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.

chickenandwafflesplease

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.

blurrybaarndiva

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.

nightshaes

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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)

Rediscovering the Art of Fielding

April 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

First, let us begin by acknowledging that it is just past 1AM and I am awake. I have read a new magazine*, watched a rather mindless episode of The Good Wife from season 1**, and listened to an entire 43 minutes of Tara Brach telling me how to better accept myself. And then I decided to accept the fact that I could not sleep and got out of bed. Why fight it? Right, Tara?

It seems however, that I am not alone…

Iamnotalone

If you look closely, there are some other lights on in the neighborhood. Why do I suspect they are on because people are just getting home from something fun or are doing a 1AM feeding?

Anyway, this is not the point of this post. This is:

I imagine that I don’t strike anyone as a someone who is into sports. And for the most part, this is true. However, I was brought up in a Baseball Family, and while the Yankees were the Family Team (and still mine), I spent a rather large part of my teens at Mets games c/o Nelson Doubleday and the fact that my Dad worked for him. While I may not have truly appreciated the choice seats we always had at those games (I felt as if I knew Gary Carter because I was always right near him), I did learn a thing or two during those years. And of course, ’86 made me a little obsessed and I got in deeper. Then college rolled around and I just about never thought about baseball again.

Until last winter when I read this wonderful book: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding***. The book is about baseball and then not about baseball. But the passages about actually playing the game were so beautifully written that I found myself right back in 1986, with better hair, I hope. (Those scenes are almost topped by the conversations among these young men while they are trying to become amazing ball players. It felt so honest to me…but I digress.) After I finished the book, I moved on to another and kind of forgot that I was into baseball once again.

And then some extremely cool friends of ours invited us to a suite at Yankee Stadium to see the second game of their season.

Howmanycaloriescould thisreallybe

Let me begin by saying that being indoors with the option to be outdoors — that included a fully stocked bar to make sure that you were “toasty” in the 30-degree temperature — is really the best possible way to get reintroduced to the joys of a live game. (To my knowledge, I never was able to sip on tequila while watching the Mets. It rather does take the edge off crap weather.) Mr. H and I arrived a little bit before the others, because I hate being late and am therefore often early. The upside here is that I was able to geek out a bit and first have a giggle at this important warning:

yesithoughtthey meantthe creatures

However, I will be truthful and tell you that I read “bats” as you know, BATS. Those flying things that scare the hell out of me. Only later did I realize they meant baseball bats. Still, at the height we were at, I am not super clear as to how I could have gotten hit with a baseball bat, so maybe my confusion was reasonable.

Then there was the field:

Gettingwarmedup

Just seeing it got me kind of psyched for a game I knew my team was going to lose. And lose they did. But it didn’t matter. I simply find the art and ritual of the game to be very pleasing. The pitchers getting warmed up…the batters waiting for their turn, even if they know the guy before them is going to make this waiting and prep unnecessary…the catcher pretty much feeling like the heart of the team, keeping everyone together. Heck, I even get excited when they play the National Anthem.

And then there is the fabulous part of watching it all with your friends. Laughing over a shared disapproval of a particular player, wondering why they were all wearing “baseball slacks” rather than the usual bottoms, and all deciding that even though it was 30 degrees outside, we would get our butts out there and watch the final inning together. In the cold, like our own little team.

A wonderful way to remember a love that was forgotten.

xx

* Bullet. I like the intent and hope they stop with some of the weird type and typesetting. No margins isn’t cool…it just looks wrong. But do check them out online to get a flavor: http://bullettmedia.com/magazine/

** Is this show worth my time? I can’t tell yet, but I feel like lots of people love it.

*** Just in case: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Fielding-A-Novel/dp/0316126675

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Indoors-y Girl Goes Outdoors

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

In hopes of keeping things fresh for some house guests this past weekend, I arranged for us to all go kayaking. Now, if you know anything about me, this is not the kind of thing I would normally get myself mixed up in. (Unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, I lack a general interest in the Sporting Life.) But Mr. H had recently purchased a really beautiful kayak for himself and my friends love all manner of outdoorsy activities. And then there is the fact that when you are staying at my home, I want you to have a good time. So, I decided to give Outdoorsy a try.

And you know what? I liked it!

I think preparation was key…

The destination was the beach on the other side of the “pond”, which after paddling myself across it, I would like to say that “lake” is a better description of this particular body of water.

Even though I knew this was more of a Roughing It kind of day, I did make sure that we stowed away some lobster rolls, chips and cookies for lunch. And Mr. H made sure that the ladies of the party had little chairs to sit on when we reached the beach. During some headwinds, this was a very motivating bit of knowledge.

It was also an extremely motivating fact when I was confronted with how one gets into the kayak. Basically, you have to step into the water and then into your boat. Stepping into water that isn’t heated, chlorinated, or the ocean isn’t really my thing. Especially with shoes on, even if they were the rubber ones I garden in. Still, I did it. (And no, those pink flip flops are not mine. In fact, they shouldn’t be anybody’s.)

To be truthful, that little bit of discomfort was totally worth it for views like these. And an hour-long arm workout getting to the beach made that delicious lunch totally guilt-free!

Best of all, though, was doing something with friends that I’ve never done before. Seeing a new side of each other deepens good friendships, I think, and makes the whole experience of trying something new even more memorable. Definitely a reason to get outdoors.

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

Built to Last

August 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

It really bothers me that so much of our daily lives seems designed to fade fast. The speed at which we are meant to update our smartphones, wardrobes, and even our knowledge of the latest “news”, makes me uneasy. It also makes me extremely appreciative of things that are built with anything but “expendable” in mind. Two little things of mine that fall into this category are beach related:

The classic L.L. Bean Boat & Tote. Ours is weathered to perfection after ten seasons of use and it only gets better with age: The fabric is more pliable but totally solid and the blue piping and straps are beautifully faded by years of time sitting out in the sun. Love.

My little green “beach wallet” from J. Crew. I purchased it well over twelve years ago, when Mr. H and I began taking trips to warmer, sandier climes. Perfect for your ID and a few dollars for ice cream. Or a mixed drink. It also wears its years of use well — the varying shades of green and little dings and scratches only suggest (to me, at least) Time Spent Enjoying Myself.

And then there are the far more important and sentimental things whose permanence are pretty much part of the fabric of my life. Mr. H is celebrating a birthday this week and two of our best and oldest friends came out to the beach last weekend to get the party started.

A good time was had by all, which is always the case with these friends. From weathering hurricanes to traveling the world to cheering each up after a rather hideous day, things always have that extra something when we are all together. So I can’t imagine not celebrating all of life’s big and little milestones with them. The same can be said of our other dear friends that we’ve been lucky to gather along the way, for that matter. And in my book, these friendships top the list of the Wonderful Things in Life that are so excellent because they are most certainly built to last.

xx

(Photos: Some Cozy Night)

The Friend Who Brings You Soup

October 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

This week has been very bad in the migraine department. I’ve been sick for a few days, not really able to do much of anything except wish my headache away and check email as necessary. Mr. H has been supportive as always, but this evening he had to attend an event and I was home alone. I normally don’t mind this, but the evening was vastly improved on account of my most excellent friend, who brought me some homemade soup. (Yes, it was delicious. She has mad skills in the kitchen.)

In the age of social media, where the virtual world sometimes feels more real than what is going on right outside your window, the notion of someone bringing you soup when you are sick seems downright old-fashioned. But in the best possible way. And the friend that brings it to you is also the best possible kind of friend to have.

“Like!”

xx

(Photo of real, live sky in case you haven’t seen it in a while: Some Cozy Night)

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