My beautifully talented friend Nina stopped by last week to drop off a pair of custom clogs for my footsies, and while she was here she snapped a couple photos of me + Huck both adhering religiously to the code of The Uniform, which dictates that when you find something you like + that feels good + that works for you, you basically stop going for anything else and just roll with it exclusively. Mine is an around-the-house / running errands / didn't wash my hair kind of uniform. And then I wore it to date night. :)

I once did a terribly high quality how-to video for this braid, you can find it HERE.


ON ME | uniqlo beanie / brandon's sweater / current/elliott jeans (similar) / nina z clogs / nixon watch / ruby woo lips
ON HUCK | little man happy sweatshirt / gap vest (similar) / zara jeans / 



It was a really wonderful weekend. And now it is Tuesday and Huck is wearing his Halloween Ninja Turtle costume and standing by the front door, insistent that we are about to buy some play doh so we can have a play doh / play dough challenge, wherein he will decide whether the store bought stuff is better than the stuff his mom makes. I kid you not. So I'll make this one quick. 

(Earlier today while I was on a phone call, Huck managed to get stuck inside one of our lockers. All those locker-echoes made it impossible to know which locker Huck was shouting at me from, so it felt like it took me about forever to find him. "This one? Nope. This one? Nope. This one? Ah-hah!" I pulled him out heroically and kissed his sweaty forehead as we sat on the floor, hugging each other in comically exaggerated relief, and laughing mostly uncontrollably, until Huck got terribly serious and said, "You know it's not funny, Mom. Lockers are scary." Oh gosh.) (ANYWAY)

You may choose to note if you must, that this photo was not actually taken over this weekend. However! I feel it is still rather indicative of the weekend at large, if for no other reason than because this is exactly what I wore all weekend long, minus a slight shoe discrepancy. To brunch on Sunday. To needlepoint through Game of Thrones. To the grocery store three times for milk because we've reached Code Red status on the living with boys / running out of milk situation. Also, I still haven't cleaned that mirror since this photo was taken, so in essence . . . !! And yes, you may congratulate me on that. That takes a certain amount of stick-to-itiveness.

It's starting to look like a thing!

Later that night Huck managed to cut his lip by dropping the toilet seat lid on his face.

We did have a space man / insane woman roasted marshmallow party though. That was fun.


I swear on my holy gel pens that I will force myself to get excited every time it snows because I REFUSE to become grouchy about winter. It is just so clichéd! So, Brooklyn snowed over the weekend, and it was pretty!!!

(What you see above is a view of a snowy Brooklyn out the dirty window of an N train as it crossed the Manhattan Bridge, and it was ALSO not taken this weekend, but what are you going to do, life is disappointing like that.) (But these next ones were taken this weekend, so things are looking up.)

I managed to wear theeee stupidest shoes on Sunday for our snowy walk to Carroll Gardens. But it was 42 degrees out and I got overly excited and forgot that half of my hood don't shovel their sidewalks! It was goofy. I handled it pretty bravely, I was such a trouper you guys. 

Our brunch companions this weekend were comprised 50% of Huck Whisperers. My friend Julie took the first photo, and then handed a seemingly endless stream of blank notebook paper to Huck and asked him for drawings of all kinds of crazy things. Each time Huck would nod somberly like you'd just given him instructions for saving the world, and each time as he drew I'd become a little distracted from the conversation, watching his tiny fingers bring to life all these amazing animals in his imagination. The above is a T-Rex. I wish I had gotten a picture of the penguin wearing a superhero cape.   

We're doing our best to spruce up our place for more photos, make final (ish) decisions on where things should be for the time being. Huck's getting a mini room makeover as part of it, thanks to Land of Nod, who also happened to make ALL of Huck's dreams come true when this rad penguin sleeping bag showed up on our doorstep. 

Okay. That's it. One more Huck? It was a Huck kind of weekend, apparently.

Blammo. Valar Marghulis, kids.



broad city photo credit comedy central
Hey everybody, this is Morgan. Morgan . . . oh my gosh I don't even know where to start with this one, I luhhff Morgan. We met when I was her guest on Night Late at the Upright Citizens Brigade a little while back. She's a blog-stalking Birchbox-obsessed intensely witty actress + comedienne who lives here in the city and has flipping perfect hair. (You might have seen her in an episode of Broad City!) I love how unapologetically, amazingly feminine she is, she completely revels in it, it's glorious and intelligent and perfect. You talk to Morgan and suddenly your voices have ratcheted up to all new heights + interesting octaves, and pretty soon you're jazz-handing over things like green juice, it's magic. Morgan is pure magic. I feel like I may have discovered a long-lost blonde-haired sister with this one.

