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wonders never cease

22 Songs For The Best Dog Ever

Five months ago, we lost our beloved store mascot and best friend, Cassady. Thirteen years ago on this day, she was born, and we want to celebrate that today; it was in a dusty town in western Georgia, in the home of our friend David, who had taken her mom in as a stray. Unaware that she was days away from giving birth to a litter of ten -- and dying herself -- David suddenly found himself nursing along the entire brood, caring for her pups like they were his own and finding families for each one of them. We'll always be thankful to him and to our dear friends Nina Black and Chip Reid (who are family to Cassady’s little brother Buster, her favorite dog in the world) for directing David to us and entrusting us with Cassady

We spent twelve and a half years with the most loving, loyal, sweet creature ever to grace this earth. We miss her every day, but today especially.

Rest in peace, sweet girl. We miss you.

1. Lucky You – The National

2. Born For Me – Paul Westerberg

3. Cassidy – The Grateful Dead

4. Now That I Miss Her – Elefant

5. One Man Guy – Rufus Wainwright

6. I Don't Believe in The Sun - The Magnetic Fields

​7. 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten – Lucinda Williams

8. Hole in My Life - The Police

9. Sweet Georgia Brown – Ella Fitzgerald

10. Furr – Blitzen Trapper

11. Big Brown Eyes – Old 97’s

12. Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want To Get Over You) – Willie Nelson and Norah Jones

13. Ain’t No Sunshine – Eva Cassidy

14. Keep Me In Your Heart – Warren Zevon

15. Thank You Too! – My Morning Jacket

16. I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You - Colin Hay

17. Dogsong 2 – The Be Good Tanyas

18. I’m The Man Who Loves You – Wilco

19. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

20. Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Saint Etienne

21. Home – Phillip Phillips

22. She Is Gone – Willie Nelson

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Proper Getaway: A Western Odyssey

A few weeks back, our pal Jenn Barger (fashion writer, style expert and shopping guru at dcstylefactory), and her husband, Callan, spent two weeks out West. Both hail from those parts; Jenn an ex-Texan, Callan a South Dakotan. Escaping DC heat and reconnecting with their roots, they flew into Salt Lake City and took off on a road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Utah (plus a shred of Idaho) that meshed yee-ha cowboy fun with old friends and a lot of terrific trout-eating (and microbrew-trying).

Back in DC, but perhaps still in her denim and boots, Jenn takes the PT Questionnaire:

What was the first thing that caught your eye?
Both Cal and I spent time in the Grand Tetons when we were kids, but coming back as adults was just a reminder of what a beauty queen national park it is — it’s all gigantic, snow-kissed mountains plunging to green, wildflower-filled valleys with postcard-worthy lakes. Oh, and view of moose, beavers and elk. It was nice to come to a place full of memories for both of us and not be disappointed in the least.

Most intriguing smells? Sounds?
The scent of sage grass, which filled our noses both in the Tetons and in and around Bozeman, Montana, where we spent part of the trip. It’s so fresh and clean, and accentuates the crisp air out there. Sounds ... 
hail hitting our rain jackets in the Tetons — we got rained on a little bit daily, but I guess it’s good for the flowers, right?

Most vibrant colors?
Wildflowers in the Grand Tetons — purple lupines, yellow balsamroots, other flowers too colorful and numerous to name.

Exciting tastes?
Huckleberries are in everything out west! They’re a little, purple blueberry-like fruit, but a bit less sweet. We slurped them in cocktails and beers, ate them atop French toast and brought home decadent candy bars stuffed with dried ones. And there’s also a buzzing microbrewing scene out West, so my husband loved trying all the interesting beers.

Person/people you met who'll stick with you?
We spent time with friends in Montana at a 10th wedding anniversary party atop a mountain. The wedding was beautiful a decade ago, and the reunion of friends old and new was terrific too. I also took a horseback ride in the Paradise Valley with my friend (the bride!) and we had a memorably chatty cowboy who cracked so many bad jokes, I thought he’d fall off the horse.

Best overheard snippets?
“Are you sure I can’t give you a free Book of Mormon,” overheard in Temple Square in Salt Lake City, coming from a tour guide/missionary to a tourist.

Absorbing summer reads?
I’m a thriller girl, and I dug into Irish author Tana French’s excellent The Secret Place.

Most interesting animals?
We got up early one morning in the Tetons to go to a wildlife spot, and were rewarded by good views of a mother and baby moose romping in the marsh below.

Most magical moments?
A river float trip on the Snake River in the Tetons, with mountain views and encounters with swimming beavers.

Biggest adventures?
I’m not a daredevil…but I think horseback riding and long hikes qualify, right?

Shopping discoveries?

