i start listening i can't believe that the band wasn't in my life sooner. primary case in point: molly teaching me about the lumineers.

new case: della mae. della mae is an all women bluegrass band based in boston & nashville. miss emma told me about them a few weeks back when i visited her in boston and was confident i would love them. she was, of course, spot on. i've been enjoying them since i checked out their website and promptly discovered they were playing in our area soon.

so tonight, we're headed to plainfield to check them out! i am excited. you can listen to their whole new album on spotify, or on this youtube page.

then & now.



some things change, and some things never will. 
sure love these five women and the memories we share.

i'm relieved that we've grown out of the hoodie & carhartt phase and become a little bit more beautiful over the years. it's tremendous to think of the journeys that each of us has been on in the time that passed between these two photos.

cayla, kate & i are all in the exact same spot in both photos!



sharing not just a state, but our hometown with one of oldest and dearest friends for the next 7+ months. so grateful for a friend who cherishes adventures in the outdoors, live music, and a good book as much as i do. 

a dinner favorite: teriyaki salmon.

one of my favorite dinners is ridiculously easy.

  • preheat oven to 400.
  • coat a baking pan with olive oil, place salmon in the center.
  • top with teriyaki sauce (soy vay or trader joes).
  • bake until done (20-25 min).
  • wash asparagus or cauliflower, spread out on baking sheet, top with olive oil, salt & pepper. toss it in the oven with the salmon.
  • cook a box of near east couscous (i particularly enjoy the israeli or pearled couscous) on the stovetop.
  • serve! delicious. ready in less than 30 minutes.


a long and gracious fall by david budbill

A long and gracious fall this year.
The leaves are down. Gardens: emptied,
manured, tilled, smooth, waiting.
Mower and tiller serviced and put away.

Smoker put away, as is the summer table.
Prayer flags, windsocks , and their poles: down.
Twenty-foot homemade badminton poles,
peace flag at the top of one, store-bought net-
all down and put away for another year. No more
outdoor summer chores.

Fall planting-- peonies and tiger lilies-- done. 
Summer flower stocks removed, beds mulched,
a blanket for the cold. Fall pruning done.

Woodshed roof hammered down and sealed again.
Cellar closed. Drive staked and flagged so the
snowplow knows where to go.

What else is there to do? Finally, for once, we are ready
for the snow. Ready to come inside. Time now for
words and music, poems and shakuhachi. Time now
to light some incense, sit and stare at the candlelight.


i lovermontpelier day.

this saturday is annually one of my most favorite days in montpelier. it's the perfect reminder of one of the main reasons i chose to move back to vermont:
the strong sense of community. 

the coop hosts their annual wellness fair which features many of their vendors. think a farmers market without the pressure of samples. a room full of cheese, apples, cookies, drinks and more to taste, plus all the organic soap, vitamins and more to bring home. amazing. additionally, yoga mountain hosts their annual open house, which involves a full day of free yoga classes and little treats. toss in a dog walk for a little time spent outdoors, and you have one happy camper over here. both the fair and the yoga open house are always full of familiar and content faces.
i literally just walk around feeling 'vermonty' all day.

today i felt an even stronger sense of community because of a downtown cash mob! what's a cash mob? a group of engaged citizens got together to come up with ways to support our local downtown business because many of them have suffered due to construction and other woes this summer and fall. the result: bring back an idea first brought to the area several years ago. gather locals, who each bring $, select several local businesses. appear, with your dollars, and purchase from them. today about 60 folks gathered, diverged on 4 local stores, and then gathered to celebrate at a new local bar. i bought a book from our local used book store, and some treats from a candy shop. how much do i love montpelier? so much. my dad was one of the primary organizers, and i had so much fun joining the crew. he is a role model for local engagement and working to keep montpelier the vibrant community that we love.

let's hope there's another one soon!


harmony by stuart kestenbaum.

You know the Beatles could have
afforded another microphone,

but George would always stand
in the middle and step up to

Paul's when it was time to
join in. Because that's the way

harmony is, you need to share the 
electricity, the voice, the words. 