She is also a BABE.
Take it away, sister!




I'm posting my Friday links a little early this week because I feel like it!!! This week has gone on long enough!! It's been Thursday for three days in a row now I swear it! I've had it!!

So yo, what are your plans for this weekend? We have a make-up brunch with friends, it's the Oscars on Sunday (!!!!), it's supposed to snow and then rain and then hit a glorious 40 degrees, life literally could not be more different and exciting than on previous weekends. ;) I have to tell you, I am such a creature of habit that times like these where we settle into a good, comfortable rut, and life carries on exactly the same as it always has week after week, these are the good times. This is pretty much my favorite. (I like to call it "a groove" but let's be real, it's totally a rut.) "It's time to go buy more popcorn again," was a thought I just had that made me feel cheery for completely no reasons. Also, I have a counted cross stitch project going on that came with the kind of cross stitch chart to make a solid-gold needlepointing granny cower in fear. These be good times, kids.

Other things I dug this week:

More Mandy Patinkin!!!! (Thank you, Elizabeth!!) And a fruit plate artist, who is yes, of course, from Moscow, Idaho. Oh geez, Moscow. This is so goofy. Seeing the Saturday farmer's market in the video made me tear up and EVERYTHING. (I sold my onesies at that art gallery!) (YOU GUYS.) (I AM FREAKING OUT.)

Anne Lamott on Brian Williams. This was so wonderful. It really hit me in the gut. Thank you for bringing some humanity to this issue, Anne.

Familially related, with a bit less humanity, is this: Is Alison Williams the most boring person in New York?

Leave it to Man Repeller to have the best 50 Shades review ever

Did you watch the SNL 40th Anniversary? Did you think it sucked, like Gawker did?

Silly, yet amazing.

This week's striped shirt, should you be in need.

Keanu on the Q! (should be the name of a band)

The beanie alert was the best part of this article on Mickey Drexler and Madewell. Guys I love Madewell like a sister and I just can't help it. 

This is important.

This is also important. (I've had it. It's amazing.)

How various animals will be spending their tax refund. I didn't think it was that funny until the sloth one. The sloth got me.

Speaking of Madewell, I accidentally found a far less expensive version of Madewell's famous Transport Tote the other day, should you be in need.

These are NOT tiny brontosauruses. (Don't you miss the days when they were called a brontosaurus and not  an apatosaurus? Am I confusing dinosaurs?)

Erin is doing a mini-mini capsule. Just 25 items! (Here's another of my favorite posts of hers, on her favorite conversation starter.)

On my date night wish list, the new Broadway play Hamilton.

Loft beds. Inspiring us over here.

Eewwwwwww subway germs. (This reminds me of how we all freaked out about the Ebola doctor--"He rode the A train!? I ride the A train!!!"--and then realized we'd all probably be friends with the Ebola doctor--"Hey, he went to The Meatball Shop, I love The Meatball Shop!!")

If Brandon ever asked me, "What is the most ridiculous thing you've ever wanted me to buy you," (this is a question he would never ask me, but I have an answer lined up for it anyway), I would tell him, "Duh. This." 

I wore this lipstick pointlessly around the house twice this week (Huck is on winter break and it's too cold to go anywhere--school! come back!) and both times it made me feel like a boss. 

Board butter! SO doing this this weekend.

LOL at the DWR champagne chair contest. People are such amazing creatures you guys.

via Cup of Jo, the floor plans for our favorite sitcom houses, and the Joan Didion Exhibition, which I am definitely checking out.

And finally, via @kottke, this bit of cleverness.

Hee! Happy weekend! See you on the flip side.



Since the last time I did a post about my skin care routine just about errrthing done changed. Well, so my process is exactly the same as it used to be, but the products are, more or less, completely not the same. So I thought I'd do an update and let you all know what I've been using lately. All those fantastic things that people come to blogs for.

