Can we talk about Sweetgreen? And the stylish lettuce mafia that bursts forth each day to wait in the chicest line in town for an order of Guacamole Greens?
I can mark the phases of my life like rings on a tree, or in this case, like fork marks on the bottom of a plastic-made-from-corn salad bowl, by my visits to Sweetgreen.
It has been a landmark in my existence since it's arrival in '07, arguably the year the world (or at least my friends) came back from studying abroad and discovered lettuce.
I call this the years of salad-awakening.
I remember the first shop opening one dusty summer day on Georgetown's M street. It looked like something straight out of The Shire, a tiny little white and green house nestled between towering nouveau minimalist architecture of Georgetown flagship stores. My roommates and I were lured into this little hobbit house by the fro-yo and before we knew it, we underwent a magical transformation through countless return visits of becoming adults who eat beets. Sweetgreen taught us to worship at the altar of lettuce.
I was hooked. We had a blissful love affair during which I learned how to eat all sorts of colored foods. (I was strictly a beige food kid growing up)
And then, in an act of self deprivation, I chose to leave the promise land and move to New York. I found myself miles from Georgetown, on the mean streets of NYC's East Village. A place where salads do not exist. In the east village people eat Pho. They eat Falafel. They eat steamed pork buns. They eat Bahn mi. Soba noodles. Porchetta sandwiches bursting with slow roasted burnt crispy pork skin and mustard so powerful you cant stop crying. Ramen noodles with quail egg and seaweed reduction and pork belly and chicken liver glistening in a secret recipe for a broth so thick and enchanting you almost pass out halfway through the dish.
It's a tourists' heaven. A weekenders' paradise. Every new, adventurous eating phenomenon you could want all jam packed into one tiny neighborhood. However, as a long-term, week-day resident, I couldn't just pop out for a 2 hour wait and a 1700 calorie lunch every day at the local noodle joint.
My friends who still lived in DC bragged about the ease of visiting the new Glover Park sweetgreen (which opened mere MONTHS after I departed for the big apple, or as it should be known, the big pork bun) and I saw more and more Sweetgreens popping up on Capitol Hill and in Bethesda. My ex-city was taunting me.
I believe at one point I wrote a letter to Sweetgreen, while sadly making my own salads in my crumbling hovel of a 4th floor east village walk up, and urged them to open a franchise in NYC. In retrospect, that was probably a pretty lonely day for me. Can you imagine a scenario in which you would write to a salad-themed restaurant in another city? ....exactly.
I was going through a bit of culture shock. I call this time the dissatisfied-spinster-working-from-home years.
And a few short years later, my grassroots campaigning clearly paid off and those nice salad makers in DC read my tear soaked letters and said "ok ok ok, we give in, we'll open a Sweetgreen in another city"
The Nomad Hotel was opening a Sweetgreen!!!!! And my newly minted studio mate, Roxy, introduced me to my eyeslash weave specialist whose office was just around the corner from this new Sweetgreen garden of earthly delights. Everything happens for a reason.
Spinster-work-from-home no more. I now had a studio to work in and studio mate to work with, a set of freshly super-sized eyelashes and an excuse to go to Sweetgreen at least once every three weeks after lash weaves. I call this the power-montage-era. Because whenever I look back on it, I see myself running at full speed through life, grinning ear to ear, planning my wedding with arugula coming out of my ears.
Life has come full circle. Sweetgreen has come to me. It is literally on my block. If I had doubted my faith before, it is restored to that of impassioned zealot. There is a lettuce god. And he hears my prayers. I can visit Sweetgreen morning, noon and night if I so choose. They let me bring my puppy in with me and all the salad magicians in the assembly line comment on how cute she is.
And best of all...
The fashion. Standing in a 45 minute long line to get lunch should be devastatingly annoying. But in Sweetgreen it is valuable time for market research. Everyone at the Sweetgreen on Kenmare and Mulberry looks like they just stormed straight out of a shoot for Net-a-porter. From dramatic wide legged trouser pants to platform shoes and ironic beards and/or glasses, this hip crew does not mess around with their workday attire.
