Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gropius House, Lincoln MA

After my morning of lattes, girl talk, sunning, and swimming at the Walden, Christi and I decided to head over to the Gropius house. A place we've both always wanted to visit but never got to. Its only about 5 minutes from Walden. . .

We got there in perfect time with 2 spots left in the 2pm tour that was a mere 3 minutes away. Kismet.

The house was gorgeous. Walter Gropius built it in 1937 after moving from Berlin and then Britain. He was an icon of architecture and the Bauhaus design movement (which I adore and am entirely inspired by). The house was filled with unusual materials that were mainly purchased from mass-produced products . . . such as museum lighting, clapboard walls, and department store huge single-pane windows. So inspiring to see how he was able to pull inspiration and shift the function of these items to work so cohesively and elegantly in his own home. Something I aspire to do with my own graphic design.

The simplicity was another item of note. As I look around my apartment, I realize that over the course of three years, I've aquired a lot of unnecessary things. My focus from now on will be to streamline everything considerably. Buying quality items and keeping things neat and minimal. His house made me realize it can still be perfectly homey and cozy without all the tchotkes and miscellaneous home decorations. Keeps the focus on the items that are the most important to you.

Great hour spent (and even better day). I really recommend it if only to enjoy the gorgeous landscapes and beautiful Lincoln / Concord quiet and charm not to mention the incredible architecture.

Swimming with Fishes

So last weekend, as part of the day of bachelorette fun, Sarah, Kim, Leah, and myself all trekked out to the quaint Walden Pond in Concord to catch some sun before heading back into the city for a night of revelry. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to practice my lake swim with the upcoming triathlon on 9/13 (which is also a lake swim because I'm definitely not ready for the ocean!).

I didn't do so well and realized that although I'm pretty confident in a pool at this point, the whole not seeing the bottom and being freaked out anytime a fish swam too close, made me panic, gasp for air, and gulp water repeatedly. Not a good forecast.

So this lovely weekend, I headed back out with my pal Christi. MUCH BETTER! I realize, that like running, its the starting out and getting my groove that is the roughest part. I swam half-way out and back (1/2 mile?). Although it took me a hefty 20 minutes, that was because I stopped frequently so I could switch strokes or even just tread water. Something I'm not too skilled at and I felt I better feel more comfortable in case I tire out. I also took multiple moments of pause and floating to just soak up the sun and enjoy the quiet of being stranded in the middle of a lake. It was incredible and I'm definitely much more confident that I can do this thing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Such Nice Things!

So... my sisters have always said great things to me and buttered me up as well. I love them so much for their constant ego boosts when I'm feeling low. In addition to their constant loveliness, I've had some recent things said to me by other folks that have caught me off-guard and made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I think these two recent statements rank in the top 5 compliments anyone has ever given me:

1. My friend Steve has said several times starting at the NYC Half-Marathon that I was very inspiring. Now I know that that's probably specifically relating to the running/training and fundraising but being told you are inspiring in any form is such an amazing feeling. I think that's the best adjective someone can attach to another person. I think about the people in my life that inspire me... and I'm so proud to be called that.

2. Last night I was chatting with my boss from my previous job, Janet. Janet has always, in fact, also been very inspiring to me and someone I've always respected, trusted, and loved. She asked me what race I was training for now and I said I was working on my second marathon, this one in NYC. She was shocked and I replied with "I know. Would you ever think three years ago that I would have finished even one marathon!?" And she replied "Yes. I could have actually easily imagined." And then I was the shocked one, replying "But I'm so klutzy and un-athletic!" To which she answered: "Maybe so, but you've always been so determined that nothing seems to surprise me any more." It was a very clever and funny thing to say but even more so, it was the feather in my cap that I've really been needing lately both with my marathon training and with my confidence as a designer. I am actually a very determined person and have always been so... and I need to remind myself of that and channel that determination that has somehow become a bit buried lately under feelings of doubt.

Who knows... maybe my determination will inspire someone. ;)

Sorry for the blogpost of sappiness, sentimentality and tooting my own horn.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Sick Cat and My Worried Niece

My 18-year-old cat Midnight is not faring well lately folks. Hopefully you will not be getting any other updates and that she'll just start feeling better.

In the meantime, I thought I would exchange how awesome my 4-year-old niece Madeline is.

