March 31, 2011

I Heart London

Remember when Paris stole our hearts? (And then Beijing and Barcelona?)
Well here's London:

I love this reverse look of seeing it in our own language. And really, I just love London. We lived in Cambridge from 1996-1999, so we got to know England pretty well (and yes, I returned to the States with a British accent. Which I promptly lost upon going into 4th grade at an American elementary school -- insecure 9-year-old that I was, I thought the other kids would tease me. Such a poor decision for my current life, though, because I'm pretty sure I'd be about 27 times cooler if I had a British accent now...)

Anyway. Last time I was in jolly ol' England was for a speedy jaunt through London-town with my sister during a particularly heinous layover on our way to Kenya for Christmas during my first year at college (in 2008). We were only out and about for maybe six hours, but we managed to hit our fave places. Namely, Camden Town (in matching black Northfaces, at that):

The time before that was when I tagged along with my best friends family as we stopped through on our way to the States the summer after graduation. Let me tell you, about the only thing that can make the prospect of leaving your home for a foreign/technically home continent and the unknowns of college a little better is London with your bff and second family. Here we are on London Bridge:

Oh, London. You really are the best.

March 29, 2011


Tonight at small group, Hope and I decided to take a break from the Daniel study we've been working through and try out Soularium instead. Soularium is an evangelism tool used by Campus Crusade for Christ (which is the fellowship I do here at UVA, except we call it Agape) made up of a set of 50 pictures and a series of questions: 
  1. Which 3 images would you choose to describe your life right now?
  2. Which 3 images represent what you wish were a part of your life right now?
  3. Which image would you choose to describe God? (If they say "I'm an atheist" ask: Which image describes that?)
  4. Think About your life so far. Which image best describes what you've experienced spiritually?
  5. When you think about your own spiritual life or journey, which image best represents what you wish were true?  
The idea is that you go through the questions and choose corresponding pictures, and as you explain why you chose each one, you can figure out where people are at and create opportunities for spiritual discussions. Here's a sweet example of it being used!

We didn't do it as evangelism tonight but did it with each other, which was also kind of incredible -- just getting to see people's perspectives on life and God and stuff in a new way, even after leading them for almost two years now! (Woah.) Of course, it didn't hurt that we were all spread out on a blanket on the living room floor in front of a fire and with pecan shortbread and a plethora of tea options in front of us...

But really, it's a pretty cool thing all around. And I think you should check it out.

[image source. Yes, this is a blog about a trip to my home city Addis Ababa last summer. Yes, my roommate Liz was also on this trip, and this picture just happened to show up when I googled Soularium. Yes, it is an incredibly small world.]

March 28, 2011

Daring Adventure (Please)

Just a little Monday night inspiration...

[Source: Parker Fitzgerald's 365 Polaroid Quotes, via Design is Mine]

March 27, 2011

Don't Cry, Shopgirl. Don't Cry.

Y'all, I do not watch movies that often, but I have watched several this week. (And by several, I mean three.) (Except I slept through one of them, I think, so maybe that doesn't count?) Right now I am half watching You've Got Mail and half doing work. As I sit alone in my house. If only my housemates knew what they are currently missing out on. Wouldn't you agree that this is the most wonderful movie, especially to have on as a background to work/other obligations that you only have to semi-pay attention to? I particularly appreciate the wealth of excellent - yet subtle - lines in this movie (por ejemplo: "Patricia makes coffee nervous" or "It's like those people who brag because they're tall" or "Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?"). And the final half hour is really just the best ever. ("I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.")

Other than this You've Got Mail moment I'm having right now, this weekend has also included: brunch with my fam, an acapella concert, learning some swing dancing, roadtripping to Richmond for dinner and Dave & Buster's and waking up to SNOW this morning. (Yes, on March 27. Let's not talk about it.) And now I'm in that reluctant phase of Sunday evening -- reluctant for the weekend to end yet here on the precipice of Monday and the million things that you need to do or think about. Not to mention, I'm starting a JOB this week.

And to all of you who are still soaking in as much Sunday as you can, who are facing difficult weeks of piles of schoolwork (or whatever else), who just wish weekends could be a little bit extended sometimes, I wish you the simple, comfortable joy of a Meg Ryan movie or twirling in an empty bookstore. So on that note, bring it on, week.

[image via We Heart It]

March 25, 2011

Friday Five

The I Heart Books Edition

1. "Books are a hard-bound drug with no danger of an overdose. I am the happy victim of books." - Karl Lagerfeld

2. Penguin re-released all the classics with these gorgeous new covers, designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith:

[image sources: 1 | 2]

I kind of want to own some of these. They would look so pretty all lined up on my bookshelf... They even sell them at Anthropologie!

3. Why is stop motion SO COOL?

4. Why secondhand books smell so good: 

"Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is 
a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into 
paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how 
divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell 
like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for 
knowledge in all of us." [source]

5. The following pictures all come from this tumblr and fill my little book-loving heart with so much joy. Suffice it to say, I could live in ANY of these places.

So I Took Her Hand and I Gave Her a Twirl

...And I lost my heart to a Galway girl.

March 23, 2011

Study Break

And by study I actually mean: paper-writing.
Currently Listening To: my Mumford & Sons Pandora station. Right now it's playing Falling Slowly by the Frames. I do love this song...

Aren't old photobooth pictures just the perfect distraction from paper-writing/anything you currently should be doing on your computer?

What does it say about me that I tend to be either a) a blur or b) stuck in all these pictures? (the getting stuck and then extraction processes are documented in the two 4-frame pictures.)

Goodness, these make me miss the White House.

March 22, 2011

Summa Plans

Currently Listening To: Go the Distance from Hercules. And yes, my housemates and I are singing along.

This is for all the people overwhelmed by all those other people with their snazzy summer plans (internships at bajillion dollar companies? studying abroad in Spain? Plans you've had in place since January? Ahhh!) Point being, don't worry about it. I mean, go ahead and work on your application and stuff, don't you agree that this just sounds like perfection? (Sidenote: I am so excited to be moving into a house with a PORCH SWING this summer!)

But then again, it's only March. So it's totes okay to not actually be thinking about that yet. Actually, what I should be thinking about right now is Macbeth. Ugh.

[image via Pinterest]

March 21, 2011

Grandma Donna

Today has been a mix of thunderstorms and sunshine. I was woken up by thunder this morning, yet this afternoon was a delight of sunshine and shorts. And eating Chipotle outside. And then, just as we were finishing dinner, lightning began to play across the sky again.

Today I am also thinking about my Grandma Donna. She passed away last week, and today would have been her 75th birthday. See, the strange thing is, of course all of this makes me sad. Of course I wish there wasn't such a thing as death, and the hollowness it leaves behind -- especially, right now, for my dad and my aunts. But Grandma Donna had been sick and declining for a very, very long time. And as we've been prepared for this for a while, and because she is probably the grandparent I know the least, it just seems strange that my immediate life wasn't completely rocked last Tuesday when I heard she had died. Especially because for some people, life was completely rocked.

These are the things that I do know and love and remember about Grandma Donna: we used to go to her house in Kentucky every Thanksgiving. And then, last year, Linnea and I got to go again, even after a decade of international Thanksgivings. She came to visit us once when we lived in England and introduced us to VeggieTales. I remember being with her when I first met my cousin Garrett. And we helped set up her apartment in Cleveland. But reading my Dad's remembrances of her, and different accounts offered in the past week by those who knew her better than I did, makes me realizes how much there was that I didn't get to see or know. This is what makes me especially sad.

But even in the midst of all this, there are blessings, such as that my Dad was able to come from Kenya for the funeral thanks to some of my parents' colleagues who paid for it! And there are also some things that are downright hilarious, like this snippet of email from my mom:  

"Earlier I heard Daddy & the aunts in the kitchen talking about eyes. I thought they 
were saying that Grandma Donna had Mamaw Dee's [her mother, my great-grandmother's] eyes. But then I realized they were saying that they'd discovered Grandma Donna 
had Mamaw Dee's glass eye. As in, Grandma Donna had it in her dresser drawer 
someplace. Now they're trying to figure out what to do with it."

(I apologize if you find that appalling...But it made me laugh out loud.)

Grandma Donna, I am thankful to have known you and spent the time with you that I did. I am thankful for the meaning you had in other people's lives, that I can see and appreciate. You were loved, and you will be missed.

P.S. My dad preached her funeral. Here is what he said.

March 19, 2011

Like Jack, Jack Kerouac

"The only people for me are the mad ones, 
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, 
mad to be saved, desirous of everything at
the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like 
fabulous yellow roman candles exploding 
like spiders across the stars..."

Jack Kerouac

This quote makes my life. And it makes me want it to be summer right now so I can read On The Road (because, of course, I don't have the time to tackle that during classes). Have any of you read it? What are your thoughts?

P.S. leave it to Brooke to be awesome enough to write a song about Jack.

[image source]

March 18, 2011

Postcards From Italy

The best parts: 
- her style
- 2:03 - 2:28
- the couch
- when they dance
- ...all of it?

These people are adorable in real life, too. 
You can read about them on their blog here.

March 16, 2011

This Will Be Me

Friends, I have a new obsession: this couple and their crazy, wonderful, globe-trotting adventures. And their blog about it.

