Babies, Bridges, Bucks County

I went to Bucks County (north of home) with Hilary, Gabe, and Baby Zay on Saturday.  It was beautiful, and I made some new friends in Carrie, Josh, and their baby girl Willa.  Willa is just a few months older than Zay, but is already semi-mobile and she has little baby jeggings!!  (You need some versatile bottoms when you're on the move!)  We made some happy detours on our wanderings, discussed real grown-up things (like baby poop), and had lots of fun.

I started using one of my birthday presents this week - I can write on my photos!  I plan on getting better at this, but here's what I've done so far.  Also, I'm not sure how I feel about these horse pictures.  Can you tell it's a horse?  Feedback, please.


Birthday Snippets

I didn't take many pictures at my own party/get together.  No pictures of people.  This is ridiculous, and I promise myself I will do better at the next birthday.  So here are just a few photos of the (rainy) view from the party and the GORGEOUS cake Becky made me.  It was delicious.  (YOU TOO can have a Becky Bakes cake.  click here.)


Approaching the Top of the Hill. Right?

dinner at capital grille
I had a birthday last week.  It was a big one.  I guess I'm old.  But Wikipedia says Manic Pixie Dream Girls never grow up, so I'm kind of immortal, right?
It's really strange to turn 30.  I remember the surprise party our family had for my dad when he turned 30.  I remember him coming home from work and being really excited when he walked in the door.  Our house was packed with people, and the theme of the party was "Over the Hill".  He was genuinely surprised (I think?  I was really only 6.  He could easily have fooled me).  The reason I share this is that I feel it's an excellent example of how long I've been around.  I have clear and distinct memories of my father's birthday, and here I am, "celebrating" the same thing.
I suppose there are milestones we expect ourselves to hit when we are children and are planning out our lives.  My parents were very young when they started a family, and I never expected to start one of my own in my early twenties.  However, I am now the age that my parents were when they STOPPED having children.  I definitely thought, as a child, that I would be married by now, or at least happily settled in some way.
But some of those milestones I HAVE hit.  I have a degree (something only a few members of my family have achieved, especially in a "traditional" time range), I own my own home.  I'm still the only person in my immediate family to have owned a NEW automobile.  Crazy, huh?  (By the way, I don't plan on doing that again, but that's another story!)
And there are factors that contribute to my place on the human timeline.  For starters, society is different from when it was when my parents were starting out their adult lives, and more and more people are getting married later.  And having children later.  And I've had my share of roadblocks, and I can blame them, right?
I guess the biggest disappointment is that I don't FEEL old.  I genuinely feel like a child, and am really sad that I have to acknowledge that I am not one.  But I've been repeatedly reminded by many people that your 30s are the best years.  So I am choosing (?) to be upbeat about it.  To celebrate my age as simply a number, a time to get presents and see my dear friends, and to take solace in the image of myself not OVER the hill, but approaching the summit, about to come upon the place from where I can both look back on the lower points and see the way forward.


Inspiration: Grace Coddington

If you've seen The September Issue, you know who Grace Coddington is. If you haven't seen it, here is a very brief bio:
Grace was a model in London in the 60s, has been in fashion (I mean that both ways) ever since. She's the creative director at Vogue (US), and has been since 1995. She has crazy curly hair and a bunch of cats. And she styles like nobody's business.
As Time Magazine said in 2009, "If Wintour is the Pope... Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel twelve times a year." Anna Wintour may be the boss, but Grace's styling carries that magazine at times. And when they throw Leibovitz in there, well, they make magic. Grace is an inspiration, for me, not just in personal style, but also in the work she does.
Her personal style is pretty simple: she sticks to solid basic colors, lets her hair do the work. She is the complete opposite of Anna Wintour, who is always so prim and perfected and cold. Grace is free and easy and soft. She published a book about her cats (which I own and adore).
Her work is stunning, but subtle. It almost always tells a story. She will style a shoot of Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, and it takes you to another place. The style is applicable to the real world in a fantastical way (the clothes are not unwearable or abstract); it's something that needs to be interpreted, but only slightly. You are transported to another place through the photos and the clothing and the way the story is presented, in a way a magazine can not always do. It is not simply a series of photos that presents some article of clothing, but is instead a sequence of images in which the clothing plays a part.

with vidal sassoon, and a new haircut
She is one of the reasons I adore Vogue so much, and have since I was a teenager.  She is one of the reasons I love what I love and am who I am.

wizard of oz, styled by grace

alice in wonderland, styled by grace

I don't own any of the photos in this post.  Most are from Vogue Magazine.


