Diamonds are Forever and Hot coffee and cozy reading corners are now

by Chelle

Hello hello! We just got back from a morning of garage sailing – making the most of it before the season ends. We’ve found some real treasures. I’ll include some snapshots below.


Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to write this post directly correlates to how long it takes me to read a book. I was so excited to compile a fall reading list to post and then realized I should read the books first before recommending them.


So with the two books below – yes it’s taken me since May to finish two books but only because I love to savor them and read them in between other things and any number of other excuses I can think of – I give you my word they are perfect fall reads. I know I read them in the summer, but I like to read melancholy books in the summer because … well I just do. But I would defiantly call these fall books.


The first one is a book you gave me for the honeymoon called Certain Women by Madeline L'Engle. I loved that book. If you look back the post  To be a Beach Babe you'll see the beautiful copy B got me. I've lent it to a friend or I'd snap a photo, but it's hard cover and bright blue and red (that's under the dust jacket). Anyway the story is just perfect. I was going to give a few hints, but really the story just pulls you in and wraps you up. So find a copy at a lovely little second hand book shop one lazy saturday morning, get a cozy blanket and some hot coffee and settle in for a delightful yet powerful read. 

This next book was recommended to me by one of Joel's old friends wives. They live in California but were in town for a wedding. We were able to squeeze in a breakfast with them just before they had to fly back. We went to Cafe Presse - where we went on our first date the second time - and sat around swapping stories, sipping coffee, and eating french fries with our various breakfast orders. It sounds so odd, but their french fries are just amazing, and go so perfectly with anything you order - even my standard chocolate croissant. 

Anyway I started talking to old friend of Joel's wife and she was fantastic. We began to talk about books and quickly discovered we had similar tastes. She recommended a long list which I look forward to finishing in the next decade - but being the methodical reader that I am I decided to start with the one about a copywriter. It's called The Engagements by  J Courtney Sullivan. It tracks the life of Frances Gerety who coined the phrase "Diamonds are forever."Here's a snippet from a New York Times article about Miss. Gerety (she never got married) 

As Ms. Gerety recalled in a 1988 interview with a co-worker, Howard Davis, she had just finished a series of ads and was headed to bed when she realized that she had forgotten to create a signature line. Exhausted, she said “Dear God, send me a line,” and scribbled something on a slip of paper. When she woke up and saw what she had written, she thought it was just O.K. A few hours later, she presented her idea at a meeting. According to her, “Nobody jumped.”


This is one of those five stories in one books - a favorite of mine. The book trails five different stories revolving around engagement rings. This is one of those good reads you can't put down and happens to be written and thoughtful! I also loved this story as Frances was a copy writer and I just really liked that.  Here is one of the older diamonds print adds.


Well I think I'll postpone my fasinating finds for another day. For now B I hope you find yourself a copy of this lovely book for the fall. Get the blue one with a hand holding a diamond on the cover- I couldn't find the amazon link but it's far prettier which makes it more fun to read!

Midnight Bus to NYC

by Brittany


1. My first tips ever were well spent on the pay what you can Friday night admission to the Guggenheim... I have wanted to go there for years now and it was stunning. I loved the grey dove of an old lady here, venturing through the garish crowds to see her affordable art. 2. As hoped, we spent a good long time just sitting in Washington Square Park. 3. The family across from us evidently had been there awhile too, judging by the lady who is simply doing her makeup at the fountain-side! 4. Glorious rushing busy-ness! 5. Also as hoped, sitting in Bryant Park in the middle of the night... lit like day. There was a Shakespeare play going on... we mostly treated it like background noise for our portraits. The only picture of all four of us together that's fit for the blog (there are some after a great night out... we all look a bit crazy though... ok maybe I'll show you one...). 6. Night sky and some people burning the midnight oil high above the park. 7. The best view of Time's Square is upward. 8. Near Wall Street. 9. The streets in the Financial District were eerily quiet on the Sunday before Labor Day. So tall and shadow-y and empty. 10. And steamy.... 11-13. Our favorite New York restaurant, Moto. I even sucked up my extreme dislike for Brooklyn to go here. Thankfully it's directly below a M line stop so we didn't have to trudge through too much of Brooklyn. Such a weird place. Kind of like a college campus because everyone is the same age. But all that to say, Cafe Moto is worth every bit of the hike. 14. Our friends Chris and Sarah, came all the way from Chicago to spend the weekend with us there. And Sarah had no idea that they were going anywhere, no less NYC, until they got to the airport and didn't know we were there until they walked through the door of the Airbnb we stayed in! In fact, she thought we had moved to NY and hadn't told her!

*for the record, Sarah was wearing a dress... it just didn't make it into frame. I have no idea what Jesse is doing and I also cannot explain my hand. Thankfully Sarah and Chris seem to be straight-forwardly in love.

