Monday, April 30, 2012

Calm Before The Storm

I have had a nasty little stomach flu since Friday. This means lots of time on the couch, under a quilt catching up on grading, and responding to emails that should have been answered weeks ago.

However, prior to the stomach bug, I had a lovely little week that included home cooked meals, a redesigned porch & a few trips to my favorite places.

So while this weekend means lots of resting & very plain food, at least I have lots of pretty pictures to look at.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Dresses

I started a new part-time summer job this weekend, and had a great time watching everyone stroll by in beautiful springtime clothes. Charlottesville may not be the most fashion forward town (my leopard print fur coat is in hibernation here), but the town does do preppy well. I'm a sucker for a good sundress, and these are some of the ones that I wish were hanging in my closet this season.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Green Smoothie Challenge

Inspired by a few of the blogs I read regularly, I decided to try a Green Smoothie Challenge. Since the summer is coming up, and I've been stressed out/feeling poorly, I figure it's a good way to make sure I'm eating properly.

Unlike most people, I typically don't have a problem eating enough greens. I'm obsessed with vegetables & I eat a meat free diet for the bulk of the week (living alone +broke grad student=not buying meat regularly).
I actually don't eat enough fruit. I just forget about fruit, which is sort of terrible.

So today was Day One, and though I was skeptical of adding spinach to something I was about to drink, it was so delicious.

Today's smoothie contained:
-Trader Joe's Coconut Milk
-Half of a Banana
-One Handful of Blackberries
-Two handfuls of spinach
-a few drops of honey (a favor from my friends' wedding, how sweet is that?)

I'm super happy with the resulting smoothie. It may not be green in color (thanks to the blackberries), but it tastes delicious!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rainy Days

Charlottesville got some much needed rain yesterday, so I got to wear my favorite Burberry rainboots. On top of that I discovered that one of the places on campus makes Red Velvet Lattes. That definitely made the rainy day less gloomy

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a family favorite. My stepdad was the one that first took us to The Sand Bar, the little beachside restaurant that holds a nightly contest where patrons can guess at what time the sun will set (winners get a bottle of champagne).

My boyfriend, his son and I spent Friday lounging around the restaurant's porch eating as much seafood as we possible could, before walking out to the beach for a little sun & swimming.

It's a place that makes it seem as though the day has just flown by. We got there around 11am, and where shocked to discover it was nearly four o'clock when we checked the time after what felt like just a few minutes.

It feels like a bit of a tropical vacation without ever leaving the U.S.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Hub

My family has had a house in Florida for just over four years. Prior to this purchase, my trips to Florida always focused on the east coast & Miami--especially Miami. When they were looking for a place, I rattled off a list of my favorite east coast Florida towns, and was a little disappointed when they announced that the new house was on the Gulf coast.

And then I took a trip there for two weeks over my Christmas break, and instantly fell in love with the Gulf coast. While Miami is always buzzing, our little area is laid back and built for relaxation.

Each time I go down there, I discover new favorites, but there are always a few places I have to go back to, or else the trip feels incomplete. I absolutely adore Siesta Key Beach. It's consistently voted one of the best beaches in the world for its powder soft sand, and its crystal clear blue water.

Just off the beach is a little restaurant called The Hub, which for me, is the signal that vacation has started. There's nothing like sitting on the patio with a giant margarita (happy hour goes from 11am-6pm, which I love, of course) with a big plate of chips & fresh grouper tacos.

I'm returning to Florida in just over a month, and already that seems too far away.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I am back from Florida thanks to a very late night flight. The trip was amazing, and like always, I've fallen a bit more in love with the Gulf Coast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trip to Florida

I leave for Florida in just a few hours. Both my family and my boyfriend's family have houses on the Gulf Coast, so I'm going to get a few days of relaxing and enjoying some beautiful sunny weather.

One of my traveling rules is that I don't check bags if I'm traveling domestically. It seems like a waste of money to check a bag for such a short time, and after Air France lost my checked bag last summer going to Russia, I've become super aware of how often that happens.

Of course, one of the limitations of carry-on only is the 3oz rule. This means finding out how to pack all of my beauty essentials in one small Ziploc bag. Above are my travle-must haves for weekends away. Florida, here I come!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

I have a weird personality quirk. Okay, I have many weird personality quirks, but I'm just focusing on one today. Despite the fact that my mom regularly tells me that I have the emotional depth of a robot (and not even like a fun robot like Rosie from The Jetson, she means one of those creepy ones from I, Robot), I get abnormally attached to stuff.

