February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
Happy Thursday! I’ve been back home for almost a week now and I must say, things have been not too shabby.* As always, a combination of planning and being open to whatever has been key.
On the planning front, I made sure that the house was in Ready Mode when we arrived with a stocked fridge c/o Fresh Direct and some lovely flowers from Emily Thompson (http://www.emilythompsonflowers.com/):
There is also the matter of making sure that my agenda for the return week was set to a certain degree. Before I left, I divided my “Work”, “Home” and “Personal” To Do lists into “Before You Leave” and “Upon Return” segments. I’ll spare you the contents, as many things were as mundane as “order diverter for shower” and “complete the E&O Insurance Application”, but every list feels better when you have it in something pretty. I count my blue diary with refillable inserts among one of those things, even if the checkbook sticks out:
And in the diary, I reminded myself to schedule some fun and some maintenance. So, brows and facial this afternoon with the lovely Robin Evans who keeps me from looking like a teenage George Whipple (http://robinevansskincare.com/) and dinner at The Modern (http://themodernnyc.com/) last night, with a wonderful view of one of my very favorite gardens in the city…
Nothing like this kind of view to make you feel less glum about leaving the sparkle of the sea and unlimited amounts of guacamole. Also, the wine and painstakingly prepared and served food helped.
And this evening, dinner with a Bestie — just us girls — as the most excellent 606 R&D (https://somecozynight.com/2012/06/12/cool-places-606-rd/). Donuts may be consumed, so I was good and had some steamed broccoli for lunch.
As for the unexpected, I managed to unpack on Saturday (this almost never happens to me), leaving me with a free Sunday. So, I decided to head uptown to buy some hankies for the upcoming and dreaded allergy season. In addition to discovering that the watch repair place was open (ON A SUNDAY!!), I also happened upon the last few boxes of my absolute favorite plain note cards by G. Lalo. I am a great fan of the handwritten note and these could not be more stylish…
They are still on my dressing table because the boxes make me happy. I will put them away, but not until a trip to Ladurée occurs, I think. Macarons are immensely cheering, no?
The weekend will be at the beach, where large amounts of working out will hopefully occur, as will the consumption of a fabulous Saturday lunch c/o Topping Rose House (http://www.toppingrosehouse.com/), one of the best additions to our little town out there.
And that is about all I have for now, except to say that I have more to say about the Fall Collections, but for now, I will leave it at this: Is it me, or was there WAY too much fur?? (For me, “none”, is best.)
*Except for my inability to rise at a decent hour to work out or meditate. Hoping to re-set on that one this weekend.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
February 8, 2013 § Leave a comment
Or something like that. After the flower-cade from last Saturday, some of the more delicate flowers in the arrangements were a tad past their prime by Wednesday. But I make it a point to never toss out the good with the bad, so I set to work tidying them up and making new arrangements with the material that was in fine form.*
Originally from the Out-of-a-Dutch-Still-Life arrangement in the dining room, some of the magnolia branches add a perfect bit of color in my rather monochromatic bedroom.
Tulips from everywhere found a place to be all swoon-y in the library…as did some anemones and ranunculus…
And I never forget the bathroom, which always benefits from a little floral matter. This time, I took some smaller magnolia branches and used them as support for some other tulips…
Happily, these have kept the place cheery during our nutty week that is now meant to end with some serious snow — and hopefully a flight out to our Nothing-is-a-Problem Hideaway on Sunday. Fingers crossed and keep cozy!
*This also works well with arrangements you might not like, or are too big. When you spy a juice glass or teeny cup at a tag sale or in your basement from who-knows-when, think about the possibilities.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night and Mr. H)
January 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
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.
* 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)
December 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
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
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.
(Photos: Mr. H and Some Cozy Night)
December 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
Well, we are nearing the Finish Line for The Holidays. And while I wish I would have actually made some latkes and jelly donuts this week, I think that I may just buy some and enjoy them before the week is out.* That was a little bit of Holiday Wisdom that has served me well these last few weeks: Do it up, but be reasonable and don’t cut out the fun.
