Saturday, December 2, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 12.2.17

It's December! (Not that you didn't know that...) but now it is 100% ok to listen to Christmas music, get my decorations up, and start writing those cards...

Lately, I've been 

Reading: I just finished The Romance Reader's Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell. So good, so entertaining! 

Listening: Did I mention I love Christmas music? Pentatonix, of course, has some lovely selections and I have forced all my family to listen, ha.
Watching: I had my annual Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer viewing with Mom, Lucas, and Alvan on Monday night...ah, tradition.

Now, I'm off to a girls' night-though I have to head out early before a big day tomorrow! Plenty of rest is required for managing 8 11-13 year old girls at their first 5k race...wish me luck!

xoxoxo
Emma

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Tuesday

While I didn't quite feel qualified to post about all the sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (though I did my fair share of shopping!) I definitely do feel up to talking about Giving Tuesday!
I've donated to a few so far today, and probably will continue, especially as I see causes posted to Facebook by my friends.
The two I'm really working for are Camp Casey and the American Cancer Society (specifically, Relay for Life).
Camp Casey is an amazing organization based in the Detroit area I was lucky enough to volunteer with before I moved away last summer. They do a variety of things to serve youth with cancer and blood disorders, but what I mostly did was Horsey House Calls. They are a blast-basically, you show up to the door of a child (and their family/friends) going through something terrible WITH A HORSE. They get to ride, learn about horses, do crafts and play games, and of course have a pizza party. It is a beautiful experience for everyone involved and these have been some of the most meaningful times of my life.

The American Cancer Society does amazing work to contribute to cancer research, awareness, and support. I began doing Relay for Life, a (usually) 24-hour relay walkathon, when I was a young teen after my friend Meagan was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor. I have continued to do it nearly every year in her honor, adding more friends and family along the way as they are diagnosed and fight their own battles. Last year, I did it with my friend Danny after his cancer diagnosis. He passed away just under two weeks ago and I will be continuing to do it in his honor-as well as having donated today in his name (Daniel Polovich).

Please consider where you will donate-I know the shopping weekend took a lot out of my budget too, but every dollar here makes a difference!

xoxoxo
Emma

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy birthday, Mom!

When booking tickets for Thanksgiving, I decided to extend my trip a bit to get to spend Mom's birthday with her. Lucas decided to do the same, so we are finally all together for it! It's really wonderful to have family that actually all enjoys spending time together. 
I write similar sappy things every year, but it's true every time-I am so grateful to have my mom. She has been so supportive of every major choice I've made, change I've undertaken, and experience I've gone through. She cares so deeply for her family, friends, and the world and is always trying to make it a better place. 
She loves me even when I make her listen to Christmas a cappella music...and go shopping the weekend after Thanksgiving. I take it as a compliment every time someone says we look or act alike-the cliché of growing up to be your mom is a pretty darn good one here.
I love you, Mom, and am so so happy to get to celebrate with you!

xoxoxo
Emma

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 11.18.17

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week! I'm slightly comforted by the fact that it's early this year...but still mostly terrified that Christmas will be here so soon. However, I also cannot wait to be in NC visiting my family there, getting all the hugs, delicious food, hot baths, and puppy snuggles I have been missing.

In the meantime, I've been cooking up a storm, snuggling with Triss, and

Reading: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg. Written after the sudden death of her husband, it is a look at how to recover from such a loss and continue to live life. She doesn't advocate for "getting over it", but looks at how and why people are able to continue moving forward in their lives after this and other tragic events. Powerful and helpful.

Listening: The Dinner Party Download had their thank you episode last week-the last one will be December 1st. I've listened to it for a long time, so I'm going to have to find a new source for fun facts! The hosts have a book coming out, Brunch is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party, which of course I want to read, but I must say that I do love brunch...

Watching: The last season of The Mindy Project is here! Thanks to Mom for continuing to have Hulu Plus so I can finish a show that has been so funny and heartfelt over the years :)

xoxoxo
Emma

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 11.11.17

I feel weird saying "happy Veteran's Day!", but I must acknowledge it. We need to honor our veterans, not just with a day stating we do, but by taking care of them. The lack of quality health care services, particularly mental health services, that is easily accessible to veterans is appalling. The lack of follow up, follow through, and accountability regarding sexual assault and abuse in the military has to change. We must continue to advocate for the necessary changes in legislation to provide support and services to all veterans.

On a more cheerful note, one of my coworkers had the kids writing thank you notes to veterans the other day-apparently there were at least 10 that were addressed to veterinarians! She was baffled by all the gratitude for saving cats and dogs until she figured out the confusion...

This week, I've been

Reading: Startup by Doree Shafrir. Another fun and interesting novel-I couldn't put it down!

Listening: Thirst Aid Kit is a new podcast by Bim and Nichole...it is fantastic! While a podcast about women's attraction to men might seem trivial, it really isn't-it's fun but also necessary. It is still seen as masculine, slutty, etc. for women to openly express sexual attraction and this helps to normalize it.

