Weekly Roundup | Crazy Lazy

Friday, January 29, 2016

It's been a lazy week. I've been a bit down and spending lots of time curled up in bed. Our friend Jared came into town Tuesday night and caught us up on his life. We wandered around a bit on Wednesday, showing him a bit of our new neighborhood and trying an Irish pub for lunch. I'm so excited that we're not too far away from friends anymore.

The Christmas package I shipped to my friend Di in the Netherlands finally arrived on Wednesday, a month late and soaking wet. Does anyone have experience filing claims with international shipping carriers?

I cooked like crazy this week. A huge shopping list and trip resulted in my being able to make all sorts of recipes I found on Pinterest, like this pasta (which was unexpectedly very spicy.this pot roast, and this tasty broccoli cheddar soup. (Seriously amazing!)

  • On Tuesday I shared photos I took of our snowy weekend, including a few shots of some of the awesome street art near the canal walk. Richmond is seriously such a cool city.
  • I have received a ton of really thoughtful questions on my Adoptee survey. Thank you! I wasn't expecting such in-depth questions (or quite so many). Click over if you're still curious; I'll keep the survey open another week or so.

Listening To
  • Matter by St. Lucia I'm so excited for the rest of this album to release. Four songs were immediately available with my pre-order and Dancing on Glass is already a favorite.
  • Colourblind by Hands Like Houses This is the first single from their new album, Dissonants. I can't wait to listen to the rest and hope they come nearby on tour soon!

Blog Love

On the Internets

I'm linking up with Anne from Love the Here and Now for this week's Blogger Love link-up.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The recent storm dropped over a foot of snow here in Richmond, and I was so excited the entire time! Besides our little trip to Fairbanks for Thanksgiving '14, Dan and I haven't seen snow in three years! (I mean, let's just not count the snow in Fairbanks, right? Because it wasn't the same as getting snowed in at home!)

Dan worked in an empty office for about half an hour on Friday before returning home; everyone else just stayed home because of the pending storm. It snowed from 10am Friday until near midnight Saturday, and man did it pour!

With cabin fever building, we had to get out. We wandered down by the frozen canal, where we found a bunch of great murals. (Richmond is COVERED in amazing street art!) I can't wait to head back out and take more photos of this area once it's warmer out.

On Sunday, without the snow blowing in our faces, we walked all the way to the hospital to visit a cousin who has unfortunately been there a while. Dan helped push four cars out onto the street along the way; everywhere you looked there was someone who had dug out as much as possible and was trying, with friends pushing, to get their car out of the piles of snow left behind by street plows. Thank goodness we park in a garage. We also ventured over to the state capitol building, which looked beautiful in all the snow, but we wished we'd taken a sled because there were a ton of people sledding.

It was so fun to have snow like this. The last one this deep for us in Virginia was in 1996 (I was 10)! I almost hate to see it melt away.

Weekly Roundup | SNOWPOCALYPSE

Friday, January 22, 2016

> It's been a slow week over here. I'm aching to dive into some sort of creative venture, but I'm not exactly sure where to start. Help! I'm feeling creatively blocked.

> I had lunch last Friday with an old friend, Katherine, and lunch this past week (at the best Indian restaurant) with one of my old college roommates, Lara. I love that I have friends around here! I especially love when I can walk just a couple of blocks to Shockoe Slip to meet up with them.

> Snowpocalypse! Yesterday I was finally smart enough to look up where Richmond is on the map of Virginia. I have a general idea of course, but I haven't yet learned how to identify exactly where we are based on the outlines of surrounding counties when they don't specifically spell out RVA on the news. Hello, Chesterfield and Henrico counties! According to all those maps, I now know that we should be getting anywhere between 2 and 27 inches of snow. Good to know; I definitely feel more prepared now.

> I chatted with Mireya, my old coworker from California, yesterday. She's from Mexico City originally and we used to have frequent conversations about the differences between where we were from and where we were (Orange County, CA). Of course, Mexico City and OC are very different from Virginia, and the weather is just one of the major standouts. She was laughing over the idea that we can no longer find a loaf of bread in the grocery stores here, and the whole "milk sandwiches" joke was all new to her. I keep sending her memes like this, this, and this. I also suddenly realized that all of our power lines in Orange County were underground—which is a crazy thing to just notice—but she was also shocked to hear that an impending snowstorm of this magnitude could knock out our electricity for several days.

