I spend far too much time on the internet. We could go into the why of this - but you're not my therapist, blog reader, and if you were - we would have waaaaay more important things on our metaphorical plate.
In my decade and a half of time spent in the internet tubes I have uncovered a lot of really amazing things and discovered some super cool people. Here's the weird thing - the people I've discovered, don't know I exist.
Its one thing to follow people who are asking for a following (Dear Baby Blog, I am looking in your direction). But there are others who have a super awesome thing going, but are not quite internet celebrities or are celebrities with personal blogs that don't get the same type of attention.
Internet stalking, yo. Don't knock it til you try it.
But today I am taking off the creepy black ski mask and letting my freak flag fly free.
Here are three of my favorites:
Army Pants and Flip Flops. This one is kind of cheating because this girl and I kinda-sorta travel in the same circles. I wouldn't know her if I saw her on the street, but my brother, my mom and probably my sister would - so...there's that. Anywhoodles, she is getting married to your Grade A type Army dude and so of course (because it wouldn't be a romantic comedy any other way) she is your standard Renn Fair loving theater geek. And he's deployed to Afghanistan. And there is a wedding to plan. And she's just trying to figure this ish out. The internet is a great place to get your Ish together. She makes me giggle out loud sometimes and she won Boyfriend's heart by confirming that you can in fact make a wedding registry on Amazon.com (not that Boyfriend is looking to register for Aneee.thing. He just really, really loves Amazon).
The Enjoy Project. Okay - Kristin is pretty darn close to famous. She has a business taking amazing pictures and so she probably racks up the hit counts. I found this blog through T-bone's wedding photographer Lydia Jane (check out T-bone's wedding! Lydia is ah.mazing) who is good friends with this Kristin, who (because Maryland is very, very small) photographed the weddings and engagements of some people I know from high school. Kristin's blog really caught my attention when she started blogging about how she met her (spoiler-alert) now husband. She and I operate on different wavelengths, but it is interesting to watch someone deal with doubt and fear and figuring it out because it makes you feel better about your own doubt and fear and challenges in figuring it out.
Please Note: I did not PLAN for this to be a TBIF all about shmoopy love business. I am not breaking away from my she-man-man-hating club. But I cannot be held responsible for the fact that girls who are increadibly talented and captivating writers tend to get boys all hot and bothered (I mean, duh, Boyfriend, case.in.point).
Dancing Brave. Heather is famous. Sups famous. I was obsessed with Heather back in 2002 when she was recapping for TWoP and had a sweet diaryland blog (guys - Diaryland was the real deal back in '03). Its weird to think that she was younger then than I am now. All making bad choices and being awesome. I thought she was so cool. I still do because she runs Go Fug Yourself (which I will proudly say, I've been reading since Day 1). But she also has a personal blog where she talks about raising twins (!!), and her love for all things Notre Dame (shake down the thunder, everyone). It is fun to see the dichotomy between her glamorous Fashion Week writing and her kids-at-home-how-we-do writing.
The internet is full of funny, smart ladies. The End.
1 - It took me almost two and a half hours to watch a streaming version of the one-hour-and-six minute series three premier Downton Abbey (oh, I am back down that dark alley with no regrets). The streaming was terrible. It kept stopping and skipping and I thought my laptop was going to spontaneously combust it was working so hard.
Consensus: Worth it. Oh my worth it. Guh. Sometimes you wait a billion years for something and it delivers. I cannot imagine waiting 7 more days, forget 4 months.
2 - I started a new class today on a whim (well, it was a whim about 2 weeks ago - now its a reality). Its weird to be in class again. I haven't taken a real improv class in about 3 years. Its weird to be learning for learning's sake again. But I guess its good to get my feet wet if I am seriously going to go back to actual school.
Sooooo, like, 7 months ago, I had a crazy delicious meal and started writing about it (check out the first couple courses, and then the middle couple of courses. Annnnd finally, I got my act together to finish it tonight. Enjoy the third installment of our Alinea adventures.
After all the real food - it was dessert time.
They brought out Winter. Like the seaweed log before it, this was basically some designer's wet dream, with 4 bites of food on it. In this case - another log, with pine needles, and rocks that had been cooled to -80 degrees and adorned with peppermint flavored snow. Resting on top of the snow were bites of different fruits (including persimmon) and a nutmeg marshmallow.
Then there was the deconstructed hot chocolate, that was water but of course, it was actually hot chocolate. Okay, Harry Potter, you win.
The snow was realistically cold and fantastically delicious. I scraped it off the rocks with a fork until Boyfriend said that, really, that was quiet enough.
The penultimate course was one of the ones that I wish had been a surprise for me (but was happy was a surprise for Boyfriend). It was a balloon, full of helium, made of something akin to Apple Fruit by the Foot (but, you know, a billion times more delicious and flavorful). Dangling off the end was a silver implement that we were instructed to use however we wanted - with the end result being eating the apple balloon.
I went the direct route and stabbed the balloon right through with the silver tool. This left me very, very sticky, but satisfied.
Boyfriend managed to find a way to eat it slowly enough that he could suck out minimal amounts of helium (but enough to make his voice high pitched) and keep the balloon afloat as he ate it. He's an engineer, people.
The final course was easily the most amazing thing that happened throughout the entire meal, and will continue, probably until the end of my life, to be the best show I've ever seen. I don't know how they managed to keep this course a surprise - but they did and holy.crapballs. was it worth it.
