20141124

AROUND HERE


Only just a very quick update from these parts because I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year and all I can think about right now is not forgetting to get the buttermilk. I think this week might be the most ridiculous week in all of the year and I love it.  

// HO HO HO says 5th Avenue! I was walking around the flatiron the other day while the trees along 5th were getting suited up for the holidays. All those twinkly lights, and the cherry pickers stationed at every tree, and dodging people and weaving around strands of lights while trying to get to places. It was kind of magical, and it made me grin all afternoon. 


// Got to meet the design team at Mackage the other day. Their two lead designers were in town and had a spare hour or two and we got to meet and talk it was a huge, huge treat. Mackage is, like, the major good stuff. Brandon and I were just marveling at this the other night, how funny it is that this blog and this city somehow conspired together to create this whole new career for me, consulting with all the talented designers behind the brands that I love, talking strategy and blah blah blah. It's hard to say in an un-ridiculous way how amazingly fun it has been. My friend Lynne is going to help me come up with a title for what the hell I've been doing all this time and then I'm going to start to do it on purpose. :) Hello, accidental career, I hope you don't mind but I am going to kiss you. 


// Huck was asked to be one of the VIPs to flip the switch on the holiday lights + train show at the Bronx Botanical Gardens last weekend. Give me a break, this kid. He was thrilled down to his toes, we froze ourselves numb, he had such a good time. Brandon had to work so at the last minute it was just us two, and even though it's just us two a lot of the time, this one had a sort of significance to it. This kid is all kid now. Sometimes I'm all mom, but sometimes I'm co-conspirator. This time we were all giggles and jokes and sound effects together, and I think this is going to be one of those memories for me, you know what I mean?


// Brooklyn's been pulling out all the stops lately. This was my doing-the-dishes view the other night. I walked in for a glass of water and froze in my tracks when I saw this out the window. Obviously I decided to stay a little longer, you know, scrub up some pots or whatever. 


// The first part of our Ikea spread is in the current Ikea Live Magazine! It showed up in the post this weekend in a couple different languages, it was kind of a goofy thrill, and it made me think of the opening to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which is probably horribly disrespectful to the Swedish language of me, not to mention the entire population of Sweden at large. 

PS--My cluttered wardrobe contained all of my AND Brandon's clothes, thank you, it wasn't that bad, geez. #defensivemuch ;)


Huck to take us out. 

I'd like to share one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes tomorrow, otherwise I'm mostly not here for a bit until I'm sure the yams are going to turn out right. Happy Thanksgeebing Back!

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | KNITS FOR ALL



WINTER IS COMING. And I'm so excited to kick us off on a series of Gift Guides here at the J of HN for the holiday season. This year I'll be featuring only makers, sellers, and companies that I know personally. The people involved, the work that goes in, the product that comes out, and the good that results from being able to support such hard-working, talented people. I hope this feels less like I'm shilling things and more like I'm shilling people. :)

I love to give knits at the holidays, because nothing is more comforting in the winter than something warm and soft you can wear like a hug. I also always think the meaning and love that goes into a gift is the most important part of the gift itself. A gift is a chance to give love. The knit pieces above are all available through ACCOMPANY, one of my favorite online shops and sponsors for the year, and the purchase of each go toward some really fantastic causes. For example, the Girls sweatshirt, which is sold to raise awareness of sex trafficking in the United States. $15 of every sale goes to 3Generations. The sweatshirts are silkscreened in a not-for-profit here in NYC (East Village!) by at-risk teens who are hired and trained as part of Prinkshop's core mission to create opportunities for change and philanthropy at every level of production.  (You can read more about the philanthropic efforts behind each piece on their shop sites.)

To close us out, I had this really long-winded story right here about this one Christmas when things were really tight, so I hand-knit gifts for everyone in our families but then ran out of time on my dad's gift and couldn't finish it, so all he got from me that Christmas morning was one slipper, and it was a really hideously ugly slipper, too, and how it turned out to be kind of the sweetest Christmas morning moment ever when he opened it and laughed and then wore that one sock proudly all over the house all day long. It was a really lovely story, you'll have to trust me, but it went on, and on, for, like, four paragraphs, so I deleted that ish. The point of it was supposed to be, it's always nice when gifts can mean something beyond what they mean on their own. You know? And also that Blake, I forgive you. No you didn't fully appreciate how even those cables came out, and yes you did throw it across the room, but you were only six. :)

Thank you Accompany for being the best sponsor ever. And thank your, I hope you enjoy the next few guides to come :). 

20141119

STROLLER NAP SEASON!


Cold weather days are here! And allow me to be the first to wish you a Happy Nap Stroller Season! To you, and you, and youuu!

