October Goals

green and orange pumpkinsSeptember felt kind of long! I wasn’t wishing it away or anything, it just felt like I got a lot done. We also had a couple busy weeks of hosting. It was really great to host people in the new house, and to have an actual guest bedroom in which to host them. Chrystina came to visit for a weekend, and then my mother-in-law stopped by for a few days. Chad’s brothers also each dropped in separately for a bit.

I submitted two posts to Town Dish, and I got to interview the chef behind Lancaster’s new favorite restaurant, and the designers and builders behind some of the beautiful restaurant interiors in downtown Lancaster. I also wrapped up a couple web projects and lined up a few more that should keep me busy for awhile.

In addition to all that, here’s how my goals for September went:

1. Get through chapter 3 of Data Visualization with JavaScript. So close. Chapter 2 turned out to be hefty, and I really started to dive into the interactive pieces of data visualization, which has been fun but tricky.

2. Have a new heating system installation underway. Done. I mean, my part is done. We’re waiting six to eight weeks for the gas company to run the gas line in. I really hope it doesn’t get too cold by then.

3. Hang art in the newly painted living room and bedroom! I’m excited to take stock of all of the art we have and maybe mix it up a bit as far as what pieces go in what room. Done-ish! We hung some paintings in the living room, but nothing in the bedroom. It’s still kind of in progress, because we still don’t have a bedframe. We also ended up painting the dining room in September, and it makes all the difference! It feels great to have almost the whole downstairs cleaned up and painted. It’s like a whole different house.

4. Dig out my calligraphy stuff and spend a few minutes playing with it a few times a week. I’m registered for a handlettering class at PCAD starting next week, so I feel like that will be motivational. Done-ish! I’ve been spending a chunk of time about three or four days a week playing with brush pens. I did haul out my calligraphy stuff, and I feel like getting better at one will also make me better at the other.

5. Post here regularly. Take time to write, photograph, and share. I want this space to be a community and a record of the story I’m living, more than it has been lately. Done-ish! I feel better about this month than I have for awhile. This is something I want to continue, though, so it’ll stay as an ongoing goal, just not in this list every month.

On to October!

1. Get a bedframe, settle on a mattress, and hang art in the bedroom. This bedroom has been a saga, y’all. A marathon, not a sprint. We’re not totally sold on the Helix mattress we bought, but I want to try it on an actual bedframe and not just on the floor. I don’t understand how people keep mattresses on the floor. It doesn’t look bohemian and carefree in our room, it just looks like a mess. It’s hard to get in and out of (also hi, I’m getting old apparently), and the cats drag dirt in and out of it. So once we get a bedframe, we’ll decide if we’re sending the mattress back and going with a conventional pillowtop. I just really love pillowtops. I’m not so into the foam. And I’m dying to see how this fence panel will do as a headboard.

2. Do an outfit post here! Part of me really wants to do an occasional outfit post, but another part of me is scared to come off as annoying and vain and like I’m vying for attention. But I like other people’s outfit posts, so I’m gonna try to get over my complex! Chad got me a remote so I can start playing around with taking my own photos without running back and forth to the camera, like we did here.

3. Finish my first go at rebuilding this site from scratch. Between work stuff, freelance stuff, finding and buying a house, moving, and some unfortunate life/health stuff, this has fallen off big time. After a ton of experimentation and testing different things out, I’ve been building my own custom WordPress theme. No framework, no parent theme. I really like it. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, and it’s been a really valuable experience. I can already tell that it could be my favorite way to work going forward.

4. Take some photos of the house and start sharing the process. It’s against my nature to show in-progress things as opposed to the finished product, but I’m realizing I may never feel like I’m finished with house stuff. Better to share along the way than to wait for someday that may never come.

5. Feel relaxed and at home in my space and life. I have some major things coming up this fall that I’ll hopefully be able to share about down the road, but for now I need to focus on taking care of myself and feeling like I’m set up well for dealing with them. Specific things that will help: A tidy space, minimizing stressful social situations, keeping the kitchen stocked, books to read, exercising regularly, and a creative endeavor, such as journaling, practicing brush lettering, or taking photos.

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Lunchtime Reads 9.9.16

lunchtime reads 9/9/16It’s been too long since I’ve put together a Lunchtime Reads roundup post! I’ve been hoarding links, but haven’t been great at sharing them. Or anything really. I guess that’s a natural byproduct of buying a house, moving cities, and dealing with both wonderful and unfortunate life stuff. So anyway. Here we are.

“Our current age rewards fractured identities: The more you can do, the better. What have you accomplished? What do you have to show for yourself? What books have you published? Do you have children? What are their grades? Do you have hobbies? To be a productive American in the 21st century is to be split into your discrete parts and analyzed for efficiency all the way down the line.” Laura Turner, Learning to Love My Anxiety

“The secret to satiation, to satisfaction, was not to meet or even acknowledge your needs, but to curtail them. We learn the same lesson about our emotional hunger: Want less, and you will always have enough.” Jess Zimmerman, Hunger Makes Me

“There’s lots of talk about how the internet is making it possible to live anywhere these days and do their own thing. But I think people my age and younger forget the fact that people made their own scenes even BEFORE the internet.” Austin Kleon, Find a New City

“We start to believe that we need to escape to another country and live in a refurbished RV in order to explore. We start to credit these unrealistic, far off adventures as the only solution to our wanderlusts… But I’m ready to embrace a change of heart… Let’s stop the ideology that adventure has to happen in these lush, fabulous moments. Let’s live and love local.” Laura Gingerich, 5 Reasons to Love Living Local These sum up almost exactly why we decided to buy a house in Lancaster City.

“One successful entrepreneur, in a rare moment of vulnerability, recently wrote that he burst into tears in a small suburb in Japan watching families ride their bikes together in a park. It struck him that this simple, mundane pleasure was something he would never know again.” Mark Manson, The Dark Side of the Digital Nomad



Weekend Pairing: A Snowy Pennsylvania

A tangle of snow

The snow started in Pennsylvania around Thanksgiving, and we’ve had a decently steady supply of it since, so it seems appropriate to feature snowy photos for this weekend’s pairing. Lucky for me, I’m holed up on my parents’ farm this weekend getting a ton of work done and visiting with old friends. It seems a little strange to be here on a mini-visit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when it feels like I was just here and will be back again so soon for almost a week. The prospect of seeing wonderful friends made the trip back worth it. We’ll be having a murder mystery party and catching up over fake intrigue and snacks.

I hope your weekend is equally pleasant and productive, and that if you’re snowed in too, that you’re stuck somewhere wonderful during the storm.

A snowstorm on the farm


How to Go Home

Nashville RosesDrive twelve hours with one of your very favorite people. You will not need music. You will not need podcasts. There will not be silence. When there is, it will mean something.

Make countless coffee stops.

Count six deer welcoming you back into Pennsylvania. You count in case your father asks if you’ve seen any. The road will turn, and the deer will look at you unafraid.

Stop in the town, on the farm, where you grew up. Smell home. Breathe deep. Be glad to share this with a friend.

Drive three more hours alone. Don’t be afraid. You will be too tired to think.

Drink more coffee.

Stare at countless stars over the turnpike to stay awake. They will keep you company. They will make you miss the sky you grew up with. There are no stars in Philadelphia.

Park your car and balance your belongings the block and a half to your apartment.

Drop your things on the floor. Crawl into bed, kiss the man beside you.

Nestle your feet between the warm cats on the edge of the bed. They’ve left a space for you.

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On Coming Home

Sunset in Tamarindo, Costa RicaI love having adventures, and Costa Rica was amazing.

But sometimes, it’s nice to come home. To put on an old linen skirt you’ve owned since high school and drink kombucha that’s been brewing in your own kitchen. To sleep in your own bed and let your sweet kitties curl up next to you. To eat box mac and cheese and flop down on your own couch and watch episodes of Arrested Development.

Home doesn’t have the views that Costa Rica does, but it’s got a lot going for it anyway.

I’ll document Costa Rica here soon, but for now, I’ve got some mac and cheese to eat and some solid lounging to do on the home front.