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Boots with the Fir

4-P2910197 Before Allandale Farm there was Half Moon Bay and our beloved Delancey Street lots. Part of the fun of a big move is starting traditions anew, and heading to the farm on Thanksgiving weekend is definitely one of ours. They have a fantastic crew, awesome selection of trees and holiday swag (including tons of actual swags), delicious hot cider and a fire pit to warm up beside with the fam. We didn't quite have to bundle up as much as last year, though.


Look at this impressive damn winter wonderland! And yes, it smells like heaven. I just did laps inside of this greenhouse, huffing the air like a deranged person. And now our house smells just like it, thanks to the tree, a few wreaths and a centerpiece for the nutcracker buffet.


This super comfy outfit = Asos denim, a Vince sweater coat, my old H&M L.O.G.G. scarf and Juicy Couture weatherproof boots. You'll get to see the super cute cheetah blouse underneath some other time. M's got her Dockers Slim Fit Alpha khakis on with a few layers of sweaters under a corduroy barn coat she found new at Crossroads in Rockridge on our trip back home, J.D. Fisk boots and a Goorin Bros. cadet.

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We picked out these baby trees to flank our front door while we waited for our big fir tree to get all wrapped up and strapped in for the ride home. They're so wee and adorable! We almost bought one of those massive wreaths to decorate and hang from the Juliet balcony, but after I almost broke my neck and actually broke a six-foot antique balcony window hanging lights from it last year, M put her foot down. And she's scared of heights, so there's no way she's doing and there's no way I'm letting the petite get involved, so…bah humbug!

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Speaking of home stuff, it looks like we'll be moving into our own guest room for a little while in 2014!

When we started house hunting last year, one thing that became obvious right away was that the grandiose en suite master baths we were used to in California were NOT A THING here. A lot of Cape Cods, Colonials and Victorians had a single full bath, powder rooms off the kitchen on the first floor and quite often really useless full baths down in the basements, even when the basements weren't entirely finished! Though we lucked out with two full baths at our house, we knew we'd have to factor in the cost of creating an en suite bath that met our (admittedly spoiled Californian) needs.

This morning we officially kicked off the project with our contractor during a three-hour meeting and the handing over of a big fat check. It's exciting and a little terrifying, but we're thrilled to finally get it off the ground since putting it off way back in April. We've watched enough HGTV to know that an 1882 New England Victorian might have its own plans for our budget and we may not get everything on our wish list, but it's off to a good start and we're taking the lead on nearly everything that comes after the rough finishing. (Translation: A LOT of shopping and deal-hunting, and probably a decent amount of hands-on work.) By mid-January we should be done with the design process, and construction can begin as soon as February!

We've never done anything like this before, so it'll be an adventure, I'm sure. Wish us luck!


Head of the Charles

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A dear friend recently posted a dreamy photograph of a nice canoe jaunt along the Russian River, which served as a steady backdrop to my more carefree and wild childhood summers. (So did Mt. Shasta and the Trinity River, but we didn't have any family friends with vineyards that far north so it was never quite the same.) To borrow a line from Neko Case, just the sight of it yanked my neck on the chain. (Do rivers do that to anyone else? If so, which ones and why?) Here in Boston, the Charles River is a totally different beast. Beautiful and unapproachable (you can't swim in it, but sporting of all sorts is plentiful), but boy does it know how to throw a party. If the 4th of July hasn't convinced you, the Head of the Charles Regatta sure can.



Non-locals who are out there scratching your heads, the Head of the Charles is the world's largest 2-day regatta. The course on the Charles is three miles, which has six bridges for crews, rowers and coxswains to negotiate, and some 9,000 athletes and 1,900 boats compete over the weekend from all over - including, to my utter delight, several crews from Oakland, CA.

It is VERY thrilling to watch, and yet somehow also surprisingly laid back as a New England sporting event.

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Since one of the most exciting spots to watch was only four stunning miles of riverside bike path from our house, we hopped on our bikes and rode over to the riverbank near Harvard's athletic fields, within stone-throwing distance of Eliot Bridge. Eliot Bridge is a hairy spot in the course, right at the tail end of an aggressive U-shaped bend in the river, and just as soon as the rowers are out of it they have a really sharp right turn that straightens out into the finish. So collisions run high, the margin for error skyrockets, and it's the home stretch. Phew!

It's just lovely to park your bikes, stretch out in the grass with a snack, take in the foliage and cheer on the teams all at once.



A fellow spectator was kind enough to snap this pic of M & I!


Checking out the goods at the Kiel James Patrick x Brooks Brothers tent.



Speaking of bike riding, I've been awful and haven't really taken my Roadster 26 out since bringing it home last year! Even though we took our bikes out in the snow a few times and then for a while M was commuting 14 miles daily to work in Kendall Square through spring and summer, I guess I've been too preoccupied with riding horses to bother with poor old Pash. It's silly, because I love to ride horses alone but feel a little lonesome riding a bike by myself. That's weird, isn't it?

Maybe it's because riding a bike in Boston amid godawful Boston drivers is kind of terrifying - the horror stories I've heard and some I've seen myself - but I think I'll try going it alone on the Charles River bike paths and Minuteman Bikeway sometime soon.


It's curious and kind of incredible how 8 miles on a 40 lb. bike can work an entirely different set of muscles than an hour or two atop a 1,000 lb. horse, but they absolutely do. To borrow the term from equestrians (or derby girls, whichever), "on the flat" I can pick up quite a good bit of steam on my Roadster, but hills here are brutal and to even think of having this bike back home is hilarious. You might as well just push a giant boulder up Potrero Hill in that case!

I'm almost mad that Pashley came out with the Aurora last month, with its lighter weight and mixte frame, but the price tag is nearly twice that of the Roadster and even more so if you consider what it would cost to customize it with a Buckingham Black paint job and all the Mad Max fixins' of the 26. Still...perhaps I'll save my pennies and trade up down the road. It's healthier than constantly resenting the fact that I can practically throw M's Yves Gomez over my own head if I felt like it. When we ride together she forgets that she's in a zippy little sports car and I'm in a massive Cadillac.

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Quick and dirty outfit details for us both:

Femme Neoprene skirt from Asos Suede mini-wedges from Aldo Heart-dot Peter Pan blouse from H&M Vintage fur collar w/ pin from Lou Lou's Betsey Johnson enamel heart-dot cuff Gold cuff and purse from Madewell Tiny anchor pendant from LF

Tomboy Cardigan by Harley of Scotland Shirt by Jack Wills Dockers Slim Fit Alpha khakis Sebago boots Vintage belt from Bobby From Boston

Well, that sure was a chatty post. Hope you enjoyed it, and prepare yourselves for some femme equestrian realness in the next day or so - it's coming up!


Antiquing for Apples

01-P2890509 Allow me to explain. This year, instead of going ye olde family friendly route, we decided to mix the wholesome autumn business of apple picking with the pleasure of wine tasting at Nashoba Valley Winery.

Plus, we've heard good things about the skiing in the area come winter, and it was a good way to peek at the terrain a bit. Spoiler alert: The peak is 422' - that counts as NO elevation in our snotty Lake Tahoe book, and I'm scared to death of Vermont skiing - so cold! Still, the winery is really beautiful, especially with all of the fall colors ablaze, and the orchards boast a smartly curated selection of antique apples in addition to the standard selection. You can read more about all that here if you're interested. So fancy!


The tomboys directing some apple traffic. 


We arrived a bit early and sent the petite and her pal off to explore the corn maze while we hung back in the tasting room. (The night before we all piled up at our friends' house for a viewing of Children of the Corn - the original! - and as a result the kiddo was NO WAY gonna go anywhere near the maze, but we sent them off regardless. It's what parents do!) You honestly can't beat $5 for 5 tastings, plus a lovely souvenir glass.

The Gravenstein and Dry Blueberry wines were pleasant and the service was fantastic, but as far as wines go...well, overall it's no Alexander Valley. Lesson learned! Next time we'll go back to Honey Pot Hill, and just bring our own hooch. Their cider is out of this world, anyway.


Once our pals showed up we all regrouped and set out to find a few pecks' worth of apples. We were determined to find Northern Spy, Ben Davis and Golden Russet apples in particular. I'm going to make a nice apple crisp and I'm not sure what else, but they'll be put to good use.



I wore this kind of ridiculously inappropriate outfit accidentally on purpose. I distinctly remembered being too warm last year, so I kept the layers light and pulled on these studded ankle boots with nice high heels. The sun was plentiful and quite warm but whenever the breeze kicked up, it'd send a shiver through me. Oh, well. What are fabulous and impractical femme getups if not a perfect excuse to ensure a handsome butch looks after your every move? Très exactement! 



Apparently taking inspiration from the fruit of the vines, I chose this long, merlot-colored crocheted tank from The Rack, thrown on over Zara leggings with a Zara belt and topped with a Free People sweater in a nice, grape-y shade. The boots are Trouve, the bag is Kate Spade, and the necklace is from JewelMint. I've got my trusty Ray-Ban Clubmasters on as well.





We took this group photo of our footwear. Sebago boots for M, Ugg boots for Fancy, and some well-loved Doc stompers (from France!) in an excellent oxblood for Kelly Alice. It's one of my favorites from the whole day!


I found this perfect little bird's nest in one of the apple trees in the orchard! It was empty.


And then I found Kelly Alice employing very strange methods for apple picking, indeed.





