29 April 2013

an eye to the past in NYC.

back again, unpacking and re-packing for tomorrow.  we got in from nyc last night, spent a cozy night in our own bed, and we leave bright and early tomorrow for denver.  it's our first trip back since the move back in december, so we are super excited to spend some time with friends, family, and doing some upkeep on our house while we are in town.

nyc was, as always, wonderful.  i love spending time with my family more than just about anything else.  i love walking into my nanny's house to see it unchanged - not just since the last time i visited, but for as long as i can remember.  it's a safe, familiar feeling. 

my family is complicated, as most families are.  it hasn't always been that way, but a lot of things have changed in the last few years that have made things shift in new ways.  and it's comforting to me, no matter how much my family dynamics change, to run up into this apartment and barge in without knocking, smelling the same smells from my nanny and eating the same unchanged spaghetti recipe since i was born.  it warms my heart and soothes my soul when i need it. 

here are a few of my nostalgic pictures...

nanny's kitchen - this corner has been the same since i was in a high chair

hung up in the dining room for as long as i can remember

my nanny herself - an absolute saint

my godmother and i in her new apartment in the village

my friday in the city with PI
and a few other weekend pictures. 

puppy in a boutique

walking the highline on saturday

view from the highline

tea shop in chelsea market

eighth avenue street festival
of all the craziness of the weekend, the strangest to me was running into an old friend that i knew in prague in the middle of lunch on saturday.  we were at separate tables on the patio and i instantly recognized him.  really makes you think how small the world can be sometimes - a guy i studied abroad with in prague and i eating at the same restaurant in the village, enjoying the sunshine.

i gotta run - dinner planned with dad tonight before we head off in the morning. 

til next time...!

24 April 2013

folk art!

i've been so desperate for art [more color!] in our loft lately. we have scores of photographs from our travels and wedding. i've even given pi the ok to get his old basquiat out if his closet that i've always hated and told him we could find a place for it.

so when i found these little treasures for $5 buried in a sale bin earlier in the week i couldn't resist! the wall decals add the perfect amount of folksy color to our bland hallway. and since we got the new tv stand, our old one has been moved out into the hall.

it just what the space needed, i'm convinced!

we are headed off to nyc tomorrow to see family and getaway for the weekend [again]. the city in spring is just lovely - can't wait to come back with pics!

til next time...

23 April 2013

REAL life, unedited.

a great reminder for today.
guys, i read this today and i LOVED it.  it's on instagram's envy effect.  oh wait, here's yet another link to it.  because.  it.  kicks.  ass.

if you aren't going to read it, here's a little summation.  it's about the snippets of lives that we see on the internet.  and about what we edit out of our status updates, what's just out of the corner of that square crop on your photo.  it's incomplete.  they are moments that are highs, which is why we want to share them.

but what about all the other moments?  the photo may be of the great outfit you picked out today, but what about the days you don't get out of your sweatpants?  niequst [the author] also points out the happy couples that don't share their fighting, or the great meal you made but not the mess to be cleaned up. 

again, these are the moments to be shared.  no one wants to see your dirty dishes.  no one wants to see you in sweatpants [i mean this mostly to myself, as a reminder].  the things you want to share with other people - and strangers in some cases - are the highlights of your life, of the things you do.

but the result?  it's that everyone lives perfect lives without those tense, awkward, heartbroken moments.  that spouses don't fight, that chicken doesn't get burnt, that you don't have bad hair days.  it's just not realistic.  and part of the point of increased networking is to be there for one another, is it not?  to share in times of joy and triumph, but also help one another when things aren't going their way. 

there are days that this social-media-filter really effects me.  days when i would get a negative pregnancy test yet again, and hop online to see four more girls who went to my high school were pregnant.  days when i would feel so fat, being unable to get my skinny jeans to make me look skinny thanks to my fat bulge, but would see a girlfriend in a bikini with her perfect flat belly.  days when i would be feeling a little lazy, just lounging around with the tv, and would see a facebook friend out in front of the coliseum.  it makes you feel bad.  people have topped documenting their struggles, and the result is facebook news feeds and pinterest home pages and instagram shares filled with just successes.  and if you are down, it's easy to be knocked further down looking at what everyone else has and you don't.

