Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Scenes From a Weekend

A spontaneous overnighter in the desert to watch our favorite local band play Pappy and Harriet's this past Saturday in our best attempt to break up the bleak streak of these dim January weekends. A full 24 Hours we spent holed up in that handsome little airstream, cleaned up and reworked, watching the sunsets paint a cactus dotted skyline hot pink from our window seat, and the slow roll of childless camping reminding us of just how easy life was 12 years ago, before the boys. When we could decide on a whim to have dinner out, or nap in the middle of the afternoon, as opposed to what camping has become today - a revolving toss of scolding, feeding, washing, arming, dressing and rearming. Hard but always worth it. Filthy but freeing. And still the very best way I can think to unleash four boys onto the world without the threat of real destruction at your doorstep. 

We drank, we ate, hung with friends and rambled around that weird flea market in the morning where we scored four records for a dollar and me an old flannel lined Wrangler jacket far warmer than it looks. 

Exactly what we needed. To get away and recharge in the cold crisp air of that sweet Joshua Tree flat spot. Which we promised to head back to before winter's end. Next time, bearing the whole crew in tow.











Saturday, January 7, 2017

Interiors

I've written here before in regards to my own personal dilemmas with Woody Allen and his films as well as engaged in many conversations on the topic with others, friends, who love his work the way I do but have taken a respected stance to not support him by forsaking viewership of anything he releases. I've done the same, up until recently anyway, when I realized how much I miss (in specific) Diane Keaton in these movie roles. In giving up his work I was giving her up her work too and I couldn't help how much I missed watching her in these old movies. Last night I caved. I had never seen Interiors in it's entirety. A bleak, Freudian tinged portrait of a family faltering alongside a mentally ill mother, a roving father, and the complicated bond between three grown sisters who are all juggling their own life issues, stuck with the kinds of resentments that plague adult children still harboring life long jealousies.  

The movie is slow and melancholy in tone. The colors are soothing and the wardrobe and interior design is neutral and alluring but the end of it left me feeling incredibly heavy and sad. Probably the last thing I needed to watch in the midst of my regular January blues settling in during a month I like least, where the weather and timing always tends to get me down. 

Though I did enjoy this little footnote on youtube detailing 10 things we "didn't know" about Interiors. And on the bright side the film did inspire me to dust off the old turtleneck collection. In fact I'm wearing one now as I type. 

Next up though, something lighter. 
Something funny. After that last ocean scene I could surely use it. 






Friday, January 6, 2017

Currently





Obsessed with this little charcoal face scrub my friend sent me as a gift last week. Also available on Amazon with rave reviews attached. I've only been using it for a few days but so far I'd say it's living up to the hype.

Inspired by the super simplistic Tasty recipes I've been book marking on Facebook since deciding after the new year to dedicate this season to more regular cooking endeavors. I know Tasty is nothing new on the scene but I'm guilty of ignoring these handy videos for way too long so once I sat down and gave them a chance - choosing which ones to tackle first I was hooked. Now I'm wondering how I ever managed to feed anyone before them. So much fun!
Here's a handful of what I've made so far with some salmon and shrimp dishes on menu for next week:

Delicious Sweet Fries
Parchment Baked Chicken
Mediterranean Salad
Pesto Chicken

Proud of my friends Kate and Ellen for debuting the most beautiful new site dedicated to documenting the renovation of their latest airstream project, and downsizing in general, and tips on how to make the jump towards living smaller and with less "stuff." Which most of us could use a hard lesson in right? I watched their podcast last night and it was just what I needed to dust of my own inspirations in regards to our own two trailers. One of which will become a second home should we sell our house before summer. Anyway, check it out!

Gearing Up For 

Smitten with this tour of Virginia Woolf's home

Considering living in these pants through Spring

Dodging all requests for another round of Pie Face - dual edition that the boys got for Christmas - at least until next week. Because my counter tops need a break.

