My COVID hobby of needlepoint is back in to my life again, thanks to the coolest and hippest needlepoint company, Pip and Roo. After my first two designs, I started googling “hip needlepoint” and sure enough after many duds, I found Pip and Roo. Unfortunately, as everyone and their mother started needlepointing during COVID (along with baking banana bread and bike riding), it was impossible to find one of their designs as they were sold out everywhere. Thanks to a notification, I finally was informed when they were back in stock so I jumped on it. I made the Rose (Whispering Angel, but of course) over the past three days and I just ordered the Aperol Spritz and I can’t wait to start on that. They are funny, cheeky, cute, and well designed. So many other companies make cheesy and flat out lame and uninspiring drawings….so if you are on the lookout for cool and hip needlepointing, take a look at Pip and Roo!
Night one. I love it — and hate it at the same time — I can’t put it down which is good and bad.
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.
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?????
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Cloth masks are the newest necessary fashion statement, and these cloth masks are my absolute favorite. To purchase, simply go on instagram and DM NYC jewelry designer Chloe.
I requested two adults, two kids, in african prints. A lot of options to choose from and I knew I wanted that style.
In the ultimate grocery ordering fail, I ended up with 13 pounds of key limes. Granted, this would be a win if I were having a tequila and taco party (oh please, doesn’t that sound so dreamy????) but since there is no party to be had, I have LOTS AND LOTS of key limes to use! So I went searching on the good ‘ol internet and found this recipe for a key lime pie — thank you Bon Appetit!!!
Going back old school — friendship beaded pins! When I realized that we were going to be at home for a loooooooong time, I realized I needed more activities that would interest both me and the kids. So I bought a ton of friendship bracelet embroidery thread as well as friendship glass beads to put on pins. It is simple and super easy but also fun and retro.
Big box of beautiful glass beads!
I am very thankful that my family and I have good health, the ability to afford food, internet, a roof over our heads, and options. And yet, our life is not perfectly pink rosy. Natori, like other fashion brands and retail companies, is hurting in our economic climate. There are a lot of unknowns SOOOOO, to keep me sane during these less than perfect times (for all of us), here are my necessities (obviously in addition to the connection to my friends and family, which is #1).
1. My rollerskates
There are certain things that bring me joy: my loved ones, running, fresh flowers, a fire, and rollerskating. Every time I put on my skates, I smile. I love to dance, skate, glide. We rollerskate as a family, or I do it alone (and take zoom classes from my teacher). It is a time of complete happiness and joy.
So sorry for the lack of posts this past week — there was a technical issue that came up (I found out that the subscription of the posts were no longer being sent out — so I had to deal with that, and as you can imagine, it was a slow process to get this fixed!) but here we are now! Back at it again! PHEW, after being in Florida for 5 weeks, NYC for a handful of days, we are now in Westchester where we will be for the next several weeks…..it’s been hard. Days are super long and repetitive. For all of us. But here is what I am currently loving.
1. The Last Dance
10 part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Bulls Dynasty. Even though I am not a fan of basketball, I have been thoroughly enjoying this series.
A month ago when I was in Los Angeles to run the marathon, I dined at Gjelina not once but twice. It quickly became my favorite restaurant with the most scrumptious veggies, pizzas, sides and desserts. Immediately upon returning to NYC, I bought the Gjelina cookbook. This past weekend, I decided to make the warm date cake and HOLY SHMOLY HOT DAMN this cake is amazing. It is sweet, moist, and oh so delicious. I highly recommend this cake and can’t wait to eat it all up (and to make it again shortly thereafter).
Congratulations to all of us for making it through another week of this pandemic. I know it is not easy on anyone. And like everyone, I oscillate between tears / anxiety and laughter / savoring the quiet simplicity. For us Natori Family, I am struggling with the fact that the kids and I are currently in Florida away from our own home and more importantly, without Ken. Ken has been at home in NYC dealing with business and as soon as he was planning on driving down to Florida to get us, the board of the building forbade him from coming as he was coming from the epicenter of the COVID crisis. So, here we are; managing, trying to get through one day at a time. It has not been easy on ANYONE — all the uncertainties, fears, unknowns. Running helps me. Talking to friends and family. Laughing with the kids. Mint Chip ice cream. Rollerskating with the sunset. Hot baths. Survivor on CBS…..But what has helped me most is advice my father told me — WIGGLE YOUR TOES.
I have a lot of time on my hands. A lot. It has been hard to focus on anything other than homeschooling and the news, but I hope that as things become normal (or the new normal), I will have more concentration / strength / willpower to read. Here is a list of books I want to read during this isolation period!
Right now, most everyone is hunkered down at their home and not going out. As much fun as it is to only wear the same thing over and over again, it also gets tiring and boring. And who wants to wear jeans while helping your kids get homeschooled?? I have been scouring the internet for lots of loungewear bottoms and here are my favorites. So many good ones!!!!
1. Natori Winter Peony PJ
These are technically pajamas but they are so pretty and happy. They brighten any day or night!