On my phone call today, I asked Madeline if she would pray for Midnight before she went to bed.

She said "No. I don't pray before bed. I pray when I'm in church with my Mom because that's where all that praying stuff happens."

Later Jessica reports another conversation with Maddy (she had no idea about my conversation with her earlier):
Maddy: Mommy, you look nice. Are you going to church?
Jessica: No, I'm going to dinner.
Maddy: Is church open today?
Jessica: Probably.
Maddy: Can we go later?
Jessica (clueless) Um, no, because you'll be in bed when I come home. How about Sunday?
Maddy: No. I have to go tonight so I can pray for Midnight.


Monday, August 25, 2008

I May be Belated but She's Still 33 Years of Fabulous!

Luckily, my sister Jessica is a very patient girl. Sorry I'm so crazy late!

I have so many memories of my last 30 years (her 33) with my older sister Jessica. She was the ultimate in childhood playmates. Flying kites, playing hide-n-seek in the corn, trying to trek to the "monster tree" at the other end of the neighbors field, playing in the woods, fun with Barbies (along with our Strawberry Shortcakes and Michael Jackson dolls), and coloring the drywall in our colorful playroom... and so many more tales that I could probably write hundreds of blog posts on!

Shockingly, I actually don't remember us fighting too much at all as kids. We had to be united in the middle of nowhere USA. And she was so patient with my shadowing her every step.

Then we entered the teenage years and, in high school, she flourished. She was the most talented in chorus, she loved playing tennis, and she got great grades. Guess what I did in high school... exactly the same damn things! I guess I continued to shadow her. What can I say? She inspired me to achieve what she had and I know I may not have set my goals so high if she hadn't paved the way.

Additionally, even as a young child, she had such an infatuation with reading and writing. That was the one area where, although I was always pretty good with those same disciplines, I did not want to shadow her. I knew her talents weren't something you could easily learn or try really hard to achieve... not that she didn't work her ass off through high school and college and beyond of course... but it came so naturally and brilliant to her that I had to watch at a distance in awe.

And now so many years later, she is a very talented writer in DC surviving in a field (newspaper journalism) that is sadly a dying industry. And although obviously the future is rocky, she perseveres where many have not.

She is married to an incredible man who is such a great addition to our wacky family (happy belated to you too Bill). As soon as I met him I knew he was the one. We met at a New Years party and bonded over magnetic poetry (which just got more and more interesting as the alcohol flowed). He was a riot and just as hilarious and fun as Jessica. And even more importantly, she adored him and he was able to recognize the many amazing characterics that I also adore her for. Its gotta be so tough for any man to compete with the bond between my sisters and I, not to mention simply keep up with Jessica's wit and sass, but Bill has proved he can handle all three of us (unless we're wielding paintball guns).

Lastly, she's additionally an inspiration as a mother. I obviously had a great one as my own inspiration, and Jessica reinforces it. Her personality throughout her life has been one of watchfulness and mothering both to myself and to our younger sister. So to be the mom of her two incredible children, let alone a phenomenal one at that, is not a stretch of the imagination nor a surprise. Even more amazing, is that at merely 4, her daughter Madeline reminds me SO much of Jessica. The way Madeline takes care of her younger brother Eli, is so Jessica as a big sister to me. Maddy will be a great mother, an amazing sister, a gorgeous sassy wit, and a smart and talented whatever-she-decides-to-be-someday.

Happy belated birthday, Jessica. I love you and I'm still inspired by you to this day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mercat :: HOW Design Annual October 2008

Hoorah! HOW featured our Mercat collateral in the newest issue (they also featured Korn Design's Liberty Hotel Do Not Disturb Sign).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quote of the Day (or maybe year)

Great quote for when things get tough . . .

In a letter to his son, Einstein wrote, “Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance your must keep on moving.”

