Sunday Brunch

The most revered of weekly rituals, Sunday Brunch is like my religion. And like most observations of faith, I’m rarely up in time to experience it. But when my lovely friend Aisling suggested we meet on Sunday to have brunch and do some shopping, I couldn’t say no. We had walked by this adorable cafe a few weeks before and I’m so happy we made it a point to go in and enjoy a sun-soaked meal. La Petite Dauphine is simple in its decor (black ceiling, white walls, stark decorations save for the table of French magazines by the door) and menu offerings (certainly don’t come here looking for something greasy or Americanized like pancakes) but it gets it right in every other way. The service is laid back (they are French, after all) but sweet, and despite the line of patrons queuing by the door, we were never once rushed. We both ordered a large pot of tea (white peony for me and peach apricot for her) and stuffed ourselves on French carbs.

I had a croissant and then smoked salmon with capers, red onion, and toasted brioche, and Aisling had the largest omelet I’ve ever seen, stuffed with brie and asparagus, with toast and butter and preserves. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos our food, as we were too busy eating and gabbing. We each had four cups of tea and made out for under $20 a person with tip. La Petite Dauphine’s website promised macarons, but I sadly didn’t see any in the cafe. Either they didn’t have them or my macaron-radar is broken. Afterwards we made the rounds to Barney’s Coop, J. Crew, and Paper Source. It was a totally restorative afternoon; thanks for planning, A!

Aisling and I are going to organize a girl’s outing for their afternoon tea service (tea sandwiches!) closer to Christmas. I can’t wait to go back.

La Petite Dauphine is located at 2029 Walnut Street / lapetitedauphine.com

Friday Five

This post is a shout out both to my wallet (Get ready, yo!) and to Lauren,who earlier in the week lamented her lack of cute winter-weather footwear. Seeing as I wear the same pair of shoes until the soles come flapping off, I too am in need of some new shoes that can hold up to daily trudging to and from the subway. If the weather is inclement, I’ll obviously switch to the super insulated Bean Boots my mom bought me as an early birthday present. Suede is not perhaps the most functional in slushy, wet weather, but if this coming winter is anything like last winter, I won’t have to worry, as it was relatively dry. Here are 5 pairs of cute ankle boots I’m refraining from buying immediately.

1. Sam Edelman “Petty” / 2. Unlisted “Beyond Me” / 3. ASOS “Chelsea” / 4. Madden Girl “Dontee” / 5. Nine West “Sosie”

Okay, so that’s a lie, because I totally bought #2, the Kenneth Cole cognac boots. I can see myself wearing them in Paris (oh, yeah, by the way, I’m already outfit-planning and mentally packing. Congratulations to all of you who get to deal with this neurosis until March) or with sweater dresses in December and January. I’m completely, totally in love with every single pair of those shoes. The Sam Edelman pair have long been on my radar, but I have a logistical question: what kind of socks do you wear with those? Pair #4, the Steve Madden chukkas, remind me of a much pricier J. Crew pair, but are just as cute and can be worn with anything. Lauren: are any of these striking your fancy? Did I totally miss the mark? And everyone else, what do you guys think? Which pair is your favorite? The best part: with the exception of the Sam Edelmans, they’re all under $75.

Paris, encore

So because this week wasn’t going well enough already, I have a very exciting announcement. Here’s a hint:

Give up? I AM GOING BACK TO PARIS IN MARCH FOR 6 DAYS! I don’t think I need to explain how happy this makes me, but just in case you need a reminder of just how much I love Paris, see almost every post I’ve ever written (specifically thisthisthisthisthisthis, and this. And these.) I was going to leave the day after Thanksgiving but decided to wait until I had 10 weeks of French class under my belt so I’d feel more comfortable communicating. It will be a short trip, but long enough to recharge my batteries and clear my head. And do some serious writing. I will probably spend at least the first day crying hysterically and hugging buildings and metro signs and random Frenchmen like an idiot. It doesn’t feel like a vacation, it feels like I’m going home. And because I’m a good girlfriend, I’m bringing Boyfriend along with me! Do you know I actually had to convince him to accept a free trip to Paris? Sometimes, that boy…

Sure, it may seem indulgent to go to Paris twice in 10 months (this is actually my new life plan). And I don’t have to validate it other than to say that I work very hard and very long hours in a creatively-unfulfilling job, I manage my spending and have no debt, and I deserve it.  All I want in life is the ability to travel to Paris when I want. Why do I have money in savings just sitting there when Paris exists? (This was a rhetorical question but my mom went ahead an answered it in conversation earlier in the week with, “To pay for a wedding! DUH.”) I’m young, basically responsibility-free (no offense, Fitz!) and I don’t want to look back and regret not going just because I could.

