PERSONALSTYLE

Verdad (A Fall Preview)

Verdad Trousers c/o | Eileen Fisher Crop Sweater | Miu Miu Clogs (similar)

What, you don't wear five-inch heels and stunning high-waisted trousers to cavort about in the desert? (Neither do I. Pretty background, though, right?) Those are the hills near my house - which are lovely and green in the winter, but turn into a dried-out (albeit atmospheric) wasteland by August. And if this location looks familiar, that's because you saw it here.

These pants, though. They're by a brand that Francesca works with - Verdad - and they are perfect, so she brought me a pair when she visited the other weekend.

Lifestyle

Raise Your Hand If You’d Like A Pet Dragon

Yeah, I want a pet dragon too.

OK, so at the Renaissance Faire last weekend I decided to switch up my usual floaty look and dress up like a pirate, instead: my son's sword, Kendrick's vest, a big feather thing that's meant to be used in a smudging ceremony, and my awesome J.Crew pants that Kendrick thinks aren't especially awesome because they make me look like a potato. (He is wrong; the potato part is the awesomest part.) What I wore to the Ren Faire has nothing to do with pet dragons, of course - I'm just mentioning my outfit because I was super into it and think that "pirate" is my fair look going forward, and figured you should probably be aware of this.

Moving on: please look at what I found being sold at a stand called Wyverns Of Whimsy.

Lifestyle

Bucket Listing Like Nobody’s Business Over Here

The first day of school is now 6 days away. Which means we have exactly 6 days left to do ALL THE SUMMER THINGS.

(Mini golf, check.)

I love the fall - perhaps slightly so less out here in California, where fall isn’t all gorgeous foliage and strolls through quaint villages, and is rather “that time when I can’t use the pool anymore” - but this summer has been especially epic, and I’m going to be bummed to see it go. It’s not just the change in weather that’ll be a shift for me, though: my daughter is going into preschool, and my son is going into kindergarten, and so from 9AM to 2PM every day it’ll just be…me.

DIARY

Mean Mommy

A couple of days ago, I read a post written by a woman whose children had asked her, in a completely ordinary moment, "Mom, why are you so mad?"

"I wasn’t even 'mad.' It was just another day. She was sitting on the potty and I had gone in to pick up the toy she dropped, for the third time. I must have let out a big sigh, which is what prompted her to ask me that question in her sweet little voice.

I immediately changed my attitude and put her little cheeks in my hands and said;

'I’m not mad! Why do you think I’m mad, sweetheart?'

I wish I could be this woman; I wish I could say of my reaction to my children's needs and demands and tantrums: I wasn't even mad. 

The truth: I have been - am - so mad. Mad that they can't be grateful, or patient, or respectful, even though I know that these are qualities that emerge with time. Mad that I can't be gracious, or understanding, or calm.

Mad at myself for being mad.

I told my son that I was taking him on a special trip to the forest where the Ewoks from Star Wars live, and he yelled at me that he didn't want to go, that forests were boring. I didn't sit down with him in a quiet corner and try to parse out what about walking through an ancient forest filled with mile-high redwood trees made him feel so bored that he needed to scream about it; I just got mad.

Because I am. Mad. And sometimes, when you are mad, you are mean.

Eat

How To Make Sauce With Tomatoes From Your Garden

Here is an annoying thing I do whenever people come over to visit: I drag them to my side yard so that I can show off my tomato plants and loudly exclaim "how wonderful it is to have tomatoes straight from your own garden!"

Isn't that SO ANNOYING?! I can't help it. Before we moved to California I'd never grown tomatoes, and for whatever reason having everything to do with luck and nothing whatsoever to do with my abilities, the tomato vines that I plant every summer grow into freaking trees within weeks. I mean it: they are massive, and so heavy that they can't be contained by ordinary tomato plant container-things, and end up spilling out into the path, and it's all very dramatic and smells AMAZING.

The thing is, I'm soooo good at tomato-growing that I always end up with way more tomatoes than we can reasonably eat. I send my kids out into the yard to gather them up every night, but still: the branches are practically been hanging to the ground from all the weight. So the other night, I decided it was time to do something that'd use up massive quantities of them in a way that would still let their flavor come through, and made marinara sauce using a combination of heirlooms and cherry tomatoes - basically, whatever was ripe.

Lifestyle

The Top 10 Best Costco Finds (That Aren’t Food)

That rug? Is from Costco. (I KNOW).

