Here’s what I’ve been reading over the last month or so. My reading list, including what I want to read, what I’m reading, and what I’ve read can be found here.
The Bolter: I really enjoyed this book about the slutty, infamous, and fabulous Idina Sackville. The author is a descendant of Idina and while at times it can seem like she’s boasting about her family, the slight annoyance is absolutely worth it. The story goes from pre-World War I England, to World War I France, to Africa, and then occasionally back to Europe. There is a ton of history and recognizable names woven in, but this particular story was completely new to me. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in British history, colonial Africa, or biographies of fascinating women.
Those Guys Have All the Fun: As a huge sports buff I’ve been excited for this book to come out for a long, long time. Luckily I was not at all disappointed by the 700+ page book. The book is full of stories, most of which I didn’t know anything about, from the father and son team that started ESPN to the billion dollar negotiations for Monday Night Football. Oral history can be a bit challenging to read and there were definitely times I wished for a bit more explanation, but overall I was very pleased. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in media history, sports, or even business.
Maine: I have no idea what to say about this book, I can’t say I disliked it, but I also can’t say I liked it; mainly I just found it incredibly frustrating. It is supposed to be about the different generations of women in one family who call go to a summer house in Maine. Which is what it’s about, but rather than being about what happens to them that summer I would say 90% of the book is spent explaining what happened in the past, leaving the other 10% for the present. But nothing ever really happens in the present; there’s very little character growth and there’s no definitive ending. That said, it’s a very well-written book and the women’s stories are, for the most part, compelling; I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened, I just wish that something had actually happened.
The Help: I don’t know if there’s anything I can say about The Help that hasn’t been previously said. I resisted reading it for a long time, but after reading about the movie in Vanity Fair I decided I had to give it a shot since I thought the movie looked good and I always like to read books before I see a movie. I really loved the book, I love the south and I love history and who doesn’t love a story of women from different backgrounds coming together to fight injustice? Kathryn Stockett is a great writer and she really made the women come alive through their voices and their world come alive through the descriptions. If you’ve resisted reading this book I highly, highly recommend picking it up.
And if you haven’t seen it here’s The Help movie trailer:
And here’s my five-sentence review of the trailer: It seems too happy! The book is fun, but it’s also really serious. These women put their own lives and their families in grave, grave danger. Hilly Holbrook wasn’t some silly menace, she was a serious threat to these women’s lives. I really hope the movie is more serious than the trailer, otherwise I’m going to be very disappointed.
I haven’t posted on here since the end of May. That’s not good. I feel like my life is better when I sit down to reflect upon it, which is really what I view this Tumblr as. So, without further ado, I give you my June 2011.
A great trip to Boston to visit my friend Natalie.
Highlights of the trip include visiting a very cool bar called Meadhall with 100s of beers on tap, walking around Harvard Square,
Natalie being asked to take an Asian tourist’s picture, going to the USA vs. Spain soccer game,
and attending a delicious dim sum lunch with some fellow Mount Holyoke grads.
Next up a walk along the Highline the following Friday
I’ll admit I can sometimes be a bit cynical about musicals but I thought Anything Goes was very good. The performances were all great and it’s just a really fun time.
After that my friend Laura and I went shopping for supplies to make hats for our friend Elisa’s wedding celebration.
And then we made hats.
That Tuesday I attended the Mount Holyoke Club of NYC’s annual meeting at the Harvard Club.
I have to say that the Yale club was a much nicer space and had much better food.
That weekend was Elisa’s wedding celebration which was great. Our hats went over really well and everyone had a great time.
The following Wednesday I was off to Texas for work. I flew into Amarillo Wednesday, had some fun wasting time, and then had a good meeting Thursday morning.
After my meeting I drove the 6 hour route to Dallas.
I have to say, as lame as it sounds, it was a hell of a lot of fun. I pretty much just drove through nothing and I loved it. About every 30 miles or so I would come to a town that had one traffic light, a gas station, a Dairy Queen, and a smattering of other buildings.
I passed a few interesting places were I wanted to stop for lunch but being in the middle of no where I wasn’t sure how safe it would be. I eventually stopped at Jackson’s in Childress, TX (home of Lou Dobbs!). My brisket and onion rings were great and super cheap.
