Choose & Cut: Christmas Trees

Last weekend, Pete and I headed to Hague’s Christmas Trees with Betty White in tow to search for our very own Christmas tree. This was our first time cutting one down all by ourselves, and I must say, I liked the farm experience much more than picking a pre-cut tree. We ended up going with a Scotch Pine, which had loads of adorable pine cones on it (although most of them didn’t survive the bumpy ride home).

Sorry for the unfortunate photos of us—the sun was harsh and made us look crazy, but at least it was warm out.

They had loads of wreaths, berries, glittery pine cones, and other goodies to choose from. Where do you guys get your seasonal decor—did anyone else go to a local tree farm to spread some holiday cheer?

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New Beginnings: Generocity

As some of you may recall, back when Pete popped the question, I also had some other exciting things to celebrate that same day. Generocity, the Greater Philadelphia area’s source for nonprofit news and networking, had contacted me for an interview. To be given the opportunity to put the spotlight on the nonprofit world really excited me, so when I found out last week that I would be joining the team as their Content Associate, I was elated.

In addition to helping spot and tell stories, I’ll also be given the opportunity to represent the content visually, whether through photography or other visual mediums. As someone who (humbly!) considers herself a writer and photographer (and illustrator!), I’m often asked “Well, which one do you like the most?” in job interviews. Even though I know the interviewer wants to hear “Oh, of course I like ____ the most” (depending on the job’s focus), I never quite know how to answer. The truth is, being able to potentially blend provoking imagery with compelling content is very exciting to me. I enjoy the challenges writing and photography bring and look forward to growing stronger as both a writer and an artist.

With my first story for Generocity, the photos inspired the opening of the article, which is often the hardest part to write (at least for me, anyway). Having the visual experience gave me the opportunity to bring readers along with me during my tour of the Philadelphia’s Children Alliance. Ideally, I’m hoping to be able to touch people in small ways so they will be encouraged to give, whether through volunteering or even donating to some of these amazing nonprofits. That being said, I was incredibly inspired by the obvious strength at the PCA, both by the professional staff and the children who have the courage to speak up and tell their stories.

I look forward to sharing all of the stories I’ll be rolling out during my adventures as a staff member of Generocity. I encourage you all (especially Philly readers!) to check out the website, “like” them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter to connect with people who have the same interests, concerns, and passions. Anyway, that’s my little plug, I will be sure to share some insights into my daily work life once my position begins (on Monday!).

For those of you who are local to the Philadelphia area, what are some of your favorite nonprofits that you feel deserve some extra love?

They don’t make bags big enough for this bird.

{Photo credit}

Just to warn you guys, I am going to be a bit quiet over here during these next few days. If you’re wondering why, it’s because my future is going to look a lot like the woman’s above. My insane family of 7 requested a 24 lb. turkey, so I have my work cut out for me. Up until this week, I had no idea what a giblet was (and I was pronouncing it wrong to boot), so hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be a full blown mini-Martha. I’ll be posting all about our “menu” with recipes and photos after the fact, so cross your fingers that I don’t catch everything on fire.

Veronika & Bryan: Vintage Love by Live It Out Photography

When the lovely Veronika from Tick Tock Vintage asked if she could use our house as a backdrop for a photoshoot with her husband Bryan, I was totally flattered. It was an absolute blast watching behind the scenes as Amber from Live It Out Photography captured the gorgeous couple and vintage styling (all by the uber talented Veronika!). From handmade pies and mojitos to barbecued deliciousness, Veronika and Bryan totally spoiled us by providing dinner for us all.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the always-adorable Amber…seriously, this girl has major skills and you’d be crazypants not to hire her for photography if you’re in the D.C. area! Thanks again to Veronika and Bryan for hosting such an amazing photo adventure in our backyard…it’s pretty darn exciting to see how much potential our new home has for future shindigs. Keep an eye out for a glimpse of Betty White hiding behind me, per usual!

{Photos courtesy of Live It Out Photography}

Weekend Wrap Up: Linvilla Orchards

Almost nothing beats fresh apple cider from Linvilla Orchards (unless you’re smart enough to try the apple cider doughnuts). Pete has been hearing me talk about this place for well over a year, so it was only fair to finally make the trip together and roam around the festive farmland. We started off our visit by roaming around the petting zoo and made our way to the sugar-coated confections. Navigating around the swarms of face-painted families is a tad bit challenging in the market, but it is totally worth it because their selection of squashes, pumpkins and gourds are out of this world.

Did I mention their goats have the prettiest eyes ever?

NOM. Their sweet, little apple cider jugs are the absolute cutest.

I couldn’t resist snapping a super sleuth photo of this cute youngster picking out a pumpkin. I love that the excitement of choosing the perfect pumpkin never fades away. This is the first year we have a house and can actually display our decorative lanterns on our porch steps, so I can’t wait to have a mini carve-off.

The sad Humpty Dumpty pumpkin and lazy-eyed Jersey Devil are two of my favorite regulars at Linvilla. How can you not love their faces?

There was also a mini “27 Club” jack-o-lantern shrine set up, including a Amy Winehouse pumpkin.

We ended our evening with the autumn moon hayride, watching the sunset lapse into the night sky. It was lovely riding through the fields and orchards and following it up by roasting marshmallows in a glowing bonfire.

What are some of your favorite spots for fall festivities in the area?

Meet Charsi: Our First Foster

This past Saturday, Pete and I made our way down to the Animal Care & Control Team (ACCT) in Philadelphia with Betty White in tow. As soon as we opened the doors, the place was packed to the brim with pets in serious need. It was unstomachable how many pet owners were giving up on their dogs or cats. The volunteers at the front desk were telling people that if they dropped off their pet, they would have to be euthanized due to major overpopulation, but the pets kept streaming in. We were looking forward to finding the perfect fit for our first foster dog, so we filled out some paperwork and began touring around.

