Birthday Season! Birthday Season! Birthday Season is in full swing over at la casa de Holbrook, and so far it's been chock full of good friends, phone calls, cards in the mail, and frenzied researching of home wifi speaker set ups. Brandon Holbrook is traditionally impossible to shop for. Brandon's love language is a rather complicated mix of thoughtfulness that's hard to pin down just right--not too thoughtful, but just thoughtful enough that he knows you were thinking of him, without thinking too much and making him feel weird--and I think I'm getting better at it. Every year Brandon decides what he wants his gift to himself to be, and then it's my responsibility to get it for him. (This year, wifi speakers. Any tips?) For my part, mostly I consider birthdays and Christmases a good chance to bulk up Brandon's wardrobe for him, because Brandon isn't the kind of guy to buy clothes for himself, though he is the kind of guy to buy lotto scratch offs for himself, which is a lesson to you that there's just no explaining what other people find exciting. 

I'm working with ACCOMPANY this year and they are the best. The best! I went through the site a few weeks back to cull a nice collection of gifts for dudes that are Brandon Approved™ as well as good for humanity at large. Knock it all out all at once. Also bonus: all of these things I wouldn't mind borrowing in a pinch in case it turns out that Brandon loves it but doesn't love it enough to wear it right away and so somebody may as well love it in the mean time (why do boys do that?). I don't know what it is about that leather wallet, but it is calling to me rather loudly.

Other good gifts for a Brandon Holbrook type, should you be blessed with one: some beard wax, to aid in his Captain Hook 'stache styling; a mophie, because nobody should ever be without a mophie, these suckers are life savers; this sweatshirt, which is lovely; some sweatpants because every guy loves sweat pants, and obviously a Pearl Jam record, because maybe every guy's love language is Pearl Jam and/or Dave Matthews Band?

Happy Birthday, Brandon! It's a pleasure being your wife. And with that we close out the BH portion of the HBS '14. 



Witty intro goes here. (Struggling!) Hi! 

I got to take a fun class on Saturday morning from the girls at Local Creative Brooklynall about prop styling and iPhone table photography and Instagram theories and things, which was really so much fun. If you've never gotten down and nerdy about Instagram strategy, well, you should. Grab some friends, it's impossible to keep a straight face, it's really fun. After a few tips on framing, styling, etc. etc., our teachers said "Get to work!" and I literally froze. I stood there, completely immobilized, my phone between my palms, while everybody buzzed around me grabbing props and placing them just-so, knowing exactly what they were doing, feeling inspiration all over the place, and there I was blank-headed thinking.... craaaaaaaaap. I am legitimately bad at this stuff, is what I always suspected, and it's so true, there is not a cell in my being that knows what to do right now, and oh! the inadequacy! ;) It was really kind of wonderful. I gave it my best go and picked up a couple of fun tips, I beefed up my Insta-game, you know. (Side thought: I realized I really think I'm better at noticing beautiful things, enjoying + interpreting them, rather than actually creating them myself from the beginning. You know? At first this epiphany made me feel bad. Like, Well shucks. But then I thought about it and, well, I guess that could be the idea behind being a writer, isn't it? Sort of maybe? Eh.) So then I pestered everyone to find out what their favorite VSCO filter is. 

F2, landslide.

Do I count as a prop? Anyway, I definitely feel like I made improvements. Get ready for the most beautiful Instagrams of your LIFE from now on! (ehhh.)

Ok, see this one I set up from scratch. Proud, so proud! 

And then we made a communal lunch together. It was very Brooklyn-y. 

Also delicious.

Oh, Williamsburg, you weirdo. 

So then I found a G train, ran home, dropped things off, changed my clothes, stared at the wall for a minute, and then set off to meet my boys in Manhattan.

My boys were running errands on the LES that morning, buying a wedding gift for one of Brandon's friends from work. We met up at The Smile on Bond Street, I love this place. When I walked in, Huck was halfway through a cookie the size of his head, with melted chocolate smeared from forehead to chin, and nearly half the staff completely in love with him.

Then we were like, now what? And since we're still getting the lay of the train situation to our part of town, and since it was still so nice out, we decided to wander over to the D train at West 4th, because you can always count on the D train, is how I generally approach things.

