If you know me well, you know that Fred’s at Barney’s was my go-to restaurant for 11 plus years. It is where we had every Sunday dinner, multiple meals throughout the week, and even many special occasions such as Marathon parties, birthday parties, and special moments. It was our kitchen. We knew the entire wait staff and loved everything about it — it felt like home. So we were extremely sad when Barney’s shut down PRE Covid. It felt like we lost a part of our family and didn’t know what other restaurants to go to. Sure enough, a month later, the music died, and all restaurants were shut down to Covid…..but here we are, back in NYC, restaurants are reopened (currently only outdoor dining) and the chef from Fred’s, opened up his own restaurant “Mark’s Off Madison.” It is located downtown on 26th street and Madison, with Mark as the chef, and many of the same wait staff as at Fred’s. It felt like going home — we were so happy to see so many of the same waiters and think often of the others that we don’t know their whereabouts (Lorraine, Aggie, Jose, Gian Franco, and so many more — we miss you and hope you are all safe and healthy). Fred’s was a special place to us and so going to Mark’s Off Madison felt special, too.
It is NOT warm. Right now, in NYC, there is only outdoor dining, but that didn’t stop us from trying and seeing our old friends.
Happy 2021! What a year 2020 was….so much and yet so little happened, all at the same time. And here we are in a New Year…I didn’t MEAN to take two weeks off from writing blog posts, it just actually happened. And it was the most time I have ever been silent on this blog since I started way back when. Maybe it was the wear and tear of 2020, but I just felt like I had little value to add. My days felt repetitive and mundane, and there was little creative juice or positivity flowing in my blood. But now, I am back! And what a way to push myself with writing out my goals / intentions / dreams / resolutions / hopes / wants for the New Year. Here they are…..
Wav(ing) goodbye to 2020.
I know people think that candles are an impersonal gift, but I personally love them and can never have too many. To me, they are the PERFECT gift. A little token of love that keeps on giving! Every time I light a candle, I remember where / who / what and think back to a memory with the given smell. I also have a cabinet of candles, as you never know when you need a last minute gift. So, here is my list of favorite candles!
1. D.S. & Durga Big Sur After Rain
One of my favorite scents — have it as soap, hand sanitizer, and as candles. It is light and refreshing and I never get sick of it.
Here we are, the last month of 2020 — and only a little more than a dozen days left. What a crazy and wild year it has been…..so on the bright side, here is what I am loving this month!
1. Mini Adventures with the Family
The past two weekends, we have had NOTHING to do …. as there is NOTHING *TO* do. So we have done mini adventures — walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, exploring a new mural, looking at views of the city, going on drives. All these little adventures seem like nothing, but they are enjoyable, create memories, help us see the world, and most importantly *allow us to get out of the house*. If anyone has other mini adventures in the tristate area, please share! Love to hear ideas!
2. Glossier Blue Eyeliner
I have never worn blue eyeliner before, but I bought this….and especially since I wear a mask most of the day, it is fun to do something unique and different to my eyes. A good pick me up!
3. Considering a Post Pandemic Future
A good article….what are you looking forward to post pandemic? Interesting to think about…
4. Lime Juicer
HANDS down, my best COVID purchase. This might seem like any juicer, but it’s not. It gets more juice than any other juicer and is clean, easy, and not expensive. And worth every cent.
5. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
These cookies remind me of Christmas and I made them for the first time recently. Love them and brings back so many childhood memories.
6. Murder on Middle Beach
A mini series that I thoroughly enjoyed. After watching “The Undoing” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” this was a good one to follow….now I need a new TV series to watch!
7. 33 Life Lessons
A great article to flip through.
What are you enjoying this month? Do share! I hope you have a great week….final countdown here we comeeeeee……
Our new puppy, Stevie, needed a haircut for the first time last week, so I was introduced to the mobile spa, Hair of the Dog, by a fellow dog owner. This female owned small business is literally an RV that comes to YOU and does the trim / nails / teeth in the RV in front of the apartment. Not only is it super convenient, but the employees are extremely kind. We will definitely return to them for Stevie’s next haircut. And I highly recommend this company if you (a) live in NYC (b) want to support small businesses and (c) want a great experience for your animal.
