Hello from Camp Mighty



I got back late last night from Palm Springs, where I spent the past three-and-a-half days participating in Camp Mighty at the Ace Hotel. The official tag line is “Camp Mighty is a retreat for people who like to make cool things happen,” and I met some amazing people doing very cool things. For example, the woman making the impromptu, would-be Breck hair commercial with me here? That’s Jeanne Lewis, the CEO and co-founder of Creative Bug–a startup that aims to be the go-to source for online art and craft instruction. Like so many of the people I met, she had infectious enthusiasm about what is possible.

Some of my favorite bumper-sticker moments of the talks? Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest, was the keynote speaker (with the sweetest family–seriously, we’re going to talk more about his mother-in-law sometime) and led with “Inspiration is contagious. But so is self-doubt.” Isn’t that so true? You know, I never mention it, but I think about how I should stop blogging just about every day. Self-doubt. So tricky.

Jordan Ferney struck a cord with many people when she said that “the chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want in the moment.” She made me want to post goals on my fridge! And from Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess: If you are doing something no one hates, no one will love it.”

There was also a business-tip trading session at one point and it was fascinating to hear from people whose experience ranged from working behind the desk at their parents’ laundry business all their lives to selling their little startup called Hootsuite. (Have you heard of it?) “Do what you do best, and hire out the rest” was the tip from Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked.


I got the chance to go because AT&T is going to help me do something philanthropic, to help me give back–and I’ll share more about that soon–so meeting these (very friendly) cool people who are doing very cool things at this oh-so-cool place, well this was really just icing.

P.S. Maggie Mason, who started Mighty Events (and who is also a UCDavis alum!), just launched Go Mighty–a site for sharing your life list and inviting brands to make things on it happen. Check it out. And for a couple more smile booth pics, check my twitter feed @ashleymuirbruhn.


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Architectural Pottery (and some Friday links)


Something I was really hoping I might run into at the Alameda Flea was an under-appreciated stash of Architectural pottery. No such luck. I think folks are pretty tuned in to these planters’ appeal (and value): a pair of vintage pots is on sale on 1st dibs for $1600. Vessel makes new ones in the $300 range, but that’s still wild! Aren’t they beautiful, though? I’d just take the plain white cylinder like he’s holding. Nothing fancy. Okay?

Here are some other things I’ve been thinking about sharing this week:

Hudson loves to sit in the backyard and watch the birds fly over at dusk. He even “caws” with the crows. I think he’d love this Flensted Swallow mobile.
On the subject of his room, I toyed with the idea of going all out nautical with the whole Hudson theme, but it turns out “no-theme” is probably more my style.
A tutorial for painting over laminate–i.e. your Ikea Lack side table.
Not that any of us should really be making donuts, but these kind are my favorites!
I finally have a frame for this lovely cacti print. I just have to get over my commitment issues and start hanging things!
This playhouse turned out so pretty! Aron and I both had playhouses growing up and would love to set one up for Hudson. (This one is pretty cool and would be era-appropriate. If only it weren’t so pricey!)
Interested in killing an hour browsing through wonderful old images? Try your luck here.
We ordered Neutra typeface numbers for our house, and in my web search I came across this wacky font-related video (thanks,  Atomic Indy)
We’re feeling nostalgic about the autumn weekends we spent at the Kaaterskill, celebrating Aron’s birthday. It’s nearly that time of year again. I wish we could sneak off  there.
And finally, we chose a Halloween costume for Hudson and I can barely contain myself. (He’s going to be so sweet!) But wasn’t it just a few months ago that he was a little infant shark?? What plans do you have in the works?
Have a nice weekend!

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Shopping the Alameda Flea


We got to the Alameda Antiques Faire a little later than is ideal. Somehow it takes us at least an hour to get out of the house, no matter how much strategizing we do the night before. Add to that the reluctance to wake a sleeping toddler early and the hour drive to Alameda from Davis and–shazam!–it’s suddenly 9am. Suffice to say, we probably missed out on some of the best scores to be had on Sunday.

Still, we had a really nice time looking around–especially for rugs–and came home with a beautiful 60″ George-Nelson-bench reproduction. And some very nice readers stopped to say hello and welcome us to the west coast! How nice is that?!

Here were some of my favorite sights…

Of course the stunning views of San Francisco, across the bay, were one of the best parts of the morning. Somehow we’ve been really lucky lately when it comes to flea markets in amazing locations (like this one and this one).