I grew up in South Texas, so I still love to mix a little bit of Western wear into my closet. Cal and I went to Murdoch’s, this fabulous ranch supply/clothing/hardware store and got plaid Western shirts (not matching) that we’ve both worn since we got back.

Now, sit back and imagine the sound of the projector carousel as you click through Jenn & Callan's slideshow:

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Proper Getaway: An Indian Adventure

India has been a longtime travel dream for our good friends Kim and James, both PhD candidates at GWU, so imagine how excited the were that this summer, a bunch of magical stars aligned to allow them to go. With stops in New Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Agra and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Kim says that "every city has felt like a different country to me. It's been challenging ... and beautiful ... a whole new world!" 

Voilà (darn wish I had the Hindi word), Kim's answers to the PT Questionnaire:

What was the first thing that caught your eye?
The green of Kolkata -- the first place we stayed for a long time. I knew about the intense poverty and the slums (where I needed to be for my research on this trip) and Mother Teresa's house, but I hadn't expected the tropical feeling of monsoon greenery and the gorgeous old bookstores. (Calcutta was the capital of the Raj and is still the intellectual hub of West Bengal--maybe all of India!)

Most intriguing smells? Sounds?
India has been an assault on every sense! The air smells like it is always on fire, but patchouli and jasmine waft through too, especially if a mala (a floral wreath) is around your neck! There are a TON of cows everywhere--they are holy and it seems like they know that--and that does make for its own set of smells on the streets! It's monsoon season here, which has made for some interesting weather--sometimes perfect and breezy (which we did not expect!), but sometimes downpouring. That was our weather in Udaipur, where we were staying on a lake, and the sound of that monsoon rain was incredible.

Most vibrant colors?
Bright bright pinks in the flowers and saffron robes on the monks.


Exciting tastes?
This has been the best food we've ever had! From the mellow potato in a stuffed paratha at breakfast to the fire of a curry at dinner that requires a gallon of sweet lassi to put out, we have been eating our hearts out! We are trying to eat the local specialities, too, so Mishti Doi in Kolkata, Thalis in Rajasthan (and a few trips to the Chaiwalla everywhere we go!)

Most striking contrasts?
Contrast is the operative word for our trip so far. India has contained the most vulgar and the most sacred spaces I've ever seen. The Taj Mahal brought both of us to tears in its majesty and just otherworldly wonder! Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet and the first non-Westerner to win the Nobel prize, called the Taj Mahal "a teardrop on the cheek of eternity," and I adore that. The hospitality people have shown us has been absolutely incredible. At the same time, we've seen an overwhelming number of begging children and desperate people ravaged by our global economy and the rapid expansion of India's mega cities, some of whom we've seen burning trash to get to the metal that could be within it.

In Udaipur, I spent the night in what used to be a real palace in the middle of Lake Pichola (the setting of Octopussy, which is playing in our New Delhi guest house as I type this!!). And in Kolkata, I spent the night in Dum Dum Contanment, a slum in the north of the city. Contrast has been everywhere.

Favorite creature you've encountered? (I suspect maybe the wonderful cow in photo!)
It's hard to choose a favorite creature! The sweet cow in that photo was so communicative with us ... (or maybe I'm losing it here ...?), but we have also met a few chipmunks, who scamper up and steal our snacks--they remind me of our devious kittens!

And now, sit back and enjoy more of India with Kim and James:

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33 Songs for Our Pals On The Road

It’s been almost 58 years since Jack Kerouac published the adventures of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in classic road trip novel On The Road.  The nominally fictitious adventures of Kerouac and Neal Cassady captured the imagination of a nation and inspired countless brave souls to pack a bag and hit the highway. We’ve been checking in with some of our friends to hear about their travels this summer and posting their reports here, so we dedicate this play list to those of you just hitting the road or already relaxing somewhere fun. We’ve paired each song with a quote from On The Road for added inspiration. There are a few more hours of traveling tunes on our Spotify play list to help you reach your destinations. Happy trails, amigos.

1. On The Road – Keane
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

2. Real Gone – Sheryl Crow
“ 'Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'
'Where we going, man?'
'I don't know but we gotta go.' ”

3. First One In The Car – The Wallflowers
“This was really the way my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.”

4. Slow Rollin’ – Lady Antebellum
“... because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars...”

5. Hello? Goodbye! – Lake Street Dive
“It's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

6. Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty
“And I said, 'That last thing is what you can't get, Carlo. Nobody can get to that last thing. We keep on living in hopes of catching it once and for all.' ”

7. Keep On Moving – Bob Marley
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”

8. Don’t Slow Down – Matt and Kim
“As we crossed the Colorado-Utah border I saw God in the sky in the form of huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert that seemed to point a finger at me and say, 'Pass here and go on, you're on the road to heaven.' ”

9. King Of The Road – She & Him
“Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree.”

10. I Love LA – Randy Newman
“LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; NY gets god-awful cold in the winter but there's a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle.”

