Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix

My mother is one of those people that always knows the bohemian cool, beautifully crafted, hip food products, way before anyone else. I am not saying she is a New Yorker fashionista (she is not), but she is very much in the know with all things West Coast cool and East Coast significant. When she visited us two weeks ago for Ken’s 40th birthday party, she gifted me a cookbook (she has more than 300 cookbooks at home — no joke) which is sooooooooo cool that I can’t stop reading it! Mark Bittman was a New York Times food columnist who created a book with a matrix of possibilities. It is unbelievable — everyone must have it for their kitchen! It also makes a perfect hostess gift for a friend. Take a look!

 

Kitchen matrix. How clever, imaginative, and smart.

Kitchen matrix. How clever, imaginative, and smart.

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D.S. & Durga Candles

I can never have enough candles in my home.  And for some reason, candles are one thing that I tend not to be price conscious about. In my closet full of presents (one of the best lessons passed down from my mother), most of the presents are candles. After reading a lot of reviews on candles (yes, they exist), I instantly bought cult-favorite D.S. & Durga. D.S. & Durga is a husband-wife team that makes the candles in Brooklyn (but of course).

 

Packaging.

Packaging.

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Special Plate and Announcement

DRUM ROLLLLLLLLLLL…….my hubba hubba husband is now El Capitan of The Natori Company (also know as President). For some readers, you might think OBVI, he is the son, so of course, he is President. But that is not the case. Ken never thought he was going to work for his mother and set out to make a name for himself. He was a TV and radio broadcaster at Bloomberg for 5 years (Ken Natori, What’s the story?), then went to Stanford Business School (near-perfect GMAT scores), worked at Lehman Brothers for several years (left before the crash), and then joined the family business in 2007. I am proud of my husband for working hard, committing to what he believes in, being a diligent and thoughtful worker, and at the same time as being the smartest person I have ever met (other than my brother and father —  they all tie for first place). So now, a new era of new life for the Natori business, and I am proud and in awe of my husband’s dedication, drive, and talents. So to celebrate, I got him this plate (this is not a joke).

 

YUP, "You are special today" BEST GIFT EVER.

YUP, “You are special today” BEST GIFT EVER.

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Josie Jewel Road Sleepshirt

Before I get to the post today (and be sure to read to the bottom for a special treat), I want to share three links. First, I am so proud of my beloved hometown Eugene, Oregon for making it into New York Magazine as a weekend escape. To read all about my hometown, go here. And for you loyal readers (a million thank yous!), I am sure you recognize a lot of the places from previous blog posts (Voodoo doughnuts, Spencer’s Butte, and King Estate). Secondly, here is a great article for  New Yorkers currently dealing with the crazy-traffic-grouchy-tourist-filled-city! Read it here. Thirdly, this Josie Robe was mentioned as a perfect gift in Kylie Jenner’s blog (who knew) so read about it here! And now, a great last minute gift:  this Josie sleepshirt!

 

How fun is the print? Colorful, vibrant, trippy, and oh-so-fun.

How fun is the print? Colorful, vibrant, trippy, and oh-so-fun.

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Natori Cable Knit Sherpa Robe

Before I talk about my new robe obsession, I have to discuss something that makes me so happy; Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton dating. YUP, I know, totally pathetic and oh-so-weird, but I am a huge fan of The Voice. And I kinda feel like I did watching Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf when they were together – same type of butterflies and happiness.  Gwen and Blake are just too cute, and oh so fun. So watch this. I promise you that you will laugh and smile.

 

Gwen and Blake. My pals.

Gwen and Blake. My pals.

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Penzeys Spices

A true sign of a friend is when you receive a gift that shows that they are listening (which believe it or not, people don’t tend to do these days) to your stories. Several months ago, I nauseatingly bored my bestie to death with the fact that I had recently cleaned out the kitchen of our Pound Ridge home, and had thrown out 3 garbage bags worth of spices from 1985. So last weekend, when we visited Pound Ridge, I was astonished to find a huge present from my friend containing SPICES. To anyone else, this might seem like a whoa, cool, gift. But to me, it was beyond thoughtful, considerate, generous, and heartfelt. My friend listened, heard, and responded. Amazing. And let me tell you, these are not just any spices, they are the KING OF SPICES. (I don’t usually get excited by spices, but let me tell you, these are above and beyond any other type of spice!)

 

Boxes. Yes, they are just cardboard boxes but the contents are magic.

Boxes. Yes, they are just cardboard boxes but the contents are magic.

