April Did Happen

Fast and slow are inseparable.  Each day is eternity that passes too quickly.  April did happen.  My niece became a teenager.  My parents did celebrate 55 years of marriage.  My husband and I marked our 12th anniversary.  There are the milestones that braise the edges of a holding pattern. A holding pattern that has worn out its welcome.  A holding pattern that has no confirmed/hard/absolute end in sight.  An end will be more subtle.  Just today I heard some counties in the Bay Area may allow golf, tennis and gardening.  Will there be summer school in smaller groups?  Is summer cancelled?  Will school start earlier? I don’t dare share that with my ten-year-old distance learner. Who slogs through remote learning with mostly a smile, but not every day.

April happened.  Easter happened.  It did not really feel like Easter.  Spring break happened – I guess, technically.

To protect myself from depression I disconnect a bit from the reality of quarantine.  Or am I just getting comfortable with being home?  I am not naturally a homebody.  I still act like I am still living in a New York apartment.  Unless I am ill, a two hour stretch during the day is a long time to find me at home before I find an errand to run, leave for a meeting or take a walk.  When this started my husband was most worried about me.  He is a homebody and even he started feeling trapped the first official weekend.  I wrote in my last blog post (51 days ago!) about our voluntary shelter in place the weekend before this all happened.  The LA Marathon makes getting around tough and even the day before we were just not compelled to go out to dinner given the impending virus.  Little did we know it was our last chance for a while, a long while — 50 days in quarantine to be exact.

The reality of quarantine hits me every time the stated/official deadline is moved/moves later.  Is this really happening?  Time is held in a temporary status as if life will resume right where it was before.  Well it won’t return there and should not.  This is a time of reflection and edit.  Physical edits; my closet, the pantry, the kitchen and the toy room.  Relationship edits; more phone and Zoom time with people I did not see that often. An edit of my beauty routine; more detox baths and masks and no makeup.  The more important edit happening in my head is what will I bring back “out there”.  I’ve achieved a level of appreciation for little things coupled with even less patience for nonsense.  Things that don’t serve me or my family need to go.  We are crafting a new way to live while in this waiting room.

What did happen in April?   Most days I don’t feel like I accomplished much.  I suspect it’s more than I realize.  Here is April in a few numbers.

I finished eleven books and started one more.  The list is a mix of light reads, heavier reads and one kid’s book. I have caught up on various book club lists, thanks to The Stripe.  My own book club read was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  I enjoyed them all.  The writing in Manhattan Beach was extraordinary and I will admit I used the dictionary feature in my kindle more than once.  I love when that happens.  Here is that list in the order I finished them with links.

The Idea of You, Robinne Lee

The Other Mrs., Mary Kubica

Untamed, Glennon Doyle

The Jetsetters, Amanda Eyre Ward

In Five Years, Rebecca Serle

Do You Mind If I Cancel?: (Things That Still Annoy Me), Gary Janetti

Billionaire Boy, David Walliams

The Dinner List, Rebecca Serle

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford

Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan

The Light We Lost, Jill Santo-polo

I just started The Beautiful Fall:  Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris. Alicia Drake. Thanks to Marquis Paris for the recommendation.

Over 200 miles cycled on the Peloton.  Reached my;  300th ride,  50th walk and more importantly my 100th stretch milestone.  My goal is to add more stretching, foam rolling and strength training to the cardio.

Prepared 90 breakfasts, 90 lunches and 88 dinners (two curbside pickups)

Scored eight Whole Foods deliveries on Amazon and three Fresh (including toilet paper – I felt like to won the lottery).  I did not track the number of times I tried to get a delivery window, but I am sure it is close to 100.

Prepared 16 daily homeschool schedules on the white board and helped with homework, writing, and practice spelling tests (Of late we mirror the iPad to the TV and take the test with the iPad pencil)

Baked six batches of my favorite cookies (recipe and tips and tricks here), two batches of brownies (one in the shape of bunnies for Easter), two sour cream pound cakes, the best croissants you can order here and proof and bake at home, four batches of Belgian waffles (my favorite mix), and three batches of ricotta pancakes.

