Necessary blooms

Flowers in vase

I’ve needed fresh flowers to get through this interminable winter.

Months ago I stumbled across a bulging bouquet of carnations for $2 at Safeway; they were perkily peeking from my shopping cart before you could count to three. The pink blooms wound up in my mail organizer and in vases around the living room; there were so many — an embarrassment of flowers — that I crafted arrangements for many spots in our apartment.

I loved them. They were so happy, so joyful. But like all blossoms, well . . . they withered, shedding all over the carpet. They died.

Our place has been far less welcoming since then.

The days of my $2 flowers are long gone, especially in the cold. It snowed again yesterday. Every time we stop by the grocery store, I peek at the bundles of colorful stems in pots near the entrance — but they’re $12 or $15 or $20 apiece. As we get closer to closing on our new home, budgeting takes on greater importance. I clip lots of coupons. We’ve cut out (most) frivolous spending, and I couldn’t justify spending $10 on something that was going to wilt in less than a week. Better to buy meat and bread, you know?

But I’m learning that beauty is worth a little investment. Some splurges are simply good for the soul. After checking the flowers at Giant for the fourth straight week to learn the prices had finally dropped to $6, I cracked. Caved. Was all too happy to give in.

Everything is brown and gray and covered in the lingering vestiges of this cold, but I can see it turning around again. We placed bouquets of royal purple in our windowsill and the hallway, and I smile at the blooms every morning.

Winter’s thaw at last.


I feel happy

Walking out of work last night, I looked up at that more-vivid-than-life tree and thought: I feel so happy.

The low-lying fog wrapped around my brain seems to have dissipated. I’m thinking it’s thanks to the real-deal explosion of spring: everything is so bright and fresh and colorful, it seems I’ve left the sepia-toned world and stepped straight into Technicolor. The world feels good again. It felt rough for so long.

Spencer is home again! He was out west for almost two weeks for work, and I don’t believe we’ve ever been separated that long. I missed his smile and very presence, for sure — but more than anything, I missed the little emails we exchange throughout the day. I didn’t realize how important it is for me to share the tedious details of my afternoons — random stuff only a fiance would care about, like what Weight Watchers-approved item I had for lunch. And for me to know all the random, silly stuff he’s up to. Our life is an ongoing, run-on sentence. Not hearing from him too often was . . . strange. He’s my biggest fan, supporter, confidante. Sometimes I still get that “pinch me” feeling . . . you know, pinch me and I’ll wake up, still wandering aimlessly in my own life.

Thank goodness I’m not.

My sister got a job! Oh, my sweet sister: the hardest-working twenty-something I know. She’s now working for a production company in Washington, D.C., which means she gets to go downtown every day . . . and I get to bug her for the haps on what’s going on in the city. She’s still working in her field, which seemed up in the air — and on just her second day of work (!), she attended a press conference at the White House . . . where she totally saw the president. Wow. As her own wedding day approaches, this job has brought such relief, I can’t even tell you. I hadn’t discussed that situation here or elsewhere because it wasn’t my story to share, but it weighed heavily on all of us. Thank God.

Wedding planning is coming along! Most of the major items are in place, and Spence and I are working on the details of flowers, tuxes, etc. I’m getting ready to order our invitations, which is so exciting and scary . . . I am a stationery freak, so making a final decision is hard for me. I guess I was waiting for a “This is The One” moment with my invites? I don’t know. Like, this is The Man. And this is The Dress. And this is The Venue. But I’m so undecided about paper, of all things, but I think it’s time to just make a decision. I’m sure they’ll be lovely. (And yep, ordering from Wedding Paper Divas. Everything else I’ve looked at has been EX-PEN-SIVE. Like all things bridal.)

Hanson is coming in concert! After they released information on their world tour, a D.C. area concert was conspicuously absent from the schedule. Thankfully we got word that a local show on June 15 had been added, so I’ll be nabbing tickets for Kate and me. This will be our tenth or eleventh show? I don’t know. I lost track long ago. But if Hanson’s comin’, we’ll be attendin’. Laws of physics and such.

