After Spain, we traveled to Provence where we spent two HOT but glorious weeks. We just returned this past weekend to the States and I am already missing Europe so much. It was a wonderful trip and I am already planning next year’s summers’ adventures. We didn’t do much, but it was all simple and easy, and I loved it all. Here is a look at what we did.
The view from my window. We were located in the village and had access to everything right there. We could go to the gelato store in 1 minute and 30 seconds, and same with the bakery. Which of course, what we did twice a day….
I was fortunate enough to spend the last 2 weeks in Southern Spain with my parents, daughter, and Ken (for a week) where we relaxed and explored together. It was refreshing and rejuvenating to leave the US and get fresh air and tastes of a different culture. Here are the highlights:
Every morning, I ran. Over the two weeks, I ran 98 miles. Up hills, down hills, and NEVER on flat surfaces. It was the hardest place I have EVER EVER RUN in my entire life, and I hope that it makes me a stronger (and faster) runner. Each morning, I would dread my run, but I loved it so much afterwards. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to explore my surroundings and really have a feel for the area.
My 12 year old, Cruz, loves skateboarding. All summer long in Oregon, we went to various skate parks and it definitely became a passion of his. Now that we are in NYC, he goes with his besties to Brooklyn to an indoor skate park on a weekly basis. He loves it, and we love that it is a form of exercise, socialization, and an opportunity for him to do something he loves. So we decided to get him a half pipe for our home in Pound Ridge. This half pipe installation was quite a process — we had to dedicate 2 full days of putting it together (well not me personally, but I was involved with carrying the pieces from the truck to the deck).
The truck was supposed to arrive any time between 9 and 5, and showed up at 4:30 pm. It then said that it couldn’t go up the driveway, but we convinced the very kind driver to try. And it worked. There is NO way I could have carried everything up the driveway. Even with 3 of us.
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.
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).
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.
After my Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim run, I was sent a box from a dear friend congratulating me on my run. Not only was I deeply touched by her thoughtfulness and generosity, but I fell instantly in love with the present she sent. It was three items that were SO me and SO right up my alley. It was a personalized gift from Fox Box, a company that allows you to gift thematic, expertly curated options or allows you to build the perfect gift box for any occasion.
Some options of the ready to ship boxes. So many great options!
My box was perfectly packaged and beautiful.
Wrapped and chic.
My three items — so perfect! Apple Cider Vinegar, Bath salts, and a first aid kid! So perfect for post ultra marathon!
The already built boxes are perfect for any occasion — graduation, get well, nightstand, housewarming, SOOOO many. They are so beautifully packaged and the items inside are top quality, chic, and feel personal and special. And you can build your box to be even more specific to the occasion and friendship. I am equally pleased to have such a caring and generous friend as well as to have been introduced to this company, Fox Box! Check it out!!!!
As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, I have always been fascinated by and interested in World War II. From a very young age, I would question my father on any and every experience he remembered from growing up as a Polish Jew in the mid 1940s. Although he was born in 1944 at the very end of the war, his entire life was dictated by his religion. So as a young girl, I would ask questions to him, and to my uncle — nine years older than my father.
My uncle, Wlodek, on the left. My father, Andrzej, on the right.
Last week, I wrote about virtual cooking chef / teacher, Kate, and the classes she offers online. I love her so much and her background is so fascinating that I wanted to share more about her with you! (And don’t you just love reading and finding out more about people — people are so fascinating!) Read below to find out the questions and answer session with Kate! And thank you, Kate!!! (Please note: all pictures are taken from Kate’s instagram page).
Kate! Don’t you love her already?
When I was complaining to a friend about my constant body aches, she told me that I needed to get a“De La Heart” lymphatic drainage tool. This tool aids in DIY massage and using it for just a couple minutes per day helps with body aches, and eliminates excess fluid and toxins in the body. I purchased it immediately and absolutely love it!
This tool is made of 100% pine wood. It is light, easy to travel with, and is very inexpensive. It is absolutely worth it — especially if your muscles get tight or achy.