// 1. ORGANIC COCONUT OIL // After falling a little bit out of love with Dove over the last year (and with the entire Unilever Corp all together), and after reading all about the Internet's love affair with coconut oil, I decided to try washing my face with it one night, fully expecting to wake up the next morning to the break out of the century. Instead, my skin felt great! My pores seemed pretty chill. I used it a few more days and then never went back to soap. It's like we've reached some kind of odd agreement with each other, me and the oil, so I'm sticking with it. I keep my coconut oil in a pretty little jar in the bathroom where it stays pretty warm (strongest heaters in the joint!) so the coconut oil never gets too solid. I use my hands to rub it all over my face (my eyes as well; it's not that fantastic for removing eye make up, but then, lazy), and then I wipe it all off using one of the baby wipes we will never stop buying from Costco in bulk. Ideally I'll learn to use a towel instead of a wipe and save the earth while I'm at it, but then I think of the water that it takes to clean the towels, and . . . did the Universe ever come up with a conclusive decision on that one? I'll have to check.

// 2. ORGANIC ROSE WATER // Rather than wash my face in the morning I like to use a "toner" (for lack of a better word) to freshen up and prep my skin for the day. I was using raw Apple Cider Vinegar, but then Brandon asked me not to use it anymore because he didn't like for the bathroom to smell like a salad, so I started to look for an equally natural, but better smelling option. After doing some research I ordered a bottle of rose water and it was just love at first scent I tell you. Rose water is anti-inflammatory, rich in anti-oxidants, naturally cleansing . .  it also just feels nice. I keep mine in a spray bottle and spray it directly on my face first thing in the morning. Ahh. I've also used micellar water for this same purpose, which I like a lot and like to keep handy for those mornings when my skin needs an extra boost of freshening, but the micellar water leaves a bit more of a . . . residue? Which is good, I hear? But I don't love it-love it.

// 3. KONJAC SPONGE // Some nights after the coconut oil I'll use my Konjac sponge to exfoliate. You only need to soak it in water for a second or two to un-dry the thing out and then you're good to go. I'm sort of new to the Konjac sponge situation, so I'm still mildly weirded out by it, haha. I learned about these while hunting around for an exfoliation alternative to my face brush that was nose-ring friendly (don't you imagine those whirring scrubbies on the Clarisonic Mia and just cringe, nose ring friends?). Weirdly, it really really works.  I probably use it three or so times a week. It's made from something called a Konjac Potato? If you like that sort of thing 

// 4. AESOP CAMELLIA NUT FACIAL HYDRATING CREAM // I started to notice the Kiehl's was leaving my skin a little dull, so I went on a hunt for a night cream that would be organic, heavy duty enough to work, but not so heavy duty that I couldn't use it comfortably in the summer, and I wanted pretty packaging too, please and thanks. I've been fairly happy with the Camellia Nut cream, as I've been with most of Aesop's products. I mostly only use it at night, but sometimes I mix it with my BB Cream in the morning. (Next time I might just spring for the big daddy Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream and get it over with.)

// 5. KIEHL'S BB CREAM // I consider this a "moisturizer" because it's what I use as a moisturizer in the morning, even though it's supposed to be a cosmetic. And I tend to find this stuff pretty thick, too, which is why I started to dilute it with my night cream. It's not perfect, and I still hold out hope that Kiehl's will bring back their tinted moisturizer. Please, Kiehl's! Pretty please!!!

// 6. CAUDALÍE VINEXPERT FIRMING SERUM // The women in my family lose their skin elasticity first, so I'm pretending like I can have any impact on that by trying out all the skin firming serums that exist. I'll be honest with you, I think I only like this one because it's French. ;) (Just realized I'm describing things out of the order that I use them in. Oops.)

// 7. & 8. LA ROCHE-POSAY EFFACLAR DUO & BURT'S BEES BLEMISH STICK // I still get my hormonal moments, so I keep these on hand for the just-in-case. I picked up the effaclar duo on a tip from a friend, but later learned that La Roche-Posay isn't cruelty-free, so while I use up the last of it I'm on still the hunt for a better option--know of any? As for Burt, I will never stop loving the sting of that blemish stick. Die, pimples! Die!!! 

Special Note: I picked up a prescription for Retin-A the last time I saw my doctor (see also: apparently you can just get it on Amazon now?!), and I can't say for sure whether it's any more potent than the RoC I was using before. FYI!



at one of my favorite pad thai spots in chelsea

I've been thinking a lot about the things you do and don't say to your friend who's infertile. Do you have a friend who's infertile? Are you the friend who's infertile? All of us have a friend who's infertile, whether or not we know it, that's just the odds. And it's awful. It's isolating. It's the worst kind of loneliness, when you're the one who's infertile. Even when you have it easy--I feel like I have it pretty easy; I've seen it work before, I have every confidence it will work again once we're able to dedicate ourselves to the treatments--even when you have it easy, it's up there with the worst kinds of pain. It's the worst kind of pain I've ever experienced. Because there's nothing anybody can do, except that one thing that you know you can do, that one thing that will work. Something might work, and you know it, you just don't know what it is yet. 

