Monday, May 26, 2014

One year

Today, is Sam's and my first anniversary. It doesn't seem like it could possibly have been a year ago that we were drinking mojitos and petting llamas with all our friends and loved ones. I'm told the anniversary gift for one year is paper, and I'm not sure where "electronic media" falls on the spectrum (perhaps in the future when paper no longer exists and we just upload all our thoughts to cloud servers), but I wanted to blog a little tribute to our first year together. My original goal, and one I will attempt to go forward with anyway, was to have a photo of the two of us together from each month of the past year. Unfortunately, what I realized is that we've apparently been very bad about joining the selfie craze. I have tons of pictures of things we've done and even more pictures of our cat sleeping, but very few of us together. This will definitely be something we'll have to work on in year two. As it is, by getting a bit creative (read: cheating) and lowering my allowance for what is considered a flattering photo, I think I've culled together enough photos to make an attempt.

So without further ado: Sam and Susan: A Year in Photos, Sort of

June, 2013. Chiang Mai, Thailand.
This first month was easy, picture-wise. We went on our honeymoon to Thailand and had many tour guides to take our photo. This particular photo was taken by a recent graduate of the University of Texas on a trip with his fellow frat guys. Interestingly they were in the Thai cooking class with us. I still haven't attempted to make my own curry paste since that day, but I do like this photo.

July, 2013. Fairfield, New Jersey. 
In July, we went to a hot air balloon festival with some friends (who are in fact getting married themselves in just a couple of weeks!). I realized that most of the pictures on here were taken by them. I guess if we want to have photos of ourselves together, we should hang out with them more. The photo above was taken sometime after we discovered the food truck selling only bacon but before the festival decided it was too windy to actually launch hot air balloons, which accounts for the naively carefree smiles on our faces.

August 2013. Camp site near Cape May, NJ. 
 In August, we went camping, or at least our version of camping (sleeping in a rustic cabin). We went with the same friends who took us to the balloon festival, thus explaining this photographic evidence. I think I've finally gotten the campfire smell out of that shirt.

September 2013. Fort Tyron Park.
There's nothing about this picture I don't like. The way the flowers match both of our dresses. Sam's glee at holding a stuffed monkey. The fact that we're all smiling at different cameras, but all look legitimately happy. Originally I'd hope to find 12 photos of just us, but I threw that out the window to allow this one. We have such lovely friends after all, and we all clean up so nice.

October 2014. Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington DC.
This is the point of the photo-searching that I started to be okay with photos that weren't too flattering. This was taken after walking a half mile in 90 degree weather (a crazy warm spell in October) to get some chili. Photo credit to my sister for this one. I don't blame her for making us look so bedraggled. For that I can only blame DC and also our insistence on walking because we were too cheap to pay for the metro.
November 2013. Central Park
Believe it or not, this photo represents our attempt to take more photos of ourselves. This is our sad recreation of our engagement photos from the year before. This may be taken at the same location and around the same time of year, but it's safe to say that left to our own devices and without a professional photographer on hand, we don't look quite as good.

December 2013. Tenafly, NJ
Sadly by this point, I pretty much gave up on finding a photo featuring us both. December, when we had so many family members around, and I have plenty of pictures of everyone else, there was not a single one of the two of us together. I do have a justification for the photo above though. While it appears only Sam is in it (and I was in fact behind the camera/phone), in this picture he is making banana fritters on Christmas morning. Since making banana fritters on Christmas morning is such an integral part of my identity as a Meyer, it is almost as if I am in the photo.

December 2014. Tenafly, NJ.

UPDATE: Received a photo from my Dad that has both of us in it! The photo above is from the day after Christmas. It not only features Sam and I, but also 75% of our parents and 50% of our siblings.

January 2014. Brooklyn.
 Remember that time we had a baby? Actually, this is a photo of us with our friends 'daughter. But another good way to get photos together is to hang out with other people's babies and wait to get caught in the photographic crossfire. We saw this little tyke last night and she's grown so much in the last 6 months. Bigger, yes, but also somehow even cuter.
February 2014. From Sam's mind. 
 Is this one also a cheat? February was yet another month when my photo documentation was found wanting. I have a bunch of Sam, but none with me. Still, Sam drew this last February because we were furiously getting our card business off the ground. This is the drawing of our little family that appears on our web site. I think Sam looks more boyish, I like more mom-like, and Dinah looks much thinner than our real life counterparts.

March 2014. Catskills. 
March 2014. Catskills.

So continues the lack of photos together in the spring. I blame the fact that it was cold and snowy for most of February and March, thus limiting photo opportunities outside (and who wants to take photos inside with unflattering artificial lighting?). My cheat for the month of March is to include two photos from the same ice climbing outing. If I wanted to further justify my photo choices, I might make some sort of convoluted and yet somehow simultaneously cliche metaphor about how marriage is like climbing an ice floe. But all I really have to say is how I feel really cold looking at these photos, and I'm glad it's finally summer. Also, we were on this trip with a bunch of perfectly nice people who totally would have taken our photo together with a beautiful mountainous backdrop, if only we'd thought to ask them.

