Sunday, October 14, 2018

What's Making Me Happy

// Berbere. I ordered this spice blend from The Spice House a while ago. Lately I've been sprinkling it on butternut squash and sweet potato - things I'm not crazy about, frankly - and it makes them delicious.

// Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin. I heard about this book on Pop Culture Happy Hour when it was mentioned by Barrie Hardymon, whose every recommendation I write down breathlessly. She said she liked this book because both of her sons liked it despite their four year age difference.

It is an absolutely delightful book! The girls love it and it is very fun to read as an adult.

link via

// WeightWatchers. It's a game and I like games! Luckily I also like eggs (eggs are zero points).  Progress has been slow but steady and that's encouraging. This week I had to take a course of oral steroids and exercised more after a little hiatus - a recipe for being ravenous. Expecting a setback upon the weekly weigh-in but hey, Rome wasn't unbuilt in a day.

// Poshmark. This consignment app works for me because I'm buying non-tailored clothing (Eileen Fisher, medium, please). I have found so many great pieces (gently used or even new with tags) in perfect shape for a fraction of their original cost ... and even more sustainable the second time around.

// Electric pressure cooker. I bought the Fagor model recommended by American's Test Kitchen.  Set the pressure (usually high) and timer and then, done! The timer starts when pressure is reached, no monitoring the stovetop heat to maintain pressure like a conventional one. I've been really pleased so far but have not perfected hard boiled eggs (what Instant Pots are known for!) Too many variables? Temperature of eggs? Freshness of eggs? Number of eggs in the pot? Amount of water?!

// Smartwool no-show socks. I've purchased SO MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF NO SHOW SOCKS and at last, these work! No slipping off, not too tight. I wear them with oxfords (you'd have to try a different style to wear with ballet flats, etc).

// Getting back into CrossFit. I am hoping to go 2-3 times a week but sometimes I suffer from poor estimation skills when it comes to available time and and reserves of energy. I've settled on a Tues-Thursday-Sunday spin class schedule. Wed-Fri-Sat? I like to keep Monday morning a non workout morning (ie, wake up at 6 or 6:30 instead of 5) because Sunday night is usually the only night of the week I get to spend with Luke. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

September Vacation

I had a great vacation - some travel, some staycation, some rest, some project completion.

First stop: Bentonville, Arkansas with my mom to visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It's been on my to-visit list for a while and we finally made it! I didn't know that it shared a campus with a children's museum  - already planning a return visit with the kids to go to the Amazeum and the aquarium in Springfield.

We stayed at the 21c hotel which has this striking Kara Walker sculpture in the lobby; I remember reading about her giant sugar sculpture ( and feeling sad I would not see it.

Dinner at the Hive, the hotel restaurant. Delicious Southern food that got me thinking about eating more beans and more polenta.

I have been intrigued by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company after receiving their massive catalog. Anticipating this might be a rare opportunity to see the farm, we made a detour through Mansfield, MO, on the way home.

It really is in the middle of nowhere! I bought some seeds in the store, some gardening gloves for the girls, and a jar of sourdough starter (it's aliiiiiiiive!)

Back in St Louis...

First dance class of the fall session:

We've made a game of waiting for Strange Donuts to open (talking about it, peeking in the strorefront before going to the grocery store) and it finally opened!

On Wednesday I got a massage at 8 am and needed to pick up a ceramics purchase at Green Shag Market, a place where many vintage vendors have booths. I was a little early, though, and was able to visit Parker's Table for the first time -- luckily I didn't have tons of time and a cooler with me because I wanted to buy all the yummy things (Salume Beddu meats, beautiful jars of interesting sauces, capers, spreads...)

At Green Shag I picked up my vintage Mikasa mugs and found these beauties in my dream palette: grass green, tomato red, beigey-pink. I completed my trifecta of fave-store shopping by going to Larder & Cupboard.

My mom collects dishes and serving pieces and glassware and and now look at me... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

First tennis lesson!

I'm going to start playing tennis too and OF COURSE the first step is to buy this sale skirt. Clementine wanted to see it in the car and I turned around to see Our Lady of Perpetual Love.