One of the chefs came out and asked about our meal. I was in such a place of pure bliss already, I could barely talk to him. He put a dark chocolate fishbowl on the table and filled it with liquid nitrogen (poured out of a dainty white china pitcher). And then as he chatted with us, he started using various sauces (butternut squash, lingonberry and stout) to draw designs on our table.
I know that I should not be impressed, as plating and presentation is a fairly basic component of culinary arts, but the designs were so beautiful and smelled so amazing. It was art more than food. Boyfriend's birthday present was not so much the meal, but me restraining myself from taking a picture of the final design.
The beauty was either heightened, or short lived, depending on your opinion - when the chef picked up the chocolate fishbowl and unceremoniously dropped it back on the table where it broke open, full of treats like the fanciest pinata this side of Mexico.
The liquid nitrogen had frozen bits of cotton candy, toffee, sweet potato and magic in the fish-bowl-pinata-of-delicious. We were handed spoons and left to enjoy as much of this amazing last course as we could.
If you know me, you know I don't leave food on my plate (or...table? as the case maybe). I think about the starving kids in Africa, the fact that I am paying for this, my Italian grandmother who was always telling me to eat more, my friends who use leaving food as a weird dieting mind game that I will have no part of, and the fact that I may never have this chance again, and I eat until its gone.
So I ate as much as I could fit inside me. There have only been one or two times where I have truly eaten to the point of near stomach explosion (our feast in the Italian countryside comes to mind). And even when it got to the point where I could literally feel my stomach stretching uncomfortably inside my beautiful Jason Wu dress, I kept eating the delicious chocolate scooped up with amazing sauce and real (real!) magnolia petals.
I don't think I would have stopped without Boyfriend telling me I was under no circumstances allowed to throw up in the cab ride home. I would have sat in that restaurant for hours letting the waves of hedonism wash over me if given the chance.
But eventually, sadly, it had to end. They brought the check and cleaned up the end of the beautiful chocolate mess. While we waited for a cab, we got to sneak a peak inside the kitchen which was surprisingly normal looking (I am not sure why I assumed that they would be like, cooking with flame throwers and wearing those crazy super magnifying glasses - I have a very active imagination).
We got in our cab, and went home - and like any vacation, there was that crushing realization that we were very much back in the real world, where you eat on plates with regular forks and all of the food is just normal and boring.
Boyfriend bought me my own Molecular Gastronomy At-Home Kit which I am waiting for a really special occasion to play with. The next time I eat crazy stuff, it'll probably be of my own making.
Do I recommend Alinea? Absolutely. If you el-oh-vee-ee LOVE food and are not going to be scared off by a price tag akin to a new computer, then absolutely. Do it. Or find some other amazing restaurant and eat there (and then tell me about it). The thing about living is that you should really enjoy it as much as possible.
Four summers ago, I was 23. And Barack Obama and all his friends, let me live out mywildestdreams.
I got to go to the Democratic National Convention and not just as a guest, but as a photographer - a career I had almost not even dared to dream about because it seemed so out of reach. It was one of the most exhausting, inspiring, eye-opening, amazing 4 days of my life.
Childishly, it let me, if just for a few days, believe in my dreams. I got to believe that I really could DO anything. And I realized that that was the theme of 2008 election for Barack Obama supporters. Hope. Change. Dreams.
Its been four years and I have been watching this year's DNC and I am flooded with both nostalgia - and a solid reality check.
This summer, the summer of 27 - has been much more bleak. I am not crushing hard on a boy I barely know. I am not enjoying the hedonistic life of a part time job and a city full of adventure. And I am most certainly not living out any dreams.
This is a summer of cold, hard reality. And watching this convention has made me realize that the election is mirroring that again this year. Its not about far-fetched dreams anymore. Its about keeping things real.
And if I have to live in this country for the next four years, I want Barack Obama's reality. The reality that will let my friends marry whomever the hell they want, that will maybe raise my taxes - but will raise everyone else's too, and the reality that will not only make health care accessible, but let me make all the decisions about my own body - no matter what.
I'm all grown up at 27 - I am willing to put my dreams aside because I know things are busted right now. But as I sit listening to these speeches - I am determined to live in the reality that the President has offered us. With any luck - we'll get back to the dreams soon.
Sometimes I get home earlier that Boyfriend. Earlier enough that it doesn't make sense to start dinner yet. And occasionally I manage to make it home without feeling the heaviness of work that must be done before the sun goes down. On those days I have made it my mission to turn everything off.
I leave my phone and my laptop inside. I take a book and a glass of something delicious out onto the deck and I read. I know this doesn't seem particularly luxurious, but it is my favorite part of my week.
If I am awake 15 hours a day, I probably spend 13 of them staring into the soulless brightness of a screen. And its totally my own fault, I will admit that. Between having a job, looking for a job, and Dance Moms - I find it hard to tear myself away from them.
But for, like, 40 minutes, twice a week - I make a decision to just let it all go. Its wonderful. Its amazing. Its all the adjectives. Four out of five Rachels agree.
So my new goal is to do it more. By the end of the year, it should happen almost every day. Granted- if I am unemployed by that point - it shouldn't be too much of a struggle, but jic - let's enjoy the world beyond the internet.
***bonus points if you can figure out what book I am reading...
1 - I could listen to The Civil Wars forever. They make my brain stop running so fast. There is a soothing to their music that affects me unlike anything else. Perhaps it was because the first time I really listened to them was in a field surrounded by about 4,000 of my closest personal camping friends. Anytime I hear them, I am taken back to the calm and delight I felt that first time.
2 - Lucy Steele is kind of a see you next tuesday. Misunderstood, my balls. She is the worst.