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This dining room from Vt Wonen in the Netherlands caught my eye – the dark floors, the farm-housey table and the leather chairs (oh, and the vase with peonies and the bookcase). I found these similar chairs at CB2 but am on the hunt for the originals, too.  Anyone seen something similar?  PS: Originally seen over at The Kitchn (which I subscribe to daily)~

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June always catches me off guard, on the back foot.  I’m never quite ready for summer and here it is. Suddenly it’s summer and I waste a month not really having my summer-game on. June is arguably the most delicious month of summer, with cherries and warm breezy nights before the onslaught of July heat and August’s end-of-summer doldrums. This year I’ve tried to make the most of the June-ness of June.  We’ve been soaking in the sun, taking dinner down to Riverside Park and spending time on shore of the Hudson River.  I took the bus to Target/Costco on the far east side yesterday where I bought Beach chairs for $9 at Target and Organic cherries at Costco, $4.50 a pound! Summer in a grocery receipt. Screen shot 2014-06-28 at 9.08.44 AMScreen shot 2014-06-28 at 9.08.57 AM   Screen shot 2014-06-28 at 9.09.27 AM

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I’m bursting with a backlog of blog posts and it’s all going to come out in an incomprehensible torrent tonight.  Apologies in advance.   To start: The weather has been gorgeous in New York – perfect picnic weather after a Trader Joe’s run that included raspberries and TJ’s shortbread.

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Then, it was Alex’s FIFTH birthday this past week, so I baked him a ninja cake, because, you know, that’s what you do. I love this King Arthur’s Flour “golden cake” recipe - I’ve baked it a couple of times and it always makes the most amazingly moist perfect layer cake.  The key is room temperature ingredients. Then, I make the frosting/glaze out of coconut oil, honey and butter.  It looks wonky and homemade but both my guys keep requesting it, so I guess there’s that.  Awesome Ninja Toppers from ThinkAndThin on Etsy.

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My transition to Upper West Sider is complete, I bought a cart.  Which has been a life saver, since, as a beloved landlord used to say “I was born under a schlepping sign.” Truer words.

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I served two weeks on Grand Jury which while disruptive, and at times upsetting, was also a deeply contemplative time, to be outside my routine and world for a few weeks. I explored Chinatown and SOHO and finally got to try BlackSeed bagels, which had been blowing up my Instagram for months.  #delicious.   I read a lot during Grand Jury duty, since any day I can read is a good day.   I read artist Anne Truitt’s journal Daybook which I will do a longer post about, but highly recommend in the meantime.  She writes about life, being an artist, a mother, a wife, a woman – she writes with a simple insightful style that is addicting. I kept wanting to be around Anne, to read slower so I could spend more time seeing the world through her eyes.  Recommend x 100. I also read two solid dystopian young adult reads: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Orleans by Sherri Smith.  Both would make good airplane or beach reads, they are absorbing worlds and easy to escape into.

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I got a manicure last week with a new to me non-toxic polish, Zoya in color Kylie 2.  It’s a warm coral color and I’m all for the non-toxic part, but the reason I’m blogging about it is that I’ve never had a nail polish last SO LONG. I’m a hands on person and usually my polish chips the day of or day after a pedicure so a whole week seemed pretty amazing. Finally, I’ve been making ice cream sundaes with these dang toasted coconut chips. #really delicious.

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Oh hi there!  Life has been blurring by, which I hate. I blink and a week is over.  What I like best about blogging is as I sit here on the couch at night, digesting what I’ve seen and sharing it with you, time slows down a bit.  I usually start blogging by looking through the photos on my phone — this photo is from last Friday night when after school Alex and I headed down to Riverside Park, just because the weather was finally warm and it was still light out. The boundary between land and water always has a magnetic pull – most noticeable at the beach, I think – but we still felt it down on the shore of the Hudson. We spent an hour just watching debris and boats run by, throwing rocks into the fog, making up reasons for the  police lights across the river in NJ (pirate attacks, mostly!)

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I discovered two parenting survival tools in the last few weeks and wanted to share.  Both are practical – one is the Mophie battery case for the Iphone.  Alex had his first emergency room visit ever over spring break (seven stitches which have healed nicely, I’m happy to report!) and while I might someday write a post about that experience in its own right (An Emergency Room Survival Guide?), the main thing I realized as we sat 12 hours in the ER waiting room was that I never wanted to have a low phone battery again. I watched my fully charged battery slowly run out of juice, my anxiety increasing with every bar of battery lost –  it made an already stressful situation even more so.  On our way home, in the airport in Raleigh, at a Best Buy Vending Machine of all places, I snapped up a red Mophie case. It carries an entire extra charge and I have been so very happy with it. Best of all, it uses Blackberry/Kindle chargers which are ubiquitous in my house and this simple fact has vastly simplified our nightly family charging routine. NB: Does anyone else juggling family charging (ie who charges what device at what time? Our routine has become pretty elaborate sad to say).  PS: This is the truth.