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Union Wine Co. — Wine in a Can

Truth be told, I am not a big drinker (I am constantly in a state of my own drunkenness) and when I *do* drink, I am a super cheap date lightweight (aka fall asleep before double digits)…nonetheless, I am so excited by this Oregon Wine Company, hallelujah-ohmygoodness-bless-the-lord-maybe-ill-start-guzzling-now! WHAT IS HIPPER THAN DRINKING WINE OUT OF A CAN? Big kudos to Union Wine Company … (Flashback to drinking champagne out of a can…)

 

UnderWOOD!

UnderWOOD!

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The Horse Watch

My whole life, I have worn cheap and childish watches. Way back when, I had the Mickey Mouse watch that sang “It’s a small world after all.” From there, I graduated to a Timex watch with a rastafarian color themed velcro band. As an adult, I have worn a $60 plastic watch…. every…. single… day.  Some might say it is time to move on to something nicer and more grown up , but I like the fact that all my watches are simple, cheap, and do their thing. Plus, I prefer inexpensive watches to “nice” ones as the nicer ones are too much of a status symbol, especially in places like New York. Heyyyyy, check out my GOLD ROLEX — if I can afford 30K on my wrist to tell the time, guess how rich I AM???? So, plastic watches are more my jam.

 

Black plastic chic.

Black plastic chic. With the background of tie-dye pants — making my outfit THAT much more chic.

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Venessa Arizaga Bracelets

I have a friend who always wears the most fun, quirky, and playful jewelry. Everything she wears, I want to copy  / steal (imitation = sincerest form of flattery) and this time around, I copied her exactly and got the same bracelet from Venessa Arizaga. (Thank you!) And look how FUN and COOL and PLAYFUL it is? I feel like I am 14 years old… youthful and whimsical.

 

Do you get it??? And yes, I am a bombshell in birkenstocks. #obvi

Focus on the middle one with the words.  Do you get it??? And yes, I am a “bomb-shell” in birkenstocks. #obvi

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Love and Miss Communication

Ladies, HEAD TO THE BOOKSTORE NOW (or order on Amazon) to get your copy of Love and Miss Communication. The debut novel from my smart, beautiful, successful, and witty friend, Elyssa Friedland. This book came out yesterday (!!!) and has already been named a “must read” by InStyle Magazine and Popsugar. I couldn’t agree more — I had the privilege of reading it before it came out, and I absolutely loved every minute of it.  The novel provided a great look into modern living in New York City through the eyes of Evie Rosen, the main character who swore off the internet (hard to imagine!).  I loved every part of Elyssa’s book — the flow, the story, the concept, the humor, EVERYTHING! I could not put it down. And I was fortunate enough to sit down with Elyssa to discuss her amazing book.

 

The book

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How in the world do you write a book? You are a mom to three kids, a wonderful wife, super social, the PA of Preschool, always perfectly coiffed, immaculately dressed and stunning — AND JUST WROTE A BOOK??? And a great book. How did you fit everything into your schedule?

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Herbivore Botanical Salts

Happy Monday!  A little housekeeping work.  For those of you who get the blog by email, we have moved to a new (better) service (Mailchimp).  Just a heads up to look for a slightly different email going forward.   And if that sounds like an awesome idea and you want to sign up, click here.  On to today’s post!

 

Set of three!

Set of three! Detox, Renew, and Calm.

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Urban Stems

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so in addition to purchasing lingerie from Natori, you need to buy flowers! And what is easier than purchasing flowers online / via iphone app with Urban Stems. The lucky ducks that live in the NYC and DC area have access to this brilliant company. Simple, beautiful, and straightforward. The bouquets cost $35 and are a beautiful arrangement of carefully selected flowers imported straight from farms in South America. A bonus: According to the company, the farms used are environmentally-friendly and operate with labor friendly policies for their employees and their families. 90% of the farmers are women. Curious to see the product before I sent it to a secret admirer (my child’s preschool teacher – she is my true love), I bought a bouquet for myself.

 

Red

Red

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3 Cookbooks

Guilty pleasure: reading cookbooks! I love collecting, sorting through, and learning from cookbooks. Although the internet is a terrific place to peruse for recipes and ideas, there is something about the old fashioned, hard cover that I can’t get away from. There are so many cookbooks that I love and use, but currently, here are my three favorite:

 

Cookbooks

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Dream Catcher Part Deux

Back in June, I highlighted our new Dream Catcher for our bedroom. Not only did I fall in love with the symbolism and beauty of the dream catcher, but so did my 5 year old son. He begged for one of his own, as he wanted to make sure that he only had sweet dreams.  Although I love the one in our bedroom, I didn’t necessarily want to spend that much $$ on my son’s (is that selfish?).  So I searched and dug, until I found this one! Same type of look and feel, but a fraction of the price!

 

White, feathers and crystals: the perfect trio.

