1.31.2012

YOU CAN ALWAYS GO . . . DOWNTOWN



 today started out uptown.



we were headed to the subway for a meeting

d
o
w
n
t
o
w
n.



once our meeting was over, huck and i looked at each other and at the crisp blue sky and asked ourselves,

why go home?

huck makes a rad partner in crime, it must be said.



while we were in the flatiron we happened upon a burrito joint.
a little hole in the wall that i'm sure thousands of people call their favorite,
but to us it felt like a discovery.
like we were there first.

(this city has a way of making you feel that way, i guess.)





it was real good.
and al pastor, i vote yes.

and then, somehow,
i managed to wander past this place?



i don't know, it's like a magnet.


we took the subway home at west fourth once the sun was starting to set,
and i noticed the freedom tower is juuust about finished.

it was a really good day today.
hope yours was just as lovely.

1.30.2012

IN WHICH A GIRL WEARS FALSE LASHES FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON



so, okay. 

so for alt summit i bought a pair of false lashes on a whim. you know, girl things.

by the second morning as i was applying them i realized they were a lot faster to apply than mascara. (most likely because i layer three kinds of mascara. i have a system.) and then at night when i'd pull them off i'd think, crap. these are much easier to remove than mascara too.

it got my wheels all wheely and things.

 

so i bought a few packs of falsies at the duane reade down the street the other day and decided to conduct a highly scientific experiment. i mean, a girl's gotta have a project is what it comes down to.

the hypothesis: wearing false lashes every day is NOT weird and NOT trampy and NOT an entirely silly notion. not necessarily, anyway.

it's been about four days now and i've just been wearing false lashes everywhere like a glamazon. i wear them to play little people farm animals with huck and to run to bed bath & beyond to buy storage baskets for the bathroom. important, glamorous places. so far, it's been a total game changer. i need 50% less make up to feel made up, my hair looks way better messy (and hallelujah, there's just no fighting the mess on my head with this post-baby regrowth), and, contrary to every ounce of logic i possess, the faker they seem in the tray the better they look on. they stay on ALL day. it's quite perplexing. this is not what i expected.


i've decided the matter demands further research. 

and so. false lash february. it's catchy.

1.27.2012

A QUICK CONVERSATION WITH HANK THE TANK


"hang on, i gotta take this call.... hello?"


"what's that?"


"shut your face."

and huck has two blogs this week:
huck's travel tips
and huck's weekly blog.

oh! and a late p.s.
the amazing joslyn from simple lovely featured me in her bloggers favorites series.
such a wonderful honor, joslyn!

hope you have a lovely little weekend!

1.26.2012

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN


the city as we cabbed in from the airport. don't you just love her?

here's a little public service announcement from me to you: when you have the stomach flu you are contagious a full three days to a week after your symptoms have disappeared. did you know that? i didn't know that. thus, you are fully capable of infecting your husband on sunday when you were sick on friday. 

it wasn't until i was finally feeling like a functioning human being again that poor brandon went down for the count. and then huck woke up from a nap with pink eye? and i was like, holy pestilence, where is the lamb's blood? (passover joke, not terribly funny, moving on.)

we hunkered down until the plague had passed. brandon called in sick, i canceled every possible interaction with every possible human life form ever, and huck emptied all his toys all over the floor and got busy being bored by everything. minus a quick trip to the huck-doc for eye meds, and to the mac-doc for a mac death certificate (r.i.p., macbook), we did nothing but stare at each other until a. the pink eye was gone and b. wednesday happened.  

and then wednesday happened! it did! it happened!! with eye infections cleared and stomach bugs officially dead, the mama bird and baby bird left the nest to finally run all the millions of errands we had been putting off and finally get reacquainted with our city. (which is apparently setting up for fashion week! just wondering, could i get some more construction outside my apartment? cause there aren't enough blocked sideways for my liking. k, thanks.)

and now i present unto you, dear people of my blog, an account of our goings on since then. get excited!


first, mama got dressed. OH YES SHE DID!

and then mama went grocery shopping. yeahh, i bought some arugula. you know.


the city was rainy. and gorgeous! oh dearest city, how i have missed you!

and now this: i will have you know it took a full ten blocks before i remembered to put my city face on. i guess my gazes were lingering and i was smiling at too many people, and it wasn't until one woman gave me the side-eye for admiring her coat for too long that i remembered--duh! friendliness not a requirement here. and what a relief. thank your, new york!

you'll also be concerned to note that it took a full ten blocks more before i overcame my shortness of breath. pushing a stroller in the city is a WORK OUT,  and lo how my car bum's gone soft.

