nerdy girl dates: valentine’s day

In case you’ve been living under a rock and not watching any TV or reading anything online or going to any store, Valentine’s Day is in a few days, people. While I’m generally not a Valentine’s Day fan, I am a romance fan (last year’s faves) and a marketer’s dream, in that I love anything pink, red, heart-shaped, sparkly, and generally over-the-top cute. You make a mini heart-shaped ramekin? I want four. You put hearts all over…well, anything? GIMME. I love celebrating love, but I’m totally not into the roses-chocolate-overpriced-dinner-and-lava-cake thing. I am especially not into enduring any more “Every kiss begins with Kay” commercials. We don’t usually do gifts besides maybe a bag of “thinking of you” candy, but my goal each year is to make our celebration just a little unique. Recently, and I’ll be honest here, it’s been the same old dinner-and-watch-a-movie-on-the-couch kind of night. Nice, and sadly very reflective of me and the husband as a couple, but we pretty much do that every weekend. Not so special.

We are, of course, always last minute about these kinds of things, meaning we can never get a reservation at a restaurant or get tickets to a concert or movie. No biggie, we don’t really want to deal with the crowds anyway, but it means we’re in the aforementioned Valentine’s Day rut. This year V-Day is on a Saturday, meaning there’s a WHOLE DAY to do romantic, mushy, love-y stuff! Here are a few of the fun and nerdy date ideas I’ve been planting in the husband’s mind all week:

-Go to a bookstore and pick out a book or two to exchange. It can be one you’ve loved in the past or one you think they’d love (that of course is also on your reading list…two birds, one book). I know there are also cute bookstore scavenger hunt ideas all over the internets if you’re feeling especially ambitious and cutesy. Finish up with a yummy coffee and start reading!

spin-a-record

-Along the same lines, go to a record store (or a CD store? Was that ever a thing?) together and pick out a few inexpensive oldie-but-goodie selections or some random albums just because you like the art. Spend the night giving them a spin with a bottle of wine.

-A staple: find a fancy new recipe and try to cook it together. Bonus points if you wear aprons and silly hats to make each other laugh. Extra bonus points if it involves the crème brulee torch and cute heart-shaped ramekins.

-And if that gives you a heart attack: order carryout from a nice restaurant and plate it like you made it yourself. Be sure to wear your fancy clothes! (We may or may not do this every year. I hate cooking.)

beer-tasting

-Host a blind beer, wine, or bourbon tasting. Take notes and compete to see who can guess what they’re tasting. This one is especially fun if you’d rather hang in a group, and you get to eat lots of snacks in between tastings!

-Three words: Board game tournament. You can decide the stakes. Wink wink!

-Enjoy a nice meal out…just not dinner. We’ve got the whole day! Use it! Bypass the typical dinner date and go out for breakfast or lunch. I personally LOVE lunch dates. Somehow it feels so like such a treat to enjoy a glass of wine and a slow, relaxing meal with good conversation in the middle of the day. Or stay up late and go out for a nightcap and dessert. What could be more romantic?

-Go on a first date. It’s probably impossible to get dinner reservations at this point, but the bar in a swanky restaurant might just be the best place to have some fun together. Plan to meet separately at a bar and pretend you’re strangers. Have fun deciding who gets to creatively ask, “want to go back to my place?”! (Anyone see when they did this on Modern Family? I love Clive Bixby.)

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Whatever they are, I hope you feel loved!

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sunday brunch

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If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you the mini-breaks in the weather have been so amazing and SUCH a tease. I can’t wait for it to be warm everyday, not 60s one day (yesterday) and 40s and maybe snow the next (today, UGH). I even lifted weights on our deck earlier this week because I was so desperate for sun and couldn’t stand being inside when it was in the 70s. I’m sure the neighbors got a good laugh. And let’s be honest, I reeeeallllly want to go shopping.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that last night I got to see one of my 16 year-old self’s heroes, James Galway. Band geek 4 life! He played one of my favorite songs I ever played, Mozart’s Flute Concerto in D, and was simply breathtaking. Combine the gorgeous music with the beauty of Music Hall and a fantastic dinner out in Over the Rhine and you’ve got my perfect date night!

