Tuesday, March 30, 2010

i love my big sister...


happy birthday lisa! i wish i were in atlanta to give you a big hug, but luckily i will see you in 4 weeks! here is a short list of why i am so glad you were born...

1. you always put family first, and are always the rock whenever hard times hit.
2. you are one of the most honest people i have ever met, with unwavering morals, and you never fail to do the right thing, in any situation.
3. you took me to paris the summer before my senior year of high school, and were the perfect tour guide! we saw all the most amazing museums, thanks to your persistence, while i was fighting to go back to the hotel and take a nap!
4. you didn't even bat an eye or insist i change, when i showed up wearing 5 inch heels, a sequined dress, and a flapper headband to meet the president, at the white house christmas party.
5. when i was a baby, you used to play "the way we were" by barbara streisand and carry me around the room 'til i fell asleep.
6. thanks to you, not only have i seen mary chapin carpenter about 10 times in concert, but i have also met her, at a starbucks book signing you took me to when i was probably 11 years old.
7. you took me to see the greats in concert- cher, madonna, bette midler... now all we need to see is liza minnelli and barbara streisand to complete the gay iconic quintet. awesome.
8. you found me a replacement "claire", my beloved childhood baby doll that was destroyed by a friends dog. i still have claire 2.0 on my bed, much to my husband's chagrin.
9. you and i are the two family members who love to do impersonations. saturday night live, here we come...
10. you and i are also the two tallest family members. my favorite is when people ask mom and dad, "but how are lisa and ginny so tall?" hilarious.
11. your biggest weaknesses... baseball caps and t-shirts. your collection could put anyone to shame!
12. you introduced "my so-called life" to me. i remember when you taped the entire collection from MTV. i used to be glued to your t.v when i came to visit! we loved jordan catalano and "the way he leaned". and the boiler room episode and that buffalo tom song. best episode ever.
13. you taught me how to make a mean blueberry soy smoothie and a tasty corn salad, two things i always make when the weather gets warm.
14. you are one of the smartest, most hard working women i know. without a doubt.
15. you are such a good big sister. i love you so much.

even though we are 16 years apart, we couldn't be any closer. i am so glad you are my big sister, and i am so glad you were born! i hope you have a great birthday today and i can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

bottled up...

today i am grateful for...

chelsea's treasure map

an adventure to dead horse bay with sweet friends. chelsea rose cook and peter hale cooney III researched tide charts and even managed to wrangle up directions to the secretive bottle beach. chelsea designed a treasure map, pieced together by bits of cryptic, neverland-esque instructions, transmitted over the phone, by a mysterious woman.

after a near-apocalyptic ride on the 2 train, a fairly tame ride on the Q.35 bus, and a 3/4 mile hike to floyd bennett field beneath circling buzzards, we approached an unmarked, winding pathway flanked by cattails and creeping, thorny brambles. this pathway then lead to a three-tined fork in the field. still nary a sign or marking in site. scratching our heads we chose the middle path which crooked and bent so much we figured we were walking in circles.

heart stop
we finally saw the first good sign. it should be dubbed, "heart marks the spot"!

sweet friends

after several more paces, matt released a cheer, and we knew we had arrived!

matt's boots

armed with rubber rainboots and work gloves, we set to diggin' and collectin'. we divided and totally conquered that little beach! i could hear little gasps and yips of excitement and wonderment from my pals at all points. discovering little treasures all about.

bottles mixed

we unearthed so much milk glass, cobalt glass, brown apothecary bottles, handled jugs, coca- cola bottles, ponds cold cream bottles, tea cups, chunks of horse bone, and doll parts. such a treasure trove! we filled our satchels to the brim, and waddled away with heavy arms and numb fingers and noses.

white bottles

white bottles 2

rose cup

doll arm and shell

now our kitchen table is littered with my new(old) loot and our bathroom smells like a drip castle. my tub, is dusted with a layer of sand, sea sludge, and unappetizing bottle innards. but hey, now i have vessels for any and every occasion. and a really lovely memory with good friends. hooray!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

it's possible...

today the impossible project is set to release its new PX film! i have been stockpiling all sorts of different polaroid film(being the little hoarder that i am), and i can't wait to try this one out! are y'all as excited as i am? lucky josh goleman was selected to be one of the beta testers. he shot a gorgeous series of our friends emily marie cox and paul isabella, an equally talented(and attractive) duo. if y'all get to it first, save me some, ya hear?

