Labor Day weekend is always a little bittersweet. Even without a summer break, it still feels like an end of sorts. I’m too sentimental. But, Fall is by far my favorite season. While mourning the loss of sunshine, flowers, and swimming pools, I’m celebrating the resurrection of bonfires, cozy sweaters, and fresh apple cider.
Let’s enjoy the rest of summer while it lasts. Here are some things to get you through the end of the day. The long weekend is almost here!
The Mansion on Delaware Avenue, where last week’s Creative Mornings was held
Everything got a little out of whack last week after losing Owen. I did a lot of ugly crying and was feeling less than inspired to write. Grief from the loss of a pet sure doesn’t compare to the overwhelming sorrow felt when losing a person you love, but damn, it still hit me hard.
A highlight that helped turn my week around was attending my first Creative Mornings talk on Friday morning. Creative Mornings, as described on their website, is “a breakfast lecture series for the creative community.” I heard about it a couple years ago, but I can’t recall how or where. I must’ve inadvertently signed up for their emails because my inbox was suddenly full of promos telling me all about these intriguing, inspirational talks coming up in cities too far from me, like Brooklyn, DC, and so forth. I unsubscribed from the email list at some point, probably out of jealousy that I couldn’t attend.
Then a few months back, I read that someone here in Buffalo started a local Creative Mornings chapter. Thrilled, I debated attending, but my social anxiety got the best of me, as it often does, and I chickened out of going by myself. Cue meeting Ashley from Morning Glory blog. We met a couple months ago, and she brought up how inspiring the Creative Mornings talks have been. She was going to be photographing the talk this month and reminded me to sign up. I’m so glad she did.
The gorgeous Mansion on Delaware Avenue again
The speaker on Friday was 16-year-old Buffalo entrepreneur Zandra Cunningham. She started her own line of beauty products when she was just 9 years old. When she’s not in class at her high school, she’s working in her studio or touring the country speaking about entrepreneurship. Jokingly, but truthfully, Zandra admitted that if it’s not on Google calendar, it doesn’t happen—including going to the movies with her friends.
Everyone kept marveling at her age, but she was impressive regardless. Zandra’s talk was phenomenal; she nails public speaking. I was impressed with her story, the business she’s built, and how she carries herself. Talk about an inspiring woman!
At the end of the talk, during a Q&A session, someone asked about her next project or next idea. She hesitated, and then casually mentioned that she might want to start a fashion line. Or sell the business. A true entrepreneur.
This month’s theme for Creative Mornings was ‘weird.’ Something Zandra said near the end of her talk really resonated with me, shown below.
Sometimes life is weird. It’s up to us to choose how we’ll handle it. To those I met at Creative Mornings, to Ashley, to Zandra, and especially to everyone who reached out to me last week—thank you for helping me to pick myself back up and embrace the weird.
Well, that wasn’t how I expected my week to start. But, you never really expect to wake up and experience tragedy, do you? Using the word tragic is a bit dramatic, I’ll admit. But on Monday, I lost my best pal, the first pet who was truly mine—my guinea pig, Owen.
In the summer of 2009, I decided I wanted a pet. I was in college, living in a small apartment and realizing that I would likely be apartment bound for several more years. I’m not a cat person, keeping a dog cooped up didn’t seem fair, I’d never kept a fish alive for more than a few months, and I’d had, and hated, gerbils as a teenager. I wanted a pet with personality and a love for human interaction, but that was still low maintenance.
Shortly after I got him. Such a little bebe.
I waltzed into the pet store, checked out a couple of ferrets, and headed over to the guinea pigs. Several were on display, but one stood out. The runt of the crowd, he had a little cowlick on top of his head and was pretty timid compared to the other piggies. I instantly knew he was mine. I didn’t take him home that day, wanting to take a little time to think it through.
When I was three or four years old, my dad brought home our first family pet, a guinea pig. He was friendly, followed my dad around the backyard, and from my knowledgeable toddler perspective, never seemed to require too much of our time and attention. Between that experience and my terror that someone would come and scoop up the cute piggie overnight, I figured a guinea pig was the right pet for me. I had to go back to the pet store the next day.
That was the day Owen came into my life and changed it. It wasn’t just about me anymore. The first thing I did when I woke up every day was feed and play with Owen. The last thing I did before bed was make sure Owen was set for the night. My life revolved around him more than I knew, just like a child. Now that he’s gone, it doesn’t seem right to wake up and pour myself a cup of coffee first thing.
Owen was with me almost from the beginning of my relationship with Steve; I got him not too long after Steve and I met. He watched me grow up and become an adult. He lived with me in five different apartments, two houses, and three cities. O met my beloved childhood dog, Maggie, my Papa, and my Uncle Jimmy, and is probably partying with all three of them somewhere up there. He stayed with family and friends in both New York and Ohio.
Owen meeting Maggie
One day while Owen was lounging on the couch with me, I discovered his love for watching skiing on TV. In a trance, he didn’t move a muscle until the commercials came on. The Notebook, on the other hand, wasn’t his cup of tea. I wanted him to love it, but he tried to bury his head in a blanket during that one. Typical boy.
Left: Owen and Steve watching football Right: Big booty O
It brings me comfort that for seven years, I was lucky enough to hear his squeals as I walked in the door. He slowed down in his last year or two, but always kept his spirit. Once the shy runt at the pet store, he turned into a show-off in no time; Owen loved any and all attention he could get. Whenever someone would stop by his cage to pet him, he would proudly take them on a tour of his space, running around to all his favorite spots and toys. “Did you see my water bottle yet? How about my igloo? I hope you brought a carrot.” Steve and I often narrated for O, cracking ourselves up. I love to think he understood what we were saying and was making fun of us the whole time.
