Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GM for a day?

Because no matter what, MBTA
Whatever commuter, retiree, college student, or soccer mom you pick, MBTA, they will do a million times better at this job than Richard Garvey.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2010's best pics: #1 (it's a tie! Part 2)

Aaaand here's the other #1. See? It's hard to pick a favorite, since one compositionally turned out nicely, but the other is a big event and perhaps my most favorite moment and memory from 2010.

#1 part 2: Amanda's Wedding. Rockport, MA.
2010 brought a lot of people getting engaged and getting married. A lot. I went to two weddings, and at least eight friends getting engaged (there could be more... but I'm having a hard time counting in my head). Lots of huge life changes in my circle of friends.

But the wedding that is the most meaningful of 2010 was that my best friend Amanda, who I have known since preschool (PRESCHOOL) got married to her college sweetheart, Dan. I was in the wedding, and it was a great day. I spent basically a weekend with one of my closest and dearest friends and her wonderful family, and then for the reception was there with my parents and all of my best high school buds dancing and partying well into the night.

While there are a lot of nice reception and ceremony photos, this is my favorite. I feel it sums up Amanda's wedding best. Jess and Amanda are dancing together, and clearly fully committing to it. I love their hair in it, and joked that it was like a shampoo commercial, since it was so glossy and flowy. I love that they're both pretty flushed from so much dancing, that they're so into dancing and having a good time. I also like that no one's looking at me, they're that into dancing.

It's great not technically (like the apple picture) but more for the moment and memory.

And that's it! All my favorite pictures from 2010. This was a nice way to remember the year and gear up for more photos and more events in the year to come.

2010's best pics: #1 (it's a tie! Part 1)

When reviewing all of my pictures, I thought I had a clear #1, but when when re-reviewing them, I was torn between two shots and wasn't sure which one to make #1 and which one would be #2. So I decided that this is my game and my rules, so there are two #1 pictures of 2010. Deal with it, Cate Blanchett.

#1 part 1: Russell Orchard. Ipswich, MA.
It's another image from when Ricky and I went to Russell Orchard last fall. I'm particularly proud of how it turned out. Clearly, there's not much background you need to know. Also, #10 is the same day as this shot, so if you read the #10 post, you know the background. But in short: we're picking apples, and Ricky is showing off one of the apples we picked.

I love that I got the exact photo I wanted. I wanted the apple to be in focus, so you can see all the flecks and details on the skin, but that Ricky to be out of focus and obscured slightly by the apple, but that you can still tell it's him. And it worked. The colors are all great, with the blues and greens of the orchard and Ricky's read sweatshirt. And his body language is perfect. I love that he's naturally holding the apple with only two fingers. It's so perfectly exactly what I wanted in a picture.

So, in short, this picture captures one of my favorite day trips with Ricky and a perfect Fall New England day.

2010's best pics: #2

I find myself with some unexpected free time on a Sunday afternoon. Plans to knit fell through, Ricky is cashing in cans, and I decided I should write up #2 and (hopefully) #1 of this series.

#2: Marsha's Farm. Gloucester, MA.
One thing Ricky and his friends from high school (still his best friends, too, which I've always appreciated since I have a similar thing going with my best friends) love to do all year round is play bocce. This is not the "softly rolling balls on a beach" bocce, but more like golf where you traverse all over an area aiming to get points. This also includes throwing the bocce balls hard, climbing on rocks, and running to see who gets the points per round. I've played on ice, snow, In other words, this is not your grandmother's bocce.

This particular round was held at a farm in Gloucester in the spring. Jon and Megin were up from Philly (I can't remember why) and the weather was nice, so we got some bocce in. We managed to play all over this farm, which was hilly and beautiful. It was right out of an Austen novel. Part of the house rules of bocce is that right when the last person throws his/her ball, the rest of the players spring to the site to gauge who won that round. I loved seeing Ricky and all of his high school friends sprinting all over on the lush greens and in the blue skies, so I wanted to get a few pictures of it. The picture above is (l-r) Paulie, Leon, Emile, Ricky, and Jon. Their running styles were so perfect for them, and I think it's great seeing everyone in action. Also, how beautiful is this farm and this day? So perfect.

So why I love this picture is that it's a perfect spring day capturing a bunch of old friends hanging out together.

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010's best pics: #3

So I had good momentum going... then the weekend happened and work has been super busy. So my bad! I promise to finish this up over the next few days.

Soooo back at it and onto #3:

#3: Mum's Kitchen. Rockport, MA.
This may not be the best photo compositionally speaking, or even talent-wise. So 2010 was a big change in cats for my parents' house. Midnight passed away shy of 18, and my Mum decided to get two new cats. The first was Nicky, and then Coco a few months ago. Nicky, seen above, was a complete change from Midnight. While both ran the house like a little general, Nicky was a lot more vocal and open, whereas Midnight often shied from the public. She was like that Greta Garbo line "I wish to be left alone". Midnight was also small and slight, and Nicky is far larger and... well, girthier.

