I’ve had a tough history with Christmas trees. I really shouldn’t love them anymore. I’ve had trees that shed all their needles before December 10th in an act of childish defiance. I’ve had trees lose their balance unexpectedly and topple onto me, leaving twigs and broken ornaments in my hair. I’ve even had trees interrupt dinner and barge right through the living room and onto the floor, leaving more twigs and broken ornaments, plus sappy water. Normally, I’m one to hold grudges regarding this type of behavior, but I will never leave the whole love affair that begins with a snowy drive out to the farmlands and ends with me dragging my holiday partner down a muddy hill and onto the roof of a car. If only all courtships began so straightforwardly. So, despite our troubled past, I brought a Fraser home this year from the absolutely magical Becks’ Christmas Tree Farm in Slatington. As of right now, he’ still standing. Here are some photos from my trip.
I work hard to ensure that every moment of my life is accompanied by a task-appropriate song. For some things, it’s easy. When I’m trimming my crooked bangs, it’s “Cut Your Hair” by Pavement. When I’m staring pensively out from a northbound Regional Rail train car but also trying not to induce motion sickness, Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” is on repeat. When I’m simply existing, “I’m Broke” by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears soothes (it’s my life’s theme song right now). When I’m preparing for Christmas, I need some seasonal lyrics but timeless melodies and this playlist does the trick. I worry that one summer day my headphones will pop off and the horrible, scarring truth will be revealed that I listen to the above songs ALL YEAR. Sparingly, of course. “It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad!” by Sufjan Stevens was the first song I learned on my banjo, so when I play it after winter, I’m really just studying.
The value of a good cup should not be underestimated. When one is pressed by financial, spacial and motivational constraints, the thick-rimmed, chipped mug at the back of the cupboard becomes the Swiss Army knife of life. It’s a wine glass when I’m broke, a pencil jar when I’m tight on space and a cereal bowl when I’m too lazy to scrub the mutated Cheerios off the bowls in the sink. What this all makes the classic thermos, I don’t quite know. I truthfully only bought the one pictured above for aesthetic reasons at a church yard sale a week ago. Made in 1974, its geometric blue pattern is typical of most Thermos brand thermoses of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and like each one made since the brand’s launch in 1904, it holds the ability to maintain the temperatures of both cold and hot beverages for an extended length of time. Using magic, I think. Below are other thermoses that I don’t understand but want to possess so I can fill them with spiked apple cider or flowers or ramen noodles.
Images via designsponge.com, images.meredith.com, countryliving.com, cedarwoodweddings.com, likeasaturday.com and flickr.com/photos/mamalovespapa/5308735684/lightbox/.
As one might do with dentist appointments or oil checks, I make a point of visiting at least one petting zoo a year. An afternoon with barnyard animals always makes me less insecure about my own grooming routine – you think your hair is unmanageable until you run your hands over a donkey’s mane – but also, on a more idealistic note, makes me believe a little more in the potential for people to forget about surface-level differences and just get along already. Maybe it was the above-pictured sheep who first greeted me and smiled for my iPhone or the cows who moo-ed in the most delighted tone I believe is possible for a mammal to achieve, but my Saturday at Easton’s Klein Farms with my parents took away a little of my post-grad cynicism. Continue reading
It is arguable that there is no more sophisticated lip color for autumn than the deep burgundy pucker that comes with every box of Franzia Sweet Red wine. I’ve yet to come across anything with as much staying power as a couple glasses of merlot, however, there are much more – ahem – mature means of achieving this hue than a tour de Franzia – and quite nearly as fun. As most lipsticks, both drugstore and department store varieties, tend to leave my lips spotted with saturated globs of pigment after several hours, I’ve decided to try a little d.i.y. and mix high and low to get the season’s most ubiquitous shade instead of buying a tube. Continue reading
In the vast and wonderful global market of things I can’t afford, there are many items the manufacturing of which I don’t quite understand, whether they’re produced by man or machine. How complex a process it must be to turn minerals into an iPhone, to engineer a camera that takes panoramic photos, or to get the aroma of apple and cinnamon to stick to those netted bags of pine cones all season long! So when it comes to DIY’s, I am easily awed and overwhelmed. Assembling an ombre cake or weaving a friendship bracelet may be kindergarten day camp level of difficulty, but my attempts at them never seem to turn out right. Inspired by this Lulu Frost necklace, I decided to tackle one of the simplest current DIY trends: painted rhinestone jewelry. Continue reading
1.Chanel scarf; 2,Hermes scarf; 3.Vera scarf; 4.Cacharel scarf; 5.Hermes scarf; 6.Hermes scarf.
Like acoustic electric guitars, sweater vests and non-alcoholic beer, silk scarves pretty much completely undermine their fundamental purpose. You’re likely to be kept warmer by some insulated backpack straps, but their uselessness doesn’t stop me from compulsively buying threadbare vintage ones at yard sales and thrift shops. I find them more valuable as art than fashion accessories. When I tie them around my neck I look like a hastily wrapped present and when I wrap one around my hair I am reminded that I will never be able to rock a babushka like my grandmother did. Even in her 80s, she looked ageless, rather than dated, in her collection of silk handkerchiefs and tweed skirt suits. I inherited part of her collection, which she always kept overflowing from wicker baskets in her room in as an artistic way as any mess can overflow, and now am in the process of displaying them in my apartment in a more deliberate way. Continue reading
This thick, cozy knit is never coming off my body. Never.
L.L. Bean sweater; Aran Sweater Market sweater; Rag & Bone jeans; Frye sneakers; Verameat cuff; Juicy Couture faux leather pants; J.Crew flats; So Nice maxi-skirt; Kimberly McDonald necklace; ASOS arrowhead necklace; Dolce Vita boots
When it comes to haggling at flea markets, I crumble more easily than the binding of a 19th century paperback. My technique is as follows: inquire about the cost of an item, ask if it maybe, possibly, if it isn’t too much to ask, be given to me for 10 percent less than established price, get rejected, walk away. Well, actually, take photos of the desired items instead and then walk away. That’s what happened Saturday at the beautiful, enchanting South Street Flea Market, which offered boxes upon boxes of rusty skeleton keys, forgotten and yellowed love letters, dusty records and innumerable other objects that make most passersby scoff, “Who the hell would pay for this junk?” To whom I silently respond, “Aaaannnddddd, that would be me.” I left the block with a bulky microscope and a set of vintage tool drawers. Here are photos of the things my charming negotiating skills failed to win. Continue reading
My parents’ basement, much like my late grandparents’, is the ideal set for a hybrid of Hoarders and Antiques Roadshow. Items that have long surpassed their moment of practical value in history rest in overlapping piles on the concrete floor like unconscious party-goers the morning after. WWII military gear, pewter dishware and ’80s shoulder-padded silk blouses, among other miscellaneous goods, wait for their next awakening (though, there is little hope for ever reviving those padded shoulders in my book). I’ve always marveled at the collection because even after moving out of my family’s home, I have never gotten to the bottom of those dusty piles. It is equally probable that a first draft of the Declaration of Independence lies underneath it all as is a family of deceased mice. As I am beginning to realize that one cannot sustain oneself on magazines and beer, I am saving my money and instead satisfying my need to acquire frivolous things by finding new value in the cellar’s dated junk. These vintage books, which I unearthed last weekend from home, have got me considering some new graphic design aesthetics. Continue reading