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A mere hour from the concrete jungle that is New York City, beyond the Lincoln Tunnel, lies a land of verdant farms and bucolic landscapes! Who knew? Newton is a remnant of antebellum America and was officially incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 11, 1864. The arrival of the area’s first railroad in 1854 brought rapid commercial and residential growth. Construction of the Merriam Shoe Factory in 1873 introduced the modern factory system to Sussex County (where Newton lies) and inaugurated the town’s age of industry boom and sprawl.

Here’s a dandy little description of the town during the 19th century, found hereThe town lies upon the slope of a gentle hill, of mingled slate and limestone, at whose foot a spring sends forth the first waters of the Paulinskill, the chief river of the county … Some of the dwellings are very neat: the place has an air of business, and there is in fact a very considerable trade carried on with the surrounding country. In healthiness of situation, by the report of the inhabitants, it cannot be excelled. – Thomas Gordon, 1834.


With a population of less than 8,000 people, I am not sure so much has changed since those first days. I say this lovingly. Sometimes the ebb and flow of NYC is overwhelming, the sheer speed of evolution juxtaposed with the lack of wildlife can be trying. Sometimes, all I want to do is meander into the woods and lose myself in a leaf pile or examine the way stones skip on water. This is simply not possible in my urban existence. So, every now and then, my boyfriend and I get an invitation to escape the confines of the city and play at farm life. It was reinvigorating!

This past Sunday we travelled a mere 60 miles to Newton, New Jersey. Those 60 miles might as well be 100 years worth of construction and growth. The brick facades of Main Street and farm-stands lining the streets transported me to another era! The slight chill in the air and the foliage oscillating between red, yellow, brown and green all helped to make last weekend one of the most relaxing I have ever had  – a perfect autumnal experience!

Like my wooden name tag made with tree bark and a Sharpie? We all got to personalize our own! Please note, the table runners were burlap potato sacks!

Peter from Spirit Family Reunion made me with wonderful portrait while taking a break from playing!  He drew this in a mere 20 seconds!

The BBQ was complete with tomato bread salad, homegrown collared greens, roasted chicken, pulled pork, goat cheese beet salad, potato rolls and fried potatoes! We also played badminton, hula hoop, croquet and bean-bag toss. By the time we had finished drinking apple cider and pumpkin ale, we were all feeling pretty nicely warm and slightly buzzed. The band, Spirit Family Reunion, began to play their jug-handle, washboard, spoon-fed folk tunes on top of a grassy hill. Spirit Family Reunion plays homegrown American music that’s easy to stomp, clap, shake and holler with. As Paste Magazine writes, “Ever since they started singing together on the street corners, farmer’s markets and subway stations of New York City, their songs have rung-out in a pure and timeless way. When Spirit Family Reunion gather to sing, there is communion. Strangers and neighbors come to rejoice in the sound, and there is no divide between performer and spectator.” This magical afternoon was no exception.

Who needs a bucket of ice? 

Have you ever seen “hearty kiwis”? They are able to be grown in New Jersey! Surprise! 

Goodbye nature and time to head back to NYC! Do you ever take a “staycation” – a small weekend getaway that might as well be on another continent it feels so different? 

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My Week in Snapshots: 5/06/2012 – 5/13/2012

Somehow everyone in my life was celebrating a birthday this past weekend. It seems like I needed to be logged into Facebook posting ‘Happy Birthday’ messages, sending SomeECards, or texting friends all weekend. Everyone’s parents were clearly very busy in August. Missives and celebratory cards were sent via carrier pigeon, Morse code, and smoke signals! On Sunday, I traveled to my hometown very briefly for a family Mother’s Day Brunch! The weather was perfect for window shopping, strolling, and various forms of meandering. The transition from Spring to Summer brings some of the loveliest days.

Here are a few photos taken straight from my iPhone so that you can see friends and family through mine own eyes.

1. Historic Mount Holly was first settled in 1677 by Walter Reeves who acquired the land by payment from local Native Americans. The town, close to a dam, a main road, and a river, was the first way point between the major northeastern cities of Philadelphia and New York City. Walking through the colonnades and brick house rows feels very colonial. My family and I passed stone mills, cobblestones, and other items that are now on The National Register of Historic Places. One of the federal houses sold homemade quilts, and in the window these gorgeous flowers were blooming. Many houses from the district predate the revolutionary war and built in 1796, the County prison is now a museum. For more information, go HERE or HERE.