Yuriy and Julia got married in September, and three days later set off for a six-month trip around the world – stopping in France, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Singapore, cetera. And like I said, I’m obsessed with this entire concept. It’s wonderful especially because they obviously planned this out and have many practical tips (how to pack a suitcase, their overall plan, etc.) but at the same time, it blows my mind that they actually took the risk and did it, even knowing they’d return home broke. (But some experiences are worth more than money, right?) I’m a little bit upset about only discovering their blog as they are flying back to the States at the end of their adventure…but luckily, they are still catching up on Lviv, Ukraine, so we still have a slew of posts coming our way about all their Southeast Asian adventures since then!

And speaking of Lviv, this couple gets bonus points because after these pictures (can we talk about how these two happen to both be wedding photographers?), this city is now on my list of places I want to go:

(Seeing as Budapest and Prague were already on my list, though, it shouldn’t be too hard to catch a train over, right?)

Also, as both Yuriy and Julia were born in Ukraine but raised in the States, I’m loving reading about their reactions to going back to their home country:

Back home, I felt like I knew Slavics very, very well (I use the word Slavic because it encompasses Ukrainians and Russians). I knew what kind of cars they drove, the food they ate, and where they shopped. I knew they were cheap and had big families. I knew they shopped at garage sales and loved volleyball at the park and only lived in the suburbs--the bigger the house the better. I could spot a Ukrainian at the grocery store or in the car next to me at a stoplight. Yet in this country called Ukraine, I suddenly felt like I didn’t really know them all that well. I couldn’t pick one from the crowd. Suddenly I was the minority and trying to fit in. How strange to think that I’m a Ukrainian trying to be Ukrainian, when I had spent all my life trying to be an American.

Given my own born-in-America-raised-in-Ethiopia story, I appreciate having these sorts of experiences articulated by someone else.

Sorry to rave so much about these two (except, not really)…but I am just in love with this entire concept. And I want all of y’all to be aware that this is happening some time in my life. 

Note to self: be sure to marry someone who will agree to this insanity.

March 15, 2011


It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.

March 14, 2011

If You Want the World and the Worlds Beyond It

This makes me smile. It's a little lengthy, but it's worth it. I first saw it here, and tried to track down it's origin, only to find it posted and reposted on a myriad of blogs -- mostly by the kind of girls it talks about: the kind of love words and romance and exploring those hidden worlds; the kind who understand and the kind who smile when they read it. Is that you, too? 


Date A Girl Who Reads 
by Rosemarie Urquico

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilightseries.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

[image via We Heart It]

March 13, 2011

Picking Me A Bouquet of Dogwood Flowers

This is Linnea's and my roadtripping song. And we are about to roadtrip -- nine hours back on up to Charlottesville! So if you want to experience what it's like to be us today, you can put this song on repeat and picture yourself on 1-95 North...

March 12, 2011

Spring Forward

I Just Ate: Grilled tuna steaks and poundcake for dessert (Leaving MK's cooking for my meager college existence tomorrow is a seriously sad prospect...)
I Just Bought: These. Thoughts?

Daylight Savings, like the Superbowl, is one of those concepts that I did not fully understand until coming to college (a.k.a. until living in America at an age where I was actually a responsible human being, a.k.a. not nine). I remember back in late October of first year, seeing signs around grounds reminding us to change our clocks and going “Oh right! I have to remember to do that!” So I made sure the night before to set my clock back, was proud of myself, and went to sleep. It was not until about 5pm the following unfortunate day when it started getting dark strangely early, that I actually understood the daytime consequences of gaining an hour of sleep. And, quite frankly, it made me a little upset. (And it still does – that day when Daylight Savings ends is not a happy one. Moral of the story: Please don’t ever take my sunshine away.)

But moving my clock forward, getting that hour of sunshine in the evening, makes me oh-so-joyful. Sure, losing the hour of sleep isn’t fun, but at least it happens over spring break. And longer days and the assurance of spring completely make up for it. But mostly don’t you just love how it makes everyone just a little more cheerful that day?

[image via We Heart It]

March 11, 2011

Friday Five

Five Randoms

1. I sincerely love this umbrella. And by sincerely love, I mean I want it.

[via: Pinterest]

(I already have one of those see-through umbrellas. I asked for one for Christmas the year before last, and I think my mom must have thought I was joking because I didn't get it. So I bought myself one when I saw them half-off at Target last summer. But this? It's like 87 gazillion times better than that!)

2. Still obsessed with Avett Brothers "Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise." I mean, these lyrics:

When nothing is owed, deserved or expected
And your life doesn't change by the man that's elected
If you're loved by someone you're never rejeted
Decide what to be and go be it

Also on my playlist: "Count on Me" by Bruno Mars, "You and Me" by Elizabeth and the Catapults, "Helplessness Blues" by Fleet Foxes, "Poison & Wine"by the Civil Wars (yes, still), "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, "Skinny Genes" by Eliza Doolittle...

