Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Visit Philly: The Clay Studio

Before you close this down because you think you don't care about clay or a studio about it, let it be known that I am not arty and I am not the girl who could get lost in a museum for hours. To be honest, I was initially visiting The Clay Studio to purchase a one of a kind mug because, as you know from Instagram, I'm into coffee mugs and I was interested in having one that was one of a kind. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by what I found at The Clay Studio.

It felt accessible. By accessible, I mean that while I marveled at the skill that's obvious in the pieces I saw, I didn't feel overwhelmed or art stupid. I've been to museums and wandered around thinking I'm pretty sure I should be feeling some kind of way about this art but I'm mostly feeling hungry for the meal I was promised after this. 

That didn't happen at The Clay Studio. All the good feelings applied to my visit: interested, engaged, laid back. I think it helped that the gallery bright and open, not too large or too full. I could get close to the pieces, move well around the space, look at the pieces from a lot of angles, and even interact with one piece that had a moving component. I didn't feel overwhelmed. I took my time and walked around and enjoyed myself. When I visited, pieces from the Marge Brown Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition were up. My three favorites from that exhibition:

1. I visited the day my fuck it phase blog was posted so I bonded with this piece immediately. This is called Noise by Kelly Stevenson from Georgia State University and was my very favorite in the whole place.
2. This spoke to the organizer, categorizer, and collector in me. This is called Inventory of Value and is by Julia Six of the Tyler School of Art here in Philly. If I had a place to display this in my current home, it would have been mine.
3. I kept going back to stare at this one, called King Fisher by Benjamin Lambert from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Then you have the shop. It's laid out well - bright, clean, colorful, and lovely - and invites you to touch, to open, to want to possess. I limited myself to a mug (Jack Pardue) and a vase (Jennifer Martin), but that plate down there? I want it. And I will be returning, not only to see new exhibitions, but because they have some cool stuff going on. 
Some upcoming events:

1. Date night - only this doesn't have to be with your partner. It can be with your mom, your best friend, your coworker. Hell, it can be you by yourself. It's twice a month from 7-9 p.m. and it's $35/pp for non-members. You get to throw on the potters' wheel like you're Demi Moore in Ghost except with your clothes on and in public. Beer, wine, light snacks, clay, and tools are included. You have the option to have them glaze, fire, and ship your stuff to you for an additional $10. For dates and to register, click here. They book up quickly so get on it!

2. First Friday - this Friday from 5-8 you can throw on a pottery wheel and be right in the thick of things.

3. Clay Fest on Saturday, September 12 - This is right before my vacation, so I can't be there but you should be! Free community festival with Handcrafted Ice Cream Social, live raku firing, wheel battles (studio artists go head to head in a battle on the pottery wheel), music, and more. Everything gets started at 10 a.m.

There's so many other things going on there (classes, tours and demonstrations for groups, summer Clay Camps for kids, etc). You should really check it out and throw it some love...get it? Throw pottery? Throw it some love? Come on. Philly masquerades as all Rocky and cheesesteaks all the time, but we also have a great art scene and I'm not just talking about those little Parkway museums like the Barnes, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or the Rodin Museum (to name a few). I for one should take advantage of it more.

The Clay Studio Particulars

Website: www.theclaystudio.org
137-139 North Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-925-3453

Hours: 11a-6p Monday through Saturday, Noon - 6p on Sundays. The Clay Studio is also open from 5p-9p the first Friday of every month for First Friday.

Free to enter, but donations are accepted. If you go, please donate at least a dollar. Don't be a chump.
The Clay Studio is right next to Elfreth's Alley, so you can get a twofer out of the trip - a little history, a little art. If you're coming down from Center City, just hop on the Market Frankford Line and get off at 2nd Street, cross over Market and it's a few blocks down on the right. If you're driving, there are plenty of parking options but the studio will validate for the Parkominium lot at 231 N. Second Street, just north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Other options for parking and directions from all areas can be found by clicking here.
Thanks to my friend Jen from high school for walking through the gallery and shop with me! It was a great way to spend a Tuesday lunch hour.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

TWTW - the one with the girls at the lake

I am enormously lucky in the friend/framily department. Not only do I have my BFFs of 20+ years, but I also have my adult life BFFs like the ladies I spent this weekend with (missed you Michelle & Amanda)! Every summer we spend a dedicated weekend together. We used to go to the shore but now the new locale is Lori's lake house. We had a peaceful and relaxing weekend of just being, but just being together. No makeup, all lounge attire all the time, no showers aside from the lake for the majority of us until Sunday. LOL. Nap when you want, walk when you want, float when you want, eat when you want, drink when you want. It was glorious.

Thursday night I had awesome mail to open before I left - the newest Judy Blume from the Literary Ladies Book Club girls and library card and pug socks from Mod Cloth. Debbie and I set out at 6:30 and the dogs were total assholes the entire ride. After 15 minutes, I said good Lord I swear the ride feels like four hours already. Alas, it was not. Debbie wrangled Mae for the entire nearly three hour ride, and we arrived around 9:30, saw the blue moon, and promptly passed out.
My darling dearest Gus decided to get up at 4. I kept him at bay until 5, but then it was time to get up. Once I saw what waited outside, I wasn't too mad. Lori and I got the food and beer shopping out of the way early too, which was great.
Jenn and Melissa arrived before noon, and we set out to float. I got in the freaking lake without a wet suit or lake shoes, you guys. And I floated. And didn't mind it. We had the lake pretty much to ourselves Friday, and it was pretty sweet. Let me tell you paddling around out there is a bit of a workout. Good thing since Friday morning alone I ate swedish fish, a donut, and fried chicken. Yikes and also YOLO. And why yes, I do have video of Melissa threatening me for videoing as I laugh like a maniac after her new raft Big Pink deflated in the middle of the lake.
Boat rides happened both nights with Captain Lori at the helm.
Saturday morning we headed into Montrose for a little look around.
It was mimosa and gabbing o'clock when we got back.
We floated away the afternoon again. Hijinks include Jenn capsizing on a raft while holding her beer aloft, dockside food service, and Mae really getting into the spirit of girls' weekend and getting out on the lake with Auntie.
Lori got us pizza and we lazed around before spur of the moment deciding it was ice cream time. I went on this adventure in my pajamas, sans bra. If you like to judge people who go out in public in pajamas, look no further. The buck stops here. The summer fuck it phase continues.
Sunday morning there was fog rolling across the lake and it was awesome. I took eleventy billion photos. When it was clear, Jenn and I went for a canoe ride. My first and only time on a canoe was Memorial Day weekend but Sunday I was out there steering that shit like a boss. Thanks to Jack for the good lessons.
We made an exception for the boy dogs. They all had a blast, they love the lake house.
Lots of laughs, lots of floating, lots of talks, lots of flip flops, lots of beautiful lake views, and one majestic eagle. I love these ladies. Thanks so much to Lori for hosting.
All good things must come to an end. I was home by two on Sunday and spent the afternoon inside with the dogs, away from the heat. I meant to be super productive but was only about half successful - I made egg muffins for breakfasts, Sunday sauce/spaghetti/broccoli/garlic bread for dinner, and took out some chicken to thaw for the week.I have lunch plans Monday and Tuesday but will do salads the rest of the week. I ordered groceries, changed the sheets, washed sheets and towels, paid bills, and picked up a bit around the house. Boring hausfrau shit, you know.

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I truly hope every one of you has the gift of friendship in your life. You can't top it.

I have to wish one of our best friends, Evan, a very happy birthday. He celebrated it yesterday. If you're looking for a photographer in the PA/NJ area, Evan's your guy. Check out the Evan Leslie Images web page here and facebook page here. Ev does a lot of weddings, maternity (he worked for a maternity magazine, he's the real deal), and kid shoots (he is phenomenal with kids) but I've had him do head shots for my firm and he's great at commercial work too. The consummate professional. Give him a ring.

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, July 31, 2015

TWTW - the spontaneous shore weekend

Last Friday morning I was sitting at my desk staring down the bottom of my iced coffee, already waiting on 5 p.m. even though I had no solid plans for the weekend aside from sweet sweet freedom. I checked my email and found one from a little shore motel in Stone Harbor. I had halfheartedly looked around for rooms earlier in the week, fully expecting everyone to be booked up, which they were. It is the Jersey shore in July, after all. But what was this gift? A cancellation at the Lark Motel. I frantically dialed MFD and even Mr. Last Minute MFD had a little I have work to do I can't just go freakout. Then he realized there was WiFi and he was all in. So I did something I never do - made a last minute decision to go away for the weekend. Cross another off the 40 before 40. Even though I'd thought about it earlier, I had no clothes laid out, nothing packed, no dog care set up, no food bought, no fresh pedicure, no laundry done, no food prepped for the week. I'd be starting from scratch when I got home at 6. Sometimes you just have to say fuck it, right? So we did. We threw everything in the car, hit Wawa and DD, and took the back roads with the windows down and sang our hearts out.
Before I go any further, I need to take a minute to appreciate being at a place in life where we can drop it all and go to the shore at the last minute. After many years of struggling along, there's not one minute of the day that I don't thank my stars that we are where we are right now. Both of us have busted our asses and sweated blood to get here and the hard work is not over, but it was and is worth it. We are fortunate. I am grateful. And on nights like Friday so grateful I almost cry.

I know, I know, just get to the photos, right? Both of us have been going to the shore every summer for our whole lives and neither of us have ever stayed in Stone Harbor as adults. The impetus to stay there this weekend was pure convenience - MFD's stringband had a concert there Saturday night. The Lark ended up being a three minute walk from where the concert would be. Kismet. It's a cute, sleepy little town where people look dressed up even though they're being casual.

Around Stone Harbor...
Saturday morning sunrise...
Ferko concert...
Saturday beach scenes - I spent over 10 hours on the beach Saturday. Glorious. A seagull took swooped in and took part of my sandwich after I nearly murdered people in hanger (which is why MFD is eating his under the umbrella below like Farnsworth Bentley) and people sat right on top of me, but it was still just a glorious day.
Weekend food was basically iced coffee, pizza, and ice cream. 
Sunday we did a little shopping and Farmers Marketing in Stone Harbor before driving over to Sea Isle so we could spend the day on the beach with the Sannellis.
Sunday beach day in Sea Isle, in which the Diva was the star attraction of course...
Sunday night we were supposed to leave around 8. MFD was fishing down at the inlet late, which left me to go to La Costa with Frank and Amanda. MFD joined us for a red bull, and we decided to go see a bit of LeCompt at the Springfield. I was in my bathing suit the whole time because MFD had the car and all of my stuff in it so I couldn't shower. Welp! It ended up being a good night anyway. Thankful for a sober driver who did the long haul home after midnight so I could enjoy a night out at the shore.

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I finished a book and started another. I saw a sunrise Saturday but slept in until 8 on Sunday. I spent a lot of time just being. And that was great. Thanks to Mindy for watching our dogs last minute and to the universe for all things good.

I'm happy I got that in just in time for another weekend to begin. That should always be the way, shouldn't it?

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

1. I've been trying something new on Tuesdays since they're historically a day that serves little purpose: I've been scheduling something fun or that I've been wanting to do. This past Tuesday I went to The Clay Studio in Old City. Thanks to my friend Jen from high school for showing me around! I bought a vase and a mug because I have a strong love for beautiful and interesting things, and The Clay Studio is full of them. A full post on The Clay Studio is coming on Tuesday. Until then, here's my new functional, beautiful art. I meant to only buy a mug (I chose one by artist Eric Pardue and I want all of his things now) but could not stop looking at and touching this beautiful vase so I ended up with that as well. I'll share more of my favorite pieces on Tuesday, and some cool events you can do at the studio.
2. To get to The Clay Studio, I took the Market Frankford line from 15th Street. It's always an education and quite an interesting experience. This time I got schooled on how it doesn't matter if you drive without a license - driving without a license is fine, yo, no one has to tell you you can drive or not - but your car has to be registered or you'll get pulled over. I learned this from a guy with a tear drop tattoo under his eye and the worst sunburn I've ever seen. Maybe spend more time applying sunblock and less time pontificating on driving rules, son.

3.  For those without a calendar, it's the last Thursday in July. Remember being young when summer seemed to last forever and the school year lasted even longer? The thing that's surprised me the most as the years go by is the increased speed with which they do so the older you get. Speaking of time flying, I placed my order for my Plum Paper 2016 planner. See my review on my 2015 one here. This is the front design for my next one:

4. Is it possible to pay to shoot a rocket up the ass of the fool dentist who killed Cecil the Lion? I don't have $55,000, which is the gross amount of money he paid for the opportunity to kill a majestic creature like Cecil, but I do have $5, which is about what his idiot self is worth. Someone take my money. I'm ready. Fucking cretin.
via
5. Sandra Bland. Four marines in Chattanooga. I haven't mentioned either here because I hate when I can't find the words to say what I feel. A woman pulled over for not using a turn signal to switch lanes ends up in jail and fucking dead? What kind of world is this? Four marines who signed up to serve this country are shot dead on American soil because they represent the ideals of America which terrorists hate? What kind of world is this? I'm looking inward - what can I do? How can I affect change? By using affect instead of effect, I mean how can I change the way I see change happening? Change is not happening fast enough. Hate is living in the corners of hearts and minds, secreted away and denied. We all suffer when that happens. I know the world has always been a crazy, violent, and imperfect place but it feels like we should've evolved past some of this by now.

6. I like TBT photos but this made me laugh and it's true sometimes. Like I don't get it when people are like TBT to last week or even TBT to last year. No. That's not what a throwback is. Those are recent memories and you still look the same. Climb into the way back machine and give me something good, preferably of you with questionable hair or poor fashion choices.