Lamplit Studio on Grove

by Brittany

Three pools of yellow light... more than enough to fill our studio apartment. A comfortable bottle of wine, poured into a small tumbler because sometimes ceremony is unnecessary. He is sprawled on the sheepskin rug like the Irish Wolfhound he one day hopes to own (we hope)...his face bluely lit with work. Our bellies are full of frittata that finished up the vegetables from last week's groceries. Moments before our bellies were laughing from a slyly slapstick British tv show... it's sheer goofiness delightfully overlaid with unsmiling humor. 

I suppose it's normally called balance but rhythms make much more sense. The little rituals that simply fall into place. Like a weekly shopping trip that turns into a weirdly romantic evening spent strolling arms about each other's waist meandering through the aisles of whole foods. Pausing to actually finish our coffee in our half circle tower of a breakfast corner. Or working side by side in our various pools of light on a Tuesday evening in the little studio on Grove Street. Whenever we move we hiccup around a bit before the rhythm falls in place. And this move is no exception... especially getting used to several part time jobs rather than working full time. But now my schedule is more set and I have a few nicely wide open stretches where I can blog and work on my other project! 

New York Bills: God Help the Girl

by Brittany

I have lots of good stuff to share about our quick trip up to New York this past weekend but I wanted to share this new movie that's coming out this weekend first. We saw a bill posted for it on a post no bills construction barrier and we are so glad they disregarded it because I cannot wait to watch this movie. Jesse and I have a movie date for this Friday... just us, Stuart Murdoch and a bottle of wine. It's going to be great. Here is the trailer for you to check out. I don't know that you are as much of a Belle and Sebastian fan as I am... or even as much of a Royal Tenenbaums fan... but you still may like it, Chelle! I hate musicals, myself... but I am making an exception... so...! Also it's set in Glasgow, I think, and I just love music from there and the general Scottish region...they really just kill it every time.

Scuffletown to New York City

by Brittany

making: SCD bread that smells, looks and tastes like the real deal. Oh my stars. I will picnic well tonight.

seeing: sunbeams across my studio floor... and a few dust bunnies because of them. 

smelling: fresh baked bread.

tasting: cold brew coffee with creamy cashew vanilla date milk.

hearing: Belle and Sebastion

feeling: so relieved to have a kitchen again! (you couldn't tell at all from all the baking and making going on...)

reading: Feathers and Rag blog... I don't think its still current but those Canadian girls can sure write! Rebecca, if you for some odd reason happen to see this...keep writing!

loving: my kitchen again...and my studio and my new coffee shop job downtown!

anticipating: our midnight ride to NYC for the long weekend! We apparently can not stay in one place for more than one week.

The photo is from this lovely weekly event here in Richmond, Sundown in Scuffletown... every Tuesday at sundown a local singer songwriter plays a secret little show in a secret little park hidden inside an alley and everyone brings blankets and wine and tries to ignore the mosquitos. Its actually wonderful despite the type O bloodsuckers. 

Night Train from Chicago

by Brittany

Pools of light--splashed by lamp posts and station lights. Speckles of lights from the invisible highways and streets--the distant glimmers are the only indication they exist. Every now and then I can make out the faintest shadow of a house but, oddly, we appear to be the only ones, state after state, awake enough to light a window. I wonder if anyone is looking out from their darkness into the night and see our flashes of life etched brilliantly in our arrogantly un-curtained windows. Inside the train we read, turn round and round in our seats, pass the risk game, brace against the unnatural chill of artificial air (annoyed by it but aware that without it we'd be far worse off). We play cards, exchange stories of past travels and homes, sometimes a few of us (not me) talk about politics but only relevantly..nothing too's nearly 4 am after all. We are a small band of friends in a shrinking train (we started with several hundred people in Chicago but a steady stream, a few here, a few there one by one people step out into the darkness). A band of people forged out of proximity but also visible experience--we make sense... only us six bothered to talk to each other over a somewhat melancholily overpriced and miniature bottle of red, a can or two of cheaper and worse beer and some coffee in the lounge car, then switch seats to continue the conversation through the night into the murky light of early morning. There was a warning from the unsmiling conductor to not drink our own alcohol, although he acknowledged he could see none of us were... We were one couple from Brooklyn on their way home from Colorado--the guy had travelled often on Amtrak in the past and had built up the experience to his girl... like I had for Jesse. A young Texas clarinet player headed to Cincinnati where he was in the Cincinnati Symphony, and, surprisingly, a frat. A Londoner, older than the rest of us who was the focal point of this traveling friendship. He was brashly friendly and unabashedly flirtatious with whoever would play along. He was very taken with Jesse and my's "pure pure love" ... and, to be honest, so am I. So I thought he had fairly good sense! There was the freeness in friendship that only happens in a time capsule of a situation... the ferry rides, hostels in an unknown city, and, of course, trains. But it can also happen, in smaller scales (mere smiling friendships), on city busses and trains, in line for coffee, or in a slow elevator. 

The next day, in West Virginia's unpopulated hills, the boulder fell and nearly derailed our train. For some reason, with the dispersing of emergency water supplies we finally dispersed to each other our contact information. But all of us seemed to unspeakingly acknowledge the unlikelyhood of meeting up again. 