And yet, there are many similarities. Both cats have a interest in watching on the outdoors and breaking rules of where to go and not to go. Nicky is not allowed on the kitchen counters (for obvious reasons) but when I was visiting my parents one weekend, I came into the kitchen to see Nicky watching birds outside while sitting on the kitchen counter. Before shooing her away, I decided to snap a quick picture.

I love that, even though you can't see her face, you still get all of her personality. Intent, focused, slightly spoiled. I also like that the kitchen is a little more darkly lit, and so the outdoors pop with light. It makes the silhouette of Nicky more interesting and pronounced. And finally, I like that her tail is on a plate.

Again, not the best photo, but the personality behind it is big. Also, the fact that it was such a substantial changing of the guard in pets, it's a nice symbol of that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010's best pics: #4

Back at work today, and doing the amount of two days of work in one, so this post got pushed into the evening hours. I'll be happy when things calm down a bit at work... sadly, we're looking at mid-May for that to happen.

#4. Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. Rhinebeck, NY.
This year, I did what many a New England knitter did before me and trekked to Rhinebeck, NY for the Sheep and Wool Festival. It was a good weekend spent with friends, and it made me fall a little bit in love with the Hudson River Valley. Rhinebeck is nice mix of small college town and farming lands. I highly recommend you all visit it once for a vacation...just maybe not the weekend of the sheep and wool festival if you're not into sheep or wool.

One of the things people like to do at Rhinebeck, it seems, is model some of your hand knits. This is both practical -- it's a little chilly in New York in mid-October! -- but also for pride. I sported my purple sweater I made in September one day, and then my tan sweater that took eons to make the other. My friend Crystal sported some lovely hand knits sweaters, but also wore many a pair of hand knit socks.

Crystal owns a pair of clear Chuck Taylors, so you can model the socks you wear as well. The first day, she was wearing green knit socks that blended nicely with the grass. I took a picture of her feet on grass.

One of things I like about this photo is all the textures. The shine of the shoe, the blades of grass, the look of the sock. I also like that you can't tell who it is, but if you know Crystal... it's obvious it's her from the sense of style and skill level. I also love that her feet are slightly turned in, making a casual pose. And finally, I like that at first glance you may think "interesting texture of green shoe?" but upon further investigation you realize... oh wait, those are socks she made!

I do wish the picture was a little bit crisper, but I like this image as a microcosm of the whole weekend: nature, friends, knitting. I'm quite proud of it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010's best pics: #5

A lot of my teacher friends have two days off in a row. While I am jealous of them now as I have to go back to work tomorrow, I am not jealous of them having to teach into July at this rate.

Anyways, onto #5. Top 5!

#5: Mum's Kitchen at Easter. Rockport, MA.
One of my top holidays is Easter. This is because of the message of rebirth and renewal, but also because less religiously-speaking, it's the end of winter, the beginning of Spring, and I like Sunrise Service and the big Easter Dinner my mom has.

Sunrise Service always produces beautiful pictures, as it's on Good Harbor Beach at Sunrise with a small group of people and a saxophonist, talking about the messages of Easter, but I wanted to make #5 a pic of my favorite part of the Easter dinner, along with my favorite picture of said meal.

For as long as I can remember, my Mum has been making something called Bunny Bread. It's a honey roll that's shaped like a bunny with raisin eyes. We joke that while they are cute before they go into the oven, sometimes they come out looking like a Picasso painting. They are truly delicious. I think they came from Gourmet Magazine (RIP and screw you, Conde Nast!).

So my mom was making her annual batch of Bunny Bread on her cart and they looked really nice in the light, so I was taking pictures of the process. I also wanted to get some of the bunny facial expressions, since they're always so cute. This one was my favorite, because of how off-sided his face was, but also the sadness to his "eyes". He seemed a little overwhelmed and confused. I also like that you can see in the background more bunnies, so you know he's part of a crew.

2010's best pics: #6

It's a snow day, and Ricky's home sick trying to sleep off feeling lousy, but that doesn't mean that I'm not posting a picture!

This one is more to embody a weekend and an experience, and not really for the talent of the picture itself:

#6 Ricky's parent's pool at St. Peter's Fiesta. Gloucester, MA.
When you grew up in Gloucester, St. Peter's Fiesta is kind of like a second Christmas. A second, drunker, and more friend-oriented Christmas. Local Italian Catholics focus on the family and religious aspects of the holiday, but Ricky and his friends use it as an opportunity to embrace their roots and spend a lot of quality time together that they may not have the opportunity to at other holidays.