Someday soon I'm going to dedicate an entire blog post to my varied thoughts on the trains. I have many swirling. In the meantime, pigeons.

Just one of these pigeons is an actual pigeon. The rest are hand-sewn, felt pigeons. We walked toward them, absentmindedly noticing how weird it was that they weren't flying away as we approached, until we realized, Oh, art installation. The one, actual, live pigeon, was super freaked out, you could just tell. I watched him for a minute, peering sideways into the faces of all these cloth birds frozen mid-peck, stepping around them gingerly, looking more than a bit concerned. I could practically see the wheels turning in that little birdie brain of his as he sorted things out. Can you imagine what that must have felt like for the guy? What on earth!? Do you suppose pigeons have their own fears of a pigeon zombie apocalypse? Because that was it, he was in it. Anyway, you know how I feel about pigeons

Then we got pizza. 

(Now that I'm halfway into this thing I'm starting to doubt the necessity of a two-part weekend post.)

(Unrelated completely, but I just adjusted the zoom on my Chrome (I'd been operating on 90% apparently?) and suddenly typing with these enormous letters I FEEL LIKE I AM SHOUTING. Everything is SUPER EXCITING THAT I AM SAYING.)

(Not that you asked for any of this information, but I also just got caught up on Pretty Little Liars about an hour ago and zomg you guys!)

AND THEN SUDDENLY, THERE'S ALL THIS GOING ON. Well, so it's fall again. (Might I direct you to here?) This tiny farmer's market stand!! It's on the corner of, what... Minetta and 6th? By the pickle dude, and the tattoo shops. (One of these days I'll get a pickle from the pickle dude, but until then... it just all seems so specific. Like, when are you in the mood for a pickle? I'm almost never in the mood for a pickle when I'm by the pickle dude, it's completely inconvenient. If I want a pickle I'm usually at home, it's 10PM, I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the fridge, pondering the intricacies of life. Not running around the Village.) But look at all those eggplants! That, right there, is an entire spread of absolutely gorgeous vegetables that I have no idea how to make into actual food. Pumpkins? Are pumpkins even edible anymore?

After much prayer and consideration, I've decided that jackets and coats aren't going to count in my under 40 fall capsule (which I started as of Sunday, are you in or what!). Your mileage may vary, but I figure anything you'd take off when you'd walk into a restaurant or theatre, that don't count. So, this sweatshirt shawl blanket jacket dreamboat thing with the leather pockets, is in.

I later decided that these shoes, were not.

Oh and hey! Happy Rosh Hashana! 



Hey, happy fall things!

Over the weekend we enjoyed beautiful weather--what felt like possibly the last warm weather of the season. I'm half scared of the colder weather to come and half optimistic about it. Yes, sweaters! Ack, slush! Minus our colds and a very silly 20-minute argument on the promenade on Sunday (you know that move when you throw your arms out and shout, "I'm SORRY!" but you're not really sorry?), it was an almost perfect weekend. So now we're going to rehash all of it, in detail, with photo illustrations, starting with Sunday and working our way backwards, because multipart posts are coolCome on, yes they are.

On Sunday (Brandon's birthday!) we had us a day around DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights. (We had plans for a birthday game night with cake and ice, but decided to spare our friends our germs and instead inflict them upon all of everyone in Brooklyn Heights. Kind of us? You can say it, we're pretty thoughtful.) Huck had been requesting and Brandon had been promising a Jane's Carousel outing for weeks, but between Huck's cold, then my cold, then Brandon's cold, it seemed like it might never happen. But it happened! We were grouchy and snotty (get it?) the entire afternoon, we moved in ultra slow motion, but we also had a really lovely time.

Wizard's chess! Ron Weasley!

We took the R to Court Street and Montague to wander down our old street (and maybe get a bagel because I wanted a bagel--but did I get a bagel?). It turned out Montague was having its annual street fair/block party! Hooray! We love us a good block party. Most NYC street fair/block parties follow the same fair food / bounce house / music / live performance formula... sometimes there's $1 socks and expired beauty products on the cheap if you're lucky. But not the Montague street fair! The Montague street fair is some classy business. Instead of a bounce house, there was a life-size chess game. The street performers were classically-trained ballet dancers, the DJs were these two rad reggae dudes, and there was a dog show?

(Nine years ago I found my very favorite vintage dress at this street fair!) (Was it nine years ago? I might need to hire my own fact checker.)

Then we decided to get sushi, because when in Brooklyn Heightsyou get Iron Chef sushi

Then I thought I saw Larry David! But it turns out I didn't. 

After lunch we stopped at the pier to get some ice cream, at which point I handed the camera to Brandon. Brandon plus a camera is really fun. He gets so many great/goofy shots. So now I shall include them ALL.


(Please to enjoy my total botched bathroom-sink hair cut. We came dangerously close to repeating that time I had to get an emergency Mandy Moore pixie my junior year in college. Woo, life on the edge!! ;) At this point we were mid-correction and overcompensating with some extra hard bed head. You know, fabulous. It is now even shorter, but at least it is even. I am still coming to grips with it. Sigh. So tragic, so unimportant... I feel like Anne Shirley would sympathize. ;)

The line for the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory was rather long, so after futzing around for a bit on the pier we got a concrete next door at the Shake Shack. (We walked past three separate Shake Shacks in Brooklyn this weekend! When did this happen!!)

And finally, DUMBO! The carousel! Turned out I had a ticket left over from the last time we were there smashed in my wallet, so Huck and the birthday boy had themselves a turn... and then they were done. But it's always a good day for a spin around old Jane. 

Could a blog post have any more photos!? I took this next one and I'm real proud of it. 

I also made that one, too. You know. Proud of that also. 

You know what's a sign of a good dad? A guy who spends his birthday doing things his kid loves to do.

I married a real good dad. 

Favorite water tower to take us out.

Anyway that is the end of that

The end.



This is my handsome husband. His name is Brandon. Yesterday this Handsome Husband Brandon turned... well, he might not like me to say so. But, okayyy, he turned 37. It's a rather distinguished age if you ask me. It's the age at which mere men become Nordic Seafaring Lumberjack Captains of Commerce, apparently. O captain my captain! 

Last night, after an afternoon celebrating the birth of Brandon by making our way s-l-o-w-l-y through Brooklyn Heights (throbbing head colds, check mate), I got myself on the computer and did up our astrological charts, just for funsies. Henry Holbrook's chart is fascinating. And TERRIFYING. (Never trust a Scorpio!) Mine is what you'd expect--all of the feelings, kind and fair, with a tendency to way overthink just about everything. (Fellow Libras born on a full moon, you feel me.) (Maybe.) Brandon's was rather beautiful to read through, actually, and confirmed what I've always suspected about that ginger, which is to say, complicated. And now we are going to talk about that.

Brandon Holbrook is the most magical combination of stars and suns and moons, and such a puzzle. Left- and right-brained, Brandon is the Yin but he's also the Yang. Where the rest of us are more or less one-note--Huck all charm and charisma, me all love and feelings--my Holbs is your typical symphony. Or, to put it another way, he's a plate of chicken and waffles. You know, all the things, all at once. Sweet yet savory, sensitive yet stiff, critical yet sympathetic, generous yet stringent. Of all the Virgos, Brandon is the Virgo-est. I will enjoy for the rest of my life learning to understand and wrap my head around this man that I married. He's such a beautiful soul.

The world loves a Brandon best, I think. He's got this sort of gravitational pull. I felt it the first moment we met, and continue to feel it every day. Even when I'm at my angriest with him (which isn't that often), I just can't stay away. I belong right there. So might everybody, I suspect. Brandon can set a room at ease, be both encouraging and frustrating simultaneously. He's the life of the party. He's the anchor and the sail. 

We call it Birthday Season at our house and it's sort of a silly joke, but it's taken on such a sweet significance to me lately as we age and our personalities further blossom and dance and mesh (and sometimes don't mesh, haha). Brandon and Huck and I, we are different fruits of the very same season, harvested under the same golden sunlight. Apple, butternut, cranberry; carrots, beets, and arugula. We're sweet, nutty, tart, peppery; very different, but when combined we make up a delicious, sometimes odd little salad. Brandon is probably the lettuce. This has become a really terrible combination of metaphors, someone should make me stop already.

Oh Brandon Holbrook, you're a beautiful little mystery, and aging like a fine cheese. We're so glad you're ours! May this year be your best year yet.