coffee diaries | gryphon (take two!)

And this time, I brought the appropriate camera! iPhone photos just don't do it justice from this original post .

It has been a while since I last wrote about Gryphon, a cute little blog in the heart of Wayne, PA. Over a year ago, I began by saying that simply, Gryphon is a treasure. It's true! It's such a cute little cafe and I am finding, the more I go there, new quirks about it. It is actually very academic - it must be - for people are always there studying, working, or staring into the glow of a macbook. I was glad that we found a seat - it was humming with customers - upstairs with cool mismatched velvet couches and sunlight streaming in the large windows. This time around I chose a cortado - I have to say this one was better - but I loved the presentation of it all in the classic glass. Recently, I learned what a cortado actually is. It is served in this small size, typically in a vessel like this. It is mostly espresso served with a 'cut' of warm milk. It is very strong! I'm guessing that this was mostly espresso and the milk is added last. Also pictured is a sweet and delicious chai tea latte enjoyed by my lovely C! :) This place is such a pleasant little stop, even if you're not planning to linger around. I'll part with one tip: go during the sunlight hours to enjoy the cool back wall window-mural.

I have a few cafes lined up for my next coffee diaries. Cannot wait to add them to the books!

notes from the coffee diary
- bold, very strong taste
- smoky tones

ciao! xo


make me hot chocolate

"Make me hot chocolate!" is something I've been pleading for lately to my sister who makes THE most decadent, rich hot chocolate you've ever seen. I swear it is the best on the planet - way better than a cup at Starbucks. The recipe - which you probably think I would post - unfortunately, has to be kept a secret. BUT - you can see the trimmings on top definitely make it creamy and delicious! For best results, drink with family and/or friends and sip from your favorite mug (preferably matching ones like ours). Top with whipped cream, some mini marshmallows (or jumbo, whatever your preference), and some sundae syrup and you've got the finishing touches on one darn indulgent cuppa.

Hot chocolate is meant to be enjoyed on snowy winter days. And quite conveniently, yesterday we had a snow day! I did a lot - little preparations for grad school, caught up on blogs, work for work, a little painting/editing, and I even started reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (I'm already done 1/3 of the book!). It felt like a Sunday night, but suddenly we are halfway through the week. Can't believe that it is already Wednesday.

cheers to you!
ciao, xo


cozy weekend in

^ like my holey sweater? :)

current obsessions:
  • chips and salsa.
  • my new heated mattress pad!
  • keeping my room straightened up and organized.
  • vanilla bean ice cream {and pretzels.}
  • my swell bottle
  • george harrison music every weekend morning! 
  • lavender candles
  • roaring fireplace fires
  • pollo piccata 
  • season 5 downton sundays :)
  • interior decorating dreams
  • basil pesto.
  • praying for a huge snow dump. eee! 
  • amazon prime
  • my {new} smart tv!!

This weekend was the coziest! From Saturday's post, you can tell it was a pretty snowy and indoorsy day. It called for heather grey sweats, decadent hot chocolate, and listening to george harrison tunes - which I am so into these days thanks to a CD my sister gave me. I was actually quite productive for this otherwise lazy-sounding day; I shot a new post for valentines' day (coming soon!), organized my room and prepped for the upcoming paint job, and even found time to break out the watercolors for a little painting sesh. 

How was your weekend?
ciao, xo


white slush

This time last year, we got 13" of snow. We have barely received any good dumping of snow lately, and while I was tired of it last year, I am craving a nice heaping of snow in our area. Last night a slushy mix arrived and this is the remnants of it today - cold, icy slosh that feels just as dirty as it does wet. Sigh.

I find myself today feeling very relaxed. There is a ton of work to do but I am in an putting it off and feeling kind of amicable about it. Still deciding on the color to paint my room. I am really dying to see how my room looks after I do this little 'overhaul'...I have moved lots of furniture, bought some recent additions (hello 72" mirror! woo) and got rid of a lot of knick-knacks. Still lots of work to do on that end, though..