So this was the first year I was dating Ricky during Fiesta and as a good girlfriend, I embraced it whole-heartedly. I watched the Greasy Pole running on the beach and cheered when the winner was brought to the shore. I cheered at the boat races. I ate fried dough. I walked around with friends and yelled "Viva Saint Pedro". And when we weren't at the beach, we were at his house lounging by his parents' pool.

While there are better pictures of the aforementioned events, this one is my favorite of the weekend. All of Ricky's old roommates from Philly came up for the event, along with his friend Sean (in the front) and Jon (in the back) from New York and Philly, respectively. I had just gotten back from hosting Amanda's bridal shower when I saw Sean sitting in a tiny chair while still wearing a bathing suit, and Jon lounging on an outdoor couch directly behind him. It was very much a "if we were cool movie makers or musicians in a magazine" image, so I captured it.

I liked that the are itself seemed a little chaotic with random pieces of furniture, flowers, plates, towels, and fencing, and yet Sean has focus in the middle of this. I also liked that these two hipsters are embracing something so small town and from their roots and childhood. They may be two of the coolest people I know, but they'll never be too cool for Fiesta.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010's best pics: #7

Let's keep plugging along, shall we? This one is a weird submission, but I swear it makes sense as to why it's in the list.

#7. The Commons. Salem, MA.
This is an odd submission, I'll admit to that. So this is the morning after a big wind storm in Salem this past spring and I was living in my old studio. Ricky spent the night, and we were up all night worried the house was going to blow over, because it was being shaken that much by very intense and scary winds. The next morning I walked to the train to go to work through the Commons, as I always did, and the roads were a mess. A funeral home up the street had a huge tree fall over, fortunately only on the drive and not on the fence or house itself. I remember feeling really relieved that my car or apartment didn't have any big damage, and that things didn't seem too bad the next morning.

I think what I really liked when taking this picture is not only the texture of the soft clouds in the background vs. the rough debris in the foreground, but also that the dark and shadowy debris may be in the front, but in the background shining through was the blue skies of a clearer day, and therefore something to look forward to.

2010's best pics: #8

Moving along to #8! I'm really glad I decided to do this, especially since it's been fun looking through old photos and remembering various trips and events of 2010. It also puts a nicer spin on my overall feeling of the year.

#8: Richardson's. Middleton, MA.
This photo is from when Ricky and I went mini golfing at Richardson's. If you live in the area, it's a great place to spend an afternoon. We played mini golf, spent some time at the batting cages, and then had ice cream while watching some baby cows. Richardson's, a dairy darling of the North Shore, produces its milk and ice cream here. For some of the cuter calves, they graze at a gated farm in the middle of the park.

The reason why I like this picture is basically because it's so freaking cute. I was watching the brown calf that's standing walk over to the two calves who were lying down. And I thought in the back of my mind "he's going to lick one of their heads, get ready". And sure enough, he did. So I quickly tried to capture what looked like one calf kissing the forehead of another calf. And I, luckily, managed to do that. I also like how the other calf is spooning the lying down brown calf. It's a sunny, bright day, and there's a lot of cuteness going on here. So I'm a big fan.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2010's best pics: #9

I realize that if I want this to be successful, I may need to post more than one on a day so this doesn't take like two weeks to complete. So on that note...

#9: Topsfield Fair. Topsfield, MA
Bob, Erin, Matt, Ricky, and I went to the Topsfield Fair this year. It was most everyone's first time (minus me and Ricky). It was also an exciting trip, because this is when Ricky and I got Alva the fish.

At the end of the night, Bob, Ricky, Erin, and I took a trip up on the Ferris Wheel. I hate heights a lot, so this was big for me.

I like a lot about this picture, but perhaps most of all is the lack of focus. No one's looking at me, or even in the same direction. You can't really see Erin or Bob's faces, because of the bar in the middle of our pod and Ricky's hand. It's dark, and everyone's blurry. You can't even see Erin's eyes because of the reflection of fair lights below. The background is a blurry yellow light. I don't know why, but the mood and atmosphere of the fair made this haziness even more appropriate.

I also love that the sky is dark and that there's a distinct line of light and dark on the horizon. It's all a lovely effect and memory.

2010's best pics: #10

Today while on my lunchbreak, I thought of a new series to blog about. Over the weekend I took some really good pics of a friend's baby, and it made me think of pictures I like that I took over the last year. Some I thought turned out really good, and others I just really like the memory associated with it. So then I thought I'd go through my Top 10, rank them, and say why I like it. Please keep in mind I'm not a professional photographer, nor do I have fancy pants camera technology.

#10: Russell's Farms. Ipswich, MA
This picture I took while Ricky and I were apple picking for the season. This is in the actual orchard. We went later in the day, so the lighting was quite impressive. I loved the light poking through the clouds over the darkness of the trees itself and wanted to capture that. The ambiguity of the image was a nice effect, too. You can't really tell where I am, or what the darkness is at the bottom. You can't tell if it's trees or bushes or what.

