Archive for June, 2008
I go through phases, as I’m sure everyone does. Some weeks I start eating abnormal amounts of a certain food, and I’ll say, “Man I’ve been on a banana/milk kick lately.” I only mentally document the “food kicks” that are healthy….because let’s face it I’m always on a chocolate kick. Anyway, as of late I’ve been participating in some new summer habits that I’ve really been enjoying:
1) Blogging more regularly, some months I’ll fall into blog slumps and ask myself, “What really do I have to put out there that’s actually interesting?” I guess I’ve just become a little more creative with post ideas or I just don’t care if they’re interesting or not. Blogging makes me feel accomplished and hopefully I can keep this trend going :-)
2) Listening to new music, i.e. the newest Coldplay album, “Viva la Vida.” I’d been waiting for it to come out, rather patiently because I’m not the hugest of CP fans. But now that it has I’m really digging it. At first listen I was a little disappointed, I deemed it to be “too much of the same.” But while listening to it all a second time through yesterday while working I became more impressed. It’s very easy to fall into a relaxed meditative state while listening and zone out……I’m great at zoning out!
3) Watching my new found favorite sitcom, “Arrested Development.” Alex and I had been hearing about how great it was for months. He bought all three seasons before we left for Italy and we started watching while in Naples and into our few days in Rome. It’s funny, the show reminds me of Italy now because that’s where we started watching it. Although I’ve just now started falling in love with it and I can’t seem to get enough. We watch one episode a night and laugh uncontrollably at our fav characters. Alex prefers “Tobias” while I love “Gob” and “Buster.”
4) Celebrating with California couples that it is now legal for same sex couples to get married and receive proper documentation there. The fact that this hasn’t happened sooner and in every 50 state is mind boggling. When uber, ignorant Conservatives start rambling about how this “threatens the sanctity of marriage between man and woman” I want to hurl. Why can’t people just shut up and let others be happy?……I mean seriously people…..back off!
5) Gardening, or watching Alex garden rather. He recently went to the local nursery and bought some great new plants that now adorn our outside patio. We’d had some from the previous year but some had died and others were a bit pathetic looking. Now when I look up at our patio from below it looks like a lush, green oasis.
6) Cooking meals that last for days and days in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven. Alex had given me my bright orange Dutch oven for Christmas this year and I’ve just started cooking regularly in it. It’s so practical and such a great tool to have. It heats so evenly and holds so much….if you’re into cooking large meals on a regular basis I highly recommend it!
7) Watching “So You Think You Can Dance,” it’s no secret that I enjoy watching pretty much every dance show that is on TV at any given time. You can always count on me to know the latest scoop from “Dancing with the Stars,” “America’s Best Dance Crew,” or “SYTYCD.” I get so hyped for it to come on every wednesday night…plus we usually have friends over that night to watch it with us which makes it extra fun. I have a lot of favorite dancers this season and can’t wait to watch who wins. I’m very guilty of getting goose bumps at least once every show.
8) Casually swimming and calling it a “work out.” Every year when the weather is warm enough to have heated the apartment pool through…..usually by mid-May, I suit up and dive in. It’s a great release especially after a full day of being stuck in the office. I swear I was born with gills, ever since I was a little girl you can’t keep me away from the water. When we were in Positano all I wanted to do was swim, swim and swim in the clear water. It’s a given that I’ll make a trip down to the pool at least three times a week and swim, tread, float, and twirl around. It’s so perfect :-)
9) Sleeping later than normal. I guess it started when I was sick for 10 days two weeks ago. I fell into a habit of just relaxing and sleeping. It’s really hard for me to just relax still….but now I’m not as hard on myself as before for not cleaning up the apartment or getting stuff done. It’s so nice to just sleep and do nothing. zzzzzzzz
10) Talking to family more often. It clicked the other day that my family and friends are so important to me and I’m not going to have them all around forever. So I’ve made it a habit to call the ones I love more often…..to just let them know that, “Hey, I’m thinking about you!” It’s so important to realize what you have when you have it and make the most of it!
Happy Weekend All…..hope you all fall into habits of doing things that you truly enjoy!
Today is my grandfather’s (Pop pop’s) birthday!. If he were still living he’d be 83. We lost him October 13, 1995 to cancer at the age of 70. He was a man known for fishing, a hearty appetite, and consistent church going :-) Rarely did I hear him speak negatively, but knew him however, for his sarcasm and big closed mouth smile :-)
Miss you Pop Pop!
