Blog a la Cart

Category: Musings

Christmas // 2015


We hosted an eerily warm Christmas in Vermont with my parents and sister. It was a low-key affair with good food, good company, and good cheer. Here’s a look at the highlights.

Sunny began the celebrations with a yarn maze for Momar, Doda and Auntie Kimmy around the house while Kaki wore every possible layer of red she could find. The girls donned their winter Whale PJs from Auntie Kimmy and posed with their custom stockings from James’ mother and their favorite ornaments before leaving out milk and cookies for Santa. On Christmas Day, we ate fresh Kardemummabullar (Swedish Cardamom Rolls that James made to much success), and opened presents (Momar won Christmas with her array of dress up clothes and accessories for the girls), and went on long hikes (hello, 65 degrees!), and set fancy tables, and cooked our signature Boeuf Bourguignon for Christmas dinner. Christmas with young children is such an unbelievable joy. You don’t need much fanfare to have it feel incredibly special and meaningful.





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^^Big hugs between the sisters after they exchanged their presents for one another. *heartmelt*^^



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Thanksgiving // 2015


We had a jam-packed Thanksgiving weekend, complicated and tempered by a memorial service for James’ dear grandfather. It made for lots of travel and added stress (both emotional and physical), so I can’t say that I’m feeling all that rested coming off of this holiday (does anyone ever?), and my usual SAD November slump is hitting me hard this week (Welcome, December and your freezing rain!). But, looking at these images I’m reminded that Thanksgiving Day was quite a happy, family-filled, food-filled, turkey-filled affair, for which I am incredibly grateful.



^^Doda performing surgery on a turkey hand puppet from my childhood in order to bring his gobble back to life. Very important work indeed.^^





^^Arts and crafts while the bird cooked. The girls made Turkey Crowns for everyone to wear throughout the day. A good look considering the holiday.^^












^^A viewing of The Peanuts Thanksgiving to pass the time until pie and stuffing.^^




^^Beautiful rose apple pies – a new addition to our feast courtesy of Auntie Kimmy.^^










Grateful for these people and this life, even if it’s hard to remember that during these gloomy mood slumps. Off to bathe by my sunlamp and kick myself out of this funk. We’ve got round two of holiday adventures this weekend with the girls’ Nutcracker performance. Ready for some serious nostalgia and cuteness.

Halloween // 2015


SO MANY FEELINGS! It was another festive Halloween thanks to Auntie Kimmy’s presence, enthusiasm and creativity. We pulled off another team costume, inspired by Inside Out. While not nearly as popular and recognizable as last year’s Frozen, I think we nailed the spirit of our characters. Courtland wasn’t as in to the Trick or Treating this year, but the pumpkin carving, house decorating prep and the candy, cider, and roasted pumpkin seed consumption proved a highlight.



JOY! (played by Sunny)


DISGUST! (played by Kaki)


ANGER! (played by James)


SADNESS! (played by Ashley and The Gummy Bear)



FEAR! (played by Kimmy and the most awesome set of expressions)


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Nailed it. hashtaglovemysquad


Shit that I Knit (and other Thoughts)


I’ve returned from a whirlwind few days in New York City, and have to admit that this pregnancy has taken a much greater toll on my body physically than the previous. (Silly aging!). I was absolutely wiped out after 15 hours on my feet on Sunday, and it took nearly two days to get back to a semi-normal/comfortable state. I already feel pretty awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin, and I’m only 21 weeks in, so that does not bode well for the remaining 19 weeks. Ooof. My back is sore, my feet hurt, my neck aches and causes a headache that radiates across my forehead, and let’s not even get started about the pressure I’m already feeling in my pelvic floor. Remember the infamous frozen peas? Well that was 3 weeks prior to Courtland’s arrival not 19! Wah wah wah, someone call the WAH-MBULANCE! (Poor, sweet James – we’ve got a long road ahead of us).

Regardless, I was grateful for some time in the city, despite the resulting aches and pains, that included a baby shower, QT with dear friends, Korean BBQ, New York bagels, cheap manicures, the distribution of knit goodies to adorable littles and loved ones, and a long, albeit inspiring day surrounded by Ephs at the New York Public Library.

Kristen Anderson-Lopez (songwriter of “Frozen”) gave a talk about the need and significance of female voices in all elements of the work force, though she spoke specifically to the entertainment industry, and it had tears streaming down my face and my head furiously nodding.  I fangirled out to her so hard later that night about the hopey, changey impact that movie had had on me and my own daughters, and the courage it took for her to talk so candidly and pointedly about the bullshit lack of female voices in the entertainment industry (especially when we are the majority consumers). And while she’s likely heard it a zillion times by now, I thanked her. Because while on the surface it may just sound like princesses and fairytales and childish fluff, what happened in that movie was revolutionary. And I hope that we’ll see much more of that in the mainstream media, for the sake of all of our children. (And, daaaaaamn, it was profitable!)

While there were still issues (think Elsa’s itty bitty waist, ridiculous bust, and sultry eyes, and the complete lack of people of color), it was a step in the right direction.

So yes, New York was good. But I’m happy to be home in my own bed, with my own family, with our peaceful, quiet dirt road, and knitting furiously in front of the wood stove each evening (we fired it up for the first time this season, and it is one of the true highlights of winters in VT). This hat pattern below has become a new favorite. Such a sweet design for a little one. (And, P.S., it’s free!).

I’ve got a wedding to finish editing, Jack-o-Lanterns to carve, team Halloween costumes to execute (with the help of Auntie Kimmy), and a few holiday card photo shoots on my plate. Let’s do this October!




After nearly 9 months of work, an event that I’ve been planning for Williams finally came to fruition this weekend. And damn, my whole body aches today and I can barely lift my head from the pillow, but I feel nothing but mushy gushy gratitude on the inside. It was not an easy process. At times I thought I was crazy to accept the responsibility that fell outside the bounds of my job description and worried that I wasn’t up to the task. I was reporting to new personalities and functioning at a higher level, with higher visibility, than ever before. But it felt so gratifying to watch it unfold, and to work with so many adaptable, willing people to pull it off. I collaborated with a huge team of people to ultimately make yesterday’s events transpire, and as a people person to the core, I couldn’t be more grateful for an experience that allowed me to put my collaborative, extroverted nature to work on such an immense scale.

Admittedly, I am glad that I am on the other side, and can return to a more normal pace of life as we prepare for Cart Baby #3, but despite many challenges and ups and downs, I ultimately feel very grateful for being asked and trusted to take on the task.

I cannot wait to see the images from the professional photographers from the weekend. While I know it will never fully capture the experience, it will give a taste of all the months and ideas and people that came together to pull off something wonderful.

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And for my fellow Ephs, it’s finally launched! Check it out and TEACH IT FORWARD.

Phoebe & Zeke


As I mentioned, I hung back in Vermont this weekend, forgoing our traditional Labor Day festivities to shoot a wedding in Bennington, Vermont. It was a stunning, sunny day – hot but beautiful – and I was reminded of why James and I chose this very time of year to get married (September is far and away my favorite month of the year, even if it did pour rain on our actual wedding day!).

The rest of the weekend I spent purging and organizing our house. I am markedly in the 2nd trimester given the intense surge in energy and the amount of hauling and dragging and lugging and cleaning I accomplished in 48 hours. I think it’s too early to call it nesting, but whatever it is, it is certainly productive. (I think I’m just feeling so dang grateful to not be so exhausted all the time, that I’m making up for a summer’s worth of lethargy).

I also spent plenty of time knitting and got a chance to process my initial favorite images from this weekend’s wedding. A casual, low-key celebration outside, my favorite kind of wedding to capture.










Melissa & Dan

The past few weeks I’ve been absorbed in processing a wedding I shot back in July. in preparation for the wedding I shot this past weekend. (I prefer to not have wedding work overlap, as it is far too daunting when I have that many images of such importance demanding my attention).

These nuptials were shot on the North Shore of Boston. I was only 5 weeks pregnant and thus feeling terrible, and I drove our dying Jeep Liberty to the event as James had the kids and the dependable vehicle in the Poconos. To say that I experienced a comedy of errors is the understatement of 2015. In short, the Jeep officially shit the bed, I’m fortunate to have made it to the wedding on time, let alone at all, and James had to drive home to Vermont from Pennsylvania that evening, and then wake up the next morning to retrieve me from Boston as the Jeep was towed away to a donation center. It was a fitting demise for a vehicle that I have loathed and yearned to get rid of for over two years.

