Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brunch in Philly

I've been dying to go out to brunch for weeks.  It's hard for us to do dinners out--Ron is asleep by 9pm Sun-Fri and I avoid restaurants on Saturday nights if I can.  Last Sunday, we finally made it to Talula's Garden on Washington Square (next to Talula's Daily from a bunch of other posts like this one ... all the way at the bottom).



It's a huge open space. Our reservation was for 1:45pm--every seat was filled when we arrived, but within a half hour the place started to empty out and became much quieter.


Ron had "the Butcher" (a spicy bloody Mary) and I had "the Optimist" (a blueberry lemonade cocktail).  The pickled green beans in Ron's drink were really good.  No photos of it (because God forbid I don't photograph every single freaking thing I eat, right?), but I had the griddled Monte Cristo sandwich and Ron must've ordered his egg and sausage dish from the specials menu because I don't see it on the standard menu.  Both were amazing.

Naturally, I'll always take a picture of dessert: sweet little ricotta donuts with lemon curd and huckleberry jam.  Ooo la la!  Divine.


And then we walked. I spent a lot of time in Verde and Open House because I still have a gift card from my birthday, but it came home with me.




Circling back to Washington Square and the car--it was pretty damn cold. You would never guess it's the end of March.



Pine Street in Society Hill--clearly a Delco transplant lives here.  Well done, Delco Transplant!  It looks like Easter even though it feels like Christmas.


Look familiar, Leslie?

And that was it--we stayed most of the day and stopped to say Hi to Leslie and Sam before we left.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NYC with Annie: July 2014

Honestly, I just have more pictures of her apartment mostly shot with my outdated point and shoot camera, but whatevs:

At least these photos orient you: front door and bathroom is behind me.

Weird photo--this might've taken by mistake.  Anyway, how GORGEOUS are those floors??? And the dining table opens to twice its size.

"OMIGOD! WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT FRAME??"  [shrug]  "Are you joking? Your grandmother's attic?" [While taking a swig of ginger ale: shrug.]


Anybody who lives in a big city is saying "Holy crap she has a dishwasher!! [insert anguished emoji!!]"

This little corner of her bedroom is one of my fave spots--so pretty.



Did I show the pillows her mom made in the last post?

