Engagement Photos


Remember when I said Inna, our wedding photographer, was magic? I’d like to upgrade that to be something along the lines of “Super-Talented Genius Fairy Princess.” Not only did she deliver preview photos the day after our engagement shoot, she had our online gallery up within a week, and mailed all of our high-res photos along with a few free prints this past Friday. I got them in the mail Saturday, and all my big plans for spending the day doing nothing but writing went out the window. I sent a few to Jamal (he landed safely in India late Saturday afternoon, and emailed me a photo of the Ladurée inside Charles de Gaulle airport, haha) but this is the first look!

Since we got engaged in Paris in the Musée Rodin gardens, it was important to us to include both our love of art and Paris into the shoot. The Art Museum and Parc, two of our favorite places in the entire city, felt like the obvious choices when it came to location ideas. I wanted something timeless and not trendy; we have precisely one photo of the two of us that we didn’t take ourselves, with one of our arms outstretched, holding the camera. We’re going to use a photo from this shoot for our Save the Dates, but we also wanted to have a nice selection of photos of us, at this moment in our lives, just for posterity. I am so in love with what Inna was able to capture that afternoon.

Herewith, a small sampling of our engagement photos. Damn, Jamal is a hottie. (I’ve watermarked them with ‘like / want / need’ in case they end up elsewhere, but obviously all credit/copyright goes to Peach Plum Pear Photography.)

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Where’s Waldo




And so begins another hiatus from America for my darling Jamal. He left yesterday for Toronto for a meeting today, and will be flying from Toronto to India on Friday. India, AGAIN. This is his fourth trip since we’ve been together (fifth? I’m losing count) and something like his tenth overall. He’ll be gone for two weeks, but there is totally an upside to the otherwise shitastic reality of being sans-fiancé for 14 days: he’s is stopping in Paris on the way home. Wait wait wait, some backstory.

Here’s the thing about India: it’s really far away. You either have to stop somewhere in Europe on a layover from Bangalore, or fly from Bangalore to Mumbai and do the 16 hour direct flight (nope). His flights home usually have him hanging out in Heathrow airport for a few hours (I’ve reaped those benefits before) but this time he thought, instead of London why not Paris, and instead of a few hours, why not two days?

I know what you’re thinking, that I died of jealousy and threw an enormous, envious fit. And you’d be somewhat correct, but here’s the thing about Paris: I love it. And I love that Jamal loves it, enough it decide to cut his India trip short by two days and give himself a mini-vacation. Am I jealous? OF COURSE…but mostly that he gets the flight for free. I’m genuinely really happy for him that he gets to go back (that he wants to go back!). He’s staying in an apartment in Montmartre and had been talking about going back to “our” cheese shop on Rue des Abbesses, and “our” restaurant on Rue Tholozé. How exciting for him!

Oh, and if he happens to bring home tons of presents, I guess that’s exciting for me, too. Ahem.

So here we go, kiddos. Who’s ready to keep me entertained?

Wash and Fold and…Beer?






photographs by Arne Jennard, via Knstrct

I made it a point to never live in an apartment that didn’t have a washer and dryer in the building when, but I might have been a little more lenient in my requirements had something like Wasbar, the Belgian laundromat and cafe, existed around here when I was still renting. Think about it: all those hours spent doing laundry, waiting for each load to finish and fighting for the good machines, could have passed much more enjoyably if you’d had a beer in your hand. Owners Dries Henau and Yuri Vandenbogaerde went to great lengths to make Wasbar not only new and different, but also inviting, instead of sterile and cold like most laundromats, by using up-cycled materials and hiding all the plumbing and piping in the basement. The result is a long row of sleek washing machines, all bearing women’s names (Mona, Jacqueline, Lisette) while the dryers have men’s (Jacob, Albert, Jules). Wasbar’s logo? A clothespin crossed with a bottle opener. What’s Flemish for “charming”?

Next time I’m in Belgium, I’m going.