But people, we try, don't we? That's part of the fun of being flawed human beings. We always try, and we always have the best intentions. We always want to comfort. It's hard to be the friend on the other side of infertility. I've been on that side, too--I know exactly what I don't want to hear when I'm in pain from the loneliness of infertility, and yet, when it comes time to comfort fellow Infertile Myrtles, my instinct is to go there straight away just the same, to those same loving, well-intentioned, yet completely empty words that others said to me that frustrated me so much. 

So I thought we could open up the conversation. What are some of the worst things to hear as an infertile friend? What are some of the best? I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, here are some of mine. 


1. *Wide-eyed, while your many small children circle your legs, while your infertile friend talks about ovulation* "Oh gosh, I don't know anything about this at all." 
Yeah. I know you don't. But ugh. UGH. Don't say this. It always makes me feel like such an alien species. 

2. "Maybe you should try giving up gluten. I had a friend who gave up gluten, and . . ." 
Chances are, we've tried all that. Chances are we've gone on meat, off meat, on gluten, off gluten; we've tried veganism and hedonism and running more and exercising less. We've tried all of the herbs. We're perfectly capable of smiling and saying, "Sure! I'll try that next!" But what we really want to do when we hear this is bang our heads against something blunt. Because this kind of hyperawareness--of what we put in our bodies or do with our bodies--once we start to think of all the things we have yet to try or once we suppose that any decision or regimen we take is rife with baby-making possibilities or lack thereof, it starts to get incredibly ridiculous, fast. The fact is, no one can live this way. No one should put that kind of pressure on themselves. More than likely, your friend happened to get pregnant that month because fertility is confusing and it may have had nothing to do with whatever she was trying at the time. Or not! It's such a crap shoot. You feel helpful, but you sound somewhat panic-inducing.

3. "Well you should probably stop [eating / drinking] [Diet Coke / insert other guilty pleasure of choice]." 
Along the same vein, please don't do this one. Don't tell me what I'm doing wrong. I've started to think that if this type of thing were really true, there would be zero babies. Noooo babies. Think about it. Alcoholics get pregnant. Crack addicts get pregnant. Undernourished teens living in poverty get pregnant. If it were as easy as giving up Diet Coke, I'd have had four babies by now, because that's how many times I've personally given up soda hoping it would lead to a baby. And! Not only that, but I drank Diet Coke through my entire pregnancy with Huck, so. (But I *am* going to give it up for real this time. Just you wait!   ??)

4. RELAX. Go on vacation! Drink some wine!
I had an older lady friend say this last one to me one Sunday. IN CHURCH. It actually went, and I quote, "Well, my youngest happened because one night I got so drunk . . ."  

5. "Maybe you should gain / lose weight."
Hey. Thanks for thinking I'm skinny / fat? Unless you're my doctor, can it.

6. "Are you sure you're doing it right?"
Hah! Look, lady.

7. "You're young, you have time!"
Don't belittle my feelings of urgency!!

8. "It'll happen on God's time."
Tell that to all the babies left in dumpsters behind the high school every year. 

9. "I know someone who struggled for YEARS to get pregnant. She adopted a baby, and then, bam!"
This may be the most egregious one of all. And yes, it happens. It's very common. But the thing is, it can take years to adopt a baby. It takes a fierce dedication to adoption to adopt a baby. Adoption is not a means to an end. Adoption is its own end. The agony of adoption is neck and neck with the agony of fertility treatments, I've seen it close up, and I'd never want introduce yet another source of angst into my life just so my uterus could maybe get a tenant once it's all signed + delivered. Telling me about your friend who adopted and got pregnant literally has nothing to do with me, unless I am actively trying to adopt as well, in which case, sure. But if I am trying to adopt, it is for the baby I'm adopting. NOT the baby I might get pregnant with later.

10. "As soon as you give up, it'll happen."
The problem with this is, if you decide to give up in the hopes that giving up will trick the fates into getting you pregnant, that's not really giving up, is it? There is literally no possible way to take this advice in the spirit in which it is intended. It's like telling me to remove my feet and put them where my hands are, it's just, like, how??