On this particular day, Leslie came with me.  It was the last Saturday in July and it was NOT CRAZY FREAKIN HOT. (Oddly ... I was going to California the next week ... so I've done the SF/NYC in one week thing more than once and just forgot. Huh.)  Let's see if I can remember what we did.
  1. We waited in a long freakin line to buy subway passes. OMG the eye rolling was epic. THAT was fun.  And then we discussed how freakin gross it is underneath Penn Station--basically the Wildwood boardwalk underground with no beach and no tram.  When we were at Penn Station last month, I said to Annie, "Who EATS at these places down here??? WHO IS SHOPPING IN THE KMART DOWN HERE???" And Annie goes, "Don't judge: I had to buy sunscreen in there once."  Well: there you go!
  2. We took the subway over to Brooklyn where, like, ALL of my favorite bloggers live.  I did not run into one of these other bloggers.  While it was not crazy-100-degrees-hot, the fact is that it was still summer--it certainly wasn't cold.  We made our way over to the Brooklyn flea and looked at jewelry in shoulder to shoulder crowds until our heads nearly exploded (I think all of us bought bracelets).  Then ...
  3. We wandered down the street to Smorgasburg.  In theory Smorgasburg is a cool idea.  In practice, I don't get it.  Imagine 1000 food vendors grilling, baking, smoking, and selling every food item known to man.  It's on a big cement pad in a major city. There is no shade, and it's (only) 80 degrees out.  Annie bought McClures pickles while I watched a bunch of people eat fried stuff on sticks.  Annie turns to us and goes, "Do you guys want to get something to eat ... at a place with air conditioning?"  I'm tempted to say No just to torture her--it's obvious she wants out--but we both say, "Uhhhh .... yes."
  4. So we got back on the subway for Manhattan.  We are nearly trampled by the crowds running OFF the trains as they stampede up the steps into Brooklyn.
  5. We land back in Annie's neighborhood at dell'anima. It was a little later in the day, so we had no problem getting a table outside in the shade.  We all enthusiastically agreed that we needed a bottle of rose' for the table.  The waitress said to us, "You know, today is the perfect day for rose' and nobody has been ordering it!"  I had l'uova in purgatorio (no, Erin, I do not remember that off the top of my head--I had to look at the menu), Annie ordered pasta, and Leslie had eggs (I think?).  We didn't rush, we took our time, and it felt twenty degrees cooler there than it did in Brooklyn (which makes no sense, right?).  It was just gorgeous. The street was quiet, the trees were leafy, and there was a fantastic breeze.
  6. Annie indulged us and stood in line with us so we could pick something out at Magnolia bakery.  We waited next to a few (very well coiffed) moms with their tweenage daughters. I think they were from DC or something and were very impressed that both Leslie and Annie were lawyers ("You look so young!").  I debated whether I should just lie and say that I'm an architect (probably the best idea George Costanza ever had). I resisted.
  7. Leslie and I had been gushing over Annie's eye makeup, and finally we got the biggest eye roll and shrug EVER followed by, "Let's go to Sephora!" and so we did.
  8. Annie reveals that she uses NARS eyeliner in Rue Saint-Honore with an iridescent Armani eyeshadow smudged over it.  While I AGONIZE over whether to get the eyeliner and a similar eyeshadow (Annie's eyes, after all, are hazel and mine are bright blue so what if it just doesn't look the same and I can't put the sample on my eye because that IS SO GROSS AND WHO WOULD DO THAT? let me just distract myself by helping Leslie pick a lip gloss ...) Meanwhile, Annie disappears and buys the eyeliner without telling me.  "Here," she says, looping the bag over my free wrist. "Stop freaking out."  I'm speechless.  And then I grab the eyeshadow and run to pay for it so I can have both.  It's an act of generosity that I will reflect on pretty much everyday indefinitely. (Still do.  Thank you, Annie.)
  9. Time is winding down; it's a gorgeous day, and Leslie has never seen the High Line ... neither have I for that matter (even though Annie sternly insisted on it the day I came up to see Martha Stewart--it was cold and windy and I didn't feel inclined).  "You've never seen the High Line? omigod. [sigh]."  We trail Annie out the door and down the cobblestone street.
  10. I don't have any photos of the High Line! Leslie does, but she has a million deadlines and a bad cold this week, so I can't bother her for the photos.  The sun is setting; it's crowded but fun.  All of those reclining chairs are taken.  It's the complete opposite of the Wildwood Boardwalk/Penn Station.
  11. Annie goes with us back to Penn Station.  Leslie and I begin the nearly 2.5 hour (feels like 4 hour) trek home on NJTransit.  We spend most of the ride scrolling through Anna Rifle's Instagram feed


Once upon a time, it was warmer than thirty degrees outside and living things actually grew, flourished, and bloomed. Then winter came and everything died. The End.

Look how many eyeliners I tested.

Magnolia vanilla-vanilla on the left; Clay's of Berwyn vanilla-vanilla on the right.  My verdict in this case was: Magnolia--the best vanilla/vanilla I've had since Dozen in Pittsburgh c.2010 (and Dozen is now gone [insert anguished emoji]; Clay's is a close second--nobody in Philly can beat their frosting.

This is a random picture of Ron holding Willow in a basket that's in the same file as my NYC photos. You're welcome.

And that was my July visit with Annie!  I'm going back in April--I promise to take pictures of something other than her apartment (ooooo maybe all of her outfits??? Annie is going, "GOD, NO. [eye roll]."  ; )

Friday, March 20, 2015

NYC with Annie

I've mentioned my friend, Annie, here before: She shows up in my Paris pictures from January 2006 (although we saw her in London, not Paris).  (Also, I forgot about this! She's here too.) Like I said in the Paris post, Annie was and still is the most glamorous person I've ever known.  We went all through high school together, but we didn't actually meet until junior year.  We had physics and English together, and I think the only reason why we actually began talking to one another is because we were randomly paired into a physics lab group.  The rest is history.

