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Family Favorites – Winter 2011

The weeks have been flying by & I’m so glad that I have snapped these photos to remember all of these fun wintry memories. I’m grateful for snow days like these where I can cozy up, stay indoors, sip some hot cocoa & work on my blog in between reading & washing dishes that have been calling my name for far too long.

I love working for a company that gives me snow delays or days off when the weather is bad…and I am certain that for as long as I work there, I will watch the weather channel with great anticipation of as much snow as possible, praying and waiting to hear the news that I have a snow day! The excitement feels the same now as it did when I was a kid. Thanks to the eighteen inches of snow that have given me two days off from work. I have officially lost track of day and time and it feels so good.

Cookie-baking is an annual tradition here in our house! FOUR generations of us get together for an entire day of cookie-baking. Here’s a cute picture of Madi & “Little Dot”:)

Popop & his Madi-girl!

I’m so glad I captured this classic look on my brother’s face on Christmas night…the toys and wrapping paper flowed endlessly throughout the day and we all started to look like this as the day went on.

Chewing gum and losing teeth

She was uninterested in my affection!

We couldn’t keep her from laughing long enough to get a good family portrait…but I prefer it to be this way:)

Blowing out Popop’s candles is a welcomed group effort.

Princess Madeline, foil-crown & all.

The Wise’s Family Portraits

This past weekend was the weekend of nonstop birthday celebrations. Here are some great family shots of Sara & the Wise clan from her 25th birthday celebration. I had fun editing with my own self-made vintage presets on Aperture. Here is a glimpse into our day:


Brooke Fraser :: Inspiration

One of my favorite artists & great musical inspirations is Brooke Fraser. I was recently able to see her at World Cafe Live, first row, during a dinner show, with my best friend. I was absolutely in heaven…and got to capture the stunning shots below.

I love the following excerpt from her website…mostly because I can deeply relate to what she shares.

Held every year on verdant polo grounds in Indio, California, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is many things to many people: A way to hear the best alternative music, a giant lawn party of hipsters wearing hemp sunhats, or the one place you can gawk at members of super-bands as they ride around on golf carts. For Brooke Fraser, Coachella 2009 was the event that re-awakened her desire to make music. It was April and the New Zealand-born singer and songwriter was burnt out after completing a three-year tour supporting her second album, 2006’s Albertine, which debuted at No. 1 in New Zealand, reached five times platinum, and remained in the Top 20 for nearly a year. “I felt so exhausted, I could barely get out of bed,” Fraser says, “let alone think about writing songs for a third album.”

As the sun went down over Indio on the Saturday night of Coachella 2009, Fraser found herself watching one of her favorite bands, Fleet Foxes. “Robin Pecknold began to sing and the purity of his voice seemed to melt away every memory of trauma and disillusionment,” she recalls. “Then the other voices joined his and it all felt so human and honest; I and everyone around me was enthralled.  We were all being spoken to, and we were all listening. It was a moment where I remembered the power of music as a language, a connector. I remembered that I’ve been given the gift of speaking a particular dialect of this language and realised I didn’t have the option of being resigned to silence and I didn’t want it.”

“I’ve never used as many characters or as much narrative in my songwriting as I have on this record,” Fraser says. “On my previous albums [2003’s What To Do With Daylight and Albertine], I was singing completely as myself, which is why I think I got so burnt out from touring. Albertine was inspired by incredibly significant events and people and every time I’d sing I’d go back to that moment where my heart was ripped open. So singing such heavy songs nearly every night for three years took a toll. On Flags, it’s still me speaking, but it’s me speaking through the voices of different characters and their stories. It’s more survivable.”

Green Eyed Lady

On a lovely spring days a few years back, my parents were in town visiting me. We spent the day strolling through the streets of West Chester – admiring the blooming flowers and beautiful window boxes, picking our favorites of all of the quaint houses that lined the streets, eating some Thai at our favorite restaurant Jazmine’s, & doing some window-shopping. Mom & I perched ourselves outside of the Green Eyed Lady, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, drawn in by their beautiful vintage jewelry.

My dad, used to being outnumbered by women, patiently waited in his usual fashion outside of the store while we “quickly” ran inside to look around just a little bit longer. It didn’t take long before we were greeted by Mary, the shop owner, and we were swapping stories like old friends. After awhile my dad even came in & joined the conversation while we found ourselves checking out with some pretty new pieces of jewelry.

Being a resident of the borough, I pop in to shop and visit Mary whenever I’m closeby & I feel so fortunate that she has become a very dear friend to me over the years. Not only is the pricing incredibly affordable (talk about some great bargains!!), but the selection of her fun clothes and timeless new and vintage jewelry is really incomparable to any shop in the area. The exciting news is that there has been a 2nd store location that has recently opened in Kennett Square, run by Mary’s son & daughter-in-law. As they are in the process of getting their website renovated, I recently popped over to her West Chester shop to take some fun pictures for her to post. Feel free to check out more of her items online or stop in to the store & say hello! You can also friend them on facebook & enter to win a free gift certificate each month.

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