P.S. We brought along detailed measurements of our home just in case. I love this “prepare for serendipity”-kit Victoria assembles for flea market hunts.

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Davis Farmer’s Market: Here, it’s still summer


Though the shadows are getting longer and the mornings have grown decidedly cool, it still feels like summer here. The ten-day forecast reveals highs around 100 for the next few days, and 80s beyond that. So in lieu of bouquets of sharpened pencils, I’m still picking up baskets of strawberries and bowls of stone fruits at the farmer’s market.

I’m happy to report that while, of course, there will be plenty to miss about living in New York City this year, good produce and a lively local market is not one of those things.

Often listed among the best in the country, Davis’s farmer’s market runs on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons–the latter of which runs late with live music from March to October. Aron and I have been going for years–since he was a wee lad and since I was an undergraduate at Davis in the mid-nineties–and we both agree that the displays have gotten more beautiful and the offerings more varied over the years.

And for the time-being, it still looks like summer–with just a few hints of the season to come.

P.S. Photos from the Davis farmer’s market in the spring, when I was pregnant with Hudson. (And two of our favorite markets in NYC: the Union Square Greenmarket and the New Amsterdam Market.)

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Dutchi 8



We’re still getting settled in and there are about a million and one things we’d like to buy for the house, but priority number one was getting me (and Hudson) a bike. Twist my arm.

Aron is using our car to commute to work and so, thus far, I have been doing everything on foot or bike–the latter of which is especially convenient in Davis. Davis is renowned for its bike culture: nearly 90% of the city’s primary roads have bike paths. Even the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame chose to make the city its home, noting that Davis is recognized as a “Platinum” Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists and was once named America’s best city for biking. Anyway, point being that Hudson and I were to be getting around the city on two wheels every day, and I needed a new, super-reliable bike.

I started looking when we were in New York, and would go describe my needs in terms like this: where I’m going it’s fairly flat, but there are stop signs everywhere (and who knows when we might take off for a more hilly destination like Napa?), so a 3-speed is minimum and an 8-speed would be ideal. It’s California, so the weather is nice but it does rain so something with long front and rear fenders and an internal gear box is preferable. I don’t want to wear an ugly ankle strap, so I’d like it to have a chain guard. I won’t be carrying it up stairs or loading it in and out of a car much, but I should be able to lift it if required. I’ll be carrying my one-year-old and would also like to be able to bring home groceries and what-not, so it has to be able to safely support me and another 40 lbs without issue.

Oh, and I really, really want it to be pretty.

They suggested the Linus without missing a beat. And so far me and Hudson and the Dutchi 8-speed Linus are one happy little family.


P.S. Hudson is riding in the BoBike Mini Front Child Seat.

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Seeing Once on Broadway (and that famous guy)


Going to a Broadway play was on “the list”–we chose Once, the musical that won this year’s Tony Award. I had seen the movie, and the songs were just as beautiful as I’d remembered them. It was a lovely, sort of simple production–it felt very intimate for Broadway, which was absolutely wonderful. We loved it.

Afterward, we sat outside on the patio of Junior’s and drank enormous cups of coffee and ate giant slices of cheesecake.



Sort of suddenly we noticed a mob scene forming and blocking the road to traffic. We all arched our necks and stood up to see what was going on and I told Aron to go run and find out what was so exciting: “Use the go-go-gadget arm! Bring back photos!” Then a woman passed by and said “It’s Ricky Martin” in a dramatically mocking tone of shock. “OH,” I said, “that makes sense.” Because that’s right–he’s in Evita. “Makes sense!? Maybe ten years ago!” she said, laughing. Aron returned with photos of multiple people, one of whom was indeed Ricky Martin but he had no idea which. He told me he had a sense of which guy was the famous one because the older lady next to him suddenly exclaimed “Aye yaye yaye!”

Going to Times Square is always such a bizarre experience. It is exciting–when you don’t go often–and you suddenly are among all the lights and the talent and the old theaters. But it’s also sort of depressing: I can’t believe that Times Square is what so many people equate with New York. How has it come to be that the thing to do there is to pose with random people dressed as cartoon(ish) characters? Batman… fake Mickey or creepy Elmo… a Naked Cowboy… El Diablo with a sign about the Apocalyse… topless girls in Body Paint… What?!

