October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!


Happy Halloween!! We have our basket of candy ready for any trick-or-treaters, and we even have some gingerbread skeleton cookies to munch on while we wait. We're not really sure if our neighborhood gets trick-or-treaters, so there is a chance that we will end up with extra bags of candy laying around the house... but that wouldn't be the worst thing. :)

I hope that you all have fun today! Be safe!



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October 30, 2013

The Good Wife


The hubs and I recently celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary, so, naturally, I have been nostalgic lately and remembering the details and emotions of that beautiful day in New York. Betsy's prompt for her sponsor link-up made me think of everything that this past year has been filled with, all of those moments that have happened since our wedding day and what they say about our relationship.

The past year has been filled with much more good than bad, and this first year of marriage has actually been quite easy. The hubs and I have been together for over eight years, though, and I think that all of those years spent together made the transition to marriage easier than it might have been otherwise. Truthfully, married life isn't all that different from unmarried life, and I like that. For us, it's an indication of our comfort together and of the devotion that we had for each other before diamond rings ever entered the picture. The novelty of referring to each other as "husband" and "wife" still hasn't entirely worn off, and I must admit it still makes me grin like a big nerd inside.

But what makes a good wife? 

I struggle to answer this particular question because the truth is, I don't really view our roles as "wife" or "husband." I view it more as being each other's partner, each other's support. So what makes somebody a good support? That probably depends on what the other person needs. Being a good partner means listening when the hubs has something to say,  compromising for the sake of the larger good, reminding him to bring a coat when it's cold outside, and applauding him when he has a victory. It means thanking him when he cooks dinner most nights, sharing holidays between our families, and trying not to torture him with my ice-cold feet at night (that last one usually doesn't work out so well).

Being a good partner means supporting your own partner in the ways that they most need, not just in the ways that they most want (though that's okay sometimes, too-- I know that the hubs appreciates a good gingerbread cookie, and while I'm capable of making my own dinner, I love that the hubs takes the lead in the kitchen). It also means taking care of yourself and asserting your own needs so that the relationship can have good communication and balance. After all, a partner who always gives and never receives will ultimately run out of resources, and that can spell trouble for a relationship.

Ultimately, I think that what makes a good partner will probably vary a lot across relationships, and likely even within them-- our needs at this point in our lives will probably be a bit different from our needs thirty years from now. For us, I don't think we can go wrong with aiming to be attuned to each other and striving to support each other with honesty and integrity. 

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October 29, 2013

La Sagrada Familia


You have never been to anything like this before. I don't care how many soaring European cathedrals you have dutifully visited in your lifetime-- if you haven't seen La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, you haven't truly felt awe.

The hubs and I were so lucky to have found an apartment just a block away from this soaring cathedral. We could look out our bedroom window and see the scaffolding around one of the towers, and it was so cool to stop by the little park in front of La Sagrada Familia on our way back from a full day of walking around the city. This is Gaudi's masterpiece, even if several artists have put their own interpretations and styles into the design. The cathedral is planned to be completed in 2026, but who knows if that will actually be the case. Regardless, it was very cool to know that we were seeing history being built before our very eyes. How often do we get the chance to see the "Before" shots of a historical, architectural masterpiece?



Truthfully, I don't even know where to begin for this post. There are so many details, so many wonderful parts of this place that it's hard to sort through them all. But here goes! The religious icons all over the cathedral are heartbreakingly emotional, and the Passion Facade was one of my favorite aspects of La Sagrada Familia.



Inside, it's though you've stepped into a magical forest, with trees arching up over you with whimsical treetops forming a canopy overhead. You can't help put stop in your tracks and let your head fall back as you try to take in the details around you.


The soft sunlight filters through the windows, filling the archways and spilling beautiful warm light inward. The stained glass casts an especially beautiful glow, and the rainbow light makes you want to stay there a while, trying to understand how something could be so beautiful.


The Nativity Facade has such a distinct look. While the familiar scenes of the nativity are recognizable, it's the dripping wax look of the overall facade that really captured my attention. It has such a distinct look, almost unsettling, yet so cool regardless.


There are so many details to take in that it's impossible to remember them all. I just know that this was an unforgettable experience, and I will absolutely return one day. Barcelona spoke to me on so many levels, and La Sagrada Familia is too magnificent not to visit again. Who knows when it will actually be completed and what our lives will be like at that point, but no matter what, we'll be back to bask in the stained glass sunlight.




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October 27, 2013

Sunday Currently : 42

It was just one of those weeks. One that started off well enough but then became overwhelming, and I couldn't shake the feeling that things were really off. I took a break from the internet in favor of assuming Human/Blanket Blob position on the couch, which usually does the trick. I'm definitely feeling a bit more restored, though this morning's migraine is putting a damper on my otherwise peaceful Sunday. Le sigh. This calls for tea, muffins, and sweatpants!!

Olive, my naptime buddy

reading : My stack of Smithsonian magazines that I am slowly but surely working my way through. I finally finished Native Son! Oh boy, what an intense book that was.

writing :  My dissertation! The past couple days were great for writing, and I'm actually feeling really good about the work I got done this weekend. Isn't it great when you hit a nice flow state?

listening :  To some Beethoven sonatas this morning. Though I stopped studying piano in high school when my teacher stopped giving lessons, I have always had a soft spot for this instrument. I'm hoping to one day inherit the baby grand that is in my parents' house, but lately I've been wondering if it would be possible to pick up a small upright piano at an estate sale or something. It would be so fun to have a piano again!

thinking :   About the upcoming week, though I'd like to focus more on making today enjoyable. Be gone, stress!

smelling :   My raisin muffin. I decided to heat it up before eating it, which was a great call. (Good job, self.) Warm food is so comforting!

wishing :    That I felt better so that we could go out to the DC United game this afternoon, but it looks like we'll be watching the game from home today. I'm disappointed to miss it since this is their last game of the season, but I feel too migrainey to venture out today.

hoping :    That my online shopping goodies arrive soon! I struck gold with a great dress on super sale at Banana Republic last week, and I am waiting for another, less work-appropriate leopard print dress to arrive next week. My mother and I also patrolled J. Crew's outerwear section, and I ordered four different coats to try on to replace the fall/winter coats that had to be retired due to massive rips in the lining. I hope that they work out! I will, of course, be returning at least two, but I'm so excited to check them all out! I ordered the Majesty peacoat and the Duffle coat (which has mysteriously disappeared from the website-- all sold out maybe?). Can you guess which colors I chose?

wearing :   College sweatpants and a DC United t-shirt. Even if I can't be down at RFK, I must show my team spirit!

loving :   Animals. I've had some ultra-adorable moments with pets this weekend, first with our cats curling up next to each other (which hardly ever happens) across my legs while I dissertated yesterday, and then with our friends' dogs last night. They have a huge pitbull mix, Olive, who weighs about a million pounds and decided to plop down across my entire body and nap on top of me while I fell asleep on their couch (last night's beer brewing adventures went on a liiiiitle too late for me). I'm not entirely sure how I managed to keep breathing since my lungs were being crushed, but the cuteness factor must have been enough to keep me going. I just love these guys!

wanting :   My left eyebrow to stop searing in pain. Migraine, be gone! These piano sonatas will gently carry you away into nonexistence!

needing :   To clean today... but I don't want to. The dust bunnies are plotting a rebellion, I can just tell. Maybe I'll let them have their way for now. Just because I'm so nice like that.
feeling :    Really happy about our decision to join a gym. I went for a much-needed, refreshing run on the treadmill after work on Friday, and it felt so good to be active again. My goal is to get to the gym three times per week and to try out some new classes. Cycling intrigues me. Has anyone tried this before? Will I fall off the bike?

clicking :  On the 243+ unread blog posts from last week. Taking an internet break was definitely the right call for me last week, but I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things this week. Comments, here I come!

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Last week on The Quixotic Chica:

October 20, 2013

Sunday Currently : 41

The air is starting to feel a bit more chilly, and while I have spent a large part of this weekend indoors, I think that I'll need to take a bit of a walk so I can soak up the sunshine and breathe in the fall air. Mmmmm, I love this time of year. The season, the festivity, the projects, the food... everything just seems so exciting and fresh and invigorating.

There are still projects that I have yet to accomplish, as something inevitably gets in the way. I need to resurrect my day planner and write down these little trips and tidbits. They seem to materialize when I write them in pen, as if my color-coding strategy somehow has the power to make things happen off the page. I'll put this theory to the test this week, and hopefully next weekend will have some adventures sprinkled throughout.


reading : The November issue of Real Simple. My October issue arrived over a month late, so I caught up on that one this morning, and I am enjoying flipping through these pages. Autumn recipes just seem so comforting and savory, and I like pulling my favorites so I can put them into a binder for future use. 

writing :  My dissertation, as well as a couple of post ideas for this week.

listening : To our neighbor's door barking next door. Our heat turned on this morning (how did that happen??), and I could hear it coming through the vents. Our little cat, O'Higgins, seemed very startled by this and immediately hopped up on the bed and ran into my lap for reassurance. Oh, sweet kitty...

thinking :    About our plans for the day. Checking out a gym, a quick trip to Giant, doing some more writing, and then... pumpkin carving, chili-making, and possible cookie-baking!

smelling :   The wonderful scent of the apple cider candle my parents sent us. Seriously, if I were having any trouble getting into the season, this candle would fix it all. 

wishing :    That we had been able to go our haunted hayride last night as we had planned, but there were a lot of last-minute bumps, and we ended up just going out to dinner with our friends. It was fun, but I still wish that the hayride had happened. Hopefully next weekend!

hoping :    That J. Crew gets in a few more winter coats so I can buy a replacement one. I like my winter coats to have Thinsulate, and right now only one style has that lining, and I'm not crazy about any of the colors. I like my winter coats to be bright, and right now nothing is popping out at me. In time, in time...

wearing :   At the moment, a PJ set that used to belong to my sister, though I'm thinking that today is a good day for some plaid shirts and argyle socks. 

loving :   My new navy velvet pants from Factory. So comfy. So pretty. So perfect!

wanting :   Coffee. Oh, hubs, where have you gone? Your lady friend needs some caffeine.

needing :    To finish reading my book and stack of magazines. I didn't get as much reading done last weekend as I would have liked, but I am doing my part this morning. 

feeling :   Ambitious in my baking plans for later today, though I'm also thinking that I might need to postpone them if things start to feel too hectic. I just want to make all of the baked goods, all of them!

clicking :    On a beautiful video by NYC Ballet called "New Beginnings," filmed at sunrise on September 12th. I love NYC Ballet, but since I've been neglecting my YouTube subscriptions, I haven't watched new content in quiiiite a while. I'm so happy that I caught up on this one!


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Last week on The Quixotic Chica:

October 17, 2013

Corn Maze

The very last thing the hubs and I did before departing Lancaster County was stop at a corn maze. Is there anything more quintessentially autumn than a corn maze? Maybe a pumpkin patch/corn maze combo. Regardless, I was pumped to properly ring in the season with some corn maze action. Those cornfields hold some magic for me, and I was excited to wander through them for a while longer.

Since this was the only corn maze I've ever done, I don't know how it compares to others. In my opinion, it was amazingly fun. Do other mazes have people searching for clues throughout the maze? If not, then they totally should, because if there's anything better than a corn maze, it's a corn maze with a competitive edge-- bring it

I have a terrible sense of direction, so while the hubs expertly navigated us to our next clue, I skipped along, marveling at the corn and kicking at old animal bones that poked out of the mud. Slightly creepy, but I figure that in farmland like this, there's bound to be a bone or two buried under there. It made it, err, more authentic? Anyway, my jeans and Chucks ended up covered in mud, but it was deliciously fun.


An hour later, we exited the maze victorious, stopping only to pet the baby cow and to collect our prize: a corn pen. Yes, it is made of biodegradable corn-based plastic! Best. Pen. Ever.


Have you ever done a corn maze before? What was it like? This might be a contender for my favorite autumn activity!

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October 16, 2013

Autumn in the Countryside


The seasons come more alive in the country. In those sprawling hills of corn, the breeze whispers of secrets yet to come, and nature stands tall without the distractions of flashing lights and loud cars. In the country, autumn is alive.

Our weekend getaway in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was one of those weekends where I honestly believe I could live the rest of my life tucked away in a red farmhouse and feel more connected with my environment with every step through the fields and every bitterly cold gust of wind. It's the type of place where you are thankful that such lands exist, Amish farmland that you pray will stay in the family for generations to come so that somebody will love it, work it, and save it.






Rickety, wooden covered bridges. Cornfields. Pumpkins. Bicycles. Amish farmers. Cornfields. Chickens and goats and horses. Did I mention the cornfields? Those huge swaths of land are truly awesome, in the proper sense of the word. I kept begging the hubs to pull over to the side of the winding country roads so I could marvel at the cornfields. It was so windy that weekend, and the rustle of the cornhusks in the wind almost sounded like the ocean. Their dry skins shook against each other, and I felt chills as I tried to decipher their song. I don't quite know what they were saying, but on some basic level I understood.

In those moments as I stood at the side of the road, I let my eyes close, as they often do when that familiar, thrilling rush of joy wells up in my chest, and I grinned, face turned upward to the cloud-covered sky and felt utterly connected to this land. This wonderful, sprawling, countryside land that is miles away from the pavement and the city, this marvelous land that makes me believe in peace and hope, this simple and muddy and beautiful land that will always hold a bit of magic for me. This, I know, I truly believe, is autumn in the countryside.

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