Earlier today, my friend Becca and I cohosted a workshop on brand and consumer insights (reply if you’d like the replay link!). It was so fun and reminded me how amazing it is to work with people you know and trust, and who complement your skills and expertise. This might sound obvious but it’s something I’ve been missing lately in my professional life. I am lucky to get to connect and work with super smart founders and companies all the time but it’s usually just me on my side, which gets lonely and makes it easy to second guess myself. That’s why, as part of my ongoing optimization drive, I’m aiming to team up with friends to work on projects together. Buddy system, right?
On the kid front, we’re somehow weeks out from Halloween and I’m very grateful for the Primary Costume Concierge service, who is helping fulfill Lilly’s dream: “I want to be Rey on the top and Princess Leia on the bottom. And Finn will be BB8.” If you’re in a pinch, I highly recommend browsing their easy DIY ideas; that’s how we came up with our Cookie Monster and Princess Poppy of years past. And, if you’re wondering, Rob is going to be “Luke when he gets old” and I’m going to be Queen Amidala.
In addition to friends and candy corn, here are some things I’m excited about right now:
Not pumpkin bread: I do not like pumpkin spice anything. I do like squash, and a couple weeks ago my mom brought us three giant Koginuts from her garden. I roasted one of them, then scooped out the inside to make Claire Saffitz‘s Kabocha Turmeric Tea Cake. And because I am incapable of just following a recipe, I swapped out half the all-purpose for sorghum flour and did a mix of coconut and regular sugars. So good.
Meatballs for days: In our ongoing quest to find more things that are quick, tasty, and freezer-friendly, I’ve been exploring the meatball and burger category. My love of Julia Turshen’sTurkey Ricotta Meatballs is well-documented, and now I’m adding Kay Chun‘s Pork Meatballs with Ginger and Fish Sauce and Chicken Miso Meatballs to my go-to list (bonus: great excuse to buy Ritz crackers). For a hamburger alternative, we love J. Kenji Lopez-Alt‘s turkey burger, which “doesn’t suck” thanks to eggplant, anchovy, and Marmite. It’s great, I promise.
School-friendly staples: While we still go through a jar of peanut butter a week (Santa Cruz Organic for life), we need nut-free options for school. I recently restocked on Oat Haus granola butter and have been making rice cake sandwiches for their Stasher snack bags. Plus, the not-too-sweet Chocolate flavor is great on toast or waffles and magically makes morning whining go away! I also recently discovered Fabalish, a line of plant-based products made from chickpeas and aquafaba. Lilly basically tried to drink the Ranch so I’ve been putting it in her lunch as a dipping sauce; Rob and I are big fans of the Tzatziki on anything.
Mesmerizing calm down jars: A couple weeks ago, Finn came home with a “calm down jar” from school. Since it was glittery and belonged to Finn, Lilly clearly wanted one as well. “I need to calm downnnn,” she whined. We got some glitter and plastic jars and now we have a whole lineup. I can’t say they’ve totally worked but they are fun to have around a nice distraction when someone is having a meltdown.
Next-level shaving experience: My friend and former Birchbox colleague Jennie sent me a Hanni razor to try and I am so impressed by the whole experience. It’s weighted (noticeably heavy!) so you don’t have to apply any pressure, just glide it down your skin. It takes a little getting used to (I nicked myself the first time) but is the smoothest shave I’ve ever had. I’m also obsessed with the Shave Pillow, a hydrating stick that you can use in or out of the shower. If you’re interested in trying, use code MOLLIE15 for 15% off.
Entering the world of chapters: Thanks to Elana, we’ve started reading chapter books (with lots of pictures) with Lilly and it’s a total delight. We started with The Case of the Missing Cheetah, the first volume in author-illustrator Veronica Mang’s Secret Spy Society series. It was so good that I almost regret reading it because now we have to wait until 2022 for the next one. Please send recommendations! Excited to spend all my money at Books are Magic.
A picture book worth crying through: My parents bought us Keeping the City Going, Brian Floca’s achingly beautiful book about the early days of the pandemic in New York City. Finn loves it because it features all manner of vehicle—ambulances, delivery trucks, motorized bikes—and Lilly calls out the locations that are in our neighborhood. For me and Rob, it takes us back to those dark, scary days and the pit-of-the-stomach fear we felt looking out our window—but also to the gratitude and the sense that we were somehow in this thing together. It’s nice to remember that part.
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for reading, and with any luck I’ll see you in a couple weeks. I am excited to share more about one of the projects I’ve been working on—and hopefully some cute Halloween pics!
P.S. Old editions live here.
P.P.S. If you found this useful edition and feel like throwing money at a problem, consider donating to a local organization working to counter gun violence. There was recently a shooting at 3pm at a playground around the corner from our house, which brought the issue very close to home. We support New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Everytown.