So Long, 2013!

Pashley Herb Caen once wrote, "I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there."

When you ride you're supposed to look toward wherever it is you want to go next. Your body language follows your gaze, and your horse follows your body language. I think that's good practice outside the ring as well, but it's always nice to take stock of one year before the next has taken hold. So let's, shall we?

January. We rang in the new year just the three of us over dinner and a harbor sky full of fireworks! I got a new bike, tried (and promptly quit) Pilates, and saw The Invisible War. I flew back home to rendezvous with the tomboy as she wrapped up a quick work trip, and we zipped all around San Francisco in a perky white Mini until a cold kept us holed up in the hotel room. At least it was a very nice hotel room!


February. We dug ourselves out of Nemo. And dug and dug and dug. It was some snowstorm! (Made Freyr feel like a dress rehearsal.) We celebrated Valentine's Day in the North End, I taught myself how to tie a bow tie properly and we had our first houseguest of the year, as well as our first party - an Oscar viewing shindig for friends and neighbors!


March. SOWA Vintage Market! Concertantes! Networking events! New jobs! Haircuts! First time at the RMV! We packed up and spent Easter weekend in Woodstock, Vermont, easily one of my favorite New England towns. March was action-packed, apparently, but by far the most significant event was M leaving her job of nearly nine years and joining a startup. Such a big change!

Harpswell Bday-001

April. My favorite month! My birthday month! (Gee, think there's a connection?) I was treated to a long weekend at a great big beach house in coastal Maine, including a private three-hour horseback ride through lush Maine forest, and we galloped along snowy riverbanks up to a nice little vista with crystal clear views of Mt. Washington. Gorgeous!


Unfortunately, the rigors of the ride jostled M's wallet from her pocket and she lost it. Lesson learned: She replaced it with a bright mustard version.


And then there were the bombings and everything went very, very dark for a while. Spring leapt forward despite it all, as it does, and eventually so did we. Slowly getting back to normal, to new beginnings. I joined a local team of personal stylists. M bought herself a new suit from the Indochino pop-up shop. With warmer weather came peep-toes and bare arms and BBQs, too.


May. And the flowers began to really bloom, but there will always be downs for life's lovely ups, and boy was May ever full of 'em. The start-up M just joined (and loved!) shut its doors rather abruptly and her recruiter hustled to line up some meetings with other companies. While she was in interviews, I was picking up steam as a stylist, and before you knew it Memorial Day weekend was upon us. On a miserable, cold, rainy Saturday, the petite went to a music festival with her friend. During the last song by the last band of the night ('We Are Young' by Fun.), she slipped and dislocated her kneecap, and was immediately rushed backstage by event staff to a waiting ambulance. Talk about terrifying! We hurried to meet them in the ER, and long story short: her knee slipped itself right back into place when the x-ray tech adjusted her leg to get the films. So baby's first music festival turned into baby's first ambulance ride and ER visit, but we brought her home that night with nothing but a knee brace and she was good as new after a few physical therapy visits. Phew! 


June. Beach days. Lake days. Pool days. Gardening days. Cape days. Having grown up my whole life in the Bay Area, New England seasons are enough to give a girl whiplash! We scarcely blinked and spring was gone. I visited the Isabella Gardner for the first time, and we went to our first comedy show here in Boston to see Julie Goldman. M celebrated another birthday. I celebrated FFAF's 5th birthday.


July. Independence Day aboard the Roseway! I lost my mind and committed to posting an outfit a day here at FFAF. I started taking horseback riding lessons again. We danced like fools at Soulelujah. We saw She & Him and Camera Obscura play in the Seaport District. We saw Savages kill it downstairs at The Middle East. We saw the Acro-Cats (an actual cat band). More beach days, pencil skirt days, more pool days.


Can't leave out a spontaneous weekend jaunt to Manhattan; Central Park, Cuban food, rooftop drinks at our Midtown hotel, Bond No. 9, brunch with a super fun group of friends at The Smile, jargaritas and too many slices. It was the kiddo's first time there, and it did not disappoint.


August. Some quiet time before my best friend's weeklong stay with us! I had a hunch she was extra-awesome so I slipped a note into her locker one day in the 7th grade and the rest is history - 20 years' worth, to be exact! I love her to death, and because she'd never been to New England before, I had a lot of fun showing her around - here's where we went to our neck of the Charles River and the Boston Public Library!


The tomboy shooed us off to the Cape for a few days and we hung out around Plymouth and stayed at the most amazing little Lighthouse Inn on the Nantucket Sound side and I really hope to return there in 2014! We spent Labor Day weekend getting tattooed by Gordon Coombs.

Aja & Horses part 2-001

September. The last wisps of summer. Back to school for the kiddo. Our 5th wedding anniversary took us to Cavalia and on a champagne picnic on a rowboat. I visited a brand new blow out bar in my 'hood and there was a lot of giggling on photo shoots with Sonny for a few Topman-sponsored Qwear posts. My mama sent me a batch of old photos in which I'm riding horses as a wee little thing. Did y'all know 2014 is the Year of the Horse? I think we know what that means.


October. Two hugely exciting things: I flew home to see my little brother get married and I was an official witness and it was divine, and instead of taking on a half-lease I started exercising and caring for three new horses (five equines all told if you count the minis) at a private farm 20 minutes away. Our trip back home was perfect in every way, except that it was too short (of course). With a turn in the weather, there was also quite the slew of outdoorsy New England fall activities; apple picking, the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade, haunted houses, and Head of the Charles Regatta!


November. Super quiet month. A lot of riding for me, another sudden job change for M - this time because an opportunity popped up that was too good to pass up! Things cooled down and got cozy - we had a half-cord of kiln-dried firewood delivered and as of press time, we've burned through about half of it! We also hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house, and it was lovely. Qwear got some new posts on how to achieve FFAF-worthy hair, too!


December. The month was an absolutely hectic blur of holiday preparations and celebrations and tree trimming and gift wrapping and package sending. I was busy with the holiday series for Autostraddle. We kicked off our attic renovation. The petite turned 16! Christmas week was bustling and wonderful, but I'll be glad of a long and snowy January that will practically force us to slow down and rest awhile - 2013 was quite a full year!


Last night we ate a spectacular meal at Sycamore with our friends; just a long, slow, impossibly tasty spread that took us nearly three hours to consume, and the chef sent out every single magical dessert on the menu to our table, even though we only ordered a couple to share! Beignets with lemon cream, opera cake with coffee ice cream, a Meyer lemon tart with candied citrus (grapefruit and blood orange), and flourless chocolate cake with peppermint-white chocolate ice cream.

Oh, man, I wish we could eat the whole shebang all over again.


We returned to the homestead for bubbly, sparklers, confetti and noisemakers at midnight, and a big warm fire to keep us warm while we chattered away until the wee hours of morning. There may or may not have been an incident with a sparkler and a vintage fur coat (Susan Miller tried to warn us), but I'll simply quote my friend and say "we sure did bring in 2014 the right much damn laughter!"

Hope yours were just as delightful, and that 2014 is all that you wish it to be!