And now we are back sitting. The boys passing around the risk game--the girls reading and writing...the boys are too between turns. And talking slowly when something comes up. Everything became methodical. Like we were rationing our relational energy, not knowing how long we would remain in the wilderness together. 

We are all writers: the Brooklyn boy writes for a magazine, she is a freshman english teacher, Jesse a copywriter, I dabble on my blog and Leo is a nurse but he informed us he'll write a book. Who knows? Maybe we all will.

- a journal entry, 20.08.2014

photo credit: Jesse

photo credit: Jesse

photo credit: Jesse

photo credit: Jesse

1. sun setting over the prairies...last glimpses of an Illinois that we never really got to know 2. everyone making the car our home 3. after a good three hours of waiting to be rescued from our boulder I asked if we could get out and stretch our legs. I made the mistake of asking the mean conductor though and he laughed in my face but a few minutes later the nice conductor told everyone that smokers could get out for a break... we were all smokers that day. This is the Rabbi who decided to point blank ask everyone he thought was Jewish if they were... then proceeded to speak Yiddish to everyone for about ten minutes straight even though no one else understood it... not even the Israeli girl... he didn't seem to catch on though. 4. the quiet man who turned down our invite to hang out, in favor of "East of Eden" 5-7. other passengers gazing out across the river. And one girl trying to get service (very few of us had any... the conductor actually had to find a way across the river and up the next "mountain" in order to call the new engine to come haul us away) 8. the wonderfully patient and hilarious conductor who made all the announcements with a laugh despite having been awake for close to 48 hours and dealing with very disgruntled and hungry people and often had a baby on his hip (various different babies that desperately needed a change of scene for their own and their mum's sanities)... he was just wonderful. He also lifted me up bodily and swung me back on the train with a (not creepy at all) "There you are, princess!" 

All Pictures... maybe some words

by Chelle

1. The door knobs are so old and lovely. This one looks a bit green as the bathroom is currently an unsavory key lime pie green, however this fall that shall change! 2. Joel's parents gave me this chair as a wedding gift. It was made in Paris in the 1940's. It's like a story book only furniture 3. LOVE love LOVE my dutch oven! It's so much fun to cook in and makes everything taste like a secret recipe 4. We are the proud owners (or at least renters) of a claw foot tub. 5. Joel found this box in Mexico and then bought me a French flag for the apartment so it'd feel more like home 6. Old school light switches, they make turning the lights on so much more fun 7. I've never actually had a moscow mule, but the cups are just so lovely! One day I'll make them, but until then I enjoy sipping water from these copper beauties. 

All words and no pictures

by Chelle

Hello B! My I've been terrible lately! So sorry. I have - however- been enjoying your posts! So so much! Your Nomadic Messes post pretty much sums up this past bit since May. After getting married I moved in with Joel and then we moved again on August first. Typing that date I now realize we've only been in here 18 days - so I feel a bit better. But there has been a stubborn pile of boxes lining the hallway. No matter how many times we sort thru them they just keep sitting there, I'm convinced they've tripled in size even though I've thrown more than half of the stuff away. Tonight we were determined to get rid of every last box, tossing out family heirlooms along with the rest just to be done with it. We piled everything in the truck and drove off to Goodwill. 

We rolled up in the old white truck, it was Joel's grandpa's and I love it. Several men were loading up the days intake. We parked and Joel got out. One of the guys said sorry we close at 8. ( Please note that it was 8:01 and the website said they closed at 9). Joel very politely asked if he could load the items in one of the crates they were filling. All of a sudden an angry middle aged man ran up and said, "we closed." Joel again kindly asked and explained how the website said otherwise. "We closed. I work 12 hours. CLOSED," he yelled. Joel got back in the truck but before we could drive off I swung the door open and walked over to this middle aged, balding, some what muscular man.  " There is no excuse to be so rude. I  work in a customer service position and I understand you are tiered but you can't speak to people like that." I turned around and stomped back to the car. "We closed, " rang out behind me. I know I know - I should control my temper.  But there is really no reason to be so rude. Anyway we drove down the street and dropped all the items of at Value Village and they gave us a $3 dollar coupon. I may be avoiding Goodwill for a little while. So there's my story for the day. 

making: lists of the updates I'd like to make in the apartment. I was going to try and photograph them and show them to you. I still may. It includes a new system for storing our clothes. I'm thinking we'll make pipeline book shelves and put metal baskets on them. Re-painting the whole place - currently an undecided mocha but I think cream will help keep it bright in the winter. Painting the kitchen cupboards and putting knew knobs on the doors. Oh and making a shower curtain. We have a brilliant claw foot tub but shower curtains that cater to that size are hard to find and typically pretty expensive. 

seeing:  The empty spaces we cleared out tonight. Good riddance! 

tasting:  Iced cranberry juice. It's really refreshing but oh so sour. This summer I've been so sensitive to the heat it's laughable. After living on a tropical island for the formative years of my childhood you'd think I'd be well adjusted. But it's been really humid hear. I've become an expert at keeping cool and even sunk to putting ice in my drinks. Very un-french. I know. 

hearing:  The fan humming away against the still of the night. 

feeling:  Sleepy but happy to be finally back to the blog

reading:  So many good books I can't wait to post about. But this one I have to share right now. Hyperbole and a Half - it started as a blog and became a book. The covers tag line reads " unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happen." I just love her!  The book is pretty cynical but oh so clever. There are also some pretty poignant parts. I was going to share one of those but instead here's what she wrote on her back cover. You'll understand why I love her! 

