February 2013 Playlist


Goodbye, February! Here are some of the songs that I was into this month, in one convenient playlist. (I’ve been listening to lots of other stuff too. One day, I will get better at mix-making and learn how to do it not on Spotify.)

Link to Spotify playlist: February

You can check out my Valentine’s Day Mix here. And my January mix here.

(Pictured above: My grandma (in the white outfit in the middle) as a drum majorette. Special thanks to my Connelly cousins for bringing this photo to my attention.)

27.5 Hours in Philly

This weekend I made my second-ever trip to Philly to visit one of my best – and first! – college buddies.* Cecily moved to Philly about six months ago and I thought it was high time that I took the two-hour bus trip from NYC to hang out for a weekend.

I departed on Saturday morning, which was intensely misty. I had to catch the MegaBus on 34th between 11th and 12th Avenues. Getting there was a real treat, especially because it had started lightly raining rather than misting by the time I got out of the subway at 8th Ave. and I couldn’t get my umbrella out because I had stuffed it in a purse which was in my backpack. Once I got to our departure spot, I had to stand in the rain for another 30ish minutes. I did get my umbrella out while I was there, even though I was super worried about putting my backpack on the ground because it is yellow on the bottom and I thought it might get stained. (It didn’t.)

I thought I was going to get away with sitting alone on the bus, but of course someone got on exactly 4 minutes after we were supposed to leave and asked if I minded if they sat next to me. Of course I minded. I hate being close enough to strangers that touching them is a possibility. (Please note: I am this close to strangers at least twice a day on the subway.) I had been looking forward to stretching out and watching a few episodes of my new favorite show, Call the Midwife. Alas, the internet on the bus didn’t work, so I ended up staring out the window and listening to Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark like 40 times and getting kind of emotional about it.

Cecily picked me up at the bus when I arrived, which was so nice since I hate having to navigate an unfamiliar place by myself. Our only plan that day was to check out the Prohibition exhibit at the National Constitution Center, so we drove over to Old City. Before the museum, we went to Wedge + Fig, a tiny restaurant/cheese shop for lunch. There ended up being a wait so we did a little (window) shopping on N. 3rd St.

First, we went to Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. I’m not sure how to describe Art in the Age except to say that it seemed to cater specifically to Wes Anderson (and certain characters from his films). Or like, a really hip and rich urban lepidopterist. They had a pretty varied and interesting shop, as well an art exhibit that tied into the Prohibition exhibit we’d see later in the day. Here are some examples of what you can find in the store: Warby Parker glasses, a wide array of natty but functional menswear, pricey beard oil, several different kinds of rose-flavored simple syrup, a $100 weatherproof notebook set.

Then we went to Vagabond, which was as good a ladies’ boutique as any I’ve seen. There were a lot of covetable items there and I’m still regretting not getting the jean jacket I liked from the vintage part of the store. Ah, well. My hunt for a good jean jacket shall continue. Our time in the store was also the beginning of our hunt for a nude dress for Cecily’s upcoming role as a bridesmaid. She did spot some pretty great pants that might work but – as one might imagine – committing to purchasing and wearing something flesh toned is difficult, so we ended up leaving them behind.

lunch @ wedge + fig

lunch @ wedge + fig

We made our way back to Wedge + Fig for lunch. I ordered the weirdest thing I saw on the menu, which is something I do kind of often, especially if I’m unfamiliar with one of the components. In this case, I was unfamiliar with the “pork roll” on the Jawn sandwich. (The sandwich was pork roll, butter fried turkey, cheddar, a mustardy aioli and red onion.) It turned out that pork roll was pretty similar to bologna or Canadian bacon so…I wasn’t disappointed. The sandwich was delicious. We also split mac and cheese, which was a decent rosemary-ish affair. Cecily got the tuna melt. And even though our waiter raved about the tuna melt, it was kind of underwhelming! We heard him recommend it to another lady, but didn’t warn her.

temperance poster reproduction

temperance poster reproduction

After lunch, we checked out ‘American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition’ at the Constitution Center. The exhibit was curated by Daniel Okrent, who wrote Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, which has been sitting unread on my bookshelf for almost a year now. (I actually bought it after I took it out from the library and didn’t read it for over a month and had to pay a late fee on it.) Anyway, I thought it was pretty entertaining! I’m not one for super interactive historical exhibits – I much prefer just looking at objects and reading – so I wasn’t as into all of the screens and games and picture-taking opportunities, but I understand that most people like activities. However, I did really like the dance floor that had guides for four different Charleston steps. (Even though it reminded me very much of the ballroom dancing classes I took as a little girl.)

inside the fake saloon

inside the fake saloon

We took some time and walked through the main part of the Constitution Center. It was simply overwhelming and the only thing I learned while I was there was that I would have voted for JFK if he had run against Reagan (they had these voting machines where you picked which side you agreed with on different issues) and that made me feel pretty OK.