Yesterday, while walking NYC, I turned to my 11 year old son and asked if he enjoyed being home from Spring Break or if he would rather still be in Florida. Without hesitation, he said he was so happy to be home because he saw people that looked like him and much preferred that than feeling different when in Palm Beach. He explained that when we were in Florida, he only saw three other people that looked like him — his sister, his dad, and the mailman. I could not help but get choked up with pangs in my heart that he felt this way. And of COURSE he felt this way. With all the recent attacks against Asian Americans in the United States, and even more so in our hometown of New York City, my kids are very aware of what is going on. They know that they are Asian and they don’t yet understand why anyone would hate them because of their different shaped eyes…
My boy. And his almond eyes.
Earlier this week, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and randomly the highlight was shoveling snow with a homeless man. The actual day was one of the best birthdays I have had in a long time — probably because I had zero expectations of a COVID birthday and so everything was so much better, lighter, and happier than other days (and birthdays). But honestly, my 90 minute shoveling experience was the best. OK, so let me explain.
Yes, I shoveled a track.
One of the ways that my husband, Ken, has dealt with the restrictions of life due to COVID, has been playing music outside in Central Park. Once a month over the summer, Ken would organize to gather in Central Park with 1 or 2 musician friends (one being my best friend from childhood, David) and jam out together. He would text a couple of friends that he was going and if they wanted to swing by and bring their own wine and food, or just to drop by. As I was out in Oregon during these “performances,” I never had the privilege of attending the concerts, but it was clear how much happiness, joy, and life it gave Ken. He lived for these evenings as it renewed a sense of hope in him — cheesy as it sounds, it gave him life. The small interactions with strangers, outside (and safe) encounters with friends, and the music itself, made a huge difference to him. So last week, he put together a last minute park gathering and I finally was able to attend.
Ken has “a spot.” It is where he always gathers to play music. It is near Sheep’s Meadow and The Mall. Not too far away from our home, but still a delightful walk nonetheless.
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.
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).
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.
I know it might be #oversharing, but last December, I picked up a new hobby of roller dancing and it has made such an impact on my life. I know it sounds so cheesy, but it is really true, and something I want to share with you all. When I look back on the past 12 months, what strikes me the most is how much joy, laughter and fun roller skating (specifically roller dancing) has brought me. Since January, I have consistently roller skated at least twice a week and I have loved every minute. When in NYC, I take lessons in my dining room (god bless my husband and his patience) and in the summer in Oregon and California, I would skate on the streets. There is something so freeing, liberating, joyful, and fun about it all. I have absolutely loved picking up a new hobby and seeing my weekly improvements, listening to music loud and dancing to it, working out (it is so hard),
Me and my teacher.
This past weekend, we found ourselves with zero plans. We originally were scheduled to go up to Pound Ridge for a cozy and relaxed weekend, but after a change of orthodontist appointments on Saturday and Ken needing to go on a business trip on Sunday afternoon, we decided to stay put in the city. This gave us an opportunity to be a tourist in our own city — and I am so glad we explored! We discovered Ice Skating at Bryant Park which was a great family activity. Unlike other rinks in the city, admission is FREE (rentals cost money, but if you have your own skates, then it is FREE!) and it opens up at 8 am! We drove downtown for breakfast and on our way back uptown, parked right in front of the ice skating rink to do some laps!
Bryant Park Winter Wonder Land — lots of shops, food, people watching, ice skating — truly, a winter wonderland.
Marathon #14 in the books! Over the weekend, I completed (and set a personal best time) in the Chicago Marathon. It is one of my favorite weekends of the year, as I stay with a dear friend that I met in the Paris Marathon while running. For those of you who have read the blog for many years, this is a repetitive story, but it always reminds me that you can find a great friend in a stranger and to be kind, loving, and open to everyone. I feel incredibly fortunate to have Michelle in my life and to share this special weekend on a yearly basis with her. It was so great to just be with her and her family. And the race is just an excuse to visit them, and something to train for. One thing for sure, is I love the journey of training! Sign me up for the next one (actually, I am already signed up for LA Marathon March 8th).
Straight from the airport to the expo to get my number. The pants I am wearing are my favorite jeans but let me tell you — THEY ARE NOT PHOTOGENIC. They are so cool in person. But in a picture, they scream BIG THIGHS and MOM JEANS.
In all my free time in Oregon this summer, I have devoured tv shows, music albums, and books. These three are my top three thus far.
TV Series: Fleabag
Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote and stars in this two season series. She is BRILLIANT. Beautiful, funny, raw, and original.
I returned to Eugene last night from Sonoma where we spent four days lounging and relaxing at our annual get together with three other families from Stanford. It is one of my absolute favorite weekends of the year and is guaranteed fun. We have been doing this get-together for the past five years and plan on always doing it (Thanks, Kimmers!). We eat, drink, run, hike, bike, cook, play tennis, swim, rollerskate, talk, make smores, and just enjoy each other’s company (and all of our kids). None of us live in the same city as each other (LA, SF, NYC, and Denver…) so it is fun to always know that we will get together every summer. This year, I was inspired to have a theme at our adult dinner out of the house (the rest of the time we cook at the house). For the longest time, I have wanted to have a get together where everyone wore sunset hues. I KNOW, sounds so weird, but I once saw that Mandy Moore (who I love so very much) did it, and I knew I just had to do it at some point. AND man, it was SO much fun. I know, getting dressed in colors is fun?!?!? YEP, it really is. It was *so* fun.
Sunset hues (minus Paul in the blue shirt — but he says that the sky is blue when the sun sets….)
Bonjour! My apologies for the slow posts these past two weeks — it was quite difficult to get on the internet to do any posts especially because I had a major computer issue a…..turns out, all is okay with my computer but the head of the charger died — who knew that that was a thing? In any case, I am now back in the USA *with* a working computer, so back to normal post schedules. I wanted to first share with you all some of the pictures and highlights of my time in Paris with the kids — we did go to the South of France for an amazing trip as well, and I will post those later. In the meantime, enjoy these photos!
In the Tuileries, one of our favorite activities is the trampoline park. It is an old school little hut with a man that got to know us because we went so often. Everyday when we would get there he would say hello and when we would leave, he would say “See you tomorrow.”
And what do you know — summer is now upon us. It has been an insanely busy week with school ending and all the packing and planning and HOW DID TIME FLY feelings. So much to do, so little time. So instead of focusing on everything that needs to get done between now and Sunday when we depart NYC for the whole summer, here is my new favorite addition to my wardrobe! A leather jacket — and not just any leather jacket — a PAINTED leather jacket with so much symbolism and personal touches that it makes me cry out of happiness.
Our next door neighbors run fashion house, Oscar de la Renta, and so when they approached us to see if Tusia would like to shoot for their kids ad campaign, we couldn’t say no. Although I am not a fan of the modeling business (what kind of message does it send the child? Is beauty more important than school? etc….), I felt that this was a once in a lifetime experience that we couldn’t pass up — not many people can say that their first and only photo shoot was for Oscar de la Renta. Last Friday was definitely a learning experience for the two of us — surrounded by new things and processes… I am not sure I love any of it — regardless, I am so happy that we did it. And absolutely everyone involved in the photo shoot was kind, loving, and thoughtful. Take a look at the behind the scene pics — and as soon as we get the final photos (if she doesn’t get cut — you never know!), I will share!
First, we had a fitting two days before the shoot. During this fitting, it was also a try out for the other models. The other four models were professional and hired children models — a very dark and weird place (IMHO).
This past weekend, I was a true jetsetter and flew to Paris for a getaway with my mother-in-law. Yes, spoiled. Yes, privileged. Yes, extravagant. But oh so fun and wonderful. As I age (thank you, 40), I realize that time together with loved ones becomes more and more important. And even though we live in the same city, I rarely have the opportunity to sit down with my mother-in-law just to be together. We had a great time, simply walking around, shopping, eating, drinking champagne, conversing, and soaking up the beauty of Paris. Here are pictures. Enjoy!
I am a giant compared to my oh so glamorous MIL….