Apple Picking

J and I got out of the city last weekend to go apple picking. I haven't been since childhood trips to the Louisburg Cider Mill, home of the best cider donuts I have ever eaten. Period. I've tried at farmer's markets throughout NYC but never found one that compared. Louisburg's are barely fried so they're still soft and moist, with so much cinnamon and flavor. I'm getting hungry just thinking about them...

But we journeyed up to Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. 


Man Shops Globe. Girl Shops Her Closet.

Tonight, there's an event at the store for our buyer-at-large, who has a show launching on the Sundance Channel next week. It's called Man Shops Globe and follows the adventures of Keith Johnson. Just imagine: he gets paid to poke through dusty bazaars, tucked away antique shops, discover indigenous artisans, and travel around the world. Tunisia, Turkey, Holland, the UK, India, etc, etc. SO jealous.

I'm skipping the party for birthday dinner with J, but that's probably best, because seething with envy is never very attractive at work. ;)

Enjoy the drool-worthy images of his trips!
All photos © Sundance Channel


Fireworks and Rooftops

My Independence weekend started in Connecticut, at the beach near where J grew up. The Friday before July 4th, people start staking out their places on the beach from mid-afternoon on, and the fireworks start at sundown. I had work off that day, so we went up early and spent the day swimming and laying out, in preparation for the fireworks that night. His parents and several family friends joined us around dinnertime, and we sat in lounge chairs and enjoyed the lovely evening. It's a really relaxing way to start the long weekend.

Growing up, we would always go to one of the city parks, like Leawood or Shawnee Mission parks, to watch the fireworks. I remember many hot summer nights of playing football or running around with church friends while we waited for the show to start. Then, it was always back to our driveway to do sparklers and fountains and throw pop-pops. (I was never a big fan of the screamers of bottle-rockets.) Always such a fun holiday!


Quote: Belongs

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was."
- Ernest Hemingway, "Old Newsman Writes: A Letter from Cuba," Esquire (New York, Dec. 1934).

Bookshelf: Twilight Saga

I just finished reading the Twilight saga. I started last Friday, and finished late last night (Thursday). I'll admit I got completely sucked in. It's not so much the love story or the adventure, but Stephenie Meyer manages to pull me along, sometime begrudgingly. About 2.5 books into reading, though, I realized my biggest issue with the novels: Bella. I do not like the heroine.

She is one of the most selfish, whiny, reckless, foolish, manipulative and inconsistent characters I have ever read. Her love for Edward is both her strongest trait and her biggest vulnerability. Often, I was disgusted by her inability to see things clearly and put those she loved first in a practical way, not some self-sacrifice that wouldn't wind up doing anyone any good and just get her into worse trouble/harm. Those around her were portrayed as much, much stronger, like she was a fragile doll that needed protection at all times. No one gave her complete information, no one trusted her to take care of herself (usually with good reason, because she would usually make the illogical choice.) She seemed incapable of looking at a situation objectively, without this obsessive desire to just have Edward and Jacob close to her. Even at their own personal cost. Selfish. Stupid. **spoiler alert** And once she decides to have the child, she doesn't care about the cost. She's maniacal in her martyrdom. And then once she becomes a vampire, I almost don't believe her new identity. But the personal strength she showed as a vampire finally made me, again somewhat begrudgingly, respect her.


Flowers Lead to Books

Maira Kalman's blog about springtime and about books. And thinking and not thinking. If I could translate my feelings on this sunny May day, that would be it. I just want to be outside, doing something cliche like sit on a bench in Bryant Park with a book.

Quote: Thoughts on Work

(Photo via Flickr)
Three rules of work:
1. Out of clutter, find simplicity.
2. From discord, find harmony.
3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Attributed to Albert Einstein, but in grad school, a similar message was also ingrained in my mind...

Three rules of good writing:
1. Clarity.
2. Brevity.
3. Euphony.

Thanks, Professor Hajdu!


Roosevelt Island

This morning, J and I went to Roosevelt Island to check out the Riverwalk Court apartments. 

They were, in a word, glorious. Or sunny. Floor-to-ceiling windows, facing either Manhattan or Queens, and right by the river. This is the view from my favorite, looking towards Queens. The summer sunlight just flooded the place, and it's still fresh-paint white and untarnished. We're not in a place to buy or even rent (and we're not engaged or anything!) but it's fun to come get ideas and dream a little.

We've been obsessed with Roosevelt Island for awhile now. The island is a secret gem between the Upper East Side and Queens, with amazing views and lots of green space. The rents are relatively inexpensive, and residents get to be right up close to the water. Even Riverside Drive apartments don't get that close because of Riverside Park and the West Side Highway. There aren't a lot of amenities on the island—one dry cleaners, two grocery stores, etc. But there are several parks, a community garden, jogging paths all the way around, and two hospitals.


Valentine's Adventures

To celebrate Valentine's Day, J and I cooked dinner at his studio apartment. I walked in the door and was greeted by the cheery table, already set with flowers, red napkins in lieu of tablecloth, and candles. It made the place feel more festive than usual, and I love imagining him shopping for heart-shaped candles.

We made a caprese salad—Justin's favorite—with sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozarella and basil leaves. Nothing fancy, but fresh and delicious.
This is all the kitchen space we had to work with in his 300-square-foot bachelor pad:


Justin's Jazz Birthday

For Justin's birthday, my gift was to plan out a day for him. (His gift to me was to give me the time and to let me plan, which is hard for someone who likes to have the schedule.) We met up at Columbus Circle for an incredible brunch at Asiate, the Mandarin Oriental's sky-high restaurant. 
Our food was delicious and the views were stunning. We spent most of the meal watching passersby, straining to see in Trump Tower apartments, and enjoying the time together.