You know how people set up their phone so that a person's photo pops up when they call? (I have a picture of the Bumble pop up when Ron calls me.) Whenever Annie crosses my mind, I hear all the cogs and wheels in my head turn and roll back tape to Spring 2000 and the same image of her pops up onto my mental screen.  We had physics during first period (which was miserable! oh so miserable because it was HARD, but also because our classroom was SO FREEZING cold the entire school year.  My fingers would turn purple within two minutes of sitting down, I had to take tons of notes, and I couldn't even feel the pen in my hand to do it. And if it was 90 degrees out because it was still September and I had worn sandals??? Ugh, my feet would turn purple and sometimes I would catch people staring at them, totally grossed out as they shifted from lavender to almost-black.  It was really awful.  Also, did I mention it was first period?? 8am.  Do you want to talk about sound waves and calculus at 8am? Of course you don't.  Also, who are we kidding: I didn't/don't understand calculus. So good luck with that).

Anyway, I remember dragging my exhausted ass down the hall and through the locker bay in front of our classroom--it was spring and the year was nearly over.  One of the only good things about going to physics was sitting next to Annie and seeing which outfit she had chosen for the day.  Not only is Annie simply naturally gorgeous, but she has the best eye for clothing (and jewelry and makeup and hair color and interior decor) of any person I've ever met.  While she couldn't have cared less about who noticed, the fact is that her sartorial choices wow-ed every person girl who encountered her everyday. (Let's be real: boys notice nothing about girls' clothing at all, unless of course girls are wearing little to no clothing which is not the same thing.)  Also, Annie is a true gamine: Basically, she's built like Audrey Hepburn.  I think Annie and I are the same height (ie, short--she might be slightly shorter than me?), but I am easily twice as wide as her.  I'm not trying to be self-deprecating--that's just the reality.  Look, I'm a really small person, but when I stand next to Annie I wonder why I haven't tried out for the WNBA or something.  It's just a random genetic gift that she enjoys--her younger sister is the same way.  So imagine having that going for you AND being aesthetically on-point every day of your life.  That's Annie.

Once I got to know her, it was like talking to a magazine everyday: "How did you know that you could pair this shirt with this skirt?" or "How did you know that you could pick out those glasses?" (Annie wore dark plastic frames years before anybody else) or "How do you make green eyeshadow look like that?" (ie, "Please do my makeup for me!! Pretty please!!! [anguished emoji]").

(When we were seniors, we were sitting around in her bedroom and I asked her, "Ok, show me how you do your eye makeup."  Annie sighed heavily, as she is wont to do, and sat down on the floor in front of a large mirror propped against her wall.  She dragged over a small box of gorgeous makeup items and selected a pot of shimmery moss green Urban Decay eye shadow. She held it up to me: "Ready?" she asked flatly.  She popped off the top of the eyeshadow, held up her index finger, rubbed it on the makeup, and then smudged it across her eyelid. "That's it.  What did you think I do?"  And then she took her smudged finger and rubbed it on the back of her bedroom door to clean it.  Horrified, I grabbed the door and pushed it ... and basically there was this abstract expressionist mural on the back of it created by 5,000 finger smudges of makeup in every color.  I laughed so hard.  I said, "My mom WOULD KILL ME if I did that to my bedroom door!"  Annie shrugged.  I still don't know how to wear eyeshadow--my skin is too greasy anyway.)

So ANYWAY, walking through the locker bay that day:  There's Annie coming from the opposite direction.  She had on this little black sleeveless shell and tiny black super-slim capri pants.  Both the shell and the pants had tiny multi-color beaded fringe on their bottom hems, and she had on those backless, flat, beaded Chinese slippers (like these) that were popular at the time.  She had her books under one arm and she gave me this silly, finger-wiggle wave with her free hand with an expression on her face that said, "Wahoo. Physics."  The whole look slayed me--it was so perfect! So understated! So Audrey! Her junior year sartorial piece de resistance!  I flipped out: "AHHHHHHHHHH WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT OUTFIT???!!!! HOW DO YOU DO THIS?????"

* sigh * "That store I keep telling you about: Anthropologie."
"Why do I not know this store??"
"It's in Wayne--I'll take you. You need to go."

And go we did!  In her tiny pale blue Cabrio, too.  (Yup, the dream car of every sixteen year old girl--Annie had a hand me down.  It was adorable.  While she drove I would open her purse, find myself horrified by it's condition, and clean it out for her: "Annie! Why is your cash floating around with gum wrappers and receipts! You have a gorgeous wallet! Use it!"  [shrug]  "Look! I fixed it! Look how nice your purse is!" [shrug--"You know it'll take me less than 36 hours to wreck it, right?"]  Then it was my turn to sigh.)

Every time I think of Annie, she's crossing through the locker bay in slow motion with that little shell and capri pants doing the finger-wiggle wave.  It's like she'll be sixteen forever in my head.

Of course, she's not sixteen anymore (neither am I, come to think of it).  In my fifteen year old address book, I have nine crossed-out addresses for her spanning the globe from Nashville to Scotland (she spent a semester at St. Andrew's ... yes, while Will and Kate were there too) to London to Boston and now finally in NYC where she works as a lawyer.  Leslie and I went up to visit her last July and I never posted the few pictures I took that day.  Now they're on the old computer and I'm too lazy to transfer them over to this computer.  However, I visited her again last month right after California (pretty cool to experience SF and NYC during the same week--it goes without saying that the most obvious difference between the two was approximately sixty degrees).

We had no real plans and it was pretty damn cold.  Annie met me at Penn Station and we immediately set off to get manicures at her favorite place across the street from her apartment--she chose bright red and I went with navy blue.  I knew we were getting drinks later and I wanted a shot of each of our manicured hands with our chosen cocktails--of course, I forgot.  But trust me, our nails looked great.

Her apartment is lovely--anything you see here that you love came from one of two places: her grandmother's attic (for real) or Acorn Cottage on Gay St. in West Chester:

She bought the lucky bamboo when Leslie and I were there in July.


Her mom sewed the curtains (and the pillows on the couch)--fabric is from Acorn Cottage, I think.

My favorite corner in the apartment: the shelving brackets are Anthro; pink chair is Acorn Cottage;  I'm guessing the pitcher is her grandmother's; Annie chose the Warhol in place of something of else she liked that cost a lot more.  It's perfect. 

"Where did that pink lady in the frame come from??"
(* sigh *) "Guess."
"YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S ATTIC??"
[shrug]


I think the coffee table is One King's Lane?  And the couch--get this--is a hand me down.  In person, it's the perfect shade of beige (although it photographs yellow--camera's fault) and it's the perfect size for the room.  What are the odds?  Note the zebra rug. And you can't really see them, but she has gorgeous parquet hardwood floors.

My second favorite thing in the apartment: a framed picture of a childhood drawing next to a bowl of "diminse."

I recently finished The Goldfinch (loved it--my mom HATED IT; beware Laurie), and most of the book takes place on West 10th Street.  So we walked a long stretch of W. 10th so I could see it in real life.

Lots of boutiques and high-end little places--very pretty.  Many people know this neighborhood for Magnolia bakery (which we did in July ... dammit, I'm getting those pictures off the old computer.  Looks like this post will  have a Part 2).  We stopped in NARS because Annie needed new bronzer--that store is super tiny, but gorgeous.  Check out their solid marble fireplace.