We're all in now. This is it. The high today is 34. There are no freak 70-degree weather days to hope for anymore. The sandals be gone. Whisked away to off-season storage. This year, just like every year before, we made a big afternoon of it, paying a fond farewell to our summer-weight clothes and bringing up all our winter gear. We sort through our scarves and coats, fold up our thickest socks + take inventory of our missing gloves, sort through our winter clothes, sort through our stroller's winter clothes . . . hah! Our stroller has more winter gear than all of us, probably. Rain covers, hand muffs, stroller blankets, winter foot muffs, cup holders and storage pockets and fleece linings. We make a huge mess of things when we do this, it always seems to take us a day or two to fully recover + get the house back to normal. We're not in our stroller much now that Huck is four, in school, a pretty reliable walker, and still light enough in case I have to carry him a couple dozen blocks when his "legs are broken," ;) but the colder weather is still an exciting time for me, because colder weather has always meant the return of a city mom's very best trick: the stroller nap. 

a small collection of stroller naps caught on camera . . .

Huck was never much of a napper, bless his rude little heart. He gave up his morning nap at something around 8 months, his afternoon nap at just about 14 months, and though he remained always pleasant + never missed a beat + always made up for that lost sleep during the night (dude was a reliable 13-14 hour-er), I was always jealous of that quiet pocket of dedicated "do something" time that parents of nappers seemed to get every afternoon (even if they had to be trapped at home for it to happen). But then, every winter, something about that elixir of cold air on his cheeks and warm air from his bunting at just the right time of day would often combine to result in a solid two hour nap in the middle of the afternoon, meaning I was free to do anything. ANYTHING. Take meetings with my editors at Babble, run errands, walk aimlessly around the city to sort out my thoughts, or to come back in straight away to clean the house from top to bottom while Huck napped in his parked stroller in the living room. Thank your, winter! As a parent I've loved the cold weather for this very reason. The drearier the day, the better the chance of a good, decent nap. Even now, with Huck in school and the stroller waiting patiently in the basement for the odd chance I'll need him, I still feel that familiar excitement on a miserably cold day, for the cosy sweaters under the big winter coats, for the long long walks all over the city, and nostalgia for the sleeping baby + all that under-carriage storage. ;)

a quick shot post stroller nap. sigh. huck!

The trick to a good stroller nap, and to surviving a winter in general I think, is in the proper gear. You need to be warm enough to stay toasty when outside, but not so warm that you'll suffocate once inside. I used to struggle with that balance when I was at BYU. I'd be so freezing walking between classes, and then immediately get inside and feel like I was going to combust I'd be so overly hot. The solution is, duh, the right breathable materials. (As opposed to polyester thrifted clothes from the DI I always wore back then. Oh, college.)

I've been working with The Woolmark Company this season, a fantastic textiles company based out of Australia, and during our time together I've learned a lot about Merino wool that I'd always sort of suspected just based on experience--most specifically its connection to good sleep. Merino wool makes such a great winter staple precisely for the same reason it makes such a great new baby staple--it is warm enough to retain heat in the coldest weather, but breathable enough to remain cool when the temperatures are warmer. Sleep temperature is such a key factor to a restful nap or night's sleep. I'm a total hot sleeper, I'm always fussing with sleep temperature conditions and fighting an endless battle with Brandon to let me leave the window open. :) In fact, studies have revealed a correlation between woolen bedding and quality sleep patterns, and Merino wool has been proven to increase total sleep time, promote sleep onset, and improve sleep efficiency. (-source -source and lots more good info here.) Wool is also odor resistant. That's cool.

old grainy stroller nap photo, for your pleasure :)

We've been a longtime partner with Bugaboo here at the HNJ HQ, and I've always loved working with the brand because their standards and integrity for design and function are so on point. I always know that a Bugaboo product is going to be top of the line, hard working + long lasting. Bugaboo recently partnered with The Woolmar Company to make a Merino wool stroller blanket, and sent one our way to try out. It's taken a beating already and washes up like a dream. I wore it as a scarf the other day ;).

I've become more convinced that wool is a crucial part of a parent's arsenal through this partnership--crucial for stroller naps, for bedding, for sleepwear, for wraps, for winter clothing, for crafts! Knitting! Wool is natural, renewable, biodegradable, and sustainable. (More on that here.) It's also gentle on sensitive skin, and I can vouch for that. We battle eczema with Huck every winter and whenever his immune system takes a nosedive, so I've learned to be hyperaware of the fabrics we choose and their effect on his skin. I've gotten really good at detecting wool quality by touch over the years. Good Merino wool is the opposite of scratchy. It can feel like silk or velvet, at different weights. It is a dream to work with when knitting or weaving. 

In preparing for this post I went through my old external hard drives to try and find those photos of Huck napping in his stroller, and, a million hours later, hahaha, will you look at this child?


Ah geez.
Okay. The end.