Watching: I went to see Thor: Ragnarok last week with Dad, Michelle, and Georgina. I knew it would be in the style of Guardians of the Galaxy (and was a little concerned they were just hopping on the bandwagon) but oh my goodness it was hilarious! We couldn't stop laughing.
Have a great weekend!

xoxoxo
Emma

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When in Nashville...

One of my lovely friends Julia turned 35 this year-and wanted to do it up with a big celebration. Y'all know I always love to celebrate the people in my life, so of course I was on board for this! She decided on a girls' trip to Nashville, a place I had never been but have been hearing more and more about in recent years (especially as a bachelorette party destination, but what can you do). I had to do a slightly abbreviated trip, but it was 100% worth it!
I took an Uber directly from the airport to meet the ladies for brunch at Americano. Thank goodness I managed to schedule my flight in time for this all-important meal! I'll do a separate post, of course, on all the food I ate while in Nashville, ha.

We then made our way to Nashville Boot Co., where we all tried on a few pairs and I had to remind myself that it was unlikely I would wear them regularly.
Next up: the Bluebird Cafe. It's been famous for a long time as a small venue with some big-name performers (they stop in on occasion), but the TV show Nashville definitely played a part in upping the long lines. We got there plenty early to ensure we'd get in-a long wait, but worth it in the end. As someone who is not a fan of country music in general, I actually loved it. Not every piece was to my liking, but enough were (those that were more in the folk-bluegrass-country style) that I really enjoyed the music overall.
We went back to our home base to get ready for a night out on the town-I unfortunately had definitely not planned for it in my packing, but the ladies were able to help me out with the loan of a dress and doing my hair for me. We did the touristy thing and went to the Coyote Ugly bar-it is, shall we say, an experience-before wandering around in search of live music. I headed back a little early, as I was wiped out from my early morning flight.
The next morning I got up fairly early and went for a run around Nashville-it's such a great way to see a city, especially on such a beautiful Sunday morning. The view from the pedestrian bridge is just gorgeous.

We then cleared out of our lodging, wandered around the neighborhood a bit, and headed to lunch. Throughout the day people began to head home, whether it was driving or to the airport.
Julia, Cheryl, and I were all leaving on Monday-Cheryl and myself at an ungodly early hour and Julia after a relaxing morning-so we spent the night at Julia's hotel pick, the Opryland Hotel. It was astounding and we spent a good amount of time Sunday evening walking around the hotel itself. We were all pretty exhausted from the weekend (and I had to go to work the next day straight from the airport) so we had an early night.
What a weekend-thank you, Julia, for including me, and happy (far belated) birthday!

xoxoxo
Emma

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 11.3.17

I cannot believe it's already November! I had a blast celebrating Halloween with the kids at work and with my friends on the weekend-1/3 costumes being creative is actually pretty good for me, ha! I did my classic Holly Golightly for my friend's party (I worked until an hour before it and had no energy to come up with anything else) and rocked the unicorn onesie on the actual day, but for our Halloween party at work some of us dressed up as Candyland characters, which of course I loved. Hope you all had a Halloween full of awesome costumes and your favorite candies!
I also had my one-year Bar Method anniversary on Halloween-it's hard to believe I've been there a year already. I am so grateful to have found a workout I love enough to stick with, and a lovely community to go along with it!
Reading: American War by Omar El Akkad-the story of a second Civil War taking place in the not-too-distant future. Depressing, intriguing, heartbreaking-and I couldn't put it down. A truly dystopian novel for adults.

Listening: Spotify's Top 100 Classical playlist has been keeping me company as I do the (seemingly endless) amount of paperwork and emails I have every day. I really appreciate being exposed to new pieces and renditions of ones I already know!

Watching: Black-ish just keeps being amazing. The episode this season about postpartum depression was fantastic-in all populations it is a topic that is not discussed openly enough. Amongst African-Americans, treatment for any mental health concern is not as welcome as it is in some other populations. The writers, actors, etc. did a great job of portraying the realities of both the challenges and necessity of seeking support.

xoxoxo
Emma

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Maybe you can go home again... (Part 2)