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative- like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it- but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So i decided to just make a list of things that are in the book: pictures. words. stories about things that happen to me. stories about things that happen to other people because of me. eight billion dollars * Stories about dogs. The secret to eternal happiness.

*these are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!


loving:  Fun summer things.  A blog post to follow on this soon. It includes playing cards in the park when your apartment get's too hot because it's on the top floor which is what you always wanted and you love about it - but also make for quite an oven. Oh and also our new apartment. Pictures soon. 

watching:  I am ashamed to type this - but honesty honesty. Joel and I have been binge watching Entourage. It's based in LA and is basically about four guys from Queens who make it in LA without becoming "LA." That's why I was asking you what you thought about the people in LA. It's Joel's favorite show. I begrudgingly watched the first season then one day I was home sick and made it through the second season. So there you have it. 

anticipating: Being settled into our new little home. 

Goodbye Los Angeles

by Brittany

By the time you read this we will be halfway across the country soaking up Chicago and all the places and people that we love there. Chicago was really hard to get used to (such a culture shock between there and the PNW) but it was also our first home together. So that makes it very important. Obviously. After a long weekend there we will cross the rest of the country by TRAIN! I am thrilled about that, to say the least. 

Anyways! Here are just a few of the things I cannot wait for:

The 66 bus: I know it’s weird and some would argue, mildly Stockholm Syndrome-y, but I just love that bus! 

Gin & tonics with my amazing friend Karin and her family…including the tiniest one that I cannot wait to meet! I love being with them because they just envelope you into their own everyday life (which is beautiful)! 

Star Lounge: that back patio… reading the Onion and the Reader… iced coffee on tap…

A certain game of freeze tag (with a monster twist, I’m told) that I’ve been promised by the sweetest, most excited boys ever! Also I can’t wait for them to take me around all our old stomping grounds!! (the dirt park, which apparently isn’t so dirty anymore! Maybe even our secret park!)

Alley walking through Ukrainian Village.

Krystal: the best neighbor ever…. We’ve seen so much of her since we moved which is just how friendships should be! (also I have some amazing little presents for her that I cannot wait to give)

And countless other people and places! Chicago was very hard to acclimate to (not just because of the winters) … it was such a culture shock between there and the PNW… but it was also our first home. Aw shucks.

Traveling Large with Holes in Our Shoes

by Brittany

making: lists of things to do in Richmond--you know, to light the winter nights.

seeing: my suitcase and shoulder bag stuffed to the gills yet, incredibly, clasped tight.

tasting: almond butter from the jar...again. I should really diversify my lunches but you got to empty the cupboards before moving so diverse lunches will be part of what lights my winter... and fall.

hearing: old Armenian men talking casually and loudly to each other. Also a little boy calling down the steps to his grandmother, "where are you going?!" "A la farmacia!" "where???"  "La farmacia!" "oh" "good bye, mi amor!" was heart meltingly sweet. Oh and Charlotte Gainsbourg... so no english at all in fact! 

feeling: belly full of wiggles cause I'm excited to leave LA but a bit sad to leave my lone summer! I realized yesterday that apart from a few days of visitors I never met or hang out with a single soul other than Jesse all summer long. So wonderful! Also the holes in my shoes.

reading: Doris Lessing's Four Gated City... I oddly had never thought of her apart from her short story, Sunrise on the Veld, from freshman English class. I am so glad to have discovered her novels... I'm not very far into it but it's lovely so far. And the copy is soft and dog eared and the beautiful 70's paperback covers I love... also it's proper tome sized... like five or six inches thick and was only 3 dollars at my favorite bookstore in LA. It's technically the last in it's series but the first in the series was less than an inch thick and twice as much so I decided that I've never really let order rule me in the past and that I have a long flight and a 20 hour train ride coming up and I really need something good and long to keep me busy. Aside from Finnegan's Wake.... and all the other books my mom brought. I like to travel large as far as books go.

loving: our nomadic life... and the pleasurable thrill of not knowing where in the world we'll be in nine months... and yet having a place to burrow for a winter again is wonderful too. (I know its just the beginning of August and that I am setting myself up to be bitterly disappointed by finding the hottest bits of the southern summer yet to come in Richmond... but the summer feels over in so many other ways!)

