tea time

my apologies for the delay in posting - this past weekend absolutely flew by.  if only i had had the time to photograph the delicious (six!) pizzas my roommates and i made for a dinner party/get together we held friday night, i'm sure you would have agreed that the weekend started off on the right foot.  or the right tastebud, i suppose.  not to mention the perfect meyer lemon cheesecake that only took 3 hours and 5 blocks of cream cheese to make.  if any of you are wondering, i followed thekitchensink's recipe over here - it is absolutely fool-proof, and you won't be able to resist eating the leftovers for days afterwards.  now i just have to figure out what to do with all that lemon curd i have in my fridge.

what with the past few gloomy/rainy days we've been having in new york, i've been craving the afternoon tea time i used to share with my mum and younger sister when i was growing up.  whenever i go home (and there's not some sort of party - there always seems to be one), we still follow the same ritual: two red rose tea bags in my mum's blue tea pot with the red and white circles painted all around the outside.  three tall, slender mugs (much different from the coffee mugs, to be sure - tea must be drunk from a thin-rimmed vessel) filled to just below the top, lightened by a splash of milk and sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar.  of course, when my sister and i were younger, we'd sneak spoonful after spoonful into our cups while mum turned her back to put the milk back in the fridge.  and of course, mum knew exactly what we were doing the entire time.  perhaps she figured we'd grow out of it.  or perhaps she thought a little extra sweetness in life couldn't hurt us, not at tea time.  sometimes freshly baked cookies, sometimes packaged 'nice' cookies or chocolate covered les petits ecoliers were piled high on a dish between all of us, and as we sipped and nibbled and chatted and savored the syrupy sludge of sugar awaiting our tongues at the bottom of our cups, we would feel the day brighten just a notch.  being at work all day now, i unfortunately cannot recreate those moments, although i do have a little stash of red rose tea bags in case i need to catch just a slight whiff of that orangey aroma  of those afternoons.  and whenever i want the real thing, all i have to do is travel on home and put the kettle on.  and sometimes, every so often, i sneak in an extra sprinkling of sugar.

{photos: spherical sight, 100 layer cake}

new year, new post

snowy day in massachusetts oh dear dear dear.  i can't believe i've let it go so long without posting anything, and so for the very few of you who read this from time to time (or who just accidentally click on the link in my gmail status every so often), i apologize profusely.  i could blame any number of factors: the endless holiday parties; the trips to chicago, massachusetts, and, um, manhattan; finishing and panicking about grad school applications; general laziness; etc.  the truth is, i've been a horrible and non-diligent blogger.  but, as the expired calendar hanging on my wall has been reminding me for the past few days, it is indeed a new year, and so what better time to begin anew than now?

since it's been so long, here's a quick update on what's been going on:

the holidays were absolutely wonderful.  spending an entire week at home with family and friends, hosting and attending parties and small dinners, shopping for last-minute gifts and finding spontaneous adventures in the wound-about back alleys of boston was truly the only way i could have wanted to escape work and any droplets of stress not yet wrung from the past year.  i love going home.  i love that my parents' fridge is always stocked with orange juice, half and half and about five different varieties of cheese.  our living room, with its wall of windows looking out across our backyard and the trees that line the stone wall where kasey (our late faithful and mangy and beautiful german-retriever dog) is buried, is admittedly a much more serene view than the projects that fill the windows looking out of my brooklyn apartment.  and there are always people about the house, engaged in various activities, talking to each other from across rooms or up stairs, preparing meals, wrapping gifts, annoying each other with the choice of television show until finally mum announces that it's dinner time.  there's really nowhere else i'd rather be, especially at the holidays.  our house glimmers, it sparkles, it glows from inside and out.  our big blue spruce, the pride of my father, done up with hundreds of colored twinkle lights, becomes a beacon of cheerfulness to all who drive up to our house between the months of november and march.  when i think of the home that i'll someday build with my own family, it's hard to stray any further from the example that's been set there.

applications are just about complete; as soon as my portfolio is tweaked a bit and recommendation letters are put in the mail, all i'll have left to do is wait and send positive energy out into the world until april 1st.  waiting is always the hardest part, but in the meantime i remain hopeful and more determined than ever to promote good change in my professional life.  well, in my personal life too.  it never hurts to try everything.

and speaking of professional and personal life melding, i've decided to apply for the yoga to the people teacher training program in february.  this is something i've been wanting to do for a long time, perhaps when i started practicing yoga there three years ago.  i'm incredibly excited for the opportunity to become more in tune with the physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of this practice, and i know it will end up being an exhilarating and eye-opening experience.  hopefully you'll be reading more about the process come february when the training begins!

ok, i think that's enough for now.  i know everyone's been in a very reflective and reevaluating mood as of late, and so to prolong the trend, i'd like to offer up some resolutions, or general guidelines that i hope to keep in mind as 2010 moves ahead.  i will strive to seriously not sweat the small stuff (life is far too short for that).  i will take more initiative with my life and where i want it to head (no one else is going to do it for me).  i will cherish my family and friends, and will do whatever i can to come to their aid when called upon (i know that they would for me).  and lastly, i will have more fun, more laughter, more silliness and spontaneity in my life.  what's the point in going through the day-to-day if there's nothing enjoyable about it?  i refuse to be pulled down into the muck, and i hope that you all do too.

best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy 2010.  much more to come soon!



these hands

i've always been (a bit abnormaly) obsessed with handwriting.  with my handwriting, to be more precise.  i'm possessive of it - slightly ridiculous i know, but if there's ever the opportunity to sign a card, address an envelope, write an inscription on a gift, even pencile out a grocery list for my mum to take shopping, i always insist on writing it.  my younger sister can attest that it must get annoying, my handwriting forever representative of our family's well-wishes, congratulations, weekly coffee and cheese intake.  but i also happen to know that she covets it almost as much as i do.  see, back in the fifth grade i had a problem with handwriting.  it was lovely, yes, but far far too small.  my language arts teacher even called my mum to see if she could hold any influence in making it more readable.  i was resistant, though.  i didn't, and i still don't, like big fonts.  i was never a very loopy-letterer (although 'loopy' in another sense might be somewhat applicable), always more precise with clean, slender, vertical lines, albeit at the time very small.  i loved my handwriting, but as fate would have it, i loved hillary sackett's more.  i loved how fluid it looked, how she juxtaposed the soft rounded bellies of her 'b's with the sharp edges of her 'v's and 'z's.  her writing was less slanted, more straight-forward, with hints of playfulness tucked into the tails of 'g', 'j' and 'y'.  i wanted it.  i needed it.  and so i studied it, every day as we sat through math, reading, social studies.  it helped that she was my best friend at the time (and indeed, she still is a very good friend, despite my thieving history), and it helped that i was focused.  soon i had almost perfectly copied her handwriting, with small alterations left over from my previously meticulous and tight method of lettering.  

of course, my handwriting has evolved since the fifth grade.  i've picked up new ways of forming my 'n's, 'm's and 'h's.  i've toiled over whether or not to add a curve to the end of my 't's, a line through my 'z's.  it may have started off as a carbon copy of hillary's gorgeous penmanship, but it's now completely recognizable as my own, a lettered display of my personality and aesthetic (and one which my own sister has since tried to copy herself).  it's taken me some time to realize this, though it should have been apparent since that pivotal moment when i finally perfected hillary's lowercase 'r's, but i would be overjoyed if my life and my work revolved around sharing my penmanship with the world.  i suppose this is why i'm embarking on this venture to provide handlettered invitations, signs, letters, logos, really anything that would benefit from all the love and pride i put into anything i write.  i think it's important to understand why people come to certain decisions.  this is one that's been there all along, patiently waiting for me to wake from a haze and literally look at what's been under my nose the whole time.


copyright jillian schiavi 2009