Monday, November 22, 2010

Artist Santiago Michalek

So, we have some pretty awesome friends. One is Santiago Michalek, a fantastic painter based in Utah. Houston and Santiago used to play together in a band, but I don't think they ever got around to drawing or painting together, which is a real shame.

Santiago is pursuing a really brilliant marketing strategy. He's getting all of his friends to advertise for him, and in exchange, they have a crack at winning one of his paintings. So here we are, using our own blog to promote his work, because we really want one.

Take a look at his work on his website, visit his blog, and find out how you can win an original Michalek oil painting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Living in New York City has proven to be an incredible experience. Everything is so different from what we know and feel familiar with. Life is more fast-paced, diversity is all around, and the opportunity to grow is everywhere.

One such opportunity presented itself to us today on the 9th anniversary of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center right here in the city. Megan and I, for the first time since moving here, took time just to walk around Ground Zero, remember, and reflect on that tragic event. Being there in person makes all of it seem very real; not just a picture on a TV screen, but something that directly impacted the lives of so many who cased the grounds along side us tonight.

The vastness of the site is staggering. In the dark, it is a massive, gaping void that punctures the New York skyline. A black hole among a cluster of stars. There is something so unsettling about it, so out of place, like the feeling of a phantom limb. It's a space you know that should be filled, but refuses to be covered up. It is a deafening silence that drowns out the passing cars and the subway trains; the tired feet and the nervous whispers; the mournful trumpet call and the muffled sobs of those nearby.

But after reflecting on the pain of the place, we also marveled at the miracle of the human spirit and its ability to cope, to move on. The area now seems just as busy as any other in the city. People learn to cope. We heal, somehow, and make due with what life has given us. The fear subsides, and although it still lingers—especially in the moments when we confront it—we make the choice to keep living our lives anyway. It's incredible, really, when you take the time to think about it.

I use "we" as though I was there when it happened. I was far away, safe and sound, watching events unfold on a television set from the comfort of a high school classroom. I didn't understand the full import of what was happening at the time. And admittedly, I still don't, and don't think I ever will. But tonight, standing in the dark near ground zero, I think I caught a glimmer, the smallest sliver, of what 9/11 truly cost, and what it means today.

So here are my thoughts. Let's mourn. Let's remember what happened, remember the pain and the suffering of a nation stricken with grief. Remember the fear we all felt after the towers fell. And after all of that, let's celebrate life. Let's go on living our lives the best we can and let's not let that fear stop us from doing good. Let's fill up those parking meters when we can; let's pick up some trash on the subway car; let's volunteer at a shelter or in a classroom; let's for once just listen to what others have to tell us instead of arguing our point; and let's let a customer purchase a large shake and split it into two smalls, one chocolate and one vanilla (this last one happened to us tonight at McDonald's).

And let's remember what this great nation is all about:

E pluribus, unum.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Houston's Birthday!

So this post is a little late, but Houston had his 26th birthday on August 17th and we had such a fun day! When Houston and I celebrate, our favorite thing to do is to make no plans at all. We like to play it by ear and just do whatever we feel like. We have found that when we make plans, things often don't go as planned and then we are stressed out and that is no fun. So, when we finished at work we decided to go check out a store we had been hearing about called Uniqlo. This store is awesome, definitely a new favorite of ours. The store here in New York is apparently the only one in the states, so if you want to check it out come visit us and I will take you there. We did some shopping there and got Houston some new clothes, in which he looked very handsome. Then we decided to walk around and find a new restaurant where we could have dinner. We were in Soho, which is a great area for eating, shopping, exploring you name it. We love it down there. Anyway, we came across the cutest restaurant called Epistrophy; picture Anthropologie meets little Italian cafe. Beautiful. The atmosphere was so charming and the decor was fabulous. Also, I ordered some fantastic lasagna, which we ended up sharing because it was so yummy (Houston's chicken wasn't bad either). We loved this little place and we were glad we decided to be adventurous and find something new.

The inside of the restaurant. I love the exposed brick with the beautiful natural wood tables and the great windows.

Some of the decor.

Our cute little oil and vinegar.

Here was our dinner. I love those mismatched plates.

This was the check. I squealed when they brought it to us. Cutest check in the whole world.

After we ate we spent the rest of the night walking around Soho and stopping into any store that caught our eye. Mostly it was just nice to relax and talk and forget about everything else. We have so much fun together. I am so lucky. Love that man.

Happy Birthday Houston!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Anniversary and Other Fantastic Times

So, though Megan and I celebrated our second anniversary of our marriage last month on the 18th, we're just getting around to posting about it right now. I think a month later is making progress though…we used to take at least four months to blog about something after it happened.

For our anniversary, since we're dirt poor and were, at the time, jobless, we decided to keep things on the DL. We spent the day doing exactly what we wanted, which was to say, not much of anything in particular! We enjoyed a picnic in Central Park, a free performance of Much Ado About Nothing at Battery Park, and then took the (free) ferry to Staten Island because we heard there were some great views. All in all, a great day. Super relaxing and slow-paced. Just the way we like it.

My sisters, Sarai and Riley, came to visit us shortly after for a couple of weeks. It was so much fun! They are a blast and we all had some good times: munched on some corn, had some pizza, and ate lots of cereal. We miss you guys already! Come back to us!

Also, since our last post, a major development: we both got jobs! But since it's a little embarrassing to mention where exactly we are working, we'll just drop a hint now and work our way up to it. Here's a hint: brown sugar cinnamon.

Until next post!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rhode Island

My Aunt Rosemary called me a couple weeks ago and invited me out to Newport, RI. She, Uncle Doug and Aunt Marti were spending a week there touring all the Mansions. These mansions (or summer cottages as the were referred to by their former owners) were incredible! Here are some pictures of them. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us take any pictures of the interiors, so these will have to do.

First, Chatteau-sur-Mer (Chatteau by the sea). This French villa was built in 1852 for William Shepard Wetmore, one of the few who used his mansion in Newport year-round.

This amazing tree is in the front yard. It is a Weeping Beech, my favorite. Houston proposed to me under one of these. How romantic.

In this picture you can see where one of the branches forms a circle. These trees do all kinds of crazy things. Check one out if you ever get the chance, they are incredible.

Next, Marble House. "Summer Cottage" of William and Alva Vanderbilt. The couple only spent 3 short summers here! This place cost $11 million to build, $7 million of that was spent on 500,000 cubic feet of marble!

Alva Vanderbuilt just happens to be the woman who started the Women's Suffrage movement. Any of you that can remember the scene from Mary Poppins where Mrs. Banks is marching around the house singing "Votes for Women!", you have this woman to thank for it. We were fortunate enough to have Uncle Doug grace us with a daily performance of this song. It was wonderful waking up to him singing, "Though we adore men individually, we believe that as a group they're rather stupid..."

Finally, The Breakers. This Mansion was by far my favorite. The grandest and most beautiful of them all. This was a summer home to Cornelius Vanderbuilt II. This place is 65,000 sq. feet, has 70 bedrooms, 20 bathrooms and if someone were to build this sucker today, it would set them back approximately $150 million!

This is the children's "play house", it is adorable and complete with a full kitchen. I wouldn't mind living here myself.

We also did a beautiful sunset cruise.

Here is all of us steering the yacht.

And the sunset.

I couldn't leave this out of my post. This lovely shower curtain was definitely the highlight of our suite. Rosemary and I were lucky enough to get the room with this bathroom. Needless to say, Doug and Marti were very jealous.

I had such a great weekend with Rosemary, Doug and Marti. Thank you so much for inviting me out there! It was magical and I loved every minute! And thank you to my wonderful husband who let me go have a vacation, while he spent a lonely weekend in the city. You guys are the best!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hark, a Post!

What's this? An actual blog post from Megan and Houston? Could it be true?

It is true! We are posting once again! And for how long, who can say? Once or twice before we fall off the grid again? Maybe! But for now, you may relish in the fact that we are actually adding some real, substantial content.

NYC! We're actually here and we actually have an apartment. And what's more, it's not completely infested with cockroaches! It's actually a very nice place, and a bit more spacious than we were anticipating—but to put that into context, we were anticipating a 200 sq. ft. studio apartment with no windows and a shared bathroom. Well, not quite that bad, but we were anticipating less than what we got.

So here are some pictures to commemorate the occasion. Not the best photography in the world, but we kind of forgot to take pictures during the day, so the light wasn't great. Anyway, you get the picture. This is what our place is like.

We spend most of our days looking for jobs online, getting to know the neighborhood, looking for jobs, finding great deals for furniture on craigslist, looking for jobs, various errands, and looking for jobs. Oh, and we catch the occasional world cup game online, too (go USA!).

We're living very far north on Manhattan Island, in a place called Fort Washington, but since most don't know the place, we tell them we live in Inwood…or Washington Heights. See, we live right in between both, so we can tell people either. If we want to sound a little "financially secure", we say Inwood. If people are talking about the new smash-hit musical, The Heights, we tell them we live in Washington Heights—the neighborhood the musical is based on—so we can sound really hip.

For everyone else who doesn't live in New York, we just tell them we live in The Big Apple, and we think we sound pretty awesome.

Though we're having a great time here, we miss you all a whole lot and want all of you to come out to visit us sometime soon. Not all at once, because we wouldn't be able to fit you, but one or two at a time would be awesome. And if you do all decide to come together, I'm sure you'll fit in great on the curb outside our apartment building, along with the ferrel cats and the blaring Dominican pop music from the pimped-out cars screaming down our narrow street.