We’re back from our big family trip to Hawaii (extremely wonderful and love-filled) and all of a sudden it’s almost September. While part of me is sad to close out this time of drippy ice cream cones and perpetually dirt-smudged and sun-exhausted kiddos, we’re all ready for a bit more routine. We’re headed to Maine soon for one last stretch of glorious beach time — as well as Finn’s 3rd birthday! — and then it’s back to school and a more regular schedule.
Keeping it short, as I’m sure you’ve got frozen treats to eat. Here are some things I’m jazzed about right now:
So funny it hurts: My friend Bess is a brilliant comedy writer (I laugh-cried through her book No One Will Tell You This But Me) and now she has a newsletter where she shares her sharp-meets-hysterical commentary on…all of this. I especially loved her edition where she talks about regretting a tweet that went viral.
The secret to long-haul flights with kids: First off, we had a TON of help. We flew with my parents and sister so a 5:2 ratio on our nonstop Hawaii flights. But as much as I appreciated my dad packing a slew of books and toys, the real win was the lightweight Cosco car seat that we brought on board so Finn was secured and cozy. It helped him sleep and then we didn’t have to rent a carseat on the other end.
Island reminders: Last summer, my sister brought me a beautiful Jana Lam pareo back from Hawaii and I fell in love with her hand-printed fabric designs. This trip, I made a point of swinging by the shop for tea towels and zipper pouches to bring back as gifts, plus some coasters for myself. They make me happy when I’m drinking my coffee far from the ocean. (Another favorite Hawaii brand: Mohala, which makes inclusive styles with three different types of nose bridges and just launched prescription gl)
Beach reads, two ways: After listening to Ocean Vuong’s interview with Krista Tippett on her beloved podcast On Being, I was struck by how he described objectively heartbreaking topics with such a sense of beauty and expansiveness. I downloaded his semi-autobiographical novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, and read it in Hawaii. It is stunning and sad and witty and all the things. After I finished, I needed something quick to get me through the 11-hr flight home, and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Malibu Rising did the trick. Set in Malibu during the 1960s and 80s, it was total candy and made me nostalgic for my pre-tween days of plastering Roxy and Quiksilver posters on my walls.
The ultimate beach sandwich, according to me and Carla: In her cookbook, Where Cooking Begins, Carla Lalli Music has a simple but genius recipe: a ham and butter baguette (classic) with the addition of green beans and horseradish. Revelation! And the ultimate thing to pack for a beach day, as we learned on a recent trip to Robert Moses.
A better way to superhero muffin: I’m sure I’ve raved about silicone muffin liners in the past — and I still like them for giving the kids things like blueberries, syrup, nuts — but I am so happy to report that the Great Jones Stud Muffin is actually nonstick. We’ve made a few rounds of Superhero muffins in them and it’s a delight to not have to deal with liners.
Kid-friendly chicken ideas: We are perpetually stumped on new things to cook that all of us will eat. Which is why Kay Chun’s Sticky Coconut Chicken and and Rice is such a gem. Finn likes saucy things, Lilly likes coconut-y things, I like easy things that can be made with brown rice and served over greens. Rob is the easiest of us all and also loves this recipe. Our other big discovery: teriyaki chicken sticks, which my dad made in Hawaii and were a total hit with the kids. Recipe from Grandpa Jay:
I use boneless, skinless thighs. Soak bamboo sticks in water so they won’t burn as quickly. Cut thigh into three or four strips along the grain and then across the grain into 3/4”-1” cubes/rectangles. Marinate in standard soy sauce, brown sugar or honey, garlic, ginger, maybe some mirin. Some people add pineapple juice and or ketchup. I marinate it first and then skewer… [Ed note: then you grill them]
Meep meep and tomato candy: We recently rediscovered Waffles and Mochi and I am optimistic that our adorable friends might be the secret to getting Finn to try more foods. So far, I got him to lick “tomato candy” (from the Samin tomato episode) and devour some mochi ice cream (ok that wasn’t that hard). I’m so optimistic that I just put the Waffles + Mochi cookbook, written by Yewande Komolafe and Michelle Obama, on his birthday wish list.
And finally, on the subject of routine, I joined Glowbar and am two facials into my membership. It’s so quick and efficient and makes a huge difference in my skin (tip: they book up in the second half of the month!).
See you soon,