So, yes. Paris! Again! We’ll be staying in Montmartre hopefully. We might go back to the Louvre, we might go to Versailles, but mostly we’re just going to wander and sit in cafes for too long and I’ll fill an entire memory card with pictures. I’m going to scout out all the places I’m writing about in my book and just soak up the city for 5 whole days. I’m also going to eat nothing but macarons and escargot, but not together. C’est dégoûtant.

Paris, amour de ma vie, I’ll see you soon.

Live-blogging the Election

I’m just a staunch liberal with a bottle of wine and the tv tuned to CNN. This should be fun.

6:38pm First glass of wine poured. Peach wine, from a small vineyard in south Jersey. I’m starting light, saving the hard liquor for later.

7:00pm Obama takes Vermont (woo!) and Romney takes Kentucky (SURPRISE). Wolf Blitzer is already yelling at me, I don’t know if I can make it to midnight. Candy Crowley looks pissed to be at the Romney headquarters in Boston. Her hair looks GREAT though.

7:10pm CNN projecting Florida with 55% Obama. I inadvertently sprayed Boyfriend with spittle from yelling.

7:23pm Romney takes Indiana. That state is useless. I’m of the belief that everything between the coasts is irrelevant.

8:00pm Obama takes Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island. Second glass of wine, complete.

8:11pm Me: “Just checking, are you a moderate or a liberal?” Boyfriend: “I’m a liberal.” Me: “That’s so sexy, say it again.”

8:29pm Boyfriend has politely requested I scale back on the amount of f-bombs I yell at the tv at full volume. Should’ve stopped me after my first glass of wine, dude. It only goes downhill from here.

8:32pm Boyfriend: “You don’t understand math….I’m sorry but it’s true.”

9:00pm Romney takes Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska (I always forget this state exists), North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, and Mississippi. A total of 72 electoral votes. Also the average IQ amongst inhabitants of those states. Obama takes Michigan, New York, and New Jersey.

9:18pm I want to love anything as much as John King loves his touch-maps.

9:31pm Television just froze and I had a heart-attack. Florida is giving me horrible anxiety. Also finished my third glass of wine.

10:00pm Well that bottle of wine was delicious. Boyfriend reminds me I have an 8am phone conference, woops. Obama takes Pennsylvania (way to go, Philadelphia! Holding it down 85% democratic) and New Hampshire. Can’t believe that was even a question. Romney takes Utah, Colony of Mormons.

10:28pm Called my mom, she said I should stop drinking. Moms are no fun. She worked the polls today and now she’s hosting a big viewing party with a bunch of friends. My mom is officially cooler than me. Rape Homies Akin and Mourdock both lost, THANK YOU. Guess the female body has a way of “shutting the whole thing down” after all.

10:45pm Wine headache. Please just call this thing so I can go to sleeeeep.

11:00pm Obama takes California, Hawaii (I’d say his “home state” but enough a-holes believe he was totally born in Kenya as a Muslim), and Washington. I’ve switched to water, fyi.

11:11pm Iowa and New Mexico! You’re supposed to make a wish at 11:11, right? I can’t tell you my wish or it won’t come true, but I bet you can guess what it is.

11:14pm Did I go to the bathroom and miss it????

11:18pm FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!!

11:25pm It might be the alcohol, but I’m crying uncontrollably out of joy. I am so excited about the next 4 years and SO PROUD of America for getting it right. I made the following earlier in the night but was waiting until he won to post it. Actually, I’ve been waiting my entire life to post this. Anything to make a Mean Girls reference.

12:00am Taking this party from the couch to the bed.

12:08am Not election related but OH MY GOD, I totally just got why that rapper is named FLO RIDA. FLORIDA! Oh my god I am delirious.

12:14am DUDE concede already. Game over, Big Bird would like to go to sleep happy. Gay marriage passed in Maine and Maryland!!

12:58am Wow, Romney’s concession speech was surprisingly human and sincere. If THAT Mitt had showed up during the election maybe he would be giving a different speech right now….lolol nah jk.

1:12am It’s like an all-out dance party at the Obama headquarters. So jealous.

1:17am I am so tired I actually hurt. This is 4 hours past my bedtime. I’ve been up this late like, 7 times in my life.

1:36am Aren’t Sasha and Malia exhausted?? They have school in the morning! Why am I still awake?! Oh right, to watch this historic moment. Aaand I’m crying again.

2:00am Confetti canons!!!!!! God that man can really give a speech, can’t he? And now I’m going to sleep. It’s been an amazing night, America.

