Blogger Diary: A Thanksgiving Feast

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of the holidays that my family does best – centered on good food and warm sentiments. Each year, my mother wakes up at the crack of dawn to get cooking – something she’s been doing ever since she was eight years old. She starts with the pies – so when you turn up all bleary eyed from your bed, the sweet scent fills your nostrils and puts a drunk smile on your face. A fire is already blazing in the wood oven, and we all plop down on the couch with blankets, dogs, and the Thanksgiving Day parade. Quickly, hot cups of Jo are distributed, and you couldn’t be happier.

This year, once the caffeine had hit my brain, and I was able to pull my couch-loving-self together, I whipped out my camera to document. In the past year I’ve gotten a lot more into food photography. Not just looking at it on the pages of periodicals, but also practicing it a bit myself. Thanksgiving is a visual playground of food, and this seemed like the perfect chance to mess around…

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My Aunt came from Italy and we prepared one of my favorite Italian desserts – Monte Bianco. It’s made with a puree of roasted chestnuts and whipped cream.

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Abigail looking very guilty after trying to steal some turkey…

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I had to include how beautiful the sky was at sunset. Hope you all had a great thanksgiving! xx

Blogger Diary: Birthdays and Photography

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”

My birthday was last week… its funny how as you get older, you start to worry about birthdays more, and want to acknowledge them less. I’ve always felt that the day itself doesn’t really hold much significance, but whenever it comes around I think of it as a time to reflect on the past year, and also think about the year ahead and what I want to do with it.

My dad got me a new camera. As someone who once aspired to be a professional photographer, and built a darkroom in his parents basement, he appreciates photography and has always been incredibly supportive of my little “hobby.” I’ve taken photography classes in the past, but with film, not digital – and this year I want to make a conscious effort to work on it.

So over the past week I’ve been playing around with the new camera a lot, and using it to capture little bits of what I’ve been up to…

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My friend made homemade apple cider using tea-bags filled with spices (and a little bit of rum)… YUM!

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And after several months of living in my current apartment, I FINALLY got around to hanging up some artwork! The fish is by my sister’s super talented boyfriend; one of my best friends had the painting on the left below done of my shore house –the sweetest gift I’ve ever gotten.

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I spent some time yesterday working on a DIY with these fun colors of embroidery floss! Can’t wait to share :)

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And lastly, I thought I’d share a few of the Free People items i can’t stop wearing lately! The velvet extreme flares are the most comfortable, luxurious pants I’ve ever worn – they’re getting a lot of wear this season. My sister got me the marled yarn pullover in this lovely wine color and it’s my new favorite sweater! And technically my Gola sneakers are from February of last year when we sold them before, but I still love them just as much today and am contemplating getting another color… put together these items make a cute outfit too!

And, my kitten Jam, who always wants to be the center of attention :)

Oh and to answer the question I started with… I think I would think I’m in my early twenties. How about you??

Blogger’s Diary – The sweet scent of Fall

This weekend I enjoyed the feeling of Fall, the leaves have turned all fiery here in Philly. The rustic leaves brings a vintage feel, a feeling of age and decay that I’m drawn to; throughout my life I’ve loved the juxtaposition of the beautiful and the ugly finding old buildings and seeing the beauty in them. This nostalgic feeling comes flowing into me during fall – the trees decay ready to transform into something beautiful come spring. I kinda love that.

After a scrumptious brunch at one of my favorite restaurants here in Philly “Parc” that recalls the chic brasseries of Paris and a long walk in my vintage French military boots I returned home and got be-dazzled by party hats for these coming festive months – DIY soon perhaps!

Happy Monday all!!

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From our Creative Director: “Present”

Our creative director just sent me this beautiful story and video… read on, and watch the video below!

“This is a couple I spent some time with in my youth. Their son, Fabby was like my little brother for awhile. Beatrix was the 1st beautiful eccentric I had ever met. She taught me about surrealism and holistic medicine and that it was okay to adore clothes. I remember when I first saw her at the Foxfeild horse races she pulled up in this very old silver Rolls Royce and when she got out of the car I was dumbfounded by her elaborate way of dressing. I love it that she is showing up on blogs now!”

