Currently Loving October 2021

I blinked, and here we are in mid October. I know that as you get older, the time starts to fly by, but really, in the past year, it feels like a month ago was yesterday! And it literally feels like school JUST started, but here we are almost Halloween (gulp, my least favorite holiday). Here is what I am loving this month!

 

1. The Night She Disappeared (on audible)

 

Almost 3/4 of the way done with this book (listening to it) and I am now a huge fan of audible books and this story! A must read (or listen to!)

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Chicago Marathon 2021

This past weekend, I completed my 16th marathon and my 5th (or 6th) Chicago Marathon. It was a crazy busy weekend with first a visit from my beloved brother and his wife, Cruzzie’s 12th birthday, and then flying to Chicago and running the marathon and flying home. It was overall a great full weekend and now I am exhausted!

 

The expo was INSANE. Usually, I am in and out in 20 minutes, but due to COVID regulations and checking proof of vaccine, it was incredibly delayed. Took over 2 hours to pick up my number. And always awkward for me to ask a stranger to take a picture of myself holding up my number, but hey, YOLO.

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Di Fara Pizza Manhattan Pop Up

Last Winter, on our “best pizza” of NYC, we wound up deep in Brooklyn at Di Fara. It truly was the most amazing pizza I have ever had, even with the hour long drive. So as soon as I found out that Di Fara had a pop up for 3 weeks in Manhattan, I jumped at the opportunity for us to go. Definitely worth it as still the best pizza I have ever had.

 

Located in the Lower East Side, this pop up, is basically an office building with a security guard who has someone come take our order. You can also get pizza from Roberta’s (but Di Fara is way better).

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Knead Love Cinny Buns

I love it when things just work out and you don’t expect it! Yesterday, I was ordering a cake for my son’s birthday from a Gluten-Free Local Bakery (that I posted about in May 2020) and then decided to take the subway down to Trader Joe’s (yes second visit this week), but got off at the wrong train stop. As I emerged from the train, I realized that the Union Square Green Market was taking place and that Knead Love (where I was in the process of ordering Cruz’s 12th birthday cake) had a booth!

 

I mean — gluten free carbs and hot pink? Everything about Knead Love, I love (and yes I need love!)

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Trader Joe’s Haul

During graduate school the only place I grocery shopped was at Trader Joe’s– it is where I got EVERYTHING. Vegetables, pre packaged food (I lived on their burritos and enchiladas), muffins, granola, everything. And yet since then, I rarely go as there is not one close by and I like things where I pick the quantity myself. That said, I was reintroduced to Trader Joe’s and it inspired me to try it again. I have gone twice in the past two weeks and I love it — not for everyday grocery shopping, but for random snacks and food to hoard in my house (I hoard food).

 

Huge bag of goodies — and SO inexpensive — less than 50 dollars!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!

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Gratitude Journal

The start of this school year has felt a little off — whether it is COVID or the city or just life — it has not been as peaceful or calm as I would like. So with the advice and encouragement from two separate friends, I started writing in a gratitude journal. And this simple act of acknowledging five points every. single. night has made a tremendous difference. It is just a subtle shift of my energy that instead of focusing on the negative or what I have not done, I see all that I have and what I am thankful for. One tip was to make the fifth point about myself — which obviously is harder to write down — but it really has helped. In the two plus weeks that I have made this a part of my nightly routine, I clearly see the benefits of this practice. I actually look forward to writing the words down and having a journal full of positivity and gratitude. I highly recommend this daily homework and see such beauty and strength that has emerged from my own recognition of what I have.

 

My calendar on the left, and my gratitude journal on the right. I use just a dotted moleskine (I dont like lines).

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Batchworthy

OK, so I have written about these sauces before, but I have to write a full post about it because they are just that good. They are SOOOOO good. Back in June, I bought the “Husband Sauce” and the “Caesar Sauce,” and they were delicious, but it wasn’t until this month that I purchased The Full Batch.  The full batch includes: 1 8oz. Husband Sauce, 1 8oz. The Heat, 1 8oz. Soft Caesar, 1 8oz. That Good Grainy Mustard, 1 4oz. Garlic Confit, and 1 4oz. Garlic Rillette. Literally you can make the most scrumptious meal with any of these sauces.

