Fun haters unite!

I've been a busy girl the last few days. If busy means lazy. I'll update you on our little camping trip and some other news soon, but for now I just have a couple random things.

Don't you want to make a stamp out of this? It's so cool that interesting shapes like this occur naturally so often.

As life's official fun killer/hater (along with Becky), it's only natural that we both stumbled across this website. So clever! The Fun Theory

My roommate Ashley came across this gem the other day. Apparently two very bored individuals are competing in a daily tie competition. Vote here: Who Wore It Best? A Daily Tie Competition

More to come another time. Have a great day!


Honest Scrap

My Aunt Kate (Chronicles of a Country Girl) has given me an "award", albeit a loaded one! I have to thank the presenter of the award, tell you 10 honest things about myself, and pass the award on to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design or those who have encouraged me. And soo... Thanks Katy! I love you!
>>> I am a compulsive list maker. I make several lists a day but rarely do I complete every item. I think the problem is forgetting there are only 24 hours in a day.
>>> I have a degree in fashion design, but sometimes I feel as though I have no personal style. I like to blame it on my lack of a discretionary income, but who really knows?
>>> I have a very low tolerance for pain. I can whine about a paper cut for a week. Three weeks ago I tripped over a chalkboard menu sign in front of a restaurant. It collapsed and fell on my foot and just yesterday I complained that the bruise still hurt when I put sneakers on.
>>> I am obsessed with letters and stationary but I can be very bad at writing prompt thank you notes. I feel very guilty about this.
> I believe in the local foods movement and I have really come a long way in my thinking about foods and planning my meals. But when winter is around the corner and I imagine several months without tomatoes or salad or berries, I find it difficult to completely comply. I also really love grapefruits and avocados and I'm pretty sure they aren't grown in the Philadelphia area.
>>> I don't have a drivers license. ugh. Most of you readers know me so this isn't a surprise but for some reason is still very amusing and/or irritating to some of you. It is very stupid at this point and I need to get on it.
>>> I really don't enjoy running. I have never gotten into the groove long enough that it has become a pleasant routine. Is this bad?
>>> I don't wear sunscreen every day. There is SPF 15 in my makeup but I don't wear makeup every day and even when I do, it doesn't cover all my exposed skin. I am such a sunscreen nazi with my friends that I should really invest in some moisturizer with SPF and actually wear it.
>>> I don't know how to knit. I own knitting needles, I know how to machine knit, and I was a sweater designer for heaven's sake but I have yet to learn hand knitting.
>>> I am an avid procrastinator. In fact, several of the 10 honest things in this list have something to do with procrastination. Geez. That reminds me, I have things to do!

As for passing the award on.. this is difficult because I don't really have many blogging friends. If you think this looks fun, write your ten things in the comments section, post it on your blog, or even write it down and don't tell anyone.

Have a great day!


Art Speak Ahead

This weekend Joe and I went to the Rodin Museum on kind of a whim. We were walking by and I had never actually been there. It was...enlightening. In regular art museums I tend to gloss over the sculpture offerings and head straight to the paintings, but as this museum is all sculpture, it forced me to really focus on the medium. The manipulation of scale is especially interesting. Some of his work is very haunting and other pieces are very romantic and soft. That juxtaposition made me want to find out more about the man behind the work. Read more about him here.
via rodin museum
via rodin museum
Speaking of artists and their backgrounds, I recommend reading Strapless, the story of John Singer Sargent and the subject of his most famous painting, Madame X. It's like a trashy chick lit novel, but instead of being set in Bergdorf Goodman in 2009, it's set in Paris and New Orleans in the 1890's. And instead of following a Park Avenue princess it follows a popular artist and a high society lady. Good read!

Have a great day!


