Tuesday, July 31, 2012

music: Sins are Stones by John Mark McMillan

When I can find  Christian music that speaks to the realities of life, that reminds me of how much my Savior has done for me, I embrace it. A lot of Christian music does not do that for me...it seems to me they try to sugar coat everything- but every so often I'm introduced to a song that just speaks straight to my heart. This past weekend, I found such a song....Sins are Stone by John Mark McMillan. I absolutely love the message and the imagery.

Also..this video is pretty swell. It's not the original album version, because they are performing it live...while sitting on someone's front porch. Simple and wonderful.

Monday, July 30, 2012

life:: old towns and engagements

This week has been chock full of activities (what is a chock anyways? questions that never get answered).
Recently, I've been relying on my iPhone to take a lot of pictures for me, because my camera is so chunky and heavy. But this week, I decided it was time to be a little more adventurous and use my camera. I didn't realize how much I missed it! Definitely will be carrying around that fat thing more often.

Old Town Alexandria
Old Town Alexandria is such an OASIS in D.C. I love that it's small, colonial, cute, and they have period themed actors...always a plus. SUCH good food, chic shops, and you can sit along the Potomac.  Perfect place to explore with friends.
I mean...this place is called "Bread and Chocolate" What's not to love. Unfortunately it was closed... I need to go back.

We ate at Fountaine, an amazing cute little cafe that sold sweet and savory crepes. I got the Moroccan crepe- spinach and feta with a mint yogurt drizzle. OH MY GOSH. so good. I tried all of my friend's dishes too and spied on other tables... I really don't think you can go wrong with anything there. It has a really cute atmosphere too.

 We walked around in the rain, kind of got lost, and pretended like we owned different houses. How we didn't' get arrested....I don't know. Ran into an old time ice cream shop to wait for the rain to end. The best kind of day.

Saturday...drove with my best friends to what seemed to be a cookout with my friends from high school...but in actuality was a set up for a proposal :) My best friend got engaged in the pouring rain with all of us watching on, and it made me SO very happy. We are full steam ahead into wedding planning, and I can't wait.
Check out that ROCK

 Other pictures from this past week:
Ebenezers Coffeehouse- really cool coffee house on Capitol Hill owned by a church!

Friends eating at Nando's Peri Peri

China town exploring
That's all folks! This week has ALREADY got enough for a blog post, so it will be really interesting! Hope you are all enjoying this as much as I am.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

book: The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Lord knows I needed a light, fluffy, book after the last two I read that left me sad and mopey. The Peach Keeper was EXACTLY what I needed.

I'm a huge fan of Sarah Addison Allen's books. They are always so fun, with a bit of magic and a ton of Southern charm. Super girly and fun, with themes of friendship, romance, and self discovery. If that doesn't shout summer read, I don't know what does.

This story follows Willa Jackson- a previously prankster and wild girl that returns to her hometown of Walls-of-Water reformed, after her father's death. She has to come to terms with the new, calm, reasonable person she believes she is now, and how the town used to perceive her. The Jackson family also used to be town royalty, the richest family living in the largest house that could be seen from all angles on the hill. Their fortune was lost, in a tornado of scandal, forcing her grandmother to build a new life on her own. Now, the grandmother lives in a nursing home, unable to communicate or respond when Willa frequently visits and takes care of her. Willa strives to live outside of the shadow of her and her family's past, focusing instead on her sporting goods store and cafe, determined to create a normal life for herself.

Paxton Osgood is part of the richest family in Walls-of-Water in the present, and seems to have it all together. She is in charge of the Lady's Society club, which has placed its focus on renovating the old Jackson home, the Blue Ridge Madam, into an inn that can be used for their upcoming gala. She was popular, pretty, and put together in high school, some of the many reasons why Willa stays away from her. However, Paxton's grandmother is in the same nursing home as Willa's, so their paths frequently cross.

Suddenly, long buried secrets have been uncovered during the Blue Ridge Madam's renovation, that throws both Willa and Paxton into a whirl wind to find answers, a road that leads them to their grandmothers. Along the way, they find love and friendship in two places they never thought possible.

The characters grab you in this book. I love how Sarah Addison Allen makes you feel like you know each individual personally, and I think its because everybody can find a little bit of themselves in every character portrayed. She also is gifted with the art of description- I really felt like I could picture Walls-of-Water in my head, with it's many waterfalls,birds, and strange magical occurrences that somehow fit seemlessy into reality..

I would have to say this is my 2nd favorite Sarah Addison Allen book. Nothing can beat The Girl Who Chased The Moon in my eyes. If you haven't read that yet, do so. You won't be disappointed.

I'm going to close with one of my favorite quotes from The Peach Keeper:

"Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared, then you’re not doing it right."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

music: Chains of Love by Ryan Adams

I really like this song. Super chill and super easy going. I love Ryan Adams voice- its like a mix between Bono and Bob Dylan, which is awesome in my opinion.

Also, he's married to Mandy Moore! I like to think that he's singing this song to her....while she's like dancing around like in Princess Diaries, or maybe running away like in Chasing Liberty. They don't seem to match, but I love couples that don't match. And apparently they are locked up in the chains of love and nothing can separate them....good for them! :)

The music video is a little dizzying...but fireworks do come out of the guitars towards the end! So that's always worth seeing.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do!

Friday, July 20, 2012

life: The Day I Ate Delicious Falafel

Because I leave for South Dakota a month from yesterday (YEEPS), I have felt compelled to Carpe Diem (or CARP DEEIIIMM as my high school English teacher would say), especially when it comes to the beautiful city I am so privileged to live near. Inspired by a local blogger who takes her kids, eats, and explores DC, all while looking the most edgy...I decided to try and chronicle a recent trip to Adam's Morgan I took.

First of all, this summer has been the summer of new friends. I've been able to meet people with a lot of similar interests to mine at various functions for interns in DC, especially interns interested in human rights law or immigration. It has been awesome to have deep meaningful conversations with people who think along the same lines as I do, and I've learned a lot from them. 

They are also super adventurous and love trying new things! This week, one of my new friends and I decided to explore Adams Morgan...an artsy, thriving neighborhood in DC, popular for its nightlife among 20 somethings and famous for its good food. 

We decided to hit up Amsterdam Falafel because, first of all, falafel is one of my favorite foods, and second of all, Washington Post's going out guide named it the number one place that all Washingtonians should go to eat. And it definitely lived up to it's reputation. It was SO SO GOOD. Warm fresh falafel in a pita, and then there was a toppings bar with literally anything and everything

They also gave you sticks so you could stuff all the stuffings in the pita, which was such a good idea because I always have problems with the falafel falling, making me look like a fool. AND there was  a tahini dispenser, which was amazing cause I always want more tahini than falafel places give me.
My toppings of choice- cucumbers, some green tasty stuff, tomatoes, TONS of tahini

After that, we walked around the neighborhood for a bit. Visited some shops, looked at the buildings. The row houses in Adams Morgan are gorgeous. Each a different color, and all of them have big rounded windows that look like they would be perfect to build a day bed into, overlooking the city. The best reading nook ever. Dream home right there.

Cool shop with lots of colorful things
View of Adam's Morgan
We got so invested in the neighborhoods, staring a people's houses and watching dogs in the dog park (maybe we were a bit creepy but whatever) that we ended up in Dupont Circle...and decided to go to Mr. Yogato for frozen yogurt. I'm a big fan of frozen yogurt-so good, so many toppings, AND Mr. Yogato has trivia that if you get right you get a discount. They also have board games, and pictures on the wall of people who have eaten there 100 days straight. Basically its craziness. And I loved it. 

Also the trivia question: Think of 4 words that end in "DOUS", and think of 4 countries that only have 1 vowel in their name (not including y). It's super tricky my friends.

Other fun things this week:
Finally reached Gold Card Status at Starbucks. Obsessed. 
Shadowed my boss at a meeting she had with the White house. Loved the architecture of the Executive Office Building. So cool

Sometimes D.C. takes my breath away. 

TAP Root beer Float from Urban BBQ. Can't get much better than that.
This jacket has been in my church's lost and found for 5 months now, so I decided to give it a home. After I take out the shoulder pads. 
Thats it for right now...check back next week for my song of the week, a new book review, and some more descriptions of things I've been up to.

book: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

 Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Usually, I'm not a big supporter of non-fiction. Unless it's by Lauren Hillenbrand (who wrote Seabiscuit and Unbroken...if you haven't read either of those do so now..they are so GOOD) I'm usually not interested. I tend to pick topics that I think will be interesting, and then half way through I've lost interest through all of the technical jargon and mumbo jumbo that tends to accompany dry, non-fiction books.

This book, however, was able to captivate me. Katherine Boo, a writer from D.C. (local! :)), was able to catch the human story in a way that was captivating and thought provoking. Boo spent years researching and living in a slum outside of the international airport in Mumbai, India. The stark contrast between a flourishing city in an economic boom, and those stuck in a poverty still lingering from the country's caste system, is striking.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers followed the stories of individuals, real people living real lives. You were able to relate with their dreams and hope that they succeeded. I had a hard time remembering that these people were REAL, living, breathing individuals out there in the world. Their stories were so different than anything I had ever heard, the horrific things they had to endure seemed like they should have come out of someone's imagination.

Boo does an excellent job reminding us that behind the poverty statistics and numbers, there are beings that live and dream like everybody else. This story was really thought provoking, and I recommend it to anybody ready to see  a harsh view of reality.

Friday, July 13, 2012

music: Tourist by Yuna

This song has been following me around lately. Literally, I've been hearing it everywhere. Yuna is awesome because:

  1.  she ran rock the head scarf like nobody's business;
  2.  she's from Malaysia;
  3. she is all about displaying common human emotions through her music, in a really honest and endearing way.  

I love this song because it really shows the inner conflict someone can go through when they love someone a little more than that someone loves them....an amazing feeling most likely coupled with hurt.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We found friendship in a pretty great place....

As I get ready to move on to the next phase of my life, I've been thinking a lot about different relationships that have impacted me. I feel like I have been scrambling in this one month I have left to spend time with literally any and every person that means something to me. I have felt a little spread thin, and a little unable to express my emotions.

Looking back on my college years, I not only see some of the best years of my life, but also the years that shaped and formed who I am. The past two weekends, I have been visiting friends that mean the world to me....and both times I had long rides back to reflect on where my life is going and where I've come from. It makes me so nervous to move so far away, but I know that these people will always be there for me....and I will always have the time we had together to hold close.

Friendship does not matter whether you are on the East coast or living it up in the Midwest...all that matters is that I know these people were placed in my life for a reason.

This next month, I'm spending every waking moment with my friends. Literally, I do not have a free weekend until I leave...but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Even though everyone and everything is changing, there is one thing that won't ever change: the laughter, the adventure, and the friendship.

You know you have pretty great friends when you can watch a sitcom...and think "MMM yeah my friends got you beat."

This has been a LITTLE deep for me...so I'm going to end with this.

Dance it out