  • I was excited on Monday to finally share photos of the "Dressing Downton" costume exhibit mom and I visited in Richmond back in November.
  • On Wednesday I very randomly decided to write and share this post: Let's Talk About Adoption + A Survey. Feel free to hop over and see what that's all about. I've received some very in-depth questions so far (thanks!) and I'm trying to decide how to dive into sharing some of those and my answers in future posts.

Obviously, I've had a lot of time on my hands this week. I flew through both of these books in four days. If I keep this up, I'll definitely surpass my reading goal for the year!
  • The Girl on the Train I finally got around to reading this huge hit from last year, and yes—it is just as well done as everyone has been saying. I could not solve this mystery myself until the characters starting solving it, keeping me guessing and changing my opinions on what happened many times along the way. If you like a good mystery, you'll love it.
  • Red Queen This book was very different than anything else I've read in a while. I was warned that his fantasy story would have some similarities in themes as some other books I've read, but I think it's really unfair to judge a book on comparisons and prefer to let books stand on their own...and it lived up to that expectation for me. Everything about the world that this story was set in was unique and took a lot of imagination. I can't wait for book two to come out next month!
Keep an eye out...I'm bringing back my Monthly Reads post of reviews at the end of this month!

Blog Love

On the Internets

Let's Talk About Adoption + A Survey

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Let's Talk About Adoption | Em Busy Living

Later this month, I'll be sending a birthday card to a woman in another state. She's someone I've technically "known" all of my life, but I don't really know her and I haven't really met her. This woman is my birthmother.

Adoption is something that I've never really discussed on this blog, but I should. I've thought several times about incorporating my adoption experience with other posts but never actually went with it. I once ran a totally separate blog dedicated to adoption stories and posts about my experience as an adoptee and it gained a bit of traction in that world, but I just couldn't commit to having a blog with such a strong and dedicated niche. It was burdensome, difficult, sometimes exasperating. I could not—emotionally—focus a large chunk of my time on that aspect of my life.

Adoption, and my search for self-identity, shaped my beginning, my adolescence, and large parts of the person I have come to be as an adult. There is no escaping it, but neither is it something that weighs me down in a negative way. It's just there. I am a daughter, a wife, a friend, an explorer, a reader, a designer, and an adoptee. I should be able to talk about it the way I talk about any other aspect of my life.

Lots of people blog about adoption, but the voices of the adoptive parents is always far stronger than the adoptee. I have friends (real and online) who have adopted or who have just begun their adoption process who have chosen to share their journey, joys, heartaches, frustrations, and excitement with others through a blog. I love this, although I won't deny having my concerns, which I may discuss later. So dammit, I'm going to blog about it too. My voice—the voice of adoptees—deserves to be heard just as much.

So here's the thing: I don't really know how I should approach this topic or what I would specifically like to talk about right off the bat, or if anyone would even be interested in the slightest. I think that I'm more of a listener when it comes to this, frequently offering to answer peoples' questions or give advice based on my experience when they are on another side of adoption. (For example, I'd love to be an adoptee's point of view for potential or soon-to-be adoptive parents. Too often I fear that prospective adoptive parents don't see what things may be like for their child and are too caught up in the excitement of their journey to consider the difficulties that their adopted child will face throughout their life.)

On that note, here's a form! I'd like for you, my readers, to reach out and ask me questions about anything you'd like concerning adoption. They can be personal or general. Nothing is off limits, because I'm comfortable talking about the tough stuff. (OK, my birthmother's story is off limits. While I'll be general there where it concerns my story, her story is not mine to tell and her privacy is of utmost importance.) I'll gather a few of the questions soon and post them with my answers, which should give me a good head start in giving this subject more of a presence here.

Thank you, and I'm curious to know what you're curious about!

"Dressing Downton" at the Virginia Historical Society

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I hope everyone is enjoying this day off work and will take a moment to reflect on why we celebrate this important holiday. I'm spending the day hanging with Dan in our new place, but I still wanted to look back and share a few photos from November.


