From June 2011, when China and I ate our way through New Orleans.
It is embarrassing to admit the level of sap that is circulating around my household at the moment. Two of Chris's and my closest friends, Michael and China are moving to New York and I have been humming a sad but lovely song from Muppets Take Manhattan all week. It is from where the title of this post came.
Together at my post wedding brunch.
Although I made references to China frequently on my blog, I have never talked about her directly or by name. You see, she was the food critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and had to maintain relative anonymity for the sake of her job. Chris and I joined China and Michael on quite a few review meals so it was crucial that we weren't connected easily to her via social media. In fact I realized that I have very few photos of her or of us together, even though we spent a great deal of time in each other's company over the last number of years. I did mention Michael a few times, like this post about when he and Chris inadvertently dressed like twins.
Great minds dress alike.
Both Michael and China are very stylish, not to mention intelligent, kind, fun, and generous. China's style in particular was influential to me because she always seemed to exude that effortless elegance that left me feeling both inspired and disheveled in her company. Early in our friendship I toiled over what to wear when I'd see her, so intent on making a favorable impression (and so insecure back then).
Clothes have been a thing that I've thought too much about for far too long. But China is one of those women who is stylish without allowing clothes to define her or speak for her. I suppose when you are a journalist it makes sense that your voice would become much more central to your identity than material things. This isn't to say that she doesn't have an enviable closet. She just didn't seem to obsess over it the way some people do. I have always admired that about her. I actually admire countless things about her and her husband but because this is a personal shopping and style blog, those musings wouldn't fit the purview of this space.
Early in our friendship at a bday party.
Chris and I met Michael in Friendship Park, walking our similarly anxious Jack Russell dogs. They seemed to hate each other but we really hit it off.
A temporary ceasefire.
This was before China became the food critic, when we were all graduate students pursuing different fields. Our friendship developed rapidly around a shared love for cooking, travel, engaged conversation, and pop culture (especially baseball, as well as Mad Men and Parks and Rec once they were on TV). With each passing year it felt more and more fitting that our history began in "Friendship Park."
We helped Michael conjure a ruse for his engagement proposal and eventually flew to the Bay Area for their beautiful wedding in 2008. China (with Michael's help) actually made our wedding cake in 2010. It was the most beautiful, delicious, and complex gift we've ever received! This was no small wedding and China had never made a wedding cake before.
Our respective weddings.
They're the type of friends you hope to have for life, who you are sad to see move away, but who you will plan trips around, and hopefully visit often. We will miss you guys so much!!