Friday, July 1, 2016

Magical Wellfleet

Michael and I first visited Cahoon Hollow on the Outer Cape on our honeymoon. He grew up in the Upper Cape and I loved taking him somewhere he had never been. We were going to go on his birthday but decided to go our first night on the Cape.

We had dinner at The Beachcomber which is a raucous seafood shack that plays bad eighties music but has amazing lobster rolls and unparalleled views of the ocean. It is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and was grandfathered into this protected, historical area so it really is one-of-a kind (there are no other beach restaurants in this area.)

Bringing the girls to a place that we had visited almost ten years ago exactly was one of those lifetime moments. Thinking about how we have changed together, individually, and marveling at the creation of our two wonderful daughters gives me goosebumps.

We visited twice on our trip. The first night was extra special as it was the eve of Michael's 40th birthday and we had just met up with some old friends who had traveled there from Seattle to celebrate with us.

After dinner, we walked down to watch the beautiful sunset. The light changing from bright milky pastels to bolder colors with every ticking moment. There was a little fire that someone had built but the beach was deserted other than two surfers and a lone seal making it's way down the coastline. The children ran down the dune to the beach with abandon, watching the seal and gathering tinder to keep our little fire burning. It is wonderful, as we go along in this life, to collect these magical places. To close our eyes and imagine every last detail and feeling of it. I have a few and this is one I cherish.

During our trip, I came across a trove of old photos at an antique store. Many moments came and went after that but I found myself lying in bed one night in the hotel thinking of those photos. The family stories behind them and how they were left in a wooden box under the care of someone they never knew and would maybe make there way into the narrative of a whole new family. I couldn't help but think of our family photos ending up in a box years down the road. At some point our stories will have been told here on earth even though we never believe that could possibly be true. Placed in this context, it was easy to remind myself that I might never again find myself on this lovely beach. And if I did, the girls would be older, I would be older and we will have certainly changed. There are many ways to lengthen your moments and savor them when you realize that they are singular and won't happen again.

Thanks to our friend Shannon Roddy for these two photos of our family. They capture the spirit of our family in a way that I can see so clearly.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

DÔEN Journal - Cuba

I took some of DÔEN's lovely pieces from their latest collections to Cuba with me and my friend Darcy and I did a travel story for their Journal series. I love everything that these two sisters and their wonderful team create. They are born and raised in Southern California (me too!) and are both working mothers. Their vintage-inspired collection is so wearable and feminine, it's hard not to want everything!

Thank you Margaret and Katherine (and Phoebe!) for including me in such a beautiful group of women.

You can read more here or shop their latest collection here.

Photos courtesy of Darcy Hemley

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Laundry Time with Seventh Generation

I grew up in a big family and it seemed like we were alllllllways doing dishes or laundry. We have always practiced doing laundry with the girls since they were around two years old but now Francesca really is good at folding towels, cloth napkins, and washcloths and at least once a week we play something I call the Laundry Game. I say it is a game as I make sure I'm not in a hurry and have factored in extra time for her to knock over a whole pile of folded laundry (which she sometimes does!)

Five minutes before it is time to sit and fold clothes I say:

"Tick-tock goes the clock, 
what does it have to say? 
Five minutes until we 
fold our clothes and put them all away." 

I try to remember that everything I model now ends up making it's way into their future habits. Sitting together to fold the laundry is time together. We can talk to each other and be silly.

I've partnered with Seventh Generation which was a natural, easy fit for me as I use so many of their products. I love their Free & Clear Detergent which is non-toxic, free of optical brighteners, and biodegradable. It's such a clear winner in the sea of colorful, artificially fragranced detergents out there.

Photos by Darcy Hemley 

This is a sponsored post. I only post about products that I also gladly purchase myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gathre The Good

I was recently asked by Marilee from Gathre, the maker behind the lovely leather playmat below, to answer some questions for her #GathreTheGood series. It was such a treat to sit and reflect on her questions.

As an added bonus, they are generously offering my reader a chance to win a Midi Mat in any color. We have been taking our Blush Maxi everywhere with us and I plan to leave it in my car all summer for impromptu adventures!

To enter, simply leave a comment on my Instagram post telling me what most want to do during the summer and follow Gathre on Instagram as well. I will be announcing a winner next Wednesday, June 22nd.

Thanks for having me Marilee!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

desert dreams

We took our first family road trip to Scottsdale, Arizona on Mother's Day this year. I have traveled so much with the girls by plane (and train) but have been hesitant to be in the car with them for too long. I don't know what I was waiting for, we had such a great trip!

Some highlights of our three night stay:

The alphabet game in the car and Francesca's favorite "I spy with my little eye..." We also brought Eeboo's Travel Bingo and some fairy lacing cards. 

I brought the girls their favorite books (Elodie read Hoglet the Spineless Hedgehog and The Wishing Chair and Francesca loves the Flicka, Ricka and Dicka series.) I've also mentioned the Mindy Mousekins CD before which holds them both in rapt attention and a new one we tried and loved was the Catwings series by Ursula Le Guin.

The lazy river with grandma and grandpa. We went around this thing about a gazillion times. I wish I had water shoes for Elodie - her little feet got a little scraggly from the bottom of the pool.

We visited Cosanti Gallery in Paradise Valley without the girls on advice from friends but I was actually bummed that I didn't bring Elodie to experience this peaceful place where all of his wonderful array of windbells were on display.