Sun-Drenched in Catalonia









Believe it or not, this isn’t Provence, as you might have guessed from all the French country touches of linen and wicker and peeling wood in this gorgeous house, but rather in the northeastern part of Spain. All that dreamy yellow sunlight pouring into every room and casting shadows across the stone floors is making me want to curl up like a cat and bask in a particularly bright spot (and you know I hate the sun). Beams in every room, plenty of wonderful outdoor space (do I spy a pool?!), and shabby chic details abound. Can you imagine having breakfast at that table out back, under that vintage pendant light, maybe wrapped in a scarf to fend off the early morning breeze? Heaven. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Step Away From the Phone


via Flickr

Did you happen to catch this article, “Step Away From the Phone!”, in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times yesterday? Imagine my delight when I read that my recent second attempt to disconnect and spend less time on my phone/in front of technology is actually part of a larger movement. Turns out, I’m not the only person feeling overconnected and saddened by being tethered to a smartphone 24/7 (don’t even get me started on the idiots who waited in line for the new iPhone over the weekend. I have no words, just eyerolls). The people interviewed in the article, including Marc Jacobs himself, have all set a hard line when it comes to limiting technology at home. Throw your phone in an empty fishbowl, leave your iPads outside the bedroom, first one to check their email puts the kids to bed. Genius, right?

“Whenever Michael Carl, the fashion market director at Vanity Fair, goes out to dinner with friends, he plays something called the “phone stack” game: Everyone places their phones in the middle of the table; whoever looks at their device before the check arrives picks up the tab.” I suggested playing this with a few girlfriends earlier this year; one, (who shall remain nameless ;), insisted she couldn’t afford the entire bill, not realizing she wouldn’t have to pay more than her share if she just left her phone unchecked. While I love the idea of the phone stack game, how sad is it that we had to invent a game with incentives just to concentrate on your friends at the table? What have we devolved into?

My favorite line in the whole article was this: “Public cellphone use has reached an uncivilized fever pitch, so now it’s chicer behavior to exempt yourself from that. You’re not answerable 24/7, and that’s a powerful and luxurious statement.”

Powerful and luxurious. I love it. I have to think that with all the swirling excitement over the latest cell phone release date or those silly commercials with iPhone and Android users brawling over bragging rights, that eventually the smartphone craze will burn itself out and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a world without cell phones again.

Engagement Photos: Preview!

The first thing I did after we got engaged was to email Inna, of Peach Plum Pear Photography, and book her immediately. Inna and I went to college together, only she actually put her Photojournalism degree to use after graduating and started her own wedding photography business. Her work is beautiful. No, it’s more than beautiful; it’s perfection. And I knew I wanted her to work her magic on us, so Jamal & I signed on the dotted line and then I proceeded to panic for the next 6 months leading up to our engagement shoot, because I’m awkward in front of a camera, and oh my god what would I wear, and ahh what if it rained.

We shot this past Tuesday in the late afternoon, and the weather could not have been more perfect (and I figured out what to wear, obviously). Somehow, Inna managed to send us a few preview shots by Wednesday afternoon. And we don’t look awkward at all! In fact, we actually look pretty good. See? Magic! Here are just a couple to whet your appetite:




You’ll have to wait a bit longer to see the rest of them (that includes me), but from what she sent so far I am SO, SO happy. Thank you, Inna!!

Have a good weekend, kiddos! What are you up to?

A Found Van Gogh

What’s the opposite of an art heist?


Herman Wouters for the New York Times

After being dismissed by art historians as a fake and spending sixty in an attic in Norway, “Sunset at Montmajour,” depicting a golden field in Arles, Provence, was declared an authentic van Gogh earlier this month by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The painting was part of the collection belonging to Vincent’s brother, Theo, until his death in 1901. Several years later, Theo’s widow sold the work to a Paris art dealer, who in turn sold it to a Norwegian collector. It was then that the painting was determined to be a fake. It stayed in an attic until the collector’s death in 1970, and was purchased by the current owners. (Are you keeping up?)