Pretty impressive harvest

How's this for a bountiful harvest? Along with three tiny strawberries, this mini jalepeno has been our entire yield from our mini-garden this year. I suppose I am not mentioning that we got all the fresh herbs we needed all summer, so that should count. I'm hoping to be a little more ambitious and fruitful (literally!) next year, so we will have to recruit advice from Andrew .
Have a great day!


That's all, nothing more

I'm having kind of a sick day today and I'm drinking peppermint tea and watching "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium". So far it is just what the doctor ordered. It is silly and cute and wonderful. I love all the characters! And when's the last time a movie was rated G?viarlslog

Instead of cleaning and accomplishing other necessary tasks I am going to make a little wish list. Things I want today:
warm sweaters (via anthropologie)
an old fashioned hot water bottle (design*sponge inspired me and all of the sudden it seems really necessary) via needapresent
a big hug (alicia and phil)

Here's hoping for a couple of these things. Have a lovely day!
P.S. Does anyone have any brilliant Halloween costume ideas for me? I'm accepting suggestions from everyone but Joe because his are all nonsense.


"Kiss!" "The hell you say!"

So the quilt is what has really been keeping me busy for the last month or so, but I have also been living my life during this time. Here are some high points:

We had a wild and crazy evening with some of my favorite people playing board games and being silly. On Labor Day we went to a barbeque at my uncle Pete's house. It was great to see everyone and spend time together. Patty made lots of good food and maybe now Josh and Alexa will remember my name for the next time they see me! The manly men played horseshoes. Here's a photo of my twin uncles, Steve and Pete.Joe and I went to the beach for a week with his family. It was a relaxing and indulgent week spent eating, shopping, and lounging around. We spent hours one night eating crabs, got up to see the sunrise (and all the funny old men with metal detectors that remind me of Pop-pop), and scoured all the outlets for good deals. We visited the original Dogfishhead brewery in Rehobeth Beach and tried several interesting beers and spirits. We spent an afternoon making the next batch of Andrew and Joe's very own beer- a (hopefully) delicious basic IPA. I played the necessary role of nagging quality control expert so no crazy drunkies could mess up the results this time around. We're bottling that beer tonight so it will be ready to test out soon!Joe and I also went to my parents house for my grandparents 60th anniversary party. My parents and sister made an amazing tiered cake with incredible toppers. They molded and painted sugar paste to look like Grandmom and Grandpop and had speech bubbles with endearing phrases often heard coming from their mouths. Grandpop's said "Think it's easy, do ya?" and Grandmom's said "Oh shut the hell up!" It was really clever and well done and everyone got a big kick out of it. And as goes with the theme of my life, there was incredible food. Dad built his own smoker out of terra cotta pots and smoked a delicious pork loin. That's about all, folks! Have a great day!


Wedding Extravaganza Weekend

I have been noticeably absent for quite a while. You have probably all died of boredom while I was gone but just in case you're still hanging in there, I've decided to come back. Here I am! Today is a beautiful, crisp fall day. I'm having a cup of coffee and planning big things for my day. Things like washing mountains of laundry, cleaning, exercising, and job searching.
It's been a very busy few weeks for me. My cousin Danielle and her new husband John's wedding was this past weekend and it was a wonderful, amazing time.I am so so glad we were able to go and spend time with family. We missed the people that weren't able to come but a few were able to skype in for the ceremony. Hooray technology! The wedding was a casual barbeque in Dani and John's backyard. The chaplain started the ceremony with a great line from "The Princess Bride"- "Mahhwidge. Mahhwidge is what bwings us togethahh today." Hilarious! The little bit of rain didn't deter the party one bit. In fact, it created a gorgeous full rainbow over the yard and all of the guests. The night before we left for the wedding, I finally finished my gift for the bride and groom- a homemade quilt. I sent fabric squares and fabric markers to all my cousins and aunts and uncles for them to write notes or draw pictures. They sent them back to me and I sewed them all into the quilt. Below are close-ups of all the family squares. The whole time I was working on it I was really thinking about Dani and John and my whole family. I am hoping this quilt is something they'll have for years and something they can look at from time to time to think of us. Judging by the tears shed, I think they liked the gift. Hopefully no other family members get married soon because I need a break from all the quilting madness!Stay tuned for some highlights on the other events of the last several weeks! Have a great day!


