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Archive for August, 2010

I know, I know— I’ve already blogged about Eat Pray Love, but I’m writing about it again because tonight Jenn and I went to see the movie.

The book was so consuming— I felt like I knew Liz Gilbert, I felt like, maybe, I was Liz Gilbert, but the movie was so lacking. I guess that’s usually the case with the movie version, though, right? Maybe it was Julia Roberts’ stardom that played into my reaction or maybe it was just the way she played the part, but the whole movie felt like I was watching an actor, or at least, watching someone who had already found herself. I just couldn’t connect with the journey this time, and it makes me want to read the book again just so I can wash away all the images and associations that the movie just put in my head and go back to whatever my imagination had created.

Speaking of books I’ve blogged about. I came across this great blog the other day that is written by the husband of Michelle Maisto, the woman who wrote The Gastronomy of Marriage. He just started it, so there’s not much there but I think the premise is so intriguing: $200 art collecting. I complain all the time about how I don’t have enough money to buy “real art”… but $200… I could swing that. I hope he shares his hunting techniques and not just his finds— I need tips I can apply in Cville not just names of NY artists!

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Sometimes when Ryan goes out of town, it can be really overwhelming and slightly depressing for me. He’s off working and traveling in great cities like LA, San Diego, and San Francisco and I’m stuck in Cville doing his chores. I’ve found that the key to having the week go by as quickly and painlessly as possible is to keep my schedule packed with appointments with great friends and to do as many things as I can that I can’t do (or at least don’t normally do) when he’s here.

For instance, right now I am watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians (a show Ryan has banned from our TV for being “too trashy”) and I’m eating Strawberry ice cream by the half-gallon (a flavor Ryan would never compromise on). Yesterday, I went to see Jennifer Aniston’s new flick The Switch (a movie I would never be able to coax Ryan into seeing). So, basically, while Ryan is gone, I am getting as fat and dumb as possible.

Getting back to the great friends part. On Friday, I got to spend time with one of my favorite friends, Shannon Wendling. Shannon just moved back to Cville from Austin and I am so glad she’s back! Shannon is the kind of friend who is always up for anything… a night out on the town or a low-key vent session. I’m looking forward to many more fun times ahead in the next two years while she gets her masters!

On Saturday, another one of my favorite Pineapples– Neena– was in town visiting from LA. Neena was in town moving her brother, who’s a 3rd year at U.Va.,  into his apartment. Sitting around the dinner table on Saturday night with Shannon and Neena, I was so grateful for Shannon and Neena’s friendships. It’s amazing to think we’ve been friends for eight-going-on-nine years! Moving into Watson eight years ago and I had no idea I’d make friends– in that very dorm– whose relationships that would last well beyond college.

This morning, I was very lucky to have my parents come into town to keep me company. It also didn’t hurt that they brought me a gift basket full of goodies from DiCamillo, a delicious Italian bakery in Niagara Falls. I’ve already opened the pasta sauce they brought me from The Como… yum! I love having my parents so close that they can run up to Cville for just a few hours.

Later this week I have Jr. League meetings, movie dates, and a new job to keep me busy, so it should be a good week. Well… as good as it can be without Ry here.

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It seems to be a rare weekend that Ryan and I get a whole weekend to ourselves— no visitors, no dinner dates, no obligations— just us, alone in Charlottesville. This happened to be one of those weekends… and it’s been glorious! Yesterday we had breakfast at Bluegrass Grill, went to the market, putzed around in the afternoon (okay, I putzed around and Ryan “went into work” a.k.a. was playing on his new ipad for 4 hours outside of the house) and then we rounded out the evening by going to see Inception (it is as amazing as everyone says it is). I also tried out a new recipe last night: Ina Garten’s Pastitsio.

It’s a Greek lasagna that uses small shells instead of flat noodles. It was absolutely delicious and I would highly recommend trying it. I followed the recipe exactly, whole milk and heavy cream and all, and it turned out perfectly. It’s basically just a baked pasta in a meat sauce but the lamb and cinnamon give it an interesting twist that’s a welcome change from plain Italian red sauces.

