Monday, August 26, 2013

My sister used the ALWAYS AMAZING videographers Magic Flute for her wedding and they just finished her highlights video! This short video captures the entire day so perfectly and I loved what they wrote about it on the Magic Flute Blog:
What can we possibly say that would do justice to the O’holla/Zelinka wedding? These guys could tutor young couples professionally on how to fall madly in love, throw a party, and dance until dawn. We felt like just another family member in this warm embracing crowd as we captured intimate moments among sisters, skated down a fairway, and watched several generations collectively boogie the night way. Thanks guys for an unforgettable day!

If you're like me, you'll watch it at least 50 times in a row and still want to keep watching again and again. As my sister Rachel put it, in an email: me after watching the vid 117 times:

So please watch below. This is what my family is like, pretty special right? So happy to welcome Tristan into our clan.

Emily & Tristan in York, PA from Magic Flute on Vimeo.

PS- If you haven't seen it or are dying to watch it for the 118th time. Here's our wedding video!
PPS- Bridesmaids!

Friday, August 23, 2013

You guys, Iceland! It was an amazing trip filled with:


beautiful horses,



ridiculously clear water,

farmhouses in the middle of nowhere selling homemade sweaters,

and natural hot springs.

It was my first "girlfriends vacation" with my travel twin Lana (Aka Bitts.) Her Icelandic spirit animal is the sheep by the way, mine is the horse. But the story I find myself telling the most since I've been back seems to be Helga, the person we rented our apartment from. Or as Bitts and I affectionately dubbed her: Helgs.

You know how international flights from New York to Europe go. You're supposed to leave at midnight, but don't actually leave until 2 in the morning because the pilot calls in sick. You land at 11 in the morning there, but your body thinks it's 5 in the morning and you didn't really sleep on the plane at all. But when you land, you have the giddy, bordering on nausea feeling of staying up all night and being in another country! It's like being in college, except at an airport instead of in a dorm!

Our first stop was to pick up some wine to have at the apartment during the week from duty free. Because everyone kept telling us we'd pay $20 for a glass of wine or a beer in Iceland! And let's be honest, Bitts and I like our wine. Especially when hot tubs are involved (which they were.) We ended up going to three duty free shops and picking out different wine all three times in the confusing (especially to a sleep deprived person) Iceland airport. Did you know you can only buy from certain duty free shops depending on whether you are coming or going in the airport?

Anyway, we picked up our car, and finally made it to our place where we met up with Helgs to get the keys. The next twenty minutes or so consisted of a lot of head nodding as Helgs explained all of the locks and keys, demanded we log into the wifi and get on our hands and knees to work the hot tub, complained about her last guests using all of the towels and gave us very detailed instructions on how to use a basic coffee maker. We just were not clicking with Helgs! It felt like she was yelling at us the entire time and we were tired and confused. I realized later, during my love affair with Iceland, that sleep deprived Americans just aren't used to the Icelandic way yet. Just because someone isn't smiling and telling you to have a nice day all the time, doesn't mean they don't like you.

But at that point, I just wanted  Helgs to go away, so when she asked if we'd like a little tour around town in her car, just to point out some basics for us, I almost said no. Luckily, in my hesitation, Bitts said, sure! And that is when we had our Helgs turning point. We drove around with her for about a half an hour and it really gave us a sense of where we were and was very helpful. Here are things we got to know about Helgs during that car ride:
  • Her favorite actor is Tom Hanks, who incidentally Bitts HATES. 
  • Her daughter's favorite actor is Tom Hanks too!
  • Her daughter is good friends with George Harrison's son and went to his wedding where she met Paul McCartney, and you guessed it, Tom Hanks.
  • Helgs is a real name dropper.
  • She went to a Jethro Toll concert not that long ago
  • Yoko Ono comes to Iceland all the time.
And then we drove by what is either the only jail in Iceland or the only jail in Reykjavik, I forget, and Helgs goes "that's the only jail, it's mostly filled with Polish people. Is the door open? See look, the door's open (it actually was) they're about to feed them a catered meal."

Bottom line: We didn't really know what she was talking about, but she totally redeemed herself and we kept bringing her up the entire trip! Saying things like, remember when Helgs told us the jail is filled with Polish people? 

I guess the point of this blog post is to say that vacations are funny, and that everybody loves Tom Hanks. (Except for Lana).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hi my name is Sarah, and I can look at real estate listings online for 4 hours in a row, nice to meet you! Alex and I have suddenly found ourselves in the position where we might be able to buy an apartment or a house, if we are lucky. We are finally in the position to be that married couple in love, who want to have a kid eventually, and house hunting. Doesn't that sound romantic?

Isn't that what you picture too? Also this.

So why do we both keep feeling the alternating emotions of dread, despair, anxiety and malaise on a rotating basis every 15 minutes? I think it's because we're both a little "high strung" by nature. And while in my mind, high strung couples are like this:

They're also like this:

with the ability to look at real estate listings for four hours straight and feel like we have absolutely no idea what we are doing. I'm talking "in my pjs, with nothing in my stomach but a cup of coffee, zombie in front of the computer screen," straight, because I can't seem to think about anything else.


But just now, I had a thought over my favorite 1PM summer breakfast of soft-boiled eggs, avocado toast, smoked salmon and coconut water. (I know, mmmm, right?)

And that thought was: I should blog about this.

Now, those of you who have told me you miss my blog are probably saying:

And thank you for missing me, I miss you too. I was sort of going through this, "I don't want to share my life online" phase. And it was working because nothing was really bothering me for a while. I felt like I kept posting about my fabulous weekends, which is fun sometimes, but I hate reading blogs that just post about fun times they're having all of the time. They get boring, and I didn't want to write that blog. So in the meantime, my sister got married, I took a trip to Iceland, Lake Huron and California, I worked on my novel, did some fun city day trips, read books and watched movies, and didn't tell you guys about any of it.

Then Alex and I decided we're definitely going to have a kid eventually- but I didn't want to tell anyone. Then we decided we want to try to buy a place to live- but I didn't want to tell anyone. Then we thought, we're even going to look in New Jersey (!)- but I didn't want to tell anyone.

Well, over toast and eggs this afternoon, I decided I should tell everyone. Because I think it will make me feel better. Here is a list of the million and 20 things going on in my house hunting head:

  • Is there a good public school system near by?
  • What is better, living in a nice neighborhood in Brooklyn in a small apartment, or living in a nice neighborhood in NJ, in a house with a long commute to work?
  • Can we really afford this?
  • Change is scary!
  • Taxes (NJ) and maintenance fees (NY) are total bummers.
We've been pre-approved for a mortgage, but that didn't make us feel anymore secure. So far we're not really working with an agent, just going to open houses and looking online. Can anyone explain to me what exactly "working with an agent" means even? Also it feels like every damn place we show the tiniest interest in is suddenly "in contract." It's like on one hand, people are telling you to think this decision through, don't rush into anything and on the other it feels like if we don't put a bid on something immediately it will be in contract by the time we decide to.

So, I'm going to take a deep breath, remember that this is a really good problem to have and feel some gratitude,

and hope that you guys write some reassuring, advice filled thoughts in the comments. That is, if you're still following and reading my blog. I hope that you are because it feels good to be back.