You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

There’s been rumblings about a new, secret bar in Ocean City all summer, and this week my mom and I made it our business to find the hidden hang-out. We had a few clues to work on: we knew it was in West O, we knew it had a beach, and we knew there wasn’t much parking (people mostly walk or bike there). After lots of looking and one punch-drunk phone call to a local radio station, we finally found the secret bar late last night! In the spirit of seacrecy (see what I did there? See? That may be a clue…) I’m not going to say exactly where it is, but I will say that it’s worth the hike (and the campfire smell that’s still in my hair). xo

I went straight from Camp Pecometh to my parent’s house at the beach. Not because I didn’t want to track the camp dirt into my own home (which I didn’t), but because I have the week off of work, and who wouldn’t want to spend it with this view? Early mornings at the beach make me feel small in the best way possible.

I slept in this cabin with six other girls for three months straight. I had the top bunk on the right as soon as you walked in, and I remember thinking I was lucky because the window lined up with my pillow, giving me a crucial breeze during the hot nights in our un-air-conditioned cabin. We also had this pretty sweet little porch that was perfect for laying out wet beach towels or tossing your neighbor’s shoes when they smelled like the river.

There is a specific piece of my soul reserved for Camp Pecometh. It’s that way for almost everyone I know that’s been a camper or staffer there during its 65 years of existence. For me—a camper from age 8 to 16, a junior counselor at 17, and then a staffer at 18 and 19—there’s no doubt that Pecometh had a huge role in shaping the person I am today. It shows up in the subtlest ways: a shameless love of songs sung in round; a fierce determination at killing bugs of any kind; a quiet strength from something greater than me.  The months spent there were some of the most carefree of my life, and despite a fierce love for the beach town I grew up in, to this day I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer than beating a path from a tiny cabin on girls’ hill to the dining hall, the ropes course, the pool, canteen, waterfront and back again. The happy mischief and newfound freedom of a group of teenagers and twenty-somethings living and working and playing together, all at the same time, with wide open spaces and time to kill, creates a kind of spontaneous, anything-goes environment that little else can match. You have a schedule every day and the toughest thing on it is carrying the canoes to the river and planning how to sneak out after curfew. Sure it’s hot, and it’s buggy, and between the river and the dusty fields and the practically outdoor showers you never seem to really get clean. But the annoyances and pleasures alike are so refreshingly simple that no matter if you’re there for an hour or a whole summer, you never want to leave. It is, quite simply, my favorite place on earth. xo

Happy heat wave Friday! As many of us on the east coast wisely take cover in air conditioning, I’m headed off to what I’m sure will be a very sweaty weekend at summer camp. No, I’m not regressing to my twelve-year-old self… or maybe I am, but I have an excuse! It’s the 65th anniversary of the camp I went to growing up and also worked at for a couple of summers in college, so I’m taking the drive out there to meet up with old friends and take lots of photos of the gorgeous Chester River. I promise I’ll post some of them next week, but in the meantime stay cool and enjoy these posts from around the web. xo

Have you heard about Spotify? It’s a free music service that allows you to stream virtually any song on your computer or phone instantly. I signed up this week and am loving it; get your own invite here.

This fantastic DIY abstract art tutorial has got me in the mood to paint.

I want to eat these walnut potato rolls with honey butter while sitting on a porch in the south, with my feet bare and a fan blowing.

Pretty awesome temporary tattoos for when you want to look cool enough to rock a tattoo (even if you’re not, like me!)

Ever run into a beautiful photo and had no clue where it was taken? Now there’s a website that can help you figure it out. Brilliant.

Image of the blue grotto in Capri, Italy via

I found out about the summer project through Jocelyn and now I’m obsessed. The project was started by Dallas graphic and interior designer Samantha Sano, who up until this summer had painted for interior projects but never put up her work for sale. Lucky for us, she decided to change that with the summer project, a new site in which she’s put a series of her original paintings—mostly modern watercolors—for sale at incredibly good prices. I usually try to avoid impulse buys, but when I saw the beautiful “arbor hill” painting above, I snapped it up immediately. Affordable artwork is so hard to find that I knew they would go quick! Score a piece for yourself here. xo

One thing that I plan on doing more now that I’m done with school is read. I still read for fun while I was in school (it helped me decompress better than watching TV), but I gravitated more to fiction books to counteract all the chapters of dry finance and management reading was assigned to me (ugh, if I have to read another management book ever again it will be too soon!). Now that my assigned reading days are over I’ve set a goal for myself to read one non-fiction book for every fiction book I devour. It’ll be my little way of making sure that I keep learning and growing, and that I stay in the habit of studying (albeit at a much more relaxed pace) past graduation. I’m hoping to share a few of my favorite things from every book here, as a way to keep track of my goal.

