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A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

Good morning from a very exhausted mom with two under two. We recently welcomed our second daughter, Ellis Anne (Ellie), into the world only 20 months after we met our first daughter, Evelyn Elizabeth (Libby). In January 2015, I had some plans for the new year. I had big plans to start this blog, find a new apartment (remember this) and take on a big project at work. I also had little plans to get really into yoga and start washing my hair more often.

Two years later, I have two little girls, a new job and a new outlook on life. My hair is still dirty and I’m pretty sure I lost my yoga mat during our move. The blogging thing didn’t really work out either. And I’m incredibly grateful.

I hope you’ll follow along as I try to start blogging again. Let’s take the time to read our babies an extra bedtime story tonight, and have a glass of wine in the good glasses that have to be hand-washed. We’ll start fresh again tomorrow. Photos were taken during a recent trip to Texas.

Snow Days and Nights

Snow Days and Nights

Snow nights are more fun than snow days. These are the nights when you have an inkling that your office will be closed the following day so you order the extra glass of bubbles at a tiny fireplace bar (just knowing you’ll get to sleep in after getting the office closure email on your BlackBerry at any moment…around 3am, while you’re still out wearing fur and cashmere). Our snow night looked a little different this year, but it was just as fabulous (and so much more restful).

Stephen and I spent our snow night playing with Hudson in central park followed by champagne and tortilla soup, while we watched the news coverage about the storm. The lights didn’t go out, but I kept most of the lights turned off and lit candles to add to the drama of the storm (I’ve been known to be a bit dramatic). Here are a handful of my favorite photos we took during the storm:

When the wine shop is fresh out of chilled bottles, sometimes you get a brilliant idea on the walk home…

 

Here are a couple of pretty pictures of central park…

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Warning to all snowmen: Hudson will eat your limbs when you least expect it (and his parents will take photos of it). See below photo of Hudson chewing on a stick, which was once a leg.

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Here is a photo of Hudson surveying the damage (the leash and the hand-me-down jacket don’t match, but it’s never that easy)…Thank you to Kate (and Winston) for the snow vest. It’s still our favorite.

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Thank you NYC for the snow storm – we had the best snow day (and snow night). Hoping for one more blizzard this winter. We’ll see. Until then…goodnight, New York. Back to work tomorrow. Xx.

Toodles: Beverly The Neighbor

Toodles: Beverly The Neighbor

If you want to get weird looks from your friends in NYC, tell them you talk to your neighbors. If you want those looks to get really weird, tell them you’re actually friends with your neighbors.

Meet Beverly, one of my neighbors (and friends)…

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Oh, and meet her son Jake. He is home from college, so he joined in on the fun. Have you ever seen such fabulous red hair in your life? It’s even better in person.

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The night I walked down the hall to chat with Beverly she had a full house already (in her one bedroom apartment). Her son Jake, his girlfriend, his buddy that works down the street and a friend’s dog were sitting together in the living room. I offered to come back another time, and Beverly responded with, “Come in! There is always room for one more person.” She says that’s been her motto since moving into the building [many, many years ago].


 

BEVERLY, NEIGHBOR (DOWN THE HALL)

What do you enjoy most about living in NYC? I love the electricity of the city. I’m from North Carolina. I moved to New York City for the excitement and adventure. I love the diversity and the energy that’s right outside your doorstep.

What is one thing you always have in your refrigerator? Wild Arugula

What is the one beauty product you cannot live without? Kiehl’s Vitamin C

Do you have any specific memories that stick out about living in this building for so many years? Oh yes, there are so many memories. This building and this neighborhood are like a little small town. We all know the name of the mailman and the UPS man. You see the same faces around the block and at the coffee shop. New York is a very friendly place.

Was it difficult to have a baby and raise a son in the city (and in this apartment)? No, it was great. Jake had a nanny that lived with us for 11 years. She is still our friend and part of our family. I’m the godmother to her grandchild. We just had dinner with her a week or so ago. He would meet a friend on the 4th floor and walk to school with her in the mornings. It was easier than loading everyone up in a station wagon in the suburbs. I’ve never considered moving.

There is an entertaining/events element to this blog, so any fun memories of NY events or parties you can share? Yes, I had a black tie Caribbean themed birthday party one year at a fancy hotel, with a steel drum band and a Caribbean menu; that was neat. And for a few years, the neighbor over there (points) was a makeup artist for Georgette Klinger – he’d do my makeup before events. Now I get my makeup done across the street at Bergdorfs. (Beverly also works at BG selling evening gowns – isn’t that fabulous?).

That’s amazing… Yes, I love New York. You can be at a fancy dinner at a beautiful, new restaurant and then decide it’s time to go downtown to a grungy bar and listen to a friend’s kid play in a band all in one night. It’s great.