up close and personal with the founding fathers

up close and personal with the founding fathers

We headed back to West Philly where Cecily lives and took a little rest at her house, which is amazingly old and Victorian. After that we headed out into the mist/rain again and took a walk around the neighborhood. We ended up stopping at Green Line Cafe for hot chocolate and then made our way over to the Second Mile Thrift Store to browse their large selection of second-hand clothing and knick-knacks. (The knick-knacks were especially great.)

misfit toys in the thrift shop

misfit toys in the thrift shop

After a stop at a friend’s house, we went to Dock St. Brewing Co., where we were meeting my friend Eric for dinner. Since beer and pizza are two of my favorite things, I liked this place a lot. (Right now, I’m wishing I could find a clip from Miss Congeniality where that girl freaks out about having pizza and beer.) I tried the Rye IPA, the Pre-Prohibition Pale Ale and the Teuton Porter. All of them were pretty great! As for pizza, we got the Barbecue Chicken and Mellow Yellow pies. Four of us ended up splitting two larges, which was way too much. The Mellow Yellow was probably my favorite of the two because they used mustard instead of tomato sauce and I can’t think of any food combination I like better than mustard and cheese. We ended the day back at Cecily’s house, with a delicious cocktail courtesy of her roommate.

The next morning, we got up and walked over to Gold Standard Cafe for brunch. Luckily, it was beautiful and decently warm out. We split some croissant French toast with mascarpone cheese and strawberry sauce and an order of vegetarian eggs Benedict with tomato, spinach and garlic. Both dishes were delightful! (I wish I had taken a picture because both were also really pretty.)

bye, west philly! you were kind of kooky.

bye, west philly! you were kind of kooky.

After that we grabbed my stuff and drove over to Center City so that we could walk around and also hit up Paper Source. I’m now very much in the mood for crafting again, so I think I’ll be heading to their location in Brooklyn soon to pick up some supplies. We then stopped at H&M to continue the hunt for a nude bridesmaid outfit but again came up short. We grabbed lattes at La Colombe and then it was time for me to get on the bus.

latte break

iced latte break

All in all, it was a pretty great 27.5 hours! Thank you, Cecily, for being a wonderful person to visit! Also, I’m really happy I didn’t have to stand on line to see the Liberty Bell again because I did that the first time I went to Philly two years ago.

*I just found a picture of me and Cecily that ran in the Daily Northwestern during our first week of college. I didn’t post it here because I look like a mom trying to dress like a college student.

Friday Roundup: All of the Things I’ve Ever Been Obsessed With

photo (47)


If I consider Monday the beginning of the week, then I started this one off right, with the smoked meat sandwich pictured above from Mile End Deli. (Not pictured: poutine! Which luckily, I shared with two other people.) Presidents Day Weekend actually felt long for a long weekend. So long that I never really left weekend-mode and I am very ready for it to be the actual weekend again.

This week, I was pretty obsessed with the conversation surrounding Hilary Mantel’s recent lecture, republished here by the London Review of Books. (Her last two novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, are two of my favorite books I have read in the last several years, if not ever, so I’m KIND OF a huge fan girl.) The lecture is, of course, fascinating, not only for Mantel’s commentary on the way she and the rest of the  sees – and objectifies – British royalty, but also for the way she places the current state of affairs within a larger historical context. The parallels she draws between Kate Middleton and Anne Boleyn are interesting to consider for a lot of reasons and I highly suggest reading this if you’re into British history or tabloid culture.

If you were following the press around this at all, you might have heard about how Mantel was lambasted by British publications, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron, for a few unsavory remarks she made during the lecture about Princess Catherine. The quotes used in the press were taken out of context, of course, and the ensuing madness only ended up proving her point about our – the public’s – personal relationship with royalty. I liked this piece on The New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog about “the pitfalls of the public lecture”, which was less of a stating-how-obviously-wrong the initial reaction to the lecture was and more of an excuse for Ian Crouch to talk about Pnin and Lucky Jim, two of the best books ever about academia. (Lucky Jim is another one of my favorite, favorite books. This has reminded me that I really badly need to reread it soon.)

Anyway, all of this has been good for Hilary Mantel, whose books are selling like hotcakes again.

Not actually doing as well as we though? Short stories! Laura Miller’s response on Salon to the New York Times’ assertion that short stories are back “in” because of George Saunders and Kindles is excellent in that it points out that the idea that people are not reading short fiction just because they have small screens on their e-readers and smart phones. And that a market for short fiction has never existed and probably won’t just because George Saunders is on the bestseller list. (Sidenote: Should I abandon my short story collection now? I have only written like one page, anyhow.)

