Smell my feet

Happy Halloween, y'all! Everyone's in great spirits here because of the big win last night, but I'm giddy at 7 in the morning because it's a day I get to dress up in a ridiculous outfit, plop a huge bowl of candy on my desk, and not disappear into my headphones and email for a day. I hope yours is full of all that Fall has to offer, and that at the very least, someone gives you some candy for free.


All of the burnt oranges.

Maybe it's just the awareness that comes as you get older, but this has been the most spectacular Fall I've experienced. Every day, just walking to work in the morning or walking home in the afternoons, I am struck by a certain patch of light or pile of leaves. This past weekend, which we spent in Brooklyn, I woke up each morning in awe of the view of Brooklyn and the ever shifting sunlight.

All photos taken with iPhone 5s.


Made | Knit Vogue Trapper Hat

Well I did it. Every year when the weather starts to cool, I break out my crochet hooks and piles of yarn and make scarves and hats for friends. Every year I get a little bored with crochet and envious of the tight, neat rows of the knitted variety. And every year I try to learn how to knit, end up with a strangely tensioned square, and quit before I can ever get the hang of it. 

Not this year, y'all. This year I went to the library and checked out an unassuming book called Learn to Knit, got some bamboo needles (instead of the slippery metal ones I've tried to learn on before), and signed up for Ravelry. I started on some simple socks, then switched to this Vogue trapper hat pattern from Craftsy. It knit up fairly quickly and without any unraveling (well, save a few stitches here and there when I got carried away and passed the stitch marker...). 

I love this pattern, though I regret not checking my gauge first (I know, I know!) because it came out a little big. The hat is for Mike in his favorite colors, but it fits pretty well despite being larger than intended. And it's warm! 
Here's the back of the hat. There are simple cables along the body of the hat! I watched a few YouTube videos and realized that cable needles/knitting isn't so scary after all! Exclamation points!
Here's the front! I love the ties on the sides and the front flap. 
I was worried I would run out of yarn and then Wednesday night I decreased to 50 stitches, then to 30, then to dons, then to 20, then I was done! With some yarn left over! I then proceeded to take a bunch of pictures and post them on Instagram. Mike was half-asleep, but I made him try the hat on anyway.
Here I am, beaming with pride at my first finished knitted project. I'm officially addicted!
Some more angles of the hat, courtesy of my mini tripod and camera remote. I have a newfound respect for people who take product photos for a living.
I think this will be my go-to pattern for Christmas this year. At $6 for the pattern download, it's definitely worth it if you need a cute warm hat for winter and you want to expand your knitting skills.

The things I learned:

  • How to knit in the round using a stitch marker (yes, I'm a real newb)
  • How to increase and decrease
  • How to use a stitch holder (and what it is!)
  • What a cable needle is and how to use it (and that you can use a crochet hook—very carefully—as a cable needle if you realize you need one at 10 at night)
  • That I should test my gauge before jumping into a project
  • What 2st RC and 2st LC means 
  • That YouTube and the library are amazing resources for learning how to knit on the fly 
  • I am the kind of person who says things like, "OK, let me just knit one more row!"


Went | Chamard Vineyards, Old Saybrook, CT

A couple weekends ago I went to a ridiculously large house on the water for a bachelorette weekend in Connecticut. It wasn't your usual bachelorette party, it felt more like a weekend-long slumber party with so many people I love. On Saturday we went out on the town of Old Saybrook, getting lunch at a biker bar before raising our pinkies and glasses to Katie at Chamard Vineyards. This was my first experience at a winery so I wasn't up on all of the wine jargon, but I found one that I liked, ordered a glass of it, and we all wandered around the property like it was our backyard. The place was gorgeous, as was the weather, and we sat on hay bales while Katie told us about all the things she loves about Emily. There's an unfortunate stereotype about bachelor and bachelorette parties, but this one busted that wide open for me. I left feeling refreshed and drunk on wine and love. The wedding is in a couple of weeks, and my bridesmaid dress just came in the mail! This weekend we're heading to New York for Jenna and Ron's engagement party, and these days, it seems that love actually is all around. 


Those who came before | Part II

You were wearing a Hawaiian shirt when I met you. Should I have taken that as a sign of the way things would go? In a way, I have you to thank for a lot of things—you pushed me to take chances, to go for what I actually want, to figure out what that is. Things were good while they lasted, and you left me wanting more, just from someone else. You clarified for me that my time is precious, that my love is valuable and should be given freely but consciously. We were not enough for each other, but I hope I was as much a step in the right direction for you as you were for me. You loosened me up, reminded me that I could catch someone's attention, dazzle them with my wit, keep them coming back for more. You were exactly what I needed at the exact time I needed it.

We planned a big trip. It was too early in our relationship, and when your friends bailed, I already had my passport and a knot in my stomach about whether or not it would be right. You distanced yourself from me as fun and casual turned to questions we were not ready to answer. You ended things cleanly, and I realized that—when you left and all I could think about was how I would lose the money I'd spent on my plane ticket—things were not right anyway. I pouted in Jenna's room and she said, "You didn't like him anyway!" I knew she was right, but I was accustomed to taking rejection personally.