Wearing these thermal onesies I bought on sale last week. When it dips below 65 I can't, get, out, of 'em.

Enjoying my return to The Ma Books. I took a brief hiatus from all social media until I could catch my breath after the holidays and it's been so nice to get back and find new voices and story submissions in my email. Torunn Kim's resolutions (which I posted yesterday) is especially great if you haven't yet read it.

Watching Mr. Robot - a series I picked semi randomly after a slew of quality recommendations came in last weekend while I was sick in bed pondering where to sink my poor stinging sight into. If you're running short on shows - read through this post's comment section and jot down like 20. *also, I have to confess that in spite of all the hype happening right now I think OA ended very badly. It left me frustrated and essentially killed the whole vibe of the show for me. Anyone else?



- Photo of the Modern Caravan pulled from their site.

Best of The Web / An Award

When I first read the email from Red Tricycle congratulating my blog for winning "Most Influential Parenting Blog" on a national category in their Totally Awesome Awards, I was at first delighted but then ultimately intimidated by it. Maybe more so the title? An honor by all means considering how any people vote in this thing, but also a solid reason to give pause and wonder what it is I'm actually "influencing..." Everything I know about my writing and social sharing - by now - tells me that the second I start to think too hard about these spaces I keep, or question what it is I seek to gain from a public account of my life as a mother essentially offers new reason for paralyzing responses. In other words, I won the award and stopped writing in reaction to it. Which is pretty silly right?

The thing is I've never thought of myself as a great photographer or writer for that matter, so whenever I tend to question my online "appeal" I start second guessing it all and tend to want to retreat instead of expand. All I am sure of, however, is that the more honest I am the more rewarding it's been and after six full years of sharing on this blog space I still genuinely like being here. Even if my time these days doesn't fully support it like it did in the beginning. When I started, I had three boys under the age of five and couldn't physically leave the house much at all so this outlet became a saving grace as a main portal to the outside world. Now, on the rare occasion we are home - the list of do-tos always threatens to topple any desire to write. A luxury at times I have to fight myself for. These days I do what I can when I can. Accepting that my topics and opinions, emotions and tones can shift and falter, dissolve and break, all depending on the month so long as I still enjoy putting forth a voice dedicated to both the perils of raising kids and the highlights that come attached to the daily grind, in this little interboon all my own. And while I don't think I've ever offered much in way of valuable parental advice or answers here, and likely never will, I do feel honored that the soul of this whole endeavor has transpired the way it has. That people come and find something worth their while to sit and read or reflect on through the week. That what started as a loyal readership based solely on the handful of friends who dropped by in the beginning to keep up with a friend's family they know and liked, has grown into something close to 35,000 monthly subscribers from all over the world - a few of which felt moved enough to take time out and vote us in. And for that, in what this award represents, I am most grateful for.

Thank you for reading, voting, supporting.
And thank you, Red Tricycle, for the good honor bestowed.

With love,
J




Photo By Ashely Jennett

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hashtag "songs that make you just as happy as they did when you where 12."



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

San Francisco

This past holiday season, more so than any other before it showed little mercy in way of rest or recovery. December is always brutal for us but this time it arrived far more ruthless and proved early on that it promised to be entirely consuming in every aspect imaginable. Not that we could help that. The circumstances this year especially heavy with the grief of my best friend's father passing in addition to the aftermath she was dealing with following the funeral where our door became a revolving host welcoming other friends from out of town too. The bunch of us managed to squeeze in some genuine "good times" in midst of fresh heartache. Like only old friends can do. Late nights out back by the fire bundled in wool blankets, endless snacking washed down with wine and whiskey cocktails in the kitchen (where we tend to gather by habit on such occasions) Last minute shopping in the rain, long drives and favorites songs of our youth on stereo. Sleep overs and disco dance parties with a house full of kids in the living room. All the best parts of a hard, hectic month where we decided (rather recklessly upon a cold Sunday hangover) just as we started to see light at the end of the tunnel - the whirlwind of December finally coming to a close, the always stressful push of our last orders shipping out in the same week that we host our annual Christmas party, and Arlo's birthday - that getting out of town for a few days never sounded better.