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Thanks for having us over, Beverly and Jake! We are going to miss being your neighbor!

Let it Snow

Let it Snow

The first snow of the year is always exciting in New York City, but when you live in a city where that remarkable snow tends to last until late February (and sometimes March), it is always nice to get a little vitamin D before you start getting those “is it still cold up there” texts from your friends and family in the south.

 

We spent a week walking the beach, drinking syrupy drinks during the day and good wine at night. We finished a few books and more than a few bottles of spray sunscreen.

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This trip is just what we needed to prepare for the long awaited, long lasting winter in the northeast.

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I love having a little sand in my suitcase from beach vacations; it is like finding cash or your favorite lipstick in the pocket of an old jacket.

With months of jacket season ahead of us, I look forward to making soups, staying in, watching old movies and listening to cozy tunes with my boys. Stay warm, y’all.

Trees Tourists Tips

Trees Tourists Tips

Manhattan is magical this time of year. The storefronts are romantically draped with fresh garland (my favorite), the air is excitingly chilly and the sidewalks are full of tourists. Yesterday, Hudson and I met a close blogger friend at the Nomad Hotel Library Bar to discuss starting this blog.

Thank you to the fabulous staff at the NoMad for allowing Huddy to relax next to the tree. I’m not totally sure this is a dog friendly space, but look at that face.

Hudson’s good looks can charm almost anyone, but the toughest to charm are NYC Taxi Drivers. Oftentimes, available taxi drivers will refuse to pick up passengers with dogs, and last night, the majority of the cab drivers on 6th Avenue were not interested in stopping for poodles. In the midst of our struggle to find a cab, Hudson and I ended up walking through Harold square and found ourselves trapped in a cluster of tourists waiting at a crosswalk. During our wait at the crosswalk, I heard a tourist ask her friend “How do you grocery shop? How do you get your dry cleaning? How do you think people live here?”

Every New Yorker knows that the answer to almost every question in New York is…DELIVERY. Anything and everything can be delivered. Really, almost anything. Even Christmas trees.

Stephen and I got our first real Christmas tree this year. We simply walked down the block, found this beautiful Fraser Fir from Canada, pointed, posed and paid.

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We then directed the delivery guy (who was quite strong and showing off a bit) to our apartment. Christmas tree delivery guys are getting a lot of attention this year. Read this.

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While most delivery in NYC is advertised as “free,” it is always appropriate to tip. Memorize the expected tip percentages listed in this article to avoid any confusion. Stephen and I keep a small stash of tipping bills (and laundry quarters) on the counter next to the door to the apartment.

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We ended our evening with a little celebration in honor of our first real Christmas tree, which smells fantastic, by the way. Cheers!

A Seat At The Table

A Seat At The Table

For Manhattanites, a dining room table in an apartment is a rarity. Most of us don’t have the space to entertain at home, and while I am no exception, I am always up for throwing a little party.

 

When I agreed to host 10 people for Thanksgiving dinner this year, my first concern was space and seating. I made a phone call to  the office services department at work, and they kindly agreed to let me borrow a (very heavy) folding table. A few days before thanksgiving, Stephen met me at work and rolled the table all the way down 6th Avenue to our apartment. Isn’t he a prince? Did you know that finding a good guy in the city can be harder than finding a good table? Love you, Stephen!

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In anticipation of the arrival of the beer pong folding table from work, I’d been collecting pretties for the table. My favorite table accessory this thanksgiving were the huge acorns I picked up in my Grammy’s front yard during a weekend trip to East Texas. I wonder how often the airport security people see carry-on bags full of acorns?

Here is a photo of my table the day before thanksgiving. You’ll notice the candles on the table have been lit to remove the look of an unlit wick. Candles in your home should never show an unused wick. Make a point to light your candles just to blacken the wick when you put them on the table, and always wait until it is time for dinner to light the candles. Candles are only used on tables for meals served after sundown, but you already knew that.

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I am sure you can imagine my excitement when it was finally time to light the candles, and pour everyone the first sip of Beaujolais Nouveau. Typically, you should wait until your guests are seated at the table to pour the wine. Unfortunately, we were dealing with very limited space, and I knew that reaching over heads to pour red wine would end in a disaster. Plus, I confirmed with all guests that they were willing to toast with a little swill of the first grapes of the season.

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Our guests took turns squeezing in our tiny kitchen to load their plates with traditional thanksgiving goodies. Each guest was assigned a dish to bring to the party. Stephen and I provided the turkey and the  pre-dinner punch.

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Regardless of where you’re hosting your next dinner party, don’t forget the importance of setting the table, and no matter what happens during your party, you should be having fun! Party disasters make great stories and can actually be quite glamorous – remember this famous NY party?

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