November 30, 2010

shopping in lewisburg

I don't usually go shopping on Black Friday because although I love a good bargain, I don't love being shoved and pushed around while I'm shopping (unless of course its for Lanvin...). I don't know how the stores were on the Saturday after Black Friday near you, but the shops in Lewisburg, PA were very calm! I drove to Lewisburg on Friday to spend the rest of the weekend with Eric and his family and there are two shops that I visit everytime I'm there - and after this weekend, I've added a third shop to the list! If you've never heard of Lewisburg...I'm not surprised. It's a small town an hour or so north of Harrisburg and most people have heard of because it's home to Bucknell University. There's an adorable downtown area that has cute little shops, restaurants, and bars and beautiful historical rowhomes. The first time I visited I found a home store that I fell in love with called Dwellings. It reminded me of Foster's but a bit more girly. I can't really talk about what I bought there since it was a gift for a friend - and she might be reading this. But I'll be happy to talk about my purchases from the second store (which is another must visit whenever I'm in Lewisburg) because they were all for me:) The store is called Wilson Ross and it's a consignment/vintage shop that sells a little bit of everything - men's and women's clothing as well as some pieces for the home (furniture, glassware, etc). It is a fantastic store and I have found some great things there - and everything is very reasonably priced. I never leave empty handed and this weekend wasn't any different:


Even though I don't look good in hats, I still have a bit of an obsession with them. At least with vintage ones. But this little camel colored hat (which has little gold-ish studs all over it!) actually looks good on me so I coudn't resist. And although I already own two muffs, I couldn't say no to this one. It's so soft and pretty AND it has a zipper on the inside so you can store your money and cell phone! Genius!


I have a kimono that I can't wear often because the fabric is so delicate and worn that it rips really easily. I've been looking for an affordable one for a while with no luck until I saw this beauty on Saturday! It's gorgeous and is in great condition and was in my price range. I couldn't pass it up. Can't wait to wear it!!!!


Because of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette, I can't stop myself from buying champagne coupes whenever I find them. I found these at a new shop in Lewisburg that Eric introduced me to this weekend called Roller Mills. It's an antique mall and I could've spent all day there. Can't wait to go back!! I found these champagne coupes there and they were 7 for $10. How could I say no? I think I now have about 13 or 14. All I need are mother of pearl gaming chips...

So, did you guys have luck shopping this weekend? Any good finds?

November 29, 2010


There are some great restaurants along Passyunk and Izumi is definitely one of them. South Philly is full of Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese restaurants, but Japanese restaurants are rare around here. And I'm happy to say Izumi is a good one too. Another plus is that it's BYO.

My friend Colleen and I decided to grab some dinner there the other night and it was delicious. We decided to get two orders of spicy tuna (my favorite!), salmon and avocado, and one of their specialty rolls: the Passyunk Avenue roll which is shrimp tempura with spicy crab on top. So. Good.


We also got an order of their pork gyoza which were tasty, but nothing to really rave about. My roommate highly recommended the rock shrimp tempura - I'll have try that next time...


We ended the meal with coconut rice pudding with pineapple on top. Once we removed the pineapple, it was pretty good. I love pineapple, but you could tell it had come from a can - which I don't usually have a problem with but it just didn't taste right in this dish.

rice pudding

All in all it was a very good meal. The sushi was definitely the best part of the meal - can't wait to go back!

November 24, 2010

happy friendsgiving!

We had our annual Friendsgiving dinner this past Sunday and I had an amazing time. Everything just came together so well - Eric and I weren't as stressed as we typically have been, the table was set and the candles were lit by the time guests arrived (that has never happened before!), the turkey was delicious (some even said it was the best turkey they've ever had - kudos to Eric!) and all the side dishes that everyone brought were perfect. Maybe it was because it had been such a beautiful day and was a beautiful night, or that we were celebrating not one, but two pregnant couples, or maybe I was just happy to be able to wear my new dress - but I wasn't the only person in such a good mood - everyone seemed really excited to be celebrating and being together.


I had wanted to get disposable plates this year, but in an effort to save money, I decided not to. To dress up my plain white plates, I put the EAT. napkins that I made on top. What do you think? Since I already had the stamps, I stamped everyone's first and last initials onto cardstock and used that as placecards.



These branches were leftover from a wedding that I helped design. I was so excited when the bride decided to let me keep them (thanks Cristy!) because I knew I wanted to use them for Friendsgiving:) I got the paper flowers from West Elm. They had wire stems so I was able to easily wrap them around the branches.


I wanted to add a touch of color to the table, so I made little bouquets of orange tulips. The table probably could've used a few more tulips... OH - aren't the birds adorable?! They are paper mache and I got them at West Elm also. I couldn't resist. And I wanted all the whites and beiges to pop, so I made the tablecloth out of navy cotton, even though it looks black in the photos.


And I saved the best picture for last:


Now THAT is a good plate of food!! Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Enjoy your weekend and I'll be back on Monday!

November 23, 2010

EAT. napkins

I was at a store in Northern Liberties this past summer and saw these napkins that I loved that had the word EAT stamped on them. I think they were more than $20 for two napkins (!!!), so I didn't buy them...I decided to make them instead! Not only that, but I decided to make 14 of them so I could use them for Friendsgiving. It's just sewing a square - how hard could it be, right? Well, let me tell ya, I won't be trying out for Project Runway anytime soon. It took me FOREVER to cut them out and then I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to use the sewing machine (I know how to sew, but since I don't do it often, I always forget how to use the machine...) The sewing itself was pretty straightforward, but it still took me a loooooooong time. So much for a quick little project!


I thought the stamping portion of the project would be the difficult part - but it was actually really easy. And, fortunately, fast! I bought these stamps at AC Moore along with a black ink pad. I've never used stamps like these before - each letter is separate and you're supposed to buy a stamping block that the letters stick to and you hold onto while stamping. I was being cheap so I decided to see if the cover of the ink pad could work as the stamping block - and it did! I first tested the stamping on a scrap piece of linen...


...then moved onto the real thing.



I'm really happy with how they turned out. And everyone at Friendsgiving loved them too - yep, Friendsgiving was this past Sunday and it was the best one yet! I will post photos soon...

November 22, 2010

lanvin success!


Wow. What a crazy weekend. Karen and I took a little trip to NYC to try to get our hands on some things from the new Lanvin for H&M line that debuted this past Saturday. We knew it was going to be crazy and so did H&M because they were very well organized. From their website, we found out that the first 320 people in line would get to shop the collection privately and then it would be open to everyone else. So the top 320 would be divided into 16 groups of 20 and allowed to shop for 15 minutes (the area with the Lanvin line would be gated off) and only allowed to purchase two of each item. Our goal was to be in that top 320, but when we got to NYC and walked by the store to scope it out - were weren't so sure we could do it:


This photo was taken at around 8PM on Friday night. Granted, there were only about 10-15 people in line but it was only 8PM!! Our plan was to get there at 4AM, but we were starting to think that wasn't early enough! BTW - do you see the inflatable sofa?! Luckily, when we stopped by at 12AM to check on the line, it hadn't grown by much so we decided to stick with our original plan.


We got to H&M around 4 and by that time the line had gotten longer and was now wrapped around the corner of the building - but we were in the top 60!! Yay! We spent the next few hours figuring out what we wanted to get from the Lanvin line, looking up places to eat for lunch later that afternoon, playing Scrabble, taking photos of ourselves and at around 6, I ended up going to McDonalds to get some breakfast for us which helped revive me a bit. At that point, there were probably about 100 people behind us in line. At 7, we were given our bracelets (that gives us our shopping time slot - ours was 8:40) and allowed to leave. So, all in all it was about 3 hours of waiting in line outside - not so bad.

When we got back to the store around 8:15, it was CHAOS. SO many people jammed into one little corner of the store! But guess what...


...we each got exactly what we wanted! Karen got an awesome faux fur jacket and I got the dress I've been talking about!! There were so many other things that I wanted to get, but I can barely afford the one dress that I bought...


But there were people that bought bags and bags of stuff. Yes, this line is cheap compared to real Lanvin prices, but not cheap in general. We have a feeling a lot of people bought stuff to sell on Ebay.

Sitting in the cold for 3 hours with just a couple hours of sleep isn't what I would typically call fun, but it was an experience that I'm glad I had! And look what I ended up with:


I already found an opportunity to wear it:)

November 19, 2010

house love pt.5

My neighborhood association has been doing a house tour the past few years and it's really cool. Basically, people in the area open up their doors and allow strangers to walk through their home and talk to them about the work they've done. It's a great way to get to know your neighbors and get some good ideas/tips for your own place. I love staring into people's windows and seeing how other people live, so this allows me to do that without being creepy. There was one home that I was so impressed with that I asked the owner if I could feature it on my blog and luckily for you guys, he agreed:)

I've walked by his building a million times and never really thought twice about it - from the front it looks like someone took two rowhomes and made one really large home and put in a garage. Besides that, it fits in with the other houses on the block. Was I surprised to see what was inside!


The building, which was built in the early 1900's, used to be many things - some sort of commercial building, a liquor store, community center - but it now consists of six condos with a private (and quite spacious) garage. John, the owner of the condo I visited, has the largest unit at 1,600 sq ft and has lived there for 2 1/2 years now. What I love so much about his home is the openess. It's so rare to find a space like his in South Philadelphia - actually I'm still surprised that it exists! What's also awesome is that although the condo is definitely modern, a lot of the character and original details of the building were preserved and allowed to seep in. Example no.1:


These tin doors are amazing - and they are John's favorite element of the house. They are in their original location and are still functional - although instead of an elevator shaft on the other side, there is now a wall.


If you walk up the stairs, you will find yourself in the main living area. It's a large open space that combines a kitchen, a dining room and a living room. It would be an incredible space for entertaining. Great for large dinner parties- I could definitley invite all my friends over for Friendsgiving instead of having to limit it to 14...


The kitchen is small, but it has all the necessities: large refrigerator, microwave, stove and a dishwasher. And it somehow has more storage than I do in my house! It was very efficiently planned out! And you can't go wrong with dark wood cabinets and white subway tile - a classic combination. And the counters are granite, which usually isn't my favorite material, but this granite was really nice.


And the view. You can't really see how amazing the view is in this photo, but believe me, it is. The door on the left leads out to the deck...


...where you'll have an even better view of the city. The deck is pretty fantastic as well. The metal railing is really cool and John did a great job of selecting outdoor furniture (he did a great selecting ALL of the furniture. period.)


Can't you see yourself lounging on this outdoor sofa on a warm summer night with a mojito in hand enjoying the twinkling lights of the city? Sigh...



If you go back downstairs, you'll find the master bedroom complete with a bathroom and walkin closet, a second bedroom that he turned into a sitting area and a small office space. There is a lot of exposed brick in this home, which could be overwhelming, but somehow really works. I think it's because John is a bit of a minimalist (he describes himself as minimalist that likes reuse) and that allows the brick to take center stage without competing with a lot of other elements.





This huge tin door is my favorite thing in the condo. It's so unique - I LOVE it. And what's better - it still works! You can use it to close off the second bedroom (or rather sitting area) from the office.


From looking at his house, you'd thinking John was a designer or an architect right? But he's not, he's just always been interested in art and design:

I took a strong interest in Frank Lloyd Wright as a kid and it is something that has always stuck with me, I am also a sucker for a good view as all the places I have lived in have had full views of the city.

Did you notice all the artwork? That was the other thing that really stood out to me - they fit in so well with the house. When I asked about them, he said:

I have accumulated most of them over the years with quite a few being created by a good friend from San Francisco. When he visited he even took the the time to paint the red and yellow diptych.

There are a lot of great bars and restaurants in the area, but he says that his favorite local spot is:

...D'mitri's at third and catherine as it always has a good energy level, the fresh fish is delicious, you don't need a reservation and you can bring the wine of your choice.

Great choice. If you've never been to D'mitri's, you need to check it out. There's one in Fitler Square, but I think the one in Queen Village is better plus it's BYOB while the other has a bar.

Isn't John's space awesome? Makes you think twice about what a space really looks like on the other side of the doors, doesn't it? I'm so glad I had the chance to see it and the chance to visit it for a second time and take a closer look at everything. Thanks John!!

images: eric heidel

November 18, 2010

vic's sushi


I feel like Vic's is Philly's best kept secret (for sushi that is) - although I'm not sure if it's really a secret anymore. It's a tiny sushi restaurant on Sansom Street between 20th and 21st that usually does more takeout business than eat-in...and I think that's mostly because it can only fit about 8 diners at one time (maybe). I love it because its casual, its really affordable and its really really good. They have a ton of specialty rolls that I need to try - but I tend to be boring and get the typical spicy tuna, salmon, eel, etc. I went yesterday and I got their "3 roll special" - choose three different rolls (specialty rolls excluded) for $10.95. That's 24 pieces of sushi for less than $11! I was STUFFED but very happy. And if you dine in, you can have complimentary green tea or byob if you want.

November 17, 2010


Okay, I promise this will be the last post about Korean food for a while! I just wanted to do a little write up for Pastoral because I love it and haven't really talked about it yet. Pastoral is a Korean restaurant located in the gayborhood at 205 S. 13th Street. I used to live only two blocks away and would go there about once a week and it was heaven. The food is awesome, the staff friendly, prices reasonable, and it's hardly ever crowded. The only thing lacking is the decor - it's just a bit dull, but it is clean. My friend Kat and I were craving Korean food (although when DON'T I crave Korean food..), so we decided to get some at Pastoral last night.


As per any good traditional Korean restaurant, we started out with complimentary banchan. Last night's included: kimchi, cucumber kimchi, spicy sliced cooked tofu with onions and jalepenos, spicy radish, cubed tofu in soy sauce, and a couple of egg-y omelette-y things. My favorite was the spicy sliced tofu.


Then came the Korean pancake - although they call it a Korean pizza. They had a few options and we decided to go with the one with kimchi, scallions and pork. Spicy and delicious!! Although, to be honest, I coudn't really taste the pork in it.


Then of course, the soon du bu. Kat got the one with pork, shrimp and veggies and I got one with mussels, shrimp, scallops and veggies. So hot and spicy and yummy - perfect for the weather we had yesterday (rainy and dreary). Does this meal sound familiar? I know it's pretty much identitical to the one I had at Jong Ka Jib Soft Tofu Restaurant about a month ago, but I can't help it. It's what I always want! I do sometimes try new things, but it's not often. If you are curious to see what else you can get, you can look at the menu here. I think I like the Soft Tofu Restaurant better, but this is a very close second. And the best part is that you don't have to drive 30 minutes to get there - I can hop on the bus and get there in 10 minutes!

November 16, 2010

holiday dresses

Christmas is my favorite holiday for many reasons: how beautiful the city is during this time of year, baking Christmas cookies, shopping for gifts, wrapping presents, Christmas movies (Love Actually, Bridget Jones, White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life are my faves) and of course the parties! And what do parties equal? A chance to dress up - and I will jump on any chance to dress up. Unfortuanately, not many of the Christmas parties I get invited to require a fancy party dress, but if they did, these would be my top picks:

via Nordstrom (and it's a bargain - only $46! I think it would look great with a gold belt and some fancy heels...)

via Nordstrom

But the dress I'm really hoping to score this year is this Lanvin for H&M one...


It comes in black and in red - and I will go for either. My friend Karen (of I Don't Think Prada is the Answer They're Looking For) and I are headed to NYC this weekend to try to get our hands on some Lanvin goodies...wish us luck...and good weather - we will be waiting outdoors in a very long line I'm sure...

November 15, 2010

brindle cafe


My friends Scott and Deepti have been talking about opening a cafe for a while now and I'm really excited to say that they've finally done it! Brindle Cafe officially opened last Tuesday! Scott has worked in the industry for fifteen years at restaurants such as Swanky Bubbles, Roy's and Cafe Spice so he is very familiar with what it takes to run a restaurant. With his experience and Deepti's background in business - they make the perfect team. Brindle is located in Fishtown on the corner of Girard Ave. and Day St., a quick walk from the Girard Ave. subway stop. The name "Brindle" was inspired by their two adorable brindle pit bulls (pictured in Brindle's logo, which was designed by moi), Kayla and Gracie, that they adopted a few years ago.


I was finally able to stop by this weekend to check it out and I can't wait to go back! They're definitely more than just a coffee shop - although they do have a great selection of coffees and teas (I had a Thai tea that was very tasty) as well as your typical coffee shop food such as bagels and assorted baked goods from local bakeries. But what really stood out was the food that they make in house that's listed on their "special menu". They offer three different salads, three types of sandwiches, spicy chilli and mashed potatoes. Deepti and Scott are definitley foodies and I have been over their house for dinner numerous times - so I know firsthand that they can not only appreciate good food but they also know how to make good food. And my meal at Brindle did not disappoint. I ordered the slow cooked beef sandwich which was cooked in a dutch oven with roasted Paquillo peppers, garlic and cardamom. It was topped with mozzarella and white horeseradish and served on crustry bread from Metropolitan Bakery. DELICIOUS. I will definitely be going back for that again. And also the slow roasted pork sandwich which has honey, provolone, roasted garlic and a hot cherry pepper. Oh - and the Thai Beef Salad (which can be a shrimp salad if you'd rather) also sounds amazing. The beef (or shrimp) is tossed with scallions, tomato, cuke, white onion, celery, coriander and dressed in a combination of chilli pepper, garlic and lime juice. Doesn't that sound so good? Can't wait to try it!!



They still have a few things left to do to the space - they are in the process of getting some more loungey furniture and tables and chairs, but I think the counter by the front window is the best spot to sit. There's a window ledge that you can prop your feet on and its perfect for people watching - and you certainly see a lot of characters walking along Girard Ave! Doesn't it also look romantic at night? They have a wall of lanterns that cast a nice glow to the space.


So, if you live in the area and are looking for a new place to get some coffee or a bite to eat (and feel free to BYOB - the candlelight makes it a cozy spot to have a little dinner date!), give Brindle a try!!