Warm desert nights staying up way too late and watching the lizards run about.

All the desert flowers.

My favorite day was when we packed a picnic lunch and drove to Arcosanti to take the tour and learn all about Paolo Soleri's vision for the future of the environment and architecture. We visited the metal foundry and were lucky enough to catch the bells being poured in bronze and stopped by the ceramics studio as well.

Elodie's amazing dress c/o Natty NY

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

To Rome, with Love (pt. 2)

All roads lead to Rome they say (and when you are in Rome it's impossible to not think of all of the Rome quotes) but somehow, in our family journey, all roads have led back to Rome time and time again. Even when I say goodbye for what I feel might be the last time...I am suddenly back and enveloped by the familiar cobblestone streets, the Stone Pines, the cactus growing out of the side of a building. And then you turn a corner to the Pantheon - one of the oldest buildings from Ancient Rome built just after Christ's birth. Being in Rome makes me feel insignificant. It takes the ego out of me which is oddly comforting and humbling for some reason. It is odd that we never really know when it will be the last time and I do not take for granted one moment I have to spend there. 

I first took Michael to Rome in 2007. This was technically our last big hurrah after leaving Brooklyn and moving to California (and then having Elodie a year later.) We had spent three weeks in Spain and then took a cheap flight to Rome. Michael fell in love with the city and the food. It's pretty amazing that we both ended up loving the same city so much. He could have been a die hard fan of Berlin or something (which is a great city but I don't really have an affinity for it the same way I do Rome.) I remember turning the corner and him seeing the Trevi fountain. I love seeing things as if for the first time through my loved one's eyes. 

At any rate, I found myself in Rome. I had almost no time to think or plan for this trip and, apart from a few restaurant recommendations, vowed to let myself be led by my nose. Even if you make no plans, you are bound to end up stumbling across The Palatine Hill or the Trevi fountain. It's impossible to not see a whole lot if you wander around Rome. 

The first day we found ourselves in one of my favorite areas in Central Rome near to Piazza Navona. There is so much to see and do in this area and I always like to duck off and wander the streets around Via dei Coronari. There are loads of great antique and vintage shops and restaurants off Via dei Banchi Nuovi (which turns into Via del Governo Vecchio) and then if you continue across the main Corso Vittorio Emanuele II to Via del Pellegrino and then on to the Campo de' Fiori. 

We came to Rome because Michael was hosting a fantastic photography conference called Way Up North which traditionally takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. They decided to host one in Southern Europe and chose Rome. I wanted to attend a few of the presentations but ended up sleeping in late and spending time walking around the city. We were able to have dinner with friends a few nights and I even had time to pop up to Florence to see my friend Jora (I'll try to post photos from that lovely day soon.) In the early evening I would head back to write and rest before joining Michael and our friends for dinner. 

Our first evening we arrived super late and were lucky enough to get a table at Da Armando al Pantheon. We were sitting next to some Italian officials who had brought a lucite pyramid with a piece of the moon in it. They were drinking wine and handling the pyramid with surgical gloves. It was so strange to be on the same square as the 129 AD Pantheon with a group of Italians that had a moon rock that was probably thousands of years older than even that building. 

Another favorite place we share is the Villa Borghese Gardens. On our last visit we visited the Villa and then hung around the park for a few hours. This time, we rented bikes and cruised around. It was Sunday so there were so many people just lazing about or playing soccer with their kids. I dream about this place. It has my favorite tree in the world (the Stone Pine) and is a place I meditate on often. I couldn't help but wish the girls were with me as there are so many fun things for children to do at this park. I told the girls all about the playground and the puppet show. I can't wait to take them.

The next day I walked from Sant' Eustachio where I had an espresso to Trastevere. Yes, I know that it is a bit touristy but it is on a stunning square and I always like to stop in. Heading towards Trastevere, I stopped for some amazing pizza to-go at Roscioli Forno near Campo de' Fiori. Normally you pay for your food/drink first and then give the ticket to the server but in this instance they have to weigh your pizza so choose it first and then pay. 

Speaking of Roscioli Forno, we also ate dinner at the Salumeria Roscioli which was wonderful and well worth making a reservation. The wine list is insane and the sommelier brought us a wine from Southern Italy that he described as from a salty beach. I fell in love instantly and was able to order some to bring home with me. In general, I loved Katie Parla's Rome food recommendations and found her blog to be quite helpful. 

If you aren't staying in the Trastevere area than I highly recommend that you at least visit it for lunch or dinner. All the really amazing, innovative food seems to be happening outside of the Centro Storico in Testaccio and Trastevere (and probably elsewhere to but I only had four days so forgive me.) I spent time with lunch and a book at Da Enzo al 29 and then headed back across the Tiber river and had gelato at Tiberino.

Nights were filled with walks to the Colosseum and aperitifs with friends. We wondered the streets into the wee hours and really tried to soak it all up. 

There are so many places in the world I want to visit but I secretly hope that I find myself back here, sooner than later, with the girls. I took a piece of amethyst that I have been carrying around these last few months and chucked it into a secret spot at the Roman Forum. I watched a mother and her teenage daughter pause for a moment to look at their map and orient themselves and I just can't help but hope that I get a chance to do that with Elodie and Francesca when they are older. Maybe, since things rarely change in Rome, my little amethyst will be there waiting for us.