The baking and the Pelotoning reached a magic equilibrium that have left the scale unchanged. As one of my favorite instructors says “You can’t outrun a bad diet”.  Quarantine 2.0 will include a transformation if I can just leave the baked goods alone and the chips and the popcorn.

Watched eight James Bonds films for family movie nights that included 5 of the 6 actors who played Bond.  Sean Connery is still my favorite and my 10 year old’s as well, but I have to admit Daniel Craig is suited for the part and I can’t wait until we get to see him again whenever No Time to Die makes to the theater.  It’s hard to imagine sitting in a theater, with strangers, ever again.

Taken two Improv classes on ZOOM and performed in one show with more to come.  I feel like I am fulfilling my childhood dream of being on ZOOM on PBS, kind of.

Completed two puzzles.  The last one was a 1000-piece collage of Andy Warhol selfies.  My family begged me to take a break.  They wanted me or more likely the dining room table back.  The reading also took a hit that week.

I guess April did happen; I am tired just thinking about it.

In the name of editing here are a few things I did NOT do in April:

Buy a tie-dye sweat suit (I can’t do it.  I feel like I will never look at tie-dye the same again)

Bake sourdough bread (though I want to and have the perfect pan)

Post on Tik-Tok, but I have spent too much time watching and I did make the Dalgona coffee (too sweet!)

Buy this bag I am coveting.  I had just ordered this one (my third in this style) and have yet to leave the house with it.  I treated myself to this one when I visited Parker Thatch in person on my last (for who knows how long) vacation in February.  I did order several of their masks and the cootie stick is next on my list.

Get a fun mani to commemorate my anniversary like this one or this one. My nails and hair are barely hanging on.  My color is being saved from total disaster by alternating this mask with this one. And yes I now wash and dry my own hair!  Thank goodness for this blow dryer.  I am considering this tool as well.

Get dressed each day other than in PJs, workout wear or loungewear.  I did add to my arsenal with this workout bra in grey leopard, these favorite socks and these leggings that I reach for over and over.  I also bought a second pair of my favorite kicks for the treadmill and only wear them indoors.

Happy Quarantining and Editing.





Shelter in Place

I shelter in place at least once a year with my family for the LA Marathon.  We know we are trapped by road closures and rather than fight it, we embrace it.  We make lists of housebound activities we can accomplish and enjoy our family time.  This past weekend we did just that.  The current climate and COVID-19 fears have given us pause and allowed us to question and limit unnecessary travel and expenses.  It’s a good thing to do regardless of the threat.

In the past year we have had other non-voluntary opportunities to shelter in place.  In the fall we evacuated during the Los Angeles fires for a day and then returned to our home and were in the “be ready to evacuate zone” for several days.  My son and I found activities around the house including emptying our walk-in pantry and giving it our best The Home Edit makeover (their book is so helpful).  I am not a hoarder, but it’s easy for things to get forgotten on high shelves.  He lost interest in the project about 80% through, but for a then 9-year old I thought that was pretty good. The bins pictured below made our shelves so much more user friendly.  I did not spring for the labels and chalk pen right away, but they are what made the pantry easy for everyone in the family to use while maintaining the organization.

During the LA Marathon the list activities included a closet refresh, baseball card organization , building a pillow fort and making soup. My son collects trading cards for baseball and football.  I unearthed my own collection that was in a bin in the garage.  I spent a lot of time with a baseball fan in the late 80s and early 90s.  Collecting cards and getting to know the players was how I kept it interesting.  When we went through the bag of cards and started to put them into their sleeves (if you have a collector in your house these are the best option). We found Charlie’s Angels cards, Bay City Rollers cards and a business card of mine from when I first started my job in New York in 1999.  My son was excited to find things from the last century.  They must have been added to the bag of baseball cards when something else was cleaned out.  It got me thinking about the balance of clearing the clutter while preserving memories. It was fun to look back and a bit daunting to see “The Angels on a Cruise” given the current state of cruises and travel with COVID-19.


I continue to evaluate all non-essential travel and expenses and I have decided I have actually been awarded the time and space to clear the clutter and preserve memories and bond with my son even if we do argue about how to categorize the cards (year, brand, color of the border, team. etc.)

The future may hold more sheltering in place. I am ready to view it as an opportunity. We are making a project list and also thinking about ways to incorporate learning in the event that school is closed. My closet is an ongoing project (these are my favorite hangers in navy).