Just the way we do when we drive
in our cars with the radio on,

the windows rolled down with fall in the
air, dead leaves swirling in the wake,

or the spring, the earth damp and soft,
the air hazy with pollen. We hear

the song that moves us, crank the
radio and sing along, at the top of

our lungs, as if we just joined
the group, In tune out of tune,

country western, rock and roll, we want
to harmonize. A whole country of

would-be stars losing love, finding love
with the radio in different

cars, on different paths, the dark
road rumbling beneath.


on marriage: two months in.

today marks b & my two month anniversary. in some ways, it already feels as though we've been married for ages but at the same time i can't believe it's already been two months since that most memorable and special day!

does it feel different? it feels more permanent. every day we are on the same team, even in the moments when we might be pushing against each other. every day i am excited to get home to be with b & lu.

in that short period of time i feel like we've already faced a number of significant challenges: family sickness, substantial job challenges for each of us, truck problems, family death, injuries, big decisions, changes to our social life, and more. i know the challenges may only get bigger as we get older, and someday we might look back on that list and chuckle at how hard we thought things were back when.

and we've also enjoyed some really wonderful things: a relaxing mini-moon on lake champlain, a coastal tour of portsmouth and maine, bike rides on country roads, a few little dinner parties, some walks in the woods, and laughter. together, we'll push through the tough and enjoy the fun.



for when the cold winds blow,
i will close my eyes calmly,
knowing i am anchored to you.
--tyler knott gregson


2013 has been a big year, for me and for so many others in my life. my people have started new careers, moved across the country (and back, for some), started life-changing relationships, bought first homes, had babies, ended committed relationships, gotten married, and more. yes, these things occur all the time every year, but 2013 has felt big in so many ways. 

perhaps the most unique landmark of 2013 has been my dear friend kate's journey on foot. last winter kate made the big decision to shake things up: leave her job, sublet her apartment, pack everything up for storage, and go hike the appalachian trail. in march she headed to georgia to start hiking the trail, unsure of how far she would make it or how the endeavor would go. last month, kate summited mt. katahdin after walking 2,180 from georgia to maine. 

all summer, three of these landmarks made me tear up with happiness when i paused to think about them: my wedding day, the birth of my very best friend's baby, and kate's daily accomplishments as she trekked north. a little too long reflecting, a particular song on the radio, and you sometimes had me crying with joy for these tremendous accomplishments and moments. within a few weeks, all three actually took place: my early september wedding, teo's birth in late september, and kate summitting in early october. this series of incredibly unique but amazing events reminds me: we're all on our own individual journeys, and we must stop to reflect on the big moments as they pass us by. 


weekend letters.

dear boston, you are just the right sized city for me to visit. thank you for providing some unseasonably warm weather for me to walk your streets and bike your paths. your pride is remarkable, and i really enjoyed accidentally catching a couple of minutes of the red sox parade while on my urban bike adventure. thanks also for some most delicious meals, from homecooked breakfasts to multi-course asian infused dinners and gourmet donuts. dear camp, you have brought such an interesting assortment of people into my life. thank you for creating such a big, open community that spans this big globe.and for friendships that can easily span time and distance, and pick right back up without missing a beat.  thanks also for that boston crew of kids. they are fun ones! dear the head & the heart, you put on a great show. thank you for the gift of music you share with audiences everywhere, for new tunes, and for older songs that pull on my heartstrings in simply the loveliest way. dear emma, vassar college brought us together as hall mates but our shared love for fun music, bold colors, amazing food and home state pride made us great friends. thank you for inviting me into your scene for a weekend and for remaining such a true friend after all these years. dear brett, thanks for holding down the fort this weekend and for letting me drive all over new england this past month to see family and old friends. i promise i'll stick around for a while now. dear friends i didn't get to see, next time. xoxo


think the best.

"think the best
of each other,
especially of those,
you say you love.

assume the good
& doubt the bad."

jeffrey r. holland



grateful for the first slowly drifting snowflakes, the satisfaction of a freshly rearranged bedroom and new quilt, hot coffee, blogs to read, a bit of hang time with the birthday girl and a babe who finally snoozed in my arms til my biceps wore out, a little date night with b, phone tag with a west coast favorite, sleeping in (til 7:30), the new david sedaris book, and my first weekend at home in a while.


happy j day.

we've come a long way together, girl. happy, happy #30 to my longest friend and partner in so many adventures. thank you for being the caring, generous and loving person that you are, and for kindness that you share with everyone around you. the here's to another decade and all that it will bring. xo




the beauty of having a quick & easy meal to reheat for dinner is that i have time and energy to be inspired for other culinary evening adventures. last night i made a big pot of applesauce with local cortland, honeycrisp & macintosh apples. i also made a double recipe of baked oatmeal. we've made it a few times last winter with mixed results depending on quality of  oats (no in instant oats!) and pans (no to cast iron!), so i tried a new recipe last night from joy the baker, one of my absolute favorite food bloggers. as is generally true with her recipes, it was amazing! b and i both enjoyed it immensely this morning-- to the extent that i could not wait to get to work to heat it up and enjoy after my morning workout. i skipped the raspberries and pistachios, and baked it with craisins & chopped apple instead. i also added a splash of maple syrup, because there is always, always room for syrup.

