Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Snaps: Revisiting Philly

My husband and I spent the weekend before our big Korea/Hong Kong trip in Philadelphia.  I suppose one could argue that the more responsible thing to do would have been to stay in NYC and pack/prepare for our impending vacation, but I’m so glad we got to spend time in a city that I grew to truly love while I was there for graduate school. 

The impetus for our trip was to see one of our favorite musicians, Eric Hutchinson, perform at World Café Live.  We discovered him there when he was performing with the Hotel Café tour, and it was great to get to see him again (actually for the third time) at the same venue.  I’m sure that I will revisit both Eric Hutchinson (à la the Andrew Bird post) and Philly in future posts, but for now here are my favorite Instagram moments from the weekend.

Row 1: Greeted by 30th St Station, Edible Gardens display by Peg & Awl at Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction (LOVE this store - I miss wandering in there during my walks around Old City), cobblestone street next to Christ Church in Old City (tasty Old City Coffee is just down the way)

Row 2: I couldn’t resist the packaging of this Mast Brothers Chocolate (purchased at Art in the Age), Kraftwork in Fishtown - one of our many food stops during the weekend, dreamy lights at Frankford Hall (great beer garden, also in Fishtown)

Row 3: Pre-dinner drinks at Amada (one of our favorite restaurants), the Jose Garces tour of Philly continues at Jose Garces Trading Co: hunting down the amazing lavender truffle honey we had at Amada, a view of the dining area

Row 4: The view as we walk towards World Café Live, waiting for Eric Hutchinson to come on stage, good-night moon

Monday, May 28, 2012

Traveling = Quiet on the Blog

Planes at JFK.  Right, the enormous Airbus 380 we took to Seoul. 

I normally only post about two or three times per week, but the blog has been especially quiet as of late.  My husband and I were away for a 2+ week vacation to Korea and Hong Kong, and despite my best intentions to schedule at least one post per week while we were away, that never happened.  I had my hands full with work and then some frantic packing (note to self: for any future vacations, start planning/packing further in advance, the week before the trip is dominated by work responsibilities), so the blog had to fall by the wayside for a while.  We had a wonderful trip, and I have a ridiculous number of digital SLR and iPhone photos to sift through and curate for future blog posts. 

Just before leaving for our vacation, I purchased the VSCO CAM app, and I have to say that I love it.  VSCO CAM has so many cool editing features (e.g. exposure, contrast, saturation, vignette, grain, etc.), and it’s been fun to play around with the images directly on my iPhone.  VSCO CAM also came in handy for me because I could take/edit the pictures and then post some favorites on Instagram when I came upon a Wi-Fi connection.

 Top: Waiting an Incheon International Airport.
Bottom: (L) Leaving Hong Kong, (R) Landing at Incheon.

The photos in this post are of the various airport destinations on our trip (all taken using VSCO CAM).

Hope you’re having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fêtes: Book Inspired Baby Shower

In early spring I was in DC for a good friend’s baby shower (I’m happy to report that said friend is now the proud mother of a beautiful and healthy baby girl.).  I shared some Instagram snaps from that weekend earlier, but I wanted to do a separate post dedicated to the shower itself.  Melissa did a wonderful job planning a beautiful party for her best friend, and I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A with her about her favorite inspiration and supply sources for party planning. I was excited to see that part of her inspiration for this party stemmed from the work of Anna Bond (I’m a fan of Rifle Paper Co).

The baby shower had a book theme (all of the guests were asked to bring books for the baby, and the party favors were bookmarks featuring some great quotes about reading), which absolutely appealed to the book lover in me. 

I decided to go with two books for the baby, one for sooner and a second for later:
(1) The classic Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.  Such lovely illustrations.
(2) One of my all time favorites, the sublime A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.

Below is the Q&A session, and I’ve also included some highlights from the menu for the baby shower.  Everything was delicious, but I can attest that the sweet and spicy bacon and cupcakes were absolute highlights.

Dogearpress [DP] How did you come up with the theme for the baby shower?

Melissa [M] My problem is always MAKING A DECISION.  There are so many gorgeous inspiration photos online, and I always vacillate forever on which direction to go.  For the baby shower, I ended up deciding to use the awesome (free!) printable invitations as the jumping off point for everything else.  The invitations allow you to choose colors (such a great feature), so I chose green (Becca's favorite) and teal (my longtime color obsession).  As for the book idea, I saw the concept at Creature Comforts and at Pottery Barn Kids, but I wanted to go with more modern decor, so I just meshed that concept into the invitations I liked.  The bookmarks are at a place for twiggs, and I used a combination of an image I found online and editing tools at (sadly, no longer available) to make the bookplates.
[DP] What are your favorite sources for inspiration?

[M] PINTEREST!  Where was Pinterest when I got married?!  I used to have millions of links saved on my web browser, but now I have beautiful online pinboards.  For party inspiration, some of my favorites are,,, and the classic Martha Stewart!

[DP] Do you have any favorites places for buying supplies?

[M] I love looking at, but I usually end up buying locally (partly because I can't make a decision until it's too late to wait for shipping!) at Michaels or Joanns (bonus - they ALWAYS have coupons!).
[DP] Any tips for people embarking on party planning?

[M] Fake it 'til you make it.  I am amazed at all the creative, beautiful ideas you can find online and the fact that bloggers often share their awesome ideas for free.  I'm no Martha, but it's so easy to take elements you find online and mesh them together for something nice that isn't crazy expensive.  Also, work with what you have - I used everything from glass soda bottles to a peanut butter jar to a gravy boat as flower vases.  Stack a bowl or cup with a plate on top to make a cake stand.  Frame a piece of fabric (I happened to have that chevron fabric in the perfect color left-over from my DIY shower curtain project) for decoration.  If you're like me and get over-ambitious (read: totally insane), go through your plans and remove at least one thing.  Crossing off "homemade scones" from my to-do list saved my sanity, and I'm pretty sure there was enough food.    

Highlights from Melissa’s menu:

Spinach and Gruyère recipe from Martha, also modified for Broccoli and Cheddar

Sweet and Spicy Bacon: recipe at
Epicurious (omg, best.  thing.  ever)

Recipe from Martha Stewart (sort of) with basic butter cream frosting piped on to look like roses, which was probably my favorite thing about the shower! (besides Becca and Jon having a great time, of course!)

Thanks, Melissa for sharing your party planning secrets with us!  And to close this post are some images of two of my favorite guests at the baby shower (the dark haired little girl is Melissa's daugther!).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Artful: Andrew Bird

On Friday night, I got to see the extraordinary Andrew Bird in concert at the Beacon Theatre.  The man is so talented that it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around just how gifted he is.  For me, Andrew Bird is both poet and musician.  So when in an interview with Time Out New York Bird referred to a quote from Galway Kinnell (an American poet), “Poetry is the singing of what it is to be on our own planet,” it made perfect sense to me.  You can see two of my favorite excerpts from his songs above.

I first had the opportunity to see Andrew Bird live last summer at Prospect Park (he was the opening act of Celebrate Brooklyn!), but I have to say it was so much better to see him in a more enclosed venue like the Beacon.  The performances during the concert ranged from full out rocking numbers to far more pared down songs.  Some of my favorite moments featured him and two of the band members singing around one microphone.  Andrew Bird commented that it was much harder for them, but that when they sang this way that what they hear and what we hear is the same.  He said that ultimately in some way it felt more “honest.” You’ll get to see the more personal vocal performances in some of the videos I’ve included in this post.

In order from top to bottom:
(1) London Performance. Cover of The Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine.”  This song is achingly beautiful.  I wish I could find the version he did in New York on Friday night.  He sang it with two members of the band and the harmonies were just beyond lovely.
(2) Dallas, Texas Performance.  Cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You.”
(3) NYC Performance (the concert I was at!).  The final song Andrew Bird performed in New York was one of his own, “Fake Palindromes.” It’s my favorite off of his album “Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs.”  This version is way more rock than off the album (I actually prefer the album version), but still terrific in my opinion.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coffee Shop Sunday

[2010] Georgetown coffee shop, via Stephen's iPhone

It's been a light week, post wise, on Dogear Press.  Work has been keeping me very busy, and it's been hard to find time to spend on the blog, so today has been a real treat.  My husband and I are in Philly for a concert, and have spent most of today sitting in a Northern Liberties coffee shop.  He's been doing "work work," and I've been catching up on a little graphic design project I've been working on for a friend (to be featured here at a later time) and also working on some blog posts.

This has also given me an opportunity to think about how I'm spending my time at both work and "life" in general.  In the coming weeks (well, after we get back from an exciting family vacation to Korea and Hong Kong), one of my goals is to better manage my time both at work and at home. 

As far as work goes, a perennial challenge I've faced as a scientist is striking the right balance between bench work, data analysis, and reading the relevant literature in the field.  I tend to find myself at one extreme (usually the bench work side), and need to be better about keeping up with other people's work.

On the home front, some things I would like to work on (in no particular order): (1) prioritize exercise, (2) be better about planning and cooking meals, and (3) spend time AWAY from the computer.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Floral Stylings: White Tulips

It’s turning into a crazy week at work, so just a short, but hopefully sweet midweek pick me up post.  I requested white flowers for my birthday party earlier this year, and my husband brought home these lovely tulips.  I love these iPhone photos of the flowers from the day after the party – the tulips opened up so beautifully!