After the apple picking, we bought some snacks and a bottle of Gravenstein from the winery and sat out on their beautiful patio nibbling and sipping and people watching and live music listening. It's so pleasant and dog-friendly and queer-friendly there, and a really great way to spend the afternoon, apples or no apples. They're having this cutie pie Bluegrass + Brews festival this weekend, locals who haven't yet done their apple picking or just want to enjoy a Sunday outdoors before it gets too chilly should check it out!

Next up, a bike ride to the Head of the Charles Regatta and an equestrian edition of FFAF. Stay tuned, dear readers!



Merrily, Merrily

01-IMG_1168 So the story goes, three months or so after we first met, we went to a white party together and I ended up staying with M overnight. Wearing the same dainty and very short white getup the next morning, I spontaneously proposed a day date rowing on Lake Chabot, walk of shame clothes and all. M agreed, and so I rowed her all around this little lake, and the odd breeze may or may not have lifted my hem on high once or twice during the excursion.

Rowing is rigorous activity, you know, and it was just a wee little dinghy, not like the one I'm in above.



Long story short, it was a good date. A very good date.


Having already been on a camping trip with a group of her friends and to one of her college buddy's weddings, the following week M threatened to take me to her high school reunion, suggested that we pretend to be married to avoid nosy questions, and a few short weeks later we were planning a whirlwind trip to Barcelona. We never did make it to that reunion.


Two months after Barcelona we'd move in together to a lovely lakeside flat built in the 1920s (mischievously referred to as our "Hill Manor" days), two months after that she said she loved me, and perhaps five or six months after that we at long last, and much to our friends' collective relief, admitted we were officially In A Relationship. The rest, of course, is history.


So a beautiful afternoon spent rowing on a lake close by seemed the perfect thing to do for our anniversary last weekend. And it really was perfect!


We packed a picnic basket to the brim with goodies and set out in a very nice rowboat. A super nice gentleman told us to paddle through two tunnels to get to a big, open part of the lake with a beach on one side and lots of little coves to explore on the other, and after a few hours and the sun sinking to the west, we still didn't want to leave! So much fun.


This is a fascinating vintage necklace I was given a few years ago. I like that it kind of gets lost in the pattern of the Duro Olowu shell and cardigan I have on, but it would be stunning against a nice dark solid background as well. Up above I'm wearing my druzy stingray ring by Lauren Wolf (visit her boutique, Esqueleto, in Oakland if you can - or online here), and JewelMint and Madewell bracelets. I managed not to dunk my trusty Clubmasters into the lake!

My skirt is Asos and the peep-toes are Elie Tahari.

M is wearing a shirt by Gant, Dockers khakis and Sebago boots. The Ray-Bans are prescription aviators I got her awhile back.



Hope everyone's having a great weekend - last of the summer! Our half-cord of kiln-dried firewood arrived today, and I'm finally feeling all ready and excited for fall. Just in time!


PS. Unbelievably, these photos were all taken with the iPhone, because I forgot the camera in the car! They came out pretty darn good if you ask me.

Regatta on the Charles

01-P2860152 Hey! It's the cheeky regatta shorts from J. Crew, making an appearance with a little boys' Ralph Lauren oxford shirt and Vince Camuto pumps in nude snakeskin. Simple stud earrings and a wrapped pony to keep things simple - after all, we were only taking a casual Sunday stroll along the river. The magical red lip is courtesy of Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in Always Red.



It was an overcast day but still very hot out. We were treated to lots of bright, lush greens with splashes of yellow and violet (you'll see below) on our walk, as well as herons and other waterfowl at the dam and huge swarms of turtles ranging from very tiny to as big around as if I stretched my arms out into a circle! Adorable! We think we spotted a very large frog or toad but it didn't seem to move or startle at all - what if it was a ceramic or toy frog someone put on the riverbank as a joke?! I guess we'll find out if it's still there next time...


The bestie and I having a little rest. I still can't quite get my head around the fact that we've been friends for 20 years. It's astonishing! Time is astonishing and relentless (until it isn't, of course, but I'm glad and lucky I haven't felt that particular sting recently).




Look at those amazing pops of color! This view was from a little wooden dock just like the one off in the distance on the other side of the Charles.

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I love this pattern so much I snagged the bikini top in the same print to add to the shorts and tank. No more, I promise!


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M found this "urban angler" carving in the dock's railing, which is pretty hilarious considering she refers to herself as an extreme angler often. She's got on her trusty navy boat shoes, Penguin shorts and a Banana Republic shirt.


Signing off with another loverbird photo...but before I go, did you see the post Autostraddle put up earlier this week on Labor Day party style? It highlights an outfit from FFAF, and you should check it out! She/Seek also featured FFAF in a post on adding some edge to femme style, and you can find that here. We had some excellent news from the IRS today, heard the new Julie Ruin album yesterday on NPR's First Listen, and got the warmest warm fuzzies ever from the new Mary Lambert video, She Keeps Me Warm.

That ought to tide you over for a hot minute! Any good Labor Day weekend plans? Ours involves the Boston Tattoo Convention!