Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Holidays

I had some leftover type ideas from my latest illustration for Grid, so I figured I'd put them to work. Although, I don't know why I even bother making new holiday cards every year, because this DIGITAL HOLIDAY CARD (yes) that I made freshman year at Tyler (intro to computers!) is perfection:

I actually sent that to relatives on a mini-CD. It will never get any better!


1. MULTNOMAH FALLS: Early in the month my parents and I took a trip to Oregon to visit my sister, and two of my aunts and their families. Besides having a good time visiting with family, we saw some really pretty parts of Oregon, including this waterfall. I took this photo with my iPhone...doesn't it look like it comes straight out of Rivendell?? Mmmm dreamy...

2. SWEET POTATOES: Oh man. Sweet potatoes. I want to eat sweet potato fries. And mashed sweet potatoes. And sweet potato chips. I want it all. This month Shaun and I discovered something amazing: Sweet. Potato. Tacos. We sort of based them off a recipe online, but mostly I think Shaun improvised, and seriously folks, I could eat these all the time. I have never been a taco person, but sweet potatoes have officially converted me.

3. PUMPKIN PIE CAKE: This was Shaun's "birthday cake" that came a few weeks late, but it was worth the wait. Again, I based this off a recipe I found online, but with a few tweaks. It's basically a layer of pumpkin pie with a layer of cake mix on top, and they way they mix together in the baking process is super. C'est magnifique!

4. TROLLEYS: One of the highlights of the trip to Oregon was surprising my dad with a visit to the Antique Powerland Museum, where we got a private tour of the trolley museum AND my dad got to DRIVE A TROLLEY! This is especially significant because a few years ago he said that if he ever got to drive a trolley, his head would explode. He drove this one pictured above, a trolley from Portugal in the early 1900's I think. It was so cool!

5. TURKEY TIME: This is a picture of my family's dining room table at Thanksgiving, prepped for a feast. My mom did 95% of the cooking, and I helped out 5% by making delightful cornbread pudding. The best part...Shaun was able to join us because we are sharing holidays between families this year! I am so full of thanks for that day!

6. WINE TASTING: After the trolley museum, we visited some nearby wineries to taste the offerings. The vineyards were so pretty with all the fall leaves, and it was fun to FINALLY be able to drink the wine at wine tastings (thanks a lot Mom and Dad!!). I personally thought the wine was really good, but I'm no oenophile...yet.

7. SCARF SEASON: That's right, it's scarf season. So get ready to see my brown pashmina permanently attached to my neck for the next 5 months.

8. GINKGO: FACT: Ginkgo trees are completely underrated. Why doesn't anyone ever talk about how pretty they are? Since yellow is my all-time favorite color, Ginkgo is now my favorite fall tree. I never noticed how many there were in Philadelphia before this year, but now they sure do stand out. *Swoon*

Monday, November 2, 2009


1. THE PHILLIES: Alright, so as of last night it looks like the Phillies might not make it all the way, but we sure had fun watching them make it to the World Series. First we crammed ourselves into the El Bar, then we crammed ourselves into the Piazza, and it was seriously like being in the stadium (except we got to bring our own beer!).

2. CHARCUTERIE/CHEESE PLATE: Mom was visiting family in Allentown, so she stopped by to visit a few days before my birthday. We went to the Swift Half Pub at the Piazza to enjoy a charcuterie/cheese plate, caesar salad, and some buffalo shrimp which were delicious. Thanks Mom!

3. iPHONE 3GS: A few weeks ago Shaun and I agreed with each other that we wouldn't go all-out for our birthdays the way we did last year, to save money and all. Little did I know that he had been plotting to get me an iPhone for months. I was completely shocked and excited and now I have an iPhone!! Thanks Shaun!

4. APPLES: Did I mention that we were planning on going apple-picking on my birthday? Well, it was pouring the night before, so when I got back from visiting with Nicole and Mike there was a branch in our living room with apples tied to it. Shaun had also tied little aluminum foil apples with little presents inside. And the last foil apple? The Apple gift card, OF COURSE! SO PERFECT!

5. DEL FRISCO'S V.I.P.: Last week Kati invited me to a party at the auction house where she works, where we had free wine and looked at some art. Afterward Kati suggested going to Del Frisco's, where her boyfriend works, and boy was that a good idea! We were treated to these pineapple V.I.P. drinks on the house, and happy hour priced appetizers. It was the fancy-pantsiest night I've had probably EVER.

6. LEPP COOKIES: October is all about birthdays, since Shaun's and mine are only a week apart. And every year, without fail, Shaun's mom sends him Lepp cookies, and every year I get a little bit more addicted. Thanks Shaun's mom!