It’s so nice that it’s pedestrianized, but man-oh-man, there are some wacky pedestrians.

Have a great weekend!

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Sailing into the sunset


We’re in full-on countdown mode now, and crossing things off of our “must-do in New York before we leave”-list with serious determination. Going for a sunset sail has been on a more general “must-do” list for some time now, however! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pointed to the clipper ships and schooners sailing out toward the Statue of Liberty and remarked “we should do that!” All of this is to say: it took far too long. We boarded at 6:30 for a two-hour sail. Our glasses were filled with sparkling wine around the time we passed by Battery Park and heard passengers in the stern break into patriotic song. Most of the time, however, you could pretend you were on your own (semi) private date. We had plenty of room up in the bow; and while we were free to roam, we (and everyone else) kept to our spots, content to watch the water and the sky and changing colors of the buildings. We brought dinner along, but chose instead to eat in the grass by the piers after we docked. After all, the sun is just setting around 8:30pm lately–it was more of a sun almost-set sail.

Okay, here’s the thing about this to-do list: we’re going to be back.
We don’t really have to check off anything. But if this was any indication, it’s going to be lovely trying. I think posting photos from this wish-list/bucket-list might form a dominant theme here this month. Under thirty days… whoah.

Jazz Age Lawn Party
Warby Parker Pop-Up
Gasoline Alley
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Fourth of July in New York City


This year’s fireworks from Chelsea piers–just across the inlet from Katy Perry, Kenny Chesney, and a surprising number of people on stilts.

Ashley and I are always a little bitter about Macys’ hijacking the public parks along the waterfront for the city’s celebration–the cost, I suppose, of a free show–but what a celebration it is. This year was as spectacular as any!

The fireworks scared Hudson at first, but once he got used to them, he happily watched with his headphones (brought along to protect his young ears from loud sounds). In spite of blaring yacht horns, thunderous explosions, screams (and cheers of “hearts and smiley faces, hearts and smiley faces”) all around, he was passed out just ten minutes into the 30 minute show–and stayed asleep through morning. It was a great night!

The past three years’ celebrations: 2011, 2010, and 2009.

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Empire State Building


We have a sweet deal with our friends downstairs: we trade babysitting! So on Saturday night, we wished Hudson “sweet dreams” and set about checking off one of those iconic New York, bucket-list items. We were out the door by 7:45pm, tickets to the Empire State Building Observatory in hand, but we couldn’t believe that we made it outside onto the observatory deck exactly four minutes before the sun set at 8:29.

There’s an undeniable thrill to seeing the city grid fan out below…

We went for Korean Barbecue on 32nd street afterward and then returned to our apartment where, suddenly, we felt so small.

P.S. Views from the Top of the Rock, the top of the Met, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Cloud City at the Met


The weather has been wonderful here the past few nights, prompting us to go take in the evening skyline and see the new rooftop exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This year, the exhibit is Tomás Saraceno’s “Cloud City,” made of up stacking and interlocking geometric shapes. As always, the people-watching was half the fun–especially watching the people watch themselves in the mirrored surfaces. (I have to admit, we snapped a few self-portraits from time to time, too.) And you can climb up into the piece with a ticket for a timed-entry. The photos of the installation process are pretty wild.

As always, the roof of the Met is a must for anyone visiting the city during the summer!


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Visiting FAO Schwarz

Paris this weekend?


I snapped this shot from a cab the other night; I can’t believe I’ve yet to go to the Paris theatre. I’ve been told that it’s such a romantic space in which to see a movie. Incidentally, I was on my way home from a chocolate chip cookie tasting party (I know!), and mine took second prize!

Then last night, to humble me a bit and bring me down from my big win, I met up with an amazing group of women to talk about blogging and media and taste Rosé (but I must admit that my cookie win–I bested Momofuku!–did come up).

So while I’m tooting my horn, let me also slip in that ebay’s The Source just interviewed me. So nice! It’s been a good, albeit busy, week.

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend. Sleep in, so that I can do so vicariously!


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The Other Boathouse


There are actually two boathouses in Central Park: there’s the one where you rent your rowboat and have a nice lunch, and there’s this one–where you rent a miniature sailboat or, if you’re an enthusiast in the Central Park Model Yacht Club, store your very own.