I always knew Sweetgreen and I shared a special connection on a culinary level, but I had no idea we had such perfectly aligned taste in ready to wear too. Where else can you get an ethically sourced lunch of locally grown ingredients prepared right before your eyes while also watching a runway show?!
So, thank you, dear SG lettuce gods. Thank you for satisfying my hunger for arugula and oversized wool cape coats alike. I shall call this new era, the time-of-salad-synergy. Care to join me for lunch? By all means, meet me at the corner of Mulberry and Kenmare wearing your best military-insprired cape vest and we'll laugh together over a spicy sazbi. And who knows. You might just turn up illustrated on my instagram feed.
Have you been keeping up with @dressingdaphne's insta-jealousy inducing Paris antics? She just spent her birthday among the glittering French fashionites. New York may never sleep but Paris never ages, which is why Daphne always is sure to be in Paris each year on her birthday. She greets the day with reckless abandon, throwing open her shutters like Belle in Beauty and the Beast to shout Bonjour to all in sight.
Always a natural at making female friends, Daphne has conquered even the most resistant of all companionship challenges and has befriended three Parisian female standard poodles. The poodles is an animal known for its lack of time or energy for cultivating other, less fluffy women. Notoriously unfriendly, looking condescendingly down their aquiline noses, and poised for dagger-like comments about other house pets, these three queens of fluff have taken Daphne under their wing and always make time for her when she's in Paris.
It has been said that Paris Fashion Week would be an empty shell of an occasion without Daphne. She's been attending shows, front row, since she was barely old enough to wear a Dolce & Gabbana onsie. (She rocked it, of course, wearing it with shoulder pads, it was the 80's after all). This year for #PFW day one, she chose to toss caution to the wind and wore a completely sheer dress. Feminine and demure in it's tailoring but flagrantly outlandish in fabric opacity. Just the right amount of black silk appliqués cover bits that ought not be uncovered when strolling down the Champs-Elysées.
Daphne and Doxie love any occasion to linger over a meal. In Paris, breakfast or, petit-déjeuner, is king. Déjeuner et dîner are often too immersed in a fog of oysters and absinthe to really count as meals here anyway as Daphne adheres to a strictly Hemingway-ian approach to life when visiting the city. They spend their mornings on the terrace of their flat savoring the croissants brought up by Martine, an elderly gentleman who has been bringing Daphne and her family morning croissant deliveries for as long as she can remember.
An unexpected highlight of this visit was spending rare and cherished quality time with dear friends Ben and Owen at Valentino. Those two are the only men that Doxie will allow to pick her up. She senses their positive energy and gladly curls up in their laps and eats from their plates when they catch up over dinner.
Much like the mystery of how Daphne's family came into possession of the head of Winged Victory of Samothrace, certain other art world rumors circle darkly in the ancient whispers of Daphne's ancestry. It is said that they may know the truth behind Mona Lisa's subtle smirk, which is why every trip to Paris is incomplete until Daphne has visited her to smile back, knowingly.
And of course, Paris for Daphne means a constant string of paparazzi trailing her, and catching glimpses of her and Doxie's outfits. Here they are after a visit to their milliner. Doxie sporting a traditional Parisian beret jauntily tilted to the side.
And later, they're spotted near La Tour Eiffel, Daphne in up-and-commer Rosie Assoulin's distinctive geometrically pieced gown and Doxie in a black Hermes collar, stepping out for diner.
Like any good fairy tale, Daphne's Paris trip comes to a happy end. Her Paris closet is bursting with new acquisitions, Doxie's hat collection has been rounded out nicely, it is time to move on. She and Doxie pop into Cafe de Flore one last time, for one last espresso and one ... or maybe two last croissants. And then, as evening slips like a lace negligee over the sparkling Tour, the two are up and away flying to an undisclosed location...
Each year, the Paris trip is ceremoniously ended with a week spent at Daphne's ashram. It is somewhere in India and is said to be lorded over by some of the worlds top yogis and transcendental meditation gurus.
Namaste, my friends, be well. Daphne will greet you back in NYC in no time...
Ok, it's time to set the record straight.
Because I know you're all tied up in knots trying to figure out what I'm doing with the whole Daphne thing. Is she real? Is she not real? Do I have multiple personality disorder? Should you be worried?
Relax, I'll explain everything.
