i've been working on a little side project this summer with my dear friend laura, shop-owner of JOHAN'S SON. (fun fact, laura was my sister's roommate in college). together we designed a couple of funny little tote bags. they're the first part of our HEY NATALIE JEAN + JOHAN'S SON collaboration line. (look for more pieces around christmas time!) i am stupidly giddy over these totes.

laura's shop is a little love letter to sweden, and these totes are little love letters to three of the most important ladies in my life, inspired by the questions i like to ask myself any time i find myself in an impossible situation

(the kathleen kelly is probably my favorite.)

iiiiiiin the mean time, every year on my birthday i try to hold a little giveaway for my readers, because i think you are all the raddest and because birthdays are the best, i will think that til i'm dead. this week to celebrate my birthday and the entire holbrook birthday season, we're giving one lucky reader their choice of tote bag, which will arrive positively stuffed with all of my most favorite things.

here's what you can expect to find "in" your tote:

a pair of nina z camilla clog boots
$100 shopping credit to thief + bandit (adult or kid!)
a fjallraven kanken backpack in your choice of color from johan's son
a one-year free membership to HowAboutWe  (valued at $140)
a pair of brvtvs small vectis stud earrings
an alison show leather triangle mobile
two brooklyn tees from cute attack for your favorite small person
a copy of a well read woman, from the author herself!
a little sherrif tattly temporary tattoo
a gorgeous piece of lulufrost jewelry
$250 shopping credit to polarn o. pyret, our favorite stop for stripe-y all-weather gear
three pairs of freshly picked moccassins
a malin + goetz rum hand + body wash (my favorite favorite favorite)
a set of three senegalese baskets from garnet hill 
a special gift from shopmille (tbd--hah! happens)
$100 shopping credit to baublebar (they'd love it if you'd like their facebook page HERE.)
a copy of you've got mail, p.l. travers' mary poppins, or l.m. montgomery's anne of green gables (depending on your choice of tote)
plus a couple little extra something somethings from me. you know, don't be surprised if you find a bag of mini marshmallows or something in your tote. ;)

this is an instagram giveaway! so to enter, please instagram your tote bag of choice with the hashtag #happybirthdayheynataliejean. in the caption, tell us: what would kathleen kelly, mary poppins, or anne shirley do, were she in your situation? (this can be in relation to something personal in your life, or not at all, i mean, have at it!) please make sure you are also following both me and johan's son

our winner will be chosen friday and contacted privately, and packages will begin arriving on your doorstep the middle of october.

good luck and happy instagraming!

**for private accounts: please leave a comment under this post saying "posted and private" or something to that effect for your entry to be counted.

(a bit of technical assistance to those in need: to instagram a photo of the tote, you can use your phone browser to navigate here to the blog, save one of the photos below, then upload to instagram.)



huck has become quite the master photographer. he loves to lug our big old camera around the house, point it haphazardly at stuff, and then snap snap away. he especially loves it when the photo he's just taken flashes on the camera screen and he gets to see his genius at work. one of my favorite sounds in this whole world are his delighted giggles coming from various corners of our apartment as he takes photo after photo after photo. 

this evening he asked me to be his live model while he honed his craft. i was so happy to oblige. first we posed in the hallway while daddy took a shower. then i was moved to the bedroom, tasteful boudoir shots (always toddler appropriate, i assure you). finally he decided the lighting in the bedroom wasn't ideal and we finished our session in the entry way. i like to call it the foyer and sometimes i pronounce it "foy-yay" like all the fancy people do.

and now, with huck's permission, i am pleased to share a few of his most recent digital masterpieces. 

you can look for his photography website to launch soon. ;)

and then huck demonstrated a few of his best poses for me. i definitely took notes.

i'm hoping someday he'll give me lessons.


today was a highly productive day for me! i just thought you should know. 

wednesdays are my writing days. a friend of mine runs an office in soho, "where the diet coke flows like water," and he's been nice enough to let me borrow a desk there once a week. people bring their dogs in and it happens to be near a lot of really great food and though i didn't actually get any real writing done in the five hours i was there today, i did manage to finally write a few important emails (writing emails is the hardest!), as well as try on every single black leather jacket on a half-mile stretch of broadway. i even came away with two very likely winners, thank you very much.

and then i came home, playgrounded the kid, had a valuable teaching moment re: hitting, and then tidied and re-tidied the house at least five times, seriously. 

tidying is sort of my favorite, i could have happily gone for a sixth.

well, make that one very likely winner. the other one is an allsaints number that costs $900, and it isn't even all leather! i tell you, it's a mess. this leather jacket situation is ridiculous. "i just want to look like pat benatar!" is what i told the lady at aritzia. i don't think she knew what i meant, and actually i'm pretty sure i meant joan jett. so now all i have to decide is whether or not i'm the type of lady to rock a brown motorcycle jacket. indiana jones style. or was his more of a bomber.

it's been one long week and a half since the family was here, and it's remarkable to me how much i've missed them already. these photos are unrelated to everything there is, but i love them so there. i consider myself super lucky to have such a wonderful family. even if the genes they passed down make it impossible for me to fit into leather jackets.

(but brown motorcycle jackets. discuss.)



i made this cobbler the night before my aunt and uncle came to visit. it was one of those situations where we'd asked them to bring their own bath towels for crying out loud, so i sort of had to up my hostessing game to make up for it. 

also i had an entire two pound clamshell of getting-old blueberries and it was like, the time is now! the day is here! (drive by les mis reference.)

what is it about blueberries? don't they seem to last forever in the fridge? hey, cobbler is just about the easiest baking that exists. my dad makes a really killer apple cobbler, but i don't really do baked apples at all. i found this recipe on allrecipes and made a lot of adjustments according to what i had on hand, you know. i halved the sugar and doubled the cinnamon, because this is my house and i can do what i want. (i have really strong feelings about cinnamon.)

it's fun to let the blueberries steep in the sugar while you preheat the oven and do other homemaker-y type things. it's kind of a satisfying experience. kind of like waiting on dough to rise, only way less stressful. i don't think steep is the right word in this situation, but there you have it.

blueberry cobbler
modified from this recipe at

3 cups fresh blueberries
2 T white sugar

1 cup flour
just under 2 cups rolled oats (what, like 1 and 3/4 cups? come on natalie.) (i do like it oaty.)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. mix blueberries and sugar in baking dish, set aside.
2. in separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and add melted butter. stir until butter is evenly distributed and mixture becomes crumbly.
3. stir blueberries one final time, then pour the oat mixture evenly over the top, pressing down lightly.

bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. 

i use a spatula to break up the topping about 30 minutes into baking to mix the blueberry juices up just a bit. then serve warm with a little bit of vanilla bean ice cream on the side. not too much! the cobbler to ice cream ratio should really weigh most heavily on the side of cobbler, but that's just me. 


a few photos that brandon took a few weeks ago. (when it was still warm out!) they aren't related to anything, but every post deserves a picture!

on monday afternoon i put together the very last article for babble that i will ever write in this lifetime. it felt hugely good. friends, i've been maxxed out!! between the book and the blog and being the best mom i can be, plus other little things that come and go and attempts at having an outside life with huck and his friends, it just got to be a little dumb. really i should have done this months ago. 

so! well, this means mostly nothing in the grand scheme of things, but a lot of you have said you'll be despondent without my babble posts (exaggerating, me?) but don't worry! and thank you so much! going forward, any of the style posts i would have written for babble, i'll just write here instead. i'll even share a few forever 21 links should i find anything outstanding. (i'm working on a ridiculous yet thorough guide to navigating the forever 21 for the book, so that you all may go forth and conquer. chapter three! just kidding i have no idea.)

until then, you can find my final forever 21 round up HERE. i hope you've enjoyed reading these as much as i've enjoyed putting them together. and thank you so much to my babble editors for always being such understanding, supportive, and accommodating peeps. it's been a pleasure. 