I'm going to stop typing now because there really isn't much more to say! Enjoy your weekend, happy Saturday, and ciao! xo


on paint swatches

Growing up, I was the kid who grab hundreds of paint swatches from Home Depot whenever I was there {bored out of my mind} with my parents. I guess I didn't have a particular reason other than they looked pretty. Whenever I got home I would fan them out, look at their names, wonder out loud, "who's job is it to come up with the names of these colors? Can I have that job?" and then put them in a drawer to be long forgotten.

Last weekend I pocketed more paint swatches, but actually with the intent to paint my room. I have been at a dead standstill since, because I think hanging the swatches up in my room against the wall has confused me even more and I have noooo idea what I want, or what will look good! If you're an interior designer...help. 

A couple posts back I posted a room inspo post: all white. Which is want I want to do...mostly. But I am thinking about a punch of teal (accent wall). The problem is, my room is already dark as it is with limited sunlight and I don't want it to be darker. I think the dark color of teal will also create the illusion of a smaller room, which I don't want either...any experts out there know what I mean? My goal is to add as much natural light as possible, whether its by adding mirrors or brightening the color up.

Have you ever experimented with bold colors that you're unsure about? Have you ever done an accent wall? I am very open to tips!! thank you! 

ciao, xo


winter birdwatching

Dream career: to be a National Geographic photographer. I felt like one when I snapped these photos outside the window over our snowy, frozen-over garden. There is nothing quite as serene as a quiet, snowy morning hearing the birds chirp outside the window. And these birds! Look at their magnificent colors. The cardinal especially is just so beautiful against the snow, so elegant. I took these through the window but I actually love the blurred, bright effect. Magically, the details in the birds' feathers are just-enough there appreciate the variegated lights, darks, and whimsical patterns.

I think photography takes skill, I really do. But I think even more than skill it takes serendipity - being in the right place at the right time. There are so many things that factor into a good photo, and when they all seem to happen in one spontaneous, joyful, unplanned moment... is there anything better than getting to capture that with your camera?

ciao, xo


what do you do when all you want is grey?

I recently promised myself I would stick to this 30-day challenge to 'use your wardrobe' (aka no new clothes shopping). I've tested my discipline by doing a little browsing...and I am finding that all I want are neutrals (especially greys!). I really want them allllll - some for work, some for weekend. I think the grey fits my wintry sort of mood - and in the summer it will be a total reversal. Spending my morning on pinterest and all these websites was probably not the best idea!

How was everyone's weekend? For me it was lots of naps, laying low, and last night a fantastic episode of Downton..anyone else watching? Have a lovely week and happy MLK day!

Ciao, xo



January is halfway through and the winter blues have only affected me minimally (yay - see how I 'beat' them here). I suppose it is only natural to feel a little blue during the cold months - because if not, then do we really drink in all of the vibrance of summer? It's hard to appreciate it without the winter. Days here lately have been: promising to keep fresh cut flowers in my room, breaking out my new suede boots, splurging on out-of-season berries, and keeping my handy dandy swell bottle with me both at home and at work. I love that thing! Not pictured but also happening: George Harrison tunes on repeat, warm vanilla sugar body lotion (!!!), and hot cups of spinach soup to stay warm. And the occasional heaping bowl of pasta, because I can't keep away for too long {ever.}

So excited for this three day weekend - staying up a little later on Sunday night is gonna be glorious!! What are you up to this weekend?

ciao, xo



coat calvin klein | jeans ae | bag calvin klein | scarf gap { all old }
hat brixton | turtleneck champion | boots adrienne vittadini 

Even though I prefer warmth over cold, there is something so festive about a big plaid scarf, a sweater and boots all under a nice warm coat. I can't imagine not doing this during winter (like S who is in sunny California...hello!). It must be so odd to have it be January, and warm, at the same time. Anyone in the southern hemisphere - you amaze me with your flipped seasons (and I'm so jealous that you're in summer and I'm not!). It'll be a while before we shed the coats and boots here.