i know i am guilty sometimes.  i look at it as sharing my high points, the things people will be interested in.  and fights i may have with pi, well, those are personal.  but i try to branch out, too.  i recently started sharing about our infertility issues, i blogged about the outrageous stress of going back to school while working and volunteering.  and i want to continue to blog about the challenges i face, as well as the high points i have.  i don't think i'm as bad as some [helloooo, i instagramed a pic of my busted-up knee last week], but i could make some improvements too.  i want to be real with everyone.  i want them to know the highlights as well as, sometimes, the low points.  

i'm making some changes to my blog, and one of the changes i want to make is to be more forthcoming.  to share with you all a bit more of me [yes, there IS more], and to be real.  to share my struggles so i can connect with people and help participate in a community; one in which we share our high highs, but our low lows as well.

post something REAL today.  put it out there, on some social media platform you use.  step out from behind the veil of perceived perfection.  it doesn't have to be a secret, just something real - piles of laundry, or the pizza you ordered in for dinner because you didn't cook a martha-stewart-style meal.  it will be refreshing, i promise.

here's my SOMETHING REAL today:
my blood results from last week reveal that i am still pregnant, according to my hcg levels.  pretty disappointing.  should all be done by now, but it isn't.   so i have to go get by blood taken yet again at the end of the week.  and let me be a little bit more real by telling you that i don't do well with needles in my veins.  i've puked half of the times my blood has been taken since this pregnancy disaster began.  so i don't know where this leaves us or what will happen after i get my blood results at the end of the week, but it's disappointing.  and i wasn't going to share it because... i don't really know.  i just wasn't.

til next time...

22 April 2013

golden age thinking.

this afternoon i fixed myself a martini and sat down to finish the book i was reading, the great gatsby.  i actually never read it in middle school or high school like most people, and felt the time was high for me to read it. 

i have an endless curiosity of the lost generation, of hemingway and gertrude stein, of paris in the jazz age and during the war.  as a lover of literature and writers in general, i dragged PI to the famous literary cafes and the shakespeare & company bookstore, and devoured midnight in paris three times in the theaters [of course it doesn't hurt that we both love woody allen].

anyway - i found gatsby to be an amazingly beautiful novel.  i fell in love with a few lines of fitzgerald's and wanted to share them, of course..
'let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.'
 and the last lines of the novel were absolutely haunting:

'gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year receeds before us.  it eluded us then, but that's no matter -- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... and one fine morning --
and so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.'
given gatsby's great obsession with the past, they were of course very fitting.  but sometimes i feel like i have that same nostalgia, that same wish to recreate that which has already happened.  i find it all the time in working on my book, in reading my old journals from my time in prague, in conversations i have with PI.  i want to go back to the time when my life was in it's golden age, when i lived far away, making friends with new people on 'the continent' and i never wanted it to end. 

on that note... a little woody allen dialogue on nostalgia.

 til next time...


21 April 2013

boston pride.

so i know it may be boston information overload this week, but that's how it's been in my life, and this blog is a reflection of what's going on in my life, so there you have it.

pi and i decided to get out yesterday and walk around the city yet again.  i don't know if it was being locked down on friday or just the attack in general, but we have been a little stir-crazy in the loft.  so we decided to go out and enjoy the city.

seen on newbury street - words of support + pride
the thing is, boston is an amazing city.  we have only lived here for a few months, but i have been coming here for over a decade during weekends and the summer to visit my dad, who moved out here when i was in high school.  it's never really felt like much to me - maybe like my dad's home, or like a place i was familiar with, but i never really felt like i could really live there.  even when we moved out here, as much as i have loved it, it hasn't really felt like my city.  it's just been where we live, not our home.

but this week has really changed all of that for me.  i feel a very different, very distinct connection with the city of boston now.  it feels like my home, finally.   and i have a sense of pride and feel very protective of my city.  boston has so much to offer, and now that it's springtime here and it's just inexcusable to sit around inside and not enjoy our city. 

washington's statue in the common

graveyard of samuel adams

signer of the declaration of independence, robert paine
original boston city hall
plaque honoring mary chilton
old state house

boston massacure monument
and what a really awesome city that is.  we walked part of the freedom trail, stopping at some historical bars along the way.  now i know this sounds crazy, but when you pop into an old pub off faneuil hall and see a handfull of drunk old men singing 'sweet caroline' between dropkick murphy's songs, there's just a certain affinity it provokes a certain emotion.  because the history and the people are what make this city - my home - so great.

til next time...

