Year Three

It’s been a little crazy around these parts and I’m WAY behind on posts. I have lots to update, but until then I’ll start simple with a little birthday tradition. Mingus turned three last month and as it stands each year he gets a new bow tie and homemade paper hat. Year one was pretty shaggy, and year two was only slightly less shaggy. This year we were a couple days late, but at least he was freshly groomed and sporting his best stove pipe hat. Doing honest Abe proud. Happy third birthday little man.

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Top Down

Here’s a glance at what I’ve been wearing and where I’ve been going, from the top down.

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Quick Trip Back East

The other week I spent a few days at the ElevateDC events conference. A full day surrounded by other event professionals was very enlightening and the workshops provided a lot of really great insight into the future of event management and the art of creating memorable live experiences. On my first evening in DC I went for a 5 mile run past the white house, Washington Monument, and up to the Lincoln Memorial. Running is a pretty great way to cover a lot of tourist ground quickly. My timing was perfect, just as the sunset was lighting up a post-storm sky. (Excuse my sweaty runner selfies. Being a solo tourist out for a run with a cell phone doesn’t really make for the best photos.)

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The first day was busy meeting people, attending the conference, and setting up meetings for day two. The BizBash folks put on a great event and I learned a lot. I spent a second day location scouting for a reception space when Ballet West in on tour at the Kennedy Center this December. I also had some time in between everything to stop in at a few museums including the National Gallery, Air & Space Museum, and National Geographic Museum. I even lucked out with an impromptu evening of live jazz and sangria in the National Gallery sculpture garden. It was a nice, quick trip and I had a good time. Of course it’s always more enjoyable when you have someone to share it with, but there’s always next time for Brent to join me.

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Interiors for a Tuesday

These spaces are pretty beautiful. Full of color, character, and nice light. I’m especially a fan of big artwork and low, modern couches. Here are a couple lovelies for your Tuesday.

LowCouches

Left | Right

 

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Back to the 4th

I’m playing a little bit of catch up on the blog. I’ve been to Arizona and Washington DC, celebrated the 4th with good friends, and taken some fun pictures around the city. Hopefully I’ll get everything updated sooner or later, but until then, here’s to a great night with friends on the 4th of July!

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Language as Brain Exercise

I just got home from a few days in Washington DC (post and pictures to follow). On the return flight I was surrounded by like 12 French foreign exchange students on their way to summer adventures in Utah. Back in 2005 I lived in Quebec for a year and half and during that time became fluent in French. Today, 9 years later, that fluency is in serious question. As I sat there between the fast-talking teenage francophones I was surprised how much of their conversations blew right past me. Of course there was plenty I did understand, like “this plane smells like french fries,” and “you just hit that lady with your bag, be careful,” and “I’m not even tired after all this traveling, seriously.” I know in general the Parisians speak a little quicker than the Quebecoise, but I was really dismayed at how sluggish my mind was at keeping up. I worked really hard to learn French, and made a fool of myself A LOT by speaking to the locals and completely immersing myself in the language every single day.

When I visited Quebec a few years after returning to the states I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly things came back. As soon as I started speaking, words I forgot I even knew came up from the deeper parts of my brain to take their place in a sentence. Every minute of communication became easier. But today, I’m not sure that would be the case. I was so in love with listening to those kids talk on the plane and my mind started racing in French, but I was too afraid to open my mouth and muddle through a conversation. I really need to do something about that.

speak-french-quebecThis morning I read an article in the New York Times that gave me another reason to get back to practicing my French. “The Benefits of Failing at French” says that studying another language provides crucial exercise for your brain that enhances cognitive abilities and fortifies your memory.

“Last year researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Northwestern University in Illinois hypothesized that language study should prove beneficial for older adults, noting that the cognitive tasks involved — including working memory, inductive reasoning, sound discrimination and task switching — map closely to the areas of the brain that are most associated with declines due to aging. In other words, the things that make second-language acquisition so maddening for grown-ups are the very things that may make the effort so beneficial.”

I think I’ll try a little harder to keep what I worked so hard to gain – another language, a beautiful form of expression, and a sharper brain.

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Colorized

I’ve seen a few collections of colorized images from the early 1900s, and they’re stunning every time. These pictures, featured on the Huffington Post, are incredible. It really changes your perseption of an era when instead of simple black and white photos you’re given a little bit more stimuli for the imagination. A better glimpse into history. I’m fascinated. See a more complete collection on Reddit, Colorized History.

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Images from here. 

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