My newest obsession, thanks to my sister-from-another-mister, is “The Last Great American Dynasty” song in Taylor Swift’s newest album, Folklore. It is a song that no matter how many times I listen to it (I am annoying and have listened to it on repeat since I first heard it — in attempt to learn every lyric), I still get goose bumps. GOOSE BUMPS!!! Yup. It is an incredibly gorgeous song with an even richer story behind the words. Taylor Swift created this soothing, sappy, happy, and beautiful song during Quarantine (the whole album!) based on her home in Rhode Island. It is the story of the previous owner, Rebekah Harkness, the heiress with a wild life story who owned Taylor Swift’s home, who lived a big grand life and was unapologetic. She sees herself in Rebekah and sings about it.
Taylor singing away….
I know, I know, I know — I sound like a teeney bobber recommending a pop song, and maybe I am, but seriously, I love this song and the store, the tune and the meaning. The NYTimes review here. The background of the story of the song here. Listen and let me know your thoughts — hope you love it as much as I do!
Holy shmollllly it is almost August! I feel like it was just February. But nope. End of July here we are! Here is what I am currently loving, enjoy!
1. Exile by Taylor Swift and Bon Iver
Bon Iver has been one of my favorite singer song writer for quite some time — I love absolutely everything he does — whether it is his own music or songs he produces, writes, or is featured in. And this song is exactly that — so good, beautiful, touching, melodic, and I LOVE IT.
This past Saturday, I did something I never thought I would do — I ran a 50K (31 miles). It wasn’t just any ultra — it was an unofficial one. Originally, I had signed up with a childhood friend, CJ, to run the Mt Hood 50K at the beginning of July. But due to COVID, it was canceled. We both decided that even though it was no longer happening, that the two of us would run together creating our own date and route. So for the past several months, I have been training for this ultra. Most ultras happen on trails, hills, mountains, and are flipping hard. And this proved to be true. It was incredibly hard and challenging — all the trails, hills, and long distance — but thankfully I had CJ who is a veteran ultramarathoner (who runs 100K, 50 miles, 50Ks all the time), to help me through it all.
The route. 31 miles in Eugene covers a lot of territory. We did 3 major loops — each ending at the “aid station” aka my parent’s home. Which is where we had our food, refill of water, and bathroom. These stops lasted 2-5 minutes and were crucial. There is no way I could have done it without refilling my water and fuel.
My parent’s house in Oregon has an alley on one side of the house (a great big cement wall) which is an eye sore — especially when there are no plants that hang down on it. So this summer, my dad asked if my niece, Alagna, who is a very talented artist (at the ripe age of 12) could draw a mural on the wall. Since YOLO and I thought it would be a fun project to do with all the cousins, I decided to help with it. It has been SO fun and a lot of work. And god bless my parents who had faith in us to create something fun and pretty!
The night before we started, we went to Home Depot to get the paint and primer. It took WAY longer than expected because someone actually mixes and makes the colors? WHO KNEW?????
Sadly, my favorite undies of all time (I still can’t believe it) will no longer be sold. This loss feels huge to me — feathers undies have been a part of my wardrobe staple since they first came out over a decade ago. I have tried many other undies (all Natori, but of course)…..but have ALWAYS come back to the Feathers ones– they were absolutely perfect in every single way and nothing compares. But now that I can’t find the undies anywhere and have to adapt to this new reality, I went on a search for a new favorite pair. After a lot of trial and error, my new love is the Natori Calm Cotton Brief. They are super cute, light, airy, shapely, and one of a kind. I like how even though they are cotton and briefs, they have a VA-VA-VOOM appeal to them as well. No, they aren’t Feathers hipster undies, but these are my new go-to undies, and I think you should try them, too!
Thanks to my dear friend from Stanford, Katie, who wrote today’s post on what she is loving during quarantine. Not only is she brilliant and smart, the best cook ever, interesting and interested, but she has great taste and style, too. Thank you, Katie, for sharing with us your top 10 best finds during COVID — love you loads! Check out Katie’s other contribution to this blog years ago with her Ice Cream Flower Pots post. Take it away!
