It’s raining in New York today. On the walk to school, Lilly and I were talking about how plants need water to grow. “Oh! So tomorrow there will be soooo many flowers?,” she said, splashing through yet another puddle. Reframing the situation through the eyes of an almost 5-year-old was the nudge I needed to shake off my own black cloud of a morning. I wrapped up my consulting projects a couple weeks ago to take time to find my next role. After a period of brief euphoria (talking to people! no Slacks!), I’ve hit the stage of second-guessing myself and feeling anxiety about NEVER FIGURING IT OUT. This is not unsurprising or unfamiliar — I’ve been here before, after leaving jobs, coming back from parental leave, ramping down/ramping up consulting. Despite all this, it hasn’t gotten easier. I also know I’m not alone. I have also been reconnecting with friends and people in my network who are in their own exploratory phases. I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys what my friend Becca calls the “messy middle.” Most people like answers, and it’s easier to rally around beginnings and endings.
Continue reading “The messy middle, a new way to tahini, and the easiest way to get kids out of the bathtub”
This weekend is the vernal, or spring, equinox. I know this because Rob forwarded me the latest newsletter from The Fermentation School, a very cool organization run by women fermentation experts. I have no idea how he ended up on their mailing list but their emails are delightful. The most recent dispatch reminds us that the equinox is when there are equal amounts of light in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. It’s a moment of transition between seasons, and, incidentally, a great time to take up a fermentation project. While Rob is our resident fermentation expert (he makes an excellent version of Sqirl’s Lacto-Fermented Hot Sauce), I am definitely the expert on transition.
And I do feel the shift. Things are changing. (Not the news — that is still so catastrophically bad. So much to be sad and upset about.) But the bulbs that my dad planted last year have sprouted green stalks, friends are gathering without texting negative Covid tests, and we’re planned our first big plane trip for this summer. The kids feel the shift too, and with them it comes through in maniacal joy and giddiness.
It’s time to shed something, even if it’s just a few layers, and move forward. I’m ready and excited for a new phase.
Continue reading “Transition time, oyster delivery, and late-in-the-game retinols”
This month began with Lunar New Year, a welcome reset after a rocky January — culminating with, of all things, frozen pipes and a stomach bug. So far, the Year of the Water Tiger has been treating us well, even as the world feels increasingly scary (Russia invading Ukraine this morning being the latest nightmare).
Rob and I took our first flight in two years and it was blissfully normal. We watched a Bond movie, ate some nuts, got dehydrated. Positively 2019. We spent a whirlwind 48 hours in Miami, visiting my favorite spots from growing up, mainlining strong-and-sweet Cuban coffee, and soaking up Vitamin D. I even learned how to make a reel, just in time for my 39th birthday (next week!).
And yet, despite thinking February would be my time to pick my head up and be able to think clearly, I still feel very much in it. I’m not sure what it even is anymore. I think the truth is I can’t wait for that moment anymore. It’s up to me to force the space to think and plan and plot and do all the things that will make me feel like I’m progressing, not just maintaining.
Continue reading “Geriatric millennial musts, sporty-cute swim gear, and the startup I wish had existed when I had babies”
What is there to say about 2022? We’re here, and we’re doing the damn thing. Every day that the kids are in school feels like a miracle and a gift; same with each time the sun comes out (11 degree temps notwithstanding). Our days are both long and short, and punctuated by frequent Encanto dance parties (Finn’s favorite song is “Surface Pressure,” also known as “Donkeys!!!!!”). I love our little chaos factory but am also already intimidated by the between here and warmer, brighter days.
My friend Melanie introduced me to Youngna Park, who has a wonderful, highly relatable newsletter filled with kid and grown up recs. Her latest, “20 Things Getting Us Through January,” is exactly where I am: What is the universe of fun, delicious, and entertaining things that will distract us from the fatigue of another pandemic winter?
Continue reading “Lists! Plus the skin-sloughing bar we can all use, easy-peasy eyeliner, and truly toasty socks”
Over the last 48 hours, the world has shifted. Originally, I was going to write a quick newsletter with a mix of belated gift ideas and festive recipes. And I’ll still share those. But I know I’m not alone in feeling shades of March 2020. My texts are full of some variation of: WTF, so exhausted, confirmed exposure, hunkering down. It’s not the way that I expected this month and year to end but maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. As Ed Yong writes, we’ve repeatedly shown that we are unprepared for this pandemic, in all its forms (note: skip this article if you’re already overwhelmed).
So what is there to do? We’re dialing back our plans, keeping the kids out of school, and testing on repeat so we can travel to Maine safely. We’re also continuing to optimize within the now-shrinking boundaries. Our kid cookie party will now be outside and distanced, with individual decorating stations, and we’ll be streaming Big Band Holidays at home, a redux to last year. We’ll do our best to be safe, and keep our news intake at a moderate level.
Continue reading “Haven’t we been here before, the cookies must go on, and small brands to gift year-round”
Back in March 2020, I started a gratitude journal. Inspired by my friend Dawn (more on her below), I’d log the day’s small victories every evening before bed. In early pandemic days, these were very small wins indeed. Now I’m on my fifth notebook and the habit keeps me grounded even when things feel aswirl.
Things have definitely been swirly recently, with nonstop kid illnesses (nothing serious), looking for progress amid the stop-start, up-down nature of consulting, and processing the shift toward a post-pandemic life filled with boosters, rapid tests, and calculated risks. Through all this, I’ve been extremely thankful for all the good listeners in my life and for the daily joys that I scribble down in my journal. On today’s list: Finn standing on the arms of our chair like a pirate and yelling “Garbage truck! Garbage TRUCKKKKK!” A walking meeting that was energy-giving and netted me 10,000 steps. Carving out time to write this little newsletter.
And so, gratitude! Lots of it. I’m also taking notes from my friend Gina’s Month of Gratitude, especially her tips on how to show yourself some thanks.
Continue reading “Gratitude! Plus weeknight cooking inspiration and the daily seaweed bite you didn’t know you needed”
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.
Continue reading “Buddy system, pumpkin spice alternatives, and a pandemic kid book worth crying through”
Hi there, We just wrapped up Lilly and Finn’s first week (!) of school: Lilly in Pre-K and Finn in a 2’s program. I had been anxious in the lead-up to this but by the time it rolled around, change and routine felt very welcome. Both kids are embracing this new phase as well, although … Continue reading Routine, is that you? Plus kid-friendly masks, twisty novels, and inclusive sunglasses
Hi there, It’s been awhile since my last newsletter and things are both the same and not at all. For a minute, it felt like we had broken through to a new chapter of this pandemic; it’s become clear that we’re still very much in it. And while this summer has been great, it has also been … Continue reading Catching my breath and canceling plans, mermaid supplies and the coolest tinned fish
Hi there, It’s amazing how quickly things can change. I’ve been fully vaccinated for less than a month but it feels like a lifetime. Around us, New York City is hurtling back to life, with every night seemingly a block party. This week’s NYT Magazine was full of exuberant pictures of the cityscape (all taken by incredibly talented young … Continue reading Hiiii + How to enthrall a four-year-old, 90s nerdy-cool sandals, and a backlog of book recs