As such, even though it has been super busy, I have managed to go ice skating in Central Park with Mr. H and two good friends, have seen or plan to see other friends for a number of pre-holiday dinners and will be decorating a (pre-assembled) gingerbread house with my God Daughter this weekend. Even our company Holiday Party is something I am looking forward to this year. (Many thanks to my So On It, It Hurts colleague who has arranged a fabulous one.)
More Holiday Wisdom: Planning is next to Godliness. My gift spreadsheet worked like a charm and now all but one gift is ready for giving or have already been shipped out. I must say, this year’s Paper Mojo crop was my favorite to date:
For the record, I am now dying to do a powder room in prints like these…we’ll save that for 2013, I suppose.
And planning isn’t just for Gift Management. Getting the Christmas Day Menu in place and ordering as much of the food that is required for said meal ahead of time is extremely important. For the menu, I turn to new and old faithfuls:
I know people have funny feelings about Joy, but I find it to be very handy, especially for Straight Up things. And as I have said before, there is nothing in an Ina Garten cookbook that doesn’t turn out perfectly, and Alice Waters is Alice Waters. So, with the help of these three books, I have planned a festive meal that has tons to make ahead and very little that you can mess up. Festive but Foolproof: another key to Happier Holidays.
And to make sure things stay festive throughout our week off, I’ve also ordered all the goodies needed for New Year’s Eve and the days in between. Reservations at our favorite places by the beach have been secured and I have a rather massive reading and watching list to get through. I am also hoping to get to the new and undisputed massive new Parrish Museum. (http://www.parrishart.org) The building alone is should make it intriguing enough, but the exhibitions could be promising as well…we shall see.
And that is probably the final bit of Holiday Wisdom I have for this evening: Plans should go with the flow. This isn’t a military operation, it is meant to be fun, so if things get a little off course, no biggie. You’ve done the work, now is the time to just enjoy.
* In fact, I just ordered the latkes with the fixings from Russ & Daughters…now we just need the donuts. And yes, I am not actually Jewish, but I still like Chanukah and any reason to celebrate.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
November 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
In a few hours I will be celebrating my God Daughter’s fifth birthday with her family and friends. For the last two weeks, I have been trying to figure out how to wrap her gift, which is sort of “Let Your Mind Go Wild” themed and includes glitter glue sticks, a proper 64 pack of crayons, drawing and crafting paper, a crafting book and three little finger puppets that I could not leave at the store.
Aside from the Crayola Box, nothing is a normal shape to wrap. And it seems as if all the stores where you can buy these kinds of presents for children opt out of carrying boxes to put all the oddly-shaped things in for wrapping purposes. So, I was left to my own devices.
I managed to get the rectangular items into one block of wrap-able matter, provided that I did not get all nutty about the sides being perfectly even. The crayons were a snap and I just kind of went with it on the trapezoid-shaped glitter glue sticks. Once I got the ribbon on, I was feeling pretty good about myself, and then I remembered: The #!*% finger puppets.
Tulle netting? Didn’t have any in the house. Same for tissue paper. And there were no shoe boxes that weren’t in use, and really, without decorating the box itself, how great would that have been to open? (My thought: Not so great.)
So, I decided see if Mr. H had any ideas, and just stacked the puppets on what was already wrapped for his review. (I get his thoughts on perplexing issues at work all the time, so why not this?) And then I happened to notice that they kind of looked good. Could proper arranging of the puppets solve my problem and make the gift more exciting from a presentation perspective? I think the answer is “Yes”.
Considering my Rookie status in the Children Gift Wrapping Department, I think I did all right. And while I debate the merits of spending time trying to make little outfits for each puppet for added zing, I think we’ll be just fine if it doesn’t pan out. And for the record, each puppet butt is taped to the package to make sure they don’t fall off.
And that is all I have for today.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)