Night Sky Party

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a star party, for our girls who love the moon, constellations, and the stories behind the constellations. ^^ invitation postcard, back and front. Designed by Joe, and the included star chart is really useful to have! ^^

July has been beautiful in Boston, but the night we chose for the outdoor in-the-park party was cloudy and cold. I had visions of a quilt of blankets in the Public Garden, children with flashlights weaving through the trees, but oh well, maybe next year.

We stuck with the special post-dinner time, but moved it indoors.

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A few photos, all taken before the party started, of course…

Joe and Lux gave their finest effort to making moon pies for the evening, but the recipe was junk and they turned out like so. I think the idea of moon pies popped into my mind from one long ago teenage summer spent reading Ellie’s Peopleyoung adult novels set in an Amish community. The story’s characters were always going to picnics, building barns, and looking forward to moon pies. (it turns out the Amish moon pie is different from what I imagined, it is similar to an apple hand pie.)

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After the moon pies crashed on us, we turned at the very last minute to an icebox cake made with chocolate wafer cookies and whipped cream. I’m so happy we discovered this dessert because it’s incredibly easy to make and the girls ended up making their own with the leftover ingredients–it is really so fun. I put it in the freezer the day before. Frozen it tastes like a cake version of cookies-n-cream ice cream, and it was delightful to share the icy slices in a warm kitchen with our friends.

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We dimmed the lights, and put little ikea lantern lights in the dark stairwell. Joe helped the kids make a star can, something we use frequently for indoor star shows. Buy a tin coffee canister, empty out the grounds, and use a can opener to cut off the bottom. Cut out the inside of the plastic top, leaving the edge. Cut out circles of paper, punch the holes for the constellation pattern (the big dipper being the easiest of those, looks similar to this) and put the circle of paper under the lid. Then shine a flashlight through to project the constellation on the wall. We’ve also made fun, non-constellation shapes like cat’s faces and bunnies.

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Lux originally fell for the stars peering out of her bedroom window at night, during the very-early-dark winters we have here in Boston. She could see just a few constellations, and it so happened that Lepus, the bunny constellation, was one of them!

I don’t know if it’s something about this age, the amazing brains of five year olds!, but we also attended a friend’s five-year-old Rocket Ship Party, and I’m loving the photos from Hudson’s Astronaut Pool Party. Interestingly, our girls aren’t really interested in the gear/gizmos of space travel, just the planets and stars of space.

Our two favorite books on the stars are H.A. Rey’s The Stars and Find the Constellations. And we’ve saving up for one of these incredible constellation quilts from Haptic Lab.

 

Television for the downer

Frankly I’m a little annoyed with the depressing turn Downton Abbey has taken. And GIRLS. Even the new Community is sort of ick. Cheer up, drama writers! Take a nice sunny Mexico vacation and get back to us. I use television watching as a retreat, a thirty minute lapse into relaxation after a long day. It’s not good when that thirty minutes ends with me feeling more depleted than ever.searching_for_sugar_man

Soo I was delighted to finally watch something a little optimistic, something that said: let’s believe in the fantastical. About someone who could think of people outside himself. A true story and a real one, and a breathtaking one. We rented the documentary Searching for Sugar Man over the weekend and it was all of those things. Rent it (it’s $4 on iTunes). You’ll love it.

Have you watched anything cheerful and spirited lately? I’d love some ideas.

Bear films Elk

dave_eggers_telluride_filmDave Eggers designed the poster for this year’s Telluride Film Festival, inspired by washed out summer colors and old Parks posters. I did not know Dave was a graphic designer before he was famous for a million other things, but it does explain why McSweeney’s publishing is always meticulously beautiful.

We’re not going, but I wish we were. Passes are $780 each, but you’ll see every cool new movie in one gorgeous weekend. Plusm a spot to find a great rental, if you’re going: Rosie Cusack Telluride Rentals!

the new Anna Karenina

I went to Anna Karenina last night. My friend picked me up in her car and drove over there (a luxury that never happens in Boston) so there was no chilly-huddled walking. The theatre sells Tollhouse Ice Cream cookies, a gutsy decision I always like to support.

Usually I am a read-the-book-first type of girl, but I actually think this could be a great movie to watch first, then read. When I read AK I never got a good image of the main characters in my head. I really didn’t understand Anna at all. Keira Knightly is absolutely stunning in this. My friend asked if I had a favorite part, I said anytime she was on screen.  Actually all the characters were beautiful, and their clothes too. Tolstoy you old devil, I thought to myself. What a romantic! I want to read it again now. Did you see it? What did you think?

 

Sharing Moonrise

I was milling around the coffee and snacks table at church a few weeks ago when I heard a woman about my mom’s age discussing Moonrise Kingdom. It was her first Wes Anderson, and she was gushing. “Oh, I just saw it too.” I announced, “So good!” She turned to me.

“Oh! But you’re so young. Did you appreciate it?”

I nearly dropped my coffee. Did I appreciate it? I, who nearly went on a Royal Tenebaums location tour of New York with my friends? I, who have watched his entire oeuvre, most of them twice? Didn’t she just say she hadn’t seen anything else by the director?