You could say Daphne, or The Other Girl, has always been a part of my imagination. Starting when I was a very little girl I often blamed "The Other Girl" for my wrong doings to get out of trouble. My supportive mother did not get me screened for Schizophrenia but instead played along with it tactfully helping me to agree with her that what Daphne had done was definitely wrong and we both knew she was sorry.
Daphne left me as I grew up. The world so often steals our sense of carefree adventure from us as we grow. The struggles of being a tightly wound, deeply pensive, cautious little girl led me on a path away from Daphne's free spirit. I truly never thought we'd meet again.
Until I created the 2015 calendar and lo and behold, there she was, in the illustrated flesh, in the March composition. Walking her Doxie with her dear friend Brigitte through the 6th arrondissement.
Yes, I'll admit that she is inspired by a romanticized idea of myself, she looks like me in that she is a brunette, but everything else about her is perfected by the magic of fashion illustration. She's a version of myself, a taller, better dressed figment of my imagination that never has to think about things like taxes or laundry or changing the Brita water filter.
She is my creative spirit unburdened by the shortcomings of reality, she is adventure. I knew when I found her I had to explore where she'd been and where she was going and share her with you.
So, without further ado, I give you An Interview With Daphne, The Other Girl...
Name: Daphne Dietrich
Dog's name: Much like Cat, the cat in Breakfast at Tiffanies, my doxie goes by Doxie.
Occupation: Style influencer, world traveler, writer of poetry on cafe napkins, sampler of gelato, impromptu dancer in rainstorms barefoot in summer, lover of the Doxie
Ok, stop. if you had to have are occupation what would it be? Art thief.
City: New York City. But today I'm in Paris to see the fall collections debut and to meet with my hat maker. I'll be here for quite a while, until my next birthday. I like to celebrate my birthday each year in Paris because Parisian women age so gracefully.
Tea or Coffee: Espresso, unless, of course, I'm invited to tea with Wills and Kate, in which case I love tea. Kate is always pregnant, so she can never have coffee. It's so boring.
Favorite Season: Summer, really is there any other answer? When else can you sunbathe naked on a catamaran?
Favorite scent: My personal perfume maker, Wes Anderson, creates a blend of lavender and sea salt that is perfect in it's simplicity. It doesn't have a name. He ships it to me bottled in small crystal flasks on the first day of spring each year.
Style Icon: Oh please. Next question.
Favorite beauty essential: I apply Rodin olio lusso nightly to my entire body. I also apply it to the Doxie's coat. She loves it.
Last meal: Do you mean like on death row? Or the last thing I ate? Oh well, either way, it's a bottle of rosé and one perfect truffle.
Most prized possession: the Victory at Samothrace's head. It's been in my family for years.
Favorite flower: peach colored dahlias and white amaryllis. Ernest used to send these to my grandmother. He was in love with her for years but she was married to a prince.
Favorite weekend activity: I can be found at my private standing reservation at Dirty French where I pose for famous artists to capture my cheekbone structure while drinking juniper martinis.
What do you collect: Lamp finials, original Cezanne works on paper, ball skirts
Small pleasure: throwing on a classic burberry trench, some Pigalles and nothing else to run out to grab fresh croissants. What? You don't do that? Sorry, I've got to run. Brigitte and i are meeting Karlie and Taylor for drinks.
A peak at one of my latest illustration events celebrating the Kate Spade + West Elm collaboration!
Visit Huffington Post Style today to see my illustrations take you from the boardroom to the ballroom in one simple Little Black Dress!
Alert. Daphne is on Instagram. And wearing all of Loren Hope's new collection on one arm in Cafe Gitane while snapping pictures of latte art. And is that a 6 carat canary diamond engagement ring? Of course it is. Oh Daphne.
Daphne, that saucy minx is at it again.
She somehow showed up at the Polo Bar last night in Lela Rose Runway look 33. Hot off the runway, the same day as the show, how did she get her hands on it? Not even Moda Operandi can pre-O' a look that fast!
Was it stolen, borrowed, gifted? She sashayed through the room, metallic tweet and lilac feathers floating on air, stopped at the bar for a gin martini and disappeared into the night.
Oh the mysteries!