I've been backing up all my phone photos to Google+ and continue to be amazed by their automatic features. Some of my pictures are converted into "stories," complete with little maps, etc. (like a weekend trip to Healdsburg). Others are picked for "auto awesome," Google's term for selecting some of your photos to make into collages or GIFS.
I have no idea what algorithmic magic is behind it all, but how awesome is this?
Welcome back, that is. It was sad to see that my last post was from March 2012 - wow! But, let's let bygones be bygones and start up again. I promise I've been up to a thing or two since two years and nine months have passed. I just realized - midway through folding laundry - that maybe the holiday cards I sent out yesterday (so late!) might get to some people today and, given that I included this blog link, I better get on it.
As I look back on all the random things in my phone I took a picture of over the past few years, I think it might be fun to do some catch up posts, perhaps by season, on what I, Will, and our shifting cast of pets have been up to. Mostly, I'm looking forward to sharing about the good things to come in the future! Baby Callum's March due date is swiftly approaching and I think taking up the blog again is a great way to share all the fun with family and friends for a set of very social-media phobic parents-to-be. :)
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, to all! XO, Nik
What better to get me back into my blogging groove than a whole lot of wedding goodness?
As friends and family know, Will and I got engaged on January 8, 2012 and have hit the ground running with wedding planning (well, one of us has). We will be getting married on Friday, September 7, 2012 and could not be more excited about this big step in our relationship, the fun we will have, and the love we'll share with everyone on that day.
Without giving too much away, I'm planning to share fun details about planning now and again throughout the year until the Big Day. And first things first, the ring! I've never been a big jewelry person, and I've really never been a big diamond person, but when it comes to this ring, I. Am. Obsessed.
I feel very lucky that I got to be part of the design process. In our pre-engagement information discovery phase, I let Will know that I would really like an antique ring for a number of reasons I won't go into. Without knowing enough to know what it was actually called, I definitely knew I wanted (actually needed) a bezel setting due to my afflictions of clumsiness, scatterbrained-ness, and general like-to-shove-my-hands-in-my-pockets-itis. Any sort of snagging prongs would not be good for this girl. With the parameters somewhat set, we started looking around and ended up in San Francisco's absolutely gorgeous Lang Antiques. This place is just .... wow. If you aren't a diamond person, this store would convert you. It is tiny - it could not be more than 10'x15' including the cases - and absolutely packed wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, dripping with diamonds. It is a mesmerizing, shiny place.
I had fallen in love with a particular ring on Lang's website, and it did not disappoint in person. It was not quite the right fit for us, though. I had been rather stubborn (shocking, I know) about having an antique ring rather than one designed to look as though it were. That being said, when we were learning more about The Ring, it turned out that although it was a very old diamond, the setting was actually a new one designed in the Edwardian style. Dun, dun, dun! As you can imagine, this began to soften me on the idea of simply having one designed.
I am so glad we did! I could not be happier with the end result. We shared the description of the ring with - wait for it - Will's co-worker's wife's uncle, who is a jewelry designer in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I asked for a few tweaks here and there, he put his own spin on it, and voila! A custom ring I can't stop staring at. Most important, Will was absolutely thrilled with the end result, which made me happier than anything.
For jewelry buffs out there, here is information almost verbatim from the appraisal with all sorts of words I don't understand. I speak only the language of sparkly: the ring is platinum and the band tapers up to a bezel with millgrain around the edges. Centered in the bezel is one round brilliant cut diamond. Recessed on each shank with millgrain edges are 4 round brilliant cut diamonds, each set in a bezel. The gallery underneath has a
high polish and the bezel for the center stone has 2 rows of diamonds; each row is flush set. The top row has 14 round brilliant cut diamonds and the bottom row has 10 diamonds.
The view from my office, today, July 13, 2011. You should be able to see the ocean between those two buildings that look like vanilla wafers.
San Francisco weather, you finally wore me down. I actually used to enjoy dreary, gray days. I never really noticed that our summers are not exactly sunny and warm. I have never been one to gripe about an extended span of sunless days. But, you got me. This December will mark my sixth year in the city, and I have to not only notice, but adamantly gripe that this absolutely sucks. I wore a black wool coat to work today. My hair was soaked by a thick, insidious mist after a one-block walk to the bus stop. Not cool.
I am super behind in my blogging, but I have been up to all kinds of nonsense that is stockpiled up for posts. Hopefully soon!
If we found our time in Brussels a bit lackluster, the quaint little tourist town of Brugges, just a forty-minute train ride from the city, more than amply made up for it. When I saw the pictures of one of my favorite blogger's trip there, it not only sold me on the destination, but catalysed our entire trip. With its picturesque views, beautiful canals, and medieval architecture, it was like walking around a little fairy tale city. I absolutely fell in love with it. Hope it's not hard to see why!
There were hordes of people coming out of the train station to cross through the walled city's gates, including my favorite type of tourists.
The canal surrounding the entire city.
Making our way through the little cobbled streets toward the main square.
Entering the downtown area, where the most prominent building punctuating the Brugges skyline is a 13th-century belfry.
The famed belfry up close.
Main city square.
Much like the Ashbury Apartment, Brugges' government is represented by a Lion and a Bear.
Brugges City Hall > Yours.
Our new friend, Bert, couldn't direct us to the Folk Museum, but he could show us the world's smallest street (that could probably use a little fact-checking).
These folks are serious about three things: chocolate, Easter, and Easter chocolate.
Our first canal-view inside the city!
Time for refreshment, Belgium-style.
The beautiful sights continued as we ventured outside of the main city area and into the surrounding neighborhoods, still in search of the elusive Folk Musuem.
One of my favorite pictures.
At last! Though the Folk Museum was closed, I was happy to get a picture with their awesome sign.
As the day wore on, we only seemed to enjoy Brugges more. The setting sun put such a different glow on the buildings and streets that we could have easily taken every picture over again. As the afternoon gave way to twilight, an evening breeze lifted each little flag up, and the less-hearty tourists departed for the train station, the whole city took on a magical air. From the reflections of the canals to the swans to the dark, empty streets, I felt like I had been transported to another time and could have stayed forever.