Fritz's First Birthday! by Joanna Nowak

It's hard to believe that this little kiddo was born a whole year ago. He's growing so fast- and his personality is really shining through. He's determined, curious, gentle and so bright. During Fritz's first birthday party he was surrounded by so many loved ones- friends from New York, family from DC and even grandparents who trekked all the way from Washington state. There were aqua faba desserts, brightly colored pom pom garlands and even a snowflake coloring activity, which, quite honestly, was fully taken advantage of solely by mimosa-fueled adults. It was a joyful celebration and one we will remember for a long, long time. Happiest Birthday, Fritz! We love you!

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John Heinz Wildlife Refuge by Joanna Nowak

The days are shorter and our opportunity to spend time outdoors is limited. Lillian, her son Bennett and I travelled a bit outside of the city to the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, a small oasis crammed between the city and the airport. With the distant sound of cars buzzing on I-95, we strolled down one of the well-maintained trails in the preserve. We saw dozens of Great Blue Heron, paper-white swans, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers and a few American Coot. The birds bathed and fished in the reflective pools as the late-fall sunset lit up the sky in radiant oranges and warm pinks. A brightly painted horizon split the landscape into fire and coal. Casted long shadows crawled across the frosty earth, creating cover for evening hunters. 

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An Afternoon with Vault & Vine by Joanna Nowak

I had the awesome opportunity of spending a few hours at Vault & Vine in East Falls, Philadelphia. My good friend Sarah, whom I know from working at a local printshop, Second State Press, is an event designer for the "V&V" (as the insiders call it). She invited me to come take some photos and attend an evening wreath-making workshop. Sarah gave me a grand tour during which I was able to meet most of the team, including the multitalented and hospitable owner Peicha Chang, who later taught me the artistry of successful wreath-making. Vault & Vine's space is enchanting- each detail tended to with thought and care. There's a beautiful cafe space, a retail area that sells many goodies from fragrant fresh-cut flowers to cozy alpaca socks, an abundant greenhouse and even an upstairs workshop area where a handful of guests created their beautiful fall-inspired wreaths. It was a really special day and even ended in a hilarious photo and video shoot (these will remain secret). 

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Wroclaw, Poland by Joanna Nowak

During my trip to Europe this fall, I was able to visit the motherland. My uncle, aunt and cousin journeyed from the Netherlands to spend a few days exploring with us. We visited the Japanese Gardens, Centennial Hall, the old centrum and a variety of other beautiful landmarks. Below is my cousin Tessa, who has grown into an awesome woman since I saw her 18 years ago. With enthusiasm and bright eyes, she helped me get reacquainted with my hometown. 

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Be Well Philly presents Summer Yoga Flow by Joanna Nowak

I was at Dilworth Park, next to City Hall, on Tuesday to document this inspiring (and free!) yoga series. It's open to 150 members of the public and led by my yoga mentor, Mariel Freeman. This weekly event will run all summer and I'm excited to be participating as the resident creative at Three Queens Yoga. This event brings Philadelphians together- with the incredible DJ Sylo, sponsorships from Verizon and Steez, and raffle prizes from generous donors. The city bustles around yogis of mixed levels and serves as a reminder that we are part of a much bigger community.

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