1. If you get pregnant, don't avoid telling her. 
We can take it. Dancing around the issue makes us feel even more isolated and weird, so just rip off the bandaid. We can take it. If it hurts, it isn't because we're not happy for you. We are so happy for you.

2. Even more important, if you're already pregnant, try not to complain about it around her. 
Don't even tell me how lucky I am to look good in a bathing suit or not to feel sick all the time. Don't. Even. 

3. Don't ask why she hasn't tried IVF yet. 
A friend of mine came up to me once and out of nowhere told me to just get it over with and do IVF already, because it wasn't worth the years of struggle trying to conceive, because most likely it wasn't going to work, and the thing is, not having $15,000 to throw at IVF just then, it was kind of the worst thing anyone had ever said to me, ever. 


It's not fair. 

You don't deserve this.

I am so frustrated for you.

Gosh, that sucks.

I am so sorry.

It's just. not. fair.

You're going to make a really great mom someday.

My mom somehow always knew that this was the only thing I needed to hear. You know what, it's NOT fair. It isn't. Hearing her say that was like being given permission to just let out that big breath of hurt, because someone finally got it. It's just. not. fair.


1. Think of her on Mother's day. 
Bring her flowers, send her an encouraging text message. Call her Mama. I know it sounds dumb, but that was such a comfort to me every year. 

2. Let her hold your babies. 
That feels gooooood

3. Let her cry, or rage, or pout, and don't try to fix it, and don't feel strange about it, and don't feel guilty. 
Those feelings need to be felt. Honor them. While you're at it, honor the important role you're playing by just being there.



starting things off with a selfie. because! that's why. 
I woke up very early this morning, 4AM very early, with a dry, scratchy throat. My sister had been texting me since I'd been asleep. A long chain of notifications met me on my phone when I went to check the time, including a screenshot I couldn't quite make out and so help me Bob, through my blurry sleep eyes that screenshot looked just like an ultrasound, and then I was really awake. (It wasn't an ultrasound, it was a screenshot of a John Dehlin comment thread on Facebook, which, don't even get me started.) Shoving the covers away I stood up for a glass of water and looked down at the indent of me that I'd left behind in our nest of blankets and pillows and tea towels (another time). 

Lately, with this round of colds coming and going between the three of us, and with the odd sleeping hours that result and that particular need for soothing that seems to accompany a raspy cough in the middle of the night, we've been skipping routine all together and sleeping in a big Holbrook pile at night, all three of us, a jumble of legs and "move over, dad! and waking up in that weird H configuration, shoving toddler legs off your face. I looked down at that weird Holbrook configuration and I sort of smirked. Street lights gleamed orange through the window, I was surrounded by the sound of heavy breathing and the stillness of the early-early, and I thought to myself, Life is so small, isn't it?

Lately Brooklyn has been feeling a lot like Moscow, if Moscow were a thing one could reach by subway. Our days seem eerily similar to Moscow days--sending a boy off to school, writing writing writing, making the same recipes in our not-so-updated kitchen, going outside + freezing half to death. Our place now is exactly 100 square feet larger than our old place in Idaho, isn't that nuts? And that place had 3 bedrooms! And 2 bathrooms! This place here has zero bedrooms, and only one bathroom (but, claw foot tub), but I love this apartment and those exposed pipes and the one antique light that wonks out and requires twisting any time you want it on, which means you have to haul out the ladder because the ceilings are so high. As I traversed the loft from the kitchen to the bathroom I imagined my footsteps back in our old layout in Idaho and it all felt so close. I just feel so oddly connected to past versions of myself these day, and sometimes I'm shocked by the nearness of my memories. Brooklyn really is a lot of like Moscow, though a defining characteristic of Moscow was how isolated we were, and here in Brooklyn you're sort of the opposite of isolated; that feeling of far yet near in Brooklyn is a total illusion, just blocks in any direction and you realize what a silly idea your South Slope bubble of "quaint" really is; but it almost feels like time travel any time I take the train under the East river and come out into Manhattan, then take the train back under the East river and come out into Not-Moscow-Not-Brooklyn Heights Brooklyn. 

Then I tiptoed back to bed, where I thought to myself, you know, I should really write all this down. (But why????) So here we are.

Huck's sugar cheeks. :)

A few corners of our house, where all the bricks say hi. 

