To Retreat: Camping-Inspired Decor

camping-inspired home decor

Pendelton throw; White Faux Taxidermy deer; The Sheep Ship planter; 86Home lantern.

It really wouldn’t have created an irrational fear if it didn’t just fall out of the sky like an unavoidable meteorite. If 8-year-old you was finally starting to believe your parents’ camping advice that “It’s more afraid of you than you are of it” (“it” being bugs) and a caterpillar the size of a Twinkie fell from above and landed on your journal, you too would develop a slight phobia. So, after a childhood filled with delightful camping trips across the Eastern seaboard, I have become a woman torn between a love of the outdoors and a loathing of its smallest inhabitants. This week I have more intensely felt the desire to roll out a cobalt tarp, take midnight strolls by lantern light and feel the thrill that is watching your s’mores marshmallow spontaneously go up in flames (in a Smokey-approved way). Bugs and work are keeping me tied to the city for now, so I’ll try to bring the outdoors in with these camping-inspired home goods.


To Do: Autumn To-Do List


  1. Apples: Pick-your-own apple orchards remind me there’s more open space to enjoy than a free parking spot on South Street. Frecon Farm’s Pickfest, which features tons of live bluegrass music, reminds me there exists music beyond the muffled Kanye tracks that constantly blast up to my window from passing cars. Seasonal treats and a city retreat are just what I need.
  2.  Coffee:  When it comes to coffee, if Ron Swanson wouldn’t drink it, neither will I. That means deep, earthy, even tobacco-like flavors untainted by cream or sugar. Local roasters Reanimator Coffee make a mighty bold blend that I plan on picking up from their recently-opened flagship cafe in Fishtown.
  3. Cider: Philadelphia Brewing Company made me the the hardworking beer-drinker I am today. They are about to do the same for cider. Elegant in flavor and design (like, save-the-bottle-and-consider-putting-flowers-in-it-for-four-months elegant), Commonwealth Ciders is taking precedence over pumpkin brews for me at the bar this season. Have I graduated from beer?
  4. Words: Nora Ephron was basically narrating my inner monologue before I was born. I’ll be curling up with one of her last essays, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman,”  about life as a lady who feels compelled to maintain a serious beauty regimen but is also horribly burdened by the fuss of it all while I indulge in the above three items.

To Eat


As a resident of South Street, a substantial section of my personal food pyramid is occupied by free samples. Most culinary excursions in my neighborhood end with a handful of miniature plastic spoons from hummus samples at Whole Foods or ice cream at Haagen-Dazs or, as was the case this morning, tiny tastes of fresh cheeses, dips, sauces and chocolates at the Headhouse Farmers Market. Around 25 vendors set up shop on 2nd Street between Pine and South streets and about a third of them let you try what you wish. So, sometime between the market’s hours of operation of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the pile of tiny utensils in my palm turns into a little pile of guilt and although I’m fully sated, I’m too happy with my experience to leave without buying a few things. This morning I picked up a pair of citrus-y French pastries known as canelé from Market Day Canelé. If America is ready to move on from its cupcakes and cronuts phase, I’d suggest this Bordeaux-born spongy cake be the next national obsession.  Aside from that, I left with some cheese – a pesto feta and some maple goat cheese – which pretty much accounts for the rest of my food pyramid. The market is open every Sunday May through December.

To Change


If only my clothes neatly evaporated into thin air after several hours of at-home dress-up. But life can’t be a gif. Above is convincing evidence that I would wear that woodsy little Marni skirt on at least two occasions. Also, a pair of Loeffler Randall flats delicately splattered with what could be mistaken for the chicest tin foil ever.

To Wish


I imagine there comes a moment in nearly every woman’s life when she must ask herself: “What article of clothing do I NOT own in a leopard print?” I asked myself this very question upon moving my wardrobe out of the two closets in my college apartment (one was intended for guests’ coats, but I think all understood that my various sequin-drenched dresses wouldn’t be as comfortable with the vintage tees stuffed into plastic bins below my bed frame). That evening was spent taking inventory of all I had collected since freshman year. I found my spotted ballet flats kicked off behind the bedroom door. My cheetah T-shirt dress was buried in the laundry. And those feline-inspired jeans that almost looked like that amazing Current/Elliott pair were unsurprisingly still connected to mismatched socks. It became apparent that I could easily take on a crazy cat lady persona at parties or on strolls through my neighborhood with a wardrobe like this, but one thing was for certain – I would not be warm. And so I began my search for a serious faux leopard coat. It has so far been an elusive target, with the most perfectly tailored and graphically interesting jackets costing at least two months’ rent at my old apt. Regardless, here are some lovely wish-list coats to complete any leopard collection.


Malene Birger coat; Acne coat; Sea NY coat.

Background photo via Paul Schutzer—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

To Repeat


Amidst the fury of a thousand clicking cameras, the shuffling of unspeakably high heels and hundreds of brand new outfits from more than 80 designers, some things were undeniably clear through the chaos of New York Fashion Week’s Spring 2014 shows. Among them, shades of orange from every stage of a ripening citrus fruit. As I was running solely on a kale, spinach, apple, pineapple and mint smoothie courtesy of Marie Claire (which I was captured sipping in a very unflattering picture by the New York Post – that’s what you get after running from the Upper West Side to the Meatpacking District five times in almost as many hours), I was in a bit of a hard-to-impress mood. However, these tangerine looks from designers such as Monique Lhuillier and Rachel Roy have got me planning on wearing the hue a season early.

To Begin


As a recent college graduate with a journalism degree, it is fair to say that the squirrels foraging around my alma mater’s campus have a more developed life map than I do.  They ration food for the winter, I blowtorch my savings. They do laps around the student center, I lap up ramen.  They do, I idle. Post-grad life is the last gust of a hurricane – everything that was floating in the whirlwind of the past four years has fallen to the ground with a loud, relieving thud. The break is certainly necessary, but my academic buzz is admittedly wearing off.  As I’m sure is the case with most new graduates, the question “What to do now?” arises everyday as soon I brew my morning coffee.

Maybe my scholarly desires are still there, but have no outlet beyond a lecture hall. Back-to-school commercials still excite me and I did inexplicably purchase a bulk pack of Sharpie pens two weeks ago – maybe to draw a life map? Eh, that’s a bit much for now.

Let’s begin with a to-do list, instead. Here I plan on recording what I’ve done, what I’m doing and what I hope to check off my precarious list of ambitions. With every item I cross out, I’ll attempt to adhere what my historical neighbor Benny Franklin once said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”I hope you’ll find this list gets filled with both. Thanks for reading.