SOFTNESS OF THE BUM.


this is how huck felt about spending time in his stroller in the rain. and just when the dude got the hang of the car seat! tsk tsk, such a shame.

related question: when did those legs get so long and who said that could happen? i choose to be personally offended.

while we were out we refilled our metro card and took a ride on the 1 train uptown so i could wander the michael's for an upcoming project for martha stewart. at the subway i stepped on what looked to be a dead mouse and i got elbowed in the elevator. it made me feel strangely giddy and alive. crap i've missed this place!

and then i had to stop in at my favorite shoe store to visit my clog lover, WHO WAS NOT THERE ANYMORE. what? and where??

this handsome chap was in his place, and you know what they say about loving the one you're with . . .



dear mr. sexy boot, i would very much like to be with you.

three cheers to a house of healthy holbrooks!
and to being back home in the city!

1.25.2012

SODA TAX

so, here comes my dumb story.

on sunday morning, as i traveled blearily and zombie-eyed to the airport after a ridiiiiiculous bout with the stomach flu that i only felt mostly somewhat recovered from, i dropped a not-totally-closed bottle of diet pepsi into my purse, which totally hooked up with my macbook pro and, well...

they made broken laptop babies.

i am such a doofus.

so while i scratch my head over my next move, here's this post, which i wrote in oregon for a just-in-case rainy day.

well. it's a rainy day... on my macbook. (shed a tear).

take it away, me of the past!

***

since we've been in the suburbs, we've been more than indulgent of my love of soda fountains and drive-thru windows and that black, sultry elixir of life. oh suburbs, i like you.

now, huck's father introduced huck to the black devil himself last week (rookie mistake), and ever since, huck has been ob-sessed with the stuff, and has been ever-so-kind as to take care of that sparkiest first sip of a new soda for me. you know, a soda tax. 

photo via catcox

you know what, you couldn't say no to that face either.
you can't fool me.

1.24.2012

THE GREAT COOKIE QUEST! :: jacques torres ::




here is the thing about jacques torres cookies:

if you like them thin
crispy
warm
and melty,
jacques is your dude.

(they're not so much my favorite.)



the hot sipping chocolate there, on the other hand.
yes we can.

jacques score:
(on a scale of 1-5)
flavor: 3
texture: 1 (i like 'em chewy)
appearance: 3 (they look a little scorched)
nyc experience: 4
total: 11

for other cookie reviews from my quest for the city's best chocolate chip cookies, check out:

1.23.2012

A LITTLE ALT SUMMIT RECAP

photo via moss + isaac

i was asked to speak at alt summit this year and i was thrilled to accept. 

the entire conference from top to bottom was lovely. the sponsors, the speakers, the atmosphere, all was full of love and support and generosity, and the grand america was grand indeed. good job salt lake.

aside from speaking, i was mostly there to see friends. i saw them all, and even got a bonus case of the stomach flu (thus ending my 21 year streak, let's not even talk about it, i am so disappointed with myself).

me + alison at the white party photo booth, isn't she fancy?
photo via moss + isaac

if you're thinking of attending next year, do it. you'll have a great time. and try to book a hotel in salt lake city if you can, because driving in from the 'burbs was a dumb idea.

p.s. i am wearing:
glasses: lookmatic fdr prescription frames
scarf: my mama's couch
baseball tee: forever 21
tutu-riffic: shabby apple (appears to be sold out?)
shoes: zara (red sticker still attached, classy)
clutch: jcrew
lipstick: revlon just bitten--passion

1.18.2012

THIS ONE'S FOR GABY


{the other day my little brother came home from school with a note for me written by one of his classmates, who reads this blog and had just realized that i was his sister. it was straight up old-school style, on folded up notebook paper. it was the sweetest, loveliest little letter. it about made me cry. so, this post is for gaby.}

four years ago i found this blog. a friend of mine recommended it to me and i was hooked right away. i knew her. i mean, i didn't know her, but i knew her. she was my tribe. you know what i mean?

two years ago i sat on her couch in a dream, and we talked and talked and talked about everything there was to talk about. when i woke up i felt conflicted. on the one hand--creepy!--but on the other hand, it felt significant. it felt like it meant something. 

i am happy to say that over time that blogger became one of my most treasured real-life friends. isn't that a happy ending? and just today i sat on three of her couches. and it was exactly like i thought it would be.