7. THE WAITING ROOM: A few months ago someone got the idea that our group of friends should dress up as characters from Twin Peaks. Fittingly, Shaun went as The Man From Another Place, and I went as his "cousin" (aka Laura Palmer). I have to say, everyone really pulled through and our collective costumes were freaking amazing.

8. POOR PUMPKIN: We carved this pumpkin at my birthday party (hot spiked cider at Kati's house!) but unfortunately he totally collapsed on himself by Halloween. (Speaking of Halloween, we went to the Bates Motel somewhere west of the city and OH MY GOD was it scary. Definitely the scariest haunted attraction I've ever been to, second to Eastern State Terror Behind the Walls. Being the lone girl in a group of four OF COURSE meant that I was constantly attacked! Unfair! They were just as scared!)

Monday, October 5, 2009


You may be thinking that my September looks prematurely grey, since the weather was decently cooperative, after all. Maybe I was subconsciously preparing for winter, because depite these dull tones, it was a splendid September:

1. POMEGRANATE MARGARITA: I went home at the beginning of the month to wish my Mom a happy birthday, among other things. So my present to her was a lunch and movie date with moi. So we shared a pomegranate margarita to celebrate! (It was bigger than this though!)

2. DRAGON ROLL: The Kenshin Diner opened up a few months ago just a block away from our apartment, and we finally got to try it. Bubble tea? Hate it. In general, not just at this restaurant. But the sushi? SUPER. And the General Tso's equivalent, Kenshin Chicken? SO GOOD. We're in trouble!

3. Metric - Fantasies: I really like this album!

4. Sweet Potato Pecan Pie Tarts: FluxSpace had their 3rd annual FluxTask a few weeks ago, and instead of getting a caterer, they had a food contest. And I got second place, so I won a 1 hour professional massage! Perfect prize for me. I can't wait to make these again, because I only managed to get half a bite of one of them...they got demolished at the event.

5. Baseball: On one of the finer days of the month, Shaun and I went to Penn Treaty Park, where he taught me how to throw and catch! I'm about 15 years too late for that lesson, but it was fun.

6. Mad Men: I know what you're thinking: "If I hear one more person talk about how they just started watching Season One, I'll break something" but hey, it's true. The characters are completely rotten and unlikeable, and the 60s were dreadful, but for some reason we can't stop watching.

7. Leather Shoes: While I was at home I found my Mom's white shoes stashed away in my old closet, so I stole them! Just kidding, she doesn't wear these shoes anymore anyway, so she gave them to me. They're probably older than I am. Thanks Mom!

8. The Sounds: Okay, so maybe I reverted to a 16 year-old in buying this band shirt, but Shaun and I went to their show at the TLA this month and it was so great and I never buy their albums anyway so the least I could do is buy their t-shirt, especially since they are one of my favorites of all time. Plus it's a good fit.

9. Troeg's Dead Reckoning Porter: On the opposite side of the week from the Pomegranate Margarita, I had this beer with both parents at the Frisco Grille, my Dad's favorite pub. It was pint night, so we got free glasses for ordering Troeg's. He had the Troeg's Hopback Amber, which he gave decent rating, but mine was superior so I would give it 4 mugs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Almost Over

Like most people in Philadelphia, I can't believe summer is almost over. The past two days have been a cool glimpse of weather-to-come and I'm missing the heat already. I have to say though, it was a very summery summer. Just for fun, I've put together a little bundle of things that helped make my August a special one:

1. GORGONZOLA DOLCE I've mentioned this cheese in my last post, but I think it deserves repeating: gorgonzola cheese. From Downtown Cheese at Reading Terminal Market.

2. JULIA CHILD My grandmother came to visit a few weeks ago and she, my mom, and I went to see Julie&Julia, and then the three of us spent the rest of her visit talking about food, haha. Julia Child's story is so enchanted, I really recommend it! I also watched a whole episode of The French Chef where she handled raw chickens the entire time...what a lady!

3. STRIPED SHIRTDRESS Bought this on a whim, and boy do I love it! (No, that's not my body, haha.) From Target.

4. GOLD AVIATORS I actually bought these a few months ago, but I just recently was reunited with them. I happen to really like aviators.

5. GLADIATOR SANDALS Wore these at the beach all week. Strike that, wore these at the beach when I left the rental house, and therefore could no longer acceptably be barefoot. Speaking of barefoot, I bought these at BareFeet.