First up is The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy.  My parents are huge fans of Conroy and have been recommending his books for years! I finally heeded their advice and took The Water is Wide with me when I went to Mexico. I’ve been a believer ever since.

Here are my favorite gems from Lords

I chose my professors at the Institute with discrimination and care, on the basis of their legend in the Corps or the passion and neurosis they brought to the lectern, not on the subject they taught. Early on, I had discovered that I would rather take “Principles of Business Management” taught by an excellent teacher than suffer through “Shakespeare’s Tragedies,” a subject I normally would have enjoyed, with a mediocre one. Nothing bored me more than flaccid, humorless academicians punishing their students with limpid melancholy lectures while they polished up their deadly little monographs on vital subjects like “The Nose Hair of Grendel.”

A great teacher is my adversary, my conqueror, commissioned to chastise me. He leaves me tame and grateful for the new language he has purloined from other kings whose granaries are filled and whose libraries are famous. He tells me that teaching is the art of theft: of knowing what to steal and from whom.

Bad teachers do not touch me; the great ones never leave me. They ride with me during all my days, and I pass on to others what they have imparted to me. I exchange their handy gifts with strangers on trains, and I pretend the gifts are mine. I steal from the great teachers. And the truly wonderful thing about them is they would applaud my theft, laugh at the thought of it, realizing they had taught me their larcenous skills well.

 

You had to decide what was estimable and precious in your life and set out to find it. The objects you valued defined you.

 

What have you been reading lately? If you have any recommendations for fiction or non-fiction books that I should read next, I’d love to hear. xo

This weekend was full of love and lively celebration. It all started on Wednesday…the second I hit “submit” on my final paper I called my sister, grabbed the bottle of champagne waiting in the fridge and drove down to her apartment to celebrate. We toasted using the same glasses that my husband and I drank from on our wedding night.

On Friday, Scott flew in from Mexico (where he had been for work) and my parents came up and had dinner with us at the Prime Rib. It’s such a special restaurant that you can’t help but feel festive when you walk in. It was the perfect atmosphere for celebrating such a meaningful achievement.

Saturday was spent at the pool with my in-laws, where we had a crab feast to celebrate my graduation, my husband’s grandmother’s birthday and my sister-in-law Amy passing her board exams to become a nurse practitioner. It was relaxed and joyous–as celebrations go, I don’t think it gets much better than steamed crabs, sunshine, swimming and beer. We continued with more beer at our friend Hock’s that night.

Sunday was full of rest and relaxation from the weekend’s festivities. Of course, I still had to hit up the farmer’s market. With peaches like that, can you blame me?

It meant so much to me to celebrate my graduation with the people who know what the accomplishment meant to me, and whose love and support carried me through the past four years. I don’t think I’ve had a happier, more celebratory weekend in years. xo

I finished the coursework for my MBA program last night, and this morning I woke up to a world bright with the hope of new possibilities and the joy of fulfilled goals. I’ve run cross country and conquered half marathons but even that type of training can’t compare to the three and a half years of constant concentration and sheer will that led to me today. I’ve never fought so hard to accomplish anything, and no achievement has ever felt quite like this.

It makes me emotional to think about it, in a sort of melodramatic, introspective way that often takes me over at times like this. It makes me wonder what my teenage self would think about my 27-year-old life. I’m sure she would be wholly unimpressed by the largely conventional life I’m living now—husband, home in the suburbs, 9-5 job. I always dreamed I’d be living in a big city and doing something very creative. But I think, at its heart, that what I’ve always hoped most for myself is to find a way to carve out a little piece of the earth and claim it as my own, giving it life through friends and family and light through creativity and passion. I hoped I’d figure out what I wanted, and then pursue it without abandon. I hoped I’d have a love I’d walk to the ends of the earth for. My life is not remarkable, but I have achieved all of these things, and so I have bounties beyond my imagination. My cup runneth over. (I told you I was feeling dramatic!)

It’s strange how the achievement of one goal can make you feel like the skies have opened and your life is different. I don’t even have my diploma yet. But I feel different on the inside, lighter, stronger, more self-assured. I feel elated with accomplishment, and that feeling almost means more than the accomplishment itself.

But I still want the diploma.

Sunset in summer. It doesn’t get any better than this. xo

A photo of me.

About me

Hi, I'm Pam. I'm a runner, reader and recent MBA grad living in Baltimore with my husband. I work in PR, but I spend my off-hours writing here about my life, which mostly revolves around family, friends, fashion and fitness. Sometimes I throw in the occasional food photo just to make sure you're paying attention.

Contact

For questions or freelance opportunities, contact me at theinspirationfiles {at} gmail {dot} com. I'd love to hear from you!

Join 205 other followers

Twitter