19 April 2013

locked down.

i did not expect to wake up to this.  but of course, i'm sure no one in our city did. 

we spent the day yesterday walking around our neighborhood, much of which was barricaded off due to president obama's visit.  it was a beautiful spring day, the kind where i went home and baked rhubarb strawberry bars with all the windows open.  it was lovely.  i thought president obama gave a lovely speech.  we don't have cable so after we walked around down tremont, we stopped at our usual hangout parish to have a beer at the bar and listen to it.  i wiped away tears as i sipped my beer.  we tried to get going, running errands out to pick out a new tv stand, and hung out at home the rest of the evening.  we even went to bed kind of early.

site if the interfaith service yesterday

watching the speech at our local bar
and when i woke up, it was at 7am to a phone call from my dad, saying 'please tell me you're at home.'  we immediately got up, brewed a big pot of coffee and tuned into the news on our laptops.  we stayed in bed, watching the news in disbelief yet again.

so what does one do while they are on lock down?

start drinking martinis at 2


take a cat nap

watch mindless netflix - LOVE the new tv stand btw!

it might seem silly to be doing things like drinking martinis while doing my laundry today.  but to be honest, i don't know what else to do with myself.  i have been reading the stories about the victims of the bombings that have been coming out, and i can't stop reading and thinking about them.  the 27-year-old who helped identify one of the suspects, who just had both legs amputatedthe newlyweds who both lost their left legs while cheering on runners.  the 17-year-old who had an artery ruptured, and whose mother lost both her legs.  the 29-year-old who died, whose parents thought was ok after an identity mix-up.  this is all to say nothing of the children, the eight-year-old who perished and the other children that have been severely injured.  it's just too much to handle, to think this all happened a few blocks away from my home, and that one of the men allegedly responsible is still out there, running around our city. 

our city is a ghost town today.  but it still looks like a beautiful spring day.

view into our courtyard today.
til next time...

17 April 2013

struggling for normal.

today started out super nice.  PI and i slept in once more, still trying to recover from late nights, stiff drinks and helicopters over our neighborhood.  after a cup of coffee at home, we decided to go for a run.  we don't live far from the masschusetts ave bridge over the charles river the leads into cambridge, which is a very popular running spot around here.  and why not take advantage? 

so we set off, to great sights in our neighborhood such as these signs:

it warmed my heart.  but it also really struck a cord with me to jog past boylston street, the sight of the blasts.  it all felt so much more real, as if that hadn't really happened yet, to see one of the streets we walk down on a weekly basis barricaded off by the national guard.

but all the same, jogging felt great.  as we ran, PI was telling me about how he wanted to get out and enjoy our city more, and i agreed.  jogging through the back bay felt like an act of defiance today, as if we were telling the cowards who bombed our neighborhood that they couldn't stop us.  i know it's silly, but it felt really good.  and just as i felt a new connection with my city, as i felt a bit renewed, this happened.

and i remembered that no matter how cool i think i am, i'm still the most clumsy person i've ever met.  i'm still sad, ungraceful alaina. 

i know that some of you may not want to read about the marathon bombings.  but i want you all to know that we are not ready to move on.  some may read about other worldwide events and feel like it's time to get over what's happened here, so in that case you may want to skip over my blog for a bit.  because i feel like we are just now adjusting to the new city we are living in, the one with news crews on our corner by the market, and with helicopters hovering overhead at all hours of the night, and with armed guards outside our T stations.  this is just the beginning for us, and i for one am not ready to move on.

we tried to get back to normal again today, and to go enjoy our city.  it was a gorgeous spring day, and we thought it would be nice to take a walk.  i had to go buy a birthday gift for a very special someone, and as we started walking, without even talking about it we ended up right at the scene of the crime.  and the thing is, it's not that we decided to go check it out.  it's that the bombing was literally that close to us, in our 'backyard' so to speak.  the area that we go when we go out, that we automatically walk to when we want some sunshine and a cocktail on the patio.  i've been walking down boylston and newbury streets for the past fifteen years, when my dad first moved here when i was in eighth grade.  we picked our loft in the south end partially because it was so close to back bay, and it really struck home today when we walked around our usual stomping grounds and saw this.

camera crews on multiple corners.  roads blocked off leading to boylston for bomb investigations.  but it was worth it to us to head out to cafeteria, one of many local restaurants donating all of their proceeds today to marathon bombing victims and their families. 

after some early drinks my brother came over - which was the first time i've actually seen him since the bombings.  i can't tell you how much having that sweaty man on my couch laughing at viral videos with PI meant to me... it brought tears to my eyes, just hanging out with him. 

so we are still struggling to get back to normal here, and we will for a while.  i'll keep you guys posted with all the happenings here, and in the meantime, keep the victims in your prayers please.  i know it's been a few days, but trust me - they still need them.

til next time...

