This past Fall, I discovered a small independent bookstore in New Canaan that I fell in love with — Elm Street Books. Not only does it have a great selection of books, but the employees are incredibly knowledgeable and give great recommendations. Last weekend, I went in with three needs: books my emerging reader son can read on his own, books that I can read to BOTH my kids, and books for myself. Two different employees helped me out and all of their selections have been spot on perfect. Here is what they recommended! Thank you, Elm Street Books! We will be back!
Elm Street: Walked out with a new bag filled with books — nothing better.
This past week, I made the most delicious and healthy banana chips. These are both satisfying and sweet with no sugar whatsoever (other than the banana itself). The only issue is that we ate them so fast that now I need to make more!
Scrumptious banana chip!
Before the holidays, one of my best friends introduced me to the most amazing wool shoes. She and her husband both have them in multiple colors. Made from New Zealand merino wool, they are lightweight, breathable, fashionable, chic, comfortable, (and warm)! (Links: women and men.) Not only are they good looking but they are a good price point ($95) for a shoe you will wear everyday!
Wool and good looking!! (These are a men’s pair I got for Ken.. I am buying a pair soon!)
For the holidays, Cruzzie was gifted President Obama’s children’s book “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.” (I’m not sure how iI missed this for so long… it was published in 2010.) The book is thoughtful, educational, emotional, and beautiful. The first time I read it to my kids, I cried (yes, I am prone to crying, but still — this book is powerful). When you read the book, you can hear President Obama’s voice — and what an awe inspiring and powerful speaker he is (can we talk about his farewell address? We were in tears. How I will miss him!). This book is a must have for everyone –it is also a perfect gift.
This book is very timely It is also a good reminder of how many strong people have shaped our history.
My new favorite green salad dressing — better than green goddess as it has no dairy or mayo. A must try! Super easy and delicious. A great way to start the new year — fresh and green.
* 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
* 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* juice of 1/4 a lemon
We are officially five months into our home renovation project, and slowly, it is taking more form and becoming more like a real home! The lights are now in (not the light fixtures, but the electrical outlets and lights on the ceiling), the walls are in place, and the stairs connect the floors!!! Mind you, it is far from done, but I now have a better sense of what it is really going to look like, and I can’t contain my excitement. Take a look at the newest pictures:
The new entry way!
Thanks to my mother-in-law’s company and industry, I have had the privilege of meeting and socializing with some of her amazing friends and colleagues. Jaqui Lividini is one of the most interesting- beautiful, elegant, ever-so-glamorous, always fashionable and chic, creative, and inspiring. Jaqui runs her firm, Lividini and Co, which is a brand strategy company and works closely with many high profile companies such as QVC, Ellen, Hudson Bay, and many more. She is smart, strong, fierce, sweet, and the most beautifully decked out lady I have ever seen. Anything she wears is perfection. I had the opportunity to do a quick fire interview with her, so take a look!
Hands down, the highlight of our 2016 trip to the Philippines was our visit to Pangulasian, El Nido, Palawan. To say the resort, scenery, environment, location, food, service, experience was amazing is an understatement. I will go out on a ledge to say that it was the most beautiful and breathtaking vacation I have ever been on. It was so incredible that I would fly across the world again tomorrow to spend more time there.
To get to the resort, we had to fly from Manila to El Nido, then take a van to a boat. The boat was a tiny speed boat that took 20-30 minutes to get us there. Worth every travel minute to get to this paradise.
Happy New Year! For whatever reason, this year, I felt ambitious and decided to come up with 17 resolutions (goals / to do list / aspirations) for 2017 rather than just 5 or 10. (I think I had time to think about it for 24 hours when traveling back from Asia on Friday!) Here they are:
Heading into 2017.. a dock in Palawan in The Philippines (more on our vacation to come!)
1. Give myself more credit. I am hard on myself and rarely acknowledge (and applaud) my own accomplishments and successes.
2. Accept (and love) my body for the way it is. Be kind to myself.
As we are halfway around the world with Ken’s family, The Josie Guy is helping me with some blog posts this week. Fair trade. Here he is:
As discussed in the Josie Girl’s Punta Fuego post, we have been rotating between stints in Manila and out. One of the highlights (outside of family) of being in Manila has been Kidzania. What is Kidzania? In short, it is a huge indoor pretend city that allows kids to role-play by conducting adult activities. There are currently more than 20 locations around the world and it is on its way to the States.
Our holiday trip to the Philippines has been a mix of time spent in metro Manila where most of Ken’s family lives, and time spent out of Manila, which is more know for beautiful beaches, nature, and tourism. (Fortunately, Typhoon Nina didn’t do as much damage to Manila as some had forecast). Our first getaway was to gorgeous Punta Fuego, where we went with Ken’s 11 cousins (on his mom’s side of the family), 4 kids (including our two), and 2 of 3 spouses (including me). Enjoy the pics!
Club Punta Fuego has an amazing infinity pool. Toosh enjoyed her lounge time.
Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays as we wrap up an interesting year.
Thank you for reading the blog and for all of your support.
Hi there- the front of our holiday card
Our laughing munchkins
We are still on the other side of the world with Ken’s extended family in the Philippines. Wishing you the best.