Literary Consolation Prizes

The highlight of my very nerdy week is always the Sunday New York Times. I technically got a subscription for Boyfriend for our anniversary, but I get just as much enjoyment out of it as he does. Thankfully we never go for the same sections (I take Real Estate, Sunday Styles, the Book Review, and Arts & Entertainment, and he takes the front section, Business, Metropolitan, and other snooze-y sections), and this weekend while we were eating breakfast, I flipped through the Book Review and found this hilarious and charming cartoon at the back. Given that I’d spent most of the weekend holed up writing (or, err, trying to, anyway) I found it especially fitting.

Grant Snider for the New York Times

I really got a giggle out of the Unnecessary Punctuation Ribbon. So I did what any dork would do: I clipped it out of the paper and framed it (I happened to have one of these frames laying around, obviously. My house is like an IKEA auxiliary warehouse). It’s hanging on the wall in my bedroom as inspiration.

My friend Iain is a published author and I was picking his brain at a party we went to a few weekends ago for any advice he had for someone starting out. “Check your ego at the door,” he said. He also gave me a terrifying (but realistic) timeline of how this is actually going to play out: “This is a five or six year process.” Oh. I explained to him that I was really having a problem with the act of actually writing and he said that the book is truly written in the rewrites, so the best thing I can do is just bang out a first draft to work with. I’m trying. It’s coming in spurts and single sentences that strike me when I’m in the shower or about to fall asleep, but it’s nonetheless coming. I think there needs to be a Patience Award in that cartoon.

And for a bit of levity, I’ll leave you with this amazing tweet my friend Tom sent a few months ago. Really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

How was your weekend?

 

Quick Bedroom Makeover

It all started when Santa posted this review of visiting One Museum Mile and I saw this bedroom.

I mean, come on, right? I instantly swooned over it, loving the color combination of dark gray and slate blue and light gray and all that sexy gray artwork above the bed.  And since my desk is in my bedroom, I shot a look over to our bed and felt it looked sort of sad and uninspired. Our pillows are squished, flat messes, our duvet cover is missing a button at the bottom and has a Fitz bite hole somewhere in the middle (a small one, but still). Our mattress pad stopped fitting on the bed after one too many washes and so now our sheets are just on the bare mattress (THIS KILLS ME). I shouldn’t complain, because before I moved in Boyfriend was totally content sleeping on a fitted sheet and an un-covered duvet blanket. With one pillow. I can’t even.

So I got to thinking (about ways to spend money, obviously) and decided we needed new bedding. I had partially given up the search after my dreams were dashed over the Dwell Studio striped duvet but then seeing Santa’s picture re-inspired me. She was kind enough to send me the full-size picture to use in this post even as she’s stuck without power from Hurricane Sandy (thank you again, doll!). I didn’t follow the dark gray/light gray/blue recipe exactly to the letter, but I’m still wildly excited about our soon-to-be new bedding.

1. Duvet cover / 2. Pillows & Pillowcases / 3. Sheets / 4. Table / 5. Lamp / 6. Art

I still get my striped duvet, only this one is almost a 1/10th the cost of the Dwell version. I ordered a new set of pillows (big! squishy!) and slate blue sheets. Full disclosure: technically my mom ordered the pillows and pillowcases because she has a Target card and it saved us $33 in shipping and an additional 5% off everything. She’s calling it an early Christmas present but I’m hoping in her old age she forgets by the time Christmas rolls around (hi moo!). I am absolutely loving the lines on the West Elm coffee table and praying they make a smaller version so I can use them as night tables. And how gorgeous is that gray watercolor print? I obviously have a thing for watercolors.

Full before and after pictures of le boudoir to come after everything is set up. Though I might just skip right to the “after” because really, the “before” is just blah.

What are you guys up to this weekend? Our Australian house-guest got stranded here because of the hurricane but was able to fly out yesterday, so we’re looking forward to relaxing this weekend without having to entertain or anything. Have a good one, kiddos!

Paper Stars

I’m about the least craft-enthusiastic, capable human being alive, but there are some really easy ones even within my comfort-zone. A long time ago, I picked up an origami star making kit on a whim with my dad, probably in the checkout line at Barnes & Noble. Fast forward about 10 years: while decorating the guest room, I was going through some boxes of stuff that haven’t been unpacked in the 8 years since I moved out of my mom’s house, and I found a little tea-light holder filled with these tiny, adorable stars. I also recovered the pack of paper-strips but not the instructions. It is a testament to their simplicity that I was able to remember how to make them after 10 years.

For the full tutorial, click to keep reading.