In the midst of finishing up with posting about our recent wedding/honeymoon in Italy I had forgotten to post about how much fun we had last week at Alex’s annual company picnic. Last year it was at a huge ranch north of Austin, this year it was at Volente Beach on nearby Lake Travis. Basically a small, very kid friendly water park with four large slides, a lazy river, various pools, and a fake sand beach on the lake. We went with my brother and his girlfriend as well and all enjoyed a day in the sun. The water slides brought me right back to when I was younger and used to wish that I had one in my backyard so I would never have to wait in the lines. For lunch we scarfed hamburgers…way too quickly on my part since Jin and I went on crazy raft ride no more than 20 minutes later, oy!
Fast forward to this past weekend, I surprised Alex with tickets to “Love, Janis” for Friday night. His 28th birthday was this past Wednesday and I wanted to do something special for him. The play was based off the book “Love, Janis” that her sister Laura wrote and was performed downtown at the new and fantastic Long Center. There were a lot of “original Austinites” in the crowd (with their gray dreads and peace signs) as well as Austin yuppies and even a few younger folks like ourselves. The play was very introspective, thoughtful, and completely amazing :-) The actress/singer that played the “performing, Rock Janis” was so dead on in all likenesses. Alex and I agreed that it was as if we were at an actual Janis Joplin concert back in the late 60s.
Saturday we went to our first Farmer’s Market experience in Austin with the fam. It was in South Austin at the Sunset Valley Market…the experience was very “Keep Austin Weird”….and organic/farm fresh! We all enjoyed fresh pastries both savory and sweet, fresh lemonades and teas, and live folk music. We split up at one point to carouse the individual market stalls and I was drawn in by a tent giving away “free massages.”
“Ok,” I thought…..”why not?” We sat in the massive tent’s shade and were offered free vegan cake that was delicious and were greeted with overly friendly men and women. When it was my turn for the massage I laid face down and was “rubbed” not massaged, it was very strange in that her hands offered no pressure or release to my hopeful joints and muscles. I was also constantly being asked to keep flipping over which took all of the relaxation out of it.
While i was being “rubbed” I listened in to the conversation Alex was having with the others in the tent. It was strange how they were introducing him to person after person and acting like he was a member of their family. I started thinking….”this is all very cultish.” After the “rub down” the lady asked me how it all felt…..I lied of course and she proceeded to try to sell me a $5 pamphlet on how to perform what she had just done to me…..”um no thanks” I said.
I also noticed that Alex was behind me snapping pictures all of a sudden (see pic of me trying to be polite and listen)…..weird! Then another lady subtly hands me a Scientology DVD and says, “…it’s just information.” As in “don’t freak out” just watch it….
AHHH, I should have known! Anyway, besides that we had a great time at the market. We ended up with a enormous yellow squash and zucchini, plenty of fresh peaches (my fav fruit), some outstanding basil pesto, and a small ceramic cup that I deemed too adorable to not buy :-)
For lunch we ventured over to Flip Happy Crepes that I had been obsessing over since the previous weekend. Our only mistake is that we brought my dad with us who complained about having to sit outside to eat in the heat the entire walk there. Upon getting there there was a long line and all the picnic tables were filled. Boo, but we found an empty table and upon making our way to the front of the line were told that we had to wait an additional 45 min. after ordering for our crepes to even receive them. My dad was already huffing so we sadly walked to Shady Grove where I ate a lackluster Green Chili Burger….yeah I wasn’t bitter at all. Alex promised that we would be back to Flip Happy soon and that we’d have a great experience as well :-)
Father’s Day was nice and quiet, just spent time with my dad. He was just happy to order Rudy’s Barbecue and watch the Yankees slam the Astros 13-0 :-)
I’d been seeing this very clever mosaic being posted on some of my favorite blogs. Being a very visual…..and curious person I decided to create my own. The directions are below as well as my answers and Flickr Mosaic!
1. What is your first name? :: Eryn…..although I changed it at age 7 from “Erin”
2. What is your favorite food? :: authentic Italian
3. What high school did you go to? :: Westwood Highschool
4. What is your favorite color? :: aqua
5. Who is your celebrity crush? :: Derek Jeter…I’ve had many more since. But he was one of my first crushes as an adolescent. I apparently like men with a little hue in their complexions :-)
6. Favorite drink? :: I have so many….but a peach bellini came to mind at first
7. Dream vacation? :: Thailand……Fiji would be nice too!
8. Favorite dessert? :: all my closest friends and family know that I’m obsessed with NUTELLA!
9. What you want to be when you grow up? :: dolphin trainer… I love the water and I love dolphins :-)
10. What do you love most in life? :: Alex…..awwwwww
11. One word to describe you. :: fickle
12. Your Flickr name. :: …..although I changed this last one to: What is your married name? :: Chandler :-)
1. ERYN, 2. Love XOXO, 3. sweetest thing, 4. Floating in paradise, 5. Derek Jeter, 6. Bellini – Color of Venice, 7. My secret blue paradise :), 8. [ La mia Dolce metà ], 9. A dream come true. . .almost., 10. chairs, green, revolving, 11. The Summer Wind, 12. A fine ending to a fine day
We left Rome mid morning on a Thursday and hopped onto a train to Florence. When we studied in Florence for a semester and were away for 3 or more days I always remember how we’d get so excited when the train would slow and the Duomo would come into view. It just spoke of how much we loved Florence and how it really was our home for those four months.
The same thing happened when we were pulling into the Santa Maria Novella train station for the last time on our three week stint in Italy. After two weeks of not knowing our way around we were once again back in a city where no maps were required and it didn’t take twice as long to get somewhere because we’d get lost. We were back. It was bittersweet in a way though because I knew the next day we’d be waking up at an unGodly hour to fly back to the States.
We quickly found our hotel on via Nazionale….after staying in such great accommodations everywhere else we were stunned by how well…crappy this last hotel was. We knew it wasn’t going to be all grand and majestic but we were spoiled by now and not having air conditioning on the top floor of the hotel was brutal. We did have a great view out our window though of the magical red rooftops of Florence and out our front door we could see the rolling hills of Fiesole.
It had gotten noticeably warmer since we were there two weeks prior and we decided to make the most out of our last full day. First we trekked through the San Lorenzo markets (one of my most hated areas bc of all the tourists and foot traffic) to buy a few tshirts. Then we went to Eby’s a burrito place we frequented during our semester in Florence. The burritos weren’t as great as we remembered but it was a welcome change from all the Italian food we’d been eating.
Afterwards we crossed the river to take one more hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo while the sun was out. On the way through the San Niccolo neighborhood we stumbled upon a Rose Garden that I was sad we had never discovered before. The flowers within the walled garden were beautiful but I couldn’t help but think of how hot I was in my 3/4 length shirt and jeans. Once at the top of Piazzale Michelangelo we sat and took in our city one last time.
We talked about when we would make it back….since our next International adventure will more than likely include other countries we’ve yet to explore. Speaking of not seeing Italy for so long made me sad and even short of breath :-(
On the way back to our hotel we stopped at Chiesa Santa Felicita so we could see my most favorite Renaissance painting! It’s Pontormo’s “Deposition,” and I first fell in love with the painting four years ago when we visited the small unassuming church on an art history field trip. I love that the church isn’t well known and that there are never lines or tourists that you have to fight through. It makes me feel special, like we know a secret that most don’t :-) The colors are vivid pastels that resonate well with me. I love bright colors….they draw me in!
That evening we met Erin from “The Olive Notes” and her husband Chris. I’d been speaking to her via the blogosphere for just about a year and was excited that we were actually able to meet up. We met in Piazza di San Marco and chatted and walked to the Sant’ Ambrogio neighborhood where they introduced us to a great little restaurant where we enjoyed wine and aperitivos. I was even able to sample tartufo for the first time!
Afterwards we waltzed to ChiaroScuro (I was so excited to try this place) which had a wonderful ambiance and so many java combinations to try. I was a little overwhelmed with the options so I opted for the frozen cappuccino that I saw featured on the outdoor sign. It was delicious and I was glad to be able to finally try this place after drooling all over their webpage.
It was the very first time that I had actually met someone in person that I’ve only spoken to online prior. The experience of doing so was great and it was nice to just pick up where we left off on one another’s blogs.
That night we ventured to our favorite gelateria in all of Italy on via Faenza and I ordered “sad gelato” one last time. Cookies and amarena to be exact :-) Alex of course consumed yet another Margherita pizza and we enjoyed a sleepless night of tossing and turning since we knew we had to wake at 5am for an entire 24 hours of international travel.
The trip home was very reminiscent of our first trip home from Italy in ’04. We were greeted in the Florentine airport by hoards of American students returning home……..lovely. And I had instant deja vu’ of what a nightmare that had been for us. With our bags being too heavy and getting charged astronomical fees for it……ugh. We made it through and fought our way through the Charles de Gaulle airport once in Paris. Sprinting through an airport is never fun….it wipes me out emotionally and physically.