I read this New York Times Magazine piece on the science behind the addictiveness of junk food over two days this week. It was really enlightening and I highly recommend it.

Also, I don’t know if any of you were fans of Carnivale, but I was super excited to see this two-part interview with series creator Daniel Knauf on The AV Club. I was completely obsessed with this show but never knew much about its genesis or plans for its future beyond a few details that were released around the second season (and series) finale. Here are both parts:

Part One
Part Two

And finally, a look back at something else I was once (and still kind of am) really into. There was a short-ish documentary/verbal history about the making of Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister on Pitchfork this week. Watch it! I liked it a lot. (I have no idea if you’ll like it. There just wasn’t any way that I was going to hate it, so.)

Real Life Dramas of the Gucci Loafer and the End of Tampa Society: The Best of Town & Country, March 2013

photo (4)

Last month, I subscribed to Town & Country. I don’t really feel like I need to justify it but…it was $10. Also, I’ve never read an issue of Town & Country and not enjoyed it. For as long as I can remember, both my grandmother and my great-aunt have been subscribers and I’ve always loved reading the “back issues” they’ve kept. (Seriously, my aunt Honey has Town & Country issues from like 1983 in her spare room.)

I don’t think I ever really got just how amazing the very sincere and self-congratulatory WASP-y reportage that Town & Country offers was until I became a subscriber myself. So I’ve decided to document here all the best parts of each issue. For you! (But really for me.) Here, in no particular order, without too much context, are my favorite parts of Town & Country’s March 2013 issue:

From INBOX, Page 44:
A woman named Peggy Capone Butler – why are you holding on to that very ethnic maiden name, Peggy – decries the February issue’s celebration of Dan Stevens from Downton Abbey. She believes that Brendan Coyle – Mr. Bates! – is the real “heartthrob” of the show.

From “Pearl Jam”, Page 47:
Eric Ripert is coming out with his own caviar. His partner, a caviar distributor, says:
“It’s part of my job — I’m guilty of the crime of eating caviar every day. Someone has to do it.”

From “Snow Safari”, Page 52:
I’m not making fun of this. I genuinely love John Jeremiah Sullivan, who wrote this article. I just want to point out the brilliance of the following observation: “We saw a belted kingfisher, with it’s crest of Don King hair.”

From “Preppy Pack Rat”, Page 66:
“Thomas Cary’s Upper East Side apartment is a preppy paradies, meaning it’s timeless if not eternal.”

“Over the past few decades he has amassed a vast array of what he calls “product,” including 21 Club jockey lamps (above) and a leatherbound set of James Bond novels signed by Sean Connery.”

From “Two of a Kind”, Page 66:
Regarding Minnie Mortimer’s new Boast line: “For spring the two teamed up on five Margot Tenenbaum-inspired pieces.”

From “Bright Eyes”, Page 68:
“Here’s an activity for a lazy afternoon: stand on a corner of the Upper East Side and count the number of neon sneakers that pass by.”

From “Inner Circles”, Page 69:
“Is there a more ringing endorsement of the classic hoop earring than Christiane Amanpour’s decision to wear a pair in her official Twitter picture?” (NOPE.)

From “Night Vision”, Page 69:
“Should an evening bag go on top of a dinner table or underneath it on the floor?”

“Etiquette rules in favor of the floor – or, ideally, a purse stool…”

(Bring back the purse stool! Seriously.)

From “Bit by Bit”, Page 72:
“The Gucci loafer has also shown up in the real life dramas of players as diverse as Philip Niarchos, Lapo Elkann, Francis Ford Coppola, and Sophia Loren.” (No information provided on what these dramas were or the role that Gucci loafers have played. I’m looking into this.)

From “Welcome Matte”, Page 84:
“Skype hasn’t inspired many beauty trends, but the proliferation of matte faces this season may be one.”

“How To Get Out of a Car With Your Dignity Intact”, Page 87:

photo (5)

“True Brit”, Page 90:
Just, read this whole thing. About “finding a paradise of traditional English-style hunting in the American West”.

Fun Facts From the Weddings Featured in the SOCIAL NETWORK Section:
1) “Wedding Gifts: The couple exchanged wedding day perfumes, each with a love note.”

2) “First Dance: A live performance by Donna Lewis of ‘I Love You Always, Forever.’”

3) “Before Dinner: A three-tier bacon bar.”

4) “Cocktail: Dark ‘n’ Stormy.”

5) “Cocktail: Cinco de Mayo-inspired jalapeno margaritas.”

“What Makes the Rich Beg?”, Page 98:
Trying to get their kids into private kindergarten, apparently! Snooze. But also, this article had sort of a light tone, which was super off-putting because knowing how much money to donate in order to get accepted to the right private kindergarten is serious.

