Let me begin by telling you that the majority of my time in Philly a couple weeks ago was spent drinking and eating. That was the plan all along, and I couldn’t have had more fun. I’ve decided to dedicate an entire entry, by its lonesome, to only restaurants and bars. It will make my life easier, and this sort-of-kind-of counts as a BITTW post! Nice, right?
Timothy I got into town on Tuesday afternoon, and after picking up a rental car and checking into our hotel, we met up with friends for lunch and drinks. This was my first time visiting Philadelphia, and it was really nice to be there with people who knew where to go. Pete and Natalie made my trip a really wonderful one. I love you guys, seriously.
Here’s a breakdown, with links where applicable. I ate all the things.
National Mechanics / bourbon flight at Village Whiskey
- Village Whiskey (duck fat fries with Sly Fox cheese sauce, black bean and lentil veggie burger with pickled cabbage + Commodore cocktail, bourbon flight)
- The Victoria Freehouse
- National Mechanics (Cupertino Mule cocktail)
- Eulogy Bar and Tavern
- Cuba Libre (shared Cuban sandwich spring rolls, papas rellenas, Barrio Chino chicken wings)
- The Franklin Fountain (green tea and teaberry milkshakes)
National Mechanics was hands down my favorite bar we visited the entire trip. Both NM and Village Whiskey had the cozy, comfortable vibe that I look for in a bar. I often feel out of my element when I go out, but both places made me feel right at home. National Mechanics was one of those places that Tj went to at one point and immediately knew he had to take me there. He knows me pretty well. Taxidermy everywhere. I was utterly in love.
- Couch Tomato/Tomato Bistro (prosciutto/roasted red pepper/provolone/arugula pizza)
- Estia (Estia chips (fried eggplant and zucchini with tzatziki), saganaki (pan fried kefalograviera cheese with lemon), octopodi (char-grilled octopus with onions/dill/roasted peppers/capers), dolmades, romaine salad, kotopoulo (roasted chicken over caramelized onions and yogurt orzo with lemon and thyme) + Athens Smash cocktail)
- Tequilas (margarita made with rose-infused tequila, muddled rose petals, and lime)
Wednesday was my LUSH spa day; the gang spent some time at Brü while I was otherwise engaged, and I joined them after my treatment. Estia was our “fancy” dinner out. We shared approximately a million appetizers (there was six of us), so I may have missed one or two. What an amazing restaurant, though.
- Brü (again, solo for lunch)
- Village Whiskey (again, solo for an Old Fashioned)
- Stateside (branzino with smoked poblano peppers, black beans, plantain + Ward 8 cocktail)
- Cantina Los Caballitos
- Chickie’s & Pete’s
I finished my trip with a solo mini-adventure day while Tj was at work. Pete was awesome enough to bring me into the city so I could visit a couple museums and wander around; he rejoined me later in the evening for dinner and drinks. I am actually a little uncertain if we went to Cantina Los Caballitos. It may have been somewhere else. This is the sort of situation where social media actually comes in pretty handy; my memory is never as vivid as I hope it will be.
- Green Eggs Cafe (huevos rancheros skillet)
Our flight wasn’t until a little later, so Tj and I joined Pete and Natalie for breakfast. Natalie ordered red velvet pancakes, and I ate a small corner of her pancake pile before feeling like I maybe needed a nap. Huevos was a bit of an OOC breakfast order for me, but I wasn’t feeling quite up to eating a pile of pancakes and getting on a plane. I was feeling like spicy was a good idea. It was, but now I have dreams about those pancakes.
Do you see what I mean about this being a food trip, though? I feel like I did a pretty good job of staying well rounded (veggie burger, hello)! I ate a little bit of everything and drank some good whiskey. Perfect birthday.
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It’s almost my birthday week! Hooray! I’ve been feeling like a bit of a sad sack about the whole thing, despite my best efforts. Talk about your highs and lows, I guess. Yesterday was a rather crushing low, but today I’m on the up-swing. On a scale of 1 to 10 (which is not actually a large enough scale for this kind of thing at all), I’m somewhere around a 5? A slight step above “okay,” which I would consider acceptable. I’m eating lunch and getting things done and enjoying my book. Yesterday was an hour-by-hour struggle for survival. That sounds really dramatic, but that’s honestly how it felt.
I do think it’s going to be a good year. In the end, that does depend entirely on me. It’s my attitude and my actions that are going to make it. I may need to be slightly more accepting of help from those who are not within my tiny circle.
Timothy and I were talking on the phone about reinventing of self. I don’t know how I feel about reinventing. I do, however, like the idea of revisiting and refreshing. I am currently musing over goals for my next year on this planet. Tomorrow I need to buckle down and compose some scholarly e-mails, but tonight I’m simply appreciating the fact that the future currently exists, and that there’s a place for me in it. Like, tomorrow I will be able to write e-mails I don’t want to write! That’s pretty incredible.
So, I turn 30 in like… two weeks. Cool. I had wanted to write a “Thirty Before 30” recap, but I’ve come to believe that the whole magic number bucket list concept is maybe kiiind of ageist. While I originally thought it was a fun idea (which I blame entirely on the young, hip upper-middle class blogging community), I now have a sneaking suspicion that the list implies that these things will be somehow be less fun or meaningful after turning 30. As if once you exit your twenties you are no longer a vibrant, adventurous, or useful person. 30 is somehow the new dead.