It is COLD. It is SO COLD. It is so cold that I have no clever metaphors for how cold it is. It is THAT COLD. I have been wearing SO MANY SOCKS.

(thank you Nononsense for replenishing my supply.)

The other day Jerry Seinfeld and I posted the same Instagram

I thought that was rather fancy.

Speaking of Instagram, I was looking through my IG the other day + I noticed I've been taking an awful lot of aerial shots lately.

What could it all mean!?!?

And then I put this little vignette together the other day and laughed, because how obnoxious am I anyway?


(Hey, my book was number one in style + clothing and number two in fashion design over on Amazon last week!! What!!!!!) (It is now #25 and #56, which I still think is pretty cool.)

So we've been doing a lot of painting at our house . . . 

. . . mostly on ourselves. The other night while wielding a paintbrush Huck decided to make himself into the Hulk, and me into his green Hulk Mom. It was a flurry of artistry and precision until tragically, we ran out of green paint. 

In other disappointing news, Huck is too big for the baby swings.

Anyway SoHo wanted to say hi. So hi! Happy Monday, we can do it! 



Hey dudes it's my baby brother's birthday today! On unlucky Friday the 13th! But Mercury is NO LONGER IN RETROGRADE, so thank you for that, Bob! 

Guys I want to know of your plans for this weekend of loooove. As for me and my house, we are doing mostly nothing (Valentimes grouches over here), though we do have a date for some kind of German food planned for tomorrow evening. Who knows. Brandon's idea. Pray for me.

Back to Blake.

Oh Blake, it is an honor to look like your female equivalent.

Hey, if you see Elder Blake around the Salt Lake / Wyoming area, will you give him a big old hug for me? And then tell him he's handsome. Oh! Also! His favorite food is Tostitos Restaurant Style tortilla chips, should you want to give him a birthday gift.  Oh that Blake is a good egg. Slightly cracked, but good nonetheless.

Cooked yolks.

This is going nowhere.

But does Blake look like Henry Holbrook or does Blake look like Henry Holbrook.

And now, the reason you are really here: Some links to a few things I enjoyed this week . . .

In honor of the Valentimes among us: "I regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of scifi, in which the world operates according to different rules than my regular human world." Preach, Mindy.

New York animals vs regular animals

Kim K's awkward expression during this Kanye/Beck/Beyoncé rant at the Grammy's was so good I'm thinking of becoming a Kim Kardashian fan.

This was a really interesting read, involving some of the contractors Forever 21 + other fast fashion retailers hire to do their manufacturing. It was linked in the comments by a reader in yesterday's post, where there was a great discussion on the topic. I'd love to direct you there, if you want to know my (highly imperfect) feelings on the matter, and I'd love it if you chimed in, but POLITELY. We are all stupid, politely stupid, in this blog.

Related to the above (sooooorta, barely): "People never want to do one thing. We want to do all the things." Discuss freely.

Ageless movie stars! Seriously though.

via @kottke, The problem with action movies today. I am motivated to finally watch Die Hard now.

Mindy refuses to talk race. I love Mindy to death and back tho I'll give it to you straight: I'm totally petering out on The Mindy Project, and I think it's because, try as I might, I just don't get the Danny Castellano. Do you? Do you get it? I don't know, this might be where we have to agree to disagree if you do. Also, Peter Prentice just left the show, and I'm like, insert broken heart emoji right here.

But at least Vampire Diaries is good this season!! I am not ashamed!! Raise your hand if you're a #steroline fan! And who is seeing 50 Shades of Grey I know the answer is ALL OF YOU! (Ad blocking first for that link, you guys.) (No, seriously.)

This amaaaaazing before + after. And this one too!

THIS EXCITES ME! I sincerely thought I was the only weirdo who thought of numbers as gendered, anthropomorphized personalities, but it turns out, I'm so totally not. (PS-Radio Lab!!!)

Also in podcasts: "If you don't have anything nice to say, SAY IT IN ALL CAPS" Thank you to Rubi for this one. Rubi I love you!

Every wardrobe needs a red and white gondola driver tee, and this one's on saaaa-aaaale! (I'd order a size up.) (Um, and what the heck is this amazingness!?) (And also why is J.Crew now making triple-extra smalls?) (Honestly, you guys. What is this world coming to.)

"Do I like who I am while I'm doing this?" Good read on cultivating self-esteem.

This is pretty.

Locals! Art classes. Let's do one!

And lastly--have you entered my giveaway yet? Please do!! You have through the weekend!

