Wednesday, September 23, 2020

My Summer Reads (and a Listen)

 My summer reads have been a bit lighter than my usual fare, and I have to say that I enjoyed them thoroughly. 

The first one was Sex and Vanity, by Kevin Kwan (the Crazy Rich Asians author). It's a romantic story about very rich people, in jet set locations such as Capri and the Hamptons, but it also weaves in a storyline of racism and a satire of status-obsessed snobs. It's a well written book and a delight to read, it could have been slightly shorter, but nevertheless it was the perfect beach read, particularly read on a beach not too far from the Hamptons (but still a world away). I expect this to be made into a rom-com movie. 

The second book was Beach Read by Emily Henry. I loved this one! So fun, like laugh-out-loud fun, and a nicely building romance. Also well written and a delight to read. A perfect COVID-escape. If I had anything to critique about this book, it's the name which is a bit confusing. I will definitely check out future books from Emily Henry. 

The third one was an audio book that I listened to mostly on long walks with my dog Coco. Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I don't know if I would have enjoyed reading the book, it's possible that I wouldn't have, but it was perfect for listening. I guess this book is in the self help category. I didn't pick it because I needed the help, but because it was all over the internet and it popped up as available on my Libby app. I did enjoy listening to it, and it definitely had a good message to be true to yourself, be brave in not conforming to what society or other people expect from you, but living your truth. The focus was on women and the ridiculous expectations on girls and women. Good reminder to listen to your heart, and not let the pressure get to you. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Last Summer Weekend

I have a feeling that last weekend was the last summer weekend. And I'm very happy that we made the most of it by eating al fresco twice. A sunset beach picnic on Friday evening, Saturday breakfast picnic in the park, and then a visit to the local Farm stand. Sunday started with exercise outdoors and ended with a nice take-out meal.  I let the pictures speak... 

We almost joined the yoga class going on behind us, but then decided that we'd have more fun just watching :-)

Saturday's lovely breakfast picnic location

BTW, I'm wearing more Marimekko from the Uniqlo! 

The tomatoes were YUM with some fresh mozzarella, the kale became two dishes: chips and sauteed kale with mushrooms, and the butternut squash was peeled, cut to slices, covered with olive oil and spices and roasted to perfection. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

College Campuses the new virus hotspots

 Yikes! As hard as it is to adjust to college life, doing so in a pandemic is even tougher. And what do you do about classes if you have to quaranteen yourself for two weeks? As a parent, I'm worried about my child's health and exposure to a potentially deadly virus on campus. NY Times published an article this weekend that made my anxiety worse: How Campuses Became the New Covid Hot Spots

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

My Marimekko love

 I've always been a huge fan of Marimekko. Any fellow Finn will understand my affinity to this brand that stands for making the everyday more fun and colorful, and give women clothes that they can move in, are comfortable, and don't make you look like a sex symbol. Marimekko is as far from sexy evening wear as Trump is from Biden. Both are clothes meant to strategically cover our body but in the opposite ends of the sprectrum. With Marimekko clothes comes a certain sense of freedom. To be who you are, to be a little louder, a little braver, to let your personality show a little more. Lately we've been lucky with the Marimekko collections for Uniqlo - so fun, so inexpensive, and pretty decent quality. I've gone a little nuts every time a new collection has dropped, but this dress became my summer favorite. It's so easy to wear, wash (dries super quick and no ironing needed), pack (no wrinkles), and I think it looks cool too. I've been wearing it with my super comfy Fitflops sandals and Staud bag. My only regret is that I didn't snatch this dress up in the other colorway before it sold out. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A New Chapter

Why do baby birds leave the nest before they can fly? 

So that they can learn to fly. 

The dust is now settling on the whirlwind of action of the last few weeks. We've shopped for college, packed for college, taken care of last doctor visits, paper work, financial details, hair and nail appointments, hanging out saying goodbyes, driven 10 hours to university town, set up a daughter in the dorm room of her university, explored the university town (within COVID guidelines) and then driven back home. 

College shopping
College shopping was kind of fun, I have to admit. 

Car was packed to the gills driving down on I-95. 

Our first visit on the campus was a day before move-in. We had heard that the Wake Forest University campus is beautiful, and as we toured the grounds in the evening sunlight that colored the whole campus  golden, it looked like a scene from a movie. The WFU campus is scrupulously clean and maintained with plants and trees that add to the beauty. I was overwhelmed with emotion to see how beautiful the campus is. If I had to leave my baby to be on her own, at least I was leaving her in gorgeous surroundings. 

While we were in Winston-Salem, we heard about another North Carolina University (UNC) that sent all the students back home because of wide-spread (read hundreds) COVID cases. The students were in campus only for a few days. It was unsettling news, obviously. Wake Forest is being strict about their COVID guidelines, but we are not taking anything for granted at this point. One party could lead to an outbreak of high numbers. I'm just hoping and praying that my daughter stays healthy and safe, and will be able to study, whether in campus or from home if they end up sending everyone back home. 

So, a new chapter has begun in our lives. The first baby has flown out of the nest, and that impacts the whole family. I've been feeling a bit blue, but at the same time happy that she has this opportunity to study at a great school. I feel for her too. It's not easy for new college students to leave home amid all this uncertainty, and make new friends when you're supposed to socially distance, and study on mostly online classes (how do you create relationships with professors?), and be on your own in a strange place for the first time. But kids are more resilient that we know, and stronger than they think they are, and they rise up to the challenge. Sending my college student love and light and positive thinking. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

White Shirt Dress

 Everyone has a different threshold of pandemic tolerance. There seem to be the two extremes, i.e. those who will hang out in close proximity to strangers in bars, those who avoid public places and order all groceries online and wipe them with lysol when they arrive, and then most people, who fall somewhere in the middle. My family has been quite careful during the pandemic and we opted to not travel, not invite anyone into our home, and have not been dining out, that is, until last week, when we finally broke down and had dinner in our local bistro. When deciding where to eat the factors were that the place had to have outside seating, the outside seating had to be somewhat attractive, and the food had to be good. I have to admit that I was a little nervous going into a restaurant, but I ended up enjoying it so much. No cooking required, no clean up and no washing dishes. Heaven! To mark this occasion, I wore an outfit that I was hoping was projecting carefree but chic summer vibes: a white shirt dress (it is a no brand dress - it literally has no labels whatsoever), white Staud bag, a black straw hat, Naturalizer snake sandals, Poshmark-procured sun and moon dangly earrings (also no brand), and Hermes bangles. Here I am happy and surprisingly still clean white dress after the dinner. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Books: Sun a Fun Age

 This book reads like a chick lit but goes in deep. On top level it's a contemporary story of two different women and what happens when their lives intersect. But when you look deeper, it's really a commentary on racism, bourgeoisie culture and white privilege, in other words, it is perfect for the NOW. I read this book over a weekend. It's a quick read that hooks you in and keeps you with well nuanced characters and fast pace story line. This is a Reese Witherspoon book club pick, which is a good thing because it created a lot buzz for this book. I've mostly liked everything Witherspoon picks, and same goes here. Such a Fun Age is Kiley Reid's debut book, and I will definitely keep an eye out for other books coming from her.