(via hello bauldoff through swissmiss)

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm So Graceful

This weekend, during the festivities of the Gaya/Ott wedding . . . right before their very classy brunch, I was running a bit early, so I stopped to fill up the old Zipcar at the gas station (PS. why is it that the zipcar gas cards have NEVER in my 4 year history of being a zipcar member worked for me? Such a pain to have to keep faxing my receipts for reimbursements!). Just as I was leaving the gas station store, I hadn't realized there was one little step down. So right there, dressed in my sweet little brunch dress and wedge shoes, and in front of the crowded station where there were cars literally lined up to wait on a pump, and ab entire motorcycle gang, I took a major dive. Literally, on all fours and knees and then a little roll even. My sunglasses flew off my face, my purse opened and spilled across the station. And I'm pretty sure I let out a little yell and an "ugh" when I hit. No less than ten people came out of the convenience store, over from their Harleys, out of their cars to help me out. Quite embarassing (although no more than being on stage and singing Proud Mary with the wedding band the night before). I showed up to the brunch bleeding. . . thankfully the bathrooms were just before the entrance to the brunch so I could wipe off the cement and blood attached to my knee. And the little limp I still had from rolling my ankle I tried to play off as a hip pimp walk.

Just as I'm having one of those days were I'm feeling and looking good, God likes to remind me that I'm not really all that. ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mr. & Mrs. Sabrina & David Ott: August 16, 2008

Check out the great slideshow of the awesome wedding this weekend (link to photos here)... everyone had an amazing time and the Ott's and Gaya's throw one hell of a great party. Congratulations, Sabrina & Dave!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gone are the Days of "Sex in the City" and My Single Lady Friends

Obviously I'm still single and have my own love life issues . . . but there are two updates to two of my favorite former roommates and coincidentally the two girls I shared my "Sex in the City" tv-show watching days. Those were the days of going to bars and flirting with dumb boys . . . of dreaming of joining Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha at brunch . . . and of just being young and carefree and not have the stress of planning a 5-figure party.

The most recent update: Christi (aka blogorelli) became affianced this past weekend to her fabulous boyfriend (and my roomie replacement) Mark. Very romantic . . . and very sweet (read the story here on Mark's blog). Christi has long considered herself very much a single gal and was always slightly resistant to the whole settling down thing. So it is with utmost confidence that we all know this moment is not only joyous and happy but also, obviously, the real thing. I'm so happy for them!

Additionally, I'm so ridiculously giddy and thrilled to announce my upcoming role as bridesmaid in the wedding of my other former-roommate and "single girl in crime" Miss Lynn. She was shocked to find that I was so surprised! I totally cried when she asked me! She has a lot of phenomenal friends that I've met and known throughout the year, so I was totally flattered. I'm so thrilled and we're already having so much fun discussing colors, bridesmaids dresses, her gorgeous venue, and other cute details. At this rate, we may have her 9-12-09 wedding planned out and ready by Christmas!

Wow . . . 2009 is the year of the wedding for me! I'm so excited!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I HATE when people use caps lock on me (even though I've been guilty a few rare times). And this hilarious graphic that Tara emailed me sums up why.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Amazing Personalized Olympics Tracker

On I LOVE it! You can rearrange the order to put your favorite sports and then click to see what is showing when and what days (you can even change the time to show Beijing time if ya really want). And then it lists all the events, but puts a cute little medal icon next to all the final events so you can schedule in just for that rather than watching 4 hours of badminton (really? badminton? canoeing? seriously?).

Click here to make your own schedule. WOO HOO! I cannot wait!

Fruity Champagne Toasts to Bén on his birthday!

Happy birthday, Ben... hope you win $10K from all those scratch tickets I got you and that you have a great day!

(you look so sly in this random pic I found)

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Handful of Random Notes for Today

1. I gotta get to the beach. My racerback tanline from all my running gear is ridiculous... and I can see the faint outline of a white armband from ipod developing too.

2. I'm wearing high-heels today. That's HUGE for the day after a long run. I guess my recovery nutrition worked well!

3. My cat loves when I do yoga or crunches on the floor. She has to seriously get up in there and sit like two inches from me. Its so annoying and endearing at the same time.

4. I realized that for the second year in a row, its August and my landlord has not sent me anything to renew my lease. Last year, I withheld my August rent for like two weeks and nagged the hell out of them until they FINALLY sent me the new lease. This year, I think I'm just going to pay for August and hope that since I'm not signed in, I can just keep paying and have a month-to-month lease. I know they don't have their sh*t together enough to ever really give me a 30-day notice to move out because they seem too lazy to ever find a new tenant (plus I'm a pro at moving if I really had to). Also, this gives me a good out if I wanted to move to New York in... I dunno... January?

Have a great week everybody!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hey, Wait a Minute! I Knew I Was Liking This Movie for a Reason!

So as I'm working on freelance, I popped a much overdue Netflix video in. So I'm watching "Psycho" and they keep playing the same eery music over and over and I'm like "damn it... where have I heard that?!?!"

I finally figured it out. Damned if it wasn't used in an intense moment during "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."

Happy Anniver . . . ouch my hip flexors!

Hoorah! Its been 730 days now since I started running... as I mentioned last post, 4 5Ks, 1 5-mile race, 4 half-marathons, and 1 (and a half!) marathon later, I've clocked 106 runs, 644 miles, 3 pairs of running sneakers (none of which prevent the blisters in my arches), one ugly boot on my left foot from a stress fracture, and not enough massages later and here I am.

I finished my 17-miles today. I did the full 17 too even though I was nervous that I wasn't fully recovered after the half last weekend. I could not get out of bed this morning (which ticks me off because I stayed in last night purposely so I could get up early), and didn't leave until noon. Wasn't as bad as last week... it was sunny and pretty warm, but there was a nice breeze along the Esplanade. Along my run, I ran past an ex-boyfriend (second time this week! Believe me though when I tell you, that is not a sign of anything but to keep running!), past an ex-coworker, past two sweet little bunnies, past a lot of flocks of geese with two geese in one flock honking and chasing me!, and past 10 bridges to the very end of the Charles River Path. It literally started thundering and pouring about two minutes after I walked inside. Perfect!

The first 9 or so miles I felt PHENOMENAL! Usually my worst few miles are the first three, but my pace was good, my breathing was steady, I felt great... and then, I don't know what happened but the last 8 miles were horrible. Since it was an out-and-back run though, I thought "we'll see how this goes before I decide whether I do 15 or go to the last bridge for the full 17". So I was tricked ! I had to do some definite walking the last half. Oh well!

Assessment: well, I wrapped my left foot so no NEW blister there although the one from last week is still pretty ugly. my glutes are a bit sore. my calves are a bit tight (but I was told by the orthopedic shoe guy that with my crazy foot deformities — don't get my started — that I should just start incorporating some yoga poses daily to keep those muscles loose so I'm working on that). and mainly, my hip flexors REALLY hurt. but there's a lavendar epsom salt bath in my future later tonight, some yoga, and maybe even some Advil even though I hate taking anti-inflammatories (I hear a rumor that they make your muscles build back to their state pre-workout rather than rebuilding them to be stronger... don't know if that's true or not). Next weekend = 20 miles! But that's the highest mileage I'll have to do before the marathon (oh, but I do it 5 times on this training schedule!).

Happy two-year running anniversary to me. I'm still going *mostly* strong. ;)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sunday is my 2-year anniversary

Yes, its true. Hard to believe how fast time has gone by, eh?

Two years ago on August 3, 2006... I ran over a mile for the first time ever. I bought my Nike+ for my ipod and tracked my workout. It took me about an hour but I completed about 4 1/2 miles on a cool August evening. I did a walk/run technique and my pace was a very slow 11 1/2 minute miles. A month later on September 30, I competed my first 5K which was probably also the first time I ran at least a mile without stopping to walk (9:11 pace!).

Now two years later, I'm preparing for a 17-miler tomorrow (although to be good to my body after the race last weekend, I may only go 15). I would have never guessed that that little chip in my shoe would have motivated my lazy non-athlete self to run 4 half-marathons and be on my way to my second full-marathon and my first triathlon. Don't get me wrong... my runs still sometimes hurt... I'm definitely sometimes bored... but the feeling after my runs and moments like now when I look back on my accomplishments are so worth it all. I am the poster child for "If I can do it, anyone can."

I Have the World's Best Sisters, FYI

Just a little new bulletin. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not honored and thankful to have two of the best sisters any one could ever dream of.

And although the whole middle child complex has definitely had its way with me, I am so thankful to have both an older and a younger sister. I love them exactly the same obviously but have such different relationships with both.

Whether we are sharing drinks together, chasing Maddy + Eli together, running a race together, sending ridiculous cards (Jessica's usually make me laugh so hard I cry, and Tessa's usually are just so sappy and sweet that I cry as well!)... I know that they are the two best soulmates I will ever have in my life... maybe some lucky guy will come in third someday. ;)

Just wanted to let cyberspace know how damn lucky I am.