Productivity what??

Chelsea canceled our running date this morning, and I was secretly glad because I woke up feeling like death. I made peanut butter cupcakes because there wasn't chocolate in the house and I couldn't bring myself to leave the house for some.. how sad.
I worked on a sewing project and watched An Affair to Remember. I can't believe I have never seen this movie! It was so wonderful and romantic and at the same time really stupid. Terry seemed like such a confident, self-possessed woman, so why couldn't she just TELL him? And why couldn't they just bypass the 6 month waiting period and both get jobs? It seems silly. But I loved it. I loved the clothes and Cary Grant and the romance. If you haven't seen it, you should.
Now it's getting late and I'm wondering what I did today. I suppose I still have time to be productive, and tomorrow is a brand new day!


Art inspiring Life

Is it just me or was Bjork's infamous swan get-up from the 2001 Academy Awards definitely inspired by Leda and the Swan, a painting hanging in the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art?
via philadelphia museum of art
via styleguru
I visited the museum recently and the first thing that popped into my head after seeing this painting was Bjork. Can you think of other examples of paintings inspiring real life? Immediate ones that come to mind are Yves Saint Laurent's Fall 1965 Mondrian Dress, inspired by the work of Piet Mondrian. I'm sure there are a million more examples.
via wikipedia

via metropolitan museum of art
Have a great weekend!



A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting my very favorite mom and one of my favorite aunts for the day in Philly. They arrived bearing hostess gifts (what manners!) of wine and ramekins (wonder why they thought I needed those???) After a little chatting and relaxing and fake arguing about who would drive, we went to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. We wondered around, checking out the extensive options while Katy took a bajillion photos. We made conversation with a few strangers sharing our table while we ate, and we helped brainstorm ideas of how they could get out of jury duty. For dessert we all shared a divine Nutella/strawberry/banana crepe, a delightful cup of mocha chip Bassets ice cream, and a delicious Termini Bros chocolate chip cannoli. DECADENCE. We walked off a few of those calories on South Street, exploring fabric stores, trying on hats, and nearly getting kicked out of a cigar store. When Joe came home from work we went to Umai, a sushi place we had been itching to try. All the plates were beautiful and the actual sushi was very eclectic. I enjoyed it but wouldn't recommend this place for someone craving traditional sushi. But if you're looking for something new and different and you want to try a roll with strawberries, macadamia nuts, and honey, this is the place for you. After an amazing dinner, Kate headed home and Mom slept over so we could have more fun the next day. It was so fun spending time with them and sharing stories (even ones that might scar me for life). I wish all our family lived closer so we could do stuff like this more often. But I guess being so far apart makes the times we do get to spend together extra special.


hello again!

Hello my darling three or four loyal readers! It has been quite awhile, hasn't it? My apologies for being negligent on my blogging duties. Well, our computer is officially kaput, so says our trusted computer genius. Joe bought a new one but in the meantime we've been getting by with my old laptop. It functions just fine but it is super slow and doesn't have any of my recent photos and files.

We have a lot to catch up on, but until I get myself organized, let me just give you a few little tidbits...

-I've started running early in the mornings with my new neighbor and long-time best friend Chelsea. Hope we can keep it up!
-I am hard at work on a super special secret project for a certain September wedding that I am SUPER looking forward to.
-Joe and I finally got hooked on True Blood, I am somewhat sorry to report. Our roommate and other friends love it and now we too are addicted to ridiculous vampire smut.
-I am also hard at work on an art project Joe concocted on an especially creative day. More details on that later.
-Yey for Greg, who designed his first magazine cover for Grid magazine this month!
-Cross your fingers for Andrew and Becky. They are anxiously awaiting the results of the PHS City Garden Contest they entered this year.