I was thirty one years old before I ever set foot in a Costco. (I understand that this is tragic, believe me.) I'd heard that fellow citydwellers occasionally made the exodus to the warehouses located in the 'burbs to stock up on toilet paper and such, but that sounded like a whole lot of hassle, not to mention a hassle that would have resulted in me needing to use stacks of Charmin' as a coffee table (storage space in our apartment was, as they say, "at a premium").

Then I moved to the Hudson Valley, and Kendrick and I made our first voyage to the land of a thousand cheese-dip options, thereby kicking off an obsession bordering on the religious. The snacks! The fancy cheeses! The steaks! THE FURNITURE. That last one is a fairly recent discovery of mine - I'd always just skirted around the edges of the store, picking up paper towels and coffee pods, but a few weeks ago a Costco recently opened up about five minutes away from me, and for whatever reason it's virtually empty during the weekday hours...and so I've spent a lot of time there over the past couple of weeks wandering into the previously-undiscovered lands of rugs and such.

Lifestyle

Like A Hero

Over the past couple of years, my son and I have been in a bit of a war about clothing - and it is a war that I have very slowly been losing, as the items that I pick out slowly get moved towards the back of his dresser, replaced by piles of gym shorts and t-shirts with pictures of pizza on them.

I would have better luck getting him to be nice to his sister for an entire week (IMAGINE?!?) than I would getting him to put a pair of jeans on his body. Collared shirts? Forget it. Anything that does not, to his mind, qualify as “soft” (which is a very specific term that does not include items that I myself consider soft, like a technically extremely soft shirt that also has a button located somewhere on it) is a no-go.

Now he’s going into kindergarten, which means he’s officially starting his journey through the insanity that is elementary school. I know from vast personal experience how tricky it can be to find your footing in this crazy new world where kids mock you for having the wrong backpack/friends/taste in food/hobbies/everything. I know how it feels to want to - and then fail to - fit in, so my plan is to teach him that nobody gets to tell him what’s cool except for himself. And one little way I can start is by letting him explore the idea of personal style - which may sound silly; superficial even…but I’ve always believed that when we get dressed in the morning we paint a picture of how we want others to see us, and, more importantly, paint a picture of how we see ourselves. That’s a decision that I think he should start making for himself.

Lifestyle

We Need To Talk About Skorts

Business in the front...

I own a skort. (I know this may be painful for you to hear. I'm sorry.)

It's not my fault, exactly - it's just that I love the idea of a skirt, but almost never actually wear one because a) it's hard for me to find one that flatters my swizzle sticks, and b) Although my underwear is actually pretty cute nowadays (thank you Gap Breathe), let's skip having the neighborhood see it, shall we? (Related: I trip a lot.)

Style

Five Things I Learned From Francesca (This Weekend)

Sirena & The Sea Kimono My Sunglasses & Bathing Suit Knit Shorts

Every time Francesca or I visit each other, one of us makes out like a bandit. Last time it was me, what with the Alaia heels and the Jimmy Choo boots and the Mulberry Alexa bag, and this time it was Francesca: she inherited a DKNY suit and crop top I love but never wore, a Juicy Couture leopard miniskirt that makes her look like she's on vacation in Positano in 1986 (this is a good thing), and a grey wool cape that we discovered at TJ Maxx last summer and that really should have gone home with her in the first place.

(Have I mentioned how fun it is to swap clothes with your friends?)

Eat

Bagel Snob

When I was growing up, New York City bagels were a "thing." You just couldn't get anything even approximating one once you left the boundaries of the city. People continue to act like they're still a thing, but by now Noah's and Einstein's and similar chains have made their way across the country, and while they're not anywhere near as good as an H&H Bagel straight out of the oven (I used to live a couple of blocks from the factory and walk over for a fresh bagel with cream cheese and lox on cold mornings, and oh my godddd), they're certainly acceptable. Even delicious.

But still: not the same. And since I don't have a solid bagel place anywhere within a twenty-minute driving range, I just don't really eat them very much anymore. This is obviously a shame.

Then my friend Alisa told me that she makes her own bagels. I mean...who does that? That is an insane thing to do. (I actually consider any bread-making an insane thing to do, since - as you may recall - I am oh, so very bad at it.) So she said she'd show me how she does it, and now...well, ok, I'm not going to make these myself, because I am wayyyyy too lazy and impatient for a recipe that involves yeast and waiting. But anytime someone wants to make them for me, I'll be right there, cream cheese in hand.