I took that trip, my first time out of the country. Meg came with me instead, and our week in Costa Rica solidified our friendship in a way I will always be grateful to you for. I went beyond my comfort zone on that trip; I laid on beautiful beaches and read One Hundred Years of Solitude; I stayed up late and smoked cigarettes on the porch of our hotel while Meg slept. I went to dinner by myself and ordered wine and felt grown up. Meg and I ordered pina coladas and caiparinhas at a bar where locals stared and we giggled and did not care. We said, "I can't believe we're here!" over and over and we meant it. We went to a movie night at a cafe where we watched Slumdog Millionaire and ordered milkshakes. We hiked up the steepest hill to a waterfall. We saw monkeys in the trees on our way back. We feared for our lives in a chartered van up a mountain; we had to go to sleep to ease our anxiety about his driving. We had massages and spent way too much money on dinner and frozen drinks.

I don't think of you often, except when that Feist album comes on or that one Ingrid Michaelson song we used to sing together in that tiny room of mine at 20 Lopez. Or sometimes I think of that time we snuck into the chapel at MIT and you played piano while I sang at the top of my lungs, my voice echoing high into the ceiling and feeling so grateful to be alive in that moment. We thought we heard someone come in, so we snuck out the back way and ran down the hall until we collapsed on the back porch, the lawn stretching out before us like the night.

Those who came before was inspired by Brittany erin's beautiful series, My 7 Broken Hearts


Went | Brooklyn Birthdays Part II

Have I reached the statute of limitations on talking about mine and Cyndi's birthday weekend in Brooklyn? No? Good. I established that the weekend was beautiful. It was mid-September so there was a distinct tug between cool Autumn air and warm end-of-summer heat. We got a slow start on Saturday due to a late night on Friday (bars in Boston close at 2 AM, so we were not accustomed to pacing ourselves for a 4 AM last call...). Zander, the oldest of the bunch, and Matt and Ryan managed to pull themselves together and start their day while Cyndi, Mike, and I took a midmorning nap to allow the bagels to do their magic. Around 2 PM, they had worked wonders and we headed to the Brooklyn Flea for a sample of its food offerings, some overpriced vintage items, and great people-watching. Nabila met up with us and we headed to the Williamsburg Momofuku Milk bar for cereal ice cream, pistachio sticky buns, pork buns, and a stack of cookies to take home. Cyndi and I had been talking about visiting the Milk Bar since our last meet up in New York, and I'm glad we finally made it happen. We headed back to the airbnb to get fancied up for our dinner at a neighborhood restaurant, Marietta, where we ate fried chicken, the best summer corn I've ever had (may or may not have something to do with the cotija cheese in it...), rice pilaf, and fried green tomatoes. It was a sweet nod to our home state, but let's be honest, nobody does southern food like the south. And nobody charges for southern food like the north.

Still a little wiped from Friday, we had a quiet night in on Saturday, drinking wine and listening to the rainstorm outside. Sunday morning was beautiful: sunny and cool and breezy. It was perfect weather for our decision to ride the train into Manhattan so we could walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO to try out Smorgasburg. We sampled too many booths to pick a favorite, but I loved the range of types of foods I saw, including the Lumpia Shack, which featured one of my mom's staple foods growing up (and now!). They were true to the Filipino style of the dish (my mom's is the Chamorro take on it—a little thicker and with more vegetables), and they were delicious. We sprung for the sampler, and my favorite was the pork, although really, they were all amazing. I had two types of ice cream (sandwich and shake) and we called it a day. I'm now deeper in the later half of my twenties, but birthdays like these have kept the anxiety of getting older at bay. Twenty-one was fun and all, but I couldn't afford to head off for a friends weekend in New York back then. Everything in its place and all that.


Went | Mount Auburn Cemetery

On Monday, Mike picked me up from work and suggested that we stop at Mount Auburn Cemetery for a walk before heading home. I had a lot of things I wanted to do, so I begrudgingly said, "Sure, that's fine," but I'm glad he persisted. He's been wanting to walk around here for a while. Founded in 1831, it's known as America's first garden cemetery. Its private grounds have paved roads to drive through, but there are also smaller dirt paths that wind through. It might seem a little strange to spend so much time at a cemetery where no one I know is buried, but there's something amazing about this place. It's beautiful, yes—there are all different kinds of trees and plants that are labeled, and they provide a flora and fauna guidebook at the front entrance. There are famous people buried there—from artists and architects to activists. But mostly it's a quiet, well-kept place that seems to celebrate life while honoring those who came before us.

We plan to go back when it snows; I'm sure this place wears every season well.


The season of tea

We are officially in the season of tea. The funny thing is that I used to hate hot tea. I had grown up on the syrupy sweet iced versions of the south, and it wasn't until I moved to New England that I realized there were other versions besides Lipton. It took me a couple years to start drinking it because like my love affair with beer, I had to find a gateway tea—a starter tea, if you will. At first it was Irish Breakfast with milk and sugar, which Jenna introduced me to the winter we started living together. Then it was Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Soon I was asking for recommendations at 1369, and I tried hearty rooibos and delicate white teas. (It helped that they celebrate a tea month, where they highlight a new tea each day and sell it for $1.) In the warm months, I started drinking iced green and herbal teas, unsweetened, maybe with a splash of lemonade.

But there is nothing like the beginning of hot tea season—not to be confused with pumpkin spiced latte season, which happens at the mall or in the morning right before I get on the bus to work. The beginning of hot tea season means sweat pants and socks, the revival of my yarn stash, evenings spent watching movies or reading long past our bedtime.

In the south we have to simulate the winters of New England. We wish for white Christmases, for chilly mornings and reasons to wear the scarves we got for Christmas. So actually living here, actually having to shelter ourselves from the harsh of winter, the beginnings of which is heralded in by tea season, feels like a gift each year.