Fall Has Its Merits

September 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

leavesturninsonoma

As we were driving back to the city this morning, I was feeling a twinge of Summer is Over Sadness. Until I remembered that fall has quite a bit to recommend itself. For starters, there is the fashion. Whether cuddled up in cozy sweaters, busting out my favorite capes and jackets or wearing something insanely pretty and glamorous — but impossible for real winter weather — this is the time of year to let it rip.

Concerts, plays and art openings are happening everywhere, restaurants are bustling and it finally gets a little more quiet by the beach for when it is needed.

And then there are the pumpkins…have I mentioned that pumpkins are one of the things in life that makes silly happy? I have no idea why, but when I spy the first ones popping up, I get full-on giddy. As such, I always take the Children in My Life pumpkin picking. They are an excellent cover, and tend to be extremely adorable bopping through the patch. They also are totally into “more” as a concept, which ensures that our wagon is nice and full and totally guilt free.

pumpkinlove

Fall is also grape harvest season for all that wine I like to drink! And it tends to be the time of year that some equally Wine Friendly companions of ours hit the vineyards to find things to squirrel away for the perfect occasion. Last year, we went to Sonoma for said trip and it was, among other things, a very nice way to spend a few days in the fall…

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quiet morning

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As you can imagine, I didn’t miss summer at all in these surroundings. And the food and wine that went along with it made it even better…

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My new crush vineyard: Williams Selyem. A must if you are in Sonoma.

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And fall is the perfect time to not only drink a few reds, but also to eat slightly more hearty food. Let’s just say that I enjoyed the chicken and waffles here very much. Very much. As well as the food at both Barndiva (sorry for the blurry photo) and Zazu Restaurant & Farm, which was a little meat-centric…hence the twinkle light pig, I think.

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oink

See, fall is fun and filling!

And then there are still the Farmer’s Markets. Now, they might not be in their full glory come November, but they do keep chugging along, which allows you to prepare all manner of cozy fall meals.

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For the record, these are from a stand in Sonoma, so, you know, they still have zucchini blossoms. In New York, not so much. But my favorite one by the beach stays open until December 1st. So, I am In Produce until almost the end of the year.

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And you can wear a cute sweater cape when you are out shopping!

So, bottom line: fall is fabulous! Enjoy the season. I plan to.

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Not Too Shabby

May 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Before I begin bombarding you with the gorgeous English Countryside, where they make scone eating a way of life, I wanted to remind myself and you all that natural — and created — beauty is everywhere…

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A quick snap of Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, and said to be his favorite of this and Central Park (which he also designed). I love this park and on a beautiful day, nothing is better than taking our terrible terriers out for a walk through its winding paths and open fields.

So, just a little reminder that you don’t always have to go far to get away.

xx

(Photo of Friday’s walk: Some Cozy Night)

Do Not Wait

April 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

donotwait

This is one of my absolute favorite neon signs in New York. I have loved it for years and year and years. And have been meaning to get a photo of it for just as long. But for one reason or another, I haven’t been able to — or at least wasn’t motivated enough to make it happen. Then, a few weeks ago, Mr. H and I noticed that the building was for rent and the panic set in: Were we too late? Would this sign be gone before we could get to it? UGH!

Luckily, Mr. H was able to get a shot on the way back from an appointment today. Or rather, I should say that he took the time to get that shot. It could not have taken all that long, but I am sure once the sign is gone, we will both be happy to have this snap, since memories fade.

I know that this is, once again, a small thing. But I do think it is a good reminder of what we all know: Time moves in only one direction and you cannot expect things to always be the same. So, with that, let’s remember to take the time to do those things, both small and huge, that we’ve been meaning to do, just in case things change later.

xx

(Photo: Mr. H)

Random Post Past Midnight

March 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

Just back from a lovely dinner party with a group of people that I didn’t really know before this evening and had just the best time. This was preceded by a meeting with someone that I’ve known for a long time but finally got to know better today and was so happy to find that she was as cool and easy to talk to than I could have ever anticipated. And on top of that, I could not help but notice what a great team we have at work — they are all so committed and interested in making it right. AND fun to be with. Tonight, I feel lucky.

So, my point? Well, one’s life can be measured in so many “accepted” ways that you wind up feeling as if you haven’t done it quite right. But then there are moments — and even entire days — when you are left with the genuine feeling that there was no other way than the path you picked. In the midst of the Supreme Court hearings of the last two days, the LEAN IN hoo-ha and all the other things in our culture that seem to be designed to draw a line between you and what is “acceptable”, a day like today reminds me that making your own happiness is really all that matters. So, I guess that is my point: Make your own happiness and do what feels right to you. It really is all that matters, even if it doesn’t feel like it most of the time.

xx

Breakfast, Better

January 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I just finished reading a biography of Craig Claiborne* and was immensely cheered to discover that when he was dining at home alone, he made a point of setting a proper table just for himself. (He trained at  École hôtelière de Lausanne, so I suppose it would have been a hard habit to break.)  While Mr. H and I are Free Range when it comes to eating meals**,  for years weekday breakfasts have been served on a simple rattan Breakfast Tray that we make up each morning. I don’t know why it started — maybe because our kitchen isn’t an eat-in — but it is on my Must Have list today.