While in quarantine, some people have mastered making sourdough starter from scratch, planted a vegetable garden, or otherwise lived their #bestlife, I have chosen in many ways to slow down. Yep. Slow. Way. Down. Being tucked in, cozy at home, can be calming and comforting in so many ways if you choose to see it that way. In these insane past few months, I have found a variety of things that make my life a little easier, a lot happier, and definitely more fun. I am happy to share the best of them in hopes that it might bring a little bit of ease, happiness and fun to your life too. Here are my Top Ten Best finds, thanks to sheltering in place and slowing way down:
Planes, trains and automobiles — or in Oregon, hikes, bikes, and more hikes! Although I have only been in Eugene for a handful of weeks (what month are we in? Where are we? Who am I?), we have done countless miles of hikes, dozens of bike rides, and even more hikes. With the kids not in any type of camp or activity, hiking and biking throughout Oregon is our daily plan. Sometimes, I think “what’s the difference between the first 4 waterfalls and do I really have to see 3 more?” and sometimes I love just looking at nature and being in awe of it’s rawness and organic beauty. I hope, in the end, all these nature adventures make my kids stronger but, at some point they might revolt and start only liking fast food chains and hate exercise….Here are some pictures of our Oregonian beauty these last few weeks. And I am thankful for my father who has taken the role of camp director and guides us on all these adventures — without him, I would watch netflix all day.
Wildflowers on Mount June were absolutely INCREDIBLE. I want to go back and see more wildflowers.
Truth is, since COVID started, I have put on make up only a handful of times. No one sees me, I am not going anywhere, and I don’t look that often at a mirror. However, when I do put on any make up, I instantly feel better (the question is then why don’t I make the effort and put makeup on more frequently?). Most all of my makeup products are Westman Atelier and I swear by them all — the bronzer, blush, lip, and now, the eye shadow. I know, I know, I don’t look like I would love make up — but I really do! So when Gucci Westman came out with a new set of eyeshadows, I jumped. I have never worn eyeshadow in my life, but I know that it pops your eyes open and makes you look even more put together. And so far, even with nowhere to go and no one to see me, I LOVE THEM! I can’t wait to wear them and a more regular basis!
They come in a set of 3 — there is a night shade option and a day shade option. I opted for the night one.
Most everything in Oregon is hippy dippy (the remaining bit is redneck), and the state produces an incredible amount of yummy, healthy, unique, and interesting food products. There are a dozen of Oregon items that I can’t live without — Toby’s tofu pate, Emerald Valley salsa, Pok-Pok drinking vinegars, Yumm sauce, Nancy’s Yogurt, Dave’s Killer Bread, etc…..– and I just found a new one! Kale Sprinkles! It is literally a pound of dehydrated kale, mixed in with nutritional yeast and other herbs, that you sprinkle on any food to create a spice and added texture. It is so easy, so delicious, and healthy too. I can’t wait to stock up on kale sprinkles (ps, how great is the name?)
Superfood seasoning mix: kale sprinkles
Now that I am now in Oregon and have even MORE time on my hands, here is the list of books I am planning to read this summer. And if you have any suggestions, please share!
1. The Color of Water
After an incredible week in LA, we spent another incredible week in Sonoma. Here are some pictures of our adventures.
I did a lot of running, as usual. And one day, I even did a marathon (26 miles).
In light of all the inequity evident in our world right now, I am actively trying to educate my family in order to try to become even more anti-racist. In addition to the many books on anti-racism, I ordered a graphic novel, New Kid, for my kids to read. In one sitting, I devoured it. It is an honest, heartbreaking, realistic view of a student of color who starts up at a new prestigious school in NYC surrounded by students of different socioeconomic and racial makeups. At times, I felt my heart pounding as it was so realistic it hurt…Cruzzie is also in the process of reading this book, and although a lot of the stories of inequity and racism are subtle, I think he will understand it the more he reads of it.