I will let Ken’s Instagram post speak:
Yep. 2 hours of delay on the snowy JFK tarmac, 16.5 hours to Hong Kong, an hour layover, another 2 hour flight to Manila, and two hours through customs and to Ken’s family’s house later, we are in Manila for a family reunion extravaganza for his mother’s side of the family. It is 5:30 AM Manila time now and the kids have been up for 2 and 4 hours respectively, but we are excited that we made it without dramatic incident (though we are still waiting on the kids bag to come… hopefully later today).
I love chocolate cookies, but even more, I love ginger cookies. So when I stumbled upon ginger-molasses-healthy cookies on goop, I knew I had to make them. Shockingly, I followed every single ingredient and step, but they miserably failed (turned into liquid and melted all together). So, the next day, I altered the recipe, and now they are perfection. Sweet, chewy, not not overly sugar-y, spicy, and peppery. NOTE: You must refrigerate the cookies for at least 12 hours, so you have to think ahead in terms of timing.
End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.
One of my best friends happens to be one of the most organized people I have ever met. She literally has a folder for everything, a labeled box for anything, AND she has a genius way of organizing holiday cards — by hole punching them and putting them on a ring. No clutter, no loose mail, and everything is all in one place. So I did as all fans do and copied her. It sounds so silly, but it’s been a game changer! It might be an overstatement to say it has changed my life, but I kinda feel like it has. #Dramatic
You simply punch a hole in the corner and put it on the key ring. So easy (and cheap). And it feels so clean and organized.
If you find yourself having some time (HA! During this time of the year, NEVER!), here are some interesting reads from around the web. Enjoy!
Things I google and then sreenshot
47 ways how to feel alive and be happy.
One of the best desserts / gifts / party favors I have in my little “rolodex of presents” is the Mint Malt Balls first introduced to me by event planner extraordinaire, David Monn. He put them in our hotel goodie bags for our wedding (10 years ago) and since then I have been a big fan. Yet, one can only hoard so much candy, so I eventually forgot about them. Fast forward to David Monn’s Book Party, and there they were. Green malt balls in little containers on every table throughout the entire New York Public Library. BINGO, sold, addicted all over again.
Pretty green, perfect sphere, DELICIOUSNESS
My newest social media go-to is Instagram Stories. For those not very tuned into social media, it is a new-ish feature on Instagram that is similar to Snapchat, and allows you to post pictures and videos throughout your day. The plus is that the pictures expire after 24 hours, so there is less pressure to make your posts “perfect”, and more of an ability to let you be more impulsive. It allows you to give people a glimpse into your life, without having the posts permanently associated with your name. It is fun and easy, colorful and playful. You can add filters, colors, and text.
Silly-ness. I like taking pictures that are cute but not AMAZING and then adding some pizzazz and flair with colors and texts. Basically, I love pretending I am a 15 year old girl.
David Monn, the style guru and event planner extraordinaire, is good friends with my mother-in-law, as well as our own wedding planner (from almost 10 years ago!). Glamorous, chic, and stylish as ever, he was nice enough to sit down for a quickfire interview. Take a look!
David Monn, and his dog, Sammy. What a handsome pair!
Since it is now cold in NYC, I only wear sweaters. I have a variety of solid every-day sweaters, but there are days when I crave a sweater with more pizzazz and color. Thankfully, I came across a Donna Wilson sweater which is fun, poppy, colorful, and comfortable.
A contemporary version of a Fair Isle sweater. I love the description: ‘Into the Woods’ is inspired by walks in the forest, thoughts on what it would be like to have a pet llama, and plans for a trip to the Arctic Circle.
The only bras and undies I ever wear are Natori Feathers. I love the fit, the lace, the look…. everything! So when I found out that Natori not only started making legwear (hosiery, socks, tights, stockings) BUT Feathers legwear, I jumped with joy. They also remind me of a pair of tights that my super-fashionable-friend wore recently and I fell in love with, but these are even more fun, unique, and better priced — so win win win.
Art in the form of a legging.
We just returned from the Best / West Coast where we spent a whirlwind holiday weekend outside in nature with my side of the family. It is best summed up by Ken’s instagram post:
My parents have spent the past 20 Thanksgivings at Breitenbush Hot Springs, at the base of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. So instead of indulging in food, turkey, booze, and football, we spent Thanksgiving off the grid in natural hot springs, rain, lush forests, and togetherness (vegetarian togetherness). My brother and his family have gone the past seven years, so this year, we decided to make the trek out to Oregon. It was quite the haul, but it was a special and joyous time for the cousins and all of us to be together.
In August, I posted about our renovation and how lucky we are to be able to combine two apartments together to form our dream home. So here we are, now in November, and while we are progressing, the end doesn’t seem much closer (still living with my in-laws). IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT, but man, it can be difficult not having my own home or space. My in laws are incredibly generous with their home, yet, it is still not our own…..
ZEN — my in law’s apartment is ZEN, of course, until you see our mess and chaos and craziness.
Don’t you love how small the world is? I was raving about Truly Madly Guilty this summer, and the next week Ken discovered that his friend’s wife, Faye Bender, is the literary agent for Liane Moriarty (not to mention a number of other authors). I had the privilege of interviewing Faye and finding out more about literary agents and the writing world. Take a look!
Meet Faye Bender, Literary Agent Extraordinaire.
Yesterday, my schedule was all mixed up. I got cancelled on by my hair dresser, so instead of getting my hair done (trust me, I was super annoyed), I studied calculus, listened to Hamilton Mixtape, and found my new favorite food: Poke bowls from Pokeworks!