Considering that it can be done up while our toast is toasting and the dogs are eating, it takes very little extra time to put our morning meal on a nice plate with a proper napkin and pop it onto the tray. Even the idea of the Breakfast Tray gives me a little lift at the start of the day, which is especially important when it is, oh, I don’t know, ten degrees outside and maybe snowing***. And if you are a Breakfast at My Desk Person (I have been known to be one), taking a few extra minutes on the weekend to treat yourself in this way will probably produce the same effect, which may result in this simple pleasure landing on your Must Have list, too.

xx

* Major League Food Writer when things were more civilized. Chances are that you have a cookbook of his.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Claiborne

** But we’ve recently been making an effort to have dinners ala Mr. Claiborne which does make even takeout sushi feel special. Lunch is another story entirely. (https://somecozynight.com/?s=do+lunch)

*** Why do we live in the Northeast again?

(Photo of our typical, but somehow more special, morning oatmeal: Some Cozy Night)

Not to Go All Oprah On You, But…

January 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

prettierinreallife

I moved to New York in part for this view on 5th at dusk last night. The sky was an insanely pretty shade of blue and the city seemed ready to light up and do something very, very “smart”.* My choice to move here — at 18, when you know pretty much nothing, which aids the decision-making process — was based a little bit on an impulse and a lot on a vague idea I had of what it would be like: One part Woody Allen, one part Nick and Nora, one part “Who Knows?”. And I knew I wanted to be in that glow. It can be a very hard place to live, but in the end, I don’t know that I would have it any other way. Which brings me to Oprah…

OK, I am not really going to write about Oprah**, but I know that she is all about “lightbulbs going off in one’s head” and I was just reminded one of my biggest moments of that variety today. I was flipping though some photos online (trouble focusing at the office today), and saw one of the designer Cynthia Rowley. No offense to Ms. Rowley, but I pretty much never think about her. Until I saw her photo. Then I remembered that a decade ago, I was on the subway heading to my job at one of the world’s largest media companies where I was completely and utterly miserable. I was deep in thought, contemplating leaving my job to work with Mr. H.

No offense to Mr. H, but this was a tough decision. I had no idea how it would all work out if I left,  but was awfully certain that if I played the game right (and learned German…for another post), there was a clear path and it wasn’t shabby.***  The train stopped at West 4th and Cynthia Rowley got on and stood pretty much in front of me. My head still full of “what ifs”, I looked up and realized that someone who took a risk to do her own thing — that worked out! — was literally standing right in front of me.  Yes, she looked tired. (If only I knew how tired she probably was!) But she also looked settled in that way that people do when they have accomplished something they weren’t certain they could pull off.

I am not a big risk taker, but I am a big believer in Signs that are Convenient for Me and this one was too good to ignore. Standing right in front of me was the reason to do it. So I resigned, was terrified for a bit and then became quite calm about the whole affair.

Ten years later, Mr. H and I are both still alive, still married to each other and have had some amazing experiences that would have never been possible if I had remained on my previous path. (There were also many more stupid, agonizing and annoying experiences, but I think O would want me to stay positive here.) Which I guess brings me to a point that may seem trite and obvious, but is worth repeating anyway: Life never goes quite how you think it will,  so you may as well just try to steer it in the direction of happiness, even if you aren’t sure that you can pull it off. The odds are more in your favor than you think.

xx & one major “O”

* Sadly, I was headed back to the office after a doctor’s appointment, but still, just catching a little of that buzz was enough for the moment.

** Love her in the Liz Lemon way.

*** Unless you think Well-Paid Total Misery is a bad thing.

(Grainy photo: Some Cozy Night)

Winding Down

December 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

stockings

Do you like Mr. H’s Christmas Stockings? I certainly did. And the toasty fire made our Christmas morning quite cozy, which was a great start to a lovely holiday. I hope you had a good one, too.

And now that it is all over, we are in the midst of winding down for the year. Mostly I hope to sleep, read, sleep, go to the gym without “squeezing it in”, eat and did I mention sleeping? Well, that is the plan.

I also plan to continue enjoying one of my favorite holiday treats: Panettone

yum

How did I ever find this unappealing as a child? Maybe because it had “fruit cake” connotations? Or perhaps I was just stubborn. Whatever.  A friend brought one to our place a few years ago and I am completely addicted to them now. Lovely with a cup of tea or as an indulgent breakfast.  And you can get them this time of year in many places. My go-tos are BKLYN Larder (http://bklynlarder.com) and Zingerman’s (https://www.zingermans.com…and no, I do not work for them). Yum.

I see that I have gotten off the topic, which is Winding Down…whoops!

Part of Winding Down for me is actually getting rested and relaxed enough to wind back up again. Another part always involves some thinking about a goal or two for a coming year. You know I dislike “resolutions”, but having a sense of what you would like to incorporate into — or eliminate from — your life isn’t such a bad thing. Just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. (A Development Area for me, sadly.)

So, goals for the coming year…

My first it to meditate more seriously. I have everything I need to meditate: the floor and myself. And you don’t even need a ton of time to meditate, but I can fill up a day so quickly that it is super easy to skip it. And, like moisturizing at night, I really should not skip it. When I meditate regularly, I find my overall reactions to things are much more measured and I am less easily flustered and overwhelmed, putting this in the Very Worthwhile file. So, I am going to try to spend less time reading mindless headlines on the internet and such, and reallocate it to a decent practice. Fingers crossed.

The second goal is a really tough one for me: Ask for help more often. I am a terribly independent person so I find it very hard to ask for help — or even accept it when offered. Since this is so not in my nature, I am going slow. But today, when Mr. H said that he would sweep up some dirt I had tracked inside, it took a moment, but I put down the dustpan and said “sure…thank you”. And to my knowledge, the said dirt has been swept up. Baby Steps, my friends…

But Baby Steps are sometimes all it takes to make big changes in life. So, I am stepping and shall see where I wind up.

xx

(Photos: Mr. H and Some Cozy Night)

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