Monday, March 22, 2010

"stolen roses"...

today i am grateful for...

karen elson

karen elson 2

last fangirl post, i swear!!! miss jamie jean freed, the coolest boss lady ever, wrangled up some passes to see this lovely flame-haired ingenue tonight. between lavender, gin-spiked lemonade and grace coddington sightings, it was an all-round perfect evening. karen wore a peachy, frothy floor-length dress trimmed with black lace. and this amazing feather headpiece that sort of resembled a "where the wild things are crown". her voice is so pure, and twangy and old-school. so good it'll bring tears to your eyes!

and one of my favorite citizens band mates, rachelle garniez sang back up and played the accordion. i see a nashville road trip in my near future. i'll drop ed off at billy reid to do the manly flannel thang, while i scour venus and mars for delicious, vintage party dresses. and maybe we'll meet up at the grand ole opry.

yeah. anyway. karen elson rocks my world.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

the ghost who walks...

i mean, karen elson is perfection. when will this record release? sigh.

Friday, March 19, 2010

old sweet song...


well y'all, looks like georgia is calling us home. i've had a mighty fine time in new york, but these two georgia peaches are homeward bound. i've got five more weeks to play in the big apple before we board that midnight train. there are so many things i will miss about new york, but i am going to miss my friends the most of all. i love chelsea, pete, haylie, lauren, john, madeleine, kristi, savannah, neil, mary, emily and paul, mollie, bethany, amy, jamie, ulysses, to name a few. not to mention all the fun, wonderful, hilarious folks i've been lucky enough to meet while here. new york can be a tough city, but if you surround yourself with good, kind people, that really is all that matters.

i love what conan said on his last show, "if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." it's true. i'm seeing it happen to all my friends, who are all so talented, so hardworking, and so genuinely, amazingly kind. if i've done anything right, it is kept good company. i am so proud of the people in my life, and i wish i could bring them all in my suitcase back to georgia with me. and i hope y'all will help me paint this town red for a few more weeks ; )

Thursday, March 18, 2010


today i am grateful for...


taking a detour from my spring cleaning to actually enjoy spring!! i dragged eddie out of our apartment for a little brooklyn botanic garden adventure. i must admit, i was a little too eager and still haven't adjusted to new york's spring schedule... meaning the garden was still a little sleepy, with flowers hiding beneath the soil.



but we sniffed out the blooms. daffodils and some cherry blossoms were sprinkled throughout the garden grounds.


cherry blossoms

cherry blossoms and me

cherry blossoms 2

oh the cherry blossoms, my favorite mid-atlantic treat! i can't wait for the explosion all over new york.

i had a dandy time just soaking up some sun and fresh air! and it was fun playing around with some cameras from my collection. i have yet to develop my pentax k1000, and i can't wait to see how they turn out. i love surprises! and i am loving these longer days and warmer air. yum.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

reaching for the moon...

wendy bevan's bewitching video. i am obsessed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

comin up roses...

second hand rose 1

second hand rose 2

second hand rose 4

(woof. iphone photos not so hot).

today i had the pleasure of taking a field trip to second hand rose, a darling purveyor of fine vintage and antique wallpaper... and man, was it mighty fine! their midtown showroom walls are lined with wood crates stuffed with an array of paper goodness. i came in with the best intentions of finding pretty samples and scraps to doodle on, but alas, "sold only by the double roll".

no matter, i flipped through binders and binders of damask roses(belgian, french, and american), tiny prints, metallic foil, and kitschy kitchen prints, plotting the day i am able to wallpaper our first real home. maybe a closet? a kitchen? while i was acting out "ginny and ed's dream house in georgia" in my head, a sweet father, mother, and daughter were selecting wallpaper for their study. i was both blown away at the thought of having enough room for a "study" in a new york city apartment, and by the fact that all three family members had a say in the matter! so democratic and diplomatic!

bonus points about this charming slice of paper heaven? the owners couldn't be nicer. suzanne lipschutz is the epitome of what a charming, hilarious new york proprietor should be! and her gravely voice... i want it. she enthusiastically doled out bits of trivia, facts, and history about her wares, and i can not wait to be able to afford to do business with her. A++++ for product knowledge and customer service!

for all you guys and gals with serious pocket change, looking for a little home improvement... look no further. and for serious tips from an expert, contact miss merrick. she knows what's up when it comes to layin' it down!

until the twelfth of never...

mom and dad
mom and dad. westminster prom in the 60s.

me and dad
dad and me. right before i walked down the aisle.

happy birthday poppa branch! i distinctly remember gifting you a written account very similar to this, back when i was a little girl. do you still have it? i hope so, but if not, here is a new and improved list on why i am so glad you were born( in no particular order).