 

Even the jars are colorful and make my fridge bright and happy.

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Currently Loving September 2021

Here we are in mid September and here is what I am currently loving!

 

1. Harriman State Park

 

Last week, we had a day off from school and a parent organized a hike to Harriman State Park — which is about an hour away from NYC. It was a great day filled with beautiful nature. It made me miss the ease of Oregon nature and hikes, but I am thankful to have been introduced to Harriman State Park and can’t wait to return.

 

2. Dahlias

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Synful Eats

At the very start of the summer, I was at a friend’s house where she served a plate of the most delicious cookies I had ever eaten. The cookies were all broken in to pieces which made it very easy to eat and sample all the different flavors. Each cookie was better than the last and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Or eating them. They were BEYOND. Thankfully, these cookies, Synful Eats, can be bought in NYC / Hamptons — and hopefully soon nationally. They are the next Levain Cookies — top quality, incredible combinations, the best ingredients. I can’t wait to see what this company does next — and until then, I will continue to support (and eat!) these unbelievably tasty cookies.

 

Since it is local delivery, the cookies arrive in the most beautiful pink box and bag. Even the box is perfection.

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Fall 2021 To Do

Here we are — Fall 2021! There is always so much to do in Fall — the start of school, the shift in weather — and here is a list of everything and anything that I want to do!

 

1. Eat at Thai Diner

 

Thai Diner is exactly what it sounds — a diner that is influenced by Thai food. Recommended by a friend I always trust, this downtown restaurant is a Thai Love Letter to the classic American diner. It gets rave reviews and the dishes look incredibly interesting and delicious. I can’t wait to try it out.

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Natori Embolden Brief

My new favorite Natori undie is — gasp, even more than the Natori Feathers Brief — the new Embolden Brief. They are the absolute perfect pair of undies, and I am so so so so happy I discovered them. They are lacy but full coverage, flattering and different. Run to the store (or buy online) before they disappear — I stocked up on them!

 

They come in three colors: black, beige and blue. They are mainly lace, with just a little hint of fabric at the bottom.

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End of Summer 2021

This summer came and went. It was a good solid summer. Nothing spectacular and extraordinary, but simple and straightforward. We hiked and biked, swam, read, and watched movies. We ate at our favorite Japanese and taco restaurants. Visited tons of parks and playgrounds. And spent all our time outdoors. I miss the west coast and the nature already….

 

We hiked MILES and MILES and MILES. Tusia went to one week of camp the entire summer, so the rest of the time was Mama time — which meant, a lot of exercise outdoors.

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Spinach Hummus

One of my favorite parts of spending the summer in Oregon is being surrounded by all the local, organic, small-batch, hippie foods. I have my all time favorites that have been around forever (Toby’s Tofu Pate), but each summer, I fall in love with some new favorites. This summer, I am head over heels with this spinach hummus by King Harvest. BEYOND DELICIOUS, TASTY, UNBELIEVABLY GOOD. It is die for — and you must find it and buy it….and even if it is not sold in your grocery store, try to replicate it and make it home.

 

King Harvest.

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Needlepoint Pointers

If you are a needlepointer (or interested in needlepointing), then this post is for YOU! In the past 16 months of my new found hobby, I have done a lot of research (and trial and error) on what works and doesn’t work. And because I am a sharer, here are various tips / pointers on websites, threads, anything and everything needlepoint that has worked for ME! (And if you have any favorites, please share with me, too!)

 

My most recent project!

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Water Kefir

I realize that Monday’s post was on a drink (hibiscus tea) but now I have to tell you all about water kefir — my newest obsession! And yes, apparently I am on a drink kick! And makes sense because it has been over 100 degrees the past week in Oregon….yes, I have been melting! In any case, I have always had a love hate relationship with kombucha. I love it, but it has made me (violently) sick and so I had to quit for a decade. I have successfully only had good batches in the past year, but I still am weary about it. That said, I always love looking at the drink aisle in the hippy dippy grocery stores because they always have the best products. And lo and behold, that is how I first found out about water kefir — a probiotic water. It is similar to kombucha, as they are both fermented and probiotic rich. But they taste slightly different and as of now, I am preferring water kefir.