On Thursday morning I went to Crossfit and then jetted to Chicago! My friend Quenby got married and Elise was my date. We made plans a few months for two exciting dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. (I told you, this was a great vacation!)

Isla, 12 months.

Dinner at Spiaggia. I caught up on Top Chef a few months ago and was so excited to meet the winner, Joe Flamm; he was so charming on the show. He graciously took a photo with us which I felt gauche requesting but am glad I have so....

Anyway, the tasting menu was absolutely delicious and gorgeous and the service was so warm and friendy -- highly recommend!

On Friday I spent the morning walking and shopping Michigan Avenue - the weather was bright, sunny, and just warm enough - glorious. I came across these red suede loafers which reminded me so much of my paternal grandmother: she would have LOVED them.

I spent a couple of hours in Room & Board sitting on ALL the sofas, pondering fabrics, and in general staring off into space imagining our living room. It was grand.

Walked to Raised for a quick drink with Mike and Eric and then we caught an Uber to EL Ideas for another amazing dinner! Brett and Elise joined us and we had so much fun -- the restaurant is BYOB, plays pop music, is very small and intimate, and the food extraordinarily delicious, fun, and imaginative.

Breakfast with Isla: yes to blueberries, no to turkey bacon.

Wedding time! We got our makeup done at the Laura Mercier counter at Nordstrom. Another gorgeous day:

The service was just lovely; the homily used the song "Moon River" as a metaphor for life and life together. So touching.

With a break between the ceremony and reception, we saw Crazy Rich Asians in a theatre with recliner seats! A really fun movie.

Didn't know great friends were going to be at the wedding - such a wonderful surprise!

With the bride. Congrats, Q! So thrilled for you and Jim!

The wedding favors: luxe skincare. BEST VACATION EVER, I told you!

Said goodbye to this cutie...

Caught an early-but-not-too-early flight to STL and Sarah came over and organized the newly built pantry!

Cannot tell you how great it feels to see all of our food and the commonly-used appliances in view and within reach.

The butler's pantry became a mini-mudroom and she outfitted it with hooks, FLOR tiles, and bins for the dance/swim/etc bags.

Plus hat hooks!

That evening Clem turned our most available medium - an Amazon box - into a laptop computer.

I asked her where she learned the word "alert" and she said, "from Betty's Burgled Bakery!" This book was written by a high school friend and I bought it several months ago when I was asking for suggestions at Novel Neighbor and the bookseller pulled it from the shelf. "I know the author!" I exclaimed.

The computer was part of a larger rocketship constructed from Prime materials.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Late Summer

A weekend from our summer, when unicorns are possible.

On Friday night Luke left for a gig as soon I as I arrived home with Josie. I made turkey sandwiches and we watched My Little Pony. I read a few magazines from the giant stack in the to-read pile. I love Friday nights at home.

Saturday: stopped by work for a little bit; attended a sashiko embroidery class at Bowood Farms.

As soon I as got home Luke left for another gig. It was an unbelievably hot and muggy day and I needed to go to Costco "but before that, let's go to the carousel and butterfly house!" I told the girls brightly. (This brightness dimmed with every second outside).

We listened to The Music Man soundtrack as we drove that day, with Clem shouting, "BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW THE TERRITORY!" at the end of the first number and asking, "why does Trouble start with a capital T?"

Josie: I can't see. It's too bwight.

Clem sustained a small scratch along the way that she fretted about...

Until a large, stricken butterfly was found. "Maybe it's resting."

Costco was miserable - so busy, so hot outside - but fiddleleaf figs were $15.99!

That night we ate fish fillets (like fish sticks, but wider!) and fruit and watched Tangled. Luke came home very late and the next morning I crept out of the house for an 8 am spin class. Josie told me in hushed tones, "Daddy is sleeping ... even we have to be quiet ... even we have to tip toe."

The day already oppressively humid and warm at 10 am when we went to a fair held by our gym/community center. I told the girls: get dressed for the fair! and they emerged like so...

The fair!

Spritzing a duck with water.


It was very hot in the fire truck...

To a deli for lunch. Baby's first pastrami on rye.

Josie and I went to Target and came home to meal prep for the week and prepare dinner, beer-and-harissa broiled shrimp. Jenny came over for dinner; our family day was complete!