There’s something very romantic about the idea of sailing a boat on the pond in central park–and a lot of people try, but based on the general drift of almost all of the little vessels out there, Aron wagered that few succeed. Of course, it still makes for a lovely scene. (And the Kerbs boathouse was apparently sponsored by residents at 74th and Fifth Avenue who loved to look down on and enjoy said lovely scene!)

But this weekend was the first time we discovered what was being moored inside the boathouse. We followed an older gentlemen lugging a large boat inside and found the Yacht Club’s stash.

There are races every Saturday morning. The Yacht club was founded in 1916, but races have been held since 1875! Anyone can rent a boat for $11 (not one of these fancy ones) and get a lesson in tacking from the staff, or–of course–you can always bring your own.

P.S. This is what the basin looks like after a winter snowstorm! (And during a freak October one.)

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Just a bit of fluff (Let’s dish)


In the spirit of the Oscars, I thought it might be fun to have a little silly “Stars—they’re just like us”-style post for a Monday morning. Let’s swap stories! Having lived in both Los Angeles and New York for many years, I’ve had a lot of fun spottings and even though I play it all cool, I still get excited about recognizing famous faces around the neighborhood (even Julianne Moore, who is a West Village fixture, still prompts a “guess who I just saw” text to Aron). In fact, it was last Oscar Sunday that we saw Alan Rickman, characteristically lowering his glasses and cocking an eyebrow to read a distant sign. So cool.

My favorite sightings actually tend to involve Aron, because he’s terrible at this sort of thing. Besides literally bumping into Elle MacPherson near Union Square without noticing, or chasing down Tina Fey to try and prove me wrong that she’d just passed by, one of my favorite encounters took place in line at Magnolia Bakery. “Don’t turn around,” he whispered. “I’m pretty sure I know the girl behind us but I can’t think of her name. I think I should. Maybe we grew up together or went to school together?” So I got to the register, never looked, and then heard him start the conversation “Are you from California? Do we know each other?” and then a quite lengthy back-and-forth: “Did you go to UCLA? Are you in Medicine?” “I lived in LA.” I turned around and there was Darlene from Roseanne. She was being so polite, but her friend finally cut them off: “you know her from TV.” Yes, Aron, you did sort of grow up together!

Or the time—after we had just watched Darjeeling Limited and he’d been wanting some sunglasses like the ones Adrien Brody wears—and he pointed to a man on the street in NoLiTa: “I should ask him where he got his; they’re great.” And it was Adrien Brody.

In Los Angeles, we lived across from The Grove—which seems to be where they all hang out when they’re not eating at The Ivy, I guess—and there was an organic market just outside the mall where Winona Ryder and even Madonna would shop and I made Beck blush because he caught me staring at him in the check-out line (oops!), and said a soft “hello.”  That was charming. But it almost seems like cheating to mention seeing someone at the Grove (TMZ must have a scout there 24 hours).

The equivalent here does seem to be the West Village; there’s always an actor or model to be recognized. Although once we were waiting for a table down the block from the “Friends” apartment exterior and a tour group came by. They were all snapping photos of the building when Giselle Bundchen passed by unnoticed.

Finally, Liv Tyler will always be a favorite now. She passed us on West 10th Street the other day and said hi to our Hudson and exclaimed: “Oh my goodness. What a handsome little man!” Awww, Thanks Liv! You’re not so bad either.

Any favorite celeb anecdotes?

[Photo via Denim Blog]

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Sun storms


Apparently the northern light auroras have been incredible lately, flaring up and producing spectacular displays over the weekend. The solar storms, likened to tornados, causing this display were recently captured by NASA. I’ve always wanted to see the northern lights, which apparently are going to peak in 2013. It’s one of the appeals of a trip to Alaska, but I usually find myself looking in a more equatorial direction for our vacations. Perhaps this summer or next we’ll try to time a trip to align with a solar storm. Wouldn’t seeing this in person be amazing?!

photos from here
Video from here

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Year of the Dragon


It was a beautiful weekend in New York City, filled with miles of walking and capped off by a parade (and dim sum)! It’s always exciting to be in Chinatown during the New Year’s festivities and to join the crowds in shooting rockets of confetti into the air. The dragons are my favorite part and this year–rightly so–there seemed to be more than ever.

Be prosperous!

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Old Village Hall
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Hither & Thither turns four


Another milestone we like to celebrate: the anniversary of the blog. Aron wrote the first post for Hither & Thither after a freezing walk to work on a bitter January morning, four years ago (technically, four years ago yesterday, but a certain six-month-old got some vaccines on the eve and we were all a bit zonked).