The current owners had previously tried to have “Sunset” re-authenticated by the museum in 1991, but to no avail. They tried again in 2011, and the museum has spent the last two years researching and examining the painting. Louis van Tilborgh, the museum’s senior researcher, said it was “painted on the same type of canvas with the same type of underpainting van Gogh used for at least one other painting of the same area.” The clincher: the canvas also has “180” painted on the back, “which corresponds to the number in [Theo van Gogh’s] collection inventory” from 1890.

The museum was further able to pinpoint the exact date van Gogh painted “Sunset at Montmajour” as July 4, 1888. In a letter dated the next day to his brother, he seems to describe the painting:

“Yesterday, at sunset, I was on a stony heath, where very small, twisted oaks grow, in the background a ruin on the hill, and wheat fields in the valley. It was romantic, it couldn’t be more so, à la Monticelli, the sun was pouring its very yellow rays over the bushes and the ground, absolutely a shower of gold. And all the lines were beautiful; the whole scene had charming nobility.”

Vincent, to his brother, Theo


It’s obviously rare to have a painting from van Gogh’s mature period surface after so many years in obscurity, and dealers and art historians alike are venturing the painting, which is similar in size to his famous “Sunflowers,” could fetch “tens of millions” at auction. It’s unclear if the owners will sell it.

“Sunset at Montmajour” will be on display at the Van Gogh Museum for one year starting next Tuesday, September 24th.

Mais Oui

We had our engagement photo shoot last night (more on that in a few weeks when we get our photos!) and we shot all over the city at our favorite spots. The Art Museum, Rittenhouse Square, and, of course, Parc. It speaks volumes about the kind of guy Jamal is that he not only puts up with my insane love for this theme-y Parisian bistro, but he actually indulges me and eats escargot if I order them. I’ve had better meals elsewhere in the city (hello, brunch), but that’s not why we go here (though if you get between me and the salade lyonnaise, I’ll bite your hand off). The atmosphere is as close to being in a real café in Paris as you can get without the plane fare. The chairs are all imported from Maison Drucker in France, the lace curtains are vintage, they have a chalkboard by the hostess stand with the week’s weather en Français. We’ve come here for all three of my birthdays we’ve celebrated together, and when we showed up last night with our photographer, Inna, in tow, they were more than happy to give us free reign of the place for as long as we wanted to get the perfect shot. In short: I love Parc.


Parc Bistro, 227 S. 18th Street. 

What a Deal

Every once in a while I impress even myself with my shopping skills. Behold my latest scores:


Bag / Boots

This would be my second pair of those boots; I wore the first pair for three seasons until the soles were flapping off and the heel was ground down to oblivion. At $150, I made sure I got my money’s worth. I needed a new pair for the upcoming fall (FALL. IT’S ALMOST FALL!) but was hoping they would go on sale. My prayers were answered when a friend at work passed along a 20% off + free shipping coupon, bringing the cost down from $149.95 to $119. But it doesn’t end there, because I used Ebates and got an extra $6 back. Price: $113. Savings: $37.

Having carried a Longchamp Le Pliage tote that my mom bought me for a few months now, I finally understood what all the fuss was about. They’re lightweight, can hold a ton, and go with everything. Mine is brown, and I’d been eyeing one in black. The Les Planetes version is made with a slightly thicker nylon, and unlike the Pliage line, the handles are black. I wouldn’t say I needed another bag, but I did like it and I really wanted it, but was deterred at $160. Luckily, Bloomingdale’s was having a Loyalist sale last week, meaning I got $25 off + free shipping. Yadda yadda yadda, I used Ebates, got an extra $8 back, and the previously $160 bag clocked in at $127. Savings: $33. I win.

Also, and I mean it, I’m done shopping for a while. These two purchases were the only things on my fall (NO BUT SERIOUSLY, IT’S ALMOST FALL) wishlist along with this trench coat, so I’m set!