Craft & Consumption

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gardening: The sprouts they are a'comin

Back in February, while tending to my terrarium, I vowed to plan my garden a little better this year and get a head start in early spring. Gardening is just like anything else, if you don't think it through and plan it out at least a little bit, the results can be kind of lame. You get what you put into life, right?

Ok, so here's what I'm putting into my garden...

Note: I am a garden novice. I am not by any means an expert, just wanted to share with you my planting and (eventual) harvesting adventure!

I have one single raised bed right near the house. If you're considering raised beds for a veggie garden, I recommend you plan to put them as close to the house as you can. That way, running out to get lettuce for a salad or herbs for dinner isn't a 50 yard dash, but simply a short jaunt away.

So far in my raised bed, I've got: two types of lettuce, spinach, beets, radishes, parsley, cilantro, as well as yellow and white onions. These are some of the early spring vegetables & herbs that I chose to plant almost 2 weeks ago. Supposedly these hardly little guys can handle a few cool nights.

I only have 1 raised bed so far, so I have to plan my space carefully. I'm saving room for plants that need to be planted later in the spring, like tomatoes, corn, cucumber, and peas. This leaves about 1/2 of my little teeny garden unused for the next month or two. Since I have to water and tend to the little vegetable seedlings anyway, I decided to plant some flower seeds so that I have little annuals to transplant to my pots in May! Annuals can be so expensive when you buy them as plants, so if the little seedlings survive, I'll be saving a bit of money!!

I decided to plant some flower seeds that I'm told can tolerate the cold. I planted forget-me-nots, snapdragons, lupine, and bachelor buttons. I have plans for more, but need to wait until the weather warms up a bit.

The most exciting thing about this process by far is how quickly the seeds germinated and sprouted, I took these photos exactly 1 week after planting and already the lettuce and bachelor buttons were peaking through the surface!

With each group of seedlings, we followed a routine for planting (thanks for the help Pam!). We used a long stick to create uniform, shallow trenchs in the soil. Then I poured the seeds into my hand (much more control than pouring directly from the seed pack), and sprinkled the seeds in the trench, trying to space them evenly. Once the seeds were distributed, I then "pinched" the soil to cover the seeds and patted them down firmly with my hands. The final step is to get out the sprinkler and give the little guys a good soak for at least 10-15 minutes.

And wah-la... food and flowers are on the way, in just 7 days!! Isn't mother nature amazing??

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GiGi: The Greater Reading Gala

Earlier this month one of my favorite local non-profit organizations, the Greater Reading Young Professionals, hosted their annual GiGi gala. The gala is a fundraiser to benefit GRYP and provide financial support for their year-round objectives. The main goals of the organization are to improve the Greater Reading area and provide career support for local young professionals (like me!). 

Each year the event is hosted in an unoccupied building. This year it was at a vacant Burlington Coat Factory space, thus the mannequins sprinkled throughout the event decor.

Sorrelli Jewelry was a sponsor of the event (proud to call it my place of work!). We had a "sparkle spot" where guests could try on our most statement-pieces and get glamourous for a night. We even gave away 100+ stud earrings to the VIP guests! There were a  lot of happy ladies that night...

What's the use of having lots of sparkle if you're not going to make it glitter on the dance floor? Of course, where there are Sorrelli girls, there is dancing.

The dudes of Sorrelli (dashing, as always):

And some of the gorgeous ladies on our team, the Sorrelli Sales & Marketing Assistants:

And this is what I wore to GiGi, a little black dress and lots of jewels! I'm glad I got involved in GRYP and was able to make it out for a night on the town, it's great to meet other people who are career-oriented and want to do something great for their community. I felt lucky to be a part of it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week {Striped}

My friend just threw a lovely little house party last weekend with a crepe theme. She called it a "crepe soiree". Fun little striped straws definitely added to the francophile feel. Putting them in spiked lemonade made us feel like the party was a mid-summer soiree, though it's still too cold where we are in Pennsylvania to have outdoor dinner parties.

There are tons of fun party supplies on, including these striped, biodegradable straws in a myriad of colors. Admittedly, you can buy them on Amazon too for about $6 for 144, but the colors and selection are limited. 

Check out the selection at Cakes And Kids Too, an Etsy store by Julie, an American mom and entrepreneur who specializes in party supplies and accessories for cakes, cupcakes, and treats.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekend Getaway: Quebec City {Part 1}

I just returned from a magical weekend getaway in Quebec City. My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to snag free lift tickets to Le Massif, one of the best places to ski in the northeast, so off we went for a long weekend! Just as spring was arriving down in Pennsylvania, we were scooting away for a last ditch attempt to ski, ski, ski before saying goodbye to winter!

The drive up from Pennsylvania took 10 hours, Mark made a little diptych during our drive to showcase the consistent view before us. 

A full day in the car sounds terrible, but when you have wifi it just means that you get lots and lots of emails read and work done!! (Verizon hotspots are the BEST!!! If you travel a lot and don't have one, you should srsly look into it. I <3 ours!)

When we pulled up to the hotel, I felt like I was in a fairytale. The Chateau Frontenac is in its grandeur, charm, and imposing beauty. It was breathtaking. We grabbed our bags and headed inside through antique rotating glass doors made of beautiful brass. The elevator to our 4th floor room was teeny tiny, just large enough for us to jump in together. 

Our first day in town began with a wonderful brunch at Le Clocher Penché (complete with a mimosa for me & espresso for Mark). It was a Lonely Planet guidebook recommendation and definitely lived up to the review. Amazing brunch, great service, totally hip decor and equally hip clientele. I could've lounged there in the cafe and had 3 more mimosas!

After brunch we wandered around the city. Quebec City is super, super old; the French originally tried to settle there in the 1500's, then permanently set up shop in 1608. This makes Quebec City one of the oldest European settlements in all of North America (my trusted source, wikipedia). 

When you walk around the city, you really feel the history, it has this completely European charm in the architecture, the winding of the streets, and the French ambience and language. Add to that the surprise of a modern juxtapostion: you'll find yourself walking from cobblestone streets and stone buildings to a modern high-rise in just 5 or 6 blocks.

For our walking expedition, I wore my big faux fur snood, winter jacket, and Tory Burch cross-body bag. I was super comfy and warm, though the wind chill was pretty wicked and the snow was still piled high.

There's so much more to share! We had 2 more fabulous days in this gorgeous city, so be sure to check back for Part 2, filled with our visit to the Ice Hotel, lots of skiing, and more fabulous meals!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week {Newlywed Gifting}

Everywhere I turn lately, weddings are in the air. It must be this warm spring weather. From wedding showers to bachelorette parties, my weekends are totally filled with wedding festivities! This reminds me that I'll need to be buying some wedding gifts soon. 

Of course I turned to Etsy to see what unique, personalized, handmade gifts I could find out there in the wild blue yonder, made by people just like me on their kitchen tables. Check out what I found...

  • Wedding Location Print - made by BetweenEverything (Brooke from Cleveland, OH) - $24
    • One of my very best friends just got engaged in Hawaii, so this made me think of her. :) A gift like this would definitely commemorate a special time and be a beautiful little post-wedding reminder of a special engagement.
  • Muriel Address Stamp - made by LetterGirl (Gina from Minneapolis, MN)- $40
    • I am in love with the mail. Wouldn't a lovely little stamp with the newlyweds' address be a cute little wedding gift? 
A good friend once told me that the best gift she got at her wedding was a substantial little gift card to the local liquor store. She and her husband saved the gift card for their 1 year anniversary and shared a special bottle of champagne together. I think a substantial liquor store gift card and little personalized memento would be a great way to honor previous memories and provide a little bubbly for making new memories too!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Paradise in Hemingway

Last week I was entrenched in The Paris Wife, a novel about Ernest Hemmingway and his (first) wife Hadley. In the book the couple are newlyweds in Paris in the 1920's, socializing, exploring, and making friends amidst some of the most talented artists of their generation. Though fictionalized, the author based most of the book on letters, telegrams, and other correspondence she found between the two lovers of the celebrated "Lost Generation".

I was engrossed & enamored with the energy and simple, human tragedy of their story. McClain writes, in the voice of her protagonist Hadley: 

"Ernest once told me that the word paradise was a Persian word that meant 'walled garden'. I knew then that he understood...that you can't have real freedom unless you know where the walls are and tend to them. We could lean on the walls because they existed; they existed because we leaned on them."

Inspired by Paula McClain's The Paris Wife, I am now embarking on a marathon read of Hemingway's most celebrated works. I'll start with The Sun Also Rises, which was written during a trip to Pamplona, Spain that the couple and a few friends took together during the final years of Hadley and Ernest's marriage. 

How pretty is this compilation of Hemmingway novels? Have you explored Hemingway? I'm excited to begin my little reading adventure. Any advice or personal reviews are appreciated!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A little bit of Florida

Images from my recent work trip to sunny foggy Florida. 

Top left: Mint manicure and {new} vintage Coach bag. 
Top right: Ruffled lace shorts and lovely pleated mint skirt. 
Bottom left: Antlers and wine at Plum Delightful 
Bottom right: Florida palms in the foggy morning.

We ventured to Tuscany Jewelers in the Santa Rosa mall. This is my mom, me (neon!), and the store owners together.

The next day we had brunch and did a little shopping in Rosemary Beach.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week {Teeny Terrariums}

Spring is coming, yaaaaaay! I have the pleasure of gazing at my lovely little terrarium each day. The treasure trove of green in my dining room reminds me every morning as I sip my coffee and prepare breakfast that sure as the day is long, spring is coming!

A friend tipped me off to these lovely little light bulb terrariums. I love Etsy for all of the hand-crafted goodness it has to offer.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

GiGi Gala tonight!

I'm heading to GiGi tonight, a gala thrown every year in March to benefit the Greater Reading Young Professionals non-profit group. GRYP (as we like to call it) is all about bringing job opportunity and economic growth to the greater Reading, PA area. I'm reminiscing about last year and my first GiGi ever! 

Photo: Getting my hair done at GiGi by the capable ladies of Bell Tower Salon. Wearing a Geren Ford red maxi dress and lots of MiMi by Sorrelli jewelry.

MudSpot - East Village

I had the pleasure of brunching at MUD in the East Village a few weeks ago with some lovely friends. It was amazing how the cafĂ© seems so unassuming from the outside, but if you follow your hostess through espresso machines, teeny tiny tables, and narrow passageways, you'll find a lovely open-air space in the very very back to whisk you away into brunch heaven. MUD has huge, lofty sky-lights, thick concrete walls, and twinkling little lights lining the rich brick walls. 

I can personally vouch for the amazing Banana Buttermilk Pancakes and the lovely, light Huevos Rancheros. Both perfect after a night of heavy drinking and dancing :)

Some visual snippets of my time with Amanda and Justin (oh & check out Justin's fabulous men's style blog when you have a moment, Munrowe)   

Friday, March 2, 2012

Etsy Pick of the Week: {Textural White}

I'm so in love with these beautiful white little treasures, each with their own interesting textural elements.