Here’s  to finding opportunities in stressful times.



Something to Blog About

I have been thinking about praise and self-promotion of late.  It is the part of blogging I find most challenging. Originally, I envisioned my blog as simple, not particularly revelatory; shoes and nail art with stories interwoven. However, in my quest to monetize my musings I added too much about me.  I need to get out of the picture.  It’s not because I don’t like the way I look.  There are other reasons.

Logistics.  I can photograph my shoes and manicures myself. I like the challenge and restrictions that this requires.  It reminds me of black and white photography. 

Digital Citizenship.  I want my son to live as much of his life “offline” as possible. I need to model this, so I tried to not work on my blog or post to instagram in front of him when he was younger. 

Privacy. I never lived my whole life online, but even the amount that I did encroached on my family’s privacy.   My now 10-year-old has a voice about what he is comfortable with online and I am listening.

I started the blog after working full time plus for the first five years of my 10-year-old’s life. I wanted to be present and make up for all the time I’d missed with my son but needed something to call my own.  The full-time working days left me exhausted with little time for selfcare (other than blowouts and occasional workouts) or any type of balance.  Work was mostly a physical place far away due to miles and traffic, but when I was with my son, I was very present.    Of course, work crept into my life, but blogging is a lifestyle and ultimately one that did not work for me or my family, at least not in the way it had evolved.  

While I was on my blog hiatus, I injured my foot and that sent me on an odyssey of healing that exhausted my patience.  I could not wear cute shoes nor get my steps in for more than nine months. After my family and friends, walking and shoes are the loves of my life.   Being separated from those loves was hard on me and everyone around me. 

I’m healed. I am so much better that I entered the lottery for the New York Marathon.  I have never run more than six miles in a day — and that was a few years ago… in college.    It’s the 50th anniversary of the race.  I felt like that would be the ultimate expression of my resilience and recovery. I have watched my husband cross the finish line a few times and I want to be the one to cross the finish line.   Ultimately, I realize that it is more than I need right now and the risk of injury is too high.  I pulled out of the lottery the day before.

Last weekend I celebrated my 200th ride with Peloton.  We got the bike right before I was put in a boot due to a secondary injury to the same foot.  My doctor said I could ride the bike low impact (no standing) as long as I went from the boot to the bike shoes. My 200th ride was not my highest output, I did not break a personal record, but I did a live ride with a smile on my face.  When I joined the live ride I saw a friend and former boss on the leaderboard.  My lesson was to not compete (not that I had any chance, I must take a look at his regime) but to enjoy, watch my heart rate and finish the ride.  While I was riding my husband came in with a sign similar to the one Peloton makes for you if ride in a showroom (I celebrated my 100th ride with a ride in a showroom complete with balloons and a welcome to the Century Club).

I am back on the blog page, back on the bike and perhaps most importantly back in Tamara Mellon and Jimmy Choo (flats only… for now).   If you watch my stories on instagram you will see they have replaced the sneakers that were my constant companion for the last year. 

Here’s to getting back on the bike, the page and in the shoes.




September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

Eighteen years later it feels different  Each year has been different.  I was distracted briefly by a foot injury and the recent acquisition of a boot.  I had carpool duty today where I was opening doors for arriving cars.  I considered asking someone to trade with me, but today of all days is about resilience.  In prior years, I would worry that I might be in tears all morning and let’s face it that would be a terrible way to greet elementary school children as they leave their parents and come to school. I did not cry, well at least not at carpool.

So upward and onward I went up the hill to my post walking slowly with my boot behind my son when I am usually the one outpacing him.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  It is how I woke up today.  There is heartbreak too, but I was a lucky one that day.  I just missed a subway (I wrote about that here if you would like more of the story).  Today I am grateful.  Grateful that I have carpool duty, a beautiful family and a beautiful life.  It is still a beautiful life even with an injured foot or an argument about how to study for a spelling test or an argument with my husband.  I have a beautiful life and for that I am grateful, especially today.

I am sending a big hug to New York, especially to all those who lost somebody they love.



I have also written about September 11, 2001 here, here and here. I am currently writing historical fiction about the event.