In any case we made it home……as Mr. and Mrs. Alex and Eryn Chandler. Looking back at our wedding photos I know that if given the chance we would do it all over again!
It was perfect
…and suddenly everything’s right!” I’m a dork but I couldn’t help but announce to the blogosphere that I just purchased what are going down in history as the cutest shoes ever. Or at least for this week! After stuffing myself with delicious Greek food for lunch I took a walk in retail heaven to attempt to walk off some of the spanakopita and hummus.
And into DSW Shoe Warehouse I walked, promising myself along the way that I was just there to happily browse and try on every pair of shoes that I deemed too cute not to. I’m blessed with a size 7 foot and therefore can usually always fit my foot into the display size…….convenient, fun, and very dangerous!
I was almost done browsing the many many aisles when a pair struck me and as soon as I stuck my foot in the appropriate size I fell in shoe love. They were beautiful and quirky and fit oh so well. Dang they were comfy! Right then and there I decided I was leaving……with the shoes. I even decided to wear them out and as I turned the first corner a sassy older woman said, “work it girl!”
How perfect……..I’m still coming down from my shoe high, please forgive me! And for what it’s worth I know Carrie would approve!
Ever since my Crepe con Nutella experience in Rome I haven’t been able to get them off my mind. A good friend came over and made them for us a few weeks ago……he made perfect tasting crepes with a caramel apple filling. They were divine.
A while ago I was told about a Creperie in Austin that made sweet AND savory crepes. Since it was before “the experience” mentioned above I didn’t give it too much thought…….Until it was featured on the Food Network tonight! That’s right, Bobby Flay’s Throwdown came down to Austin to challenge Flip Happy’s owners Nessa and Andrea. I was overjoyed! Their savory crepes like the “Cuban” (pulled pork, pickles, gruyere, and tobasco) for example sound so amazing and so delightfully different. And then they of course rock the free world with their sweet crepes as well………..I saw Nutella mentioned more than once on their website :-)
I’ve been scouring their schedule to see just when they’ll be open (they operate out of a airstream trailer), and if it’s anything like THIS place….well then I know they’ll be excellent! I’ll be sure to report back with an honest, and hopefully overjoyed critique!
We left Naples early on a Monday morning and arrived in Rome around lunchtime. It felt great to be back and on our own schedule. The first time we were in Rome it was on a three day art history field trip….and it was a whirlwind of Renaissance history and walking some 30 miles. Now we were back and were able to pick and choose exactly what we wanted to see.
We stayed in a great apartment around Campo de’ Fiori on via Vico Savelli. Our street was too narrow for cars which was great for sleeping and our building even had Roman columns built into the facade! The neighborhood was definitely an artisan area….every shop was either a painting studio, ceramics studio, glass shop, or antique gallery, we loved it!
Our days were filled with lots of walking, I always forget how much larger Rome is than Florence, and eating great Roman specialties. Some of the sites we saw throughout our three days were the Trevi Fountain (where we each threw in a few euro coins), The Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, The Castle of Angels, Colosseum, Roman Forum, La Bocca della Verita, Capitoline Hill, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. We also went into almost every church we happened upon. I just love to walk through them, they’re always so peaceful and it’s just so nice to quietly observe in a silent sanctuary juxtaposed against a bustling city!
Another highlight of our trip was exploring the Trastevere area. We first wandered over there to find Pizzeria da Vittorio which was featured in the guidebook I had brought along. The pizza was paper thin and wonderful, we also enjoyed carciofi alla Romana (Roman artichokes)! We were also so pleasantly surprised by the lush, somewhat lazy neighborhood that was Trastevere. It definitely felt more residential than other areas of the city and a true Roman gem. We also ate dinner there the following night at Da Enzo, I saw that Erin from “The Olive Notes” had eaten there before and we thought we’d give it a shot as well. Oh, and I was very proud when I called the ristorante the night before and made the reservation completely in Italian….what excited me the most was that I was asked a few questions about the reservation in Italian and was actually able to answer back, what a concept!
Rome was also the setting of my first Crepe con Nutella experience. It was 4 euro and worth every cent! We watched the lady make it fresh and then I devoured it at a nearby fountain in Campo de Fiori! It was one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of…..pure bliss and oh so sinful!
We really enjoyed our time in Rome, it was a completely different experience from our first visit and much more “our style.” We left Rome the following Thursday morning and arrived in Florence for our last full day…