We split an egg sandwich at Morandi--the waiter (stereotypical twenty year old kid who you assume is an aspiring actor) noticed my camera and goes, "Oh! you're an artist!"  "ummm, no not really."  "Well, maybe you should be.  You know--just do it," and then he raced away.  And then I thought, "Ok, does that count as a sign? Or someone sucking up for a better tip?"  (Annie is shaking her head: "Latter.")

I'm pretty sure this is Three Lives and Company; very tiny, but you could blow six hours without trying.


(Laurie, I LightRoomed the bejesus outta this photo--the before & after comparison is INSANE!!!!  I couldn't figure out how to straighten it though without making myself dizzy.)

In The Goldfinch, one of the characters lives above his store/workshop--all of the houses in the residential portion of W. 10th reflect this set up (or the potential for this set up): Steps lead up to a front door, and there's a basement entrance under the steps.  Also Mom: different houses have different numbers of steps like in Society Hill.


Annie goes, "That tree will be there until June."  I'm betting July.  (Also, I'm writing this post on March 20--three weeks after this trip--and it's snowing another half a foot out my window right now.  So maybe this tree will be on the curb forever.)

Annie looked up and noted, "Wow--not a cloud in the sky," and I immediately remembered a whole lecture Ron recently gave me to explain why freezing cold temps plus a cloudless sky can create a nightmare scenario for him at work.  (See, Ron? I'm listening.)  Both of us were really cold at this point and doubling back to Annie's apartment to warm up.  As we walked, Annie calculated out loud the 1) shortest route that 2) happened to be mostly sunlit the whole way back.  It wasn't far, and I liked seeing everything on foot (for example: I finally figured out where the New School is after hearing about it for years and years).  We criss-crossed all over to avoid the shade; she explained the difference between Greenwich Village/West Village/the Village/East Village

I think my favorite moment of the day was in the Williams-Sonoma around the corner from her apartment.  I was going on and on about something as Annie casually dips her hand into the bowl of sample jelly beans at the front of the store and pops one in her mouth.  I keep talking like nothing is wrong, and Annie waits for me to finish a really long sentence.

"You're horrified I ate that jelly bean."
[pause]
"Omigod. Yes.  WHY would you eat a jelly bean out of a public dish in NEW YORK CITY??"
[shrug]

(Hey! Did you get your Anna Rifle cards framed from your office yet? Leslie, Annie bought two Rifle Paper Co. designs at Paper Source for her work space: can-can dancers ("You CAN do it!") and a map of New York.)

(Leslie and I are obsessed with Rifle Paper Co.)

For the final chapter of the day, we headed back out again for drinks with one of Annie's friends--this place was gorgeous.  (Their webpage doesn't work for some reason.)

I ordered this spicy lemonade cocktail--really good.  (Laurie, I worked on that green lighting behind the bar for awhile and couldn't fix it. Oh well. I'm happy with the fireplace, though.)



Annie told me to walk through the restaurant and check out the back room--it's like a giant greenhouse converted into a dining room.

Annie's friend found us, we stayed here for an hour or so, and then we took a cab to Locanda Verde for dinner. 

I think this was the Foresta cocktail--citrus and rosemary, so good.  I lived dangerously and loved the steak tartar that Annie ordered; for dinner, she chose the squid ink pasta and I had the ravioli.


Dinner was lovely (Annie, were you as entertained as I was by the weirdo couple on your right?), and then I had to catch my train home.  Annie hailed a cab and came with me to Penn Station.  In the cab, she looked at me quizzically and said, "Have you been on the West Side Highway before?"

"uhhhh ... no ...?"
"Ok. Well.  You can add this to your list of stuff accomplished for today," as the cabdriver pressed the accelerator to the floor.

And two hours later, I was back in Philly.  It wasn't any warmer there, in case you were wondering.

THANK YOU, Annie, for such a fun day.  (I mailed you a treat on Tuesday.  Hint: No one else in New York has touched them; they're wrapped up and extra clean just for you ...)


July 2002--girl, I need an updated photo of you already.

I'm going to have to dig up those July photos now ...