Monday, July 15, 2013

birthday 2013

birthdays have been pretty bittersweet for me since i turned sixteen. that was the first year i celebrated my special day away from home, and i think between then and now i have only been with my family for one birthday. attending "summer intensives" is basically a necessity in the ballet world, so since i was fifteen i've spent a lot of time away each summer. for whatever reason, it still doesn't feel right not to be in louisville on july 12th. i'm hoping that my brother and i can have a joint celebration around his birthday in august!

despite all of that, i had a wonderful birthday this year with my "second family." it all started when my boyfriend gave me a new lens for my camera! i have wanted this particular lens since i first got my dslr two and a half years and i have never been so thrilled to take pictures. then, in lieu of a birthday cake, his mom ordered georgetown cupcakes for me! they are the best cupcakes out there and it's such a treat to have them delivered. i'm really hoping georgetown cupcakes will open a new store here in philly soon!

(love the pink cupcake box!)

for dinner we went to a (new to us) restaurant, talulah's garden. isaac and i are both big stephen starr fans and our meal did not disappoint! we decided to go with the prix fixe menu and i'm so glad we did. the chef agreed to make accommodations to exclude all meats except fish and it was the perfect way to get a feel for what the restaurant has to offer. the food is all "farm to table" and i found the dishes interesting, incredibly fresh and delicious. i especially loved the course where we were both presented with individual, beautiful cheeese plates. and did i mention that the restaurant itself is gorgeous?! unfortunately, it was a torrential downpour when we went but i'd love to eat in the garden next time.

(cookies presented at the end of our meal)

now i have a new dream to visit amy oxley's other restaurant, talulah's table, where there is literally only one table for twelve! apparently, you have to make reservations a year in advance. i think it sounds worth it though!

(he's pretty sweet.)

after dinner, we had cupcakes with mister's family and i got to open some presents from home. i felt so loved and "known."

the next day we went to the adventure aquarium in camden, nj. i had never been to an aquarium before, so i was pretty excited! (how did i miss all the field trips to newport aquarium growing up? i'm pretty sure my siblings have been numerous times?!) my only complaint is that they didn't have many seahorses. anyone who knows me well knows that i have an obsession with them and dream of owning my own someday. (i even got a gorgeous seahorse purse for my birthday!)

(view of philly from camden. i still find it funny how much i've grown to love that city.)

(in front of a huge shark mouth. as we were posing, a woman kept asking us if we were married yet. i could hardly contain my laughter.)

overall, it was a wonderful birthday. i am challenging myself to focus on how many wonderful people are in my life here in philadelphia instead of being sad that i don't get to see my family as often as i'd like. i am incredibly blessed and as my mom would say, "there's no time for sadness!"

Friday, June 7, 2013

in the last seven days i...

...went to visit swarthmore college with my mister. he got stung by a bee. my first sunburn turned tan of the year.

...watched game of thrones with new and old friends and made a fool of myself during the "red wedding" scene. i about died myself just seeing it.

...spent the night in the ER because of the aforementioned bee sting. 

...had measurements taken for my first bridesmaid's dress. i can't wait until the wedding of my dear friends in november. 

...made an appointment with an allergist. i thought my allergies would get better after moving away from the "number-two worst city for allergy sufferers," but i was wrong.

...found my long lost dslr cord and battery in my beside drawer. (i mean, really?!) i had myself convinced that i misplaced them in louisville over my christmas holiday. now i can get started on my new year's resolution to take more photos with my real camera...six months late.

...saw lars and the real girl. why did it take me six years to see this movie?! so good.

...discovered my love for ironing. nothing feels better than well-pressed clothes.

...continued to work on this sweater. i bought the yarn for this project two and a half years ago and then got too intimidated to begin. now i think it's safe to say that i'm in love with knitting.

...couldn't sleep when the power went out last night. i will forever be addicted to the sound my fan makes and it's ability to lull me to sleep every night.