Related, I told James that I would not put myself in a similar (bad) situation come Labor Day weekend when he again would have the new mini-van and children in the Poconos while I had another wedding gig. The deadline for a dependable second vehicle was this past Friday, and lo, we picked up our 2016 Prius on Thursday. While I was nostalgic to bid farewell to the Volvo station wagon I’ve driven since college (a car with close to 250,000 miles, that journeyed across the country and back again, and carried me in labor to the birth of both my children and brought both girls safely home for the first time), it was time to move on and enter a more mature stage of our lives where we have two functional, dependable vehicles in our possession. Hallelujah.

And so, semi-relatedly, here are a few favorite images from the wedding of Melissa and Dan.











Reunion 2015


Reunion 2015 was truly spectacular. I count this year as a win both personally and professionally. The kids clearly loved their nametags and were jelly of The Pantsapreneur’s magical purple and gold ensemble. It was a good weekend.






Kimmy is 30!


This weekend, we celebrated Auntie Kimmy’s 30th birthday. More photos to come of the tea party turned garden party turned tiki bar bonanza (three fetes in one – it was indeed awesome), but today is Kimmy’s actual 30th birthday, so I wanted to share my toast from Saturday’s celebrations.

My life would not be the same without this woman. She is my Day 791 (since that’s how many days it took for her to arrive in my life).

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for coming together to celebrate Kimmy. When I was explaining to people that I was putting together a sit down tea party slash garden party for my little sister’s 30th birthday, I was on the receiving end of many quizzical looks. All of us in this space, however, aren’t surprised in the least.

In fact, Kimmy has been owed a tea party from the Cart family for over six years. In the final weeks of my pregnancy with Sunny, Kimmy hopped off a research sailboat sponsored by world famous scientist Craig Venter having just sailed through the Panama Canal (of course she did – her life is endlessly cool) to be with me in LA to get me through the hard final days of maternity and to be by my side during the birth of my first child. We played at the beach. We got pedicures. We ate spicy foods. We even scaled some cliffs to try and induce labor (terrible idea while 9 months pregnant with a 9lb baby). She kept me distracted and happy when I was my most anxious and uncomfortable. She wanted to make sure we had something every day to look forward to so I wouldn’t just stew with anticipation. Ever a lover of tea parties and flower gardens and art, she made reservations at the The Huntington Library Tea Room for the afternoon of Monday, May 18th.

Addison was born at 4:48pm on Monday, May 18th.

So today, I get to begin to payback the endless list of gifts and care she has bestowed upon me and my family. From dropping everything to be by my side at the birth of both my children, to sitting on the phone for hours with my mother discussing flower arrangements for my wedding (because I didn’t have the interest or patience and Kimmy’s got both in spades), to creating the most enviable baby shower banners, to west coast tea parties in honor of our engagement, to caring for our children and guaranteeing that they will always be the most fashionable and festive party hat clad kids around, she’s gone above and beyond from such a young age (which happens when your big sister decides to have all her major life milestones before the age of 30). And I’m only just scratching the surface.

To know and love Kimmy is to embrace a wonderful world of paradox. Fancy and salty.  Lily and carhartts. Ballerina and sailor. Quiet, humble and yet the world’s best, most dramatic storyteller. Wooden boat restorer and intricate paper snowflake maker. Scientist, mermaid, and expert setter of fancy tables. Independent and confident and the most loving, present, involved friend, sister, daughter and auntie. My family is endlessly blessed to call her our Kimmy for 30 years. And so today, we celebrate you.

Happy 30th birthday, Kimmy. We love you!




Every Five Years

I’m 18 and 22 and 32 all in the same moment.

As we sat around Saturday evening, laughter came easily. Comfort. Ease. A sense of common ground. Shared history. Mutual understanding. These people, whom I rarely see all together as one group, are some of my favorites. We slip in and out of our 32-year old selves into versions of us at 18 and 22 and 27 and time falls away. Relationships like this are unique in this life, and that may be on of the things for which I am most grateful to Williams. Every five years, this particular group of people, together, defying time. Even if just for a moment. (Us in 2010)