I've expressed my love obsession with Downton Abbey several times on this blog, and I seem to be in good company! I love finding other Downton fans and was excited when my mom mentioned in August that she'd love to watch the series with me. We excitedly picked up seasons 1-5 and would binge watch every time I returned home. We finished season five just in time to start watching season six as it airs here in the US. I've loved this time and having this show in common with her.

You could imagine my excitement when Katrina from Thrifty Gypsy's Travels commented to tell me that an exhibit of costumes from Downton Abbey was on its way to Richmond! I am OBSESSED with costume design. (I kick myself several times a year over the fact that I never pursued that further while I was still in school.) I just had to see this exhibit! Mom and I began planning a day trip to Richmond immediately.

"Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times" was shown in Richmond at the Virginia Historical Society. I can't believe I hadn't visited this gem before! Admission to their regular exhibits is free, which is unbeatable, but tickets to special events, like the Downton exhibit, have admission. Tickets to the Downton exhibit cost $20, but were worth every penny. My mom said it was worth it just to ring the bells! She really loves the bells, ha!

"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living
Ringing them the wrong way, before she realized the pulls were on the back.

I loved reading the information included with the costumes, including who had designed or created it, which I unfortunately didn't take note of. I was surprised to hear that many of the pieces had been reconstructed from vintage pieces or fabrics from the early 1900's. One dress on display had even been made from a vintage tablecloth. Some of the lace and beadwork was nearly 100 years old! I especially loved one quote from a designer who mentioned the sound of beads falling to the floor as they filmed when older beadwork fell from the dresses as the actresses moved. But not everything had a touch of old, as some costumes were made of completely new materials.

"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living
"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living
"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living
"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living
"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living
"Dressing Downton," costumes from Downton Abbey at the Virginia Historical Society | Em Busy Living

Unfortunately, this exhibition has already left the VHS for it's next destination, the Driehaus Museum in Chicago, Illinois, but other venues will follow. Visit the collection's website for more information on upcoming exhibition locations, including cities like Nashville and Anaheim. And while I'm sad I won't have another chance to go see these costumes here in Richmond, I'm excited to see what else the VHS brings to town for me to fawn over!

Dressing Downton
Twitter @downtownabbey
Instagram @downtonabbey_official

The Virginia Historical Society
Twitter @VaHistorical
Instagram @VaHistorical

Weekly Roundup | RVA Week One

Friday, January 15, 2016

A photo posted by Emily (@embusyliving) on

Today is day six of living in Richmond, and I'd say it's going quite well. My parents helped us move into our new apartment last Saturday and we couldn't have done it without them. Dan started his new job on Monday and I've spent the week unpacking, organizing, and settling into our new home.

> So far we've bought a rug. Our living room furniture consists of two bag chairs my parents last used at the lake (and the sand that came home with them) and a huge box that we're currently using as a coffee table of sorts. Thank goodness we at least have our mattress from California. Man, I sure did miss that comfy bed. Some actual furniture should be in our future soon...I hope!

> It took a lot to warm up to this new space. Dan and I laid awake in bed the first night afraid that we'd made a huge mistake in choosing this apartment. There isn't a ton of storage and we're having to be really creative in finding a place for everything, and that's saying a lot because we don't have a lot of things. Though you never really realize how badly you need drawers in your kitchen for utensils and such until you only have two drawers in your kitchen. But we're making it work, even if it has been a big change for us. Even so, I can't wait to take some great photos to share. The natural light in these huge windows is unreal!

> PS - If you follow me on Snapchat you've probably seen a bit of a preview of our new place! Follow me: "embusyliving".

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert All hail Liz Gilbert! I have loved all of the books I've previously read by her, and just love her way with words. I can't think of any book I needed in my life more at this moment than Big Magic. I've felt my creativity rising up inside of me over the past few months and I'm aching to let it burst through in some form or another. I feel like reading this right now is a great pre-requisite for that, as well as a nice primer for some of my creative goals for this year.

  • Finding Carter Thank you to the Verizon guy for finally showing up yesterday and connecting our internet and cable! I can finally catch up on my Hulu queue (and finally have some alone time so I don't subject Dan to my cheesy teenage dramas). I'm finally starting season two of Finding Carter, and I admit...I love this teenage drama.