 

This was one of the brands that I love — made in Oregon, great flavor of ginger and lime. Fizzy, delicious, and hydrating.

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Hibiscus Tea

As many of you know, my mother is from Mexico., and because of this, most of her cooking is influenced by her heritage. The main drink that we always have in our house is Hibiscus Tea. She goes to the local Mexican tienda and buys pounds and pounds of dried hibiscus flowers to make the juice / tea throughout the year. Unfortunately, I am both lazy and unfamiliar with a Mexican tienda in NYC, so I have yet to recreate this drink. However, recently, at the local grocery store, I came across, sachets of hibiscus tea! Yes, more expensive than bulk leaves — but so convenient and easy! I can’t wait to try all the different flavors and make it in NYC!

 

Not only does my mom loves hibiscus tea made from scratch, but she also loves tea. She is a tea snob and knows more about tea than anyone. And apparently, this tea company, Steven Smith Tea Company, is wonderful and she loves it.

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Natori Wish List

Yes, one would think that I would always have all the newest products from Natori, but truth is, unless I order them for myself, I don’t get them. And in order to order them, I have to browse the Natori website, which happens way less frequently than I would like. But this past week, I was able to scroll online and I found SOOOOOO many items that I want slash need! Here they are!

 

1. Shangri-La V Neck Chemise

 

All the items from the Natori Shangri-La collection are top notch quality and comfort. They are my go-to items for any gift — classic, simple, soft, and flattering. This new silhouette seems great for the transition to Fall. I can’t wait to get one of these!

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Favorite Tokyo Olympic Moments

I already miss the Olympics and they just ended yesterday!!!! Usually, I am tied to the Olympics and watch every single moment they are on TV. However, this Olympic Games, the time difference made it a little more tricky and I wasn’t as in to it as normal. That said, I still love the stories, the dreams, the challenges, and the grit. Here are my favorite Tokyo Olympic Game moments. And yes, they are track and field heavy because (a) I am a runner and (b) the Track and Field Olympic trials have been held in my hometown for the past five consecutive games!

 

1. Women’s Marathon

 

Talk about grit, heart, and determination! Molly Seidel ran her third marathon ever and won a bronze medal. Super inspiring!!!

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Custom Needlepoint Canvas DNS by Design

As many of you know, since April 2020, I have become an avid needlepointer. I spend a lot of time planning a project, working on it, and finishing it. I love (and hate!) the process of it, but I absolutely love having a final product — especially when I am proud of the work. I have spent hours upon hours searching for canvases that strike a chord with me, but more often than not, I am left uninspired and wanting more. I absolutely loved making my Notorious BIG footstool, as well as my Tupac pillow, and I wanted to find something in the same genre — cool, hip, unique, exotic, and colorful. Unfortunately, after my own search,  I never found anything. Thankfully, a friend told me to contact Denise, of DNS by Design, who can custom paint any canvases, any size, any photo. And boy, did I luck out in finding her! What a gem!!!!

 

The final product of my Biggie stool.

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July Favorite Podcasts

This past month I have listened to a plethora of podcasts. Here are my favorite episodes this month. They are all MUST listen to and all have major take aways.

 

1. Ten Percent Happier: Self Compassion Ain’t Always Soft, Kristin Neff

 

A must listen to. I started Kristin Neff’s book and I can’t wait to read it all. So much to learn.

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Jackson Hole

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, we went to Jackson last week and had a great fun-filled time. There was never a dull moment and had so much to do that we could have stayed the entire summer! Everyone we met in Jackson was so incredibly nice and welcoming. My favorite run-in was with an old student’s parents from NYC that I taught way back when and they moved to Jackson 5 years ago. They sent several emails with hikes and trail runs and activities. And of course, another favorite meet up was with our bestie’s grandma who spends her summer there. So in many ways, this random small town felt familiar and welcoming.

 

We literally arrived at the airport and went straight on a hike in the Grand Teton National Park. Recommended to us by a friend, this hike didn’t disappoint. We wore our swimsuits and once we arrived at the top, there was a great lake and we went swimming.

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