Wedding outtakes

Reading Sally Mann’s excellent memoir, Hold Still, has made me feel particularly compelled to keep better photographic archives. In that vein, I finally uploaded and successfully archived our wedding photographs, which were shot by the incomparable Meredith Perdue.

It was such a delight to look back through these photos, especially the less glamorous or amusing ones that I had forgotten about. Without further ado, here are some wedding outtakes. Just because. It’s a cold, blustery November day, and looking at these pictures fills me with a sunny, Chapel Hill brand of romantic nostalgia.

Abby_and_Guion021Abby_and_Guion087Abby_and_Guion184Abby_and_Guion216Abby_and_Guion316Abby_and_Guion319Abby_and_Guion375Abby_and_Guion535Abby_and_Guion568Happy Friday!

On the particular joys of used books

Two beloved and heavily annotated books of mine. Photo circa spring 2010.

I know I am not alone in this sentiment, but I hold used books in high esteem, often preferring them above brand-new editions. The remnants of past readers feel very special to me. I spend a good deal of time wondering about the book’s former owners, searching for vestigial clues to their identities. I read every annotation, every inscription, every book plate. I wonder if Carol and Judith ended their friendship, and that’s why Judith gave away her copy of The Stone Diaries to the library book sale. I admire John and Betty Connors’s gilt-edged, pre-printed Ex Libris sticker and wonder if we would have enjoyed their company at dinner. I muse about names and dates and symbols. I assess the handwriting, trying to ascertain the age or sex of the reader.

I once bought a very heavily and angrily annotated copy of Walden, clearly worked over by a high-school student. The student did not hold Thoreau in high regard, but he/she did seem to have read the whole book, because there were grumpy little notes and excessive underlining from start to finish. I found myself almost more interested in what the student had to say than Thoreau.

While in college, I bought a beautifully bound, royal-blue old hardback copy of Carl Sandburg’s poems on a whim at The Bookshop. I don’t even like Carl Sandburg that much. When I got home and thumbed through the volume, out dropped a photograph. And not just any photograph: It was a small rectangle, curling at the edges, displaying the Old Well and a thoroughly ivy-covered building (possibly Old East). Dated 1915. What an unexpected treasure! I framed that little photograph and it now hangs in the bedroom with the Carolina blue walls.

Importantly, The Bookshop was where I initiated my college romances. True to form, while perusing its musty shelves, I grew uncommonly animated and flirtatious, as if spouting allusions at a quick clip was the best way to cause someone to fall in love with me. I still remember conversations I had and the books I was jealously guarding in my arms when I had them. I even remember what I was wearing on these particular quasi-dates. I found Lydia Davis’s hardback translation of Swann’s Way there, back in the dark and creepy clearance section, and felt it to be a Sign from God that I had to finally read Proust, under the auspices of budding love.

Tillman clan weekend

This past weekend, we traveled to Southern Pines and Chapel Hill to celebrate Granddad’s 80th birthday.

Granddad / Abby Farson Pratt

He is a gem! We love any excuse to get to see him.

With Guion and his second cousins and their wives.
With Guion and his second cousins and their wives.

I like this Tillman clan (my mother-in-law’s family); they are such genial, polite, formal people. They also know how to have a good time at a luncheon!

Favorite party moment: Granddad’s sister, after we all listened to a series of moving and sincere toasts, looks around the room and shouts at her ride: “I would like to leave now!” 50 points for Big Jane. A woman who knows what she wants.

Back in the Pines, our weekend was spent watching the dogs and taking them on long, leisurely walks. So relaxing.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

I’ve been thinking lately about friends (and family) who emulate great style and who have taught me what little I know about dress. I was also thinking about how I would define their personal style. Taking a stab at it:

Grace (Aztec ghetto meets bohemian grunge)
Jonathan (urban woodsman art collector)
Catherine (risk-taking French sophisticate)
Stephanie (late 1950s, early 1960s painter and travel writer)

They have all taught me a lot, from simple observation.

Hanging with Joseph

Grace has always had panache, even as a child. She would change her clothes five, six times a day. Mom finally got tired of fighting her on it, and one morning, six-year-old Grace came to church in a 101 Dalmatians bathing suit, snakeskin cowboy boots, and a tutu.

It still amazes (and infuriates) me how she has this innate ability to pick out great clothes. She shops primarily at thrift stores, and she can pick out every single designer item in what looks to me to be a pile of worthless junk. For example, she recently gave me some of her clothes, including a Proenza Schouler skirt and a vintage Laura Ashley dress (hilarious in its cuteness), which fit me perfectly. HOW DOES SHE DO IT. I don’t know. I do not have that gift. I wish that I did.

In the meantime, I am continuing on my recent journey to study style, fashion, fit, and fabric, and I am even starting to dress like a grown-ass woman. Advice always welcome.

A weekend here and away

This weekend, we went to Chapel Hill and Carrboro for a mini-reunion with family and friends and to see Nettles and the Hill and Wood perform at Night Light. The visit was short but enjoyable. We got to see everyone we loved in a very short amount of time: I got to have tea with Jonathan at Weaver Street; tons of family and friends showed up at the concert; stayed the night with Shaun and Ann-Marie; got breakfast with Granddad; had lunch with Kelsey and Grace. A photographic sampling:

More photos on Flickr.

Also, I think I’m retiring the Monday Snax segment for the indefinite future. I’ll still provide links here and there, but I’d like to do more thinking and writing rather than linking and captioning. More life reflections, you know? Sigh. I was a better blogger when I was 15. Whatever that means.

