Friday, February 3, 2012

ANH Style

Hi there!

If you are by chance still subscribed to this blog, first of all: God bless you! I left this here all this time hoping I would one day return to blogging, and I finally have... just not here.

You can now find me at ANH Style, which I recently started to chronicle my own style and inspiration. Hope to see you there.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Roughing It

On any given weekday morning, my roommates and I don't cross paths with one another. Our schedules are different enough that we shuffle around our respective morning routines without running into each others coffee cups and hair-dryers.

Last Friday, however, I had taken the day off from work to wake up extra-early, shower, wake up KS at the offensive hour of 6:15 AM and get the car packed to leave for the airport. Our flight destination was San Antonio, but our final destination was Whisper Valley Ranch in Camp Verde, Texas, where we were to congregate with our friends for our third annual reunion with our girl-friends from college.

We all knew this year was going to be different than the past for two small reasons: Lydia and Staples.

"Who are Lydia and Staples?" you ask. Lydia is the 6 1/2-month-old daughter of our friend KM, and Staples is the 5-week-old daughter of my dear old roommate, KB.

To put things in perspective as to just how much of a difference a year makes: last August, KM was barely showing at the reunion and KB wasn't even pregnant yet.

Thursday night before our departure, KS had made homemade cinnamon rolls to bring along for breakfast one morning of the weekend. Because I'm evil, I posted a photo on Twitter of the final product just as the maple and coffee-enhanced frosting was poured on, and after generous sampling we dropped them off at KR's house on Friday morning because she was going to be driving down to the ranch later in the day, with AV and BF and her own homemade peanut butter cup cookies and AV's homemade brownies. Just imagine what their car smelled like for six whole hours. The repetition of the word "homemade" should not be lost on anyone, either.

Some of our friends had flown/driven in the Thursday night prior, but KS and I were the first to arrive on Friday around lunchtime. The ranch we were staying at for the weekend belongs to KB's grandparents-in-law and she and her husband got married there a little over two years ago.

So if you're paying attention, KB gave birth to her first child five weeks ago and is hosting her college friends at a ranch for the weekend. Just pause and consider, if you will, all that caring for a newborn entails, and then pause and consider the pandemonium that 16 girls are capable of creating. Now think about the limits of one's sanity.

Mr. B, the darling man who owns the place, came to the ranch for the weekend, and took those of us in town on Friday afternoon on a Jeep-tour of the property. It felt like being on safari because we saw everything from whitetail deer (which are native to Texas) to more exotic game like blackbeak antelope, scimitar oryx and lechwe.

It took a lot of brain cells for me to remember the names of animals I'd never seen before and more than a few Google searches to get the spelling down, so I felt the need to list all of them. High-five.

We knew going into the weekend that activities like horseback riding, fishing, and skeet-shooting were options, and after our guided tour, Mr. B took us to shoot skeet. Mike and Kenny, who work at the ranch, already had everything set up for us: guns, ammo and shooting earmuffs. After receiving the Reader's Digest version of gun safety (always keep the gun pointed down-range, etc.) they let us take turns practicing. I was less than great- I'm sure it had nothing to do with the ruffly white dress and red t-strap sandals I was wearing and more to do with "holding your left elbow too high" as my brother and father critiqued from the pictures I showed them after the trip.

And people wonder why I quit the golf team after my sophomore year of high school.

I got over my nervousness on Saturday morning because I didn't want to be the lame one of the bunch, so after Mike reminded me for the fourth time to shut my left eye and aim with my right, I ended up hitting five of them.

The rest of our friends starting arriving throughout the day on Friday and we sat and ate enchiladas, drank margarita bombs (don't ask) and talked and migrated around the house well into the night.

Saturday morning I woke up at a leisurely hour to a mostly-quiet house and a "gone fishin'" note from a few of our friends who had decided to get out early. A few of us got the coffee pot brewing and sat down to a Saturday morning free of errands, phone calls and obligations.

I don't know if there are many better weekend mornings that I could imagine than that one of drinking coffee, eating a warm cinnamon roll, staring out huge bay windows at a view of nothing but grass, trees and sky with my favorite people wandering in one-by-one. I challenge anyone to find better than that.

I neglected to mention that The Lodge (the house we were staying in) also had a pool in the backyard, so if you weren't inclined to the ranch-ier activities, you could lie in a lounge chair with a beer and a book.

KB would bring the Staples back and forth with her from the main house the entire weekend so that we could coo at the baby and ask her all of the things you never wanted to know about being a new mom. Lydia slept like a champ (12 hours at night + two daytime naps) and KM would even bring her in the pool with us to play, which she loved. Both moms somehow managed to juggle their always-moving little ones without missing the slightest beat in conversation.

After a full day of ranch activities on Saturday, KB's brother-in-law was nice enough to pick up barbecue for us from a nearby town. He's a year younger than us and most likely thought we were crazy, but he stuck around to make us a campfire for s'mores and stayed around to listen to the cadence of 16 girls talking at the same time.

Truth be told, the entire weekend was a blur of friends, babies, wilderness, good food and rest. This year has been lighter on weddings than the past two, so with friends that don't live in my Dallas radius, I hadn't seen many of them in quite a while. It was easier to part ways this time, knowing that even if I don't see some of them over the course of the next year, I know there will be another reunion.

Come what may: be it weddings, babies or different zip codes... none can stop what was started the day we met each other in College Station, all those years ago.

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
-Henry James

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Since You've Been Gone

{Disclaimer: MG left for Australia a week ago and will be there, on an internship, for five months. We miss her terribly.}

Dear MG-

Hi! How are you? How's tomorrow going so far (since it's still 11 PM in Dallas)?

A great many changes have happened in the neighborhood since you went away. Miss Lucas is married and settled; and one of my own daughters. I suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. It was in the Times and the Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be.

Oh wait, no, I think I stole that from someone.

So you emailed me to blog and update you on what's going on around our lovely home- I'm glad you did since it's forcing me to sit and write, which I haven't had the patience to do recently.

We have been readjusting a bit since you left- getting used to the extra 5'10, 25-year-old girl-sized space that we have to fill. KS is slowly but surely transforming the downstairs hallway where your bedrooms are into a suite for she and Ruby. Valuable air conditioning and closet space should never go to waste, after all.

We went to Northpark together to go shopping last weekend (I know- who let that happen?) and we did the most damage at Lululemon, of all places. There's nothing like skin-tight yoga clothes to keep you motivated and attending bi-weekly power yoga classes though, I will say that. I'm also mere centimeters from being able to touch my toes, which I consider an accomplishment since my hamstrings have the natural flexibility of a 2 X 4.

We saw Inception last Friday night- have you seen it yet? I thought it was great, but the most recent movies I had seen prior to it were Charlie St. Cloud (I know, don't judge me) and Eclipse, so the bar was embarrassingly low. We went with AW, KR, MK and CC- MK was the only one who has seen it already and she took a 30-minute field trip in the middle of the movie to go check out a shirt she wanted from J.Crew.

You'll be pleased to hear that the Rangers are still playing well, though I went to the game last night and watched them lose 7-6 after being up 6-1 over the Yankees. It was frustrating but still a good game and they're still playing well with a good lead in the AL-West. KS kindly lets me turn on the games seemingly every night, and the length of the 162-game-long season is not lost on her at all. She is a saint.

You should check the weather to give yourself a good laugh- it's unbelievably hot here. Snuggle up in your North-Face when the temperatures get into the 50's at night in Sydney tonight and congratulate yourself on migrating to another hemisphere. That was a brilliant move on your part.

Ruby is still alive and told me to send you her love and favorite tennis ball... though you could probably do without the tennis ball.

Tomorrow night I'm going out for our friend RM's bachelor party. Yes, you read that correctly: bachelor party. He's doing a bigger, more bachelor-y weekend in Norman next month with his groomsmen, but he wanted a fun night out in Dallas with his best girl friends as well. I don't really know what to expect, since in the words of MK: "For this night, if we are asking ourselves if it's too much, it's just right."

Wish me luck? I'll need it: I'll be in heels.

I miss you dearly, but I'm excited for you. I can't wait to hear more about Sydney very soon- do we need to start skype-ing? Hope you have a great Friday, M.



One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.
-Andre Gide

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Thing About Roller-Skating

One of my best friends from college, KB, is supposedly having a baby tonight, though I wouldn't know because apparently you don't text when you're having contractions and under the influence of an epidural.

Who knew?

Also: please don't Google Image "epidural"- just take my word for it.

She is experiencing her first night as an almost-mother, I found myself needing to make my first trip to American Apparel.

My how things have changed.

So yes: American Apparel. I needed to make a trip to the store because there is an 80's-themed roller-skating birthday party for my friends CC and MK on Friday night (yes- we are 25-year-olds) and American Apparel is nothing if not known for their outlandish leggings/leotards/cropped t-shirts.

I thought I could find something that would work. I thought wrong.

I found myself in the back of the store with a dude wearing a tank top with a sleeveless button-down sweater vest and loose khakis that look like they had been rolled almost to his knees. What for? I don't know. Maybe he had to cross a river on his way to work (on foot) today. Maybe he really likes the Huck Finn look.

Anyway- Huck Finn was telling me about a girl getting ready for an 80's party who had come in and purchased the black lace leggings with a tutu, some random top, a leather jacket and accessories to look like Madonna. From what I could tell, that was an expensive costume.

The shiny leggings that he was showing me were $42 alone. $42 for terrible spandex pants in colors that cannot be named.

I should also mention that I have no plans to actually roller-skate at this party. My last roller-skating experience came and went at another birthday party for a friend (I think we were 6 or 7) and some maniac racing across the rink flew across traffic on the floor, taking me out with him, and resulting in a broken arm for me. The following day was also the first time I ever fainted in my life, so all-in-all it was a great weekend.

The whole point of this story is really the fact that my 80's outfit will not actually see any action on Friday night- I will be content to hang out with my friend AS, who is pregnant, or MG's boyfriend, who wears a size 17 shoe and suspects that the local roller rink does not carry that size.

I eventually gave up on AA after giving it a five-minute window of opportunity, so I headed to my happy place: Nordstrom, where I was pleasantly surprised to find that their Anniversary Sale is still going on.

And maybe I bought this:

While I'm proud to be a child of the 80's, I thankfully don't have to dress like one.

Farmer Ted: You wanna know what happened? Buy the book.
-Sixteen Candles, 1984

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

I haven't been taking the time to blog recently. Probably because... oh, I don't know, I was underwhelmed by Eclipse? I've given yoga a second chance? I've been baking birthday cakes? I've been watching soccer and baseball and wondering what in the world LeBron James is thinking?

And of course, it's summer, and since I spend all day working, the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit in front of a computer.

There it is, and here we are.

So: down to business.

Let's start with Eclipse. I started reading the Twilight series in the first place because I missed the thrill of the Harry Potter novels (which I started reading as a teenager). I read all four Twilight novels and liked them well enough, but I knew even two years ago that they paled in comparison to what J.K. Rowling created. Are Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner attractive? Yes. Did I leave the movie theater Sunday night swooning over fictional predators? No.

I've also been on a birthday-cake-making kick recently.

KS and I made Ina Garten's Double-Chocolate Layer Cake for MG's birthday about a month ago (which I would highly recommend if you enjoy the combination of coffee and chocolate) and I also made BF a red velvet cake a few weeks ago using this recipe I found via TasteSpotting. I can't recommend that website enough, by the way.

After being disappointed over the lackluster showing of Eclipse, I asked KS if she would want to try another nearby yoga studio on Monday morning, since we had it as a holiday.

(MG has been gone a lot recently, if you can't tell. Come home soon, dear friend!)

We found a power yoga studio near us and ended up in an 8:30am class which was thankfully about 25 degrees cooler and far less crowded than the Bikram class we took a few months ago. And you know what? I liked it. A lot. All I needed was a little climate control.

As for the world of sports: the World Cup final is this Sunday. Spain will take on The Netherlands and both teams will be battling for their first-ever World Cup Final win. It's compelling and rich.

The Texas Rangers are currently leading the AL West and have been fun to watch the past six weeks or so from the comfort of my couch in my air-conditioned house, because did I mention how much I enjoy climate-controlled rooms? (Even though, as I type this, they are having an 8th inning melt-down against the Baltimore Orioles).

Regarding LeBron James, NBA free-agent extraordinaire who created quite the circus and landed himself an hour-long show tonight on ESPN called "The Decision"- I'd love to know what he is thinking. He just left a solid career with a team built around him (players, coaches, GM) for Miami, where he undoubtedly hopes to win championships by joining forces with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. He essentially broke-up with the city of Cleveland on live television.

Is he deliberately trying to alienate himself from his home state? What does his behavior say about kids my age (we are both 25 year old)? And why does he wear so much Louis Vuitton?

So many rhetorical questions; even fewer answers.

Good night, world.

Ousier: I'm not speakin' to you.
Drum: Oh, what a shame!
Ousier: I mean it, Drum.
Drum: Ouiser, can we call a truce long enough for me to get a piece of cake?
[Ouiser slices him the tail piece of red velvet armadillo cake]
Drum: Aww, thanks Ouiser. Nothin' like a good piece of ass*.
-Steel Magnolias, 1989

*Please pardon the French.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sonnet #18

I had to memorize this as a 5th grader and I still know it to this day. Since summer officially began this week, I thought it was appropriate- it's one of my favorites.

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Leftovers

For all their transience, I still love having fresh flowers around the house.

One of KS's best friends from college, AL, got married on Saturday. KS hosted a brunch for her at our house the morning of the wedding (and gets top-marks for pulling it off as she was also a co-Maid-of-Honor and understandably busy).

As KS and I were up assembling tea sandwiches until about half-past midnight on Friday, we had to laugh at the number of late nights we've spent in the kitchen in the name of being good hostesses and wanting people to feel welcome in our home.

And we love it.

I sadly did not manage to take any photos at the wedding, but KS and our fun guest for the weekend, Dani (who flew in from England to attend the wedding) brought home about eight vases full of flowers from the reception.

Dani was darling to have around and even left us chocolate that she brought over from London as a gift.

In all my admiring of the flowers, I didn't look over to the couch in our front room until later in the evening, asking aloud: "K- is that AL's veil?" K: "Oh yeah, I had to grab it before she went into the reception- it ended up in my backseat."

And now it has its own couch.

And we have flowers and chocolate.

Everyone wins.

Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson