Vacation Journal: Part 2

Day 5, beach

Another lazy start even though we set the alarm. More french toast, but not as much as yesterday. Jake makes me learn a new game. I hate the way it's scored. Obviously I do not win. Long walk on the beach and it starts to rain. The beach clears out. The rain feels cold, but the ocean seems warm. We're already wet so we take a swim. Then we read for a few hours in tiny blue beach chairs. Jake is very cute. Head back to town for a tostada and putt-putt. The course is packed but we have fun.

Day 6, bike ride and beach (duh)

Got up a little earlier. Last of the french toast regimen. Bike ride to the Whalehead for an arts festival. I buy a Yes We Can etching from a real printmaker. Air conditioning at the wildlife center and a collection of hundreds of decoy ducks, made from canvas, wood, cork. They're awesome. Bike past the lighthouse and back to the house. 11 miles today. It's HOT outside, my butt is starting to break in. Head to the beach. The lifeguard swims out to Jake and Harrison to make sure they're ok since they're out so far. They're fine of course. A small crowd watches to make sure.The guard tells them about rip tides when they come back in. Sweet corn for dinner. A long game for the others.

Day 7, travel day, Bethany and Rehoboth Beach

Got up at 9 to pack, on the road by 11. Goodbye OBX, we'll miss you. Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is terrifying. Jake drove it this time. Boardwalk fries with vinegar, caramel corn, saltwater taffy, "cookies" for the puppies from the boarwalk at Bethany Beach. We missed this kind of hustle. Then north to Rehoboth. This beach is much different. Waves break right on the shore line and kids get swept along easily. A nice man takes our picture while his son watches. We sit on the boardwalk facing the sea and watch the sky darken.

Day 8, travel and home

Get up and drive through the rest of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and to my mom's to pick up the girls. Visit with Jake's mom and grandma. Drive the rest of the way home. Susie sleeps on my lap the whole way and Cassie takes up the entire back seat. It's late, but we're happy to be home. Our bed is so comfy.

Vacation Journal: Part 1

Day 1, still traveling, woke up in Philly

One of my students suggested that Jake and I visit Longwood Gardens on our way to North Carolina. So, we made a point to visit the gardens and immediately fell in love. I wasn’t prepared for the size of the estate (huge) or the variety of gardens. The weather was overcast and by the end of our two-hour excursion I was soaked, but we were both happy to see it this way. Somehow it seemed more real and the mistiness was just beautiful. And although most of the visitors and greeter seemed to favor the gigantic and impressive conservatory, we both loved walking through the outdoor gardens. They were a bit less manicured and felt more natural. One of the best features was an observational honeybee hive, where we could watch the bees working, traveling in and out of a small tube connecting the hive to the outside world. I’m so incredibly glad we took time out to visit the gardens.

Day 2, Outer Banks

Sleep in. Farmer’s market for veggies, strawberry jam, homemade cheese. Guacamole and burritos for lunch. I learn that the OBX bumper stickers stand for Outer Banks, which seems so logical now. Lay out of the beach for a while and get stung by high winds and sand. A bit of computer work for me and board games for Jake and our friends.

Day 3, beach

Sleep in. Leisurely bike ride to explore the “town.” Back to the beach, which is much calmer today. Jake swims out past the breaking waves. Incredible sand castles. Jake thinks they are representations of Helms Deep. Walk through the rising tide. I finally finish the book I started in March. Salad with peaches and blue cheese, sandwiches with gouda and avocado for dinner. We make such better meals than we can find in restaurants here.

Day 4, beach

Got up a bit earlier, but still a slow start. Bike ride to grocery store for maple syrup. My butt is killing me from biking yesterday. Most of the workers in the Outer Banks seem to be Eastern European, Google explains why. Way too much french toast (with pecan raisin bread) for breakfast. Jake beats me at Mystery Rummy about 25 times in a row. A bit more design work for me. A few hours on the beach, walking the shore line to look for beach dogs. A swim in the ocean, not as cold as I thought it would be. Lots of sunscreen, but still a little red. Happy exhaustion, dinner, board games.