Thank you, Jerry Craft, for a beautiful book.
A little over a month until my first ultramarathon (virtual 50K since the one I had originally signed up for was canceled), so lots of running and listening to music! Here is a summer playlist to help you jog / skip / hop / run to some fun beats!
Dreamy Southern California
Due to the fact that COVID now seems to be a lifestyle and is not going away anywhere soon, I am investing in many different masks / face coverings for the family. Although the bulk of the time, I am not in public, there are times when we are (a) at the grocery store (b) on a hike with our people on the trails (c) traveling, and find it necessary (and respectful) to cover our noses and mouths. I have found that masks are good for planes and grocery stores, but when out and about on a walk in the city or on a more crowded trail, a bandana is the best as it goes around your neck and you can pull it up when needed. You can buy regular bandanas on amazon but because it is fun (and frivolous) I bought these ombre and colorful Aviator Nation bandanas and I love them oh so much!
Color on top of color = CAMO
I have had a lot of questions asked about flying during COVID so I thought I would write a post about my experience! First of all, I know that everyone has their own level of comfort with this pandemic and so one must always do what feels best for themselves and their situation. As we had already flown in April (from FL to NYC), we were not scared or anxious about flying and knew the airline protocols and practices. We felt confident in our ability to protect ourselves from germs and knew that we would be safe.
1. Wear Masks
It is required to wear a mask during the whole process of flying — boarding, on flight, and deplaning. And absolutely everyone adhered to that rule. You saw a whole variation of masks on the planes — some people also had the plastic shield on TOP of the masks, some people wore goggles, some had balaclavas and some people wore gloves. We simply wore our masks and that felt comfortable and good.
California loving. How can one not WANT to fly out here???? We didn’t wear masks on the beach but we were far from people.
Hello from LA! The kids and I started the summer out west with a California adventure before we ultimately end up in Oregon. So far we are truly enjoying the laid-back-vibe, the Pacific Ocean breeze, the sunshine, and just being out here! LA is truly la-la-land and such a beautiful and idyllic place to live — if NYC doesn’t work out, LA here I come! In the meantime, here is what I am currently loving this month, June 2020!
1. Money Heist
Spanish TV series — SO GOOD. Must watch!!! I am at the beginning of Season 2 and I can’t wait to watch it. OBSESSED.
Last week, like us all, I could only think about all the racial inequality more evident than ever in our country. As a result, I did not post at all, as it didn’t feel appropriate to post my typical light and frilly posts during something so heavy and important. So although I am back to posting, my mind is still on black lives matter. Like all of you, I want to educate myself to become even more anti-racist, and continue to have conversations with friends and family on how to live in a more equal and loving world.
On a desperate search to find activities for the kids to do BESIDES play on their devices, I came across “Paint By Stickers” — where you literally color a picture with numbers by stickers. It is not just fun for the kids but adults, too. I immediately bought two books for adults and one for the kids — and I can’t wait to put them all together.
The three books I purchased — and I can’t wait to get more!
To change things up, I bought a juicer and now, I can’t stop. CANNOT stop. Literally, I dream about juicing and look forward to it first thing in the morning. Because it is somewhat of a pain to clean, I make two batches in the morning — a morning juice and an afternoon juice — and that way, I only have to clean the monster of equipment once. Even though it is bulky, I highly recommend getting this juicer — so easy. In the morning, I have been making a ginger, lemon juice — sometimes adding an apple and a carrot. I love it because you feel the ginger go down your throat and it just feels HEALTHY.
I bought 5 pounds of ginger and it lasted just over a week — yep, a lot of ginger. So much, that I actually googled “how much ginger is too much” just in case I was over consuming ginger….but I think I am good so far….