3. Barcelona:

4. I just had a s'more made of the biggest marshmallow in the world (after the biggest dinner in the world at my second cousin's house!). This inspired me to look up all the nifty things I know all those creative, bloggy people must do with s'mores. 
Here's some awesome things I found:
So glad I explored all of that. WHO KNEW.

5. I love all things chalkboard, especially when it's a little bit unexpected:

[all images found on Pinterest]

(I'm a little disappointed because I just learned we aren't allowed to paint our house next year, so all my dreams of painting a chalkboard on the wall are now dashed.)

WHEW. I don't think I'll have anything to tell y'all for the next week, because this basically used up all I got. I guess I'll just have to work on having some adventures... :]

Have a fabulous weekend!

March 10, 2011


Currently Watching: Bones season 3*
Completely Appropriate Quote: "The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino." - from You've Got Mail

How do you all feel about the new Starbucks logo?

I don't think I like it. Too minimalist. I like a little classicness and old-timey character. (however, I do like the more recent one over the 1987 does this mean I just don't like change? Or that the more recent one is really classier?) Also, I think it's interesting that they are taking the name out and relying just on the picture now (Hello, logo recognition**).

On a brighter note, the Starbucks on Hilton Head is about the coolest thing around. It used to be a bank, and they kept the old vault and have it open with tables in it. So snazzy.

* the grandparents have all sorts of spiffy new technology - even since the last time I was here - which lets me watch Netflix both upstairs (on Apple TV) and downstairs (on the Wii). Um, blowing my mind right now, PJ & MK.
** I just googled that. I was going to call that 'brand recognition' but I guess that's not right. What can I say? I study literature, not marketing...

[image via here]

March 9, 2011


Y’all, I have been the laziest today. After Hope and Allie left at lunchtime, I collapsed into full-on spring-break-at-the-grandparents mode. (aka watching tv and reading, that is all. Although we did ride bikes and walk on the beach and spy a gator earlier today, so I really did already do stuff, I promise.) Because of this, my brain is not cooperating with me, but I promised to tell you about Charleston so I am going to try and do just that.

Here’s the thing about Charleston: it is old Southern charm and hospitality through and through. It’s not just one postcard-perfect street that gives way to a typical grimy downtown, nor just a modern town masquerading as antebellum. No, it is street after palmetto-lined street of genteel two-story, balconied Charleston houses and wrought iron and ivy. It’s parks and porch swings on the waterfront, and spires and cemeteries lining King Street. It’s shopping on King Street and sweet grass baskets for sale at the market. And really, it’s enough to just be there, soaking it in, meandering through the grid of streets and pointing out which houses we wished were ours.

We drove just over two hours to get there (and may or may not have made a last minute U-turn midway to stop at this place:

                                                                               ...I mean, wouldn’t you?)

And here’s what we did once we were there:

- Wandered through the old market, trying to resist buying pashminas

- Had fancy sandwiches at a place called Caviar & Bananas, right next to C of C (which, by the way, would probably be the school I would transfer to if I was ever going to transfer. Just because then I could live here.) Anyway, my sandwich was barbecue duck (seriously), cheddar cheese, jalepeƱos, roasted shallots, some sort of sauce, and all sorts of goodness:

- Shopped on King Street (they just put in a Forever 21, we had to go. And Allie got these nifty zebra shoes.) and revived with some Starbs

- Explored the St. Philips graveyard. It’s split into two parts on either side of the street – only people born in Charleston were allowed to be buried on the side the church is on. There’s a legend of one man being exhumed from his grave and moved across the street because he wasn’t born in Charleston. (PJ told us this story at dinner the night before.)

- Walked to the waterfront, almost got blown away by the wind out on the pier, spied Fort Sumter across the water

- Searched out Rainbow Row. (...but I already showed you that.) One of the houses was for sale, though, just saying.

- Stopped by the Citadel on our way out of the city (Hope’s dad went there so we had to get a token picture for him, of course.)

…And that’s all. We weren’t even there for as long as we had planned (we even made it back to Hilton Head for MK’s dinner. Yesss.) but it was charming and perfect nonetheless.

Oh Charleston. I love you because you are genuine and beautiful. If you were a person, I would probably want to be you. Or at least have a crush on you.

[All photo cred - or at least camera cred - goes to Allie MacDonald. For real, I feel so spoiled to have all these beautiful pictures now to share with y'all. I think I'm just going to have to get her to follow me around and document my life on a regular basis...]
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