Ever since that first post, the site has managed to surprise us. We are surprised by all the pleasure that it gives us, by the friendships it has led us to and the community it has introduced us to. We are also surprised by how time-consuming it can be and, frankly, that we still enjoy writing it as much as we do! Sometimes we find ourselves doing something in the city because we know it might lead to a good post, but more often than not we’re glad to be nudged–it has led us to see many things and many places with different eyes; I think we’re better for it. And I’m especially grateful for that motivation now that our pace and our comings-and-goings are changing so much again with the addition of Hudson.

Thank you so much for reading along and motivating us to continue with your nice comments and your emails these past three years! It really does mean a lot to us.

Here are some of our favorite blog highlights from the past year:

In January, I snuck out for a long lunch and took photos of Central Park after a snow storm; we made an appearance in Rue magazine; and we made a delicious upside-down pear and cardamom cake.

In February, we celebrated the Year of the Rabbit; went on a cruise to the Caribbean (and tacked on a visit to San Juan); finished our travelogue about our trip to India; and announced we were anticipating our most exciting collaboration–a baby!

In March, we posted photos of a favorite stop in Old San Juan; I started writing Baby Mine (where I posted weekly pregnancy photos and shared things like our registry checklist, “what it’s like to travel while pregnant” and some thoughts on having a baby in the city); we shared how we told my parents they would soon be grandparents; and I I did my best to decoupage like Derian.

April brought amazing life-size images of whales; a wanderlust itinerary for a trip to Vietnam; spring blossoms; and a recipe for a delicious strawberry salad. (I can’t wait until it’s berry season again!) We also traveled to California for baby showers and made time for a romantic side-trip to Napa.

In May, we took a short trip to D.C. for a Urology conference (and celebrated our anniversary there) and I was promoted to Editor at my publishing house. I also wrote a breakfast column for Serious Eats, and shared some of my finds. We sampled fresh donuts; snacked at Madison Square Eats; and greeted spring at the greenmarket while counting down to my due date. And we shared photos of the beautiful phenomenon called Manhattanhenge.

In June, we checked out the newly opened extension of the High Line; watched spring turn to summer at the greenmarket; and welcomed the return of the New Amsterdam market. We shared a travelogue from our last pre-baby hurrah in Cape Cod; wrote a love letter to New York; rode on a bicycle-built-for-two; and sought out cool breezes along the Hudson on hot summer nights.

Hudson arrived in July, bringing with him a burst of sunshine. (Literally. The temperatures soared to record highs that week–it was 105 when we first met with our pediatrician.) Nothing that month (or any) could match our excitement to introduce our beautiful son, but a few other things did happen before he came: we watched the sun set from atop the Met; swam in waters off Sandy Hook; ate watermelon salads in Battery City park; and I contributed to the inaugural issue of Kinfolk. Generous, wonderful guest posters stepped in to help us take a break to enjoy our new baby.

In August, we took refuge from Hurricane Irene with… dessert; strolled the length of Summer Streets; crossed the Brooklyn Bridge for a movie in the loveliest of settings; and continued to stock up on Sungold tomatoes and other summer favorites at the market.

September took us on our first flight with Hudson (California at two months)–a success! We shared our favorite spot for Fish & Chips; posted about going Dutch in the East Village; and reminisced about a ride out to the Little Red Lighthouse.

In October, we shared a travelogue from a family road trip to the Berkshires, as well as our failed attempts to procure a pumpkin during a daytrip along the North Fork of Long Island. The city looked beautiful when it suddenly snowed, in an odd preview of winter, but we were saddened to learn how many trees were destroyed by the early storm. Oh, and we hugged and kissed a shark!


November is always beautiful in New York–especially when the marathon comes through Central Park. We updated the site and gave it a new look (on WordPress), and I bid farewell to Baby Mine. I spent lots of time watching Netflix Instant with a sleeping baby on my lap and revisited freshman year of Felicity–and found I wasn’t the only one.

In December, I contributed to Manhattan Magazine. And we enjoyed the holidays: we took Hudson to meet Santa; trimmed the tree; and strolled Fifth Avenue with the crowds to see the holiday windows before flying to California for Christmas.

Thank you again for reading and for helping to make this a fantastic year. Enjoy the weekend!

[Favorites from last year, here]

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