Going old school and needlepointing! Over the weekend, after watching movie number 2 of the day (it was raining), I decided that we needed to bring needlepoint in to our lives. I grew up without a television and a very artistic mother, so at a very young age, my brother and I cross stitched. I have fond memories of us camping and sitting by the fire and cross stitching. So, we piled in to the car, and drove to an embroidery store (The Enriched Stitch in Wilton, CT) to get the supplies. I really don’t have a clue on what I am doing, but I taught Cruzzie, too, and it is theraputic, frustrating, and extremely rewarding. I can’t wait to finish our first project and then start another one. They are so addicting!
There is a basic stitch that is easy to learn and then you just do it. We spent hours on the couch stitching….
I have had the tab with this NY Times recipe open for months, so finally I decided to make it (COVID 19—- 19 pounds over normal weight here weeeeeeeee commmmmmmeeeeeee). Super easy, fun to make, and delicious. Randomly, it is vegan too (which just means no eggs in this cake recipe) so my dairy free friends can make this and love it. It is a great cake to make with kids and when you are sick of dishes.
A friend of a friend makes the most delicious, dense, European style, filling, and healthy gluten-free bread. Like many things cool and hip, the bread from Knead Love Bakery is handmade in Brooklyn. First started as a ‘joy project’ (perfect term), Sarah now bakes bread daily that can be shipped nationally. All the breads are gluten free, nutrient dense and baked in a “high vibe” way. I recently received my first shipment — sesame and wildcard tumeric — and I can’t wait for future orders and trying out all the varieties and flavors.
I even love the packaging — how could I not — neon pink hearts? So cool.
Yes, my favorite luxurious loungewear of all time is Natori, but sometimes a good cotton and hippy set hits the spot. The Great knitwear is exactly that — 100% cotton, comfy, relaxed, and easy. It is BEYOND soft and oh so dreamy. I bought a limited collection that was already tie dyed, but you can purchase your own and dye it yourself.
Love everything about this combo.
Here we are, mid May. I get more confused with what month than what day it is. Can it really be MAY? LIKE SCHOOL IS ALMOST OVER? Then what? What happens next??? Well, for now, here is what I am currently loving this month! Enjoy!
1. Warm Romper
Acid wash, pink, comfortable, cozy, and perfect for a range of temperatures. I love my new romper. I think it is perfect for a beach cover up, or a golf excursion!
I attended my first zoom wedding this weekend, which happened to be my sister Courtney’s. Courtney and her now-husband-Evan had planned a small wedding for May 9th with their 3 month old son Alston, and Courtney’s two stepdaughters at their newly finished built home. Unfortunately due to COVID, they had to cancel the in-person ceremony but decided to do it over zoom. Totally zoomed out with the kids’ remote learning, rollerskating, tutoring, I was a little skeptical of how this would take place. But HOLY COW, it went above and beyond any of my expectations. It was extremely beautiful, really emotional, and a uniquely special and intimate experience. There were many many tears and it will forever be a wedding I will never forget. Congratulations, Court and Evan — love you both so much!
Courtney is biologically my cousin, but in 1995, her parents (and middle sister) were killed in a tragic car accident. So Courtney and Galen moved from California to Oregon to be raised by my parents. Courtney was 15 at the time, and Galen was 8. In honor of Courtney’s mom, she wore her mom’s original wedding dress. Seeing her walk down the stairs in the Mexican Pink Hippy dress brought tears to us all — it was a way of including her parents when they could not be there.
The other night while surfing the internet, I came across a piece written by The Man Repeller that really struck a chord with me. It was a simple list of things that she misses, doesn’t miss, won’t miss, and won’t forget — all of the feelings during the COVID pandemic that we are all currently facing. I loved it OH so much and so many of her items rang true for me, too. So I decided that, I too, in honor of Man Repeller’s thoughtful post (thank you!), I would sit down, reflect, and write similar lists. I know these are ever-changing, but these are the items that I came up with today:
Oh so true of this time — busy doin’ nothing.