This post was sponsored by The Woolmark Company. And a special thank-you to Bugaboo for the sweet gift for being such an amazing sponsor over the years. :)

20141114

GET ME DRESSED / CAPSULE 02 : VARIATIONS ON A THEME



Hey happy Friday! So here's what I'm wearing these days.

My capsule has suddenly turned very school girl ish on me. (What is a "capsule?" See here and here and here.) I feel like an off-duty Hogwarts student a lot of the time. It could be the particular botch of my self-botched haircut, or the fact that I seem to have this perma-twelve face . . .  or it could be the fitted sweaters. After an entire summer of wearing oversized tees, I've been gravitating toward the fitted sweaters this season. They feel fresh and sweet.

A few readers + Instagram followers have been requesting that I do outfit posts more often this fall as I play around with this capsule idea. It makes me nervous. I don't consider myself a fashion plate by any means. Nor am I terribly symmetrical or natural-looking in photos. But, you know, some people sky dive, other people post pictures of themselves on the Internet. Who am I to judge? ;)

And so, in this post, three variations on a theme.
(If you read that in Ira Glass's voice, hey high five!)





I call it "The School Girl Theme." British, 50s Beatnik, and All American Girl Next Door, if we're choosing subheadings.





Taking outfit photos is really, really awkward for me still. Especially self-timer outfit photos when my four-year-old is looking at me funny.

So here's something I've been pondering. Is the point of a capsule to get you out of a rut? Or to better define your rut. Because I like my rut. It's cosy in here. Or maybe you try to utilize all 40 pieces by mixing and matching? You know, maximize all the style options inherent in each piece; be creative; keep things from getting boring. Personally, I haven't enjoyed any self-imposed pressure to get creative with the items I chose, and I don't know if that strategic aspect of a capsule is really for me. The limiting part is great, keeping a look simple and consistent has been really rewarding + has made me enjoy other parts of getting dressed so much more--jewelry, lipstick, shoooooooes. But the maximizing of the minimization, I don't know. That not so much.

I think what's fun about a capsule is seeing what parts of you come out of it suddenly making more sense to yourself. This whole deal has gotten me even more excited about the idea of a uniform, which is a whole other ball of lint and something I'm excited to hash out next. And it's made me rethink the fashion industry, too. You know, Coco, Anna, Karl Lagerfeld, Jenna Lyons, they all have looks. Those weirdo Olsen twins (I love those weirdo Olsen twins), there's not much of a variation there. They all work in fashion, creating clothes or promoting designers or analyzing trends and interpreting them for their own audiences, and yet, they don't really change their own overall looks much, if ever. They just sort of . . . tweak it. Variations on a theme. I suppose the more you're aware of the industry, the more you become aware of who all is making the kinds of clothes you like and how they're varying things subtly. This capsule exercise led me to appreciate my clothes on a micro level. The tiny details; the seaming, the darts, the fabric choice. It's made me think more about my mom's good friend Lisa, who is probably the most sophisticated woman I've ever known, and who owns approximately five million articles of clothing that are all completely identical: black, and drape-y. Every single one. So she literally looks exactly the same, every time I see her. She shops a lot. It is completely making sense to me now.


For instance, trench coats.



This is what I call my *starter trench.* I got it at Target a few years ago, it's made by Converse. It was thirty bucks, it came with a hood that was cute when it was up but silly and lifeless when it was down, so I snipped it out. I keep looking for another trench like this, but nicer. Better materials, lined maybe, maybe water resistant because this one is not and doesn't that negate the purpose of a trench coat? But I haven't found it yet. Many times if I'm in an area with good shops I'll swing into one, in my trench coat, to look at trench coats. The whole thing strikes me as rather indulgent and silly. I have a trench coat. But also, it is fascinating to compare all these slightly different trench coats against each other. The more trenches I try on, the more of the artistry and craft behind each design I'm able to appreciate, the more I start to understand about the fashion houses behind each design, and the more I start to understand about myself, and my relationship with my clothes.



So, uh, seen any good trench coats lately? I need a slim cut shoulder and a real good back vent. Longer than the knee, shorter than the shin. 

And now please enjoy my classy "Deep In Thought" pose. Doesn't it go nicely with the introspective theme of this post? By this point I was completely over this self-timer nonsense and Huck was getting really curious about things. Like, What are you doing, mom. This is weird. What are you looking at? So these were for his benefit. It was really funny. I don't know, I guess you had to be there.



The End.

CAPSULE INGREDIENTS USED:
Jeans // Madewell, Rag & Bone
Shoes // Bass, Rag & Bone, Converse
Sweaters // J.Crew (similar), American Apparel, Rag & Bone
Trench // Converse via Target
Necklace // Pradman
Bracelets // Littionary
Lipstick // Chanel