Extra special highlights include driving through Memphis, TX, home of the 1991 football state champions (like in Friday Night Lights!)
and seeing freight trains.
I know my love of freight trains is weird but I grew up on Long Island so I never got to experience the crazy long train thing. I also did a lot of singing along to country music. There are an incredible number of songs about loving Texas, missing Texas, and being in Tennessee because all your exes are in Texas.
The only bad moment was when I figured I would wait until I got through the “city” I was driving through, Wichita Falls, to get gas. I don’t know why I thought it would stay city/suburban-like. But it didn’t and I had a panic that I’d run out of gas. But I found somewhere to stop.
They also sold western clothes and had tons of showers for truckers. And were in the middle of no where. It was super windy also, I think I my skirt might have flown up and flashed some truckers!
I finally made it close to Dallas where I passed the Dallas Motor Speedway
and things started to get a lot more city-like.
I checked into my very nice hotel in Dallas and immediately headed to their complimentary beer and wine happy hour.
I only intended to have one glass of wine but when I finished my first a second magically appeared so of course I had to drink that too.
After the wine I headed out in the heat to see the Texas Book Depository which was a short walk from my hotel.
I was obsessed with Jackie Kennedy as a kid so this was really exciting to me.
When I finished there (the museum was closed) I used Yelp to find a really great bar to eat. They had an amazing selection of beers, very good food, a great band, and fun people to talk to.
After staying out much later than I intended I woke up feeling a bit worse for the wear on Friday. But I headed to the Dallas Market Center to work all day.
I love southerners. I honestly think Dallas is somewhere I could picture myself living. It was hot as hell, but I was really surprised with the liveliness of the downtown and everyone I met was great.
Unfortunately I still wasn’t feeling so great Friday evening (I think a combination of the heat, dehydration, and maybe a smidge too much alcohol Thursday night) so I headed back to the hotel around 5pm and took an hour nap. I still didn’t feel great and my plans ended up falling through so I just went to bed around 7pm.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling great and spent the remainder of my time in Dallas at the Market Center.
I left Dallas Saturday evening and made it back to my apartment in record time after landing in Newark.
I spent Sunday walking around Brooklyn with friends
and I tried a great new ice cream place called Ample Hills.
Friday afternoon (I know we’re in July now) I headed out to my parents’ house. I ran a bunch of errands because my friends Maria and Tim were coming to stay Saturday and Sunday.
Unfortunately my parents’ oven and stove (it’s brand new!) broke that night, but I still managed to make a quinoa, black beans, citrus salad.
I watched the women’s Wimbledon final and Maria and Tim arrived Saturday afternoon. We hung out on my parents’ patio for a while before we figured it was late enough for parking to be available at the beach. It was a perfect beach day and we stayed for about 3 hours.
That night my parents’ barbequed and we hung out drinking beers and watched the USA vs. Colombia soccer game.
The next day, despite the overcast weather, we headed to the beach. Even though it was chilly we stayed for quite a while. It was nice because there were very few people around.
After that we headed back to my parents’ and then they headed back to the city via a quick stop for all of us at TGI Friday’s.
Monday morning I was up early to head to the beach. Even though it was bright and sunny at my parents’ house it was hazy at the beach.
I thought the haze would burn through, but it just became foggy as the day went on. I stayed, freezing, for about three and a half hours before I called it a day.
After a quick stop at 7-11 (the Coke slurpee wasn’t working!) I headed home to eat lunch, and watch the recorded men’s Wimbledon final.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on my parents’ patio and then took the dogs for a walk with my dad.
And now I’m posting this and relaxing before I head back to NYC tomorrow.
Wow, that was long! Happy Fourth of July! A special thought to everyone serving overseas and their families!
I made it to the beach!
I really love being close to the water. I love the sand, I love the smell, I love the sound. And I consider myself incredibly lucky to have parents that live by the beach.
However, I do not love the people. Which is why I get to the beach early, when there’s no one around.
I never felt like it got too crowded today. A few big groups set up around me (really, if you see someone quietly sitting alone and there’s tons and tons of space, can you not set up next to the single person?), but it stayed pretty peaceful.
I stuck around for about 3 hours and then headed to my favorite after-beach place: 7-11.