7. My Mae doll is no dummy. She knows the best pillow around is Gus and she sleeps on him frequently. Geege prefers to sleep solo or near a people instead of another dog.
8. Last weekend I showed MFD a photo shared by a friend from high school on IG. In it, he was wearing Hoth Vans. MFD loves Star Wars and he loves Vans. He was unaware that the two were joined in matrimony. He began a search immediately and these arrived for him last night. Spy subtly placed Yodas, do you?
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9. Today is my Friday. Boom. Looking forward to girls' weekend at the lake!

10. Ecard of the week:

Did you enter to win a $25 Amazon giftcard?
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Linking up with Kristin and Joey for Stuff & Things

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Recommendations


Hello hello friends! You know the drill. Skimmers, recommendations are in bold (and typically clickable). Kelli from Kellibeans and my long-time friend Frank (his birthday is today!) are joining me for recommendations this month.



Follow Kelli from Kellibeans on
Twitter     Bloglovin    Instagram   

1. KIND Vanilla Blueberry Bars - When I was waiting for my diabetes test results I was looking for something sweet but not sugary or heavy in starch. I found the KIND Vanilla Blueberry bars and fell instantly in love. Made with 5 super grains and sweetened with Vanilla and Tapioca they're the perfect healthy treat.
via Kind website

2. Fresh Fruits and Veggies From the Farmer's Market - Not only is fresh much better than anything found in your grocery store produce section, helping support your local farm community is important. Buy fresh and buy local whenever possible even if it costs a little bit more.

3. Bath and Body Works Oahu Coconut Sunset - When BBW discontinued coconut breeze I had to find a new summery scent. With a little bit of amber added in the musky yet summery scent is perfect for after beach showers. 
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4. Mary Kay at Play triple layer tinted lip balm - One of my new friends sells Mary Kay so even though I'm not a huge make up person I wanted to support her endeavor by ordering something. This lip balm leaves lips feeling soft but not too heavy or waxy and the light hint of color is perfect for summer. It smells good too!

5. A Library Card - Everyone is always concerned with exercising their bodies but what about your minds? The library offers tons of mind exercise for free, whether e-books, audio books, or the real thing are what you crave most libraries offer a little bit of it all.
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1. Juststrings.com. It is the best site for buying strings for instruments that are on the more rare side. It's impossible to find good banjo strings in retail music stores.

2. Snark SN-8 Super-tight all-instrument tuner. Snark tuners are the absolute best tuners when there are 50 horns blaring and you need to tune your banjo/guitar.
3. Bruno's Pizza & Restaurant in Haddonfield, NJ. Bruno's is a great local italian restaurant near us. It's small and hard to park near but it is worth every penny. Bruno is an awesome host and the seafood is as fresh as down the shore.

4. Summer Infant Pop n' Play Portable Playard. This play pen has made our trip to Sea Isle with a one year old unbelievably pleasant. It folds up in minutes and is light and lets in plenty of shore breezes.
5. Luther on Netflix. It is well-acted, full of suspense and the characters are all insane.
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1. Reusable cold brew coffee filter pouches. I'm not sure I can describe how much easier these little ditties have made cold brewing my own coffee at home. No more messy straining and fighting against cheese cloth. No more inability to make cold brew coffee when I travel. As long as there's a refrigerator, I'm all set. There was much wringing of hands before my trip to Emerald Isle until I found this solution to my how to get my cold coffee made there problem. 

2. eBags slim packing cubes. I'm into the packing cubes in general right now, and I'm about to color code my entire next trip but for now the only ones I've used are the slim packing cubes and they are awesome. 

3. The Naked Bee Lavender & Beeswax Lotion. This feels like a fucking dream, and it smells like one too. It's a little pricey but quite soothing. The pomegranate version is not too bad, but for the love of god do whatever you need to do to avoid the orange blossom honey version. I haven't smelled the sandalwood. Use at your own risk.

4. Lucky Brand Betwixt Bootie. I bought two things from the Nordie's anniversary sale and these were one of them. They arrived and I put them on and proceeded to parade around my home Tuesday night in booty shorts that never see the light of day and these booties that will see plenty of days. I'm sure I looked ridiculous (and sorry for the crap photos) but the bottom line is these suckers are comfortable. Like, more so than a lot of my flats. They have a lot of cushion and I hope they don't lose that as I wear the shit out of them this fall. 
Thanks to Kelli & Fronk for joining me this month. Let us hear yours! What are you recommending this month? Oh yes, I'm also recommending you enter to win $25 giftcard to Amazon. Anyone can win so step right up.



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