That's all I've got today. Come back and visit soon and I will have more about the goings-on of the last few weeks. Have a wonderful day!


creme brulee catastrophe

I'd just like to begin by saying that my title is a little dramatic... nothing got set on fire and no one died. I just wanted alliteration.

Yesterday I spent half the day cooking. I made a mild nectarine cilantro salsa and a spicy habanero chili salsa that made my fingertips burn for hours. I made mini fried eggplant parmigiana slices. I made an eggplant chorizo tomato casserole that looked like vomit but tasted not-too-bad. I made some raspberry lime puree to mix into some champagne thus creating a delightful and refreshing beverage.

I also made (healthy-ish) chocolate creme brulee. I quartered the recipe because I did not want eight servings. I also did not have ramekins or custard cups, so I crossed my fingers that my glazed pottery-like soup bowls wouldn't blow up in the oven. The recipe was surprisingly easy, just time consuming with all the cooking and chilling. Unfortunately, the result was a little ridiculous. The burnt sugar coating hardened upon contact so there was no chance for it to spread out on the surface. And there was about 1/2 an inch of dessert in each huge bowl. It was completely edible and tasted pretty good, but I was still disappointed with the presentation. Before I make these again, I think I'll get proper cookware. Here is my sister torching her badass creme brulee creations at Thanksgiving last year. Apparently I am the baking challenged one. I can live with that, because she's pretty much challenged in every other way. (!!)


Technical Difficulties

Our computer has been acting up for the last few days. Very irritating. I hesitate to say it's functioning properly now, because the last time I wrote that it crashed immediately after "now". UGH!
Last weekend was great. We went to a great Japanese tapas restaurant in Atlantic City and then played with money I don't have. Gambling is a funny business. The chandelier in the Borgata is amazing, though. Saturday we went to Sea Isle. It was a perfect, beautiful day for the beach. I almost got laughed off the beach for applying SPF 70 four times in five hours, but I care not. I didn't get burnt!

A few unrelated items:

Mark Bittman's list of 101 Simple Salads is basic but clever. It inspires me to eat more salads and get more creative in their making.

I saw BrĂ¼no the other night. Not a good movie. I'm wondering what the point was... social commentary? Were they making fun of middle America or of homosexual Austrians? Did he REALLY go to the Middle East in those get-ups? Is Paula Abdul REALLY as dumb as she acts? There were a few funny moments but a lot of it was legitimately offensive. Did anyone see it and enjoy it?

Amanda Blank is on the cover of City Paper this week. I had no idea who she was before I skimmed the article, but I really picked it up because the photo shoot for her article was at my very favorite ice cream parlor and chocolate shop, Scoop Deville! Anyone craving sweets in Philly should head here first. Contact me if you'd like me to wax poetic the wonders of Scoop Deville. I love it there.

Have a great day. Cross your fingers that my computer is still working tomorrow!


Wishful Thinking

We're headed to the shore this weekend. We haven't been all summer, and Joe is aching to go to the beach. I could live without it, but it is a fun way to occupy the weekend I suppose. Hopefully the rain holds off!
I am loving most of the Marc by Marc Jacobs swimwear line. They are just more unique than the other available suits.

Now all I need is a flat stomach and a lot of money...
Unfortunately I don't have either of those so I'll be wearing my old swimsuit and focusing on the importance of a good body image and self esteem. And sucking in my stomach.
Photos Marc by Marc Jacobs via Bloomingdales


CSA Week 9

We joined a CSA this year after hearing about it from friends. A CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, and the gist of it is that consumers pay a farmer at the beginning of the year and collect produce each week throughout the growing season. Each place organizes their CSA differently, but at Greensgrow, dairy, cheese, and meat are also included with each week's pick up. I don't know how we lived without it until now! Most produce at the grocery store is overpriced, flavorless, full of chemicals, and from Chile or somewhere really far away. I had grown to expect tomatoes and strawberries that were more white than red inside and I had never seen an onion with the stem still attached. The food we get from the CSA spoils faster since there are no chemicals, but it tastes AMAZING. Another delicious benefit of belonging to a CSA is the variety. I think of myself as a relatively adventurous eater, but when shopping for myself I never really thought to buy produce I wasn't familiar with. We have been (happily) forced to create meals out of beets and parsnips and more. This week's bounty included bok choy, corn, beets, cantaloupe, basil and sun dried tomato chicken sausage, garlic and chive cheese spread, 1 dozen eggs, and 5 "Greensgrow bucks", with which we purchased a pint of chocolate cherry goat milk gelato sweetened with agave syrup. Yum Yum.

I definitely recommend joining a CSA to everyone who can. If there is no CSA available to you, try to get your produce from a farmer's market. If that isn't available, try to at least buy products that are in season. That way it is slighly more likely that your food will be local and taste good! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an incredible book that provides a lot of insight about the importance of local, sustainable agriculture. There is also a lot of information to be gained from their website.

Have a great day!


Creative Laziness

I'm feeling really creative today but I'm having a hard time making anything concrete. I started making a necklace this morning and got distracted. Started embroidering and got distracted. Started sketching and got distracted.
Does anyone have any secret tools to producing results? I did have a more productive day today than the past few, but I still feel like I didn't accomplish anything important. I think I make my to-do lists too long and get discouraged before I even start. I am feeling really overwhelmed with all of my thoughts.
I think I need some chocolate.


Bastille Day

Saturday was Fairmount's annual Bastille Day celebration, and since this is our first year living in the area, we were quite excited to experience the festivities first hand. I spent Saturday morning stitching us up some revolutionary hats, and then we headed out for some lunch and, of course, French beer. We ate lunch and people-watched at a local restaurant for awhile before the real action began. There were some people milling about in French Aristocracy costumes, along with a cardinal and some fellow revolutionaries. I'm not sure if these people were the event organizers or just really into Bastille Day, but they were REAL costumes.
As compared to our costumes, which did boast home-made hats but were lacking in most other aspects. However, Joe and I were really the only other people we saw dressed up.
Several local businesses had booths set up along the street with dunk tanks, cheese and wine pairing lessons, food, and face painting. I loved the intricate airbrushing and rhinestone details of the face painting. What an amazing way to transform silly cartoon characters on a child's cheek to a work of art! We decided to enter a costume contest and pushed ourselves to the front of the crowd, only then realizing that the other participants consisted of professionally costumed aristocrats, a General Lafayette, and a little kid dressed like a pirate. Those of you who know me can attest that standing in costume in front of a huge crowd on a public street with a cup full of beer is not something I do often. Apparently Saturday was exception, because there we stood. The announcer yelled out descriptions to the crowd and voting was cheer-based. Here we have an aristocrat with a heart shaped mole, General Lafayette, etc, etc, and two drunk Parisians! The crowd went wild and we ended up winning two bottles of wine and some Philly t-shirts!
With all the class of revolting French peasants, Joe used his keys to open the bottle of wine. He may have sprayed a few white shirts with red vino, but I think after a few sips from the bottle no one really cared.
So for the main event, a local restaurant owner dresses up as Marie Antoinette and gets on top of the "Bastille" aka Eastern State Penitentiary and banters back and forth with the executioner, who is the owner of another neighborhood restaurant. Eventually Marie yells "Let them eat cake!" and her army throw 2000 Twinkies over the wall of the Penitentiary. What a hilarious sight.
The army surrendered and Marie was brought out to the guillotine.
The crowd was surveyed. I believe "off with her head" was the chosen option, but instead they cut the head off a watermelon wearing a wig. It was such a crazy fun day!
P.S. Several people have asked me why this event exists. Duh, for fun!