They text you when they are five minutes away and they parked half a block from us.
If you know me well, you know that I love bread and butter more than anything. Not any bread and butter, but really, really good bread, and really, really good butter (deep). The salty fatty kind that just adds so much flavor. I could eat bread and butter for every meal. I know, very European. And SOOOOOOO my parents. My parents are the type that walk to the bakery everyday to get a fresh loaf of bread. I cannot remember a time in my life where there wasn’t a fresh loaf in the bread drawer. Of course, there is always a variety too — raisin bread, rye bread, ancient oat bread, you name it — we all have our favorites. So when I recently discovered 123Dough in Pound Ridge, I fell in love, and also felt like I had become my parents….nothing tastes better than a slice of bread (I like thin slices, I don’t like too thick) with some French Butter.
Look how cute 123 Dough is. It literally just has bread and some condiments — but the bread is fresh, organic, and oh so delicious.
Yes, I am writing about undies that are basically like the ones from Bridget Jones Diary, but full briefs are having a comeback! And these ones are aaaaaaahhhhhhhmazing. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have tried them had it not been recommended to me by a friend who is a stylist — and she told me that out of all the undies she has tried, these are the best out there right now! Since I trust all her style advice, I got these, and they do not disappoint.
YES, Bridget Jones! Thank you!!!
What a joyful weekend! An absolute historical day that continues to bring me to tears and gives a sense of hope and renewal. Here are some of my favorite videos, memes, quotes from over the weekend.
1. Kamala calling Joe Biden
Chills, tears, a MUST watch. I watched it dozens of times…
We are now seven months in to the pandemic and life continues to be different and unsettled. I never expected the COVID-19 pandemic to still be the center of our lives, and yet….here we are. It is interesting to revisit the list I made on May 8 (almost 5 months ago) of things I miss, don’t miss, won’t miss and won’t forget. So many still ring true. Here is the original list, but updated for October 2020.
WHAT I MISS
I am a sucker for pumpkin spice (yep, I am one of those ladies who love pumpkin spice lattes and anything pumpkin flavored) so after seeing many posts and reviews about the pumpkin bread from Smitten Kitchen, I decided to make some of my own — and it did NOT disappoint. So delicious and yummy, and so easy to make. I will definitely make this throughout the fall and winter seasons and highly recommend that you all do the same, as well!
* 1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
* 1/2 cup neutral cooking oil or melted butter
* 3 large eggs
* 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
* Heaped 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* Two pinches of ground cloves
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Crunchy, refreshing, tasty, light, and nutty. So good, so good. The salad is great on its own, or combined with other Asian flavors. The creator of this salad, my-sister-from-another-mister, likes to add this with her miso salmon, rice, and scallions. I love it alone or with anything. And even better — it takes only a couple of minutes to make!
Mini cucumbers are delicious plain, but even better with this sesame asian dressing.
I am all over the place with masks — some months I love cloth masks and some months, disposable masks. Current state — I am all about disposable masks. Maybe it is because in NYC, we are constantly wearing masks 24-7, so I want something I can wear and then never see it again…but I don’t love the basic blue disposable masks because they are *TOO* basic. So when a friend introduced me to al-shield disposable masks, it was the perfect combination. They are perfect – a little bit of fashion, but disposable. I don’t feel bad if I lose them (which happens way too often) and I can stuff them in many different pockets and jackets so I never am left without one.
Dots and flowers — how cute and fun are they?
Every Wednesday, I drive several hours to visit my sister-from-another-mister for the day. Despite my distaste in driving, I absolutely love and cherish our time together and wouldn’t miss this time in the world. Therefore, I have begun to embrace the time spent in the car. During these hours in the car, I have renewed my love of podcasts and cry / laugh / feel while listening to them. Here are my recent podcasts I have listened to and have *thoroughly* enjoyed. It is never too late to listen to them, they are all so good.