No. 4

Last Thursday Jake and I celebrated our fourth anniversary. I wouldn't exactly say that it was in style, but it was definitely us. I alternated between working on some new designs for a client and lending Jake a hand while he changed the springs on my car. Then we ran a few errands and stopped by the grocery store for some good cheese and a gourmet pizza, which we ate at home with leftover cauliflower soup. It was a really nice night, one that we were able to spend together quietly.

And somehow we managed to tie up all of our loose ends on Friday to head out for a vacation with Jake's good friend from college. We finally finished packing and got on the road at seven in the evening, whew! We stayed the night in Philly, took our time the next day at a beautiful garden (more on this later) and finally got to the Outer Banks around midnight on Saturday. I'm looking forward to some sun and saltwater taffy this next week. And a bit of work, but I'll try to limit that and actually take a break.
I don't think I told you...I have an intern! We've been busily working on cleaning the studio and shipping center (aka my dining room). I've been finding things I had forgotten about and I'm finally able to get rid of things I've been carting around for years. I'm at the cusp of organizational bliss! Or, I'm at least at the cusp of finding misplaced rulers, original Kelsey printing inks in lead tubes, and inspirational notes from my undergrad mentor.

searching high and low

I love visiting thrift stores, antique malls and estate sales. I have a feeling many of you feel the same way. They feel so nostalgic to me, a chance to re-use something with a history, to make a new memory. In the past week or so I've gone to several antique shops. But, I've not been going just to wander, although I do a fair amount of this. I've also been on a bit of a mission scouting for centerpieces for a friend's wedding. I hit the mother load today. I hope I can quickly stop by the thrift store near the studio tomorrow.

time to reflect

A few weeks ago my dad had to make the difficult decision to put my grandmother in a nursing home. She just couldn't stay in her big house without my grandfather and round the clock care is prohibitively expensive. So, this past weekend I went home to help clean out their house, which was a pretty intense experience, lots of ups and downs. I've never had to clean someone else's home and, although I know it has to be done, it was still hard to sort through things and make judgments on what is important. All of it was important to my grandmother. Everything has a memory. I know that my habit of collecting (sometimes hoarding) must have been influenced by my grandma. She has newspaper clippings of engagements and scholarships, thousands of photos of family and friends, suitcases full of blank greeting cards that she would send out to every one of her children and grandchildren for each holiday. And out of everything we went through, a very short list sticks with me.

*The wedding bands of her parents, my great grandparents, tucked inside an envelope for safe keeping in her jewelry box, labeled mama's rings in her distinct handwriting.
*Her wedding dress from her first marriage. This is my dad's dad who died before I could ever meet him. She showed me the dress just before I was married. It's still wrapped in tissue paper. I'm going to tuck it under my bed.
*A stack of love letters that her first husband wrote to her while they were courting. They're wrapped in a pink and white striped ribbon and tucked into her cedar chest next to my dad's highschoool report card.
*A ceramic bear cookie jar that sat on her counter and was filled with cookies. Grandpa had a sweet tooth.
*Dozen's of patterned sheets and aprons. She and my grandfather owned a cottage and I envision these sheets on those beds, with the windows open so the fresh lake air could come in. They're in my washer now, getting ready to be used again.

I think the transition has been hard on her. Her body aches and she was admitted to a hospital a few days ago. When I visited her she was doing better than the previous days, but she was still more frail than I had last seen her. Her Alzheimer's is getting worse and I didn't know if she would remember me. She did, though. We talked about canning jams, she told me she was going to a wedding, she asked to call my grandfather as we got ready to leave. I'm so glad I had the chance to visit and now I have some idea of what my dad has been dealing with. I couldn't have gotten through it without the support of a dear friend, who drove me home, sorted through boxes, and helped me talk to my grandmother. We drove home into a bright pink sunset that lasted almost an hour, my grandmother's favorite color.

I really debated about posting something so personal here and I know that it's subject matter that most bloggers don't put out there for everyone to read. But, I don't keep a journal of any other sort and there are memories here that I want to hold on to. Thank you for bearing with me.