Blog Love

On the Internets

PS - Today I'm linking up with the VirginiaBloggers.com Friday Favorites link-up! Trying to meet some other RVA bloggers, ya know ;)

Weekly Roundup | (Another) Moving Day!

Friday, January 8, 2016

> Dan and I are feeling like professional movers at this point. Three moves in six months? Not a record I'm sure, or something to be proud of—we're exhausted, really—but here we go! We applied for and were approved for an apartment in downtown Richmond last week and will get the keys tomorrow morning!

We'll be living on the top floor of an old converted warehouse, a common style of living in the heart of downtown Richmond. The city is rich with history and most of the buildings lining the James River had something to do with the tobacco industry back in the day. Our unit has polished concrete floors, seventeen foot ceilings, and nine foot tall industrial windows. I'm really excited to get into our new space and share photos (before and after)!

> One thing I decided I would do this year is go back to paper with my planning and to-do lists. I also wanted to journal a little bit each day. Late in the evening on January 1st I took off to Barnes and Noble to pick up a fresh Moleskine notebook, which I've turned into my own version of a bullet journal. I combine the to-do functions of bullet journaling with my own little note-taking and doodles and charts to make it really work for me, and I'm loving it so far! I have a page for my 2016 goals, one for the list of books I've read this year, and I'm sure I'll have a bunch more. Any suggestions?

> I have a ton of links to share today...I couldn't help saving things even when I wasn't blogging through the holidays!

  • Downton Abbey I rushed back to my parents' last Sunday night to watch the season six premiere with my mom! Eeee who's excited?! ...And sad it's almost over :(

  • I'm gearing up to start reading again, and I already have Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic" and Paula Hawkins' "The Girl On the Train" waiting to be read. Friend me on Goodreads so we can see what the other is reading!

Blog Love

On the Internets

The Awesome Link-Up with Love the Here and Now

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

I have a lot going on right now with our upcoming move to a new city and all that entails, but I'm excited to be joining Anne from Love the Here and Now for her monthly Awesome Link-Up!

I think it's appropriate to say that there are a lot of awesome things going on in my little corner of the world. Moving is awesome, even as stressful as that can be. Our new apartment is going to be awesome. We get the keys later this week and I can't wait to share photos of our new awesome space!

Being near our family and friends is definitely awesome! We've spent so much time with family lately that I have a fresh new outlook on everything in life.

We spent New Year's Eve in Roanoke with some of our best friends (even Chelsea was in town for the holidays!) and went to see Star Wars after a great dinner. The five of us even had our own private viewing of the movie, so we could cheer and be obnoxious as we wanted, all from the best seats in the house. Tom leaned over and whispered "Happy New Year" as the clock struck twelve and we all cheered a little bit before finishing the last hour of the movie. That night was awesome!

I am energized by the connections and relationships we're strengthening by being back in Virginia and by the excitement of all of the unknowns ahead of us this year. Please join Anne and myself by sharing what awesome things are going on in your life as well!

2016 Goals

Friday, January 1, 2016

I always say that I'm not much on New Year's Resolutions, but that's a load of crap. What I'm not much on are unreasonable resolutions. Joining a gym? Not going to happen. But I do love making lists of things I can accomplish. Checking off and looking back at those accomplishments throughout the year is good for the soul. So, without further ado...

  • Read 30 books (Follow me on Goodreads!)
  • Visit my best friend Di in Holland
  • Have a slumber party / girls' weekend with my cousins
  • Go on a long weekend vacation somewhere new with Dan
  • Meet Ada in DC for a weekend
  • Spend a weekend with John and Nicole (host or visit in South Carolina)
  • Spend a weekend in New Jersey with Chelsea
  • Take my cousins to New York City
  • Sign up for at least four creative workshops
  • Rebrand myself professionally and begin offering creative services (maybe open a little online shop of some kind)
  • Buy a new sewing machine
  • Begin writing a novel (or at least start outlining and organizing it!)
  • Adopt a kitty (!?)
  • Host a summer cookout or dinner party for our families
  • Attempt Good Times Crew (bffs) reunion for another Halloween Cabin Party
  • Spend my 30th birthday (in October) somewhere exciting

Isn't it interesting to look at a list like this and see what your priorities are? Apparently I'm really into being creative, traveling, and spending time with family this year. Sounds good to me!

Happy New Year!