recipe can be found here.



grateful for good mix cds in the car, a husband who makes dinner when i'm on a long drive home from a weekend visiting friends, wearing a dress & boots on a fall day, grass blowing in the wind, vermont apples with crunchy peanut butter, texting with friends and a puppy who wiggles wildly with enthusiasm.



"aliveness is energy. it's the juice, the vitality, and the passion that wakes up our cells every morning. it's what makes us want to dance. it's the energy that moves a relationship from the status quo to something grander and much more expansive, something that makes our hearts beat faster, our minds and our eyes open wider, than ever before. everything is of interest to a person who is truly alive, whether it's a challenge, a loving moment, a bucket of grief, or a glimpse of beauty."
-daphne rose kingma


simple song.

digging this song by the shins.


sometimes spontaneity is the best. a little visit at the bravakis household can brighten any day. husbands sitting on the shed steps drinking a beer, pups playing in the yard, sweet baby t snoozing, and besties (finally) catching up on the couch. grateful for friends who are like family and live around the corner. xo



lots of sweet moments lately-- happy dogs running through leaves, bold blue sky emphasizing the golds and reds of the foliage, soups & stews & applesauce simmering on the stove, a trip to the cape with mom, an evening bike ride with b.

just me & the pups on a saturday morning walk.

love this one.

october on the cape.

another great weekend on the cape.

evening bike ride.

happy husband.


advice lists.

last week, i came across two very different lists. one, "25 things every woman needs to know" and the other, "the unofficial goldman sachs guide to being a man." ginormous gender cliches and stereotypes aside, both lists contain some great lines and good advice for all human beings.


25 things every woman needs to know.

  • "leggings, no matter how much we wish, will never one day magically transform into pants. wearing them with tops that don't cover your bum is not cute. please, please stock up on pants."
  • "here's the truth: you are going to spend a lot of hours focusing on who you are not, or who you want to secretly be. but you won't ever wake up and actually be that person. you've got to embrace what you bring to the table. if you don't like what that is, have the courage to change it."
  • "the world does not revolve around us. turns out we are just little points of punctuation in a much bigger story glittered with periods & commas & dashes. how are you helping that story to be better? how are you being the best dang point of punctuation that you can be?" 

the unofficial goldman sachs guide to being a man. 

  • "never stay out after midnight three nights in a row... unless something really good comes up on the third night."
  • "act like you've been there before. it doesn't matter if it's the end zone at the super bowl or on a private plane."
  • "you may only request one song from the dj."
  • "measure yourself only against your previous self."
  • "take more pictures. with a camera."
  • "stop talking about where you went to college."


Two years of Lu.

Sunday marked Lupita's two year adoption anniversary. She's gone from 12 to 52 pounds in two years, has sprinted thousands of miles while accompanying us on skis, bikes, runs, hikes and walks, and loves nothing more than to play with her best friend OD. On Sunday, she & I enjoyed a run in the woods, a bit of snuggling on the couch and in front of my parents' fireplace, and I may or may not have let a few things slip off the cutting boards while having a cooking extravaganza. I love you most, Little Lu.

new from mary oliver.


letters to teo.

this may or may not be the first in a new little series. we'll see.

dear teo,
today you are one week old. to me, this past week has felt like a full lifetime but at the same time it's truly flown by. a week ago, brett & i were driving home from portsmouth eager to meet you. you and your mom & dad were groggy and recovering from your grand entrance into this world.

on monday, i got to come meet you at the birthing center- i felt so honored. you were so tiny and you snuggled right into my arms and promptly fell asleep for most of two hours. it was hard to believe you were real, and also overwhelming how much i loved you at my first (slightly teary) look. your parents were beaming with joy and pride. you are a skinny little bug and you have your mother's coloring. your eyes are dark blue but the color will probably change when you get a little older.