One of the volunteers pointed out a dog named Mariah, who was recovering from several major surgeries, one of which she had the day prior. As much as we were smitten with a certain a shar pei named Broddy Bell, we knew it was likely he would find a home much easier since wrinkly dogs are pretty irresistible. So, we decided to have Betty White and Mariah meet in the outdoor courtyard, where they proceeded to hit it off. Both of them love butt scritchers, quiet moments and staring nervously with adorable, shifty eyes. It was a perfect match, so we filled out some remaining paperwork while waiting to receive her medicine and before we knew it, we were on our way to the pet store with our new friend.


Since we aren’t the most ginormous Mariah Carey fans, we changed her name to Charsi (a Diablo gamer reference, courtesy of Pete’s geekiness), which of course is temporary until we find her a forever home. She is a seriously strong lady whose life got off to a rough start, but she didn’t let that get her down. Charsi was brought into the ACCT nearly two weeks ago as a stray, and needed to have a mammary lump and hernia removed, in addition to a spay procedure. Needless to say, this shepherd/terrier mix is looking forward to a lifetime of cuddling and now has a clean bill of health. Currently Charsi is kicking back her paws and relaxing with us, but she is excited to find a pooch parent who is in need of a sweet four-legged friend.


Charsi arrived at the shelter underweight at 26 lbs, but we’re putting meat on her bones and making sure she will be brought back on track in no time. Charsi is recovering and counting down the days until her sutures will be removed, so we have to be very gentle with her. When we first came home, she absolutely refused to go outside, which made potty training a bit difficult. It is pretty impossible to pick her up without possibly hurting her stitches, so we remained patient and positive, with plenty of puppy pads on hand. Now, just two days later, Charsi is totally responsive to going outside and fully potty-trained.

She has already mastered how to “sit” and likely has some more tricks up her sleeve, which she’ll hopefully share once she has recovered from her surgeries.

Her favorite pastimes so far include: watching cars out of the sunroom window, snoring loudly while dreaming about being adopted and stealing Pete’s clothes from his dirty laundry pile.

Betty White was pretty tuckered out all weekend from having to share our bedroom at night with a near stranger, but she has really warmed up to Charsi. I think fostering pooches will be great for socializing Betty White and helping her become more confident around other dogs.

Since Charsi was a stray, her age is a bit of a mystery, but she looks to be about 5-years-young. No matter how many birthday candles she’s blown out, Charsi has a lot of smooches to share and loves getting pets.

I forgot to mention how much Charsi loves looking at herself in the mirror. Whenever she passes a reflective surface, she stares at herself with a “oh, girlllll, you so good lookin’!” expression on her face. She’s a little conceited, but we still love her…perhaps that is why she was originally named after the great diva herself, Mariah Carey.

Several people have shown confusion over why we would choose to be foster pooch parents—how it must be nearly impossible saying goodbye when you find the adoptive parents for the dog. Fostering an animal means providing food, shelter and love while ambitiously searching for weeks or months to find an appropriate match for the pet. During this time, it’s obvious an attachment will form, but the thing that gets me through this is knowing that as soon as we find Charsi a home, we will be able to help another dog in urgent need.

I’m not saying we’ll be fostering dogs for the rest of our lives, but during my hunt for the perfect full-time job, I have the time needed to give back in small ways. As a freelancer working from home, I can get a little stir crazy—going through half of the day without actually speaking to anyone—so this is a great opportunity to get out of the house and explore the area. I’ve met way more people in the neighborhood over the past two days than I have since we moved here in June, which is saying a lot.

It’s really nice feeling like a little family in our new house. Last night, the pooches joined us while we made a bonfire and toasted s’mores…it was one of the most relaxing Sundays in a long time.

If you would like to find out more about Charsi or want to set up a puppy date, feel free to comment below! She is only $75 (think about how quickly you spend $75 at a trip to Target!) and totally priceless. The donation to the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) covers all vaccines, a microchip and her spay procedure, all of which have already been completed.

Does anyone else have any foster stories they’d like to share? I love hearing advice and anecdotes from others who have fostered pets in the past.

Weekend Happenings!

Sorry in advance for my posts this week, I can tell already it will be a miss-mosh of randomness since I have a gazillion deadlines to tackle and don’t have much time to dedicate to my own blog.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of second shooting for the lovely Maria Mack, who I joined at Citizens Bank Park to photograph a stunning, ballpark wedding. Thank goodness the weather behaved itself and we had nothing but sunny skies. I thought it was cute how the guests were able to sit in the stands while the ceremony was held on the field. The reception took place at the Diamond Club and the Phillie Phanatic even came to bust out some fabulous dance moves. I think my favorite shot from the night was when the Phanatic got together with three pregnant women and posed while sticking his pregnant-esque belly out. I also toured around the players’ locker room with the groom, which was an absolute blast. I may or may not have flailed like an idiot when I saw Cliff Lee’s locker. We were able to sneak a peek at all of their grooming essentials, which was highly entertaining. I may or may not have found out from a little bird that the boys have their fair share of brightly-colored loofahs in the showers.

In other news, a large portion of my week is going to be dedicated to tackling this life-sized painting of a German couple and a drunk pig sporting Lederhosen. Pete’s brother is co-hosting an Oktoberfest bash this weekend, so once the painting is complete, he’s going to cut out face holes for a fun photo-op. I’m hoping to finish this up mid-day on Wednesday, so I’ll be sure to post another shot once it’s finished! It looks a bit wacky now, but I like showing progress shots of big projects, which you may or may not have figured out by now.

What were you up to this weekend?