Hudson Valley, Travel

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society

June 5, 2014

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring

I am posting from Camden, Maine! It’s officially my birthday (32), and Andy and I left NY yesterday for a four-night birthday vacation. It’s already been filled with unforgettable food and dear friends, plus right now we are staying at the historic Timbercliffe Cottage Bed & Breakfast. I cannot wait to tell you guys about this inn!

First things first: my favorite #AskAwayFriday yet!


This week I paired up with the beautiful, infectious, inspiring, talented blogger/photographer/writer, Tamara at Tamara Like Camera. This is the first time I’m swapping with a blogger that I’m friends with (and hope to meet in person!) and admire, and to do it on my birthday makes it even more special. If you haven’t checked out Tamara’s blog yet, please go ahead before you read another word! Every post of hers is a beautiful story and her photos are equally as gorgeous. I love her honest tales of motherhood and love and she is truly one of my favorite bloggers.

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring [photo courtesy of Tamara Like Camera]

Let’s get to the great questions that Tamara asked me:

1. I know you know my love story and I know..or I think..there’s a very special one with you too. Can you tell me just one story that contributes to you and Andy falling in love. It could be a “how we met”, or a date, or how he won you over, or how you won him over, or a song you heard together at the right time, an adventure, a meal, etc.

Oh boy! I should do a feature on our story, shouldn’t I? 🙂 We met in April 2007 at the Omega Institute, which is a holistic retreat center in Duchess County, NY. We were both on seasonal staff, which means we lived on campus, worked forty hours a week (in different departments), and ate all our meals in the main Dining Hall.

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring [photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sciore-Jones]

I love this picture that my friend Liz took of me in my Omega Dining Hall server days.

The funny thing is, I already knew who Andy was: my first time working at Omega was August-October 2006: faux-hawked, shy, withdrawn. It’s tough coming in at the end of the season, when most of the full-time staff members have their circles of friends already. I was one of the new kids and so I socialized with other new kids. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t notice who the ‘cool kids’ were! Andy was friends with my boss and friend, Randal. I always saw him around campus, with his fire-engine red hair and camera in hand, photographing nonstop.

He wasn’t just Andy. He was Andy Milford: everyone knew him or knew who he was, and I got the sense that life would be so much fun with him around. I discovered the following spring that I was right!

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring [photo courtesy of Elizabeth Sciore-Jones]

An art opening at the Omega Cafe: our friend Ben (who officiated our wedding ceremony), our friend Randal (that’s his painting behind them), and a red-haired Andy.

2. I love your open talk of anxiety and depression and you know that I also have anxiety – unmedicated, situational anxiety. What has been something that has surprised you by getting rid of an anxiety or panic attack?

I’m pretty sure the only thing that always helps me to come down from a panic or anxiety attack is having a loved one close by, to help me breathe, to lock eyes with, to hold me hand. Or there was that time that I’m pretty sure my guardian angel helped me feel at peace again.


3. I know you’ve said that being a mother is a particular dream of yours. When your kid(s) is/are old enough to travel, what’s the first place you want to take them? For me, not surprisingly, it was seeing moose in New England or the west, or visiting our old home in San Francisco. Scarlet’s been to SF twice now but she doesn’t remember it!

(If I do become a mother, I hope we have at least children!) It’s nearly impossible for me to pick one place! I love the San Francisco Bay Area as well, but when I think specifically about little kids, I would absolutely want to take them to the UK to meet the other half of their family. I’d want to take them to Italy: I hope any offspring of mine loves hiking and good food as much as I do!


4. Can you share a portrait that Andy took of you, and tell the story behind it?

I’d love to! This isn’t my favorite photo of me in particular, but I love the setting and story behind it:

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Me, in nothing but a towel, pretending to be on the long-dead phone at the abandoned Adler Hotel.

Abandoned hotels, institutions, homes, and schools feature heavily in Andy’s photo portfolio. On this particular excursion four summers ago, I went with him to this great old hotel in Sharon Springs, New York called the Adler. The funky, colorful wallpaper is different in every single room– and when were there, much of it was still intact and graffiti-free. I was shocked to find a linen closet with neatly folded and clean-smelling white towels, so that inspired me to get ‘into costume’ for some photos! Oh, and I brought along a black wig for that very scenario 😉

5. Okay, say I was visiting you in the Hudson Valley, which isn’t so weird because I pass through there all the time on the back way to my parents! What would we do together?? And I’m definitely thinking places to take photos, food to eat, places to shop, and more!

Fun question! Let’s go backwards: if we were shopping, the first two places that come to mind are the Purple Barn up in Ancram, and The Big Cheese in Rosendale.

