To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters
We know each other as we always were. 
We know each other's hearts

~Clara Ortega

My Brother.

Happiest Birthday, J- OH how you deserve it. XO



Going to the Chapel

Charlottesville, VA 7.23.10 - 7.24.10
Night 45

This past weekend my best friend's little sister said "I Do" at a beautiful country club in Charlottesville, Virginia. The entire evening was amazing, and by that I mean I loved  every. single. thing. The Motown band was out of this world (Big Ray and the Kool Kats!!!), the speeches were heartfelt, the favors were unique (self-fill boxes of taffy!), the cake was delicious, and there was even sweet tea and lemonade served at the outdoor ceremony. *Awesome*!
Here is the bride with her proud Papa, Mike :)
Here I am with Katie on the dance floor, where I boogied (and sweat!) all night long. I was literally obsessed with Big Ray and his gang. 
Here's a picture of everyone getting their groove on. Look how packed the dance floor was!

This next picture I find absolutely hilarious. I mean... am I even at the same event as everyone else?
Look at me!? AHAHAHAHAHA
Expressions of people in this picture from right to left, starting with the guy in the orange tie:
happy, happy, indifferent, happy, happy, hysterical.
And here's beautiful Becca driving off into the sunset. 
THANK YOU, Guthries, for including me in such a memorable night. XO 


I Don't Drink Enough!

Well, the power (and air conditioning) was just out for a full 24 hours, so this afternoon I took it upon myself to take my wine corks outside in the breeze and finish my cork wreath! I am so, so happy with how it turned out!
Now, don't worry- I can hear what you're saying to yourself: Holy WINO that girl drinks a lot. But if I may defend myself, believe it or not I did not drink the wine from which all of these corks came from. I have to give a big shout out to my Aunt Vicki and Uncle Bo, who reluctantly took up the hobby of drinking wine for the sole purpose of donating their corks to me (wink wink). 

The fact that I needed to use my family's corks brought me to one conclusion: I haven't even been coming close to drinking enough wine! Looks like I'll need to vamp it up, all in the name of crafts!

Though I had saved numerous colored corks, I only used regular ones with the exception of this one with leopard spots to make the wreath a little bit funky. And even though I can't quite decide which room I want to hang it in, at least the hard part of actually making the wreath is over. This project came under the category of  'only have time to attempt this in the summer time', so I'm really happy I finished it!

For anyone who wants to attempt to make a cork wreath, I have a very serious suggestion that I need you to take into consideration:
Develop a love for Beringer wine, because toothpicks poke into those corks very easily:).
Happy Drinking Wreathing!



Can I just say that I could so get used to this "no work" thing? :) I mean it is 8:28 am and I am lying in bed, and the biggest decision looming on my horizon is what I'm going to eat for breakfast. If you haven't noticed from earlier posts, I absolutely love my job. But for 10 months of the year I'm in a rush from the second I touch my feet to the floor, so waking up in the summer time with the freedom to do whatever I want with my day feels like a fantatstic treat. 
In the (less than) 2 weeks that I have been in town so far this summer, I have accomplished more around my house than I did in the 5 months previous to this. I mean, it's amazing what I can get done without a little thing called a j-o-b getting in the way! I have spent my days cleaning, organizing, cooking, creating, throwing away, tutoring, shopping, and taking care of odds and ends that have been on my mind for weeks! Because about 3 months before the school year ended, I started in with the "this really needs to be done, but I'll do it this summer" routine. It happens every year, and I end up leaving myself with an exorbitant amount of projects to complete in my time off. No kidding, I have already debated pushing some of the projects to next summer! I mean who wants to spend the day cleaning out all of the closets when I can lay on the hammock with a good book?!
So ~ whether I spend my day in the closet or on the hammock, here's to awesome careers followed by Anything-I-want-to-Do-Days, because without both, life wouldn't be so sweet.


Shutter Love Tuesdays

This week's Shutter Love Tuesday theme is *faces*, and whose face is cuter than this one? :)



Summer Time in the Big Apple!

Bright Lights
Taking Risks
Up All Night
One in a Million
Free as a Bird
All Alone
My Brother's Home

New York City.

New York City 7.13.10 - 7.17.10
Nights 41-44

I spent most of last week in one of my favorite places in the world, the Big Apple. Jason (my brother) was in a cabaret at the summer camp where he teaches voice (video clips above!) so my mom and I rode the train up to watch him shine, and to bask in the glory of being related to him.

Because as some of you know, he can sing his face off.

The energy of summer time in New York City is contagious. People buzzing through the crowded streets. Cabs honking. Music playing. The sun shining on my face when I'm lucky enough to catch it hiding between 2 skyscrapers. I love it all. And I feel so grateful to be able to soak in the New York vibe so often. There is no place in the world like it.

On Friday night we went to something called Mid-Summer Night Swing next to Lincoln Center. Every night, all summer long, they offer a different style of dance lesson, followed by hours of dancing to that style outside under the stars. My brother, his friend Michael and I literally danced our tails off to live DISCO music for 3 hours straight and I loved every second of it. Here is a video I made of it (and FYI, my brother's spin move near the end is dedicated to my friend Whitney, who has loved his dance moves since the day they met).

Another blessing was getting to spend time with my friend Rosemary. Ro and I met when we both studied abroad in England 6 (wow!) years ago and we have been the greatest of friends ever since. She lives in New Jersey, and every time I come to the City she drops everything and takes the train down to see me. We always pick up right where we left, and there is never quite enough time to squeeze in everything we want to say. 

