Cruise shots

We arrived back on dry land this morning, and I'm still processing our vacation (such fun!). The day has gotten away from me slightly, but here's a little sneak peek at some of my pictures from the trip. To see them larger, click on any picture.

More to come, I promise. Hope your week is off to a good start!

All photos by me except the dolphin shots, which we paid an exorbitant price to use however we choose.

Happy weekend!

My lovelies, what are your plans for the weekend? Can you believe we've already gotten through the first month of 2012? It's going so fast! I'm currently having a "Fun Day at Sea," but I couldn't leave you without some link love for your weekend:

I'm enjoying Ingrid Michaelson's new album.

This is truly horrifying.

Our wedding was featured on another German wedding blog! The Germans are particularly fascinated that I didn't carry a bouquet—shocking!

One of these days I'll get some things up on the walls of our house. This is inspirational.

Currently obsessed with this chair. I've even ordered fabric swatches!

And a gratuitous picture of my adorable Bossy Cat:

Hope your weekend is full of adventure, sunshine, and all-you-can-eat buffets! xoxo LMB

Mostly I'm excited for the towel animals

Friends, how is winter treating you? Is it cold where you are? Did you have to scrape ice off your windshield this morning? Are you bundled up in coats and scarves whenever you leave the house? Did you run a half-marathon in 20° icy conditions this weekend, like My Gay Husband did?

Probably the last thing you want to hear about is the cruise I'm going on tomorrow, sorry. But I'm going on a cruise! Tomorrow! Legs McGee and I are setting sail for warmer climes, and by the time we get back Monday morning I intend to be freckled and thoroughly relaxed.

Having never been on a cruise, I have very little idea what to expect, but a short trip out of Galveston with a guaranteed fun companion seems like the perfect way to cruise for the first time. I can't wait to tell you all about it when I get back.

In the meantime, stay warm wherever you are! And if you've got any, send me tips for making the most of life onboard the ship!

#12. Check.

I do not like crowds, so I do my best to avoid them. When forced to be in a large group of people, I am overly fond of mumbling "I hate people" under my breath and not making eye contact. I would rather eat glass than be in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Or any other day, for that matter.

Also, I don't like being uncomfortable. I get cold easily, and I don't like being cold. Or being hot. Or getting wet.

And yet.

Saturday morning at 8:00 when the starter pistol fired at my very first 5K race, as I surged forward in the humid mist, surrounded by several thousand other runners in close proximity, I felt exhilarated more than anything.  CM was at my side (Legs McGee sprinted on ahead—she is speedy), and even though I was nervous I knew I was ready. So we ran the race, and finished it. I had only one near-meltdown close to the finish line (note to self: look at the course before the race so you know what to expect). My time was a respectable 30:11. And even though the weather was turning me into a sweaty mess (see below), and the fast people were pushing by me, and the slow(er) people were getting in my way, I enjoyed myself. Enough to want to do it again, even. So this morning CM and I started training to run 10K, something I could not have imagined only a couple months ago.

I will say, though, that even without that race-inspired adrenaline rush, for my money there is no better way to run than just the two of us, on our neighborhood path, on a crisp 60° morning.

I think I'll keep doing that.

12. Run a race. Finish it.

Happy weekend!

My dears, what fantastic things do you have planned for the weekend? Lazy days in pjs? Productive errand-running? My weekend is jam-packed: my very first 5K race tomorrow morning(!), the HD broadcast of Enchanted Island (I'll be at my local movie theatre eating popcorn), and crossing off another Bossy List item (more to come on that). CM doesn't get a free day this week, but I'm in denial about that and making lots of plans anyway.

Some linky goodness for your Friday:

Do you think my wardrobe could handle another bicycle dress? Bear in mind that I do not currently own a bicycle.


I'm trying not to get overexcited about this. I am failing.

This makes me proud of my adopted hometown.

This book arrived today. Can't wait to start cooking from it!

Look at this pretty girl. Not sure why I would ever leave the house.

Hope your weekend is full of new challenges, dinner parties, and belly laughs! xoxo LMB

Real Housewife of Houston

At this point it seems crazy that I worried about not having enough to do while I was here, that the time would be too long. I'm fully ensconced in our at-home routine now, and I can't believe it's only a couple weeks until I have to leave again. What exactly have I been doing with my time, you ask? How have I been housewifeing it up? Here's how.

  • Making a concerted effort to see all 25 of Entertainment Weekly's 25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night. Before Oscar night. 12 down...
  • Fattening up CM's co-workers with baked goods.
  • Reading in the tub.
  • Tuesday night tap class (srsly).
  • Watching any and all BBC crime dramas on instant Netflix. (Luther, anyone?)
  • Braising meat.
  • Obsessing over jobs for next season.
  • Snuggling my kitten.
  • Contemplating hanging things on the walls. Only contemplating, unfortunately.
  • Zoo dates with my friends' kids.
  • Honing (get it?) my knife skills.
  • Racking up morning run mileage (my first race is Saturday!!).
I could get used to this...

Happy MLK Jr Weekend!

Happy long weekend, folks (well, those of you with normal jobs anyway)! What are you up to? We're having a date night in tonight, one of CM's last free evenings for a long time. I'm cooking and we're going to watch Moneyball. This weekend Houston is hosting the marathon Olympic trials on Saturday, and a friend of ours is running the Houston Marathon on Sunday. I'm hoping to see some of both to get inspired.

While I'm ogling runners, here are some links for your weekend:

In honor of the holiday, check out these gorgeous photos of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

We're supposed to be on a diet, but I made these this afternoon. The brown butter makes them taste sort of like caramel. I'll be sending those to work with CM tomorrow—can't keep them in the house!

I'm trying to decide between this and this for our kitchen. I'd hate to be too matchy-matchy with our Eiffel tower.

Any fabulous arts admin types looking for a summer gig? You should be so lucky.

I'm officially a convert to Chrome, and not only because it hasn't mysteriously lost all my bookmarks (I'm looking at you, Firefox). Try it!

This is what's happening at our house, pretty much all the time:

Here's wishing you a weekend full of inspiration, movie nights, and snuggly kitties! xoxo LMB

A little bit of the USA in Vienna

Our wedding was featured yesterday on a German wedding blog. It's making me think about our beautiful wedding day, just over 6 months ago.


Photo by the fabulous Pink Pixel

Happy weekend!

Friends, what are you up to on this first weekend of the year? CameraMan is going out of town for work, so the Bossy Cat and I will be on our own to entertain ourselves. I'm making plans: a dinner party tonight, some quality Shelby time tomorrow (she'll be 3 this year!), and a 30-minute run on Sunday (without CM—we'll see how that goes).

Some links for  your Friday:

The Bossy Folks introduced me to this. If you come to our house any time in the next month, we will probably make you watch it.

I love this! So true—#24 especially made me laugh. (via @rahree)

Now that I'm running, I can eat whatever I want, right? Well, I want this.

Because I wasn't missing Vienna enough. Thanks a lot, NY Times.

I wish these people were our friends.

I took this picture at the zoo this week:

Remind you of anyone??

Here's hoping your weekend is full of sunshine, clementines, and cashmere! xoxo LMB

Photos by LMB

Channel your inner dog

For the past few weeks CM and I have been running 4 days a week. We're in the final week of a Couch to 5K type training plan (shhh…don't tell CM it's from Women's Health), so by Sunday we should be able to run 30 minutes at a time. It's been ages since I stuck to an exercise routine of any kind for this long, and I've surprised myself by how much I'm enjoying it.

In the past when I've spent any time running I've either done it on a treadmill while watching TV or outside while listening to some kind of upbeat iPod mix. My goal has always been to distract myself and to drown out the constant voice in my head telling me how easy it would be just to stop running. Not this time. CM and I run together, outside (there's an incredible path right around the corner from our house), without music. Aside from the occasional chitchat, we hear nothing but the soothing Nike+ updates every 5 minutes.

It's unexpectedly peaceful, actually. Turns out, running is easier for me without all those distractions. I feel much more in tune with my body and my breathing, and I find that my mind does some automatic problem-solving while I'm running.

Which is not to say that I'm finding it EASY, exactly. As of today, we're up to running 22 minutes without a break, and it's still definitely a challenge for me. Luckily, CM seems to always know exactly when I need a quick "Keep it up!" or "You're doing great!"—it's good to have my own personal cheerleader running next to me.

We're starting to get familiar with the neighborhood dog owners, who besides a few fellow joggers are generally the only other people out on the path at 7:30am. Some are simply walking their dogs, but we've seen several dogs running ahead of their jogging (and in one case rollerblading!) owners. Nobody in the world is as happy as a city-dwelling dog out for a run.

This morning during our warm-up walk, we saw one of these ecstatic running dogs, tongue out, ears flapping. "What we need to do," said CM, "is to channel our inner dog whenever we're feeling grumpy about being out here running."

So my new dog-inspired running mantra goes a little something like this:

I am so LUCKY to be RUNNING outside! I get to RUN today! RUNNING is my favorite thing! I love RUNNING! Look at me RUNNING!

This morning, whenever I felt my energy flagging, I thought of those dogs (or better yet, saw another one) and instantly felt better. Ask me again when I'm attempting longer distances, but for now, it's working. After our 22 minutes were up and we were cooling down with the walk home, CM turned to me and said, "Thank you for taking me on a run today."

I feel like we may have hit upon the meaning of life here. Channel your inner dog, people.

Photo via Pixdaus

What I did last year (when I wasn't watching Downton Abbey)

As an experiment, in 2011 I tracked (in an Excel spreadsheet) every performance I attended, excepting the ones I worked. I recorded what I saw, where I saw it, and with whom, with a few little notes about cast, director, etc. Which is how I know that in 2011 I saw 16 movies, 4 Broadway plays, 2 orchestra concerts, 5 recitals, 1 jazz concert, 1 ballet performance, and 17 operas. SEVENTEEN OPERAS! Then, because I'm nerdy like that, I had to go back and figure out how many opera performances I attended in the line of duty, and it turns out it's 25. That means that all told I saw 42 opera performances last year. That is a lot of opera, particularly since I (mostly) took the summer off.

I'm back to tracking again this year (with one movie already under my belt). It's an enlightening picture of a year in my life, and I imagine I'll enjoy looking back at it some years from now.

My favorite performances of 2011, in chronological order:

February 4, 2011: Dudamel conducting Mahler 9 with the LA Philharmonic in the Musikverein

April 1, 2011: Jerusalem on Broadway starring the incredible Mark Rylance

May 21, 2011: Bridesmaids with Legs McGee, where we snuck Chick-fil-A into the theater

July 21, 2011: Traviata in the Arena di Verona on the last night of our honeymoon

November 13, 2011: American Ballet Theatre at City Center with The Wise Soprano—the perfect palate cleanser after weeks of Mozart and Handel

November 26, 2011: Satyagraha at the Met (BEST. THING. EVER.) with CM

December 5, 2011: Sleep No More

For 2012: more performances outside of Lincoln Center, more movies by myself, more non-opera date nights with CM. I can't wait.

What have been your recent faves?

Photo by LMB

Buenos dias, 2012!

Tradition dictates that if we're together on New Year's Eve we stay home, play a drinking game while watching a movie, kiss at midnight, and toast to the year to come. This year we added Mama and Papa Bossy to the mix, but we kept the plan the same, watching Bridesmaids and drinking every time we heard a swear word or the word "wedding." It was a lovely relaxing way to start the new year, surrounded by my loved ones in the house that already feels like home.

It seems I'm constantly making self-improvement plans, vowing to do better and BE better, to live the life I want and enjoy every minute of it. No matter how many times plans fall through and old habits override new efforts, I am ever optimistic about my chances for success.

A friend wrote this a couple of days ago, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head, especially this:

"I'm an unabashed believer in the big dream, and I believe not on faith but on evidence. Brothers and sisters, I have seen people reinvent their lives over and over again. People start businesses. People quit drinking. People get married, have children, create art, move to new cities, speak in foreign tongues, and then they throw everything in their life up in the air and try something new. They set their sights on a prize far off, and then they move. And yes, small daily steps are part of that journey. But so are the long vision, the dare, the jump off the cliff into the unknown. And so are failure and disappointment."

How right she is. Let's make some resolutions, shall we, without fear of failure. I've been lucky enough to have 2 amazing years in a row—let this year bring even more joy and fulfillment. And yes, let's identify the practical steps that will help us make our goals, but let's be sure not to lose sight of where those small steps are leading us. So, forthwith, my 2012 New Year's resolutions (and there's nothing small about them):

I resolve to make a true home in Houston.
I mean "home" in every sense of the word. I want to make our house everything we need it to be, warm and peaceful and inviting. I want to find activities and work that will keep me where CM is more of the time. I want to tend to my Houston friendships and make new ones. I want to take full advantage of everything our adopted hometown has to offer.

I resolve to cross off at least 10 Bossy List items.
Because it's fun!

I resolve to ask for what I want in my career.
Let 2012 be the year I stop expecting opportunities to fall in my lap, although it sure is lovely when they do.

I resolve to make my health a priority.
Exercise, vegetables, flossing, etc. I'm in my 30s now—I can't think of a good excuse not to (and believe me, I'm trying).

I resolve to spend my precious free time in ways that make me happy and invigorated.
More exploration, less Hulu.

What's on your big, no-fear list this year? 2012, let's do this.


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