watching: To The Wonder... now I hated Tree of Life vicerally and passionately and still do. So I didn't even consider watching this movie until we finished all our shows and it somehow popped up on my radar. So I read the spoilers for it and decided it may, possibly, be a different breed of movie. And it was. And is. Terrance Malick is still weirdly obsessed with spinning women but this woman is darker and moodier and a far deeper and vaster being then anyone in Tree of Life (to be fair Ben Affleck and whoever that other girl is in this movie are pretty terrible...thankfully they are so bland they are easy to ignore). Also I want Olga to narrate my life. In French. No subtitles.

anticipating: our TRAIN RIDE!!!! seriously... I am like a little boy about trains. Maybe cause of my rail riding, Oakie of a grampie (you know, like, maybe it's in my blood?)... or maybe because people who don't get thrillingly excited by a train lead soulless and sad existences... or maybe they just didn't read enough British mysteries growing up. That's it. Because Jesse (probably due to his very recent twenty five hour bus ride...I keep telling him trains cannot even compare to greyhound busses) is the opposite of excited and I know for a fact his life is not sad... I mean, I am his WIFE!



August Heat

by Brittany

1. The laundry room is nice and I love the filtered light streaming in. 2. too hot to do much else... also we (our airbnb host actually) got an eviction warning for having us there so we tend to hide out in the bedroom where we won't be able to hear anyone who may knock! 3. again in the laundry room... I love empty chairs. I had a big problem collecting too many of them in Chicago. Now I try to just photograph them instead of schlep them home. (the things studio living has taught me!!) 4. A good picture of happy married life... reading side by side. (He is actually reading most of the time that it looks like he's on his phone) 5. also we play lots of cards, still! And drink gin cocktails and Newcastle respectively. And my mom brought me a beautiful copy of Finnegan's Wake... and Jesse openly laughed at me when I stated I intended to read it. And justly so.... what a joke. Anyways we are now reading it aloud to each other and laughing at it .... and mocking it. Although it does sound nice reading aloud. Jesse meticulously pronounces each word whereas I read it quickly and fluently and skip some/many syllables. My reading makes more sense. It sums up our general reading styles too.... he reads slowly and probably gets much more out of (normal) books but I definitely have him beat in sheer volume. It's something I've noticed about english majors.... we non english majors tend to read way more... I think it has something to do with reading for pleasure instead of school. School kills natural delights. 6. And the last view of our car! say goodbye! She is acing her smog test... we discovered after trying to sell her for a week that the reason no one was buying her was due to California's ridiculous emissions standards and they were all convinced that there was no way an '89 Lincoln could pass. HA. We showed them. The '80s was a great decade for cars. The greatest. I was weeping openly in the coffee shop looking at '90s-present cars. They repulse me. Sorry Jesse. 

So Chelle! Here are all the reasons for my radio silence this past week! I hope your week is treating you like a champ! Also let's see more apartment details! I am so thrilled that you moved into a light filled place. Darkness is the worst.

I am kind of in (platonic) love with this man: The Brazilian guy who is buying all the records in the world. His listening library is such a beautiful plan!! I hope to go someday. Also I want to work for him. Maybe in May we'll move to Brazil. I have such a lot to say about collections that I should probably save for another post. So more later!

xo, B

Nomadic Messes

by Brittany

We are just starting our last week here in Los Angeles... we are trying to sell our car (hopefully that will happen tomorrow!!) and making travel plans for getting to the other coast with a stop over in the middle to see our Chicago peoples! 

Lately I've been looking at Mieke Verbijlen's beautiful interior photography and wishing we were back in our beautiful (styled by us) apartment rather than our not so beautiful (styled by someone else) Airbnb. But what I really appreciate about her work is how she captures her friend's homes exactly as they are... mess, people living in them and all. It's much more of a "storybook" style interior photography.... and as you know storybook is the highest praise coming from me!

So here is the place we are staying...complete with the piles of clothes that are inevitable when one lives out of a suitcase (or in Jesse's case, a backpack), piles of books due to no internet and my speed reading habits, pink tiles that most people have torn out by now, no counter space, and literally mountains of clay and plaster. Our host is a graduate student in art school.... There is one narrow walkway that is actually supposed to be the living room but due to the layers of furniture (shelves, then tables, then boxes stacked right up against each other) it's approximately four feet wide!!

We love traveling around but there comes a point when you just can't wait to slide a cake into your own oven and sit around your own little table drinking your own homemade coffee and frothy cashew milk! And, at just the right time, we want all that!

Thoughts on Three ish months oh and it's national cat day

by Chelle

Something on the internet told me it was national cat day - so Penny salut! 

Something on the internet told me it was national cat day - so Penny salut! 

Hello B!

It's so funny because it seems like people think being married is like a switch - you just suddenly turn it on and hey presto you're married. Everything changes. All at once. I am actually enjoying what I think should be called the process of being married - even thought that doesn't sound quite as romantic. Maybe the experience. 

The best analogy I have for it at the moment is changing my name. Initially I though it was something that just happened when you got married. Like by signing the marriage license my name would magically change. It turns out that's not the case. So I thought about it the first month after getting married, found a website that gave me all the paper work I needed for a small fee during the second month, spent an hour or so figuring out all I would need.... and here we are three months later. But it's fine. It's a process that takes time - it doesn't just happen over night. 

It's still really funny to me that I look down and see two rings on my finger, or that I fall asleep next to the man, or that we sit on the couch of an evening and chat and no longer have to worry about driving home. All good things. Just all gradual things I'm sure I'll get used to one day. I didn't realize all the little things that would still just feel new and fresh and I like that. 

Anyway I was just thinking about that and wanted to try and put it into words but wasn't exactly sure what I was trying to say. 

Looking forward to the weekend! Sleeping in, sunshine, ice coffee, books, and I think just spending time at home settling into the new apartment. 

I want to try the sensory thing... I'll give it a go tomorrow






British Beer and the KGB

by Brittany

making: Does editing photos count as making? Also all morning I've been hard at work curating a new Pandora station (A Sufjan one.... I'm quite proud of it's all about the thumbs down).

seeing: ....well the screen...

smelling: the detangler in my hair.... I sprayed it in then never got around to brushing it...

tasting: spoonfuls of cashew butter...left here by my mom!

hearing: "Leaves in the River" by Sea Wolf... a real storybook song

feeling: sad for my old church, Mars Hill.... so sad.

reading: "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath but I'm reserving the right to not finish it if it becomes too depressing to me. 

loving: seeing Jesse's empty beer next to me. And that Newcastle Brown Ale is his favorite ...cause, you know, it's British, and darkish, smells good, has a well designed label and great advertising!

watching: The Americans.... it's a weird show to recommend....which is probably why not many people makes me like the KGB a bit too much for Jesse's comfort. He reminds me regularly why that's a bad idea and that the Cold War is the not so distant past and that just cause I like Putin's name doesn't make him a good guy. So bearing all that in mind, it's a gorgeous show! So stunningly well filmed, casted, costumed and styled. And calmly yet remorselessly intense (I know those are all contradictory but they are all true!).

anticipating: being in Chicago in one week! And seeing my not so baby boys! And all our other friends there and our church! And, you know, Chicago...


Town Squares and City Parks

by Brittany

I think I've mentioned before how much I love the concept of a town square... and how sad it is that that concept is becoming more and more foreign here in the states and even in Europe. But the other day I stumbled on this park that gave me some hope for it! It's a few blocks from where we are staying, but I'd avoided it because it's almost invisible from the street.

I saw some steps and decided to climb them because I had time to kill and they took me to this boarded up (albeit beautiful) building... and I'd walked by more than the normal amount of homeless men and it was starting to get towards evening so I was feeling a bit uneasy walking around with my camera. I was about to turn around but then I saw a dad teaching his son to skateboard...heart-meltingly adorable! I asked for a photo....see how bashful the boy got then he started showing off! Then just as I turned to head back down the steps I was arrested by that view! Look at the perfect picture with not one but two iconic Hollywood sights! Because Los Angeles is so vast, I felt like I'd discovered something very rare and precious.  I looked around more and realized there were tons of cars parked so there had to be more people somewhere so I followed the sound of a distant boom box and, at the top of another flight of stairs, I found this gorgeous pine (I think?) grove... complete with adorable couple deep in conversation. There is a cloister like walkway, an old mansion, several grassy slopes on all sides of the hill with shady trees and these iron chairs that you can move wherever you desire to sit! And on the east slope of the hill there's a row of art studios that host classes for all ages all year round. So yes... I had found something very rare and precious... Barnsdall Art Park! A gathering place for all on top of a hill. Since then we have been back several times for picnics and cards and sunsets and cocktails. 

I was just listening to this story from WBEZ this morning while I was doing the dishes... I love that these brave souls are going out and trying to create this kind of community in South Chicago. A place to hang out on the street or in parks literally involves risking your life because of the gangs. The women from a few different churches set up on a street corner every Saturday with jump ropes and hula hoops and create, right then and there, in the most dangerous parts of the most dangerous city in the states, a town square for that not only spreads community but more importantly, the Gospel! Such a simple concept and yet, because of its rarity, startling enough to catch the attention of the public radio station! 

Moving and Hot summer nights

by Chelle

Oh my goodness your posts have been lovely! Sorry for the absence we were in the midst of moving last week and I kept trying to snag a few pictures and get a post up - but alas here it is Sunday night and I'm scrolling through my phone trying to find some pictures that sum up the past week.

Well we moved. Hurra! Just from downstairs to the third floor - so still in our lovely old building. We only had one evening to move and clean the apartment as someone was moving out of the one we were moving into and someone was moving into our old one all within 48 hours. How confusing. Anyway we had a great group of friends show up and move all our stuff (oh do we love our books, boxes and boxes of them) in an hour. We then popped some champagne and spent a last evening on our little patio. We exchanged that for a fire escape and a view. Worth it in my opinion. 

The moving crew and our champagne (or beer) 

The moving crew and our champagne (or beer) 

In other news Seattle has been so hot lately - which is rather uncommon, the muggy sort of hot. This evening we had to dash out of church in the midst of the last few songs and walk through the frozen food section of our grocery store to stop the heat exhaustion from fully defeating me. Yes I do love to be dramatic. 

All that to say I love you and I miss you and I'll be writing you more and more with pictures of fire escapes, kitchen cabinets, and the usual array of everyday life from up here in Seattle (and the 3rd floor) 



Clothelines and Coldbrew: a celebration of the everyday

by Brittany

I have seen this kind of post on a few blogs (especially a friend from Chicago's blog, thanks Kirsten!) and I was stuck at home with no internet yesterday so I scribbled this up (after trying to edit photos but ending up watching that swirly rainbow swirl on my computer till the battery died... ya... I was suuuuper productive. Oh and then I fell asleep waiting for my phone to charge. Some days are better than others).

Making: coldbrew, fennel salad and plum gin cocktails (both in jars for "happy hour" at the park)

Seeing: tops of palm trees, tops of skyscrapers, orange and fig trees (not ripe sadly)

Smelling: ripe fruit (we need to eat that before the fruit flies come!), pesto sausages

Tasting: ice tea (NOT sweet tea...gag)

Hearing: Coeur de Pirate, sizzling sausages, air conditioner unit, two week old baby crying across the stairs, old lady cleaning a cast iron skillet in next apartment (lots of sounds around's a very lived in building)

Reading: "Right Ho, Jeeves" --growing up the boys and I watched the Masterpiece Theatre series with Hugh Laurie and Stephan Fry... I'm pretty sure they used the books word for word. So much fun to read and have Hugh Laurie's voice in my head. 

Watching: Welcome to Sweden--this is excellent so far! Besides being gorgeous (scenery, design, etc), it basically feels like your watching the product of Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza hanging out over a bottle of wine (or maybe whiskey?). I don't know if Aubrey has any contribution besides acting but it definitely sounds like her. This reminds me! The past two weeks we've gone to the weekly free Asscat show just a little ways down the street from us... so much fun (once we're in... the hour and a half wait in line is a bit grueling. We stood in line three weeks in a row and only saw the show twice. Very popular. Very.)

Anticipating:  more "happy hours" in the park (perfect for end of summer budget...) we went last night and had secret cocktails in jars (I love being back in a normal state where you can get perfectly adequate gin from Trader Joe's for 6.99!). We watched the sunset and played round after round of Mexican Poker and discussed the importance of hanging out together every possible moment. Cause we love each other. And can't think of a nicer way to pass our lives.

Plummy Gin Picnic Cocktail

1 pour of gin

2 pours of sweet vermouth

1/2 plum (very ripe)

dash of honey water

Soda water

Mix a half table spoon of honey with about a half inch of water and simmer over the stove for about a minute, maybe less...just until the honey disappears. Set aside to cool. If you are making these in a jar for easy transport skip the ice (store in freezer until ready to leave). Pour the gin and vermouth into the jar. Next slice the plum over the jar (so you don't lose any of the drippy juices!) and drop a few slices in whole. Take the other slices and squeeze them over the jar and then drop them in too. Add the honey water, to taste. And lastly, fill the jar up with soda water and pop it into the freezer!

I think this would be delicious with some crushed thyme but I didn't have any on hand.

A Walk Around the Fashion District

by Brittany

1. a fashion building (see the spools in the windows?) that I wouldn't mind living in. 2. I really don't know why people from LA hate downtown so vehemently... just look around you! So much more beautiful then the much praised West LA. The beach is alright but the architecture and streets kill my soul. 3. And an alleyway!!! with fire escape upon fire escape!

Meet For Drinks

by Brittany

There is a steady stream of people flowing and rushing past at the top of the Metro station in Downtown LA. It seems like me and the old man panhandling across the sidewalk from me are the only ones capable of standing still. I bring a book to read while I stand there waiting (I just finished this one and I am still mourning it's ending... not because of it's sadness but because I always hate to end a real book like this). Guys are less likely to hassle you if you're very obviously reading.... it doesn't always work but if they do try and talk to you you have a really good reason to ignore them. 

A girl alone in LA is a magnet for guys hassling and hitting on you. Some of the choicest examples:

- [in the book section of Goodwill] "MOM! Mom!" Mom?"

- [My face registers nothing, I continue staring at the books]

-"MOM? ---huh. THAT didn't work..." [he turns and walks away]

- [also in the book section of Goodwill a few minutes later] "Can you read THAT?!"


-"How long does it take you?!"

-"I don't know, I haven't read it yet..."

-"I have NEVER finished a book!"

-"HEY! [right in my face] You did your hair like a UKRAINIAN!"