But she continued: “It reminded me of my youth. My young love. ”

Ah, she’s right. Perhaps I didn’t totally get it. Perhaps young Sam and Susie’s devoted love seemed cute to me, but not as quite as eternally true as it struck this woman. I noticed when we first watched Moonrise that our completely-packed-theatre was full of people of all ages, perhaps a quarter of them over 65. And it’s been fun having a movie to recommend to adults much older than me—I think everyone would love it but perhaps some might truly wallow in nostalgia more than others.

(fun side note for east coasters: it was filmed in Rhode Island!)

Jessica Hische designed the typeface for Moonrise Kingdom. Meaning the first time Wes Anderson dallied away from his first love of Futura bold, he turned to Jessica (click to see her url for the work. It’s funny). Joe and I briefly discussed what accomplishment Jessica could do next that would possibly impress us more. We couldn’t come up with anything.

Image by Adrian Tomine for the New Yorker.

watched: Beginners

We finally watched Beginners this week. I got it out of the library after Birgit mentioned it was must see. I relished watching it. You can really sense it was written and directed by the same person. Some of the lines would be so cheesy or typical, but instead come across just perfectly fresh. The female lead, Mélanie Laurent was so charming and her hair was the. awesomest.

I hope we can go see Perks of Being a Wallflower when it comes out next month, though I imagine I’ll be just as sad afterwards as I was when I read the book. Love any movies lately?

podcast love // after the jump

I’ve enjoyed every single episode of Grace Bonney’s After the Jump podcast. She interviews the designers and creators you would typically only encounter via blogs. There’s just something about hearing people’s voices in friendly conversation—it’s the best! I also like that Grace knows so much about the design world because she’s been the boss blogger for so long; listening to her talk you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a dinner party with Brooklyn’s coolest folks.

There’s 12 episodes so far, they come out every Monday.

GIRLS & the Summer Solstice

The season finale of GIRLS happened this past week, and one highlight for me was book-spotting grumpy Ray reading I Capture the Castle. Have you read it? It might be one of my Top 10. It was written in 1948 by Dodie Smith about a poor family living in a washed-up castle, making do and having fun. Coming of age of a seventeen year old girl, journal style, eccentric father, unexpected visitors…I know that sounds predictable but truly, it is a charmer!  I recommend, as Ray did by saying, “This book is so fucking incredible. Anything by a British woman is just…fuck.” (or you could read my longer review here.)

Very apropos too, because the Summer Solstice plays a lovely role in that book and I always wish that I had some sort of tradition or rite to do on the longest day of the year. Is there anything you like to do to mark these kinds of holidays?

our weekend / birthday location hunting

There have been at least twenty discussions about birthday parties around here lately.

Here’s a few of the themes we circle around:

Is it weird to call it a birthday party if Lux will have no awareness that the party is for her?

How much alcohol can you have at a party that’s technically for children?

How do we emphasize that we are actually celebrating the crazy year we just had?

Obviously we can’t not memorialize this enormous life change we just went through, right?

Finally, bored out of our minds with this all this adult talk, we decided we wanted it to be on the Esplanade, the lovely park that coils along the Charles River and is full of playgrounds, benches, clean sidewalks, and beautiful trees. So Saturday morning we went location scouting and visited our favorite nooks, to see how they would do under party scrutiny.

The bridge over to the Esplanade is just up the street from us. You cross over four lanes of traffic, and can smirk with pedestrian swagger as you cross. Or you can focus on how the bridge is climbing up into the trees before it swoops you back down to earth among the sailboats.

Lux particularly liked this spot for duck watching and practicing her sideways bench walk:

We settled on this little triangle of grass:

a small pond on one side:

and shady trees all around!

Now that I’ve started thinking about children’s parties, I’m remembering all fantastic things kids get to count on: cake! scoops of ice cream! goody bags! random streamers everywhere, bringing a gift for your friend that you hope they love, musical chairs, and eating too much candy. This is one of those scenarios where kids really get the good stuff, right?

The shower beer

Have you ever brought a beer into the shower with you? Not once have I thought to do this. After some completely informal quizzing of my male friends, I’ve determined that they understand having a cold beer during a late afternoon shower to be one of life’s great pleasures. “Oh of course,” they say, “You’ve never done that?”

“It’s a way to relish a normal thing, and make it more fun.” Joe says.

“But you don’t even take long showers,” I say.

“Yes I do.”

“Oh.”

Maybe I’m crazy, but doesn’t it sound a little weird to be all sudsy, with warm water everywhere, and then try to drink a cold beer?

However, if there’s relishing to be done, I will not be left out of it.

While I was mulling over this, I came upon this gentleman’s blog wherein he posted about his first outdoor shower of the season. The ante has been upped: it doesn’t get more vacation fantastic than an outdoor shower. Here’s his drink of choice:

a manhattan garnished with persian cherries that have been rehydrated with rye and bourbon.

Now that I’ve heard about this, it’s definitely going on my summer bucket list.  Are you getting excited about new things to try this summer? {speaking of, Anna just posted a great, very Boston themed one.}