Style File: Meadow Design Assistant

Style file this week is dedicated to the design assistant on our meadow team. She’s a fabulous dresser with extremely feminine taste. Dresses are her specialty, and her collection is out of this world. Delicate lace, dainty peter pan collars, and retro polka dots are just the details that showed up in her numbers this week. Everything she wears feels like something you’ve never seen before – it looks like a vintage piece with a great story behind it, or a uniquely handmade piece. It’s like she finds special pieces and gives them a home. Her collection of feminine ankle socks is another great aspect to her style. She’s often wearing a pair, and manages to pull off the look so well. No doubt, she has a great wardrobe, and her styling is on point, but her best accessory is the huge smile that lights up every outfit she wears and brings it to life.

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I fell in love with delicate beauty of this lace on her vintage dress!

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She had some awesome nail art going on.

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Saturday DO

DO: go to bed an hour early and read.

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I have two problems: 1) I never seem to get enough sleep, and 2) I never have enough time to read as much as I’d like. Rather than continue letting this bother me, I’ve begun a little experiment. An hour earlier than I typically would, I force myself to get into bed. I’m usually not tired, but I get into bed anyways and pull out a book. Eventually from reading, my eyes begin to get droopy. As soon as this happens I roll over and go to sleep. Reading serves as a perfect way to let the tiredness set in, and it helps you feel more settled before bed.

I don’t get too much more sleep than I did before, only about 15-30min, but I think that’s the best I can shoot for with the way my life goes. The biggest success of this experiment has been the added reading time. I find reading to be one of life’s biggest pleasures. Fiction, non-fiction, fantasy…whatever it is – reading opens your eyes, and lets you experience things/people that you may never otherwise encounter. It’s a great thing to incorporate into your everyday routine.

I quite like the effects of my experiment so far. I’ve decided to keep up the efforts, and try to make it my new thing. You should all try it out sometime soon and see how it works for you. It’s a great way to wind down your day, and I think you will all enjoy the added one-on-one time with you, your book, and your bed.

Inspiration: The Space We Inhabit

I love this video by Ben Wu and David Usui of Lost & Found Films about the idea of home. John Coffer’s home is beautifully imperfect. I’d love to escape to his oasis for a bit and participate in one of his wet plate workshops.

It’s so interesting how the space we inhabit really becomes an extension of us. As we change our homes change with ourselves – reflecting pastimes, values, tastes…everything. It’s “like [your] own little kingdom that [your] the boss over,” in Coffer’s words.

The video is part of a miniseries titled “This Must Be the Place.” Check out the other video on their website here.

Saturday DO

DO: learn a new game

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Games are a great thing to have in one’s artillery. On my recent trip to Hong Kong I realized why.

Firstly, getting there and back involves an extremely…long…voyage… After a while, you’ve finished the book you brought, you get sick of the movies and you’re left to your own devices. Luckily, the man next to me (we had been chatting back and forth) asked if I wanted to play a game. It was a simple word game – fun – and a godsent gift to make the time pass. After we got sick of one game we moved on to a new one, and before we knew it the plane was landing at our destination. Without our library of games, I don’t know how I would have stayed sane.

My second recent experience which taught me the power of games happened while I was out at night with two Chinese individuals – neither of which knew more than two words of English. We ended up playing a Chinese game that involved two cups, four die, and your hands – no words necessary. After that I taught them the old American hand slapping game that everyone used to play as a kid. They thought it was hysterical, and loved it. The exchange of games was fun and allowed me to connect with two people that I would otherwise have had no way to communicate with.