11. All Of This Ugly – Crash Test Dummies
“His friends said, 'Why do you have that ugly thing hanging there?' and Bull said, 'I like it because it's ugly.' All his life was in that line.”

12. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
“This can't go on all the time-- all this franticness and jumping around. We've got to go someplace, find something.”

13. Let’s Get Lost – Lloyd Cole
“... all I wanted to do was sneak out into the night and disappear somewhere, and go and find out what everybody was doing all over the country.”

14. East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) – John Rauhouse and Neko Case
“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.”

15. Who Needs Sleep – Barenaked Ladies
“ 'I just won't sleep,' I decided. There were so many other interesting things to do.”

16. The Girl From Ipanema – Nat King Cole
“A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”

17. Roman Candle – Vandaveer
“...because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!' "

18. (I’d Go the) Whole Wide World – Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
“The road must eventually lead to the whole world. Ain't nowhere else it can go - right?”

19. Trailways Bus – Paul Simon
“A feeling of sadness that only bus stations have.”

20. Rollin’ (The Ballad of Big & Rich) – Big & Rich
“I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”

21. Hit The Road, Jack – Ray Charles
“There was nothing to talk about anymore. The only thing to do was go.”

22. Be Kind To The Boy On The Road – Billy Bragg and Wilco
“Life is life, and kind is kind.”

23. Surprise, AZ – Richard Buckner
“But why think about that when all the golden land's ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?”

24. Car Wheels On A Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams
“...but I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise, and stretch in it mystified my longing.”

25. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
“And here for the first time in my life I saw my beloved Mississippi River, dry in the summer haze, low water, with its big rank smell that smells like the raw body of America itself because it washes it up.”

26. That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas) – Lyle Lovett
“Texas is undeniable...We were already almost out of America and yet definitely in it and in the middle of where it's maddest.”

27. Keep The Car Running – Arcade Fire
“He knew the road would get more interesting, especially ahead, always ahead.”

28. Call Me The Breeze – J.J. Cale
“You boys going to get somewhere, or just going.”

29. Going To California – Led Zeppelin
“I left with my canvas bag in which a few fundamental things were packed and took off for the Pacific Ocean with the fifty dollars in my pocket.”
“And for the first time in my life, the following afternoon, I went into the West.”

30. Another Reason To Go – Vetiver
“He was alone in the doorway, digging the street. Bitterness, recriminations, advice, morality, sadness--everything was behind him, and ahead of him was the ragged and ecstatic joy of pure being.”

31. California Sun – The Ramones
“And for the first time in my life, the following afternoon, I went into the West.”

32. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) – Green Day
“The sun goes down long and red. All the magic names of the valley unrolled - Manteca, Madera, all the rest. Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon field; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries. I stuck my head out the window and took deep breaths of the fragrant air. It was the most beautiful of all moments.”

33. On The Road Again – Willie Nelson
“The bus roared on. I was going home in October. Everybody goes home in October.”

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Proper Getaway: Martha’s Vineyard

As we steep in the thick murky brew that is July/Washington DC, we find ourselves dreaming of friends' magical journeys. Come, armchair travel with us.

First stop: Martha's Vineyard with the sweetest traveling circus ever.

Annie Lou and MJ Berman and their 4 children (8-year-old Charlie, 6-year-old Teddy and 4-year-old twins Scottie and Nellie) have decamped to the Vineyard for the summer ... well, various combinations of them for various parts of the summer, with various grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins ... all adding to the {sweet} circus-like atmosphere.

Annie Lou is a Tastemaker (though she's going to hate being called that I'm pretty sure), a writer/editor/blogger/photographer, a fellow longtime DC Public Library Foundation supporter, and a great friend.

Here are her answers to the PT Questionnaire:

Favorite smells? Saltwater, the fresh produce at Morning Glory, the smell of suncreen on the children.

Best overheard snippets? "This water is so so wet" and "I saw the elegant Ted Danson at the pizza place. It isn't summer up here until I spot Ted Danson."

Favorite sounds? I love the sound of the water, of the fans, of the kids in the water -- they lull you into bliss. But it was cute to see my friend's daughter who was here for the first time shudder when she first heard the ferry boat horn across the harbor from where she was playing.

Absorbing summer reads? Between the repeated readings of Bonjour Camille, Worst in Show and If I Ran the Zoo to small listeners, I have gotten in a few pages of Music for Chameleons. 

