mt rushmore 011

Friends! After a brief hiatus, we are back with the Wild West series. Next stop: Mt. Rushmore. Truthfully, before this trip I was honestly not that into MR. I never thought it to be the the most exciting of American attractions and considering it’s in the middle of nowhere (who goes to central western South Dakota?) it was just not on my radar. But when we talked about going on our road trip (right through… central South Dakota) I was completely game.

To my surprise, Mt. Rushmore really wowed me and I loved it (just like everything else in South Dakota). It’s truly a completely amazing and beautiful work of art carved into a mountain – the tallest between the Rockies an Switzerland. The story goes that in the 1920s, A South Dakotan historian decided this state and the beautiful Black Hills needed a lasting ‘Shrine to Democracy’ and a venerable tourist attraction, so he sought out this mountain and a sculptor with a plan. They invited President Coolidge out for a visit and he was into it, and work began in 1927. Mt. Rushmore took 400 men 14 years to create. Most of it was carved using very precise use of dynamite, which kind of blows my mind. The impending WWII causing an early pull of funding and thus, it’s actually not completely done to the original plan.

I think you all should take a visit, and if you do, word to the wise: go right when it opens before the tour buses show up :-).

mt rushmore 009 mt rushmore 008  mt rushmore 004 mt rushmore 002



badlands 058

I recently got back from a road trip in the good ole American West.  A summer must we tackled early! My mom and I drove through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to check off our bucket list of going to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. We snuck in Yellowstone (a second trip for me, and a third for mom) and a stop in one of our favorite Western towns, Bozeman, Montana for good measure.

The Badlands (great website, SD) has been on my list for a few years now. I think I had seen it in a magazine once and the unreal photographs had never left me. I’d been to a lot of great American National Parks in my life, but I had never heard of the Badlands then. And then there was that infamous Bachelor episode (don’t lie, you watched it too). Needless to say, we went and it truly blew our minds. I am now officially calling it the nation’s most under-rated national park and a must-see.

The Badlands are actually clay sediment formations dating back 60-70 million years, nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota. You drive through them on a loop and it feels like you are on the bottom of the ocean floor from millions of years ago, back when there was an ocean running through the middle of the United States (true fact.). The formations have beautiful color striations from various layers of sediment (volcano ash, etc) build up. Incredible….

badlands 014 badlands 003 badlands 004 badlands 007 badlands 035 badlands 028 badlands 022 badlands 018 badlands 036 badlands 0 badlands 045 badlands 005 badlands 050 badlands 029 badlands 056 badlands 034

more trip photos to come :-)



vermont 04


This past weekend I went on a little ski getaway with friends to Vermont- one of my favorite kinds of getaways, I really do love a good ski weekend. It was also my first time in the great state of VT. And let me tell you, it was exactly as I expected. Cue the jam bands and craft beer and boys with beards. And of course, beautiful wintery mountain scenery.

 We left Thursday night and drove in our beloved Subaru five hours north to Stratton Mountain, in the southeast corner of Vermont, a couple hours north east of Albany, NY. A very cute and quaint ski town with excellent slopes and 6-chairs a plenty. A little less resort-y than a place like Killington. Unlike the drought-ridden west coast, the Northeast has had quite the heavy hand of snow this year. I spent a lot of time with my snowboard in the trees with the boys, enjoying the powder.

We rented a great early 80s decorated tricked out ski chalet close to the mountain. Pro-tip: If you ever decide to own your own ski chalet, I highly recommend you install a sauna. Seriously clutch. The house we rented had one, and I spent hours in there with the girls, sweating out my toxins and drinking wine. All good for the soul. Also, our ski house has hilarious bubble windows. Kind of amazing. Sharing with you here some fun photos.

vermont 005vermont 009

vermont 004

vermont 002




vermont 003



vermont 001  DSC_0389


Because a ski house in Vermont seemed like a perfect setting for some craft beer tasting, I brought along a special treat of a case of DuClaw’s Naked Fish chocolate raspberry stout. If you’ve never had chocolate stout before and you are a chocolate lover- you should really try it as a treat. This one is particularly milkshakey with sophisticated layering of flavors. DuClaw incorporates gourmet chocolate raspberry coffee into the grain bill. It was inspired by DuClaw Brewmaster Jim Wagner’s hot cups of raspberry coffee while hanging out at a favorite fishing hole. I’ve heard before that chocolate stout can be incorporated into baking and desert making for creative flavor and this beer inspired me a little. I am sharing with you here a beer tiramisu that I think would be a great easy and fast Valentine’s day weekend boozy treat- especially for sharing with a beer-loving partner. A classic tiramisu (Giada’s recipe here) is made with rum and espresso, and chocolate of course. You can substitute the rum for a stout beer or just add the beer to it (I chose a recipe using the latter).

dupaw 02beeramisu-8

::Chocolate ‘Beeramisu’::

