Exhausted + Euphoric: I finished The Goldfinch!

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Hello! Happy Tuesday. I’m still in Ohio at the moment, currently typing while eating homemade chocolate chip cookies and sipping Constant Comment tea, having had an utterly leisurely morning (my favorite kind). A little yoga. A little packing. A last bit of reading. Yes, I just finished The Goldfinch this morning, feeling equal parts euphoria and exhaustion, like I’d been up all night at a party (ha! except that rarely happens) and was still digesting hazy 3 a.m. details. I’d been speed reading the hefty hardback all weekend since it’s a library book and due tomorrow, toting it just about everywhere this weekend and even forcing myself to read it in the back seat of cars, which usually makes me f-cking nauseous but I had no time for that excuse telling myself to ‘buck up, Sarah!’, and at lazy hotel lobby free cocktail hours. (<—if you’ve read the book, it’s SO appropriate to read with wine.) 

Right, the drugs and alcohol in this book are intense, no? Geez, reading about how to detox might have sounded more intense though. “I’d worked out how to quit for good, if I wanted to: steep taper, seven day timetable, plenty of loperamide; magnesium supplements and free form amino acids to replenish my burnt-out neurotransmitters; protein powder, electrolyte powder, melatonin (and weed) for sleep as well as various herbal tinctures and potions my fashion intern swore by:, licorice root and milk thistle, nettles and hops and black cumin seed oil, valerian root and skullcap root.”

This makes things ‘better’ (relatively…)? Hmm, wow, whoa.

Have you read it yet? I seemed to be one of the many tearing through the pages; everyone from strangers on the plane to my dentist to my mom are reading The Goldfinch. It’s my first Donna Tartt novel, and her writing is such a treat, her grammar so genius. Gobsmacked I was just over most of her sentence structure alone! And the characters! ALL OF THEM! I want to start calling someone, ‘Potter!’ And I feel like I’m constantly typing like Boris now! Ha! (My mom said she always overuses exclamation points, so maybe now I’ve just turned into mom over the weekend. Wee!!!)

I’ll just jump right in and say I feel mixed about the ending. I’ve spent a good amount of time on the Goodreads thread where folks have chimed in their own two cents on her ending, and it seems to be all over the place: some people loved it; some hated it; I’m still sitting with it.

But the book is such a journey – nearly 800-pages following young Theo Decker (great name) from a 13-year old in New York to his teens in Las Vegas to his late twenties back in New York with a crazy stop in Amsterdam, feeling sort of like Dickens meets Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas with a twinge of Great Gatsby and something like The Thomas Crown Affair (perhaps?) – that it became less about THE END for me. It took me until page 337 to get addicted, but then I couldn’t put it down.

Through it all, I was touched by the bittersweet love his mom had for him. “And though it’s a bleak thing to admit all these years later, still I’ve never met anyone who made me feel loved the way she did.” And the entire novel, I was holding my breath that someone would come forward, emerge, and love Theo like her. Not unrequited love or unfulfilling love, but a kind of unconditional love. (Perhaps Hobie…or Boris, in his own weird way.) Or that maybe, instead, Theo would just start to love himself?

Have yet to chat with anyone who has finished the novel (mom’s only halfway through). Thoughts?! Also, what should I read next? The Secret History? Something lighter? I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for most of the spring I’ve been on a total historical romance smut bender: Amanda Quick, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacLean, etc etc etc, blah blah blah, hahahah! But I’m flying out tonight and need a quick fix. Dad just gave me an old paperback of Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher for the plane because I’ve never actually read a King novel before, but he’s the one who reviewed The Goldfinch for the New York Times, so I set aside my fear of nightmares and said, “Hmm, okay!” I’ll let you know how it goes.

Posted in GOOD READS | 4 Comments

SUMMER THROWBACK: long-lost 2011 pics & 5 favorite old songs!

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Thursday 6/23/11
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Merlin {working name}: Day 2

Oooh, it’s about to be the beginning of summer. I love this moment. I found some long-forgotten pictures from an album titled “summer 2011″ on my computer. I had fun looking through them – BABY MERLIN! – so how could I not resist posting random pics from my favorite season? Also, sharing some of my favorite songs that remind me of summer at the moment. All very ancient. Please tell me new (or old!) faves!

1. My Morning Jacket – Wordless Chorus (2006)

Once it’s warm enough to roll down the windows – a moment to savor for sure – I like to crank this song.

 

2. Aphex Twin – Film (1997)

I had this song on an old CD from over a decade ago, burned for a long road trip out west. Again, it reminds me an open road and the car windows down and bursts of total freedom.

 

3. Portishead – Glory Box (1994)

I think this is the sexiest song, maybe ever, but it might be a matter of taste. My friend Jen came over last week and was like, “What……are you listening to?”

 

4. Jeff Buckley – Everybody Here Wants You (1998)

In Louisiana, Laney and I were reminiscing about Jeff Buckley. So beautiful. Such a beautiful voice. THIS is my favorite Jeff Buckley song.

 

5. Tom Petty – You Got Lucky (1982)

I’ve been stalking Tom Petty’s website to see if they are releasing any more summer tour dates….alas, not so lucky….but I remain hopeful!

 

P.S. I did sunrise yoga again this morning! I’m giving myself a virtual pat-on-the-back. Summer goal: make this a routine.

P.P.S. I’m flying to Ohio tomorrow for a long weekend and I’m so excited to see my family!

 

 

Posted in LIFE | 2 Comments

BAR NIBBLES.

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Silly me! I didn’t mention what I ate over the weekend. Well, I started the weekend with an I’m-going-to-stay-home-and-read-and-clean attitude because I was away last weekend in the city that never sleeps and I’m trying to finish The Goldfinch, but ended up going out both nights in Burlington. The nights started out with I’m-just-going-to-drink-water but ended with cheese platters, fries with ketchup (very important!), wine, and whiskey. HA! Peer pressure. And I had the absolute best of intentions. Alas, that cheese plate had one of my new favorites: Spring Brook Farm’s Tarentaise Vermont Alpine Cheese! I highly highly highly recommend it.

Posted in EATS | 1 Comment

MY FIRST BIKE RIDE OF 2014!

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This weekend I got my bike out and went on my first bike ride of 2014. FELT SO GOOD! I biked down to Burlington’s waterfront, which was packed with people enjoying the sunny afternoon, and then went to a 90-min yoga flow class, before biking back home. Later that night I ate chocolate chip cookies and watched The Little Mermaid with friends. I haven’t seen that Disney flick in forever and the music is too cute in it. But we realized that all the Disney movie characters have the biggest eyes, and last night we found this Buzzfeed article “If Disney Princesses Had Normal-Sized Eyes.” HILARIOUS.

Posted in WEEKEND | Leave a comment

PIZZA BUNK BEDS!

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I was out at Barrio Bakery in Burlington tonight for pizza with friends, and the singer-songwriter who was performing called the stands “pizza bunk beds”! I cracked up and snapped a picture. I also like the shape (logs?) of the pizzas at Barrio. And I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting pizza’d out. I’ve eaten it for THREE other meals this week AND I’m having it tomorrow for a student lunch. Yikes.

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JAZZ FEST WEEKEND: 15 highlights from Louisiana!

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Well, it altogether went WAY.TOO.FAST!

It took forever to fly down there and I forgot my headphones, but I had the 800-page Goldfinch to keep me company. I’m only about a quarter of the way through it. (I found 60 percent off Bose noise-canceling headphones at Target in Baton Rouge for the flight home….mind blown….I love them! So I listened to music – Arcade Fire – instead of reading all the way home.) The beginning is so good, yet so sad though. Be forewarned.

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Per usual, Louisiana did not disappoint in terms of good times, good friends, good food, good weather, and good music. I’m going to attempt (hopefully, but unlikely….) to get up in a few hours for sunrise yoga, but wanted to share some highlights from my AMAZING weekend.

1. I flew into Baton Rouge and got to immediately see Laney and BABY ALICE for the first time! She’s 4-months old and such a peach, like a real life Cabbage Patch doll!

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2. Then we headed to New Orleans for the weekend for Jazz Fest. I was reunited with my favorite balcony ever. I could come to New Orleans and just sit here all week!

Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
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3. Arcade Fire – LIVE – incredible. That band was on my concert bucket list and did NOT disappoint. We also saw Bruce Springsteen on Saturday night, but we were so far away that the sound wasn’t great.

Jazz Fest 2014
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Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014

4. The Gospel, Jazz and Blues tents at Jazz Fest. Totally awe-inspiring.

Jazz Fest 2014

5. Jazz Fest food did not disappoint. I tried crawfish monica, crawfish strudel, crawfish bread, chocolate ice cream, and rose mint tea. Mmmm!

Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014

6. Cute and funky Jazz Fest neighborhood photo booth signs.

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7. Angelo Brocatto. I love this little place in the French Quarter. We’d pick up almond croissants and coffee in the morning, but they also make the cutest pastries.

Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014

8. Bacchanal, essentially a backyard turned wine and music venue.

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(Although, I don’t recommend trying to use self-tanner post wine & cheese! Ooof!)

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9. The Green Goddess. Tiny, funky restaurant tucked in an alley with fabulous food.

Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Citrus salad with candied pecans.

Jazz Fest 2014
Excuse the crazy brightness – we were sitting outside soaking up the rays. Acadian Country Breakfast! Two sweet potato biscuits stuffed with pan fried boudin patties served with a side of truffle grits, house made pepper jelly and Steen’s cane syrup.

Jazz Fest 2014
Brandied apple compote and chèvre stuffed inside a Dong Phuong roll topped with bruléed red wine sugar, served with a red wine syrup.

10. Real street musicians.

Jazz Fest 2014

11. Sleeping cats in store windows.

Jazz Fest 2014

12. New Orleans city views.

Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014
Jazz Fest 2014

13. Blue skies, no clouds. Yes, please.

Jazz Fest 2014

14. Bikes! Everyone cycles around the city.

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15. Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain. Laney and I both tried out Lovesick and it stayed on at festivals and all day flights. A keeper!

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Great weekend –> can’t wait to plan my next trip down South:)

Posted in TRAVELS, WEEKEND | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

SUNSHINE HERE I COME.

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So happy:)

Posted in LIFE | 1 Comment