My 10 Favorite Things
I’m incredibly grateful to be able to be a contributor to the 5th post in the ArchiTalk series started by Bob Borson over at Life Of An Architect. The ArchiTalk series is what inspired me to start this blog, and I’m excited to contribute for the first time with everyone else. My thanks go out to Bob and the many others who participate in ArchiTalks!
This month’s ArchiTalk is entitled ‘My Favorite Things’. I actually had a hard time narrowing it down, and the list would likely look a bit different if it wasn’t the dead of winter here in Minnesota (you’ll see why in #7). I really took ‘my favorite things’ to heart… so these are just my favorite things. They aren’t my favorite ‘mom’ things, or my favorite ‘architect’ things. Those lists would look a lot different (although at the top of the ‘Mom’ list would be Boogie Wipes- if you don’t know what they are and you have a kid younger than 24 months with a cold- look them up- I promise they’ll change your life!). Also, please take the time to check out the other architect bloggers’ posts on this same subject at the bottom of the post!
My 10 Favorite Things
1. My kids’ art
I love my kids’ art. It is literally everywhere in our house. The above picture is a large wall next to our dining room table. I had high hopes of creating a lovely picture frame collage like you can see on pinterest (#pinterestfail). But I love it. I love coming home every day and seeing it. I love adding to it throughout the year. We actually just took all these pictures down, and started with a clean slate for 2015. Its exciting to think about what will fill this wall over the course of the year!
Our daughter has taken to hanging up her art throughout the house. So literally everywhere, at about 3′ high, there are pictures hanging. Down the hall, on every kitchen cabinet, on the bathtub, on the vanity… you name it- she’s got it covered if she can reach it!
And the last picture for my kids’ art is a comic book-like series our son started. This is the second page of ‘Luke vs. Vader’. He’s written it all by himself with a little help on the story line. For a six-year old, I think this is pretty darn impressive, and I love seeing what his bright mind comes up with every day.
If you haven’t already read about my love (and desperation) for coffee, check out one of my first blog posts. I like my coffee black- no need to dress it up. And I also prefer it in a cup with my kids’ pictures on it. This is the first coffee cup I received as a mother’s day gift before our daughter arrived. I have one cup at home and one at work with my kids on it, and they are always my preferred cups (at work it’s all I drink out of!). The cups have always served as a reminder to help keep my priorities in order. That said, my favorite way to drink my black coffee in one of these cups is in a quiet room before the rest of the family is awake.
I love books. I do not love e-readers, or reading on the computer. I love holding paper in my hands for hours on end and creating a visual movie in my own head that is narrated by someone else. This is a picture of my nightstand. I’ve read about half the books on the bottom, and the top part is my ‘currently reading’ or ‘up next’ pile of books. I’m currently reading ‘The Confidence Code’ by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Other books that have heavily influenced me (enough to take action) are ‘Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash’ by Edward Humes and ‘Lean-In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead’ by Sheryl Sandberg. If you haven’t read either of these books- please think about reading them. Considering buildings contribute 40% of America’s trash, as architects, we have an obligation to consider how to deal with the trash we are creating. Regarding Lean-In, men and women alike should read this book. Yes, there have been mixed reviews, and yes, even I took issue with parts of the book. But more than anything, it opened my eyes and gave me the courage to take action.
I actually minored in music performance (flute) in college for my first three years. It turned out architecture school was far too demanding to also gain a minor in music performance- they both demand an insane amount of time. But music remains core to my life. It is like my life-blood and can rescue me from a bad day, calm me when the *ahem* crap hits the fan, and can quickly cause a spontaneous family dance jam in our house. Music is almost always on our house, much like it was when I was a child. We actually watch very little TV anymore- just a few morning cartoons sometimes, and an occasional movie. So music is always our ‘background noise’. I love all kinds of music, and listen to an eclectic mix of alternative/indie rock most of the time (and mostly to our awesome local public radio station, The Current). But one of the most influential albums to me currently is Miles Davis’s Ascenseur pour l’echafaud. It is SO. GOOD. You should listen to it. Another favorite album of my presently is Morning Phase by Beck. Some of my favorite bands are Halloween, Alaska (they’re local, and oh-so-good), Mates of State, Calexico, Son Volt, and Paul Simon (yes, Paul Simon).