Okay that's enough now. Go kiss somebody cute. Happy Valentimes!



Hey! Quick update from the HNJ HQ. I was feeling really verbose about this a half second ago and was going to do a whole separate post about it, but then I'm not sure I feel so verbose about it anymore, so I'll get straight to the point here instead. 

I was really glad--and surprised to feel glad, because I also felt really disappointed--by the comments in this post. Not disappointed at you, disappointed at me. 

When I wrote these posts at Babble, everything seemed different. People loved them, I loved them, a good time was had by all. Oh but life was so simple back in 2011 ;). (I'm kidding.) I quit Babble to work on my book, and in the course of the year and change that I spent turning myself inside out to write what I feel is ultimately the most meaningful fluff that I've ever written, I started to re-evaluate just about everything I had always thought that I'd believed. Such as: that quantity was better than quality; that making others happy was better than making myself happy; that the things I had been taught to be true were necessarily true by mere virtue of the fact that somebody else believed them to be true. It was a really painful, excruciatingly beautiful year, and I came out of it with a much better idea of what was important to me, and of how I wanted to live my life. It was like finding a high-speed elevator when you'd been trudging too slowly up the stairs for too long.

It was kind of a tumultuous year for the blog, too, and I know I alienated a lot of readers. Readers who liked the "old Natalie." And I feel that, guys, I feel that. Even though I was Natalie Jean wayyyy before I was Nat The Fat Rat, if we're being stupid and particular about things. Anyway.

I was wrong, this is SO the textbook definition of verbose. Nice one. 

Anyway. I brought these posts back because a lot of my readers asked me to. I probably get three or more emails a week about those old Forever 21 posts. "I know you don't shop there anymore but it would SO help a new mom transitioning between wardrobes if you'd do them again." "I know you don't shop there anymore, but they were so fun to read! Please bring them back!" Please note I am not blaming these rad people for anything, nor would I want to. I made the decision ultimately. I mean, I missed them too. They're hella fun. They were also a small help in the income department, and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you the straight truth: the Holbrooks can't comfortably afford private pre-k. BUT OH WELL, CONTRACTS.

After talking it over with many people in my life who know me well and who thought me ridiculous for not continuing to write them all along, I decided to bring them back. I hoped it'd make everybody happy, including my husband who sometimes asks, "hey are you getting another paycheck anytime soon?" So I wrote one. It didn't feel right, but it also didn't feel wrong. So I wrote a second one. The second one felt wrong. It was fun, I was proud of the entertainment quality, but I didn't like looking at it. So I published my Friday post earlier than I normally would have so it wouldn't be at the top of the page anymore. And then I tried to forget it and figured it would be more fun than not and that life would go on. But a few of you chimed in to say that it also felt wrong to you. And listen, I am so glad that you did. My biggest failing in this life is not trusting my gut, and needing validation for feelings that I should feel perfectly confident in feeling. So, and I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I needed your input to solidify this one for me, and I'm so glad that I got it. But I'm also sorry that I felt I needed it in the first place? Wouldn't it be fun to be all perfect and junk? Maybe next time. Anyway, those posts just don't fit here anymore, and while I can't say I wish I hadn't done them (personal growth! two thumbs up!) I can also say that I definitely wish I hadn't done them.

So. I want to apologize, truly, for seeming disingenuous or hypocritical. I hear you, I agree with you. If it counts for anything, though my actions may have been both, my motives were neither. The people-pleasing side of me sure hopes you know that, while the me that I always hope to believe I am is confident enough in knowing that I am just a person doing her best with good intentions and that's all that matters. But hell, the ship done sailed on that one in this case. 

Anyway, I won't be continuing with this series. And to those readers who loved them and wanted more of them: I think you are rad, no matter where you shop or why. I do want to find a way to do something similar in the future, somehow, in a way that better aligns with the values I hold dear. I shouldn't expect to separate "entertainment" from "responsibility," and I feel badly that I tried. 

(You might be happy to know, this whole situation has pushed me to finally confront my diet soda habit. Because that just doesn't fit anymore, either. As much as it sincerely hurts my feelings to admit  it. :) I told this to Brandon just now; he says, "Yeahhhh I'll believe it when I see it.")

Anyway, that's it! Original post below, comments still up, lots of love for you in my chest.