Exciting animal sightings? An adorable flock of sheep in a field filled with wire sculpture in Chilmark (the sheep were amazing, the wire not so much) and the turkey families with little babies that roam around. 

Most magical moments? Watching The Fabulists perform in the woods, dancing with the littles during an outdoor concert at Featherstone, playing in mud ponds off a bluff in Chilmark with the kids, my god daughter and close friends -- it was like being in a remote spa where you could see nothing put sand, mud, and the most extensive ocean, waking in the morning to water right outside your window, basking in the freedom that the children have to explore the water and outdoors, and mostly sitting and looking out at the water surrounded by family and my children who are at their happiest with their grandparents and family here.

Favorite adventures? We have lots of small adventures like taking the kids out on a paddle board with me and being alone in the water with each one of them at a time; the boys jumping off piers and swimming out to floating docks on their own; the girls totally at home swimming in the water; Teddy falling in love with tennis; the kids going into the Chop Shop at the West Chop Club to buy candy on their own; finding whelks, crabs and urchins in the water...

Most exciting things you've eaten? It's a toss up between the carrot puree spread from State Road and the peach salad from The Sweet Life Cafe

Wait, or the espresso gelato from Fella's, Enchanted Chocolate (made by a witch). If you asked the kids, though, they would say pancakes from The Little House Cafe and Ring Pops.

Shopping discoveries? Though my main goal here is to hang out on the beach and in the water, I do go shopping and usually find a couple amazing things. I have to keep myself from buying incense, crystals and ill-fitting natural fiber clothing that is far too hippie of a vibe to look good on me and really only work up here...but I did find amazing Helmut Lang leggings and an Issa blouse at The Great Put On. Mikel Hunter also has these great bags from Israel made of vegan leather (aka vinyl). And my mother-in-law bought Scottie and Nelly the cutest skirts by a local designer sold at Citrine. Nochi is also one of my most favorite stores in the world-everything is so subtly luxurious and lovely in an understated way.

I can't wait for: August to go to the Cinema Circus and visit my friend (and your neighbor) Sarah Nixon over at her Inns.

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14 Songs For Le Quatorze Juillet

Happy Bastille Day, mes amis! Oh wait, what? The French don’t call it that? Boy, are our faces rouge.

It turns out that "Bastille Day" is the name given by English speakers to the French National Holiday, The Fourteenth of July. The French call it La Fête Nationale and aren’t really celebrating the storming of The Bastille in 1789. Apparently, we Yanks are so smitten with that story that we renamed their holiday for them. You’re welcome, France. And thank you for those awesome fried potato wedges.

Here at the shop, we are admitted Francophiles. We plan to celebrate Bastille Day with verve. Think St Patrick’s Day, but replace the Irish stuff with French stuff. French music will play in the shop all day, and we’ll request our lunches on baguettes or croissants. Our dinner will be accompanied by the words Pinot or Sauvignon. And everyone is allowed to eat cake.

Here are fourteen songs for France and the French. We wish you Liberté, Fraternité and Egalité on this and every day. Those in the mood can enjoy the whole list on Spotify, where we’ve gathered more than eight hours of nice French music. Vive la France!

1. La Mer – Charles Trenet
“Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.”
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2. France – Keb’ Mo’
“I draw from the Absurd three consequences: my revolt, my liberty, my passion.”
- Albert Camus

3. Les Champs-Elysees – Chantal Chamberland
“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville

4. Get Lucky – Daft Punk
“We must have constantly present in our minds the difference between independence and liberty. Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid he would no longer be possessed of liberty.”
- Charles de Montesquieu

5. Mon Paris – Josephine Baker
“I wanted to get far away from those who believed in cruelty, so then I went to France, a land of true freedom, democracy, equality and fraternity.”
- Josephine Baker

6. Lisztomania - Phoenix 
“People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
- Alan Moore

7. Little French Song – Carla Bruni
“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
- Frederic Bastiat

8. La Vie En Rose – Edith Piaf
“It is the end. But of what? The end of France? No. The end of kings? Yes.”
- Victor Hugo

9. Ce Jeu – Yelle
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
- Albert Camus

10. Belleville Rendez-Vous – M.
“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
- Alexis de Tocqueville

11. Comic Strip – Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
“I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.”
- B. R. Ambedkar

12. La Belle Et Le Bad Boy – MC Solaar
“Is not liberty the destruction of all despotism - including, of course, legal despotism?”
- Frederic Bastiat

13. Cherry Blossom Girl – Air
“Liberty is the right to do what the law permits.”
- Charles de Montesquieu

14. La Marseillaise – Jacques Gautier
“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”
- Charles Dickens

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wonders never cease