1. you always taught your daughters that the best title wasn't necessarily "Most Valuable Player" but "Most Improved". you always encouraged us to be the best we could be, and that is all you asked of us.

2. on the contrary, you did also encourage me to "kick butt and take names", especially in my 13 years of playing soccer. which is kind of funny considering i was just the goalie.

3. you take great pride in the musical tastes you have passed down to your daughters- buddy holly, elvis, the drifters, the righteous brothers, the walker brothers, jay black and the americans, johnny mathis. i had so much fun going over the wedding playlist with you the night before i got married, and hearing you say, "i raised you on the classics. classic rock and roll!"

4. you clip out articles about fashion and fashion marketing in the newspaper and in magazines, and have mom include them in her care packages. and also very important, pragmatic clippings about household budgeting...

5. you taught me the importance of being precise, a lesson you have passed down to all your girls. very helpful when trying to hold my own in a debate with a lawyer husband.

6. you taught me how to draw. the very first thing i ever learned how to sketch was a three dimensional wine glass, and how to break down the object into very common shapes.

7. you are a walking compendium of quotes. i always hear the tom wolfe quote, "torn filaments of mist wash slowly round the shoulders of the hills," when i see mountains spotted with clouds of grey and white. you used to always recall this snippet of literature when we drove 'round the mountains of georgia.

8. you were always willing to take me tubing on the lake, twice and sometimes even three times a day! you were never too grumpy to turn me down, although i will probably never forget when you forced me to water ski in front of ed and alex in the 8th grade. i am still mortified! unfortunately the david branch-water skiing skills were never passed down to me in the gene pool!

9. you have always been a dapper dad, but my favorite fashion choice was on my wedding day, when i tried to force you into a seersucker suit and bow tie, you said, "nope i'm wearing my white dinner jacket, and i am going to look like jay gatsby. and you know what, you were right.

10. you love to call our mother, "one hot babe" and other terms of endearment in front of lisa, amy, and me. and you get an even bigger grin when we respond, "eeeeew dad, we're right here!" but i hope my husband is still as flirty with me at 62, as you are with mom.

11. you always say "hellloooooo baby" like the big bopper, as your telephone greeting to your daughters.

12. you love a practical joke, and when you and mom were in high school you decided to tell her your initials were SDB, instead of DBS. this little joke caused her to get everything monogrammed incorrectly, even a gold signet ring of yours that i wear everyday. it makes me laugh every time i tell that story.

13. you are such a supportive and proud father, which really, is pretty awesome. you have always encouraged me to follow my dreams and have in every way been there for me. in fact, you're usually two steps ahead of me, designing the business cards and logos!

14. you have pretty sweet dance moves. so good in fact, that i was semi-unaware of how good they were, until my wedding reception. both ed and my friends still talk about your dancing skills!

15. you took me to see a river runs through it, on a school night, randomly when i was in the third grade. it is one of my favorite movies, helped inspire the theme of my wedding, and represents one of my favorite father-daughter memories with you.

16. you've always had really endearing expressions for me during my awkward years. you affectionately referred to my buck teeth as my "cute space" and always said, "girl, i need to put a brick on your head" when i just didn't stop growing. i guess my growth spurt ended, just as soon as i caught up to you, with us both topping 5'10".

17. you, and mom, still patiently drive my sorry fanny around town, whenever i come home. i can't thank you both enough for that.

18. you gave me such a good last name, that i couldn't drop it! i had to keep all three, because everyone still calls me "ginnybranch stelling". my maiden name and first name have just become one.

19. because you sang johnny mathis' "the twelfth of never" to me, the day the doctor put me in your arms on the day that i was born. that was the first thing you did when you held me for the first time. and you sang this song to me every night as a little girl, to help me fall asleep. and it was the song we danced to as our father-daughter dance at my wedding. and i cry every time i hear it.