I love packing up a cooler and heading out on a sunshine-y day for a picnic. This picture is from Mother’s Day 2012. My husband and family now know that they don’t need to ask me what I want to do for Mother’s Day or my birthday- the answer is always I want to go on a picnic. We are so fortunate to have many awesome lakes nearby, and a fantastic park within biking distance of our house. So weather permitting, I almost always want to go on a picnic on my special days (and on any day with sunshine!).
6. The wilderness
I love the outdoors. This probably didn’t really start until I went to college in Montana and started hiking and camping in the mountains. When I came back to Minnesota after college, I started hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail with my dad. We’ve actually hiked the entire Superior Hiking Trail in pieces via day-hikes and short backpacking trips (at the time it was just over 200 miles). When I started dating my future husband, he joined my dad and I on some of our hikes. This picture was taken 2 days after our wedding. We got married on the North Shore, outdoors, at the top of a ski run at Lutsen Mountain (in the fall- there wasn’t any snow yet). It was amazing, and our wedding remains one of my favorite things. To this day, I love camping and hiking. We’re just starting to introduce our kids to camping. Once my husband is done with school, I imagine we’ll be hitting the trails a lot more frequently!
7. My electric blanket
I know… what the heck is this doing on my list!?!? But it gets COLD here. I mean really cold. And there is nothing better than jumping into a pre-heated bed when you’ve got icy cold feet. I actually have this exact red electric throw blanket. On the coldest days of winter (which often don’t rise above 0 degrees), I wrap myself in this and work at the kitchen table at night. When the windchill is -40, this is one of my favorite things. If this ArchiTalk had been asked in the summer, rather than in the depths of winter, I can guarantee it wouldn’t have made my list. But right now, I love this thing.
8. Instant Messaging
We have an open office layout, so communication is really easy for me most of the time. But we’re a big, full-service firm, and while I do sit by my architectural team, I don’t sit by the engineers. So Instant Messaging (IM) becomes a critical part of my day. I love it, and use it every day. And even though I sit close to my team, we still often IM, just because its a quick easy way to communicate. This has changed (and improved) the way I work. Of course I still walk to people’s desks and talk with them when there is a deeper conversation needed, but for the quick things, this works awesome. It has the added advantage of showing me if someone is at their computer working. Sometimes this saves me a trip across the office or downstairs. Bonus.
9. Chips and Salsa
No need for a picture here, but this is truly one of my favorite things. It is my favorite snack, and it is rare that I can resist a bowl of chips with salsa. I love good food, and I love to cook. But this quick and easy treat is a simple go-to food for me. My favorite meal is tacos (of any variety), and Mexican is probably my favorite genre of food. I also love to make fresh salsa, and Rick Bayless has some of the best recipes that I’ve found. His roasted tomatillo salsa is so good I’ve been known to lick the bowl. But let’s just keep that little detail between us.
10. Margaritas (on the rocks, with salt)
This kind of makes sense given #9, but I love margaritas and I love tequila. I love tequila so much that I refused to drink it on my 21st birthday for fear of ruining it. This picture is from our honeymoon in Mexico. I was in heaven… beach, margaritas, a good book, Mexican food = Amy’s heaven. And while I’m listing margaritas as my favorite things, there are a few other alcoholic drinks worth mentioning here. I also have a love of gin and tonics, or gimlets. And I love good beer. My quick and easy favorite beer is Newcastle, but I also love a good IPA (Stone Brewing Co.’s Arrogant Bastard, or Odell Brewing Co.’s IPA are two favorites) or an excellent Nut Brown. I’m actually not too picky about the style- I just love a good micro-brew.
So there you have it. 10 of my most favorite things. If you were ask me again a year from now, I’m sure many of these things would still be on my list, but perhaps some would change. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for getting to know me a little bit more. And while this post didn’t have much to do with being an ArchiMom, I promise some great posts are coming. I’ll ask again- what is that you want to hear about? What issues are you dealing with right now?
Lastly, check out a few favorite things from these other amazing bloggers from the architecture world. Enjoy!
Bob Borson – Life of An Architect
My Favorite Things … again
Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture
9 Things i Like
Marica McKeel – Studio MM
A Few of My Favorite Things
Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet
How I Get Through My Day: My Favorite Things
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
favorite things (at least a few)
Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect
Six Simple Acts that Make My Day
Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL
My Favorite Things
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
My Favorite Things: the pieces of my story
Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen
Nicholas Renard – Cote Renard Architecture
Favorite Things – Just a Few
Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project
When the Dog Bites and Bee Stings; Favorite Things
Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
favorite things… a few of my favorite things…
Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC
These are a few of my favorite things..