Harvest Local Foods

So I joined this food co-op, based in Lansdowne, called Harvest Local Foods (HLF).  My friends Hilary and Gabe use it, and recommended it, and I was so excited to look it up after they told me about it.  Here's how it works:
1. You sign up.
2. You get an email Saturday night that tells you it's time to order.
3. You sign in, you go through the long list of super awesome foods, and you pick what you want.  You do this all before 8am on Wednesday.
4. You wait.
5. You go and pick up your cooler full of everything you want OR if you live locally, they will deliver it to your door.
6. If you have it delivered, you wait ALL day while you're at work, just KNOWING that there is a cooler full of beautiful food WAITING on your doorstep for you so you can't even take it and then you rush home because you're so excited and then you open your cooler and you look at everything and you oooh and aaah and put everything away until the day when you eat it and then you are SO happy that you can't wait until next Saturday to order more.

Here's why HLF is really great:
1. Almost all of the food is local.  Everything is labelled, so you know exactly how local it is: "We label each item as “L”, for local (within about a four hour drive), “R” for regional (east of the Mississippi River), or “D” for domestic (US) so that our customers can make informed choices.  We make every effort not to sell produce from outside North America with the exception of fair-trade bananas (from South America). Our dairy, meats and pantry items, excluding domestic olive oil and fair-trade vanilla, are local year-round."
2. Because it's local, it's fresh.  The portobello came in a paper bag with the dirt still on them.  Some people might be turned off by this, but for ME, that was pure truth in food.  It was keeping those mushrooms in the dark, which they like, and I could tell they seriously were just in the ground.  Like, recently.
3. They deliver.  This means I am saving myself time driving to Lansdowne to pick up my food.  It also means that I'm not buying something less local and less fresh at the supermarket simply because it's convenient, which is, in the end, greener AND healthier.  It also means I get to open that special cooler at the end of the week, which is like getting a present.  ONCE A WEEK.  
4. It's better than a CSA, at least for me, for a lot of reasons.  One, I get to pick WHAT I want and HOW MUCH I want.  This means I'm not ending up with a whole lot of something that I won't eat. I am only one girl, and a whole lot of anything isn't going to do any good.  It will get wasted, which will break my heart.  And if I don't like it, well, then it will all get wasted, and that's even more heartbreaking.  Also, it's important to note that while I do live towards the slightly-more-rural end of Delaware County, I'm not in farm country.  HLF also caters directly to the city of Phila, which means that those people who are definitely farther away from the farms have access.  Yes, there are gardens in the city.  (I met a dude at Terrain who was a beekeeper in the city, which was such an awesome thing.)  But I think we need to support companies that promote this kind of eating and buying in the immediate burbs.

So here are some pictures of what I got last week, which was a lot, because I was really excited.  This week I got less food, simply because some of last week's is still here and waiting to be eaten.  I forgot for a minute that I'm only one girl, and really don't need THAT much food.  So I am still working on it, but I am determined to eat it all.  Please also note that the group picture of the food is awful, but I can't go back and retake it, because, well, I ate most of it:

green beans

apple ginger almond granola (from regency cafe, lansdowne) with honey vanilla goat's milk yogurt

these beans have my name on them

oveview (l to r): fresh mozzarella, pickles, avocado, raisin nut bread, granola, garden dill cheese, golden delicious, yogurt, cherry tomatoes


Stephen has a Birthday

Those of us that graduated in 2000 are having a big year.  We're slowly being forced to acknowledge that we are grown ups.  Some of us are married, some of us own houses, have children.  As someone said this weekend, "you know you're getting older when you need to have juice boxes at parties."

Steve and Jacqi are two of my most favorite people in the world.  They are a wonderfully kind couple with whom I have spent two evenings in the last month (which is to say, not all of these photos were taken on the same day).  They hosted me for dinner last week, and I returned this week for Steve's birthday.  It was a great party, with lots of friends and family, and tons of delicious food.  The only downside to the night was a selfish one - the end of Stephen's birthday means mine is just days away.  I dread getting to the big three-oh, but I'm absolutely thrilled to celebrate everyone else's.

I'd also like to point out that this week will mark Steve and Jacqi's 2nd wedding anniversary, and I wish them both many, many more years of happiness!

making friends 

cake time



mother and daughter 

trick candles!