Our friends are getting married tomorrow! I haven’t attended a wedding in years, and the weather here in Maryland is supposed to be perfect this weekend. We’ll be outdoors at a restored barn, and I am just so ridiculously happy for Bethany and Mike. They’re such a sweet couple, and it’s so exciting for the first of our three weddings to arrive! Bethany got engaged two months before Katie and me, and we’ve been doing lots of planning together. Time to find a fun dress and get out there!

I’m back on a reading kick! After working through a slump in the winter, I managed to read six books in April (and all good ones). I’m halfway through Jen Lancaster’s The Tao of Martha right now, and Jen is just my hero. I doubt it’ll be on par with Such a Pretty Fat or Bitter is the New Black, but it’s definitely a fun read.

I’m still losing weight! Down 16.6 lbs and going strong. Another .4 lbs. and I’m officially at my 10 percent weight loss goal for Weight Watchers. I want to lose another 7 lbs. to be at my personal goal, and then I’m going to start maintaining before the wedding. Feels so great.

Hope everyone has a very pleasant weekend!

Shade of the magnolia

Magnolia in bloom

Well, it finally happened.

Summer is here!

Just . . . kidding? I mean, it was 90 degrees in Maryland yesterday — and snowing three weeks ago. So, basically, I don’t know what’s going on anymore. It’s been in the 80s all week, and I guess tomorrow it’s due to “cool down” into the 70s.

I know I shouldn’t complain — and I’m not, really. I mean, I’ll take the magnolias in bloom over sleet-covered roads any day. I’m just so thankful spring is here.

We went out to Georgetown on Saturday, wandering with our photography club, and I thought about how good it feels to just be . . . out. Walking around. Since losing weight, I just feel lighter — lighter in body, lighter in spirit. I didn’t worry about how far we were walking and whether we could weave our way back, because I knew I could do it. That my body could handle it. That it was a challenge I could accept.

So we walked down to this tree on M Street, near a tiny museum, and our large group of friends and photographers stood in its shade. We spotted it from down the street — the only thing really in bloom back then, a whole five days ago — and waited until the crowds began to break. Tourists and locals flocked to the magnolia, determined to capture their family beneath its weighty branches, and it took a bit for a clear shot — but I got it.

And it felt like a fresh beginning. Spring means beginning again.

Egg-citing traditions

Dying eggs

A friend and I were reminiscing about dying Easter eggs yesterday.

“Remember the vinegar?” he asked. “That terrible smell?”

“And you’d drop the little colored pellets in,” I added, “and watch the colors burst to life!”

(Yes, I totally say things like “burst to life” in real life. It’s . . . I guess my thing.)

One of the things I miss most about having little ones around is doing all the fun kid stuff you enjoy around holidays — like, you know, hiding Easter eggs. Since the next kiddos in our immediate group will probably be mine (eek), I’m left as the only 27-year-old who still likes fresh Crayons, playing Uno and writing on eggs with waxed crayons . . . then dipping them in pink. To see the secret message, you know?

Initials egg

Though I don’t think my sister and I will have time to dye eggs this year, we did have fun with it last spring — and man, things have gone high-tech since I was a kid! The inexpensive pellet-and-vinegar kits are still around, yes, but there are just so many . . . options. Like the one we wound up with: a melted-wax marbling set that created some pretty cool combinations, if I may say so.


Colored eggs

I still appreciate the simple things . . .

. . . and may it always be so.

Happy Easter!

Winter’s final farewell. I hope.

Trees and snow

Winter will just not. take. a hint. this year.

I mean, seriously: I’m done. The slush and the rain and the ice and the dull, depressing days? Finished. Ready for my cherry blossoms. In need of serious sunshine.

And yesterday’s unexpected snow covering the first hint of a bloom? Pretty disheartening.

Also, yesterday I cut my finger badly . . . with one of my own nails, which I’ve allowed to grow long in an attempt to be stylish. They look pretty, but now they hurt. This is why I can’t have nice things.

Also also, Daylight Savings Time really kicked my rump this year. More than a week later, I still feel tired and sluggish. Just generally out-of-it. In desperate need of caffeine, you know?

Hence this, um, weird half-post.

Happy Tuesday!