Two years ago when I had to get a new car, I got emotional over turning in my beloved red car that I had had for 10 years. I kept thinking, "I hope it knows it was a good car. I hope someone else gets to drive it for a few more years" even though I know in my normally highly rational head that it is just a metal object.

Last week, my six year old laptop started doing a really charming death rattle. It was taking up to 45 minutes to turn it on, and get properly running. As someone who is diving head first into the dissertation stage of grad school relatively soon, this was not a game I was willing to play. I have already had a computer crash once, I was not willing to go through that again.

So I now have a new Macbook Pro. It is fast. It is shiny. It has 750 gigs of space for me to fill up with dissertation-y goodness, and yet, I still feel sad looking at my old laptop. That thing has been all over the world with me-from Australia to Helsinki. It sailed on a ship with me for 3 months, and it did not judge me when I was seasick for a week straight. I'm happy to say that my old computer is getting a second life. My cousin is in high school, and would like a Mac, so I'm going to wipe the hard drive, spruce it up, and send it on its way to NJ. I'm really happy about that.

This also is going to serve as motivation to finally getting a home office set up. I'm turning my second bedroom into a guest room/home office. Of course, like any good book nerd, I have fantasies of what my home office/library will look like one day:

Via Elle Decor (it's like they jumped into my brain on this one.)
Of course, this one is far off in the future one day, hopefully.

For now, there's still plenty of cute ones that work for my current house.

I think something bright and airy is exactly the right combination to combat months of writing about gloomy Russian literature.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Cville Weekend

It's no secret that I am in love with my town. It would be difficult to not love Charlottesville in the Spring, but as I'm gearing up to write a new article about my town, I'm trying to really pay attention to the things that make Charlottesville a special place. Luckily for me, doing this type of research is not a hardship.

The weekend started out pretty early on Saturday morning. My completely badass friend & colleague Kat ran her first half marathon, so I got up bright and early to cheer her on. It was my first time watching a half marathon/marathon, and I highly recommend the experience because it's such a cool atmosphere. It's so cool watching people run across the finish line because most of the people look so thrilled.* I loved listening to the announcers call out the names of the people completing the race & some encouragement to go along with it.

After the marathon, it was time for one of my favorite things about Charlottesville ever--The City Market. For me, that's pretty much how I know it's well and truly Spring. Saturday's market was the first one of the season, and I was blow away by how much was already there. Typically the first one of the year is pretty sparse, but there were so many starter plants & a surprising number of fruits and veggies ready to be purchased.

On top of that, there were loads of food stands and music acts to entertain the crowds (and it was plenty crowded).

The temptation to buy some starter plants for my porch was really strong because there were so many cool plants there already, but since I'll be away for a good part of this week, I had to resist temptation. Another great weekend. I'm looking forward to a summer full of them.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Florida Weekend

I'm heading down to Florida next week to spend time with my boyfriend and his family, as well as to see my family. I'm already planning out what I'm going to bring since I hate checking bags on domestic flights. I'm trying to find things that are easy and light to pack. These are just a few of the things I'm coveting for the trip.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sweet Surprise

I was not feeling my best yesterday. I slept poorly, and have been under attack by Virginia's pollen. On top of that one of my appointments canceled yesterday, and I broke a favorite pair of sunnies. I was well on my way to having a very bad day, when I got an email announcing that I won a contest on The Fete Blog. I'm excited that I get a new pair of sunnies, a book I've been meaning to read forever, a luggage tag and two nights at a B&B. How fun is that?

I've decided that is definitely how all Mondays should go.
Picture via The Fete Blog

Monday, April 2, 2012

Where I'm Writing This Week

I love the start of a new month. April is so busy for me. It means there are four weeks until the semester ends, and just 9 days before I head off to Florida for a little vacation. I have secret projects in the works that are under a tight deadline. It also means new writing opportunities.

Here is my latest article for The Lost Girls about taking your first big trip together with your partner.

My piece for Cville Niche Buzz ran two weeks ago and featured CLAW, the Charlottesville Ladies Arm Wrestling, an event that I had the opportunity to go to a few years ago to watch one of my friends compete in.

Even though life will be hectic for the next few weeks, I'm going to try to take more photos and write more. It'll be a nice way to unwind from all the insanity.