A small Coke slurpee and half a 100 Grand bar. Heaven.
My plan today was to write about the beach. And while it was warm and sunny when I woke up around 9am, about an hour or so later it was still warm, but overcast. The sun kept trying to burn through all day, but it never succeeded. I went to Target and grabbed lunch and planned on just hanging out at my parents’ house.
But then I checked Foursquare and saw that my friend Maria had checked into a vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island, about 25 minutes from my parents’ house. So I inquired and was invited to tag along with her and her boyfriend.
I (am ashamed to?) admit I’ve never actually been wine tasting at the LI vineyards even though I’ve lived so close to them my entire life, but when I had a lot of friends here I was under 21 and then everyone moved on and my parents don’t drink and people from the city rarely come out to visit and there we are.
But I was excited to give them a try.
First up was Jamesport Vineyards. There indoor area, where you can do tastings, was packed, so we went outside, paid a $10 admission fee, and got to sit at a table and listen to music with our complimentary glass of wine.
It was very pretty and the jazz band was good, but it probably wasn’t the best deal.
Next we headed to Palmer Vineyards, which I think was my favorite. We each did a tasting flight and the pours were really generous. Plus, they give you all four tastings at once and you can take them outside to sit in the beautiful vineyards while you listen to the live band.
Definitely a pretty good deal. Who doesn’t want to look at this?
The negative part was that our white wines got warm, but when you’re sitting in adirondack chairs with that gorgeous view, really, who cares?
After finishing off our tastings we went to Martha Clara Vineyards. This was definitely the largest of all of the all vineyards we went to. Their tasting room was huge.
And the first things we saw driving up were these enormous animals.
I think Martha Clara tries to cater to the whole family as there were a lot of children and dogs there.
I really liked my “summertime” tasting, but my friends didn’t like their “dry and sweet” tasting. But the guy behind the counter was really funny and friendly and ended giving us our tastings for free after we bought a glass of wine. Plus we got to keep the glasses!
After buying our glasses we took them outside to drink by the fountain.
After finishing our drinks we went to visit the goats.
And the mini goats
And the mini pigs
After visiting all the animals we headed to TGI Friday’s for dinner (pretty much the only place to eat on the way back to the Long Island Expressway).
It was a really nice, unexpected day, but I am so ready for the beach tomorrow.
One year, when I was in elementary school, my dad decided to have me and my brother try to pick the winning NFL teams each week. I don’t know why, I don’t know how we did, but he had this notebook he would keep track of our picks in.
My dad also used to take me to the horse racing track frequently where I could bet all day. And on a few sick days I remember him taking me to the special store that sold the racing forum and I would lie on the couch watching the ghetto horse racing channel.
Which brings me to my love of tennis. Which I’m sure will be elaborated on much, much more, but for now revolves around picking winners.
This year I’ve been participating in a fantasy tennis league (yep, they exist). I have to say that I think I’m doing pretty well. As of yesterday (they haven’t updated for today) I’m in 101st place out of almost 1000 people.
For the Grand Slams I also participate in the Racket Bracket challenge on the Tennis Channel’s website.
I’m probably jinxing myself, but I think I’m rocking it so far. For the men I’m in the top 4%.
And for the women I’m in the top 3%.
I am a really competitive person by nature and a total tennis geek so I couldn’t be more excited.
And, if you’re wondering, I have Nadal winning the men’s and Sharapova (I almost had a heart attack during her match today) winning the women’s.
I’m not usually one to talk about work outside of Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, but I spent the past two afternoons in the Javits Center (which, outside of war zones and other terrible places, I believe to be one of the worst places on earth) attending Book Expo America.
Everything for work went well and my company did some cool things, but my favorite was the large pizza box full of mini cupcakes that we served this afternoon.
Cupcakes are from Baked By Melissa and if you happen to be in NYC I highly recommend paying her a visit. The chocolate chip pancake cupcake rules.
A few weeks ago I took a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden right around the time the cherry blossoms were blooming. I realized I never posted the pictures so here we are…
All the pictures (good and bad) are here. This was my first time at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and I loved it. I definitely need to make it back again this summer.
I had a pretty great weekend. It was busy, but relaxing, and I got to see a bunch of friends.
For lunch on Friday I had a burger from Westville.