I have been looking for an excuse to wear this awesome hat - it was on my list here - so over the weekend I pulled this look together for our afternoon out and about. It might not look that comfortable but the grey cowl is THE most snuggly, cozy (yet super light) fleece I've ever had! It is actually exercise wear, something that you could wear to yoga or even sleep in - but I decided to go the other way with it and really dress it up. I think it is probably one of my most-used items (I just love the hi-low detail about it). With the jacket, I don't know how the color scheme just happened, but it did...and I really like how the thick plaid scarf with all of the blues played out the neutral grey tones and my green coat. And that hat!? It's my favorite. I am such a hat person!

As for the song (which is a bit unrelated) it has been playing on repeat here lately! Along with all of George Harrison's other songs, that is. This one below is my current favorite and inspiration. My sister and mom have been longtime fans and for some reason it took me my whole life to catch on! Have a great week everyone! ciao, xo :)


8 ways to stay out of a winter rut

What is a rut? It's this feeling I get when I am stagnant, when I've spent too many hours in the house and I feel like all the fun has been sucked out of the day. I personally hate ruts, especially in the winter; when the days are short, cold and the weather is ruthless. The stretch between January and April feels like miles long, with the occasional relief (hello, four day weekends). I think I automatically associate these months as being very rut-prone; I almost always find myself in a rut. It's because there usually are no major events or commitments, no big travel plans, and sometimes the cold seems to have no end in sight.

1. Work out I don't know what is is (actually I do, it's endorphins) but something about running wakes me up and makes me feel not like a slug. I admit it, I've already felt like I've been in a rut and once I got out to run, I felt more confident and vital and - should I dare say it? - alive. I hate running, especially in the cold. I've talked about what gets me motivated, so just sucking it up for a mile or two isn't that bad, when you actually weigh the benefits and costs.

Get outside.

2. Go on a photography date Grab your camera and get out the door. The fun is in the search for a good subject. The more the merrier! I have yet to do this with some of my friends who also like to photograph. The best way to learn the ins and outs of your camera is to practice with it. You can turn this into as big of a production as you'd like it to be.

3. Create something Try out the recipe you've been meaning to give a go. Get out your scrapbook and start cutting and pasting away. Go to the craft store and find something to paint. Make a terrarium. Make a video short. Creating something - whatever your interests are - gives you a rush of accomplishment and flexes your skills. It allows you to channel your focus to produce something. How cool is that?

I created a terrarium like this last year. It's thriving! See the DIY post :)

4. Turn a boring day into an event Let's stay you're stuck indoors because it is snowing 5 feet outside (hello, last year). Make some fun of your situation! Have a movie marathon, complete with buttered popcorn and a roaring fire. Have a spa, with nails and facials and even little cucumber slices for the eyes. If you're unable to venture out and get supplies, make with what you've got in the house. In our house we have been known to throw Oscars 'parties' and Downton Abbey tea shindigs.

5. Get out of bed and get dressed Netflix and pajamas does not cure all. Of course it is fun! But we all know that it sucks up the day, and by that I mean that the constant streaming of episodes perpetuates, one after another Before you know it, it's dinner time (or even bedtime) and what have you done today? I find that I have never ever once regretted getting out of bed early and slowly starting my day out in the world (or even another room in the house). Getting dressed is also an unexpected motivator, since it requires you to shed the PJs you associate with laziness rest and sleep.

6. Go to a new place You have work on Monday and there's no time or money for a short weekend getaway. You don't have to board an airplane or give away your weekend to visit a 'new place.' It can be a little local town, a new restaurant you've been meaning to try, or a drive down an unfamiliar road. I have found so many cute cafes by doing just this. It adds a thrill to your day, and who knows what you'll find. If you're in for a bigger adventure, inspo like this can set a fire under your butt to move.

7. Get off social media for a little while Stop looking at last summer's instagrams. Stop being a twitter junkie. This also consumes a lot of time, while distracting you from something you wanted to check.......what did I wanna look up again? In small doses, social media can be awesome. But with too much, it can be a time-waster.

Sometimes social media serves as a platform for jealousy - I know that I have sometimes fallen prey to 'comparing' myself to others. It's something that might be hard to get out of, if it is something that you 'follow' or constantly check. I have unfollowed plenty of fashion bloggers because I realized that the only thing I was getting out of following them was their seemingly flawless wardrobes, skin, faces, hair...it's not real! Some accounts are based heavily on vanity; I realized that when all bloggers do is tout designer bags, advertise about their fabulous destinations, or post impeccable selfies, there really isn't anything I need to follow. Instagram is a huge example. When you zoom out and realize how you're spending your time on social media, its much more grounding and affirming.