Today, Ryan and I made a trip to Gordonsville— a small town that is a little north east of Charlottesville. I’ve been wanting to go to Gordonsville for a while just for the beautiful drive through Keswick and to walk around the little shops. But, when we heard that the chef at Fossett’s had opened a BBQ joint in downtown Gordonsville, it really “lit a fire under us” (pun very much intended) to get there. Here’s a few pics of me and Ry sampling the 3-meat platter at the BBQ Exchange.

Here are a few more pics of our stroll through the town. Unfortunately, most of the cute boutiques were closed because it was Sunday.

I finally finished the day by hanging some wall art that I’d made a week or so ago with some fabric that I’d found at a new local fabric store in town: u-fab. This store is amazing! They mainly sell close-out fabric, which is why their prices are so low, but I saw some really pricey fabrics in there that Calico Corners sells for $25-$35/ yd. and I even saw a really pricey designer fabric that Caroline Manzo has in her house! I’m guessing she didn’t pay $9.99/ yd. for it! After a productive weekend like this there’s only one thing left to do… sit around and wait for entourage to come on!

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It’s been a little busy lately so I haven’t had the time to update the blog as much as I’d like. But, there have been a ton of great things going on recently that I want to share.

First things first. After several months of volunteering at the Music Resource Center, I’ve been offered a staff position at the Center and I’ve accepted and am starting next week. The MRC is a non-profit music after school program in Charlottesville. It’s open to middle school and high school students and its goal is to assist kids in learning any aspect of music performance or production that they might be interested in. In addition to teaching lessons and working with the students, I’ll be helping the MRC with some of their administrative, organizational and event planning needs. I’m really excited to have an opportunity where I’ll be working in music, teaching, and also interacting with the community

Second, and perhaps most important to this blog, I got a new camera!!! After months, no, years, of pining over Digital SLR cameras, I finally purchased one yesterday. I settled on a Canon Rebel T1i. I’m working my way through the instruction manual playing with the basic settings. I haven’t progressed to working with the advanced settings yet but I’m really looking forward to learning more about cameras and photography and finally capturing so many of the great moments that Ry and I have let go over the past few years. Here are a few shots I’ve taken just playing around last night and today.

Lastly, Ryan and I received a beautiful wedding gift yesterday that I have to share. Of all the thoughtful and amazing wedding gifts we received, this one is one of the most, if not the most, special. My friend, Mike Fitts, gave us one of his original paintings.

Mike’s paintings are all done on pieces of found, scrap metal, and the objects in his paintings look so startlingly real, they look like you could pick them right up off the sheet of metal. I absolutely love Mike’s work and I have been a fan ever since I first saw one of his paintings. Ryan and I are so grateful for Mike’s generosity and for sharing his talent with us. Check out Mike’s blog and the rest of his artwork.

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August

I’m so glad August is finally here. To me, it means summer is still here but winding down. We can’t take it for granted anymore, we have to savor the last few weeks!

It’s beginning to rain here (hallelujah!) and I just stepped outside in my bare feet to check to make sure the car windows were rolled up. I think the pavement already cooled off about 15 degrees in the first minute. Something about the rain landing on the hot pavement makes the rain particularly aromatic… I don’t know what it is but I love it!

The past few days I had the chance to go to Raleigh and visit my sister-in-law, Melanie, and my nephew, Cameron. We had such a great time! Melanie is almost 7 mos. pregnant and is expecting a baby girl in October, so a lot of what we talked about revolved around the baby: what color to paint the walls, what the bedding looks like, what her name will be, how Cam will react, what kind of clothes to buy her, etc. It was a ton of fun just hanging out and doing fun little projects with Cam. Here’s a picture of him painting a picture for his room (he also did one for his soon-to-be sister’s room).

You’ll notice from the pictures, even though I forgot to mention it, that Cam is the cutest kid ever!

Here’s one of Cam in his Batman pajamas.

Cam is such a little wild man! He’s 100% boy, always running and jumping all over the place, wanting to tackle people. Even though Cam is only 2 1/2, he looks like he’s about 4… he’s really tall for his age! Gone are the days of his super-cute and super-chunky thighs. He calls me “Ee-ya” because he can’t say Maria quite yet. Ry and I are looking forward to spending more time with Cam in October when the whole family will be together again for his baby sister’s arrival! Thanks, Melanie, for having me!

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