White, feathers and crystals: the perfect trio.

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Saltine Cookies

Top

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time (first, huge THANK YOU!), then you have already seen this post. But I can’t help myself and need to include it again because these holiday treats are SO VERY DELICIOUS and addictive. And if you are new to the blog (welcome, and thank you!), enjoy the very best cookie / goodie / chocolate heaven / salty-sweet-thang. Hands down, the best holiday treat. And because you will not be able to stop at just one cookie (or ten of them), better get started on your holiday workout.

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Birthday Interview Book

One of my all time favorite gifts is the “Birthday Interview Book.” This tiny little book is a simple way of keeping track of your child’s favorite items each year. Every year, on his birthday, we ask Cruzzie the same 20 questions (favorite color, song, friend, meal, etc…) and record it in the little keepsake book. We will start the same tradition with Toosh this May when she turns 3.  It is a fun (and smart) way of collecting information about your child as they grow up (tear — not too fast, kids!). And the kids love to answer and record the questions as well! To purchase, go here. It is the perfect gift for your child (or a friend!).

 

Tiny, little blue book with powerful, meaningful keepsakes.

Tiny, little blue book with powerful, meaningful keepsakes.

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Josie Fragrance / Bloomingdale’s Event

Josie-Bloomingdales-Invite

 

As the Josie girl, I love everything Josie. The prints, the material, the vibe, the lifestyle, and especially the new fragrance. Launched this past Summer, the fragrance is effortless, confident, and light. Just the right amount of subtle sweetness paired with crisp. The scent is a vibrant accord of crisp Asian Pear and Bergamot (LOVE!), followed by Sampaguita (the national flower of the Philippines), Freesia, and Wild Orchid. The perfect harmony of smells. And now, what is even more amazing is that the fragrance comes in a rollerball! Perfect for your purse, a stocking stuffer, or travel.  Cha-ching.

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Ballpoint Pen

Although I do my fair share of typing on computers and phones, I also spend a lot of time writing, whether it is for thank you notes (most recently for Cruzzie’s birthday party and the donations for the marathon), to-do lists, and / or snail-mail cards. Not only am I particular about the paper I write on, but even more so, the pens that I write with. So I was ecstatic when I was gifted the coolest pen EVER. Swiss made (of course), this ball point pen is not only durable, beautiful, and unique, but it is also easy and smooth to write with. AND it comes with the coolest case ever.

 

A whole lot of orange going on.

A whole lot of orange going on.

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Crane Crest Real French Dressing

I have a close friend who is hands down the best cook in the world (actually, tied with my mother). Everything she makes in the kitchen is scrumptious, delicious, and out of this world good (she is also beautiful, loving, caring, stylish — damn I have AMAZING FRIENDS!!!!!). So when I was at her house last week and devoured a whole gallon of salad, I had to know HOW DO I MAKE THAT DRESSING? The salad was simple — cabbage and tomatoes — but I couldn’t stop eating it. It was the most delicious two ingredient salad I had ever tasted — all because of the dressing. My friend, embarrassed, said that the dressing was store bought (not her typical style) and said it cost her $17 for the bottle (NYC — your prices are totally bonkers a$$ crazy!).

Salad! But what makes the salad is the dressing....

Salad! But what makes the salad is the dressing….

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Daily Harvest Smoothie Delivery NYC

Call me lazy, but sometimes I would rather pay $10 for a smoothie than find all the ingredients and make it myself. It sounds lazy, but finding the various ingredients, then washing, chopping, measuring them all = too much effort. So what do you know, there is a service (currently only offered in New York City) which delivers packs of frozen fruit / vegetable combinations so you can MAKE your own smoothies without the hassle. And it’s way cheaper than buying smoothies at a store.  Ah-mazing, right? Daily Harvest, thank you.

 

DH

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Me & Ewe

Once again, another friend who is uber talented, smart, beautiful, and accomplished. GEEZ, so inspiring it makes me in awe! My friend, Jennie, is truly an example of an exceptional woman; Harvard grad (not too shabby), mother of two (cutie pa tooties), blonde, beautiful, peppy, energetic, and NOW a founder of the company Me & Ewe. Damn lady. She is also married to the co-founder of OK Cupid (No Big Deal, just some website that matches up MILLIONS of people each year and creates happily-ever-afters) and has entrepreneurial blood running through her veins. Me & Ewe is a sock company — made for kids and adults to match. The idea is fresh, fun, and fabulous. Take a look! So impressed, excited, and thrilled for Jennie’s new company.

I mean, how adorable is this lady? Selling her socks old-school.

I mean, how adorable is this lady? Selling her socks old-school at a children’s library. Everything in this picture is just too cheeky cute.

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