Featured T&C celebrities:
Francis Ford Coppola (Aries)
Candice Bergen (Taurus)
Josephine Baker (Gemini)
Ernest Hemingway (Cancer)
Amelia Earhart (Leo)
Arnold Palmer (Virgo)
Truman Capote (Libra)
Grace Kelly (Scorpio)
Keith Richards (Sagittarius)
Kate Moss (Capricorn)
Princess Caroline (Aquarius)
Harry Belafonte (Pisces)

From “Between the Lines”, Page 121:
Second to last sentence of this article on Sir Tom Stoppard: “As we sit, eating cake and pondering the merits of a Burt Reynolds movie that turns out to be a metaphysical mind-bender, only one adjective can possibly do.”

From “A Four Star Scandal”:
I generally avoided the whole Petraeus affair because I thought it was kind of boring. Then I read this “piece”.

Page 132:
“Every year, on the last Saturday in January, the men of Tampa, including those from the oldest, richest families, dress up as pirates and invade the harbor in ‘krewes,’ while the poorer civilians let themselves be invaded, at least symbolically.’

“Still, there are dozens of newer krewes that have embraced diversity, and Gasparilla, despite its aristocratic origins and social pretensions, isn’t exactly a redoubt of Tampa society – or a model of decorum. Women bare their breasts, drunkenness is rampant, and the police look the other way.”

“It’s also well known that many military men are enthusiastic patrons of Mons Venus, a local strip joint whose founder is renowned as the inventory of the nude lap dance.”

Page 134:
“Many a Tampa matriarch was left shaking her head, and the Chanel twins gained a new nickname: the Kartampians…The Kartampians were something of a Gasparilla in reverse: arrivistes intent on swashbuckling their way through Tampa society, taking no prisoners.”

“‘Tampa has a Trojan horse,’ a person whose family has lived in the city for generations told me, ‘and she’s called Jill Kelley.’”

Page 156:
“‘First of all, they were dressed inappropriately,’ one guest told me. ‘Miniskirts, boobs out — and everyone else looked elegant.’

Page 157:
“Accepting local hospitality was a military custom. Everyone had everyone else’s e-mail addresses. The barriers were down.”

“‘I think having Petraeus’s personal e-mail made Jill feel pretty special, like maybe she didn’t have to pay her mortgage and could fudge the numbers on a nonprofit,’ Scherzer told me.”

“She believes Tampa’s reputation may have suffered irreparable damage.”

A Thing That Happened Over the Weekend: Cooked a Chicken, Did Not Die

When I moved into my first apartment before my senior year in college, my mom taught me how to roast a chicken. She thought it would be practical because, you know, you can make so many different things out of roast chicken. Needless to say, I never roasted a chicken that year or in any of the years that have happened since then. Until Saturday, when I decided to roast a chicken for no reason other than it seemed like a good thing to do on a mid-winter weekend.

We all know that Ina Garten is the queen of roast chicken, so obviously I had to use this Barefoot Contessa ‘Perfect Roast Chicken’ recipe, which turned out to be super easy.

I went to the grocery store and wandered around for a while, collecting the ingredients I needed. It probably took me the longest time to figure out what kind of chicken to buy. Of course, I assumed I would buy an organic chicken because, I guess, I live in Brooklyn. BUT all of the organic chickens were like 2 lbs which is basically like, a personal size chicken. So I had to buy a $6, 6 lb Perdue chicken and I felt terrible about it. (And by terrible I mean like a poor, regular American.)

Of course, the nineteen-year-old checkout boy who gave me a hard time last weekend about not having my ID when I was just standing with my roommate who was buying beer for our party was my checkout person again this weekend. (This fact has nothing to do with this story.)

Anyway, I went home with all of my little groceries and got to preparing the chicken, which was pretty horrifically unpleasant as I cook meat maybe twice a year. I washed my hands approximately seventy-eight times while I was washing, salting, peppering and stuffing the chicken. (And I also Cloroxed everything I could have possibly touched in the kitchen.) By the time I had it all stuffed, my friend Vincent had gotten there and he helped me nestle the chicken in my roommate’s adorable Le Creuset dutch oven that we had filled with all of the vegetable that Ina suggested in the recipe.

Then we drank a lot of red wine while we waited for the chicken to roast. Once it was done, it looked like this:


photo (44)

Then we realized that neither of us had ever carved a chicken. So we watched this video:

Vincent did a great job carving – obviously, because he’s a dude – using, unfortunately, not a boning knife. (I mean, watch the above video and try to not say “rub the boning knife along the carcass” a million times to every person you know for the next three days.)

And then we ate the chicken and it was delicious and we didn’t get food poisoning. But the leftovers are still sitting in the dutch oven in my refrigerator because leftovers – especially leftover poultry – kind of freak me out because I’m still afraid of getting food poisoning/diseases of any kind/turning into a chicken during the night.