A pause on the way to the garage

“But I’m not finished with it yet.” sighs my son as my husband is hauling it to the garage.

“You are too big for this. The other table will be much better in the playroom. We can play games at it.” he responds.

“Why don’t we leave it there for a few days. “I suggest pointing to the Pottery Barn kids table as it rests in front of the fireplace.

“I’m just putting it in the garage. It’s not going to the thrift shop, yet.” my husband protests.

“Things go to the garage to die! You put some of my stuffed animals in plastic bags!” my son yells.

“Let’s agree to enjoy the table here for a while.” I suggest.

The cafe size table was moved from the guest room to the play room to make way for the Peloton. As busy parents, we realized we just could not fit in exercise like we used to. Most of our courtship involved spinning and yoga classes. After just a few days, the whole family has enjoyed the Peloton. My son favors the scenic rides and has changed his mind about the location of next year’s decade birthday trip.

The next thing I know my son unearths the Janod breakfast set that we used for weekend breakfasts in my bed along with discussions about the week when I worked as a COO. It is the one toy that I want to keep in my closet (I have finished LEGO projects on the top shelf). He gathers the stuffed animals from his room for breakfast, asks to sit with them for a bit and then joins us at the table to scan the travel section of the paper for his next destination.

A wise mom with older boys recently posted on her Instagram something about how she is always asking her kids to hurry up and really she should have been asking them
to slow down as she cleaned their playroom and looked at their sports pictures. I have continued to think about her words a week later.

I am hitting pause. My husband is ready to part with the table and is worried there will be a playroom franchise in the living room. My son and I need the stuffed animal farewell breakfast for a few more days.

Plaid Tidings

Plaid Tidings!  Happy Holidays!

I have taken what has turned into an extended break on the blog and nail art.  But…It would not be the holidays without a little holiday nail art.  In fact, it was one little plaid nail three years ago that turned my ballet slippers loving self into a nail art fan.  While this year has flown by it seems like a both a second ago and a long time ago that I set out on my 30- day no shopping challenge.  It ended up changing the way I approach shopping just as my 30- day clean eating challenge did the year before.  I want to make a similar shift this year, but I am not sure what I want to shift.  I am already scheduled for Elissa Goodman’s SOUP cleanse in January.  While I mediate regularly, I am considering the Unplug 30-day challenge.  I am also considering challenging myself to write everyday for 30 days.  I have been working on a couple of projects that could use a bit more consistency.

I will report back soon.

Enjoy the end of the year.  Best wishes for a joyful 2018!

See other holiday mani ideas here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.




“When can I have a suit?” I ask my mom as we are picking up my Dad’s newly altered three-piece suit.

“Someday.  You are eight years old.” she replies.

“I can’t wait.  I am going to have the coolest suits when I am the boss.”

“You can be ANYTHING you want to BE and you certainly have boss characteristics.” she says with a smile.

Many years and many suits later, I did become a boss.  I wore suits in a time when pantsuits were not only frowned upon but strongly discouraged by my first employer.  I wore skirt suits and had to keep a constant supply of hosiery in my desk to address the ill-timed and horrifying run.  The uniform was a big part of my feeling of success.  I subscribed to the notion of dressing for the job you want rather than the job you have.

That conversation with my mom empowered me.  Both of my parents encouraged me to work hard and pursue my dreams.

Girls now have even more opportunity even as we all navigate so much anger and frustration with what is going on.

J.Crew has partnered with Girls Inc.

We are thrilled to partner with J.Crew to ensure that more girls have the opportunity to join the Girls Inc. crew and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. With support from J.Crew customers and employees, and through panel events, girls will be encouraged to achieve their highest potential and inspired to be strong, smart, and bold.

  • Judy Vredenburgh, Girls Inc. President & CEO

In honor of Day of the Girl, today, October 11, 2018, J.Crew will donate $5 for every purchase made through jcrew.com.  For me it started with a dream (and a suit).  I am excited to put part of my shopping dollars towards empowering another generation of girls.

Here a few things I am considering in my cart today.

Obviously, these leopard pieces that are part of the Demylee X J. Crew collaboration:

Scarf / Hat / Pants / Jacket/ Dress

I love these two pairs of shoes for the holidays and beyond

Slingback / Mules

It’s a great time to pick up my favorite kicks that I have in three colors and wear all the time.  Yesterday I managed to wear all three with a few outfit changes.