on tuesday, you came home! brett and i made you a little "welcome home teo" banner that we left on your front door, and we love that your parents still have it hanging. your first few days at home have gone great while you've figured out the ways of life, your parents have figured out the ways of parenthood, and you've enjoyed your first few visitors (mostly your grandparents & me and brett). most of the time you sleep when i visit, but you also really like to stretch out your legs when i hold you on my lap. yesterday you woke up for a bit to look at me, and that was pretty awesome.

everyone says new parents lose any sense of time, and i have to say- that's even happening to me! all of my visits with you have lasted 1-3 hours, which is usually between 2 and 15 times as long as i think they will be. you sure know how to capture our days, and our hearts.

we are all very excited to see what week 2 brings. i can't wait to see you soon.

auntie e

recipe recommendations.

a favorite dinner treat: chicken tamale pie.

current favorite pancake recipe (so fluffy!).

on the menu this week:

roasted tomato and basil soup (with grilled cheese, of course).

chicken taco chili.

butternut squash lasagna roll ups. (new recipe for me. i'm excited about it.)


savoring september.

September 2013 was a month to remember, and i want to pause to recap this tremendous period. from start to finish, september was a beautiful, unique and memorable month. starting with the anticipation of our wedding, the gathering of our nearest and dearest friends & family, an incredible celebration and the fullest heart. then a relaxing mini-moon enjoying each other's company, lake champlain's shore, some bike rides and a happy dog. a few weeks of settling back into the work routine and some stress of wrapping up another fiscal year for me. and then, a weekend getaway to new hampshire and maine with only the most spectacular weather. wrap it up with the arrival of baby teo, who i already love an incredible amount. talk about life changing moments. enjoy a few shots taken along the way:

mr. & mrs. 

best wedding party.


peak foliage in vermont.

coastal explorations.

auntie e & baby teo.

so long, september.


sailing on lake superior by kirsten dierking

before us now the edge of the earth,
below us the nearly endless cold.
around us nothing but shimmering
the miles of empty and sparkling blue.

for a few hours, the sail fills on
toward infinity. shadows of
our delicate bodies ebb and flow
across the deck of our delicate boat.

what if the beautiful days, the good
and pacific temperate moments,
weren't just lovely, but everything?
what if i could let it all fall away
in the wake, that ache to extract
meaning from vastness?

let us suffice; the ease of thinking
it all goes on, whether we're here
to see it or not. the splashing waves,
the suntipped gulls arcing across 
the radiant world. 


planning my day.

"i get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." -e.b. white


simple things.

"she did not need much. wanted very little. a kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cozy bed, and to love and be loved in return."
-starra neely blade


wise instructions.

be kind.
work hard.
stay humble.
smile often.
stay loyal.
keep honest.
travel when possible.
never stop
be thankful
and love.


the weekend report.

i'm just jumping over two super important weeks straight into present. we've got some catching up to do, and i promise to go back there soon.

in the meantime, today marked the start of fall. it was a chilly, breezy day with a few showers. i got in a walk in the park with brett & lu, a walk in the woods with jen & the pups, and a short bike ride with brett this evening. i wrote a handful of thank you notes, did some laundry, and made delicious and easy peanut noodles.

yesterday i fit in a workout, a walk with jen & the pups, a farmers market trip with mom, a bike ride with brett, and a bunch of cooking. we had jenna & alex over last night for an adult-only dinner hurrah- what could be our last one for quite some time. today marked jenna's due date and we are are all eagerly awaiting baby b's arrival. we scheduled our dinner party early in the week but i waited to shop until early yesterday morning when i was quite certain our plans wouldn't be imposed on by the impending arrival. i made a favorite recipe, lemon pasta, and lemon garlic salmon. jenna brought a terrific salad. i rounded things out with a new twist on a delightful dessert. 

while i spend a lot of time with jenna, and brett spends even more time with alex, it's relatively rare that all four of us hang out, and even more rare that it's intentional, lengthy, and at the dinner table. i savored every moment of it, knowing that our traditional routines and focus are about to get shaken up in the most exciting and daunting way possible.


oh, hello.

friends: if you are reading this then you are awesome. i really left you all out to dry this past month, and i'm sorry. i promise i'll be coming back to visit you and catch up really soon. the past few weeks have been a beautiful whirlwind and b & i are still radiating with joy from our wedding on september 7. it was a perfect and special celebration surrounded by our dearest community. i can't wait to share some photos and memories.

in the meantime, i've almost made it through my first week back in the office and am looking forward to the weekend!