i've met a lot of my favorite bloggers in the past year, and my favorite part is always that first moment where you wonder to yourself, "is this going to be awkward?" and then the second moment right after that where you realize, "not even one bit." 

i ask myself from time to time, what am i doing with this blog anyway? because sometimes it gets awful or irritating or weird and i forget. i'm not doing it for the money (though being able to help pay the rent is a nice bonus) or for the "attention" ("blog fame" is a dumb, dumb thing).  i'm doing it because at the best of it it can mean something. who knows what, but something. to a lot of us.

every time i get an email, or meet a reader, or get a note passed to me from my brother from a high school friend that says, "i feel like i know you," or "i bet we'd be friends in real life," or "i promise i'm not a creepy stalker!"

i always say, 

"i know!"

because, you know what?

i know.

so thank you for the note, gaby. i LOVED it.
i hope to see you around t-town some time, sis

xo
natalie
(go wolves!)

1.13.2012

WE NAMED HER GERTRUDE



i'd like you to meet my little brother's health class project.


it's a girl.
i'm such a proud auntie!

tonight i taught blake how to wear gertrude in my ring sling, like a proper hippie.



crunchy!


here are this week's babble posts:

my favorite madewell looks on the cheap (on the forever 21, rather),
and i really really want one of these.  

let's not forget, huck's blog

have a lovely weekend!

1.12.2012

BRUNCH WITH BLAKE


on tuesday morning blake had a free period from school and i had promised him a lunch date. so we loaded up my plus-one and drove him to panera. ("but can't we just go to denny's?") i had a hot herbal tea, blake had a bacon egg and cheese on ciabatta, and henny had an orange scone. i kept calling it lunch and blake kept correcting me. "no, it's brunch." and now you know.




i'm telling you, all you single girls out there, my brother is a catch with a capital k.  

and now, this is what i wore to brunch (this is a fascinating post).


i was telling blake on the way to lunch brunch, "i think this cardigan may have been cuter at the store," and blake said, "so you wore it with red pants. obviously."

the nuances of red pants are lost on sixteen-year-old boys, is all i can gather from that.

(the cardigan is now known around these parts as the ferris bueller cardigan. and thus it was spoken.)

huck fell asleep in the car on the way home. and then after he woke up and asked to nurse, he fell back asleep on me. for two hours! i got nothing done.


and now you know.

1.11.2012

I AINT SCARED OF NOBODY

henry holbrook's latest trick:

first he stands up. then he leans back with his arms spread out like a sail. he kind of widens his stance. and then, with his hips pushed forward and his head tilted back, he goes,


"AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"


usually he falls to the floor afterward (big head, poor center of gravity).


it is all terribly dramatic.

we've started calling it his michael jackson.



"AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"



p.s. i looked up the lyrics to 'black or white' to find a title for this post, and all i have to say about those lyrics are, what?!

1.10.2012

MAMA STYLE: ALL THE STUFF (A FASHIONY POST)



i've been thinking lately about transformative purchases. you know when you find an item that suddenly straightens everything out in your life and suddenly you understand yourself so much better?

the more i thought about it last night the more i thought, "hey! i should blog about this!" which is just the risk you take, you know. here are some of the transformative purchases i've made in the last six months. for whatever it's worth.

1. nina z clogs
my nina zs were a gift, and they are the most excitement my feet have ever known. i love how clunky they are. i love how they look with high-waisted skinny jeans and thick rimmed glasses. i love how nerdy i feel in them. they have made my whole life complete, and they look stupid, stupid good with chunky socks. 

2. my crazy t.j. maxx hobo international wallet score
i was exchanging a christmas gift at the t.j.maxx last week when i found this sucker for $40. i think it may have been put there just for me by god. or santa maybe.
you can buy one here.

3. various forever 21 items, blarg
ugh, forever 21, why can't i quit you? forever 21 is so good lately. it's kind of a joke, any time anyone on instagram asks me where i got something, it's 97% of the time from forever 21. linked below are some of my best f21 scores lately, including that very sexy wool number up top:
1/2/3/4/5

4. colored skinny jeans
i'm a jeans and tee girl all the way and sometimes it can feel rather boring and lonely (especially with all these style blogs in skirts to make you feel lame). but i've fallen really hard for colored skinnies, which are like flirty skirts in pants form. at target right now you can score a pair of colored skinnies for $20 a pop, meaning one could (theoretically) buy all of them for the price of one really nice pair of pants. and thus we see how, once again, quantity wins over quality in my closet. so sad. i mean, have you seen my stripe situation? (do not worry brandon, i did not buy all of them.) worth repeating: way wonky sizing. try two sizes up, be pleasantly surprised if you only need one size up.
(related: target is also killing it with baseball tees right now.)