Up north made the most sense. Jessica and her wife were headed there already for a family gathering so a scenic road trip instead of a straight shot train ride made the most sense. We choose San Fransisco seeing how it was only a couple hours from her grandmother's house where we needed to drop her (and six bins of old family photos) in time for Christmas Eve and the idea of a big city decked out in seasonal gear was obviously appealing. And while the thought of three ladies and four boys wedged inside a giant van crowded with luggage, strollers, heirlooms and snacks sounds like a recipe for a holiday movie plot disaster, it ended up shockingly the exact opposite. The kind of road trip that tricks you into thinking you can take on the country at some point in that trusty Econoline so long as the music is right and the kids all this well behaved. Icing on the cake being wide open roads the entire 8 hour stretch reminding us of a time before non stop freeway constructions and clogged L.A traffic ailed every mile of every adventure we seek to secure. That, above all, was most possibly my favorite part.

In the city we checked into the Sheraton in Fisherman's Warf which is conveniently nestled within walking distance to all the great tourist spots which meant we were able to devour clam chowder all hours of the day whenever the craving struck, watch skateboarders (whom the boys claim to recognize as You Tube heros) slice around the streets, mixed with the homeless guys (whom the boys - at a certain point - had handed over "too many" of my loose dollars because of their new, sweet knowledge of the notion "without home" now in tact) and were able to wander around a gorgeous antique arcade, sip hot lattes in the freezing cold, hitch a ferry boat into Sausalito to have lunch at Pogios where Ben, Jessica's cousin resides as executive chef, return to the city to catch a trolly car to Union Square where we ran into Santa (yay!) made the long (painful) trek at a 90 degree incline all the way to The Fairmont to have dinner with Jessica's aunt and end a late, exhausting night at a warm welcoming bar called "Sweeny's" where we toasted the new year approaching and high jacked the jukebox before coming back to the hotel to collapse with sore legs and weary eyes.

The photos here, admittedly don't do the trip much justice. Like all of December, the real magic remains in the memories we made. And for that, all the rest we struggled through those few weeks, feels pretty damn worth it.





Post Footnotes:

- One of the main attractions was seeing the Full House house, which doesn't look anything like what we remember from the old sitcom. And poor Rex was heart broken to learn that Michelle (whom he was hoping might want to come out and "Play") is actually two 20 something year old billionaires existing in Google images who both reside in NY, and not in the cute white house we drove all the way there to visit.

- We didn't do Alcatraz because it never interests me, but one day I swear.

- Listened to THIS song too many times to count. Which Hayes was very grateful for.

- Found nothing but good things here

- Arrived JUST in time to experience the ricotta topped with fresh truffles served as the lunch special that day, in addition to all kinds of exotic Italian dishes prepared for us by Ben at Poggios

- Was sorely disappointed by the cold welcome we received at the General Store where I figured I might tie up the last of my shopping - or buy myself that cute white hat I've been eyeing - but was sadly turned off by the staff on site who are either legitimately disinterested in your presence, or just victims to the area's pretentious nature being embraced openly as acceptable means of civility. *I was scolded in the coffee shop next door, for taking a photo of my kid drinking a hot chocolate at the bar which prompted a stern warning from a dude with a beard in indigo over shirt who informed me that while I was "allowed" to take photos in there, I had to ask the Batista's permission if they were in frame (which they weren't, because, like I said - all focus on my cute boy downing his stupid overpriced hot chocolate in the single photo I dared snap with my camera) Needless to say, our time in that corner of the city was brief and could have easily been avoided altogether with sharper knowledge.

- Laughed alongside a grip of German tourists who all requested photos with Leon and walked away with same kind of delight that comes with snagging a selfie with your favorite celebrity. Of which I would argue Leon is still cooler than. But then again, that's mom talking. . .