Too busy to think much more! Happy Monday, y’all.

Monday Snax with a slideshow

Shaun and Ann-Marie get married and we see a ton of other people!

Photos from our whirlwind weekend in Chapel Hill can be found here!


Katsuya Kamo, Hairstylist, at His Home in Tokyo. I tend to shun clutter, but Kamo’s packed walls and cultivated collection of items really appeals to me. The beetles make me think of Prufrock. (The Selby)

Sachiyo Nakamura Exhibition in Tokyo. This showroom looks like a dream to me. I will always be in love with Japanese patterns. (Upon a Fold)

Interiors. I absolutely love all of these rooms and had to resist the strong urge to pin them all myself. (TeenAngster)

Hot Tea Is More Refreshing than Cold Tea. Wow, so interesting. So my Japanese host mom knew what she was doing when she repeatedly gave me piping hot cups of sencha on 103-degree days. (Discovering Tea)

At the End of an E-mail, Everyone’s a Valedictorian. Helpful suggestions on how to close your e-mails with more appropriate and tone-specific signatures. (The Hairpin)

Circles of Influence. A fun graphic showing famous writers who influenced other famous writers. (English Muse)

At Home with Elke. Yes, please, glorious home in Provence! Doesn’t this also look like the setting of one of the recent Anthropologie catalogs? (French by Design)

10 Questions for Ellen Picker. Ellen is a friendly face around town and a great young photographer. The Charlotte asks her a few questions about work and inspiration and includes some beautiful examples of her work. (The Charlotte)

Frida’s Corsets. A sad but interesting detail from the life of Frida Kahlo. (The Paris Review)

Super-Saturated Colors. The juxtaposition of these dabs of color really appealed to me. Paintings by Michelle Armas. (Anne Louise Likes)

Catherine Campbell’s Tea-rific Illustrations. Campbell sketches sad-faced ladies in tea cups. It’s very charming. (ModCloth blog)

Voguepedia. People who know about fashion will have more fun with this than I will, but it’s still a cool feature: Vogue, in encyclopedic form. (Voguepedia)

Old Navy’s Performance Typo. It pays to have an editor around when you’re in the business of making graphic tees. (Mighty Red Pen)

My Dreamboat. I think John Travolta is totally gross, but this fitness book of his is probably the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. So serious! So much spandex! (Lucy Can’t Dance)

Who… Is… Hansky? I just love that this is happening. (Best Week Ever)

A long weekend

Apparently we’ve had two more aftershocks here (ranging in magnitude from 4.2 to 4.5), but I haven’t felt either one and now I’m feeling left out of all the fun.

Hurricane Irene is fast on our heels and we are heading into her fury: We’re driving to Chapel Hill in a few hours for a long weekend there. Shaun and Ann-Marie are getting married and we are thrilled for them. I’m also thrilled that I get to see about 13 of my old friends while we’re in town. Thirteen friends + two sisters in four days = a very, very busy schedule, but I’m excited about it nonetheless!

Will bring many pictures back. And will not leave my purse in a gas station this time. At least, I’m going to do my best not to. See you then. Have a dry and safe weekend, to the best of your ability.

Off to the Old North State!

The Triangle, the Mecca of Civilization.

Guion and I are taking a long-awaited trip to the homeland, specifically the Triangle, for the weekend. I’m so excited. We have about a hundred people we need to see in two days, so we’ll be running a mile a minute, but we won’t even care, because we’re going to eat at Carrburritos, aka The Best Restaurant in the World, on Friday. I’ll be staying in Durham with Emily for a women’s weekend and Guion will be in Chapel Hill with Granddad, so we’ll be rushing between the points in something of a reunion frenzy. My regular posts will probably be late this weekend, but we will return freshly invigorated and attempting to bring some of the glorious N.C. weather back with us. Have a great weekend, because we certainly will.


Monday Snax

We had an absolutely fantastic time in Chapel Hill this weekend, about which I will likely write more later. Cristina and Eric’s wedding was fantastic–like a big, sweaty UNC/IV reunion–and they were so beautiful and happy. As we drove away, Guion and I remarked to each other that it felt like we had just been married all over again. We’re just so thrilled for them.

But, onto today’s business. Your weekly dose of Snax:

Never Let Me Go (to a bad movie): Kazuo Ishiguro’s chilling novel is coming out as a film! Check out the trailer here, via the New Yorker’s book blog. Even though it has Keira Knightley in it, I’m optimistic about Carey Mulligan’s presence. Looks good, doesn’t it?

Lego sculpture. Mmm. Now this is real art. (Regretsy)

Surreal type. It’s really beautiful. (Thoughtful Day)

Sneak Peek: Best of Dogs. Of course I love this. It’s Design Sponge’s aggregation of all of their best dog photos from over the years. It seems that people buy dogs that look good in their homes… (Design Sponge)

Beach comber. Photographer Brian Ferry is at the beach and I hope he never leaves. These photos are full of magic. (Brian Ferry)

Past & Present: Handwriting and Flourishes. Oh, to write like this! (Design Sponge)

Dear magic hour. Courtney showed me this blog, which I positively love. Leah writes a handwritten thank-you note every day to someone or something, and then posts it on her blog. She must be one of the happiest people alive. And seems so sincere, too! This is a thank-you note to “the magic hour.” (THXTHXTHX)

Bride and Doom. Oh, WHY didn’t we get this in time for the weddings this weekend? Such a shame. (Regretsy)