Beaver Brook

Inevitably, in the middle of every August, I find myself longing for a month-long retreat in the woods, in a small cabin surrounded by tall trees. It’s not as if I grew up spending my summers in forested areas where the nights are dark and still, but it’s always been a dream. Someday, I’ll have a little cabin somewhere, probably on the West Coast, where a morning stroll takes me to cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. For now, I’m daydreaming about this little place called Beaver Brook.

Do you find yourself wanting a retreat right about now? Where would you go?

{all photos from Beaver Brook}

Summer Weekend

My friend Jenny and I had a girls’ day over the weekend, filled with delicious food (those are zucchini black eyed bean fritters), beautiful scenery (hello, Delaware River), and some unexpected finds (how cute is that bicycle fence?). It was so nice to take a whole day away from work and projects and chat about everything with a good friend.

Sunday morning was spent at the archery range and then brunch with a friend. After a quick trip to the market, I spent the afternoon relaxing, without very much to do. I had forgotten how good it feels to slow down like that.

Now, for a new week filled with wonders. Are you in?

Star Island

Once upon a time — almost a decade ago, I spent a glorious week on a small island off the coast of New Hampshire (which has a very small coast, in fact). The island, which was now being used for various retreats, is home to a late-19th century hotel, a small chapel, several cabins, and an art barn.

There are no televisions in the rooms, electric sockets are hard to find, and hardly anyone is glued to a computer or cell phone. It’s beautifully simple and quiet, the perfect place to exchange ideas and dreams. The meals are served family-style at long tables and the days stretch on without usual distractions. The island is staffed largely by college students for the summer, who have a very Dirty Dancing-esque culture with their own parties, dances, and other events.

When I sometimes feel too overwhelmed, I find myself thinking about this place, about the people I met there, the poetry I wrote, and how I long for more weeks spent laughing myself silly as I fail to row a boat properly, taking afternoon dives into artically cold waters, lying on a rock in the morning sun feeling my spirit swell, gathering around with new friends at night talking until sleep took us.

{more about Star Island}

Pizzeria Stella

I see Marlon Brando’s character from A Streetcar Named Desire standing in the rain shouting “Stella” every time I read the name. I imagine any woman named Stella must get this often, just as I had the Journey song “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” sung to me a thousand times over the years. Yet somehow, I refrained from repeating the scene from the Tennessee Williams’ play outside of Pizzeria Stella in Philadelphia.

(Side note: I struggle every time I spell the word “Pizzeria”. Every. Time.)

At 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, the little restaurant was quiet, though pizzas were constantly being made. I have a thing for Italian food, so I really couldn’t imagine a better way to spend lunch than at an Italian restaurant with my good friend Carly who, coincidentally, speaks Italian (though she herself is not). We ate risotto balls, lingered over a lovely zucchini pizza, then indulged with homemade gelato.

And the culinary masterminds behind Pizzeria Stella know their gelatos as well as their pizzas. Olive oil gelato and honey mascarpone gelato topped with cookies ended the whole experience on a high note. And I drove back to DC in a blissful stupor.

What pizza and gelato combination would make your day?

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.