Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Echo Hill

It had been 13 years since I'd been to Echo Hill Ranch.  Thirteen years since I spent my summers in an un-air-conditioned bunkhouse, filled with girls I'd known my entire life, deep in the Texas hill country. And when I set foot back on the ranch for the 60th anniversary reunion weekend, I was instantly transported back to the way I felt when I was 15 - who I was and who I still am.  The smell and the energy and the heat and the magic are all the same - stuck in time in the most beautiful and authentic way.  And I felt that pressure in my heart creep into my throat and I knew I didn't stand a chance surviving the weekend without acknowledging the completely majestic and overpowering effect that is Echo Hill.  That's right, folks, I made it about 30 seconds back on the ranch before the tears started flowing.

I think I was just overwhelmed with it all.  That I was back in the place where my problems and my waistline were once both much smaller than they are now.  Where strength was your counselor lifting a trash can full of bug juice onto the bed of a truck and masculinity was a wrangler galloping around flag lowering before Hoe Down.  When 3:30 pm meant siesta and an eastward facing screened window was the only thing you needed.  Where beauty was seen in the campfire soot under your nails and leaders sang every word to the silliest of songs.  Where I was my truest self - my best self - and if you could capture the scent of cedar and sunscreen and bubble gum all laced together with the faint memory of cigar smoke you would hold onto it forever.  A place where four weeks is enough time to become lifelong friends and find yourself and fall in love.  Where you can count every star and hear every bug and feel every change in the wind.  Where you heart is its most open and your mind its most free.  Where everyone wins and you always leave a place cleaner than you found it.

I used to sing for my bunk in the pavilion.  They would make requests and I would perform!

 Ooooh, if these wagon wheels could talk... 

"Kimmy Harberg"

 At free swim with one of my oldest, dearest friends.

 The Echo Hill symbol in white rocks.

 My people.

And every night we would sing this song before passing the squeeze around our bunk friendship circles:
"Green trees around us, blue skies above
Friends all around us in a world filled with love.
Taps sounding softly, hearts beating true
As we all say, "Goodnight to you!"
Day is done gone the sun 
From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies.
All is well safely rest.
G-d is nigh."


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Markley Goes to the Dentist!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I'm in love...

...with Instagram!

My friend Elizabeth introduced me to the addictive little app and now all I can think about is X-Pro, Hefe or Kelvin?!  Here is what's new in our life (according to Instagram):

Well, these two aren't new, but every time I look over at them 
I fall in little more in love with both.

Doesn't this cocktail look dreamy and delicious?!  
It was. "The Reunited" at Swift's Attic.

Wildflowers at Lake Austin Spa & Resort: my happy place.

I want this room.  In my house.  
Too bad Lake Austin Spa & Resort already has it...

This face.  I honestly love this dog so much I can't even explain it in words.

Oh, this? It's a classic yellow cake layered and iced with Pearl's Caramel Sauce. 
This is how you say I love you.

That's it for now.  Maybe Instagram will inspire me to blog more!  I hope so, because I actually have missed it.  And I actually figured out how to make my pictures bigger on each post so now you can actually see what I've been talking about this whole time!

Oh, The Places We've Been!

Our maps: matted, framed and hung on the wall!
(Click on picture to enlarge.)

Hooray!  We finally have some art on our walls!  Our newest art installation features five custom maps each representing a state in which we have lived during our ten years (and counting) of blissful togetherness.  These prints proudly hang in our dining room on the longest wall of our house.  This wall is visible from the moment you step into our home so we knew whatever made the cut had to be fabulous! We started discussing the idea of maps - possibly vintage, sepia style or black and white - from the start because we do feel so lucky and are so proud of having had the opportunity to have lived in so many wonderful places.   We wanted them to be unified in some way and illustrate the story of our relationship.

In my search for the perfect prints, I happened upon Preston's etsy shop, Ink of Me, and immediately fell in love with his creativity and use of bright colors (and his clever businessman move of showcasing each print in an already matted and framed proof allowing his potential customers to easily picture his pieces in their respective homes).  Genius.  I was instantly drawn to his wedding/anniversary typography poster that featured two names within the state of Texas and a celebratory date and location below.  This got me thinking about our own map quest and I knew I was headed in the right direction.  What if instead of our names inside of the state, he could somehow capture the state of our relationship in each state!  I sent him a message describing my idea and within the hour we were writing back and forth brainstorming together - a true artists' collaboration!  Preston was so patient and accommodating.  He would respond to my last minute changes at all hours of the day and night and even waited to receive a swatch I sent to him of our chair fabric so we could color match the images before printing. This is what our final order looked like:

First State Shape: Michigan 
Words: Where We Met
Below:  Ann Arbor, Summer 2002
Graphic:  Block "M" over Ann Arbor

Second State Shape:  New York
Words:  Fell In Love
Below:  New York, Spring 2004
Graphic:  Heart over Manhattan

Third State Shape:  Illinois
Words:  Got Engaged
Below:  Chicago, Fall 2007
Graphic:  Engagement ring over Chicago

Fourth State Shape:  California
Words:  Started Our Life Together
Below:  Santa Monica, Spring 2008
Graphic:  Tandem bike over Santa Monica

Fifth State Shape:  Texas
Words:  Lived Happily Ever After
Below:  Austin, Winter 2011
Graphic:  House over Austin

And I can't leave out Brian's favorite part of the project.  He obviously loves the prints and how they help tell our love story on the walls of our first home, but we all know his true passion... the price!

5 Custom Prints 8X10... $100  
5 Upgrades to 16X20... $50 
5 Black Wood Frames... $100   
5 Custom Cut Matts... $55 

A wall of custom, personalized art shipped, matted, framed and hung for $305?!  

What is your favorite piece of art that you own?

(More pictures coming soon!)

Disclaimer:  The above are my genuine feelings.  Neither Preston nor Ink of Me offered any sort of  discount or free product in exchange for my glowing review.  I honestly loved working with him and hope to order more of his creative art for our home soon.