"be the one who nurtures and builds. be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart. one who looks for the best in people, leave people better than you found them." 
-marvin j. ashton

lord huron.


next time.

by joyce sutphen

i'll know the names of all the birds
and flowers, and not only that, i'll
tell you the name of the piano player
i'm hearing right now on the kitchen
radio, but i won't be in the kitchen,

i'll be walking down a street in 
new york or london, about
to enter a coffee shop where people
are reading or working on their
laptops. they'll look up and smile.

next time i won't waste my heart
on anger; i won't care about
being right. i'll be willing to be
wrong about everything and to
concentrate on giving myself away.

next time, i'll rush up to people i love,
look into their eyes, and kiss them, quick.
i'll give everyone a poem i didn't write,
one specially chosen for that person.
they'll hold it up and see a new
world. we'll sing the morning in,

and i will keep in touch with friends, 
writing long letters when i wake from
a dream where they appear on the
orient express. "meet me in istanbul,"
i'll say, and they will. 


life these days.

do you remember me? i've really been weak to you lately, and i apologize. i promise i'll be back soon.

i'm filling my days with a lot of chaos at work, every last summery activity i can squeeze in, and a whole lot of wedding prep.

work: chaos.

summer: this past weekend included a full day of sailing with my parents and jenna, the prior weekend included a hike up stowe pinnacle, a sweet afternoon at joe's pond, and a little baby-mama scavenger hunt around town. i've been eating ice cream, fresh garden produce, and whatever else i can get my paws on. brett and i have had sunday evening picnic & swim dates the past two weeks.

wedding: 280 feet of decorations have been constructed by me, jenna & my mom. we've picked up my dress, met with our photographers, finalized every last delicious detail of the menu, ordered flowers, exchanged nine hundred and two emails per week on subjects ranging from napkin colors to necklaces to candles.  i'm madly in love with all of our vendors and the magic that they will help us to create. almost every day next week someone i love will land in vermont. how incredible is that? we are so excited to see most of our favorite people in the world, and are sad about those who can't join us for one reason or another. i am mostly calm, slightly overwhelmed, and absolutely excited!


monday night:
yummy salad enjoyed on the porch, a stroll beneath a giant moon, and a small dish of chocolate-pb swirl creemee.


saturday gratitude.

gratitude for best friends, particularly those who send handmade mix cds full of fun summer songs in the mail. and for those who call from the appalachian trail with tales of adventure and love. for sweet babes growing fast, and one coming soon. for fresh salads from the garden and tomato plants carrying heavy loads. for impromptu grilling sessions with friends and for b trying out a tv series with me. for hot coffee and fresh croissants. for new max weights at the gym, and shivasana at the end of yoga practice. for sweet sails with my parents and for refreshing dips in lake champlain. for lu's constant snuggles and the cuteness overload of her first slumber party. for checking tasks off the wedding list and for building anticipation for our big day. for good sales and teamwork. xoxo



"someone told me to always
live for the little things
in life.
live for 5 am sunrises and 5pm sunsets
where you'll see colours in the sky that 
don't usually belong.
live for road trips and bike rides
with music in your ears and
the wind in your hair.
live for days when you're surrounded
by your favorite people who make you realize
that the world is not a 
cold, harsh place.
live for the little things because
they will make you realize that
this is what life is about,
this is what it means to be alive."

august morning.

there was a hint of fall in the air this morning. enjoyed with a soft new flannel, hot coffee in hand, while walking in the woods with lu. mmm.


tasty things.

a few yummy recipes we have enjoyed lately:

fluffy pancakes.

lemon arugula pizza.

a variation on this kale salad.

our sungold tomatoes have started kicking, and we have about 50 defiant tomatoes about to come in (amazing). ideas for awesome tomato recipes (aside from caprese everything)?



"that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great."
-willa cather


sometimes overlooked blessings.

"i have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and  consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness."
-thomas s. monson



the good:
this pizza for dinner. i added a little tomato from the garden and some fresh basil mixed in with the arugula. amazing.

the bad:
one of those days where just about everything makes me cry. even the stupid things.


remember in life: to live simply, and love fiercely.