So I’ve come to appreciate the simple life pleasure that games provide. They introduce people, make memories, bring friends together, and help pass time. It’s always fun to learn a new a game, so try to pick up a new one. You’ll have it in your repetoire to pullout the next time you’re bored or in need. Whoever you’re playing with might be very grateful…

Style File: NYC Showroom Wholesale Sales Manager for Specialty Stores

This week’s style-file girl is one of our employees from the NYC showroom. She’s the fun loving girl behind wholesale sales to specialty stores which means that any time you see our brand in a specialty store, she helped get it there! Here’s a bit about her life and the style she lives it with…

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Weekend Getaway: Find a Swimming Hole

There are a lot of things I love about Austin, but near the top of the list are the swimming holes. When we were down there for our July catalog release party, it was sweltering – over 100 degrees. So the Saturday after our party, with a day off to explore, we went straight to Barton Springs.

Barton springs consists of four natural water springs, around one of which is a man-made pool that is one of the most popular places to hang out in Austin. The water is COLD – and the best way to deal with that is to gather your courage and dive in. When you do, the rush you experience is refreshing and rejuvenating. Some Austinites believe that not only is it good for your mental being, it’s also good for your health. I can definitely see how that may be true.

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On the near side of the barrier in the pool above is a smaller pool where you can take your pup swimming! Barton springs costs just $3 for a full day, and is open until 11pm (night swimming!)

We didn’t have time to visit this next one, but if I ever find myself back in austin (and I hope I do) this is on my list of things I MUST do.

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Yes, this is in Texas. Hamilton pool, located 30 miles outside of downtown Austin, is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed from erosion thousands of years ago. The result is secluded pool surrounded by cliffs and huge slabs of limestone, into which a waterfall runs. Getting to the pool requires a steep quarter-mile downhill hike – but it’s more than worth it.

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After seeing the amazing swimming holes that Austin has to offer, I thought, surely there are swimming holes near Philadelphia? Indeed there are, and while it might not be on the same level as the ones above, Devil’s Pool is a swimming hole right here in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Creek.

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Chances are, where you live you have a swimming hole nearby as well – and with the crazy heat coming this weekend, this might be a necessary thing to do!

Check out swimmingholes.org, where you can view maps of all the swimming hole locations near you! The site was started by a man from Philadelphia named Tom, who runs the site purely as a hobby with the help of his friend Dave.  Why? “Tom and Dave like to explore, find and enjoy these hidden pools in natural settings they find a natural swimming hole in a beautiful setting to be very nurturing and soothing to the body and soul.”

Agreed.

click on images for sources.

Style File: Edition 3

Quirky, creative, lovable, giggly, cool…these are all words to describe the assistant designer for Meadow here at Free People who is also this week’s Style File Girl. And boy does this girl have style. I envy how creatively cool she looks each day, and it never appears to take her much effort.  She alters pieces in unique ways, thrifts like it’s her job (okay, it partly is), and throws in unexpected extraneous items to pull an outfit together. It’s tough to explain why exactly it all works, so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Check out what she wore this week…

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Even though her look changes from day to day she certainly has her favorite accessories. I’m a big fan of the watch she always wears.

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And what about those tattoos?

Her favorite is the acorn (far left) inspired by her childhood self who made her grandmother watch Peter Pan twice a day, every day. The acorn is from the version with real people in which Wendy asks Peter for a kiss, but since he’s just a boy, he doesn’t know what that is and gives her an acorn. Later on in the movie she’s struck down by an arrow, but you later come to find out the arrow pierced the acorn instead. It saved her life.

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The creative spirit that she uses in her appearance is just as apparent in her job as the assistant designer on team Meadow. She pumps out awesome piece after awesome piece, often inspired by vintage clothing that she picks apart, blogs, and her coworkers. This Wednesday she was working on updating sketches she presented for setup to meet the buyers’ and head designers’ requests. She now has to show the garments in flat form along with fabric swatches, body, and any artwork to be used in the piece. At the end of it all, she puts it together into a nice presentation so buyers can decide exactly what they’ll buy and how much.

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The coolness doesn’t stop there. Her work space and home are just as one-of-a-kind as the outfits she wears and the creativity she brings to her job. I mean, who has a pregnant Barbie to accompany them at their desk every day? Safe to say, the space she inhabits is never boring.

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And of course, I wouldn’t leave you all without a fun questionnaire. Time to let the woman speak for herself

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