On Thursday, Jason, my mom, Ro and I went to one of our favorite places for "tea" (and by that I also mean delicious scones, sandwiches and cakes). It's called Tea and Sympathy, and if you're ever in New York you must go there. The restaurant is cramped (it only seats about 15 people!) but stop by between lunch and dinner and you shouldn't have to wait too long to get seated. The Big Mama talks about their chicken pot pie so often that their old chef literally bought her the Tea and Sympathy cook book.

Here we are with our tea! I love how every tea pot, cup and saucer is different from the next!

Ok, so the 2 videos of my brother are above this post because I couldn't figure out how to add them here! The first one is the debut of a song that he *wrote* for a one man children's show he's creating, and the second one is to the tune of Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera, and a director that he works with changed the lyrics to make it appropriate for the cabaret. They're both hilarious. Enjoy!



Come on Over!

I forgot to tell you that I changed my web address! If you're still finding my blog by going to 
come on over and follow me @ 

(That's Garden Patch Adventures!)

You guys are the best and Happy Tuesday!

Adventures from the Wild West

Salt Lake City and Moab, Utah  7.1.10 - 7.9.10
Nights 33-40

Hi! As I said in my last post, I had the best time in Utah this past week! We hiked, swam, explored, celebrated, laughed, and of course took lots of pictures! Here are just a few highlights from our adventure!

Every Saturday morning in downtown Salt Lake City there is a huge famers market where hundreds of food and craft vendors set up tents and sell organic/ homemade goods. Nick and Christina go almost every Saturday and I can see why! The free samples alone would be enough to keep me coming back.

And if the food isn't enough, this man also sits and plays the didgeridoo in his under pants! 
What a beautiful, sunny day!
Here I am with one of their cats, Frosty. I am only including this picture because I am majorly allergic to cats, so have never really gotten into them. The fact that I am essentially snuggling with this cat is hilarious to me and made Sabrina very proud! Of course by the end of the week, much to the dismay of my nose, Frosty and his brother Kringle both slept on my bed with me!
On Saturday night we walked to the top of the Rockies and watched 5 different 4th of July firework shows go off at the same time all over Salt Lake City! The view was only a 5 minute walk from Nick and Christina's house. What a way to start out our 4th of July celebrations!
The night of the 4th we went to a One Republic concert at Deer Valley ski resort, so we spent the afternoon making delicious food to take with us!

Here's Deer Valley! The concert was literally at the base of the mountain! Come January, I plan to be riding up that chair lift with my skis on!
Here we are in our red, white, and blue! Happy 4th of July!
This was the 2nd 4th of July in a row that the Sabster and I spent together away from home. Last year we were in Prague! She and I are 2 traveling pees in a pod.
One Republic put on a great show, and of course I couldn't help but dance!

This is Nick and Christina! They're the world's best hosts. We'll head to Mexico in November to see them get married!
On Monday morning we packed up 2 cars full of stuff (and dogs) and headed to the Moab desert! As you can see, Kona and Willy were determined that we would not leave without them, and clearly from my lack of expression I felt pretty good about Kona taking the wheel :). They look like they're taking it seriously, right?

Kona and Willy are 2 of the greatest dogs I have ever met. Nick and Chris found Kona walking across the highway, and they just rescued Willy from a Native American reservation. It is obvious how happy they are to be so loved now.
We did so many great things in our 3 days in Moab! Our first stop was Castle Creek Vineyards for a wine tasting!

We also went to Dead Horse Point for an incredible view of the desert sunset. In the background of this picture you can see where the Colorado River makes a complete U-turn!

Here is what I looked like for most of the time we were at Dead Horse Point. Christina and Sabrina couldn't get enough of my freaking skirt blowing up in the wind. I should have known better than to wear a skirt for such an important photo shoot! HA
The sunset was SO beautiful!
Nick's Aunt Julie owns the Eclectic Cafe in Moab! Before our white water rafting trip we had a delicious breakfast at her restaurant! 
Here we go down the Colorado River!
When we hit a patch of flat water we were allowed to hop in kayaks or float along side the boat. I was loving life.

The last morning we were in Moab we explored Arches National Park and it was 
out of this world.
This is the famous Delicate Arch. It is easy to see how big it is with the 3 stooges underneath! 
To get to the Arch we hiked for an hour UP slanted slick rock. When we finally came around the corner and saw this view, I actually gasped out loud. I couldn't believe my eyes.
Here I am again, like a wild camera lady on assignment for National Geographic...
...and again. Hey- this is why they pay me the big bucks :). 
This hike was the perfect ending to our side trip to Moab.
Believe it or not, back in Salt Lake City Chris and Nick are raising bees in their back yard! So the day before I went back to Virginia, just in case I hadn't squeezed in enough excitement, I got into Nick's bee suit and helped Christina look for their new Queen Bee.
Here I am! 
First I was in charge of blowing smoke into the bee house. Smoke keeps the bees from getting too overwhelmed that we are in there messing around.
Christina helped me stay really calm! We took each crate out one by one until we found evidence that a new Queen Bee had hatched!
I managed to pick one up all by myself without screaming :)
Look closely and you can see some eggs! 

Sabster, Christina, Nick, Kona, Willy, and even Frosty and Kringle... Thank you for such a wonderful week. 
XO: Jess

P.S. Check out my HDR shots below!
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