Blog a la Cart

Month: November, 2013




“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Sunny: Getting in the spirit.
Kaki: Wishing I had  those boots in my size. (They were Auntie Kimmy’s when she was small).

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series visit here.

Gobble Gobble // 2013


My parents and sister have descended. We’ve got a fridge stocked with champagne, local produce, and a recently dispatched butterball. We are ready for you, Thanksgiving. (Here’s our menu). On Friday morning, we’re hosting Pie Breakfast for our neighbors and a few close friends. An excuse to consume leftover pie in good company. I’m excited.

They’ll be trips to the movies. And Marimekko shopping (the outlet is just north of us in Manchester, and we can’t stop, won’t stop). And even the chopping down and decorating of a Christmas tree. (There’s a Christmas tree farm down the street, which makes our lives very easy on this front).

We’ve got hints of the Turkey Day spirit tucked around the house (remember Francis turkey and these plush chickens from last year?). I hope everyone has a delightful, delicious holiday. I am grateful to be spending my Thanksgiving with the people I love most in this world.






Suzani Love


Last weekend while James was out galavanting at a friend’s birthday (re: a group of dudes shooting skeet, drinking beer, and lighting burn piles aflame. I done married myself a country boy), the kids and I tackled reupholstering this pair of beat up old folding chairs. I purchased that purple, Suzani-esque fabric over two years ago. At least it FINALLY got some use! (I am a fool for Suzani and have been slowly accumulating more original Suzani pieces. But this fabric was far more affordable than those investments.)



The kids were bored about 2 seconds in, but fortunately it was a beautiful day, so they played outside on the swing set while I tore the fabric off and scrubbed the chairs down. The girls were highly intrigued by the spray painting process (I gave the chairs a fresh coat of black paint). And while they napped, I covered the seats with the new fabric. Voila! Totally awesome new chairs.





So much better. These may be my favorite pieces of furniture in the house now. And just in time for holiday entertaining! My sister and parents arrive tonight for Turkey Day festivities, and we’ll host Christmas as well, so hooray for happy chairs around the table!

Courtney, Brent, Oscar & George


Hello, Eyelash Nation! These little boys are two of the most beautiful (and easy going) children I have ever seen. Those eyes! Those eyeLASHES! It would have been hard to get an unattractive photo of this family. As usual, my favorites from the shoot…



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More Than Just a Princess

I love that I have received links to this Goldie Blox ad over 20 times this week from friends, family, and readers. Y’all know what I am all about!

I’ve been following the growth of Goldie Blox since their Kickstarter campaign launched just over a year ago. And they’ll be all of the Goldie Blox books/toys (and this rad More Than Just a Princess hoodie) under the tree for my daughters on Christmas morning.

If I’m really wearing my feminist hat, I’d jump on the bandwagon of some other critical writers that have critiqued the company’s use of one of the most chauvinistic, patriarchal songs out there (Girls by The Beastie Boys) in the ad. But I think culture jamming is awesome, and the new lyrics are badass:

You think you know what we want, girls.
Pink and pretty it’s girls.
Just like the 50’s it’s girls.

You like to buy us pink toys
and everything else is for boys
and you can always get us dolls
and we’ll grow up like them… false.

It’s time to change.
We deserve to see a range.
‘Cause all our toys look just the same
and we would like to use our brains.

We are all more than princess maids.

Girls to build the spaceship,
Girls to code the new app,
Girls to grow up knowing
they can engineer that.

That’s all we really need is Girls.
To bring us up to speed it’s Girls.
Our opportunity is Girls.
Don’t underestimate Girls.

Also, I am admittedly disappointed that the second book/project in the series is about a princess pageant. It’s like when Pixar finally released a movie with a female lead (after TWELVE movies with a male lead), and the character was a princess. Look, I’d be fine with the princess stuff if that weren’t the primary role being shoved down our girls’ throats. The male leads in the Pixar movies have been toys, bugs, robots, fish, cars, super heroes, etc. Why did the first female lead have to be a princess?

And that’s how I’m feeling about the Goldie Blox princess book. Why when this company is clearly trying to bring awareness to the lack of opportunity for our girls would it use one of the fundamental mainstream tropes to do so?

And may I once again recommend that everyone read Peggy Orenstein’s “Cinderella Ate My Daughter“? I MAY!

And it’s a problem going the other direction as well. Just the other day, my colleague was relaying that her three-year old son had selected the princess toothbrush during his visit to the dentist. The nurse replied, “Oh, you must like looking at the pretty girls, uh?”

WHY ON EARTH ARE WE IMPOSING SEXUALITY ON OUR LITTLE BOYS? Maybe he likes the princesses for all the reasons that little girls seem to like them? Because they’re shiny and sparkly and wear really fun clothes. Toddlers and preschoolers are human magpies! Of course they like things that glitter. We just tell our boys that that’s not okay (which KILLS me). And I feel so lucky to be living in a community where many of my peer parents with sons are not afraid to let their boys love the glitz as much as they may love trucks, blocks, etc.

My goal has always been to give children the broadest, most flexible view of their identity so that they can truly figure out where they fall in that spectrum. (I wrote this over two and a half years ago and it still rings so very true).

Fundamentally I am on board with what Goldie Blox is trying to do. And I’m high-fiving Debbie Sterling for this recent quote in The New York Times:

It’s O.K. to be a princess. We just think girls can build their own castles too.

Amen, sister. And if you don’t dig princesses, then that’s a-okay, too!

Currently Gawking

To begin your weekend with a good cry and a heart full of hope. My amazing baby sister was a preemie. And I now have friends who have had to face the fear and struggle of a child’s premature birth. Some with triumph. Some with devastating loss. Prematurity is more common than anyone talks about. This video so beautifully captures that journey. I just wish that all these stories had this kind of happy ending.



James is headed to his parents’ cabin in Pennsylvania until Monday night with both girls AND Gladden.

Which means that Mama is having a Staycation!

James doesn’t work on Fridays or Mondays (so the girls are home with him those days) specifically so that it is easy for our family to take long weekend getaways. I have two photoshoots this weekend and a billion and one holiday present projects to tackle, so we decided that it was best if I (and poor Hanna who is having some hip issues) hang back home.

I am going to miss them all ridiculous amounts, but I’m not going to pretend like I’m not desperately looking forward to catching up on some sleep and not having to worry about anyone but myself (and some chickens, a potbelly pig, and a super mutt) for three days. I am going to get a stupid amount accomplished. And a stupid amount of marathon television series watching tackled. (Hello, Dexter & Big Love. I’m coming after you!)

And when I get lonely, I’ll stare at these images from the mini-shoot I did with the girls last weekend. Forever my babies, no matter how grown up they may look.







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Currently Playing

Addison … okay, fine, all of us… are obsessed with this song. A capella? We’re hopeless.

It’s trending HARD chez Cart.

Homecoming 2013

Always a festive, cold, ridiculous occasion. I love that I get to rock a full fleece, cow print pajama suit. And get paid to do so.

My job is very very fun.









A Day with Paperfashion


My second day in New York City I met up with the crazy talented and sweet Katie Rodgers of Paperfashion. She and I become acquainted when she attended our Boston CAMERA READY class this spring. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over these past few months, and was excited to spend a day having a New York adventure with her. Mostly, I enjoyed the opportunity to hear her story and learn more about the incredible career as a fashion illustrator that she’s crafted for herself. She’s talented beyond belief, and yet so kind and down to earth. One of those people who is so delightful and easy to be around. It was such a pleasant day, and I do hope that our paths will cross again soon. Here’s a look at our time together, and our visits to some amazing Williamsburg haunts.



I began the morning with a solo trip to Blue Bottle Coffee for a slow drip brew (many thanks to my gal Amanda for the recommendation). SWOON! And the granola was so stupidly perfect. It was a great way to kick off my day.


I then met up with Katie and Correy at the Catbird shop. A beautiful store best known for their delicate, lovely jewelry and ring “stacks,” but filled with many other treasures and temptations. The whimsical, careful styling of the shop is a testament to the overall Catbird brand. Correy went straight to work helping fit Katie’s talented fingers with some lovely Catbird stacks. We tried on ring after ring, and I finally got a handle on how one might be able to rock a knuckle ring without flinging it across the room constantly. My resulting stacks are pictured here.






Once we were outfitted, we made another coffee stop at Oslo so that Katie and Correy could fuel up. I am obsessed with Katie’s swoon-worthy coat and Correy’s impressive ring stacks! Perks of the job, I’d say!




Correy then brought us through the office/warehouse/workshop/hub of Catbird. It’s a local, woman-run business with over 35 employees. I had no idea that they had such an impressive operation going, and it was so inspiring to see all the various rooms of women at work, from the jewelry makers to the web team to the people packaging orders. This is an incredible company, and seeing the amount of attention and care that goes in to each piece of jewelry that they create was really impressive. I look forward to adding some more Catbird beauties to my collection. I am now definitely one of the brand’s biggest fans.







Katie and I then departed from Catbird and headed over to Primp & Polish for some fun, nail art manicures. After my evil eye mani, I’ve been hooked on playful nail art. Here was my resulting school-spirited design. Katie opted for something more classic and low key, opting for red nails with a lovely rose design on her pointer fingers. We have Joey to thank for these designs. The toughest part of the process was deciding what we wanted Joey to do! So much color! So much pattern! So much fun!








And yes, Katie is genuinely that smiley and lovely a personality. I loved how many of the shots captured her beaming, as that is exactly what it’s like to be around her in person.


Once our nails were done, we made a quick stop at Peter’s since 1969 for some home-cooked deliciousness. The meatloaf was a stand out, and the pick me up we needed before we climbed aboard the subway and headed back in to Manhattan.



We headed to the Upper East Side to Katie’s completely dreamy apartment. A little slice of heaven in the bustling city. If you know Katie’s work, this apartment was exactly the kind of space in which you’d envision her living and working. Full of timeless charm and personality. Katie’s world is the stuff of girls’ (of all ages) dreams, both the world she creates with her art and her actual, lived experience. It’s incredible.


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I captured some images of Katie at work at her easel and a few details of the bits of inspiration that make her space extra-special, extra-Paperfashion.

The full apartment will be getting a feature soon (keep an eye on her blog for details), so I refrained from spoiling the surprise. But you get a taste of the magic.


You can find that whimsical ship kite at Catbird. Katie’s had it hanging in her bedroom since she moved to New York a few months back. I would love for Katie to illustrate the kite – can you even imagine?








There’s something so special about seeing an artist at work in her space. I can’t thank Katie enough for welcoming me into her world and allowing me to document a piece of that inspiration. For more about Katie and to be further inspired, find her at Paperfashion (or on Instragram @paperfashion).

And here are the details on all our Brooklyn stops:

Blue Bottle Coffee
160 Berry St
Brooklyn, NY 11249

219 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Oslo Coffee Roasters
133 Roebling St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Primp and Polish
189 Grand St
New York, NY 11211

Peter’s Since 1969
168 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211