16 April 2013

sinking in.

today, while the reality of what happened yesterday sinks in, we are trying to get back to normal.

for us, that meant sleeping in a little later than usual to help our bodies relax.  but we woke up to continued sirens and helicopters hovering overhead.  then i remembered what happened yesterday afternoon, blocks from our home, wasn't a nightmare after all.

we ran out to the market for groceries so we could stay in and cook tonight, but this is what the route to the market looks like today for us.

commonwealth ave

the park in the middle of the street, overflowing with cameras and news vans

it's usually such a beautiful sight, especially in the spring.
i also had to go get blood work done to check that my hcg levels are back at zero from the miscarriage, but this is what it looks like outside of brigham & women's hospital.

one of many reporters, with more news vans in the background

i was hoping my brother would come over for dinner, but with the national guard standing outside T entrances with guns, it's a little hard to take public transportation when you don't have to today. 

what would have been a gorgeous spring day here in boston was just a bit off.  people seemed to be walking around in a daze, and all anyone can ask anyone else is if they knew anyone injured or affected.  the man who took my blood noticed our address and immediately struck up conversation about the bombings, the gentleman who delivered our package let me know that so far all of the residents of our building are accounted for and alive.   

but tonight i am having cocktails with PI and making tikka masala, and we'll put on sunday's episode of mad men.  i feel shaken up, but eager to get back to normal around here.  though i realize that is going to be quite a while...

hope everyone out there is doing well, and staying strong.

15 April 2013

no words.

i was planning on blogging this morning about our epically wonderful trip to dc over the weekend.  but then life happened.

it's funny to me that the last time i posted on this blog was about the wolfpack - because today, as PI & i ran through back bay looking for my brother, i was thinking about the wolfpack the whole time.  mostly, about my brother.

my brother was at a bar at the finish line, and PI & i were planning to meet him after lunch.  we had just finished lunch when we heard what happened just a few blocks from us.  i immediately began calling my brother.  but since phone lines were jammed, nothing was getting through.  i told PI to get his shoes, because we were going to look for aj.

so we grabbed our keys and cell phones and ran out the door.  we ran up massachusetts avenue, against the waves of people pouring out of back bay.  some people were yelling, crying, holding on to one another.  some were laughing with their friends, seemingly unaffected.  some just walked silently out of the evacuated area. 

but i was in a panic.  my phone was vibrating in my pocket moment after moment, with warnings from my dad and step-mom [who works at the boston globe] that more explosive devices were found, to get out of back bay, starting group texts to get my brother to answer.  texts starting coming in from family and friends, asking if we were ok, to respond back as soon as we could.  but until i heard from my brother, i felt nothing else.  i posted a frantic message on facebook for my brother to find us since we couldn't use our phones.  and so on we walked, as ambulances raced past us, and police cars zoomed in either direction, lights flashing and sirens blaring.  sirens were blaring everywhere.

within half an hour or so, my phone rang and it was aj.  as soon as i answered we were disconnected - but minutes after a text came in from my dad that he had heard from aj, that he had been evacuated but was fine. 

we walked back to our apartment in a daze, gripping hands.  we went upstairs, grabbed a few essentials, and walked to my dad's loft in southie to be with family and get further away from back bay.  it was there we heard about the fire in the jfk library, and at the time people were saying they were related.  we sat around, hugging, watching the news, and having a few stiff drinks.

it was a scary day, and a tough reminder that everything can change in just one moment.  one moment PI & i are arguing about going out day drinking, the next minute we are searching for my brother after a bomb detonated a block away from where he was.  

boston is a reliant city, and people here are tough.  i'm seeing people pulling together by getting to hospitals to donate blood and offer their home up for stranded runners to stay.  but many of the people affected by this tragedy aren't from boston, and people come from all over the world to participate and watch the race.  my thoughts and prayers are with all of the wounded, physically and emotionally, and first responders and volunteers.

we are home safe now, though the sounds of sirens are still drifting into our open bedroom window.  it's terrifying to me that something like this can happen literally blocks from our house.

thank you so much to everyone who reached out to us today via social media or on the phone to make sure we are ok.  it means a lot to me.

til next time...
be safe and take care of one another.

11 April 2013

w o l f p a c k .

girlfriends are the best.  but there's nothing better than a wolfpack.

my wolfpack is me [of course], PI & AJ.  the two best guys in the world.  we do all kinds of stupid things together, and we always make it fun.  once, we were stuck in the lobby of a hotel in the middle of nowhere for five hours.  while we were hungover.  and we had a blast. 

since PI & i have moved to boston, we have had loads of time to spend with AJ.  and it's pretty much been the best.  we have lunch together at the same place every week. they are my favorite people to hang out with.  they are the guys i can be myself around with no judgment, the two guys who know me better than anyone else in the world.  and although i haven't met any girlfriends out here in boston just yet, i definitely have found my wolfpack. 

and i am about to spend eight hours on a train to dc with them tomorrow.

i hope you have a wolfpack too : ]

10 April 2013

springtime closet cleanout.

when PI & i left for vegas two weeks ago, we left behind a dark and dreary city.  rain and snow and come and gone all week, and the temperatures showed march leaving like a lion [even though it came in as one as well].  but when we returned a week ago, we seemed to return to a different city.  the sun was shining a bit more often, birds could be heard outside our bedroom windows early in the morning, and it wasn't bitter cold anymore.

now i am familiar with new england springtime, and am sure that there will be a few days between here and summer that will prove me wrong.  but as i walked down tremont street yesterday, i realized that it's springtime here.  and while i may need to still pull on sweaters from time to time, i will occasionally need sandals, capris, sundresses and tank tops.  so i got out my summer clothes :]  every year this is a bit of a battle for me as i stress over what to keep, what to give away, and what just goes into the garbage.

i have to say the transition seasons of spring and fall are my absolute favorite.  i love dressing in layers.  i love wrapping a scarf around me tightly in the morning but taking off my layers in the afternoon to let my arms and shoulders get some sun.  so i thought i'd share a few of my favorite spring/summer pieces, some new and some very, very old.

my spring closet, still messy as ever.
old - j. crew jumper.  this thing is awesome.  i bought it an outlet store in the mountains a few years back and it is the thing that possibly gets me most excited for summer.  it's a pain the in ass to pee in this thing, but it's great with some cute flats and a sweater - and if it's warm enough, it's always great alone.  

new - madewell sweater.  madewell is my new obsession for, well, just about everything.  but this sweater is an obvious pick for spring.  it's a bright, summery yellow with thin white stripes.  it's somewhat sheer, so it breathes really well.  but it also is just the thing for when a cool spring breeze cuts through the air and you need to pull on something warmer. 

new - madewell tee.  see? i wasn't kidding about madewell.  there's a lot to love about this tee, but mostly it's the color and pattern.  i don't usually wear a lot of pattern, so this one forces me to be a bit out of my comfort zone.  i also don't wear a lot of pink girlie things, but the flowers in the front are balanced well for me by the blue sailor-inspired stripes on the back.  it's an easy way to add some color to regular jeans and flats, and the pattern is very summery.

new - gap.  this dress was an impulse buy, and i don't know that i would have bought it if it weren't [a] on sale, and [b] PI hadn't loved the way it looks on me.  but here it is in my closet.  can easily be dressed up with a statement necklace and heels, or dressed down with flats and a sweater.  also, i'm sure you're noticing i'm kind of into stripes right now...

old, old, old  - marc jacobs heels.  i've had these for years and years after finding them in the back of a DSW store [if you can believe that].  the colors weren't my cup of tea at the time, but i loved the style and brightness of the shoes.  not to mention they show some serious toe cleavage, which is one of my favorite things.  they are the perfect summery pop of color under plain jeans and a tee. 

new - 344 [a small boston boutique i found on newbury street].  i never, ever, ever wear shorts.  and trust me when i say these are literally the only pair i own, and i only bought them a few weeks ago during mom's surprise visit out.  but the pattern and vivid blue instantly drew my attention.  pair that with the silky fabric and the fact that they aren't embarrassingly short, and there are shorts i'll rock all summer long.  with a sweater and tights they'd also work for those early spring nights that tend to be chillier.

 new - gap khakis.  so new the tags are still on.  i got into colored pants late into the winter [random and out of style, i know].  madewell was practically giving away colored cropped cords, and i snatched up a few pairs.  i love the color on the bottom, and since i only have a few pairs of jeans, colored pants were an easy pick for spring and summer wardrobe.  i see these with flats and an easy, flowing top, or even over bottoms to the beach.  they cuff up beautifully for the hot weather, but for now can stay down past the ankles to keep my legs warm, and a simple sweater goes atop it beautifully.

my spring wear will definitely make the trip to DC with me this weekend.  what are you wearing this summer?

til next time...!