It's Thursday, "the day before the day before Valentime's," as Huck likes pointing out, and at the very top of my to-do list, right after publishing this post, is buying bananas. I feel like, of all the fruits, you know? And readying the house for a photo shoot. And decluttering the bathroom. And laundry! Crap. Laundry. Also! I just glanced out the window just now and saw all these fat snowflakes falling peacefully to the dingy sidewalk below. "Huck, it's snowing!" I said, and then Huck shouted in response, "It's Christmas again!" That's cute.

So let's do it!
What YOU Should Be Buying At Forever 21 RIGHT NOW. Hit it!



First of all, is this is a new series over here that I'm super super pumped about! So, the best part of slumber parties + group bathroom breaks between classes in high school was playing with makeup and watching how your friends did theirs, right? And first thing you do at somebody's house is snoop around in their medicine cabinet, yeah? (Just kidding, I'm not a snoop! Very often!) I just feel like there's something very wonderful and meaningful to a woman's makeup routine, how she approaches her face and why, like sort of a mini anthropological study of who we are and what we do and how we live as women. I want to know everybody's routine, it's one of the first things I want to ask when I meet somebody new but I almost never do. I wanna know your routine, and your favorite products, and your backstory, and who you got your eyes from. So I asked all my friends all the things I've always wanted to ask but never did, and told them it was for the the good of the blog world, and, so, that's how this happened. I'm starting with my friend Emily Frame, because I just got hers in my inbox today and it tickled me all pink inside. 

Emily is one of the best. She runs Bijou Market, she's one of the founders of Small Fry, she's a mother of two, + she's one of the most stylishly playful ladies I've ever known. I just love her with everything I've got. I've been lucky to know Emily for a number of years and she's the kind of girl where you meet her + instantly you're THERE. You know? She's genuine, loving, witty as hell, honest, and so so much fun to be around. She puts you at ease and makes you laugh till you cry. Good stock, this one. You're going to love this! I hope slash promise!




moose paint-by-number kit here
Behold! I am so artistic! 

So one of the things I promised myself at the start of 2015 was that I was going to learn to relax, whatever the sniznatch that means. I was gonna put myself on a schedule, get things done when they needed to get done, and then I was gonna POWER. DOWN. Turn the brain off. I think I burned out pretty hard last year. Even when I wasn't working I was worried about working; my candle had, like, forty wicks going at all times. 

But see, I get ANTSY. So I needed a thing. So then I was like . . . well, what kind of thing?

nursing mother paint-by-number kit here
And what I kept coming back to was those dang paint-by-numbers. In our family we always did a paint-by-number at Christmas. It served as a kind of brain cleanser between college semesters and was so relaxing; like a jigsaw puzzle with paint brushes. We always got ours at the local Michael's and then set it up on the dinner table, free-for-all style, and we'd all come and go as we pleased + add in a few colors in between cinnamon roll courses. I always got a little more into it than my sisters, who eventually wandered away to do whatever is they do on vacation, and then, well, I mean, I suppose you could say I have an intense personality, because when it came down on me to focus in and finish one, I'm telling you: ZEN STATUS REACHED. I loved those Christmas paint-by-numbers. Total brainless art project. You make no decisions. You can't screw it up. LASER-LIKE FOCUS. What could be better than that?

cowboy paint-by-number kit here
Well, so, queue the part when Brandon comes home every other evening with a new Amazon package going, "Did you order another paint-by-number!?" 

What would really be good for me would be, like, yoga or whatever. Meditation. I know, I'm a work in progress.

eagle paint-by-number kit here
Every paint-by-number is different. Some have you mix colors on your own, others don't; some provide palettes, others don't; this one came with three paintbrushes of different shapes once and I was like, WOAH. Taking ourselves seriously aren't we! 

I've become a connoisseur of paint-by-numbers! But is this really something I should feel proud of? 

I think the best part is that all of these paint-by-numbers are kitschy as bunk. They are so ridiculous looking. Some of them are a little hideous, and those are my favorites. They go perfectly in our funny Brooklyn loft. I'm thinking of doing a paint-by-number gallery wall maybe. Limited-time exhibit!

Watch out now, this is embarrassing. 

Sigh. They are rather glorious. I've done one or two every weekend this year so far. They go SO well with some episodes of Homeland + something nice to drink. Brain: OFF. Glory! But I promised Brandon I was done, and I am, I am; I'm done. 

So NOW I'm thinking . . . needlepoint kits. Yeah???

*Apologies in advance for any addictions resulting from this blog post, yo.*