2. In the back of Momofuku Ssam is a new bar that opened in January 2012. The bar, named Booker and Dax, is an homeage to new techniques and technologies used in the pursuit of making delicious drinks. The approach to rethinking cocktails is considered, deliberate, and precision-oriented. Questions and curiosity are eagerly welcomed, but most of all booker and dax welcomes anyone looking for a good, strong drink. Some of their drinks are chilled used liquid nitrogen! Here I am drinking the ‘Jenny & Scott’ – yamazaki, mole and hellfire bitters. For the complete menu, visit HERE.

3. While walking through history Mt. Holly my family and I spooted a sign for a ‘Husbandman’ and were curious as to what this was. Well wouldn’t you know it, the term is an antiquated word for ‘a person who cultivates the land’, in short it means ‘a farmer’! You learn something new every day…

4. We had our family branch at a restaurant called The Robin’s Nest. I love its waterfront location and pistachio siding. The restaurant features eclectic cuisine peppered with a French American flair. The restaurant is quaint, friendly, and feels like eating brunch at home (indeed it’s in an old Victorian House), but with stellar food and drool-worthy desserts (Zagat agrees). Learn more HERE.

5. While walking home from work I was struck by the smell of something delicate and breezy. I was passing L’OCCITANE en Provence on fifth avenue. If you do not know the store, everything is sourced locally, and is one of the few cosmetics manufacturers who still produces in France. I smelled roses and lavender, but most of all was drawn in by these gorgeous Immortelle flowers. The canary yellow flowers are aptly named as they represent eternity and immortality – and are used in anti-aging skin creams. If you have not purchased a L’Occitane hand cream, do yourself a favor and order some NOW.

6. I want to click my heels together three times for my new, gorgeous sequined flats with nude piping. But really, how wonderful are these ballet slippers? AND they were under $50, HERE.

7. At work someone brought these tasty candies from Israel. The one in red is a copy of the ubiquitous ‘Kit Kat’ bar and actually phonetically reads ‘Kif Kaf’. Another one of the candies is called “Pesek Zman” and is a Hazelnut Cream Wafer Bar Covered in Milk Chocolate. These candies were DELICIOUS, I love duty-free chocolates. All are by the company “Elite” which is like the “Hershey’s” of Israel (BUT SO MUCH BETTER), if you are interested in purchasing these, I found some online HERE.

8. This is my lovely and dainty place setting from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Gift of Music spring gala at The Plaza Hotel. The evening of dinner and music (including Mozart’s Magic Flute) raised $1 million for Orchestra of St. Luke’s performance and education programs, and The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. To learn more about this exceptional chamber ensemble that helps with music education programs and performs phenomenal shows, click HERE. The music was exquisite, and hearing a performance by Eric Owens, an operatic Bass-Baritone was transformative. He makes opera fun and accessible.

Peacocks in the trees, candles burning low, and the orchestra preparing to play in the ballroom.

Men in tuxes leaving the wonderful event with swag bags from Saks Fifth Avenue!

Oh hello! That’s a picture of me waiting in the cab line.

9. Madison Square Park has a notoriously wonderful dog park and playground. Some mornings, the park even hosts yoga on the lawn. Right now, the weather has been perfect, and the area is celebrating Madison Square Eats – a sidewalk smorgasbord celebrating the district’s best restaurants. This confluence of wonderful events has been filling the park with people to the brim! You cannot miss the splashy Marimekko umbrellas!

Image and further information found HERE.

10. Club Monaco worked with the Global Goods Partners to offer hand-embroidered woven bags from the Thailand-Burma border, beaded jewelry from Guatemala, and scarves from India. The so called “beachy boutique” is an annual capsule collection featuring a variety of dresses, breezy skirts, embroidered shorts and vests in rich textures inspired by the bohemian oeuvre and cultures of exotic vacations. Global Goods is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women, alleviating poverty and promoting social justice through partnering with third-world communities. These fair trade key tassels will add pizazz to any chain or purse, more HERE.

How was YOUR week?

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Meet & Greet – Andrea

Sorry for the belated blog update, my new job is consuming my energy time like a black hole! How do you bloggers and blogettes keep up? Advice? Secrets? Magic Pills?


I first met Andrea through her cousin, Danielle, who was a friend of mine in middle school and high school. Through the transitive property, that means that Andrea is a DOUBLE friend. Back in my pseudo punk-rock teenage years, I would congregate around curbs, food courts, and malls (that usually included Hot Topics, Claire’s, and Piercing Pagodas). I might even distinctly have a memory of Andrea, wearing an Hello Kitty t-shirt, making out behind a dumpster with a boy named Al…maybe. We also went to Ska/Punk/Hardcore/XXX/Emo shows at old Veterans of Foreign War lodges, churches, and roller skating rinks. We had too many emotions so we journaled about them in live (and dead) journals. We both adore diners and have particularly fond, albeit weird memories, at a special grease joint called The Silver Diner. In a way, we clearly had the troubled upbringing of a Pink Lady from the 1950’s.