-[elevator door mercifully shuts]

Anyways, back to the story at hand, I stand there reading giving my most frigid face possible (you know the one, Chelle!) until I feel someone grab my hand and Jesse sweeps me around the corner and down the street to our favorite happy hour at Seven Grand. It's an upstairs bar that's all plaid carpet (just like the old school hotels and restaurants in Scotland), dark wood, taxidermied heads, marble bar tops, dark intimate corners and billiard tables, a knocked out hallway with booths and ash trays where we can smoke (hard to find a place for that in LA) and five dollar classic whiskey cocktails till eight. 

It should go unsaid that after spending the day dealing with conversations like those above that these happy hour meetings are pretty dang nice. We tell each other stories, laugh at the silly guys, plan our next apartment, discuss ad agencies and award winning ads, and empty our wallets and try and decide if we can find enough dollars to buy a second round before eight... we never can. Then we amble down the street toward the metro, enjoying the cool breeze that picks up and reminds us that LA is actually a desert. The other day there was a Johnny Cash cover band playing in the park. They were pretty awful but I loved every bit of it. Especially because nearly half the audience were street dwellers and travelers--not many cities would put on a show for that crowd. And to be fair I don't think LA set out to do that, it is probably an attempt to culture downtown... and we are all very appreciative! I think it's so sad that people have fled downtown areas most of my generation's lifetime but that is now changing! 

Summer Beauty Bag

by Brittany

1. Gabriel Color mascara in black

2. Benefit Boiing concealer in 01

3. Zuzu eyeliner in Raven*

4. Benefit lipstick in La La Land **

5. Réserve Naturelle nail polish in black ***

A few months ago Jesse got me Rodin face oil and it is probably the most elegant thing I own... and it has resulted in my being able to ditch nearly all my make up except for these bare minimum basics! I really enjoy seeing how little I can get by with. Last summer I was definitely more efficient clothing wise.  This summer having to pack for weddings and other specific events combined with the knowledge that I do not have to fly home and the ample thrift stores here in LA means that my clothes collection has grown a bit (I have been very strict with the black and white only rule though!). But this summer I am much more efficient with my make up collection! 

*this eyeliner is the best gluten free and 100% natural (whatever that means) eyeliner that I have tried. It has trouble holding up under strong heat and humidity, but the benefits outweigh that in my mind. It's very strongly pigmented and the applicator practically puts the cat eye on by itself. They sell it at all Whole Foods and it is surprisingly affordable.

**this is both my lipstick and my blush currently... I'm a bit disillusioned with the much praised RMS Beauty products. Coconut oil is actually really bad for my skin I'm discovering... and I've read in a few places that I'm not the only one! I kept breaking out along my cheek bones and I cleared up right away when I stopped using the RMS blush. This benefit lipstick is a hand-me-down from my mom, actually, and I can only reach it with my finger and it's discontinued! So that is just so sad. If anyone has some good tips for gluten free, preferably organic, lipstick let me know! I'm considering this one from Ilia but I need to check the color in person. Berry-ish reds tend to look the most natural on my skin tones, but this one may be too dark. Thankfully I'm in LA this summer so there are actually stores that carry it unlike in Richmond! Anyways, I love minimizing by using the same product for lips and cheeks. It feels very French too. 

***I got this in France last year and it was so cheap and works so well and I just adore the shape and lines of the bottle. If i can't find a way to order it here in the States I may just pour whatever other black I get into this bottle.

A few other products that I recommend currently: 

Harry's Razors:  I will never go back to Venus razors again. Not only are these far and away better quality, but they are beautifully weighted and minimally designed. The colors are understated and elegant... no more garish pinks, purples and lime green (all my least favorite colors) and barbie-like sparkles. They are designed by the same people who designed Warby Parker glasses, for much the same reasons. They were shopping for razors and realized that the only razors that even remotely worked were utterly hideous to look at and preclusively expensive. The entire Truman package costs less than one pack of Venus refills. It comes (in beautifully designed packaging) with a razor, three blades and their own shaving cream. I am not entirely sold on the shaving cream... I still prefer this one. But for only five dollars more than the single razor, why not?!

Hanes boys T-shirts: Ok this sounds crazy but I was folding some laundry when I was visiting home earlier this summer and found my ten year old brother, Giles', t-shirt and on a whim tried it on. It is the perfect cropped basic T! I asked him if I could have one and he shruggingly agreed and said they were almost too small for him anyways (yikes.... he's almost taller than me!!! Don't tell him I said that though...I'm playing it cool with him). Anyways! I've loved it all summer! Something about the materiel makes it the easiest white thing either Jesse or I own to clean. I never have to spot clean it after washing (I have this gorgeous soft cotton Italian made white tank that actually gets more stains from being washed... I have no idea how it manages that... most high maintenance thing I own). And just look how cheap a five pack is!!! It is my new summer (all year) basic. 

While trying, unsuccessfully, to find a certain article from Garance Dore I discovered this article.... apparently Bite Beauty Lip Lab in New York will match the color of your favorite discontinued lipsticks! I think I will have to swing by there this fall when we are in Manhattan... maybe! They are certified gluten free by the US and Canada too!