"august arrives, hot and breathless and full of all the things you held on to too tightly. and all of the places that defined summer begin to melt together, the sand that got stuck in your hair and the bug bites you picked at too much, and the taste of every sunset that slipped through the open car window. somehow each summer is its own lifetime, we love and eat, and the sun will come back, without fail."


the head & the heart.

new music from the head & the heart = yes. check it out here!

after seeing my post about the lack of concerts in my summer, one of my dear friends emailed me to invite me to be her date to a show of the head & the heart this fall. i am pumped!


august 3.

happiest of birthday to you, dad! love you lots.



my summer is sadly not very full of concerts. we loved edward sharpe in june, but most summers have a few more big shows. many of my current favorites are playing in montreal this weekend at osheaga, but unfortunately that doesn't fit in the budget or the schedule this month!

i would love to see alabama shakes, of monsters & men, and ben howard.

who's at the top of you concert wishlist?


a book is like a life.

"there are those who say
that life is like a book, 
with chapters for each event
in your life and a limited
number of pages on which
you can spend your time.
but i prefer to think that
a book is like a life,
particularly a good one,
which is well worth staying
up all night to finish."



friends, i'm still here. i know i've fallen off the internet, and i apologize. the rest of my trip was terrific (more to come!), and i arrived back in vermont late monday night. the week has been a bit wild-- significant changes at work, the usual catchup, unpacking, a lack of food in our house, and two weeks worth of dirt floating around the house. but it's also been great-- an early morning trail run in the pouring rain with lu, my first fitting for my wedding dress, an evening bike ride, weeding in the garden and enjoying our greens, and an early morning bike ride today. i thoroughly enjoyed the west coast and time spent with friends & future family, but it was so sweet to return to vermont and enjoy a few sunny summer days.


still on the go.

my trip continues, as i am wrapping up the third stretch. hoping to share more later, but it's been a grand tour of the west coast filled with the oldest friends and the newest. interesting site visits to grantees, great food, stunning views, and more. tomorrow i start heading back east with a stopover in indiana for some festivities. brett's family is throwing us an engagement party, as well as a shower me. i'm looking forward to being reunited with brett tomorrow and hopefully relaxing a bit over the next few days.


inventions of summer.

"There is no end-- believe me!-- 
to the inventions of summer, to the happiness your body is willing to bear." 
-Mary Oliver


A few more from Central California.

sailboats in monterey

my hotel

view from elkhorn slough


Adventures, Part 1.

The first segment of my trip is coming to a close. I flew to SFO on Tuesday, drove down the coast to Monterey, and visited our office in Castroville for the rest of the week. I've visited two awesome grantees, ran a grant team meeting with our local employees, and explored Central California. I wandered Carmel by the Sea, walked on the Monterey rec path, dipped my toes in the Pacific for the first time, ate endless seafood and artichokes, and explored the wharf near my hotel. It would be fair to say that I loved my time here, and I would happily come back any time.

meeting the pacific, one toe at a time.

mystery door.

wharf walking.


at the hotel.

Segment 2 begins this evening!

best day.

"write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." 
-ralph waldo emerson


oh, hello.

remember me? my apologies for the lack of posts lately. i've been busy enjoying the best of summer-- strawberry picking, swimming, grilling, and biking. the endless rain can't stop me. i'm grateful particularly for dinner dates with my bff, parties with old friends, a 4th of july celebration at camp, pizza on the porch, and a 21 mile spin on my orange bike.

today our little lu turns 2, and tomorrow brett and i celebrate 7 (!!) years of b & e.

today i'm off on a 2 week adventure. four stops: work, fun, work, fun. stay tuned!


mary oliver.


a weekend on the cape.

a long weekend with brett: yippee.

friday: a sweaty workout, strawberry shortcake for breakfast, car time. sandwiches in new hampshire, relatively light traffic, and at the cape in time for a quick bike ride before dinner with the family.

saturday: a massive thunderstorm, coffee with gran, donuts and shopping with b, a light lunch. a private bagpipe concert at the house (the randomness never ends), followed by a quick kayak against the wind and tide. another massive storm spent on the couch chatting with a best friend. family crossword and cocktail hour then dinner out with b: lobster rolls & lemonade. a breezy stroll on the beach watching surfers, and early to bed.

sunday: an early bike ride to brewster, coffee with gran, breakfast with my aunt and uncle. easy traffic off the cape, finishing a bizarre book, a big stop at trader joes. home in time for lawn mowing and grocery shopping. a really excited puppy to have us home. garden harvesting, swimming at wrightsville, and then grilled pizza and salad on the porch while the rain poured down.


"wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life."


last weekend.

an important field trip to burlington, dinner out at leunig's, a solstice sunset drive home. fresh peonies in the kitchen. a dog walk leading to the farmers market, a road ride on the new bike, and a big downpour. strawberry picking with mom, berry shortcake for dessert, and some more rain in between. summer: i love you.


on instagram.

here's an interesting piece about instagram, and the new instagram video feature. i agree with so much of the article. the new video feature doesn't have a lot of appeal to me, though i can imagine a scenario in which i might play with it. instagram is my favorite app, my favorite 'social networking' activity right now. photography is a favorite hobby of mine, and the app allows me to take my ordinary photos of sweet moments, put a perfect filter on them, and share them with my community. it's a 'well-crafted fantasy' world seeded with real life moments. you choose the perfect shot and the perfect filter, and then you get to imbed the memory just as you want to remember it.

i always think it's so important to remember that what you see (on facebook or on instagram or any other tool) isn't necessarily the full reality. we choose what we share-- just as i do on this blog. i share what i want to remember, what i appreciate, what i think will make my little reader following smile. the below photo is a perfect example: my living room still life. i cropped out the pile of wedding invitations, the computer, the dirty cups, the crumpled napkins. so you see this: my serene little scene.



"life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. this includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor, every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every breath. every moment is the guru."
-charlotte joko beck



"happy. just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running-- that's the way to live."
-jack kerouac, the dharma bums


old pine.

oh yes. love this song. it makes me want to go play in the woods with my friends.


"respect is earned. honesty is appreciated. trust is gained. loyalty is returned."


wednesday night.

sparkling blue sky. a soft breeze. my brand new orange bike out cruising paved & dirt roads for the first time. squinting into the sun. a little stretching on the front porch. quiet time at home while b & lu are out. a black bean burger. an episode of mad men. butterscotch pudding.

wild country.

i've been loving this song lately. wake owl is an up and coming band with an EP and a few radio songs, and they are playing a free show in burlington this summer. hoping to make it!


currently enjoying.

tomato quinoa soup. the sound of a downpour starting on our roof. smelly brie cheese. wake owl. making plans to enjoy every ounce of summer. a new blueberry muffin recipe, best made on sunday mornings. peonies on the table. starting our second round of seeds in the garden. buffalo chicken salad.




life is short.

i know i shared this video years ago, but a friend recently posted it and i enjoyed it so much i had to re-share.

best friends, bicycles and words to live by. does it get any better?



in two years time.

tonight we're headed to shelburne museum to see edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros. the field will be a swamp, but i've got my boots packed and my dancing legs ready. i am looking forward to it!

two years ago, we had a similarly wet day before we headed to the same venue to see the mountain goats & bright eyes. i'm hoping the weather will dry up and improve the way it did on that day, though it will be a fun show even if we're soaked.

it's amazing how time passes. in those photos taken two years ago, jenna & alex were fresh homeowners. the following month, they would become engaged. a year later, they were married. and as we head to the show tonight, we are all eagerly anticipating the arrival of baby b in september. at that point, brett and i were only entertaining the idea of a dog. miss lu was a mere few week old pup living on a rural farm-- just waiting for us to find her so she could bring her sweet self into our life. now, we are engaged and planning a fantastic wedding, loving our lu, and tossing around dreams of owning a home.

two little years. love this life.

rainy day tunes.

crooked still was a bluegrass favorite of mine for several years. the band members have since embarked on their own adventures. enjoy this video of the former lead vocalist, aoife o' donovan.

fun in the kitchen.

on sunday, i had a great day in the kitchen. i love trying new recipes and playing around-- so long as i'm not in a hurry.

i made the fluffiest pancakes for breakfast. i added blueberries to some, and served them with raspberries, bacon and local syrup. we agreed: this is our new go-to recipe.

for dinner, i tried a new brussel sprout recipe. i was also eager to try this recipe for gnocci with sweet corn, arugula and cream sauce. i added basil and lemon zest, and the verdict was YUM. however, i couldn't find my usual gnocci in the store, so i underwent my first attempt at homemade gnocci. super fun, lengthy process. next time, more patience, more time, and smaller gnoccis. mine were tasty (i used two regular potatoes and one sweet potato as they were all small) but resembled flying saucers. enjoyed on the porch.

what's in your kitchen?


the weekend.

a rainy evening. a glass of wine with a new friend at a sweet little cafe downtown. an incredibly muddy dog transformed into a fluffy clean dog. an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese.  a super shop at the coop truckload sale. home decorating: rustic frames from tj maxx for my new prints. an afternoon movie on the couch! a run in the park. a date night with b. coffee and lounging. a great workout. the cleanest bathroom you ever did see. some new recipes in the kitchen. a little pedal around town.


for friendship.

grateful for out-of-work fun with a coworker, a wine date with a new friend, a catchup call with the oldest of friends, texting with a far-away friend, video chatting hilariousness with a sad friend. i love my people.