Cheers to the girls!



Statement on Top

“I am putting blinders on.  I only need a dress.” I say to my mom as we head out for a quick shopping trip.  I don’t need anything else.  “Famous last words.” she says under her breath.

We head over the hill and to a relatively large Nordstrom for Los Angeles.  I make a beeline for the dresses and find this one (and it’s navy!).  It fits like a glove, but it is a tad too formal for the event I have in mind.

And then I see them…an amazing selection of statement blouses and it’s hard to choose just one.  Luckily, I find some companion pants on the sale rack (including this amazing dark navy that can play navy or black easily).

I found ensembles for not one, but two events.  A few days later I find this gorgeous blue top (below).  The color is much deeper than the online photos.

Here is what I have been up to lately…

Top (also here) / Pants (on sale!) / Shoes (similar here)

Top / Sunglasses / Sandals (similar here) / Kicks (on sale!) / Denim / Bag (similar here)

Top / Pants (on sale!) / Shoes (similar here)

Happy Shopping!



Mani Monday – Amour Edition

“What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?” asks the tall Dutch man I met earlier in the trip.

“Buy a house.  Get Married.” I respond with confidence even though I don’t even have a boyfriend.

“Why will you marry?” he asks.

“For love.” I respond without even thinking.

He smiles.  “How American.”

“What do you mean?  Why did you marry?” I ask.

“For tax reasons.  I am Dutch and my wife gets a lot out of it.  I love her and our son, but it is not a reason for marriage.”

I take a sip of my beer and turn to the Englishman in the group.

“Don’t ask me,  I am divorced.” he says with a laugh.

It was June 2001.  I was in Portugal traveling alone for a few days before meeting friends for a wedding in England.  I kept running into these two and we ended up getting a drink for my birthday and there was some dancing.

Less than seven years later I did marry for love.

The manicure and nail art are by MiniLuxe.

Items in the photos include:

Striped Kicks

Amour tee

New York Sweatshirt (the pink LOVE version is also cute)

Cork Sandals (so comfy!)

Green Jungle Cat Print Blouse

Blue and White Floral Blouse

Happy Monday!



Mani Monday – Dandelion Edition

“Mommy, stop we need to make a wish” said the little boy on the way to school.  “OK just one.” replies his mother as she checks her watch and hopes to rush him along, so she can get to her mediation class…and relax and be present.  “Oh look another one!  Look at all the dandelions.” he says again trying desperately to get her to stop and be present.

At the start of a mediation class I attended right after my son started school, the teacher shared this story.  I know I have caught myself rushing to get where I need to be – an appointment, an exercise class, a mediation class (they won’t let you in late).  I have often laughed at the stress to get there so that I can relax and be present.

The dandelion story has stuck with me for a few weeks.  It also made me think about planting seeds.  When you blow on the dandelion you spread the seeds and never know where they might grow.  This week I found myself feeling nostalgic and resisting change.  Maybe it’s being older, maybe it’s our fast-paced world.  The village in my town recently went through a major transformation.  While I was initially excited by it four years ago when it started, the construction inconveniences had worn me down and I was not sure I was going to like it.  My husband pointed out that I was sounding like an old curmudgeon.

We joined the crowds on opening day and I was pleasantly surprised.  We arrived after a stressful morning of cleaning out a corner of my kitchen with three competing agendas.  I was pleased to be offered champagne at one of the new stores.  I am not typically a day drinker, but a few sips hit the spot.

The day after the opening of the new Palisades Village, I headed to town on foot (my preferred method of transport) to check it out in the early morning hours.  I found a new place to get my green juice that was so easy.  The juice was delicious, and I enjoyed a stroll around the village.  The seeds were planted for this a long time ago and even in my own mind when I first moved to my town I wanted more that I could walk to.

The new Palisades Village is here, and I’m being won over – one beverage at a time.  Can’t wait for Mom’s night out…

The manicure and nail art are by MiniLuxe.  The color is apty named “Anticipation”.

Items in the photos include:

Zimmerman Black Dress

Celine Grey Tote (similar here on sale!)

Isabel Marant Dress

Happy Monday!