April 2014. But in reality not even close to April 2014. Governor's Island.
The photos above and below are not from April 2014. That is the greatest cheat of all. I have no idea when these photos were taken (although I know I could verify on my blog). It was definitely sometime last summer and very likely June. What can I say? I like these shots from the Jazz Age Lawn Party and also I didn't have any pictures from April. Incidentally, these were taken by the couple we went to the hot air balloon festival and camping trip with.
April 2014. But in reality not even close to April 2014. Governor's Island.
And that brings us to May, and in fact today. Proving that in blogging, as in marriage, and as in life, I am capable of learning from my past mistakes, we made sure to get a photo together on our anniversary. We went out to Baked in Red Hook, the bakery that had made the delicious cakes for our wedding last year. Since we aren't the types to take up space in our freezer with cake for a whole year (nor the types to eat dried out, year-old cake), we thought it would be nicer to just get a fresh cupcake. And get a fresh cupcake, we did!

May, 2014. Red Hook, Brooklyn
It has truly been a wonderful year. I feel like the time has flown by, but at the same time so much has happened. We've traveled halfway around the world. Started our own business. Continued to obsess about our cat. It's been a wonderful year, and I can't wait to enjoy (and hopefully document better) all the wonderful years to come!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The show must go on

This Sunday was the beginning of the National Stationery Show, which may or may not be the largest stationery trade show in the country/world, but it does have the distinction of being the only one that I have heard of. The Bard's Cards was not exhibiting this year (we're a little too green for it), but we definitely wanted to check it out to get a sense of what it's all about, not to mention scope out the competition. We walked around the show yesterday, and it was incredibly overwhelming. I've been to the Javits Center for the Book Expo every year, so I was familiar with its enormity, but throw in enough brightly colored papers, and it seems even bigger.

The NSA is different from BEA in that it's not open to the public, only to people in the trade. There were no book signings and much fewer samples and free tote bags being handed out (well, at least not to the competition). People were there to do some serious greeting card buying, and there were some seriously cool booths and products out there. It actually really made me want to own and curate a small card shop. But that's a dream for another day. We were there strictly for reconnaissance.

The entrance to the NSS. There are hundreds of exhibitors back there and (according to NSS literature) over 12,000 attendees.
 The first takeaway from the show is that the booths are tremendously creative. You can't just get away with throwing down some basic carpeting, hanging a sign, and putting your product on tables. These people have serious lighting and design concepts. Structures were built. Ambience was created. I guess it should be expected from an industry mostly composed of artists and designers, but it made me that much gladder that we hadn't attempted to exhibit this year. I hadn't even conceived of a booth plan yet, but whatever my non-existent ideas were, I already know I need to kick 'em up a notch.

Some of the nominees for the Louie Awards in the "thank you" category.  That's another thing I learned this weekend: they give out awards for greeting cards, and they are called Louies. 
In addition to coveting competitors' booths, I also chatted with some of them. As a greeting card consumer and now being in the industry and actually looking at the logos on the backs of the cards, I've definitely started to notice the same letterpresses and designers popping up over and over again. It was fun to see the people behind a few of my favorites. Some of them are just husband and wife operations as well. I also hung out on the supply side of the expo and did some research on paper suppliers and printers (should this enterprise grow to require more than we can produce in our Astoria office). I now have adorably letter pressed business cards in abundance.

The greeting card industry is so colorful!
 One of the paper suppliers sponsored an alphabet scavenger hunt. Twenty six of the exhibitors were given a letter and a different type of paper to use and they came up with a creative card for their letter. You could go around to the different booths on the list and get your free card to create a really cool alphabet set. It was a nifty campaign, but the show was so big that I only got about half of them. If I have time, I'd like to go back and explore a bit more.

We have our work cut out for us for next year. I'm thinking we build a realistic scale model of The Globe. 
It's kind of blurry because I felt the need to try to be stealthy. But this is the sort of booth detailing that I would like to emulate.
Overall, our first foray into the National Stationery Show was a fun one. I highly recommend you check it out someday, readers, if you ever find yourselves a member of the greeting card industry.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring at last

It's actually been spring here for a while, and particularly beautiful this year. Or maybe it just feels that way after such a long winter. I haven't been taking any pictures, but I've certainly appreciated Astoria recently erupting in blooms. Well except for the sudden allergies that I'm not usually plagued with but that have somehow surfaced this year. Still, even if I have to do so through glasses instead of contact lenses, I can still enjoy seeing the loveliness of spring. 

On Friday, Sam and I were meeting a friend for a going away dinner, and enjoyed a nice walk through Central Park first. It, much like Astoria, was heavily flowered. But, much like with Astoria, I didn't take any pictures of the blooms. Luckily, spring is not a phenomenon localized to New York, so I'm sure you can assume it's rather like things wherever you are. (Well unless I have any southern hemisphere readers, which seems unlikely at this point.) Instead of flowers, Sam took a picture of this cool gazebo thing we discovered in the southwestern part of the park. I know that area pretty well, so I was surprised I'd never seen it before. 
They probably have gazebos where you are too, but nevertheless. 
The last time we took a picture on this bridge was on my birthday, and it was cold and snowy. 
The going away dinner was at this restaurant in Harlem. Sam took this artsy picture of it, so I figured why not share it? 
Saturday and Sunday were equally glorious (weather-wise anyway; my horse lost the Kentucky Derby). A new flea and food market opened in Astoria in the back lot of Astoria Kaufman Studios, where they film Orange Is the New Black, Sesame Street, etc. I mostly go to these things for the food, although it's always fun to see the wares as well. Most of the stuff is pretty expensive, but now knowing what they charge for a booth there, I can't say I'm surprised. I got some lobster hush puppies and an artisan donut, and all in all it was a good day.

The new flea on the block.

Today, it's also quite lovely out, but I'm inside, nose to the grindstone. Well technically right now I'm writing this post, but soon I'll be back working. Now, in fact.