"but i have learned this: joy doesn't follow anyone. rather it is chased after, laughingly, hungrily, boisterously. it is pursued like a child who, chasing fireflies, ends up with handful of starry sky."


hello, weekend.

it's going to be a wet and quiet weekend in vermont. we've got cold rain falling at least through tomorrow night, and most of 'my people' are out of town. tonight i'm meeting a new friend for a glass of wine, and tomorrow i intend to do some cleaning and relaxing.

i spotted this article today about 14 things successful people do on weekends. i think that i cover many of those-- though i could go for fewer chores, more vacation and more disconnecting. how about you?


around the web.

a few web links to start your day:

great song shared by a friend.

interesting map showing our regional accents and terms.

totally digging my first day in these new pants.

i'm trying this new recipe for dinner tonight and i'm already looking forward to it. serving it with a side of roasted cauliflower.

this is your brain on coffee.


midweek thoughts.

  • i don't walk lu as often in the mornings as i should. brett usually takes her for a run, walk or bike while i go to the gym. and when i do take her in the morning, it's usually for a run or walk in the park. occasionally, i choose to walk her on her leash around town. today was one such day, and i just couldn't get enough of it. walking the neighborhoods at 6:15 is so quiet and still. by my final mile through downtown a bit after 7, the whole town was waking up and stretching-- cars buzzing, the smell of bagels baking, runners and walkers and bikers all moving fast. sometimes it feels like i don't get to spend enough time in my community, and this was such a good little taste of it coming alive.
  • where i have chosen to live in relation to where my office is located has resulted in a 38 minute commute (each way). every summer, the state takes on a few projects on the highway-- paving, ledge repairs, pothole repairs, whatever. and the drive gets slow. yesterday was the queen of slow. 1 hour 46 minutes to get to work. 1 hour 6 minutes to get home. my patience was thin. in order to turn things around, i reached into my glove box and pulled out some old cds. i was quickly transported to 2003 with a hilarious mix of michael jackson, bryan adams, alanis morrisette, and christian rock bands. whoa.
  • there is nothing more wonderful than getting in bed early to read, with a cup of sleepy time tea by my side.
  • there was an incredibly tragic shooting in steamboat last week involving a family i knew there. i cannot stop hurting for them. 
  • hug the ones you love extra today.


chopped thai chicken salad.

i tried out this new recipe last night. super easy to prepare, very fresh, and wonderfully delicious. i used mango instead of papaya. and be warned that this makes a massive quantity-- probably serves at least 8. we both loved it, and as long as you don't mix the dressing and salad, it will keep for a few days.


man on fire.

we're going to see edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros in a week, and i'm really excited.


dogs at work.

i'm not sure that having lu at work with me would work out all that well, but i do love ibex's family of dogs. they recently won purina's 'pets at work' contest. congrats to one of my favorite brands!


smitten kitchen.

let's talk about smitten kitchen. do you visit this food blog? it's delightful and delicious. in addition to joy the baker (hello polenta!), it's a favorite site to visit. i've yet to make a recipe that i didn't love.

this weekend i made deb's lemon ricotta pancakes for a sunday brunch feast. the flavors were amazing. the texture was a bit mushy when it should have been fluffy, but i think that's due to me under-whipping the egg whites. the cooked apples were yummy, and a little side of bacon balanced out the sweet quite well.

last night i made the strawberry-rhubarb crumble. i cut the sugar slightly, topped it with vanilla ice cream, and called it perfect. my folks came over to enjoy it with us.

other smitten kitchen favorites are my go-to pumpkin muffin recipe and blueberry muffin recipe.

ps- deb also has a cookbook. i don't have it, but given the quality of her recipes on the blog i'm sure it's wonderful.




rainy sunday.

damp and cold outside. coffee & computers in bed. snoring little lu. and this song.


scenes from spring:


first creemee of the season.

morning run.

sunset on lake champlain.

bringing spring into the office.

old golds at erin's shower.

barn party.

sweet lilacs.

green mountain sunset.

first ride of the season.