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

The Purple Barn: stuffed to the gills with men’s, women’s and kids’ secondhand clothing, shoes and accessories. Especially great for costumes.

They both have a fantastic selection of secondhand clothing, hats, and shoes, at quite reasonable prices. As a bonus, the Big Cheese is also a cheese shop and deli serving amazing Mediterranean-inspired dishes.And oh, there are countless places to have fun with a camera in the Hudson Valley! I’m thinking of High Falls and Kaaterskill Falls, the Rosendale Trestle, Mohonk Preserve, and any number of strolls/hikes in and around Woodstock.

6. I ask this a lot because of my moose obsession: What’s your favorite animal? Have you ever seen one? Do you think you will ever see one?

I am so jealous because I was just looking through the guestbook here at my parents’s summer home in Boothbay,  Maine, and the last guests saw a moose right here in the backyard! But no one in my family has seen one here yet. Sigh. I love your moose obsession.

Anyway! My favorite animal- you know, I’m not sure I have a favorite, but I love a lot of them. I love sea turtles. I snorkeled for the first time in Hawaii when I was twenty-four and was delighted to swim right next to a sea turtle. It just felt so magical!

And, somewhat randomly, I would love to see giraffes someday in their natural environment. I also love that I’ve been around a few different types of monkeys, in Central America.

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring

A howler monkey in Nosara, Costa Rica- in one of the rare moments when he wasn’t howling.


7. What’s the wackiest belief you had as a child?

My dad tried to convince my brother and I that Tony the Tiger lived in my grandmother’s backyard with his girlfriend, Tina. He loved telling stories and I remember just giggling, saying ‘No way, Daddy!’, except of course I was always a little bit unsure about Grandma’s yard and may have eyed the trees a bit warily, expecting a cartoon tiger to be hiding behind one of them.

8. Got this question from Lisa of The Golden Spoons. What is your most viewed post ever and why do you think it’s so popular?

My most viewed post is (amazingly) still one that I wrote for our first wedding anniversary in October 2012. I was barely two months into blogging, and soon realized that what you put in the title has a big effect on number of views! Lots of women search for letters to husbands, apparently! Also, the word faith in the title helped, too.

Welcome to the Mutual Appreciation Society - Sweet and Savoring [photo by Andy Milford]

Andy and I posing for a timer shot on our one year anniversary, in the exact spot we got married.

9. What is something you look back on and think, “I can’t believe I did that, but I wouldn’t go back and change it!”

Relating this one back to travel! I had virtually no money when I agreed to go to Central America for three months as a mother’s helper. My round-trip flight was paid for, as were all other expenses in the month that I worked, but after that, I was on my own. I can’t believe I accepted as much help as I did- it seems sort of immature to even go knowing that I could barely support myself, but I wouldn’t change anything. My third month was unforgettably magical.

10. Got this one from Diz Mommy: when people meet you for the first time, what are they surprised to learn?

I had to think about this one- but Andy helped me remember that people are almost always surprised to hear how old I am. They usually think I’m younger! During the 2+ years I had a shaved head, people would tell me after getting to know me that they were intimidated by me and they were surprised that I had a softer, more warm personality than they anticipated.

Yay! Thank you for such thought-provoking questions, Tamara! If #AskAwayFriday appeals to any of you, hop over to our Facebook group where you can find a partner, or just let me know if you’d like to swap questions with me!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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  • Tamara June 6, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Thank you for the beautiful intro. I would love to meet you and I think it’s so possible and likely!
    Red-haired Andy! Love the start of the story.
    Such good stuff here! Where to begin?
    I hope you see a birthday moose! It happens all the time and today is a gorgeous day.
    I will be passing through the Hudson Valley today on my way south so I will blow it a kiss for you… and be tempted to stop at those gorgeous places.
    Tamara recently posted…Happy Birthday, Happy (Early) Father’s Day, Happy Trails!My Profile

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:28 am

      Oh gosh, here it is four days later and I am now getting around to replying and commenting (!!). Many thanks to you as well, my dear!
      I kept looking in our Maine backyard for moose, but I know we’ll have better luck next time (July? August?) when we go up north into the woods and away from the coast. It will be so so so exciting!

  • Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life June 6, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I have that draw to sea turtles too. I have swum with them several times in Hawaii and I have a picture of one near the surface that is one of my favorite pics of all time. They are so majestic and yet friendly…they didn’t seem bothered one bit to have us swimming among them.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Four Reasons to Adopt a Shelter PetMy Profile

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Oh that’s awesome! I would love to have photos of sea turtles- next time I’m near them for sure 🙂

  • Carolann June 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Well Timbercliffe looks amazing! I would love to stay there someday. Great pic and post! Happy Birthday! I hope your trip was as amazing as you are!
    Carolann recently posted…Corn, Cheese, and Onion Frittata – Easy and so Delicious!My Profile

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Thank you Carolann! The B&B, the birthday, the whole trip…it was all wonderful. More to come as I slowly get over my ‘car lag’ 😉

  • Echo June 6, 2014 at 9:52 am

    What a great swap!

    I love that you had a shaved head! I did that in high school! I want to go to the Purple Barn so bad! That looks so awesome!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:35 am

      Oh yes, I had a shaved head for awhile. It’s amazing how much that sticks with some people as the picture of me they have in their mind- ‘oh you look so different’, or ‘you look so much nicer with long hair’- ugh, that one is not my favorite. I was perfectly happy with the way I looked, I was just ready for a change when I grew it out.
      And yes, the Purple Barn is a can’t-miss if you’re in the HV!

  • Jhanis June 6, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Happy Birthday! Dang, a four-night birthday vacation sounds so good! I hope you enjoy your getaway! OMG I love your portrait! I wish I wasn’t too self conscious so I can also pose for portraits like that! Love this Q&A between and Tamara. 🙂

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Thank you! The getaway was all kinds of fun and exhausting, haha. And I’m pretty sure I owe my lack of self consciousness to my photographer husband- and that was a few years ago, when I had a LOT more self confidence.

  • Deb Rothaug June 6, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Love it all! Love you, too…Happy, happy, fun, sunshine-y birthday, dear Christy, daughter-o-mine!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Thank you thank you! We had so much fun in Maine! 🙂

  • Jenny June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Love that photo of you in the hotel. So Mad Mennish, it’s perfect! Happy Birthday!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Haha thanks Jenny- good point, it is that Mad Men time period, isn’t it?

  • Jessica June 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Happy birthday!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you, Jessica, I had so much fun!

  • Raquel June 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Hi! Stopping by from the LOBS party. Love seeing all your photos and the adventure that led you to that hotel photo. Happy Birthday to you too!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      I appreciate you coming over, Raquel! Thank you, I had such a great birthday 🙂

  • Tiffany June 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I absolutely LOVE the faux hawk! I would so have done this in another lifetime. My Hubby acts as if my hair is somehow a part of him so I don’t see it happening any time soon LOL

    I absolutely adore the Adler Hotel shoot…so unique and that wallpaper is crazy wonderful!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks Tiffany! My sister did the buzzing for me- and when I had a completely shaved head, Andy did it, haha. Sometimes he even did designs in the back (heart, birthday candle, question mark, etc)!
      I know, isn’t the Adler wallpaper fabulous?!

  • Rea June 6, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    FIRST OF ALL, happy birthday! I absolutely love your portrait Christy!! Your husband is so talented. And so nice picture of you two on number 8.
    Swimming with sea turtles is definitely one of a kind experience! Would love to do that someday.. but uhm, I don’t even know how to swim. LOL

    Hope you enjoy your birthday vacation 🙂
    Rea recently posted…On Episodes Of The Legal WifeMy Profile

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Thank you Rea! Yes, Andy is quite the talented photographer 🙂 And I had so much fun on the Maine vacation!

  • Nancy June 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I love the Hudson Valley! I love reading this, knowing everything that you are mentioning. 🙂 I used to go to Kerhonkson in the summers, and in fact, I was there last week for the first time in a long time. When I took the hairpin turn and went past Mohonk Preserve, it was like coming home.
    Happy birthday!!
    Nancy recently posted…A Blessing and A Curse, No. 1My Profile

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      I know that feeling and I’m so glad you liked reading this, Nancy! We just went to Mohonk Preserve recently and oh man is it gorgeous.
      Thank you for coming by!

  • Beth at Structure in an Unstructured Life June 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Happy, happy birthday!! Hope you’ve had a fabulous getaway!
    Love that portrait – so unique and so fun!!
    I would also love to see giraffe in their natural habitat. I’ve seen them in the zoo, but somehow I think they would be so much more majestic in their natural world!

    • Christy June 9, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks Beth, it really was fabulous 🙂

  • Stacey Gannett June 16, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Oh Christy, I just love the faux-hawk! And I love the hotel pic, what a great story! The Purple Barn sounds like my kind of place…I have a secret wacky side and I love costumes. I think that I would love to see either a koala or a panda bear, not sure why, but they just look so cuddly. Ooh a mother’s helper, sounds like an amazing adventure. Hope you have an amazing week, Christy!

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