Speaking of date night…if we were having brunch today, I’d tell you today is the husband’s and my anniversary…sort of. Four years ago we went to the court house and got hitched all shotgun style. Seriously, from deciding to get married to “I do” took about 6 hours. All because I needed health insurance! And you know, that whole love thing. While we don’t really celebrate this anniversary (we think of the one in October when we had an actual wedding as the “real” one), the fact that it’s been four years is blowing my mind. I’m so glad I get to spend everyday with my best friend and can’t wait to see what the next four have in store for us.

If we we’re having brunch today, I’d tell you we still don’t have a mirror in the bathroom. Or a cabinet. The counter clutter is driving me BONKERS. And styling my hair blind is proving to be an exciting adventure (yay sarcasm). I did finally buy a bath rug (this one) and install the vanity cabinet knobs and drawer pulls in a fit of productivity yesterday and their polka dots are adorable. You guys, I just want it to be done so I can move on to the next project. Come on tax refund, just waiting on you!

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I’ve been reading so much YA recently. I need to break this streak badly. Luckily one of my book clubs has picked Lean In and it’s about time I dive in. I’ve read so many conflicting reviews about this book and I can’t wait to talk about it. I doubt I’ll like it as much as I liked Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, but it’s always good to read and ponder the eternal question, “can we have it ‘all?'” (My gut says let’s just get rid of all the “shoulds” please and do whatever is best for ourselves, not some random social standard, mmkay?)

Your turn! What’s going on with you this month?

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sunday brunch

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If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you quite simply, “hi.” Probably following a huge sigh as I sat down. Y’all, this has been a month. Already. In case we aren’t close in real life, here’s a snapshot of the last 15 days or so: One Monday, E rolled over in bed and proceeded to tell me, “My lung just collapsed.” Ok. Nothing new here, it had happened many times before and always healed within a week or so. By Friday he was read to go to the hospital. We didn’t leave for 10 days. A surgery and a few sponge baths and many sleepless nights later. He’s thankfully very much on the mend and is getting better every day, but he’ll still be out of work for another week or two and taking it easy for much longer. I see lots of lazy summer days and friday nights spent with the record player and Redbox movies in our future. All in all, just beyond relieved he’s going to be fine and this will never happen again, thanks to the surgery.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I somehow grew an inch! At 26, I finally went to a primary care doc. Seriously, I haven’t been to a doctor (besides the girly doc and my blood doc) since I went to a pediatrician. That’s crazy! But apparently now I’m 5’5″ and not 5’4″, so I’d consider it a successful appointment. Except for that tetanus shot…got it on Thursday and my arm still hurts. Yes, I’m a wuss.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I’m thinking of starting a new house project. I know, I probably say this every month…but I’m feeling like we’re a little stalled out on the house right now and I need a kickstart. Usually paint serves that purpose just fine! Since E is out of commission, I’m thinking that painting the deck will be postponed until the fall (because, uh, that would be a miserable do-it-myself project), which means until then, I can do what I want inside! I just can’t decide what I want to tackle first: the guest bedroom or the lower level. Let’s be honest, it’ll probably be the guest bedroom. I’m lazy and it’s smaller and doesn’t require projects like new flooring and built-ins. Ha.