Call for entries

By now you probably all know that I'm one of the co-organizers of Second Storie Indie Market. I'm super excited to announce our call for entries for the next market. The event isn't until November, but you all know how quickly time seems to fly! You can find the application here. Stay in the loop as we gear up for the best event yet and feel free to contact us if you would like to volunteer for our street team or help sponsor the event.

yet another list?

I haven't been on my bike in a shameful number of years, but since Jake started biking to work a few weeks ago we decided to break mine out of storage. On Sunday we rode to our favorite ice cream spot for a few cones (sprinkles for me, none for Jake) and then down the canal path near our house. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this and it was so nice to spend some time together being active. A few more rides and hopefully I'll break in my butt :)

On this same trip Jake asked me what's on my bucket list. Hmmm. After some thinking I realized that traveling more is just about the one thing I would like to do, which I've been working. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things I would love to experience in the future, but in general I'm pretty fulfilled. So, what's on your bucket list?

Peony love

I almost forgot to remind you...the Linwood Garden Tree Peony festival is this weekend! I go every year and it's amazing. If you love peonies, you should definitely stop by. They have a wonderful variety of tree peonies and they're giant! Light lunch fare is also available in the main estate (soups, quiche, cake, lemonade). This is the last weekend that the festival is open to the public, so don't procrastinate. Seriously, this is one of the most beautiful places in western NY.

the bright side

I've been a bit overwhelmed these last few days. Lots to deal with and care for and stress over. It actually feels a bit like a soap opera around here. I hope things return to normal soon. But, I have much to be happy about. My mom is coming for a visit this weekend. She's going to bring me and my sister some veggies and flowers from her greenhouse and then we're going to spend the weekend planting and eating well (see above)!

I'm also happy that as of today, Jake and I have been together for twelve years. Twelve whole years. That's a lot of time to really get to know someone. He still puts up with my crap, he's still my best friend, and best of all, we're still happy!

missing Italy

It's been a bit cool these past few days and I've been dreaming about going back to Italy again. Seriously, I'm obsessed, checking the price of flights (too expensive) and the exchange rate (much better than last year). I really miss the simplicity of life when we're on vacation, especially in Italy. I miss walking out of our rented apartment and down the street to get fresh focaccia for lunch. Or to the tiny market for fruit and cheese. Or hiking though the gardens on the hillside. Or having a leisurely dinner with Jen and Jim and then getting gelato. When we were there last summer I actually thought that I might not want to go back to that small town, that there wasn't enough to do, that it was too far away from the big cities. I should have slapped myself! I think it was more that I was having a hard time not doing 500 things at once. I had a really difficult time slowing down. I didn't have to keep a schedule or a routine, I was paniced that I had forgetten to print something before I left, and I was already worried about how much work I was coming back to after the trip. Now I think I have a bit more perpective and I'm sure I would enjoy every second of laying on the rocky beach.

It's interesting to see how much perspective I've gained during the last year in general. I've been making time for my health much more now. I manage to go to the gym five days a week (I love Zumba), I've been cooking at home more (yes, soup in the summer), and I've been going to bed at a decent hour every night (by midnight, hooray). I actually go to the gym in the morning, for real! Those of you who know how much I love my bed must have fallen over with that last sentence. And I've been enjoying keeping up with this space a bit more.


Just saw this amazing wedding invitation on Joanna's blog and loved it. You can't do this with letterpress, that's for sure.

the local markets

This weekend was beautiful, and a bit on the cool side, but just gorgeous. Jake and I were able to stop by the local public market on Saturday, which is one of my favorite Rochester activities. We lunched on some amazing empanadas and then spent an hour picking up veggies and homemade cheese for dinner this week.

I'm also very excited that the South Wedge Farmer's Market will begin again this week! The SWFM has a much different, more intimate feel than the public market, and all of the food is locally grown. I feel like I know everyone here and there's a huge sense of community between the shoppers and farmers. These photos were taken by Shanna for the market's Community Portrait Party and they're so awesome. I was at the photo shoot and everyone there was so excited to be a part of the market. I'm looking forward to a summer of delicious meals.