...had sweet dinners with friends and my love. i am beyond thrilled that it's finally summer. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ballerina photo shoot

a couple of weeks ago, i had the awesome opportunity to participate in a "ballerina" photo shoot. my friend erin asked me to model after she was approached by an old friend of hers, yumi, a very talented makeup artist. yumi had been dreaming for some time about doing a dancer shoot with her team and i was so glad to be a part of it! i think all the photos turned out beautifully!

all photos by dave austria photography:

more than anything, i'm glad to have professional(!!!) proof of this time in my life. i know i'll definitely appreciate it one day when i'm old and can't wear pointe shoes anymore.

memorial day: devon horse show

i spent memorial day at the devon horse show. i went briefly a couple of years ago but didn't really get the full experience. this year we had the best time. it reminded me of kentucky in so many ways: seeing horses, riding the ferris wheel like my siblings and i used to do, and eating fair food. they even had funnel cakes!! a.k.a heaven in a fried food:

one of the best parts of the horse show are all the little pop up shops. they even had j. mclaughlin! my mom and i love the one in chenoweth square in louisville and i had no idea there was a location not far from me here on the main line.

we had so much fun walking around and even ran into friends who gave us their box seats for the day! it was the perfect way to spend a beautiful memorial day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

my favorite night of the year

back in 2011, i had only been dating my boyfriend a couple of months when he surprised me with tickets to american ballet theatre's opening night spring gala. by the time the day of the show finally came that may, i was so excited i could have burst. the performance was amazing and i was thrilled to see the who's who of ballet both onstage and sitting in the theater. mister even saw al roker in the bathroom at intermission. it was a win-win for both of us. ;) little did i know our night was about to get even better when he took me to one of his favorite restaurants, jean-georges. we hadn't previously discussed special dinner plans and i had no idea what sort of treat i was in for.

(beautiful flowers and post-dinner treats)

jean-georges was (and is!!) one of my most favorite restaurants. imagine the most delicious food you've ever tasted, impeccable service, all wrapped up in a gorgeous, romantic dining room. three courses were served followed by a dessert tasting centered around flavors of our choosing. caramel for her, citrus for him. at the end of the meal, house-made marshmallows, chocolates and tiny treats were presented. as we left, i was given a tiny bag filled with a box of chocolates. can you say perfect?!

i will never forget that first meal we shared there. (i just wish i had taken photos!) it was truly a magical night and i felt like a princess. after we came back to philadelphia, we decided to make this night in new york a yearly tradition. 

(in our private alcove booth last year)

(by the three star michelin sign)

last year was wonderful but really hectic because we had attended mister's college graduation that morning and were coming off of a weekend full of festivities. i will never forget our panicked drive to catch the acela express train and my speedy makeup job in the train's bathroom. even still, i was happy to be able to wear a dress he had bought for me and carry a gorgeous beaded bag my mom gave me. my favorite parts of the show were the pas de deux from flames of paris, tchaikovsky pas de deux (gillian murphy was proposed to in the wings right after she bowed!), and daniil simkin in les bourgeois.

(right after we took our seats this year--he chose well!)

this year was much calmer and i finally got to wear the dress that i got for valentine's day!!! (i think this whole "dress from the bf" thing might be becoming a tradition as well!) the only disappointing part of the show was that my favorite ballerina, natalia osipova, was injured and unable to perform. her fiancé performed in a pas from Le Corsaire with a different dancer and it just wasn't the same without her.

(in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera House after the show)

after the show, we headed to jean-georges as per our tradition and had quite the memorable meal...but for all the wrong reasons. i'll leave that post for another day.

all in all, this is probably my favorite tradition that we have created since we started dating. he's a gem for taking me to so many performances and i'm so glad i can share my passion with someone who finds it interesting. it's the one night a year we can dress up as much as we want and enjoy an evening of glamour--in one of my favorite cities no less!

Friday, March 22, 2013

badge of beauty

i was in a ballet class recently and my teacher finished giving another dancer a correction by saying, "you just need to put a badge of beauty on the movement." this phrase really struck a chord with me and i started thinking about how i could learn to place a badge of beauty on my everyday life as well as my ballet life.

this winter has been incredibly busy and a bit stressful. i've spent many days traveling to new york for auditions on top of dancing every day in philadelphia. the trips can be tiring and the outcome is not always what i want. a couple of weeks ago, i had a not so great audition and was just feeling particularly tired and worn out. instead of wallowing, i decided to walk the thirty or so blocks back to the bus stop so i could say "hi" to some of my favorite buildings. the walk was wonderful and gave me the chance to clear my head and have some nice phone conversations with family back home.

at the end of my walk i couldn't help but think about how blessed i was to even be able to spend time in one of my favorite cities. growing up in louisville, i used to dream of spending time in new york. now i can go there basically whenever i want. that walk was a "badge of beauty" on my crappy day...

that was all before i stood in the cold for almost an hour waiting for my bus, witnessed two ridiculous screaming matches and was denied entry on said bus...because i had stupidly(!!!) messed up the dates and bought a ticket for THE DAY BEFORE. at this point the crappy day was back in full force and i felt like i was going to lose it. my fingers were frozen and i decided to just spend a big chunk of money and take the train home. luckily, i had a cute mister to pick me up in philly and bring me home so we could watch the oscars together (awards shows have been a guilty pleasure of mine since i was tiny). all in all, nothing that terrible had happened and my mind kept going back to that glorious walk.

i guess all of this goes back to the gratitude resolution i made at the beginning of the year. when i spend more of my time being grateful, it immediately gives less weight to everything stressful or negative in my mind. over the next two weeks, i'll be travelling to and from five cities and i'm hoping to find plenty of moments of beauty along the way, especially because the days will be busy and full of potential stressors. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

month of l.o.v.e.

i love love. growing up, valentine's day at my house was really special: red and white dinner, candlelight, little heart-shaped chocolate boxes at each place, usually a small but special present, and heart confetti that covered the table. i never cared that i didn't have a boyfriend because i loved that family dinner so much. the focus was on loving your family and sharing an extra-special meal together.

these days, valentine's takes on a new meaning. some don't like this holiday but i think it's the perfect time to stop and have a special dinner with the one you love (especially if it falls on a weeknight!!) and reflect on all the reasons you share that love in the first place. i am so grateful to have had the same valentine for the past three years. our first valentine's we went to georges' and i ordered a massive steak as i was not yet a vegetarian. the second year we went to R2L and experienced amazing views of downtown philadelphia.

(last year at R2L)

this year we went to stella, my very favorite pizza place in philly (and where we also went on our two year anniversary). i am obsessed with their brick-oven pizza and the salads and gelato are amazing as well. i recommend the octopus salad, pistachio or cucumber pizzas, and don't forget the stracciatella gelato! i have seriously never had anything there that wasn't delicious. and its location makes it perfect to catch a movie afterwards at one of the ritz theaters nearby.

i also got a huge surprise this year...mister couldn't wait until our dinner celebration to give me my gift so he gave it to me at midnight the night before: an HERVÉ LÉGER dress! we have never really been big gift givers on holidays besides christmas so i was shocked to say the least. i have wanted one of these dresses for what seems like forever and honestly, i never thought i would have one. thank goodness for a guy who notices what i like and has good taste! i guess this means i'm officially spoiled.

(our 2 yr. anniversary at Stella this year)

(a peek at the dress)

also, i have been listening to the new album "heartthrob" a bunch lately. i saw t&s a couple of years ago in columbus and it was one of the best shows i have ever probably helped that the friend i was with fought the crowd to get us to the front row! here are a couple of lines from my new favorite track by them: 

love, they say it heals all wounds
love, removes the hurt in you
love, i know that this is true
love, they say that it is blind
love, they say it all the time
love, i know that they are right


love, they say there's only one
love, the kind that's not undone
love, i know you are the one

i can't believe i am blessed enough to know those lyrics to be true. i hope i never take it for granted. and although i usually keep these things pretty close to my heart, sometimes it's good to take a moment to remember the special occasions. i'm the luckiest girl in the world.