8.  Clean out your closet and donate. This is a toughie, but sometimes, clearing out your closet for more space can be a very freeing thing. I find it hard to part with a certain piece of clothing ("I loved that sweater during sophomore year! But I paid so much for those jeans! This skirt reminds me of high school! Those were my lucky socks!"). I am the worst at this - but it can be healthy to purge. Maybe purge is a strong word - your pile of old clothes doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) the majority of your belongings. But that old bag that has been sitting on top of your closet? Your first ever Abercrombie and Fitch tee that you loved, but wouldn't be caught dead in now? Put it in a trash bag and donate it. If you can't, then try to find ways to make a buck. But it shouldn't be something you put off - because if you put it in a special 'eBay pile' in your room, we all know you'll never really sell it.

Let me know if you try anything, or if you have your own way of keeping the winter time interesting! I really stand by these ideas, and would love to hear your own too! ciao, xo


scenes from my weekend

It might not seem it from these pictures but I have a sense that the winter blues are setting in; we all kind of feel that way! So we decided to rally against them by hopping in the car and just going somewhere with our cameras in tow. We spent almost the entire afternoon outdoors - chilly, sunny, windy - walking up and down the riverfront, poking into shops and cafes, and just people watching. It was the best!

It was actually quite beautiful in a stark only-in-January way. There were ice floes traveling down the river quite quickly, so it was a neat thing to see the sun sparkle on all the water and miniature glaciers. We even spotted a little flock of geese navigating the ice through the frigid waters - all of it was quite picturesque.

{some really good coffee from here. click to see the full coffee diary post!}

So, the weekend was nourishing for the soul but as always a bit too short. Next weekend is going to be awesome because it's a three day weekend (yeeeeee!). We've been having talks here about making a day trip somewhere, even if it is a little junket like this one. It does wonders for cabin fever and the january blues! I'd say, mission accomplished.

So this week, I've compiled a couple of posts: one dedicated to banishing the feeling of a wintry rut, and an outfit post. May be some other little snippets here and there. Can't wait for it all!

Everyone have a lovely week! ciao, xo


thoughts on white

Time for a poll! I need your opinions and thoughts on white walls. Do you think this would be fitting for a bedroom?

all via

I am deeply considering going for an all-white bedroom.  I am so attracted to the light, bright whites in this room - all about the natural sunlight streaming in the windows and casting a brilliant illuminance. I think with the right accessories it could be pulled off - what do you think? Here are some of my pro's and con's.

pros - clean light, reflects the brightness, makes room feel open and sunny
cons - it might resemble One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a bit too much..

please, please, please! Let me know what you think!
ciao, xo & thanks!


cold moon

It is absolutely unbelievable how cold it is - today, the wind chill is supposedly going to go below zero. This kind of weather makes me hate waking up at the unthinkable early morning hours that I have to. It is just so evil out! But it snowed the other day, and the snow does such a wondrous thing - it blankets everything and turns it beautiful. Anyway, earlier this week the wind was howling and I got home late - already dark out. As I was pulling up home I caught - out of the very teeniest corner of my vision - the moon. How could I miss it? A dazzling, clear, full golden moon. It seemed so close that you could even see the grooves of the cavernous craters.

What I wanted to do was curl up in my heated blanket and watch the Downton Abbey season 5 premiere (again) but instead I lugged my bags in, and dug out my good ol mini tripod and trusty camera. I dragged my mom to come on this little spontaneous photography adventure! And it was worth the frigid temps! By the time 5 minutes had passed I couldn't feel my hands! Hence the totally off-centered shots...

I love moon chasing. La bella luna! And these images aren't edited except for the watermark. Hashtag no filter :) It's never a bad thing to take a break from life to look up - just up at the sky - for a moment or two.

ciao, xo and happy thursday! 
don't forget to look UP today!