Read more

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I hate Halloween. We’ve been over this before, but in case you’re new here, Halloween is a holiday meant for people who aren’t afraid of their own shadow and who don’t have to sleep with a night light at almost-26. Thus, Halloween is not a holiday for me. Sure, I like the candy and…no, that’s it. But there are more appropriate ways to deliver candy than with spiders and mummies and ghosts. Flowers and butterflies, perhaps. But just because I go all bahumbug on Halloween doesn’t mean I haven’t had some seriously awesome costumes in my day, because I have. And I think this year’s was pretty good, too.

Even though my French Immersion class was postponed last Saturday until the middle of November, I had already lined up my costume for a party we were going to that night that was more than semi-related. It was both was less involved than my lobster costume of last year, seeing as though I only had to steal a fake mustache from my friend Aisling and a scarf from my mom, and very obvious given who I am. It should not shock you in the least that I had the following in my possession:

In case you can’t figure it out…

Read more

Oh, Fitz.

Fitz had a vet appointment on Friday night after work. He was overdue for a few of his shots, and had been scratching and biting at himself so badly we were convinced he had fleas, despite being vigilant with his flea meds (no fleas, just skin allergies, poor thing). We also went because he’s, and I’m being polite, insane. I’ve mentioned it before, but seriously, the dog becomes possessed when he’s outside and is a whining, screaming ball of anxiety. We’ve tried a very expensive trainer, coins in a can (that worked for like a week, and then all the shaking in the world couldn’t get his attention if he was howling at another dog), and we’re at our wits end. How can something so cuddly and quiet and sweet inside (well, until his toy gets stuck under the rug and then this happens) turn into a raging crackhead outside? The vet took one look at him while we were still sitting in the waiting room and Fitz was screeching his head off because OMG THERE WAS A DOG IN THE ROOM, and after a quick discussion in the exam room, offered us Prozac. Yes. Prozac. As in, my dog is medicated because he has anxiety issues.

It’s not going to be a miracle drug, but we should see results within 2 weeks and hopefully we’ll be able to walk him and have him respond to commands like “Sit,” “No bark,” or “NO, DON’T EAT THAT DORITO.” As it is, he’s so hypervigilant and anxious outside we have no chance of redirecting him out of that state. Prozac will get him there. The vet had no qualms about giving it to us, either. Some dogs are just crazier than others, especially ones that spent the first 7 months of their life in a shelter. Who knows what happened during that time to make him as, um, colorful as he is now. We just know he’s a good dog who has the potential to have a successful walk around the block without both him and me wound into a tight knot of anxiety. Still, really ridiculous that I now have a prescription account at Walgreens under Fitz’s name.

How was your weekend? Everyone staying dry out there? I’m home from work today because public transit shut down at midnight last night.

Miscellaneous

from here

Last night, my work’s Philanthropy committee (of which I am an active member) held an event at a bowling alley in support of PEP, Programs Employing People, which provides job training, vocational skills, socialization, art classes, and community programs to over 300 adults with physical and mental disabilities a year in Philadelphia. I actually suggested it as an event because I’d had Boyfriend’s surprise birthday at the bowling alley last summer and fell in love with the place. It’s a little hidden gem. The bowling alley is 6 lanes and a BYOB facility, which meant that all 40 people who showed up from my work (huge turnout!) got to bring their own beer, which meant that as the night went on, people got a lot more intense about bowling. I beat Boyfriend handily, thank you very much. The committee organized mystery basket raffles and a 50/50, and we all got dressed up in costumes. We managed to raise over $1000 in donations for PEP, which is incredible. The rental fee for the alley worked out to something like $4 a person/hour for the 4 hours we had the place, with shoes and games, and all the money goes right back to the organization. I bowled 6 or 7 games on 2 lanes, and this morning my back is killing me and my feet are sore, but I don’t even mind. I had such a good time, and it was so much fun.

It also meant that I didn’t have time to prepare a Friday Five or anything for today. I hope you understand! We got home just after 9:30 last night after taking down all the decorations and cleaning up the mess, which, as most of you know, is well past my bedtime. Therefore, I’ll leave you with that beautiful shot above, which pretty much sums up the weekend I hope to have: quiet, spent writing, with a nice mug of tea. Unfortunately, the 6-hour French Immersion class I signed up for was postponed due to a lack of students who signed up (WHAT?! Who doesn’t want to take a 6 hour French class on a Saturday??!) so my weekend opened up. We have a Halloween party tomorrow night (I’m so excited for my costume!) and a friend Boyfriend hasn’t seen in 10 years (from Australia!) is coming to stay for a bit. What are you guys up to? Have a good one, kiddos! I’ll leave you with this hilarious video Boyfriend sent me: