Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The daily card, week 27

Nothing too fancy this week - most of these were pretty quick to do. This week is half "<3 summer!" and half "life lessons and mantras" because sometimes that's how it goes.

As a creative challenge, I am decorating a playing card every day in 2015. More context on this project is here and you can see all past card posts here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The daily card, week 26

This was a week full of celebration and AMERICA. With our incredible World Cup victory, I cared more about sports than I have in years. I memorialized my new planner and Austin's birthday. And I stuck with a graphic watercolor theme for the weekend I spent on Maryland's Eastern Shore with my family.

With week 26 and July 1, this also marks the halfway point of the year! I don't have any grand reflections on that. But it's cool that I'm now closer to the finish line than the start (though it's also alarming, as always, that this year is going so fast.)

And it was even cooler to see that Crystal Moody, who inspired this project, is on a similar wavelength as me when I wrote that I needed to mix it up with this challenge to stay interested. Writing about burnout, she writes that the creating part won't burn you out "UNLESS you haven't allowed yourself to grow and change what/how you create." Total lightbulb moment.

As a creative challenge, I am decorating a playing card every day in 2015. More context on this project is here and you can see all past card posts here.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Real talk: this photo would not exist if I had not explicitly requested "take a picture of me smiling off into the distance in front of this mural."

Last Thursday I turned 26. Aka the beginning of my late 20s. And the first year I have to pay for my own health insurance. (Thanks, Obama!)

It's also the youngest I once said I would ever get married. I distinctly remember sitting around the senior corner in the lunch room in high school, chatting with friends about hypothetical marriage ages, and declaring that I wanted to be at least 27 before walking down the aisle - 26 at the earliest. ("But what if you meet the right person before your chosen age, or you haven't met them by then?" we bemoaned.) I don't know how it picked those ages - I guess it seemed old enough to have some independent life experience under your belt before making that commitment. It's sort of funny that marriage is the yardstick we (especially as women) use to think about adulthood. But as Facebook fills up with more and more engagements, it's also comforting, in a way, to know that in the eyes of my high school self, I'm doing just fine.

Age is an odd thing. I know that by every objective measure, 26 is young. But it's also the oldest I've ever been, so I feel old at the same time. I'm no longer the youngest person in the office like I was when I was 23, and I'm no longer looking at a full decade of Ramen and exploration and probably some questionable decisions - but I really do still have some time to figure things out. The late 20s seem like a good time to buckle down and get a semblance of a career plan in order. So Sheryl and I will be working on that this year.

I've always loved the timing of my birthday. It's about six months from Christmas, so it made for an even distribution of present-getting occasions as a kid. It marks the high point of the summer, the very middle of July. And for a few magical years, Harry Potter books and movies would always come out on or right around my birthday. (Book 6 on my 16th birthday on July 16 was a particularly memorable one.)

Here's to another year! It may not be magical in the Harry Potter way, but it will hopefully be magical in the growing-up-and-making-it-happen way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The daily card, week 25

I'm still on track with making a card every day, though posting has definitely gotten lax. It reminds me of what Jess Lively calls a "linchpin habit" - a habit you need to put in place to make other changes stick.  For posting cards, it's taking the photos. Between traveling on the weekends, hitting the garden during the week, and icky weather (what feels like) whenever I'm home, I have been short on natural light for taking pictures - though really, I'm also just out of the photo-taking habit. Trying to get better about that so I'm not scrambling when Wednesday rolls around.

It's the same thing with Bar Method. Last week, I started going back to morning class after an almost-three-month freeze when I was traveling (and then just being lazy). And it's only sort of an exaggeration to say that now the rest of my life makes sense again. When I wasn't going to Bar, I struggled to get out of bed and would roll into work late, stopping for a scone on the way in, and feeling a bit sluggish and behind all day and then not really feeling tired at night. Once I force myself to drag myself out of bed for a 7:30 class, everything else falls into place. Morning exercise is totally my linchpin habit for getting to work on time and eating a healthy breakfast and getting started on a productive day.

But moving on. I was sick most of this week, so instead of making multiple cards bemoaning my sorry physical state I played around with some simple summery patterns. And then, of course, the SCOTUS decision had me seeing rainbows.

As a creative challenge, I am decorating a playing card every day in 2015. More context on this project is here and you can see all past card posts here.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A weekend in food photography

An accidental theme emerged when I looked through my photos from my weekend with my parents in St. Michaels, MD - I have apparently carved out a niche for myself as the official family food photographer.

I miss the days when summer meant endless weeks at our house on the shore, drinking iced tea and sailing with my sister and reading Harry Potter and watching the same movies over and over again. But I'm so glad I live close enough make it out there a few times every year. These weekends bring out a fairly unambitious side of me - they make me feel like no matter what I'm doing with my life, as long as I get some shore time every summer, I'm golden. Like: more of this please, thanks.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Currently: June 2015

Celebrating lots of time with old friends. This past month, I visited college friends in New York City and had a dinner party with a bigger group of my high school friends than we've been able to gather for years. Which has meant a lot of time eating, drinking, and laughing hysterically at jokes old and new. No complaints here.

Planting my garden. It took me until late June, but I've now got seedlings in the ground! When I plan to hit the garden after work, I always find myself extra eager for the clock to hit 5:30 so I can get outside and get dirty. On the flip side, I forgot how much I worry about my plants when I'm not at the garden - either that they're getting fried by the sun or battered by the derecho-like storms we've been having in DC.

Drinking lots of tea in the evenings. Not seasonal at all - maybe it's the air conditioning that makes me want it? - but it's nice to have something to sip on.

Playing Sims for iPhone - the newest obsession to liven up my short commute. It's funny - when I played Sims in middle school, I spend most of my energy creating perfect families (albeit with the occasional pool accident, as you do). Now, my Sim is mostly interested in barging into people's houses and doing sexy dances for them. It's rather poorly received.

Adding books to my library cart. It is seriously addicting - it's all the fun of shopping and getting new stuff with none of the cost. I'm on the waiting list for All the Light We Cannot See and Station Eleven and I check my library account almost daily to see how I'm progressing. Currently my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I have a growing stack of library books, so hopefully I will have a summer full of reading.

Planning our travel for this summer and hoping to squeeze in a couple trips. When you're a kid, summers feel totally endless - but nowadays I am all too aware that there are a finite number of weekends to make it all happen. I can't believe it's July already - I'll blame it on the fact that I was gone for most of May, so I missed that gearing-up period and got plopped back in the country in full-on summer.

Feeling a sort of balance. Life is full and fun and good, as the summer should be. This time last year, when I was traveling most weekends, I felt like my life was out of control if I hadn't packed myself a lunch or done laundry. (And that would worry me even more, because let's face it, I currently have as little responsibility as I will ever have until my kids are grown up and I have retired.) This year, it's like "sweet, let's get Chipotle." I don't know exactly what the difference is, but I'm glad that I'm learning to let it go and roll with it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The daily card, week 24

As the cards hint at - there were some big emotions this week! (The funny thing is, I actually would have mostly forgotten that if I hadn't made these. I love that this project means I get an accurate sample size, so to speak, of a year in my life - the big stuff and the daily grind and everything in between.) I met Justice Sonia Sotomayor, worked up the courage to start a nervewracking but productive conversation, and reunited in New York with friends I hadn't seen since college.

Nothing too groundbreaking here technique-wise. Just like summer makes me want easy dinners and light reads, it is making me want to make simple cards. Like I said last week, I'm rolling with it.

The toy soldier card a line from a Rilo Kiley song that I got stuck in my head last week. As a kid, I would imagine grown-up Anna and how cool and glamorous and successful she would be. And I remember realizing, at some point, that who I was then and who I was going to be when I grew up were not two separate people. I wouldn't get to fast-forward to the future and suddenly be my cool grown-up self who has magically figured it all out. Instead, there was a string of days that connected me to future me, each of which I would shape myself, one day at a time. This lyric sums that up like nothing I've ever come across.

As a creative challenge, I am decorating a playing card every day in 2015. More context on this project is here and you can see all past card posts here.