The textures of the clouds vs the textures of the trees is nice, too. The swirl of the sky vs. the swirl of the trees.

And getting away from the technical, I really liked our apple picking session this year. I had on a newly knit sweater, the weather was nice, and we got a lot of great apples. It was a fun afternoon trip, and I really liked a lot of the pictures I got from it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I wish I had...

...this apartment. Thanks, Apartment Therapy, for bringing the pretty.


Today Leo turns 50. Hurrah! Exciting times for sure.

We'll be celebrating in style tonight with steak and games and good cheer.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Plymouth, VT

It's pretty.

Winter gear 2011

Last Monday was a snow day for Ricky, so we were able to trek all over Salem and enjoy the views. I absolutely love Salem in the winter, because I feel like I've been brought back to the 40's and 50's by the lack of cars and people, and all the beautiful brick buildings stand out against the white.

Ricky took a few pictures of me sporting my winter gear. Last winter I was getitng one last year out of an old coat and didn't really have snow boots. I was also in the process of knitting up substantial commuting accessories.

Side note, apparently side streets don't like being plowed in Salem. That's about as well plowed as it got. WTF!?

The coat is from J Crew, but I bought it off of ebay because I'm too poor to get a full priced J Crew coat. I must say, I've gotten more compliments for this coat than anything else I've worn, hands down. It fits like a dream, is super warm, and I love that it's green. Compliments my hair, too. My last J Crew coat lasted about 4 years, so I'm quite pleased with the quality of product.

Like every twentysomething in Boston, I got Hunter boots. I got mine in March because I was tired of walking to work with wet feet all spring. Pricey, but worth it. What's great about these boots is that with use and age, they "bloom" and I love the weathered look of them. I'm not quite at blooming stage yet, but hopefully by this time next year.

The mittens you'll remember from an earlier post. They're my wonderful Bird in Hand mittens. they're so warm because they're fair isle. A smart knitting choice, indeed.

The hat I made a few years ago during a blizzard, and the scarf I made during another blizzard while watching the entire box set of Freaks and Geeks. (side note, definitely need to do that again)

It was very warm, and I can see myself using the coat and wellies for a long time, especially since they're good for all seasons. I recently went to Vermont, and they came in handy there as well.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This is my 400th post, so why not make it about things I want for my kitchen?

I was hoping that the 400th post would be epic, but it turns out it's just going to be me dreaming about being able to afford nice things for my kitchen.

Now that the KitchenAid mixer has been achieved (yay Ricky!), I need a new kitchen appliance to pine over while I'm at work. I've decided that it will be a Le Creuset dutch oven.

Look at them! They're so graphic and useful and sturdy! And think of all the potential! I also love these pictures. The people who make these dutch ovens certainly know how to photograph their product.

My mom has had one for years, and Tim has raved about one as well. I want to be able to make slow-cooked stews and roasts, and my mom has told me she prefers one to a crock pot (though I do like the convenience of a crock pot if you need to travel with foods like beans or chili). That being said, I like that the dutch oven can brown meats as well as go into the oven.

Aesthetically, I love the bright, saturated colors of Le Creuset. I like the teal and olive I've featured, but the classic red has much charm to it as well. Mum has the red. The olive seems a bit more understated, but I do love how much the teal pops.

Le Creuset is about the same price range as the KitchenAid so this won't be under my tree or on my oven anytime soon. I'd say it'll be a tax return gift to myself, but as you read my goals are to save money and travel. So that's obviously not happening.

If I get one, I'll let you know!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

Okay, I've officially decided to stop declaring that each year is going to be the year of Getting Shit Done and then halfway through the year realizing that it's not. So I'm just going to declare it 2011 and officially name it in in a few months.

I do have a list of shit to get done, though. And they are:

Save More. This includes getting done debt and saving more for the future of 2011 and into the actual future.

Sew More. The sewing machine is acting a little weird, so I need to have it checked out and then I plan to sew up a storm.

Lose some weight. I'm now a Y member, which will help.

Go to a metric ton of weddings. Everyone's in love and getting hitched in 2011 it seems. Thank goodness I've spent the last few years investing in cocktail dresses.

Travel more. Ricky and I have decided to take some fun trips this year, which I'll disclose where once it's closer to the date of departure. But it should be very fun and exciting.

Get a cat. This should be happening soon. I had a dream a few months back of our cat's name, too.

Begin to put more money towards my student loans and car. This seems counter-intuitive to "save more", but that way I won't be paying interest on the loans for as long.

Not move apartments in 2011. Pleeeaaaasssseee let this happen.

Alright, bring it, 2011!