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you that I really want to go shopping. It’s not that I have nothing to wear, I just have nothing that I want to wear. I have this image of how I want to dress in my head (and on Pinterest…) and I am realizing that my real-life closet doesn’t match this imaginary one. I guess I get too scared to take risks? Or I am just more causal than I would like to think? Or really it’s just that I don’t have the money to spend (and really won’t after these hospital bills start rolling in)? I don’t know. I’d rather buy workout clothes anyway. If only I could wear workout clothes to the library everyday! Stupid dress code…

If we were having brunch today, I’d tell you I am super pumped that The Newsroom is back tonight! We don’t have HBO anymore so I’ll have to wait to buy it on iTunes or something, but I really love that show. I mean, it’s Aaron Sorkin so of course I love it. Even though it’s no West Wing, I still think it is super entertaining. Much more so than Mad Men was this year. Yuck. I’m pretty sure the themes of this season were, “Pete Campbell is a prick,” and, “Don Draper is a horrible human being,” and, “Poor Sally.” They’ve got some work to do for next season if they want to remain on top. Now I’m just rambling…

Happy Sunday! Enjoy this beautiful sunny day!!!

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nerdy girl reads: american wife

I think I’m a little behind the bandwagon on this book, but I don’t care. I’m going to rec it anyway.

I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant to read American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. It is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, who in all honesty, has never been someone I particularly liked or had a great deal of respect for. But I also didn’t know anything about her except that her name was Laura and she was the First Lady and sort of always looked a little drugged. Sorry if that offended anyone, it was just my very uninformed opinion.

This book was beautiful. I really enjoyed the characterization and the tone of the author. One problem I had is that, like I said before, I know close to nothing about Laura Bush and that made it difficult to judge what was real and what was the imagination of the author. American Wife deals with some pretty serious issues: addiction, abortion, homosexuality, family dynamics…but it manages t do it in a completely relatable way. The character of Alice is a thoughtful and diplomatic woman, able to see many sides of every issue and then form as good a conclusion or decision as possible with the information available.

For me, the most relatable aspect of her character was Alice’s love of reading and her avid consumption of novels. There’s a line in the book about how each novel gives her a temporary filter or new vantage point on her life. I love that idea and see it in myself and my thought processes. When I’m immersed in any fictitious world, I see the real world as a different place and love imagining the world full of whatever characters I’m reading about.

In many reviews I’ve read, people find the ending a bit unsatisfactory. I really liked the ending. I thought it was a complete and thoughtful, and maybe just a little bit sad, description of a woman who didn’t necessarily want the life that was presented before her, but accepted what she could. It may not be a very feminist notion to “hitch yourself” to the life of another, but that’s what marriage is about, no? Joining together and helping each other follow dreams, compromising along the way. Though the supporting the presidency is a pretty big compromise I should think!

Verdict: American Wife is a wonderfully written story and I definitely recommend it!

planning. in every sense of the word.

Planning a wedding is a lot of work, but it’s a fun project to take on. I mean, when else can you sit and ponder flower details and color palettes and shoes and everything frivolous and not feel guilty about it?

As a (relatively) newly engaged girl, I spend a fair amount of time perusing wedding blogs that may or may not pop up new posts, pictures, and creative goodness in my google reader all day long. And while this is great for coming up with ideas for planning the look and feel and details of the wedding, there is a lack of focus on what comes after the wedding.

Like, you know, the marriage?

Why is that? Besides the obvious fact that weddings are usually pretty and have a lot of visual interest to catch blog readers, is it just not that interesting? One site that is good about discussing the life-after-wedding is A Practical Wedding. Not only is it funny, but it really helps put everything into perspective. Sure you’re going to have this great party, but the real point of the day is to bring the bride and groom together and create a new family.

So how does one plan a life with someone when for 20-or-so years they planned life for themselves? What are the steps to creating a partnership that lasts a lifetime?

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, and I hope this doesn’t sound negative or anything like that because I am truly happy to be going through this with Eric and I think our life together will be great once we figure out what it’s going to be. I just wanted to ramble on since most of the big-picture wedding decisions have been made (location? check. bridal party? check. dress? check. photographer? check. florist? check. dj? check.) and now my wedding-crazed brain gets a little reprieve.

Anyone want to share helpful hints? No? Ok, next time will have pictures, I promise …

-kt