20. because you are such a good man. because i hope we have sons one day that are as good as you.

i love you so much dad. thank you for always believing in me. you and mom have given everything and sacrificed so much for all your children. i can only hope that ed and i will be half as good to our children, as y'all were to me, lisa, and amy. i will always be grateful for your generosity, your kindness, your humor, your open-mindedness, your creativity, and obviously, your musical taste. we are so glad you were born.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

flea market style...

one of my favorite simple pleasures is drinking hot chocolate and perusing the new monthlies at casa magazines, a local business i am always happy to support! by luck and by happenstance i stumbled upon a new insta-favorite... flea market style. hello little magazine, where have you been all my life???

delicate cycle

the entire magazine is devoted to upcycling vintage finds and new uses for old things.

doing dishes

also included are snippets of history and care tips and tricks for your careworn treasures.

rose paintings

great. now i want to collect rose paintings. thank god i have gone on a total shopping hiatus( ahem, my husband had to reign in my wild junkin' addiction).

ironstone collection

really wonderful glimpses into folks' homes. i fell in love with joe apodaca and jermonne swendell. their ironstone collection of dishes and pitchers... ummm, yes please! i'll have what they're having...

red chair antiques

and anyone who has ever had the pleasure of visiting red chair antiques will love the glimpse into miss jocie sinauer's home( which was also featured on design sponge)! i emptied my pockets there when i visited this summer. impeccable, impeccable taste. if there was a train i could take to visit there every weekend, i would hop on it instantly!

selvedge, country living, and martha stewart are my staples, and now i will have to add this to the list! i find it incredibly encouraging to see new magazines popping up in this abysmal time in the editorial world. while i'm still mourning the loss of domino and blueprint, this little brightness gives me hope for the future. one day magazines will flourish again... fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

great expectations...


i love when commenters turn me on to new things. a few turns ago i had asked help from you pretties in blogland to recommend house plants. i owe much thanks to miss lea anne wells for her pothos tip. it is super easy to grow, and can thrive even if it has a neglectful, forgetful owner (ahem). i can't wait to try and propagate this puppy.

i love its tendency to creep and crawl around my pie safe. now i want more more more! i hope ed doesn't mind if i turn our apartment into miss havisham's hauntingly overgrown parlour room. and i'm always up for more bushy house plant recommendations ;)
tip of the cap...

straw hats 1

spring weather is seducing me out of my apartment and into the park. gorgeous weather equals a gorgeous mood. and i am happy to report that it is almost time for me to swap my knit hats for big ole floppy straw ones. straw hats conjure up memories of row boats in central park; warm slumbering on the dock of a lake house; berry picking and lemonade drinking; sand in between toes and crunched into salty hair; walking over powdery pink cherry blossomed streets; leisurely bike rides on savannah's cobble-stone streets.

straw hats 2

i can't wait for all these deliciously spring things. and to be able to wear hats and worn-in, perfectly weathered white dresses. what are your favorite spring activities? what will you be wearing this spring?

Sunday, March 7, 2010


saipua flowers

beautiful flowers from a talented lady. i have been admiring these sweet blooms and i must say, they greatly perked up my kitchen. they have been loved to death and are now ready for the flower press.

thank you miss...
curious and curiouser...

alice in wonderland book
the time has come, the walrus said...

alice books
to talk of many things...

down the rabbit hole
of shoes and ships and sealing wax...

alice props
of cabbages and kings.

alice in wonderland 2

i have been waiting and waiting for this newest take on lewis carrol's alice in wonderland and this weekend a cast of park slope gal pals and i fell down the rabbit hole. we all dressed up as different characters with the exception of our alice( who couldn't make it due to a nanny-ing gig). luckily, at the end of the movie, we found our littlest alice- a darling new york girl who hopped in the photo to complete our cast! hope everyone gets a moment to see this movie- it is well worth it! minus, the very odd, out-of-place michael jackson-esque dance performed by johnny depp. and the avril lavigne song at the end.

Friday, March 5, 2010

girl crushes...

today i had a delightful start to my morning with the lovely hannah metz. we exchanged musings on illustration and drawings, old cameras, the vancouver olympics, keats and shakespeare, healthcare, and even our mutual appreciation for lil' wayne. but my favorite topic broached, and one of my favorite topics of all time... girl crushes.

olivia hussey

olivia hussey. the original juliet. that hair! those eyes! that skin! those...ta tas! she is everything i've ever wanted to look like as a woman. alas...

claire danes

claire danes. my new school juliet and forever angela chase to me. no one can cry like claire danes. when her chin starts to wobble and her lips shake, i just sob. so beautiful and so dang smart too.

liv tyler

liv tyler. corey mason. lucy harmon. faye dolan. pamela abbott. every girl i know wanted to be liv tyler when they grew up. my husband and i are watching that thing you do as we speak.

"I have wasted thousands and thousands of kisses on you - kisses that I thought were special because of your lips and your smile and all your color and life. I used to think that was the real you, when you smiled. But now I know you don't mean any of it. You just save it for all your songs. Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed so tight."

who doesn't tear up when liv delivers these lines in that thing you do?

so, who are your girl crushes? which gals did you want to be when you grew up? tell me tell me tell me!

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