For most people, pets are more than just animals who happen to live with us; they become important members of our families. That was certainly true of Owen. He ruled this house, and we sure did love him.
On Monday morning, I knew Owen wasn’t doing well. Over the last several months, he lost a lot of mobility and often times couldn’t use his back legs at all. He gave us a few scares, but always seemed to bounce back. I thought Monday would go the same way, but unfortunately, it was his time. I was able to be with him, holding him, as he passed. Although it was traumatic for me, I’m comforted that he wasn’t alone, and that it was me who was able to be there for my little O.
The past two mornings when I woke up, I looked out to the backyard as I always do. A beautiful ray of glowing yellow sun was shining right to the path that leads to the spot where we buried Owen.
Rest in peace, my little sun baby. Thanks for being you. ♥
U.S. Olympic Diving Champ Aileen Riggin, 1922, Library of Congress
Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my first Run the World post on Wednesday, featuring the phenomenal Laura Metzler. Writing that post was the most fun project I’ve done for tracing paper so far, and I can’t wait to talk to more inspiring women. If there’s a badass career woman who you look up to, send her info my way!
Here are some things I’m loving this week, mostly related to the Olympics, officially underway tonight!
It’s my sister’s bridal shower and bachelorette weekend!! I couldn’t be more excited; this is once-in-a-lifetime. I have one sibling, so I plan to make the most of this experience. We’re throwing her a brunch shower tomorrow, complete with mimosas of course. Then we’ll be headed to Cleveland on a limo bus for her bachelorette party. Once it’s all over, I’ll nap for the rest of the weekend. The party hasn’t even started, and I’m already exhausted from all the cooking, preparation, and planning. But my sister has already expressed her appreciation for all the hard work my mom and I have put into her weekend. It’s all totally worth it. I’m so happy for her.
Ahhh, the weekend. There’s nothing better than waking up and realizing that it’s Saturday, and you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Sure, we all have obligations, errands, and chores, but there are also those days when it’s ok to roll back over and sleep for another hour.
On those types of weekend mornings, my boyfriend and I have unintentionally created some traditions and routines that I’ve come to look forward to as the weekend approaches. At our house, weekend mornings are reserved for the “good coffee.” Throughout the week, we drink drip coffee from the pot (usually whatever is on sale), reserving the better coffee for the weekends. We often buy beans from local roasteries and brew it in our Chemex or French press—a small way to give ourselves a treat after a long week.
We like to put on some music and cook up a big breakfast, then sit together and read the paper while we eat. We also have what we call our weekend mugs (pictured above), my favorite handmade pottery mugs that give me all the cozy feels.
I know this makes us sound like we’re 80 years old in our 20s (pretty much the truth), but it’s those simple, relaxing moments that recharge and energize me. When breakfast is over, there are errands to run, a lawn to mow, and places to be, so I like to take my time and soak in those couple of hours with nothing to do, escaping for a brief second from our busy lives.
How do you spend those weekend mornings when you have nothing to do? What are the traditions and routines that you look forward to every weekend? I hope you have a relaxing one!
Friday already? Yeeee! I love short work weeks. What’s going on this weekend? I’ve got a long to-do list waiting for me. First up, buying a new fridge. Oh, adulthood, you sure are fun.
Does anyone have any insight on fridge buying? We looked at a bunch of them last weekend, and all brands seemed to be pretty much the same. I’ve been told over and over again that they only last about 7-10 years now too. My fridge is from 1985, which is a couple years before I was even born, so…why are we getting a new one again? It’s all about the style update. We’ll keep the old fridge in the basement, and I can’t help but wonder if it’ll outlive the new one.
Enough adult stuff. Here are some of my favorite links from this week (none to appliances I promise).
4th of July is one of my favorite times of year—picnics, fireworks, sparklers, cold beers. There’s a parade on the 4th in my hometown and, while it’s nothing extraordinary, I always loved it. I haven’t been in years, but I attended or participated in it every year during my childhood until I graduated high school. Even though we’d been out of school for almost a month at that point, the 4th embodied summer and felt like a beginning of sorts; sunny days ahead filled with adventure. Boy, do I miss that nostalgic feeling of naivety and freedom. I’m setting a goal to have a carefree, fun-filled holiday weekend. I hope you’re able to do the same!
There are so. many. sales. happening this weekend. Here are a few that I’ll be perusing.
I heard about Birchbox several years ago, but was always hesitant to sign up, thinking it wasn’t worth the money for such little product. In April, I finally gave in and signed up for a three-month subscription to give it a shot.
If you haven’t heard of it or don’t quite know all the details, Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. For $10/month, you receive five personalized high-end beauty samples, delivered to your doorstep in a beautiful little box. You fill out a profile on their website, answering a set of questions about your hair, skin, and sample preferences.
While visiting my best friend in DC, we stopped at the Birchbox store in Georgetown within Rent the Runway. There are currently two storefront locations, the one in DC and the flagship store in New York City. At the store, you can pick all five of your samples and in some cases, even try them first. The DC store associate was knowledgeable and gave us helpful suggestions based on our hair and skin types. And! The April box was created in collaboration with one of my favorites, Rifle Paper Co., so, of course I had to have it. At first I only intended to pick out my five samples for the one box but was so intrigued that I decided to sign up for two additional months. (Plus I was on vacation, so, treat yo self!)