my stylish friends latonya and belle have started their own line of clothes for tots. 
it's all supremely kick ass.
they're fundraising over on kickstarter, it's a worthy cause!
you can check it out HERE.


hello! and welcome to holbrook birthday season 2013! cheers and applause! the crowd goes wild!

our man mister brandon had a birthday on saturday and he had but few requests. first, that he and huck wear matching outfits:

that accomplished, his second and final request was that we eat our way through brooklyn. 

the day turned out to be a perfect brandon holbrook kind of day. first juiliana's for a margherita pie and a little cannoli (they were out of cannoli). next he wanted sushi. we walked over to our favorite sushi place, iron chef sushi in brooklyn heights, and lest you think pizza followed by sushi sounds like an odd idea, well yes, i know. 

next brandon set his heart on pok pok, only at this point our stomaches were like, look. so to kill time we walked over to our favorite playground on the promenade and let huck get some wiggles out. nowhere does a father/son matching outfit look more sublimely ridiculous than at a playground let me just say that now. i watched them play with the stupidest smile on my face. (oh and candy crush. i literally cannot control myself. candy crush what is wrong with meeeeee!?)

a little ice cream for henry holbrook because he's cute.

we figured pok pok would be a bit of a hike--it's over in the carroll gardens/red hook area--so we started over a little earlier than necessary. okay way earlier than necessary, so when we got there and needed to kill more time, we were like, red hook . . . isn't that where ikea is? don't even ask, so we walked to ikea.

by the way, pok pok and ikea are not close, not even at all. don't ever do that.

eventually, a lot of walking later, we were at ikea. it was a little bit hilarious. brandon looked at me dead in the face and said, in a rather serious voice: "we have to decide right this minute. are we buying anything? because we are not buying anything." and then we wandered all over that ikea and sat on various couches AND BOUGHT COMPLETELY NOTHING. you know how ikea is always a good time when you aren't buying anything?

and then we held a mensa-level meeting of the minds over the mta bus schedule before deciding THAT ain't gonna happen, upon which time i miraculously flagged down the ONLY cab in brooklyn, i swear to you there are no cabs in brooklyn. for that one, brandon pronounced me VIP of the hour! no, not the afternoon, the hour. pretty generous of him though considering.

and then the cab deposited us at pok pok for some pork belly curry.

by the end of the night our legs were so sore from all our walking that it seemed only appropriate to take ourselves on a self-guided walking tour of cobble hill. we'd never been through that middle portion of south brooklyn, and oh my goodness cobble hill. such a beautiful part of town. i won't pretend we didn't entertain some serious brooklyn thoughts while we walked. 

talk about a classic go-nowhere see-everything brandon holbrook kind of day. at the end of the night while we snuggled in bed played candy crush in bed until our eyes hurt, brandon said to me, "stick with me, natalie. i'll teach you how to have fun." 

very excited to begin my lessons, beebs. 

(we woke up the next day with walking hangovers, those are serious business.) 

and thus concludes the brandon holbrook portion of birthday season.

p.s. on me
ace & jig dress 
(sold out, but these are similar)
thanks for reminding me dudes!



i'm really into wool socks right now, especially with sandals and clogs and all the things that aren't necessarily wool sock appropriate (ahem, birkenstocks). i bought camp socks at j.crew last winter (clarification: i got brandon camp socks at j.crew last winter and i've been borrowing them ever since), but they're cheaper on amazon. so there's that. 

semi related: this weekend marks the beginning of birthday season. hooray! as well as the end, i hope, of a very crazy busy period in my life. here's to lightening the load! seriously, i need a nap.

a few things around the webs i enjoyed this week:

this whole thing made me so giddy. linguistics is such a turn on.

delia ephron wrote this, and it is so ephron-y that by the second sentence i was like, wait is this an ephron essay? and then when it turned out to be an ephron essay i was equally embarrassed and impressed with myself for noticing.

and this article about the change in nyc culture in new york magazine. 
(warning: language and some rough subject matter)

happy weekend to you!