The last of my summer vacation in Michigan...
After spending the first part of my week in Ann Arbor and Detroit, I had to head up to Michigania-the Michigan alumni family camp. I grew up going there with my family, as my dad was a faculty speaker for a number of years, and then got to teach horseback riding (and take out lots of trail rides) for three summers and change. I don't know many of the program staff anymore, but two of my closest friends are a part of the administrative team, so I had to get up there to visit them! Plus, camp had a very special family there this year-BJ, who was on staff when I was a kid, came back with her family to direct the riding program this summer.
Honestly, most of my time up there was spent simply relaxing. Obviously my friends had to work a fair amount of the time, so I spent some time just reading and walking around. It had been quite a while since I had no responsibilities and I didn't quite know what to do with myself! It was pretty chilly, so I didn't go in the water-at all-but it was still a wonderful week!
Julia and I got to belatedly celebrate her birthday with a lovely afternoon tea at the Inn at Bay Harbor-and to go to the fair! We didn't do much there, but it's always fun to experience the feel of a classic, small town, county fair.
I also briefly went out with James and the entire crew who was up for Jack & Kelly's wedding the next day-there's a new brewery, Beards, in Petoskey that was pretty good! I was almost persuaded to stay an extra day, but I knew I had to get back to the East Coast.
I also did manage to get in a fair amount of riding. Leslie and Michael (and her family) happened to be camping the same week I was visiting, so we got to do some of this riding together, which was just like old times! She was the director at riding my first summer, which was truly life-changing. She first paired me with Layla, the horse I worked with for the entire time I was at camp. Layla started out bucking when you asked her to canter, and now they can put kids on her! It's pretty awesome to see how she's continued to improve...proud "mama" over here, ha!
It's hard to believe that this was already several months ago...I'm happy to be where I am but reliving this definitely made me miss my home state! Hopefully I'll get to go back in the spring...until then it's all family-related travel with the holidays coming up-and we've all abandoned the Mitten State ;) 

xoxoxo
Emma

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Entertainment Weekly 10.28.17

Happy Halloweekend! One costume down, 2 to go here...and I still don't know what I'm wearing for tonight, oops! I've been baking up a storm the last couple weeks, especially since it's finally getting cool enough to use the oven on a regular basis.
I've also been

Reading: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. He also has an excellent TED Talk-and I got to hear him speak at a leadership conference this spring-and I'm a little obsessed. At work people are also working with the youth to address the systems that are impacting our youth, so reading this was pretty timely. The people's stories within it are heartbreaking, but the work being done through the Equal Justice Initiative is beyond inspiring. Read it, watch it, act on it.

Listening: The podcast Code Switch's series on school systems and race is excellent. I love learning about different approaches to empowering youth to succeed!

Watching: Getting caught up on The Flash-one of my coworkers also watches all the superhero TV, so he's been giving me a hard time about being behind and not being able to talk about it with me. I'm almost there!

I've been feeling pretty determined to empower our youth lately, clearly-I hope you do the same!

xoxoxo
Emma

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Happy 60th Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's 60th birthday, and while I can't be there for the day itself, Lucas and I had a blast creating a whole surprise weekend a little early :)
I had no idea, but apparently I ordered the cake from one of the best bakeries around! LaSalle, you were great!
I picked Lucas up at the airport on Friday and we spent the afternoon eating, prepping, and avoiding running into Dad. Lunch at Tallulah's Taqueria and dessert at PVDonuts was a great way to do this!
We conspired with some of our friends (thanks Georgina, Manu, José, and Rici!) to show up at Dad's regular Friday evening haunt, GCB. It was a surprise when I walked in, since I am very rarely able to make it down on a Friday at all, let alone early enough, but Dad's reaction to Lucas was priceless, and totally worth hiding the fact that he was coming in from Denver.
After GCB, a few of us went to dinner at Lim's (our go-to!) and ate waaaay too much, but had to still have dessert! I made one combining Dad's favorite flavors-raspberry cream cheese brownies. Delicious and oh-so-rich!
Dad had to speak on a panel Saturday morning, so Lucas and I took advantage of this to clean a lot of the house and tried to play it off as one of his surprises. Naturally we also had to go to Rebelle Artisan Bagels-I think it lived up to the (my) hype! When Dad returned, we also filled him in on his next surprise-going skydiving! Obviously I would not partake in this (though Lucas did), but we all drove down to Newport to spend the afternoon there. We started with a yummy lunch at the Tavern on Broadway so they could fuel up for their dive. I, on the other hand, took the opportunity to wander around Newport.

The boys loved skydiving, but we had one more surprise up our collective sleeve-a party, of course! I told Dad I wanted to be back in time to watch the Michigan game (which wasn't untrue, but *sigh*...that game was a travesty), so we again coordinated with Georgina, Manu, and José to time it perfectly. Dad, Lucas, and I may have had a couple drinks on the porch of the Lobster Bar to both enjoy the sunset and delay our return.
We had so many lovely guests...thank you all for being a part of making this birthday so special! The party raged on until the wee hours of the morning and Dad had a blast.
The night is never complete without a group selfie!
Sunday morning we relaxed and went to breakfast at the Classic Cafe before Lucas had to make it to the airport. I hung out a few hours longer, managing to sneak in lunch and a strawberry milkshake from Three Sisters before driving back to Boston.
Had to get that family photo!
Dad, thank you for always being such a support to everyone in your life. I hope you have the most wonderful birthday; I'm so glad I got to celebrate to the extreme with you this weekend!

xoxoxo
Emma