6 large egg yolks, room temp

½ cup + ¼ cup sugar

16 oz mascarpone cheese

4 large egg whites

2 oz dark rum

2 packages ladyfingers

12 oz chocolate stout such as DuClaw Naked Fish chocolate and raspberry stout

½ cup espresso

Bittersweet chocolate for shaving

9″ x 9″ baking pan OR individual mason jars as pictured above

  • In a baking pan arrange ladyfingers in a single layer to completely cover the bottom. You may need to cut them so they fit tightly. Repeat for a second layer of ladyfingers. Remove from pan and set aside (this step is to prep the ladyfingers for later layering). Follow same step for small individual mason jars.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and ½ cup sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in mascarpone a third at a time, whisking to combine. Add rum and whisk it in.
  • Using an electric or stand mixer beat egg whites and ¼ cup of sugar to soft peaks. Fold gently into the mascarpone mixture a third at a time.
  • In the baking pan spread a quarter of the mixture to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Combine beer and coffee in a bowl. Working quickly, dunk each ladyfinger into the beer & coffee mixture and arrange in a tight layer over the mascarpone mixture in the pan. When layer is complete, spread half of the remaining mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Repeat with the second layer of ladyfingers (dunking and layering tightly) and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.
  • Cover with aluminum and let set refrigerated for 24 hours. Top with grated or shaved bittersweet chocolate. Enjoy! ♥

*recipe source

*beeramisu picture source (+slightly different simplified recipe)

DuClaw Brewing Company is a leading craft brewery founded in 1996 based in Baltimore, Maryland. Naked Fish is currently available in 12 and 22 oz. bottles in stores across Maryland, DC, Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. It’s also available on tap at DuClaw brewpubs and in other select bars and eateries.

*this post was sponsored by DuClaw Brewing Company– however all opinions are my own. Especially my feelings about beeramisu. Thank you for supporting and reading ‘the wondergirl’



moon phases

{my phases of the moon calendar}

It’s officially November… which means a couple of things around these parts. One – winter is coming: case in point- Boston got snow today (!). The holiday season is upon us (already!), and also, mercury has come out of retrograde – and we won’t have another incident of that in 2014. Whew. We also got a New Moon this past week in the house of Scorpio – ruler of transformation  and associated with control, dominance and intensity. You may know from this earlier post that I am big on the power and magic of a New Moon- new beginnings and very charged energy, due to the fact that the sun and moon sit in the same astrological house. We are literally starting this month with a clean slate and a forward moving motion – which feels so good.

In addition, on Thursday we have a Full Moon in the house of Taurus – which is the corresponding moon to the New Moon of April (which I talked about here). This energy will be the physical manifestation of the energy we put out during that New Moon – which I know felt like was a formative time for me and had me thinking about some big ideas in life. I am already feeling it a little and I am interested to see it play out this week. Who knows, some major things may be ahead for me. This New Moon energy has me all excited for what’s to come.

I got cozy in my apartment this weekend after a week of celebrating Halloween (I was a witch – ‘The Craft’), and got out my blankets and space heaters and put away the fans until May. Tis that time of year. Also pretty excited about this extra hour of day/sleep… Happy November xx.

::New Moons are physically the first phase of the moon- followed by the first quarter, full moon and then third quarter. A new moon is when the moon orbits closest to the Sun as seen from Earth. During a new moon, the sun and the moon have the same ecliptical longitude (on the same side of Earth) and therefore the sun does not illuminate the moon, and it is not visible (except during solar eclipses)::



wyeth house 30

It’s no secret the state of Pennsylvania has some really amazing history and culture. When my mom visited me this past week we decided to check something off of our PA bucket list and visit the Wyeth estate and museum about 45 minutes south east of the city. The Wyeth estate is the property of the Wyeth family, including their family home and the studios of father son artists, N.C. (Newell Convers, what a name) and Andrew. N.C. was an early 20th century realist painter and very successful illustrator, most famously for Treasure Island. Andrew was a realist and regionalist painter of the mid 20th century – his most famous work is arguably Christina’s World  (see below) which hangs in the MoMa in NYC. Andrew was the youngest of N.C.’s five children, all of whom were artistic- one musician- and grew up in the Wyeth home in Chadds Ford, PA. The beautiful river-front museum that is on the property includes many works by N.C., Andrew, Andrew’s son Jamie and other artists of the Brandywine River Valley. We took a tour of the home as well as N.C.’s little white studio up the hill from the house. The studio was filled with easels and many objects he used as models for this illustrations and paintings – really fascinating. If you are in the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend the trip, as it was so interesting and very, very scenic, especially in the fall.

andrew wyeth christina's world

wyeth house 26

wyeth house 28

wyeth house 31wyeth house 46 wyeth house 45wyeth house 12

DSC_0006 wyeth house 37 wyeth house 36 wyeth house 33

wyeth house 010
Free People Every Girl henley :: leather harness :: herringbone pants :: Aritzia jacket (similar) :: Rag & Bone Newbury booties :: mini Pilot bag




fall floral dress 017fall floral dress 012fall floral dress 018
Free People Sunbeam maxi dress  :: knit moto jacket ::  leather harness :: Bite Beauty high pigment lip pencil in Pomegranate (this stuff is good)

I love a good fall floral. This bilowy and floaty Free People pomegranate-colored floral maxi is so good, and so fall perfect- the color! Perfect trans-seasonal dressing, although I will probably wear it deep into winter as well. Sometimes a sweeping maxi dress is what a winter wardrobe needs to breathe some life into it.

Are we all enjoying the changing of the leaves? The state of Pennsylvania is really beautiful this time of year… I could live in this month forever…