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The second tool is the more appropriate for city dwellers without cars … the BubbleBum Inflatable Car Seat. For those parents lucky enough to live someplace with a car, this will not seem noteworthy.  However, if you’ve ever had to lug a booster seat to a car rental place or on a plane or really anywhere, you will be interested in this.  The BubbleBum is inflatable and this makes it very lightweight.  Also, it has an ingenious system I can’t describe with words that manages to make the chest strap comfortable for kiddos of a certain age  (the seat is rated for 4-11 year olds).  I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it is down right revolutionary. Ha!  We’ve used it on three or four trips and it has been easy and so comfortable for Alex.

Finally, I’m in the middle of serving on Jury duty in NYC and wondered if any New Yorkers had lunch recommendations?  And thanks, as ever, for reading along and sharing!

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We trekked to my favorite part of Central Park today  - The Great Hill –  for Kite Day at Alex’s school.   It was blustery and raw on top but that didn’t stop 40 kids from running wild with (and without) their kites.  In the center of the Great Hill, another school had put up a May Pole and was dancing around it with vim and vigor. The whole chaotic and yet sweet scene reminded me of the town where I grew up –  Putney, VT. Every May Day there was a May Pole and Morris Dancers in the town center (parking lot) and we’d all get together to watch, often in similar weather (nothing stopped the Morris dancers, not even rain).  The Morris Dancers with their crisp white shirts, bells and wooden sticks  were strange and compelling in their knowledge of the old ways.  Some say the dancers preform a fertility rite, a celebration of spring returning or represent the triumph of good or evil – whatever your take, the dances are old and rich in symbolism.  Thinking about Morris dancers got me to youtube, where I found this troupe in England who danced on May 1 2014. Their  unself-conscious enthusiasm and dedication to ritual warms my heart and makes me feel a part of it, in a weird digitally-intermediated way.  I hope you celebrated the coming of spring wherever it found you and that the grass is green and leaves are growing a little bit each day around you.

PS: Some good history on May Day / Beltane

 

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Tim cooked a steak (Hardwick Beef Ribeye) tonight so tender and so flavorful that it almost made me weep.  He used an Alton Brown technique where you get a cast iron pan really hot in the oven (500 degrees), then pan-sear the steak on the stove top and finally put the steak back in the oven to finish.  It’s safe to say we will be cooking steak no other way in this house from here on out. Paired with left-over roast fingerling potatoes and garlic spinach, the meal felt like a real celebration of spring.

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We took a three day mini break in Miami last week and I wanted to share some of the highlights.  Miami, staying at the Loew’s Miami Beach, is a surprisingly great weekend getaway with kids.  There are a lot of resorts around Miami – the kind of “check in and don’t leave the compound” type of places, but with kiddos I’ve found it’s nice to have options (what if it rains?!).  The Loew’s caught my eye because it is centrally located and universally well reviewed for families.  And, we weren’t disappointed! The hotel is right on the beach, which felt exotic beyond belief after this past winter in NYC. Our room (806 if you want to book this exact view below!) was big-ish with direct ocean views, good room service, super-friendly/unpretentious staff, and the pool and beach were a 3 minute walk.  The flight from NYC is direct and the hotel convenient to both beach and city things (we walked directly to Wolfsonian and restaurants from the hotel). There is a kids club, but, really only for kids who are strong swimmers (Alex is not). Alex loved the pool however, and it was full of other families so we felt right at home.   To get seats at the pool or the beach you need to head out early (around 9am). Also, the chairs on the actual beach in front of the hotel are owned by a third party and you pay extra for them. But worth it.  Lots of families were out there the whole day (the hotel provides all sorts of sand toys).

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Meals

We didn’t even scratch the surface of food in Miami, but everywhere we ate was good.  We really loved Mandolin Miami  and La Sandwicherie.  Yardbird was good, too.

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We also checked out the Wolfsonian and the Perez museums which were actually the highlight of our trip.

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Spotted: Red cabinets!

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Been looking around and here’s what I’ve been seeing.  1) Liberty fabric 2) Vintage Russian postcards 3) faded pink rugs.

 

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Joanna posted these illustrations by Nathan W. Pyle today and I laughed and laughed. #nycisthebestandworst

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My mom sent me one of these plastic bag holders (that she made!) a few years ago. It is easily one of my favorite kitchen tools –  so satisfying to have a place for the plastic bags (instead of under the sink or in the trash).  Yesterday this elegant striped version popped up on Food 52 ($20) and I just had to share with you!

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Some of you will remember the sprouted sweet potato that caught my eye in Paris last year (see all about that trip here).  Imagine my delight when I walked into my parents house last week and saw that my mother had not only sprouted a sweet potato, but PLANTED it!  The vining action made me particularly happy.  I’ve sprouted sweet potatoes before, but they eventually rot, so this potted approach is what I’m going to try next …

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Alex and I took a rainy walk this morning in North Carolina and took turns taking photos.  These are my favorites and here is one Alex took of some roadkill outside my parents house.   5 year olds!!

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We all have the nice tuckered out from the beach and pool feeling, which is much better than the tired out from work and school feeling. #vivavacation

PS: Daily Dose of Woods from here. 

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