Friday, October 28, 2011

{Listing Our} Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

We own a place in the heart of SLC - you know, the 8.0.1. We adore our home. And for the past several years, we've had a really excellent tenant we equally adore. Bummer for us, our tenant is headed out early next year. But we're hopeful we'll find someone else just as great who's looking for a sweet place downtown.

The apartment will be available beginning February of 2012. It feels really early to be throwing this out there - but that may be partially due to the NYC-ification of Allison. I have grown accustomed to the idea that you are not to know where you are going to live until 1-2 days before you are to live there. Moving's such a carefree proposition as it is, NYC likes to spice it up a bit with uncertainty.

In the real world, it may still be a bit early. We plan to list it on and others in the coming weeks, but wanted to give preference to any personal referrals or connections in the meantime.

To check it out, feel free to visit the blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beijing with Al and Whit and Noah and Al

The words "14-hour layover" could conjure some pretty unpleasant feelings. But when a frugal woman sees an affordable flight to Seoul, and those 14 hours happen to be in a city she enjoys very much, it's a less bitter pill to swallow. We began plotting the best way to spend our evening in "cool, breezy Beijing." {-Donny, 30 Rock}

As luck would have it, we learned just days before our departure that our sweet friends and fellow Aggies, Whitney and Alex, are living and working in Beijing. We eagerly planned our night on the Beijing town with the Putnams, but our hopes were dashed when most visa info online suggested it was $140/person to visit the Middle Kingdom regardless of duration. We hopped on the plane with their local number and our fingers crossed, and were greeted at customs with what Noah described as a "you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here" response.

Passports stamped, we embraced our new found freedom and hailed a cab to Tiananmen Square.

Tian - AHN - men?
TI - an - an - muhn.
Ti - AH - an - MEHN?

I know my Mandarin leaves much to be desired, but we can't be the first foreigners to catch a cab to the most commonly visited destination in Beijing. It was reminiscent of catching cabs back to our village from the city when I was living there in 2005. We'd hop in the Citroen AZ and proceed to attempt every combination of tones and emphases on the syllables "mei-yuan" until we finally landed on something that returned us safely to xué xiào.

But I digress... we remarkably met up with the Putnams ("we'll see you there!" could have been a foolish move, but we found each other pretty quickly), took our pictures with Mao and other people took their pictures with us. 

From there, we resisted starfish, but opted for fruit along the Wangfujing pedestrian street. Then Whitney used her mad Mandarin skills to get us to the Olympic Park. Markedly less confusion with her pronunciation, thank goodness.
After the Olympic sites, we made our way back to their place where they outfitted us in their comfiest Aggie gear and we crashed on their couch in an attempt to head jet lag off at the pass. 

Morning came far too quickly and we were sorry to wrap up such a pleasant visit after just a few short hours. But soon we were returning to the airport and engaging in my favorite international travel ritual: browsing the duty free shop for the most expensive eye cream and moisturizer and pampering my poor airplane air-ed face with the trial bottles.

We couldn't have asked for a better start to our trip - thank you for your very sweet hospitality, Putnams! Xie xie!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

They Say It's Your Birthday

27 is treating me well thus far. I tend to be fairly low-key about my birthday, but Noah, family, friends and colleagues really pulled out all the stops and I learned I'm pretty wild about high-key, too. 

Noah surprised me one evening when I hopped in the car after work {rental - lest you think we're fancy pants these days}. He handed me a small jewelry box and officially launched the 12 Days of Allison. Each day, he delighted me with a kind gift or gesture. All the gifts were so meaningful and ranged from a clean apartment {fastest way to my heart} to a 50mm lens {in cahoots with Ashley} and a subscription to the Economist. All were directly linked to comments or observations I'd made over the past few months. And while the gifts were very nice, it was so much more the thought and preparation behind them. Goodness, I love that man. 

The celebration continued with a wonderful evening out with my Relief Society presidency. I adore and respect these women so much. Emily, Dana and Julie treated me to an evening of delightful conversation and oh-so-yummy sweets at DessertTruck Works. Go there. Run, don't walk. Get the Nutella-filled warm brioche donut squares. I could hardly finish typing that sentence without my jeans feeling a bit more snug.
The next day, some of the ladies at work surprised me with birthday dessert in my office. I work with some of my very best friends and these ladies were all about the details. Fruit dessert because of my affinity for the stuff, and the location, so we could sit as near to my window as possible and punish the cake office across the street {I swear, they only use this office for the consumption of cake; we're talking twice, thrice weekly}. I don't think they knew they were being punished.

On the 12th Day of Allison, Noah threw a rooftop party complete with Junior's cheesecakes and coordinating decor {although, my hunch tells me the latter was Kimber's doing...}. I was so touched by the many friends who made their way down to our place for the get together. Thanks to all for such a great birthday!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Printemps with the Paces

I am the lucky aunt to nine beautiful little nieces (a host of great nephews, too - but this one's about the ladies), two of whom I was blessed to visit last spring when they welcomed their new baby brother to their family. The trip was wonderful and too short, always. But we did pack it in with plenty of fun - including our picnic to one of the gorgeous parks nearby and little H's third birthday party.

Fortunately, Ashley's talented eye can frequently be found behind the lens, and she captured some beautiful memories of our weekend together. When she sent these the other morning (at 3am, to be precise - thanks to Baby B's little clock still set for Korea time!), my heart just melted. I really love my siblings, and I especially adore their offspring :).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Labor All Our Days

If I wait to be clever, this post will never happen - and it will be another two months before I post. So here you are - photos and non-clever descriptions.

Labor Day weekend was, in a word, delightful. Noah and I spent an evening with McHale, Kirilenko, Sock and Roddick at the U.S. Open, where I practiced my mad hops in front of the Unisphere and Noah practiced -- nay, perfected -- looking handsome.

We spent the rest of the weekend with the Ibanezes in Connecticut, where we paddle boated on the sound and were introduced to the world of "night crabbing." Don't let these pictures fool you - it's harder to catch a crab with a basketball net taped to a pole than one may think. We also learned who is good at standing still for slow shutter speeds and who is not (ahem, I'm looking at you, Jax).

Our Connecticut getaway also included the lovely town of Kent and hiking, camping and beaching at three of "Connecticut's many lovely state parks." { - pretty obscure reference noah threw out during the trip. kudos to anyone who picks up on it.}