6. Tomato Gorgonzola Soup Yeah, I really like gorgonzola. I also like tomatoes, which is why I wanted to make a tomato soup from scratch with the homegrown tomatoes my parents gave me. I'd share a recipe, but guess what? I totally improvised! Maybe I'll type it up someday.

7. HOTEL LORRAINE After much deliberation, I bought this postcard at a stamp show I went to last weekend. It was a little pricey for a postcard, but the Divine Lorraine is 10 blocks west on the street I live on, and I'm completely obsessed with old buildings. Worth it.

8. TAX STAMPS Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. I got two others at the stamp show, but this is the only one that matched my color scheme perfectly. Which, by the way, I didn't alter or pick-and-choose accordingly, it really just turned out like this! So summer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bad sandwich!

You know how, if you're a wimpy critic, you might employ the "sandwich" method of criticism — say something nice, then something harsh, then something nice again to round it out.

Well, my day has been exactly the opposite of the nice sandwich.

I woke up this morning to the sound of chainsaws (never a good sign) and realized that our neighbors were cutting down all of the amazing foliage in their backyard...gorgeous ivy on the fence, and a beautiful tree! This unfortunate occurrence is compounded by the fact that since we are refused outside space in this apartment, gazing longingly into the neighbor's backyard is the closest to greenery I can get. I have always been overly emotional when people cut down trees (it makes my insides hurt!), which is infuriating because it seems like no matter where I live people are always cutting them down. In fact, just a few months after we moved into our current apartment, the tree directly out front was cut error on the part of the glorious city of Philadelphia, who were asked to merely TRIM the tree...NOT cut it down!!!

Anyway...I evacuated my apartment echoing with the sound of dying trees to go to Reading Terminal Market to pick up some groceries — it was lovely. I rode my bike with my new rear basket; I bought an iced coffee to cool down and wandered around, checking out which vendors I would patronize; I bought food from the Fair Food Farmstand and felt great about it; and I bought a chunk of gorgonzola cheese and I want to eat it all right now. It was truly a good time.

Then on the way home the temperature was surprisingly cooperative and I was in a great mood...UNTIL MY CHAIN POPPED OFF...THREE TIMES WITHIN LIKE 5 BLOCKS. I ended up having to walk it home from 3rd and Callowhill. What a bummerfest.

This was never intended to be a rant blog, so here are happy pictures of my food: a pattypan squash and mutant zucchini from my parents' garden, and the best-looking red pepper I've ever seen (from the FFF):

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I finished another illustration for Grid this week. The issue doesn't come out until August, so I'm showing just a snippet for now. If you want to see the whole thing you'll just have to find a copy for yourself!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Peacocks! on Etsy

I'm not typically obsessed with peacocks, but when I went to look at some of my Etsy favorites, I realized how many of my bookmarks were peacock-related. Here's a buncha good ones:

So luxurious! The outside fabrics of these clutches are so swanky, but I honestly think the best part is the colorful punch of the lining inside. Mmmmmm. Peacock palace, from Red Ruby Rose.

Elegant! Peacock Feather Necklace, from Skylark Studio.

I think this print is charming. Zukzuk Peacocks White, from Zukzuk.

YES! Peacock Melon Crate Label, from Labelstone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Even though I check etsy pretty much every day (and often MULTIPLE times a day) this has so far been my first and only purchase. I adore these. So much so that when we had a holiday dessert party at work I decided that I needed to use ALL of these cookie cutters. We were each assigned a random country, and I got the USA (boring!) so I made four different kinds of Girl Scout cookies (thin mints, samoas, trefoils, and do-si-dos). Tadaaa—NOT boring, and tasty!

Thanks to sweetrice for making it all possible.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Inverted Jenny

When I collected stamps with my dad when I was younger, we used to joke about finding an Inverted Jenny like it was the Holy Grail. Just now as I was looking up some of its history I honestly started tearing up. A million dollars for a postage stamp! It’s amazing what value people can affix to something like a sticky little piece of paper.

Seriously though, how cool is this stamp? THE PLANE IS UPSIDE DOWN!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

it's a blog

Before anyone makes fun of me for doing this, let me just say that since I'm freelancing now and no longer working in an office, I think blogging is going to help me stay connected with other humans.

Anyway, I'm gonna kick this sucker off with this photo from our kitchen. Shaun made the table for me years ago to increase the amount of counterspace, but as you can see I just keep piling it with plants. And fresh flowers, which I've recently fallen in love with. These particular ones are ranunculi and they're amazing (even though this picture doesn't flatter them too well).

Those potted plants are sitting on top of a recipe box that Shaun made for me last Christmas, which I'm still working on filling with recipes. If you have any good ones, send them my way!