Andrea and I have both grown-up, gone through puberty (phew), and matured since then (she’s married now), but clearly we each have kept some (if not all) of our roots in geekdom. Welcome to Andrea’s humble abode!

Name: Andrea Dunlap
Location: Bordentown, NJ
Age: 26

Established in 1682, Bordentown, NJ is a “little city…with a lot of charm!” and I swear most of that charm comes from The Dunlaps.
Image found HERE.
Hello Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown, NJ.  Is ANYONE going to make a Futurama joke? Image found HERE.

Eat: We really like the Dublin Square pub down in South Jersey (near my parents) and were quite delighted to discover another one just down the street from us in Bordentown! Although that may technically be Hamilton. The roads around here still confuse me a little. Anyway the burgers and curry fries are delicious and they have all kinds of beers/ciders/etc. on tap. We’re also a fan of Jade Island, a local Chinese restaurant which is legendarily hard to get to. The food is good and the decor is tacky yet refined.

See: There is a fabulous old Britishy style building on 206 called Byland Abbey. It’s apparently a historical site but I cannot for the life of me find much about it online. Downtown Bordentown is also cute. It’s like a wee Haddonfield or New Hope, for those familiar.

Shop: I am pained to admit to the internet that I really, deeply love Target, and second to that is HomeGoods, and thirdly to that is the Forever21 in the ghetto mall near my job. Okay, and I also really enjoy Trader Joe’s because one time, a cashier with the name “Matty Ice” rang me up. Another cashier told me that I apparently have a doppelganger at their store and we share the same “energy”. Well, thank you, sir.”

Although one of us has clearly not lost her affinity for the weird ghetto Jersey strip mall culture…ahem, what is NOT to love about Trader Joe’s? I mean, I still love Kohl’s….so I can’t really be the judge. Image found, HERE.
Walkup Spacer Line
Do: “Okay so, my husband and I are kind of nerds. We used to play D&D once a week with a group of friends but due to schedules and jobs and life getting in the way, that hasn’t happened in awhile. So to fill the void in our lives, we watch TV! Our current favorites include Downton Abbey (season 3 I need you in my life, now), Bones, New Girl, The Finder, Psych, Snuff Box, IT Crowd, Luther, Sherlock, and Doctor Who. When we DO get out of the house, we love visiting New Hope/Peddler’s Village or just going to the local B&N to read and relax.”
Unicorns, sprinkles, glasses, and moustaches – we have been attached by a nerd coven! From left to right, Eddy (Andreas friend who made the Pokemon pictures she has), DJ (he likes wrestling and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Andrea in, of course, a unicorn shirt. She was at Barcade (A BAR AND ARCADE) in Philly for another friend’s birthday.

And now for her grand apartment tour!!

Andrea writes, “This is a little rug I bought from Ross (I know, I know, but occasionally I find something decent, even though it is the Wal-Mart of the discount stores). I like strawberry designs but I do not like actual strawberries, go figure. At the top of the stairs, there is a lot of Pokemon art. I told you we were nerds. The poster was a whopping dollar from Chinatown in Philly a million years ago, and the two paintings (well, they’re stencils/paintings/spray paint/graffiti/whatever) were made by our very talented friend Eddy. The chalkboard contraption is from IKEA, my home away from home. I like to change the illustration every month. Actually, right before I took the picture I realized it still said April… awkward.”
I present to you a drama in several acts, through a series of bookcase vignettes. Andrea explains some history of this visual extravaganza, “The books are never ending. The shelf with the dragons is my “sci-fi” shelf. Yes, my books are organized by genre. Yes, I used to work at Borders. Yes, my husband did too and that is where we met. There’s also my decidedly creepy Jigglypuff collection. He’s my fave. Books, books, everywhere! And not a drop to drink. Er, read.”
“Someone told me this dog is from some Barbie set from a million years ago. No idea if that’s correct. The dolls are from an old dollhouse. The dog/dolls were my mom’s.”
“I sewed that tooth myself! The Snoopy toy plays the Peanuts theme song. Yes, that is the face of Anne Frank peeking out from behind the tooth. It’s the audio version of her diary and I only bought it because it was $6 on clearance and I felt guilty leaving it there. (Jewish guilt is hard to argue with.)”

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