5. stella and dot on the mark necklace
my personal policy on items under $50 is that if you ask for it for more than three consecutive gift-giving holidays and do not get it but still want it badly, you're allowed to buy it for yourself. so, i did. i've had it for about six months and i'm madly in love with it.
get one here.

6. lookmatic fdr frames
aside from the vintage frames i found at the brooklyn flea, these have been the only frames to ever fit my tiny face.
fdr frames


since i've been driving around in the suburbs i've noticed i need them even more than usual. yikes, old age.

p.s. those cheesy crackers from the other day were also life changers, fyi. 

OF THINGS (OF IDAHO)


while we were in idaho for poppy's funeral, we managed to sneak away to the basement for an hour to look through some of our things from our old house in idaho that we'd boxed up when we moved to new york. 

our idea was to leave all of our things in utah until we knew where we'd be living after the holbsattorney graduated from nyu, and then come back to take whatever we needed. if we ended up in the suburbs, we'd take all of it. if we stayed in the city, we'd take just what we could use in our small space and put the rest in a paid storage unit. for an entire year i thought wistfully of my mismatched china collection, my cake plates, my sewing machine, and my wedding album, and of the day we'd all be reunited. oh, my things. it would be such bliss!

some months ago my father in law moved most of it to poppy's house in idaho. and so it was that we were reunited on the evening of poppy's funeral. for a scant hour. it was terribly romantic. 

in my dreams we'd have had the time to sort through each box right then, remove what we could use in new york, repack what could be left until later, and feel some kind of peace that things were where we needed them. instead, with just an hour to work, we listed our priorities:

1. find the kitchen aid so we could ship it to our apartment
2. find my wedding album so we could ship it to our apartment
3. find my guitar and fly home with it as a carry on
4. find my wedding dress, just so i could know it was there (silly)
5. leave the rest to be sent to a paid storage unit so we could deal with it someday

when i ripped into that first box marked "kitchen items" my heart nearly broke. there we were, our life in measuring cups and pyrex dishes. pots and pans and hot pads and teaspoons. our own little idaho in the middle of poppy's little idaho. and i cried. the insides of the boxes still smelled like our house, like our puppies, like our lives. it washed over me until i couldn't breathe. and i felt so defeated. there were so many boxes! boxes full of photos and journals and books and clothes, boxes of me, boxes of brandon. and i just wanted to be us in one place again. those things were just things and most were easily replaceable but some are so priceless i feel like they hold my whole soul. my horcruxes (nerd). but where were they? in which box? where were they and where was i? 

we found our kitchen aid, we found my wedding dress. we found my guitar. we couldn't find the wedding album (worrisome). but we did find an old scrapbook with these old photos of me inside looking very much like the huckster.



huck, i am your mother.

and then we packed it all back up.

storage is so funny. here comes the obvious statement of the year, but storage stays just as you left it, doesn't it? so that when you open it back up you can almost see yourself as you were in it. your movements and your packing decisions and what you were thinking as you stuffed newsprint in the corners. it's a time capsule of items both tangible and not. of the space where we once existed, of the air we once breathed. as we taped those first few boxes shut again i realized i was replacing that space with a new space. with poppy's space. and i realized i didn't want to open any more boxes. 

a few nights later i had a dream. i was in my little apartment in the city with my husband and my baby. the doorbell rang and there were my furbabies, my petey and my barney, come to visit me. their new owners explained that they wanted to make sure we were doing alright without them.

barney sat by me on the floor and rested his giant black head on my knee. he looked at my henry and my henry looked at my barney while i stroked his giant black eyebrows. i was glad he was there. i glanced over at peter pan, who was sulking in the corner having just peed on the carpet. he didn't want to be there, and i realized i had made the right decision for him. it was such a relief. a terribly sad relief. i patted barney on the head and got up to see my baby petey. i scooped him up to give him the proper goodbye i never got the chance to have. i buried my face in his neck and i inhaled the scent of his fur. i scratched his ears and i rubbed his back and i sang him our song. i told him how much i loved him, and how grateful i was for my time as his mommy. i told him he could go back to his life in the grass with the big yard and open sky. i told him i understood. i told him i was sorry. 

and then peter pan left me. out the door and into the sunlight. and i was happy for him, and glad that i had done the right thing for him that summer.

barney chose to stay. 

barney really needed a hair cut.