Truly family. I feel so fortunate that our family members are all bonded and glued together and the love is deep. There have been moments when all four of us are on separate calls with each of them — all at the same time. So my weekly drives to visit are essential, a no brainer, and worth every second.
I know you all have probably read a bazillion reviews on hand sanitizer (because I have) but on the off chance you have NOT or don’t know about it, then this post is doing it’s job. DS & DURGA “Big Sur After Rain” Hand sanitizer is the best best best best and there is absolutely NO COMPETITION. It smells delicious, does the work, is a sleek bottle, and even makes you want to use more.
I have always loved the Big Sur After Rain candle — so it was the reason why I tried the sanitizer in the first place. Well, that, and because it got great write ups in the NYTimes.
It sure feels like Fall in New York! Chilly, brisk, windy — aka no longer summer. I always think of the “You’ve Got Mail” quote “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” There is something fairy-tale like about NYC in the fall…so here is what I am currently loving September 2020.
Super Diva — YES!
Doesn’t your heart hurt with the news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing this past Friday night? What a legend, a role model, an inspiration, truly a super hero. I can’t stop reading all her quotes and feel sickened and sad by America’s loss. If you haven’t watched the documentary, RBG, available on Hulu, now is the time to do.
Last Thursday, we welcomed the newest member of the Natori Family, Stevie Nicks Natori. Our little 11 week old Cavapoochon pup is so cute and a warm, cuddly, wonderful fun addition to the family. She is also SO MUCH FLIPPING WORK AND OMG I AM SO SICK OF RIDING UP AND DOWN THE ELEVATOR but I know, I know, it will all be worth it. Here are some pictures of her — because puppy pictures make everyone smile, right????
First night with Stevie. And Ken pre haircut.
Sadly, one of my favorite flower companies in New York City is no longer in business. The Groh, which was hands down, my favorite flower place that delivered fresh flowers to my apartment every Monday, has shut down, a victim of the effects of COVID on the economy. I know it sounds silly — but The Groh was phenomenal. Everything about it — it was set up to be a middle man, so instead of me trekking down to the flower district, The Groh would go, and then bundle them up and deliver them to my house. It was waaaaaaay cheaper than a typical florist, and waaaaaay easier than me doing the leg work (yes, spoiled). I loved it so much and miss it already. So after hours searching for some kind of replacement for my Monday joy, I came across Blossr. It is a minimalist flower delivery service that sends flowers on (and only on) Friday. There are not many options, but man, are they gorgeous. I love them so much and I can’t wait to use them again.
Pink Anthuriums. Don’t they look fake???? So gorgeous and unusual.
As Summer comes to a close and we get ready to go back to NYC (in just a little less than a week), I can’t help but look at all the thousands of photos from picturesque Oregon. Although we do the same thing everyday — run, hike, bike, explore, repeat, I am ever so thankful that we get to do it in such a beautiful state. If you have never visited Oregon before, put it on your states of places to visit. It is truly beautiful — lush forests, vibrant greens, rivers, creeks, Ocean, dunes, sand, hills, mountains. ExplOREGON and adOREGON. Truly. Here are some pictures:
Fall Creek. A little slice of heaven that the kids like to explore, and never anyone there.
As an activity, we went apple picking and brought home 18 pounds of apples — not very much in comparison to the 40 pounds of peaches from a couple weeks ago — but still enough that I knew I had to do something with them before they rotted. I know, seems backwards, buy to get rid of ??? Right, like as soon as I bought the apples, first thought was HOW AM I GOING TO GET RID OF THEM? The best trick is to make dried apples — so super duper easy — but it requires time — almost 12 hours in a low heat oven. A lot of time.
The apple of my eye, holding an apple.
This past weekend, we finally completed the mural. Originally, we were only going to do the center part of the cement wall, but with the abundance of time and the fact that the cement wall is quite ugly, we thought it would be fun to complete the whole wall.
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.