Friday night I went with my friend Josy to her coworker’s photography exhibit at the Yes Gallery in Greenpoint. It was a very cool show featuring photography of carniverous plants, plus some of the actual plants.
I thought this one would make a cool wedding bouquet:
I thought the photos were really gorgeous, the art was reasonably priced (but still out of my price range), and the food (lobster rolls) and wine were delicious.
After the gallery we headed to dinner at Calexico.
While waiting for the G train I saw this lovely subway ad:
Notice anything different?
Saturday morning started bright and early with my Step and Sculpt class. In a white Mount Holyoke tee shirt in honor of the Laurel Parade. Then a bagel, then lots of catching up on TV shows.
In the late afternoon my friend Laura and I headed into the city to see Midnight in Paris.
It was good. I think if you weren’t familiar with the writers and artists he meets in Paris it might not be as good, but I thought it was enjoyable.
I also finally figured out Four Square on my phone (it was doing this weird thing where it wouldn’t find any places).
After the movie we headed to Emack and Bolio’s for ice cream. Low-fat malted cookie dough. Delicious.
Then we headed to dinner at the Dram Shop. Veggie burger and fries. Fantastic as always.
Sunday morning started bright and early with a damp, depressing, really hard 3-mile run in Prospect Park.
After a quick trip back to my apartment it was back up to the park to meet my old roommate Amy and her boyfriend Mike to go to the Prospect Park food truck rally.
The lines were all very long but we decided to brave one of the longest lines and try out the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Once I got over the fact that I was paying $16 for something from a truck I really enjoyed my Connecticut lobster roll.
The bread was delicious and buttery and the lobster was so fresh and perfect. As much as it pains me to say it, this was worth the $16 and the 30 minute or so wait on line.
What comes after lobster? Ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus! I got the chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter ice cream. Very good. More than worth the $5.
After a quick walk around Grand Army Plaza it was time for me to hop on the 3 and head up to the Met to meet my friend Maria for the Alexander McQueen exhibit.
I made it to the Upper East Side in record time, but unfortunately the line for the McQueen exhibit was insanely long. They said it was an hour and a half wait but I think we only waited for about 45 minutes. They moved us along quickly.
And once we got in it was totally worth it. Even though it was PACKED (like you could barely move) the pieces were so interesting. It’s definitely very avant garde, but the stuff was so detailed, so beautiful, and in many cases just freaky. I just wish there it hadn’t been so crowded so I could have spent more time studying the clothes in detail and reading about them, but oh well.
By the time we finished the McQueen exhibit the Met was closing so it was back on the subway to Williamsburg where we met Maria’s boyfriend Tim for drinks and a little food at Mugs. I had their delicious veggie burger which I highly recommend.
So if you’re keeping track that 2 lobster rolls and 3 burgers (1 beef, 2 veggie) this weekend. Kind of gross.
But a great weekend. That’s left me ready to pass out.
I graduated college four years ago. I don’t really believe it, but the numbers don’t lie.
I don’t want to talk about it.
But I do want to talk about the Laurel Parade. Today, Mount Holyoke, my alma mater, held the Laurel Parade. What is that you ask? Wikipedia so eloquently describes it as the following:
The Laurel Parade takes place the day before commencement. Graduating seniors wear white and carry laurel garlands, in a parade to Mary Lyon’s grave. They are escorted by approximately 3,000 alumnae, also in white, who thereby welcome them into the Alumnae Association. Once at Mary Lyon’s grave, the garland is wound around the cast-iron fence, and the Mimi Farina song “Bread and Roses” is sung by all in attendance. White is a tribute to those who fought for women’s suffrage.
Picture time! There aren’t really any pictures from my Laurel Parade that I like. First, I was fat. Second, I apparently had a crap camera. So here’s one:
And here’s me and Becca two years later at our two year reunion:
Me and Natalie:
Don’t my eyes look really blue in these pictures? I had an eye infection, maybe it was a good thing?
Seniors walking to Mary Lyon’s grave:
One of the (many great) signs help by alumnae.
I love the older alumnae, especially the yellow classes since that’s my class color.
Really, really old alumnae.
Next year is my five-year reunion. Unbelievable.
I’ll leave you with Bread and Roses.