I have one life in front of me, a limited few years, during which I would like to experience so many things. Many of these I will never get to experience, either before or after turning 30.
I guess that was a little depressing? And, negative. Sorry. I don’t mean it that way. I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with prioritizing, but sometimes life just happens. And I’m sure a lot of people will read this post as a cop-out. We make choices that don’t always lead us to a place where we accomplish our goals in a timely manner, or at all. I don’t want my life to be a checklist. ‘X’ the boxes, check, check, then it’s done. I don’t want to feel sad that I didn’t accomplish a, b, and c, when maybe instead I chose d, j, and l. Or whatever. I want to take full responsibility for both my action and inaction. My list is fluid, and always on the table.
I am looking forward to turning 30. I am thankful I have survived. People have said that I am fragile (ps that is a really insulting label for a human being), and while I may be sensitive, that does not equate to fragility. I may not be a take-it-all-while-she-can powerhouse, but that’s just not my personality; I don’t want to be that person, and that certainly doesn’t mean I’m fragile. Fragile people are breakable.
Sensitive people sometimes have debilitating anxiety and depression. Sometimes we get caught up in putting the needs of others before our own. Sometimes we feel like breaking, but we power through. We become a little stronger. We realize the things we want are, after all, important. We recover. We may heal slowly, but we do not break.
We hike The Great Wall. We swim with sea turtles in the Caribbean. We climb mountains, read books, try new foods. We attend graduate school at Harvard. We stay in pajamas until 2:00 in the afternoon.
We turn goddamned thirty. And hopefully eighty. I like to think my chances of survival are pretty high.
T minus 12 days.
One of the tasks on my “thirty before 30” list was to swap out some basic wardrobe pieces for more sustainable and/or higher quality options. It’s taken time (of course), but I’ve made quite a bit of progress, there! Tackling my closet was a great place to start. Now, I just need to drag the pile of donations to work with me.
First on the update list was underwear. I talked a bit about my search here. I am still on the lookout for bras and lingerie, but for my basic day-to-day comfy undies, I went with Pact. Their quality, ethics, and customer service are outstanding. I was able to replace four pairs over Christmas using a coupon, and will continue to replace my remaining “normal” undies as they wear out.
As for the bras and lingerie, I’m having a really difficult time finding ethically produced or sustainable pieces in the size(s) I need, let alone pieces that I’m in love with. I may have to simply choose quality over all else, with the intent that these pieces will last me a long while. If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!
Tj once sent me this really great piece about personal uniforms that I appreciated, particularly in regards to my current job at Goodwill. I don’t think I’ll be there too much longer, but if I am, it’s something I’d like to actively put into practice. My own work wardrobe is pretty limited to pieces that are nice-ish, long-lasting pieces that won’t be a huge loss if I somehow catch them on a pallet or open a bag of attic debris on them. It’s a really fine balance. I’ve been wearing jeans nearly every day since cold weather set in, but summer will mean three months of skirts, tees, and sanuks. I don’t feel limited, and I still look retail professional if I throw on nice earrings and a lightweight scarf (and maybe switch out the shoes). I think having a work “uniform” allows me to be more creative in my personal time, which is the time that actually matters to me right now.
Horny Toad // Sanuk // EMS
I very recently replaced one black tee shirt, a black tank, and a white tank with pieces from Threads4Thought. I am happy with their price points ($10-$15), but I don’t think these items will last as long as I was hoping. I think my best bet will be to wear them as many times as possible between washes. The only other T4T item I own is a hi-low skirt that needs handwashing, so wear & tear hasn’t yet been an issue.
I used to be one of those people who washed something even after wearing it for only an afternoon; I ended up with way too many clothes and really itchy skin. Now I have fewer clothes that I wear more often. BUT I really like clothes. If you read this blog, you may have figured that out, but you’ll also know that I do try to keep things simple and that I want my purchases to matter. I don’t like fast fashion. I try my hardest to shop fair, and I buy more unique pieces second hand instead of new. I make some exceptions. I am privileged. I am part of the culture. With fewer pieces in my closet, though, I am much happier spending that extra $5 for an ethically produced article of clothing versus spending less for more (quantity) at Target. The T4T tops were good buys for me, even if I only get a year or so out of them.
black & grey, always
Remaining on the update list:
- 2+ additional tee shirts
- 2+ layering camis (looking at LL Bean)
- black skirt (Dahlia skirt, PrAna)
- trustworthy teeshirt bra
- black flyaway cardi (again, LL Bean a likely candidate)
Suggestions? Thoughts? Share in comments!
I tend to set my “goals” for the year on my birthday rather than on the first of January, but I would like to play along. Auld lang syne and whatnot. In 2013, I waded gingerly outside my comfort zone. This year, I go all in, up to my neck, with waves hopefully no higher than four feet.
In 2014, I will be turning thirty.
I will eat good food.
I will read more books.
I will be open;
I will allow myself to heal.
I will spend time in the sun.
I will make art.
I will be brave.
There are no numbers, here, only fluid forward motion. 2013 involved many stops and starts. This year, I will follow through.
* As a short human, four foot waves are actually sort of scary.
Thanks for stopping by. My name is Naomi, and this space is made of girldust. This blog is a picture of my comfortably scattered life on the coast of Maine. I'm trying to be a slightly better version of myself every day. I like old houses, reading, the ocean, ghost stories, and museums. You can learn a little bit more about me here. Follow along elsewhere, or get in touch: