the penguins at the 81st street subway stop say "stay cool, bro!"
I swear it's still Wednesday today, are you sure it's time for a weekend already? The Beebster just installed our window air conditioner unit for the summer--we've already had a week of intense humidity, it's the humidity that does it, man--and this not only means that our bread now has a shot at staying not-moldy for longer than 10 minutes, it also means I might possibly be pleasant to be around again during that magic 1900 "oh-my-gosh-it's-effing-hot-don't-even-LOOK-at-me hour! Isn't that thrilling? And don't you find that you could just hug your air conditioners this week, New Yorkers? I'm telling you. Steamed. Broccoli.

Right, things and stuff:

Is this the best anorak ever? (I'm also eyeing this sucker.)

Julie Andrews at the two-minute mark. Heart eye emoji.

The 21 books from the 21 century every (wo)man should read, via GQ. (LOL I have not read a single one of these #oops)


I found this guy on eBay last night at 2AM . . . in case you want to buy him for me? haha 

Alright then. Imma enjoy feeling like a steamed broccoli every time I step outside the apartment this weekend, BECAUSE WHY NOT. And I sure hope you all do too. :)

Rescue Bots, roll to the rescue! 



Haaaaappy summer we maaaaaaaaade iiiiiit!

Our pack of Holbrooks started this summer season off the same way we ended it last year, with warm sand and cold water and hot dogs and looooots and lots of people. At Coney Island. Brandon took Huck out morning-of to find a beach toy at one of the jillion 99-cent stores on our street (wherein nothing is ever cheaper than $2.50... surely society should have fixed this by now), and together they came home with a plastic shovel the size of Huck, a giant bag of candy, and the looney tunes grin of a kid who's about to get away with eating a hella lot of sugar, and knows it.   

It isn't like me to admit when I am wrong, neither is it like me to ever be wrong in the first place, but! I am going to cop to being a little bit incorrect about my feelings for Coney Island in times past. Only a little bit incorrect though, lets not get carried away. I mean, it's disgusting there--all of the rides at Luna Park are barf rides and I swear the entire area is covered in a film of sticky sugar residue--but I suppose it is disgusting in a mostly family-friendly sort of way. And the boardwalk is really starting to come together after Hurricane Sandy gave it the what-for. And so I grant it my mercy. 

Coney Island, I absolve you! 

Anyway when you have two boys whose ideas of a good time involve a can of Spaghetti-O's and a Power Rangers mini-marathon, you sort of start to love these things out of necessity.

(But why are the Power Rangers always smacking clouds of dirt around? And why do they all fight in that same rock quarry-looking place? All twenty million versions of them?) (Jungle Fury and Dino Thunder have the best opening theme songs. Just so we're clear.)

Suncreen station.

Huck's got on old swim trunks from Zara, a t-shirt from American Apparel, this year's Saltwaters (ordering him his new Saltwaters at the beginning of each summer is one of those times where my chest puffs out all big and I think to myself proudly, I'm somebody's mother!), and a very ridiculous hat from I can't remember where but it's my favorite thing he owns. He figured out that sideways steez all on his own. Huck could probably school all of us.

And anyway, NERDS!

Are Nerds the unsung hero of the candy world?

The other day over a breakfast of Whatta-Melon Nerds Huck asked me, "Mom, do you like nerds?" And I said "Yes, Huck. I married one." 

I was so proud of that one and Huck didn't even almost get it.

(Brandon misplaced his wedding ring the other day and has been wearing mine on his pinkie. Is that not the sweetest thing a dude has ever done?) 

My suit is from Madewell a few years ago (their suits are 25% off right now beeteeduuuuuuuub), sunglasses are Ray-Ban. Funky baby hairs at my hairline are aaaaaaall mine, people. 

I've been playing around with our new-to-us Fuji X-E1 and these are the fruits of my double exposure settings. It reminds me of . . . something.

Please note The Unibomber back there. The Beach Unibomber.

"Beaches must be cold for those with no warm skin tones. We've already missed the spring!" 


This kid loves getting buried in the sand. He requests it every time we hit the beach and then, once  we're pouring the warm sand over his little body, he'll tilt his head back and close his eyes softly and say, "ahhhhhh." 

Mommy's little mermaid!

Huck also has a standing cotton candy tradition that heaven forbid you forget to uphold.

Hah! These are the important things.

Wahhhh my baby's growing uuuup! 

And now I present unto ye in closing, what happens when you tell Brandon "we haven't taken real photos in YEARRRRS," hand him a camera, and then ask him to take a couple.

Hey thanks, Scooby. My sun damage freckles and I sure love you, you know. 

And anyway so this is what the middle of a cross walk in Coney Island looks like on an only-semi-busy-day-but-I've-seen-worse holiday afternoon. 

Good luck crossing the street. 

 Now I'm done. The end. 



Oh hells bells and cheeseballs brace yourself for this, this one is a gusher. 

I love our life here in Brooklyn. Caps style. I LOVE OUR LIFE HERE IN BROOKLYN. 

Okay. This is what I love about our life here in Brooklyn:

This morning I woke up and the birds were chirping out our window. Just out this window lives this beautiful, leafy tree, I have no idea what species of tree, but it has bright green leaves, spring green, and they dance in the breeze right at our window-level like a twinkling green cloud, bouncing sunlight off their surfaces. And then I have this gorgeous brick wall staring me in the face first thing in the morning when I open my eyes. And my plants, which are STILL ALIVE. And the ceiling, soaring thirteen feet above me with the exposed pipes and wiring and the vintage light fixtures that only most of the times work.

Just this morning I ordered my coffee from the corner bagel shop--from my phone, mind you!--because I was too lazy to go across the street to get it myself and anyway my kid was asleep, and then they brought it to me! To my door! And the delivery guy was all, Hey what's up? Because he knows me! And he knows what a "splash" of half and half means! When else will I have this again??

I love our apartment. I like calling it "the loft" because it is pretentious and obnoxious and makes me sound all hideously amazing, like Gwyneth Paltrow. 

I love aaaaaaall the hipsters. I doooo! I love the boys in suspenders + three-piece suits in the middle of a Wednesday. I love the girls covered in tattoos and American Apparel sleeveless denim shirts. I love the facial hair. I love the cash only coffee shops that put stupid spindly flowers in mason jars and hang boob paintings on the walls and think they're sooooo cool. They are cool! If you ask me! I love artisanal tacos, mother effers! Put some kimchi on that shit, I am so THERE right now!

I love Gowanus. I love how disgusting it smells. I love 4th Avenue. I love riding my bike down 4th Avenue and thinking I might die. I love our neighbors. I love the dudes next door who hang out on the stoop and the piano teacher three doors up, and I love the teenagers who are SO OBNOXIOUS after school every day, like, GO HOME, KIDS, and I love that couple that routinely fights in front of our building at 2AM. I love it when one of them says "I don't want to talk to you anymore!" and makes like the argument is over and then thirty seconds later starts up with a, "It's just that I . . . "  I so do that! I know that one! And the one too where you go to apologize and make peace but then something in your apology hits another point of contention, and then off you go again? That one is a classic! I love that!

I love bagels. 

God I love bagels. 

I love telling Huck not to run in the house so our downstairs neighbor won't be bothered by banging footsteps above his head. I love it when Brandon says, "walk SOFTLY, Natalie!" because I have the graceful gait of a rhinoceros. I love it when Huck accidentally drops something heavy on the floor and shouts down through the floorboards, "Sorry, Michael!"

I love that our mattress is just on the floor. Just sitting there randomly on the floor behind the sofa. Like we're a bunch of dirty hippie college kids or something, I love that. I feel like I should move the rug underneath it so it feels more purposeful or something but you know what? I also love that this place looks accidental no matter where you put anything. I love that little corner of the kitchen by the cupboards where I can sit on the floor with a jar of pickles and call my mother. I love how you cannot hang a damn thing on these walls because they are all made of brick, brick brick brick!, and I love how we've been using the drill holes put in by the previous tenants because we're too nervous to put in our own, which is how Barry ended up where Barry is living, and I love how collaborative our place feels because of it. The ghosts of tenants past. I like wondering with Brandon what the previous tenants had hung above the dining area that was special enough to have gotten them to install track lighting to highlight it. WHAT WAS IT!? 

I love the subway. I love the damn R train. Damn stupid slow R train. I love that I'm back on the R  train after a 10-year hiatus and a brief affair with the 1 / 2 / 3. I love the mirroring nature of our two lives in Brooklyn. I love wandering down Montague Street, holding Huck's hand, picturing myself at 22 walking Peter Pan and thinking I knew everything. 

I love bumping into Huck's teacher at the farmer's market and discussing kombucha with him in depth. 

I love that I was at the Union Square Greenmarket the other day and it was an effort to find a bakery stand that wasn't gluten free! (Union Square isn't in Brooklyn. Bygones.)


I just love our life here in Brooklyn.

I love our life here in Brooklyn, and I know that nothing is forever. That's what this is. Nothing lasts forever, which is both good news and bad, and that makes this time all the more precious to me. The hard times pass and the good times pass, all just the same; it doesn't slow down and it doesn't speed up, it's just there, ticking cruelly, and all we can do is keep up our optimism for whatever comes next. 

I am so glad it's not last year anymore. I am so glad it's not two years ago anymore. I'd be fine going back to three years ago, those were good times, but, wow where am I going with this. 

I am glad that I'm still blogging. Sigh. Even though I very nearly shut it down, like, four times this year, finger on the button, heart pounding "I'll turn this car around!" style, with Brandon going, "Do it!!! I dare you!!!" But I'm glad that I didn't. Because hell, Natalie. Having this record of our lives is such an incredible thing. And even if I didn't blog, I'd still blog. Whatever that means. I guess that is my grand takeaway from this year, is that this blessed stupidity will go on and on, and isn't that comforting? On it goes, on, and on, no matter who is watching, no matter who is caring. 

Blog like no one is reading! Can we put that on a T shirt?

This summer marks five years that we've lived in New York City this second time around. That is the longest I have lived in any one place in my entire life. Oh geez. I remember looking at apartments at this time five years ago, enormously pregnant and uncomfortable, in the height of the city summer humidity, trekking up and down flight after flight of stairs, looking at places no bigger than a thimble, one of which that had an actual shower in the kitchen--and seriously considering it!--and it's just crazy to think about. Can you believe what a different time that was? Everything felt different and new and strange. But New York is, by now, really and truly and certifiably home. I live here. Natalie Belongs Here. Maybe. Stamp it on your forehead. I'll put the formal request in the mail, on official stationery, signed by a notary: I'd like to live here forever!! Or until a cute country home opens up somewhere with room for chickens out back. Oooh! And goats! 

I was standing in my kitchen this morning thinking about the smell of the subway and our five year anniversary here and looking at the Brooklyn rooftops and feeling so grounded and good. And I thought to myself, "this is one for the blog!" That happens sometimes, what can I say. But this, this is good. This is a good place to call home. I'll take it.

I mean, unless we live somewhere else someday for six years straight. Whatever.  :)



It's a holiday weekend! B's finishing up a work call this morning and then the three of us are going to go off and party like goats all around the city. Hope you have fun things planned, too! 

Here's a whole bunch of stuff. Let's roll in it.

FIRST: My amazingly inspiring friend Julie, owner of fitBallet and best writing partner a girl could ask for, recently wrote a fitness + training ebook so you can follow her fitBallet course on your own at home (and feel seriously inspired about, like, everything while you're at it), and it releases today! You can get it here. It's only $9.99, but HNJ readers get a fat 10% off with the code HEYNATALIEJEAN. Check out her in-person training, online training, or class class schedule in TriBeCa for locals as well. Woman knows what she's doing. I recommend her five million percent. 

Income inequality as seen from space (found after falling down a Twitter rabbit hole)

Did you know your glossy social media accounts can be used against you in a court of law if you're trying to argue for emotional distress?

And speaking of books, this looks really wonderful (Recommended to me by a reader--thank you!)

Get the old school You've Got Mail announcement on your Google Chrome, hollaaaaa

What kids want on vacation, for summer planning inspiration

Playground Purgatory. Too amazing for words. This many exclamation points !!!!!!!!!!

Two exhibits you have to hit this weekend: Bjork and Yoko, both at the MoMA.

And lastly, my homegirls at Local-Creative are hosting a co-working space in Gowanus for the month of June. $25 a day with adorable amenities in a really beautiful, bright loft space. DO IT. Find out more here and email to reserve a space. I can't wait to check it out!

Keep it real + stay cool!



What do you get when you combine one very boring outfit that you've already worn five million times with a new pair of nerd shoes? 

You get the same thing you got the last time, only nerdier! 


I've been looking for THE pair of nerdy saddle shoes for just about forever. It's not like they're that hard to find? But every pair I'd tried seemed to be missing something crucial. For one thing, I have a specific black-to-white ratio. TrĂ©s important. Second only to the black/white ratio are the dimensions of the toe box. Proper width is tricky, and I like mine to have some clomp. Like a throw-back third grader going to prep school. Ooh, like Rory Gilmore! Not like the delicate wing-tip of a mob boss in the twenties. Pass me a gun with that weird wheel-y thingie! Eh-eh-eh-eh-ehhhh! (That's my 1920s villain with a cigar dangling out his mouth evil laughing sound effect. Spot on, right?) 

I finally found these puppies by searching "cheer shoes" on Amazon at two in the morning last week, because I'd remembered randomly that my mom wore a pair in an old photo of her with her high school cheer squad. Perfection achieved! I totally got that rush of buy buy buy! now now now! energy that shopping junkies sometimes get? Not that I would know? 


I should really have my Amazon app removed from my phone because I get into more trouble with it than a high schooler behind the bleachers.

At first I felt like Ronald McDonald in them, until I googled it and it turns out his shoes are red. (Same with the Hamburglar's.)

I get questions about this jacket all the time, and sadly, it's an eBay score from a few years ago of a brand I haven't seen since. It's cropped at the sleeves and the fit is suuuper snug, and if you're in the market for something similar, this Madewell version is almost a dead ringer. (Are they out of the black right now?) I've tried it on and by snug I mean SNUG, so size up. (At least two sizes if you want something boyfriend-y.) 

My favorite gold chain bracelets come from Littionary. I get asked that one a lot too. :)

Well so anyway, that's that. Photos lovingly taken by this guy ☟

You can tell he's thrilled about it.



Oh hey, hi, hello! So nice of you to drop by! Who me? Oh, I'm fine! And you? Some weather we're having, eh?

We've been enjoying the heck out of spring over here. We hit 82 on Sunday, barely eeked out 61 on Monday, spring is emotionally unbalanced right now and I really like it. Vacuuming up popcorn off the rugs a million times a day. The post office and I have become besties. On the way out the door the other day Huck proclaimed the post office a "pain in the payants." Huck likes to cram as many syllables as he can into words that should only have one, and it was a weird moment when I realized I think he gets that from me? When you've picked up the vocal tics of the rest of your family without even noticing it, it's kind of like discovering your nose on an old photo of some ancient aunt you never met. 

I got the last bits of my "spring capsule" figured out if you really wanna call it that. It's actually just all that I have left. A couple of dresses, some shorts and some slouchy tee shirts. My spring/summer wardrobe consists of 60 items total. I have a few skirts I might still donate, and one pair of overalls from my once stupidly large collection of overalls that I'm still not sure I'll really wear but can't seem to part with. "According to the KonMari method" (is how I like to start my sentences all Hermione Granger style), once you've finished with the tidying you'll know it, like, I suppose, cosmically. You'll no longer struggle to keep things organized, you'll no longer want useless things, you'll basically become Buddha and be translated in the twinkling of an eye (am I confusing my religions?). If you find your space becoming cluttered again, it's because you haven't quite gotten there yet. So, I still haven't gotten there, says the pair of cheap sunglasses I picked up the other day. Though I'm awfully close. (Anybody want to buy my Helmut Lang leather jacket?) (I'm planning a post on this if anybody cares!)

This year I've been really taken by the way the light has been changing along with the changing seasons. The direction it slants, the colors and hues. A spring sunshine illuminates a space so differently than a winter sunshine, it's like the rays are made of entirely different stuff. Early in the morning these days our little corner of the loft is just like heaven. We have the windows open and the  breeze smells sweet and the birds are chirping and the entire room is blindingly bright and beautiful. It's easy to forget we're even in New York City.

But we are in New York City and speaking of the other day Brandon scored us some sweet tickets from his office and escorted his two soccer dummies to a soccer match at Yankee Stadium. We sat right behind the dugout, and Huck got to enjoy an all-you-can-eat shrimp and crab leg dinner. Aren't we fancy! 

Who is this kid who thinks sweet potato fries are terrifying but will happily down an entire ocean of shellfish?

He and B returned from a bathroom trip like this, in full on NYCFC soccer gear. He looked like a very short retiree from Florida. 

In other fancy things I have no business attending, I went to a party for Chanel No 5? There was this really fascinating interactive exhibit there about the science behind the fragrance, with these crazy neat ways to experience the top and base notes and learn about these psycho roses used in the scent that can only be picked in the mornings before noon and only in the month of May and only from these bushes grown in this specific town in France!? Emma was there too so we played around with the lighting in the exhibit and got a couple of really great results. (She's been using a fuji point and shoot lately too and i was like, boom. that settles it.) 

Someday when I release my acoustic folk poetry or whatever, this will be my album cover. Thanks, Em.

Speaking of ridiculous things, I was asked to host a little class at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store on fun things to do in NYC in the summer, and so last weekend, I did!

I knowwwww.

Hecklers in the peanut gallery. 

My presentation was rather technically advanced. 

This slide was my personal favorite if I do say so myself. And if you disagree with me on the hotdog situation you are in dire need of a hotdog intervention. 

Meeting readers is fun, and then later realizing you sooo already know them on Instagram is even more fun. Don't you sometimes think we should all be required to wear a "HELLO MY NAME IS" with all our Instagram accounts listed front and center? THINK OF THE MISUNDERSTANDINGS WE COULD CLEAR UP.


(Imma cram this post with as many pictures of myself as humanly possible mkay?)

Afterward, we got black + whites at the William Greenberg's under the Plaza (um, REVELATION TO ME) and then, sigh, we went to Old McDonald's in Times Square so Huck could get a littlest pet shop of horrors pink plastic cat . . . thing. 

So, my Mother's Day was good, how was yours? I jokingly call it the "Who's Husband Loves His Wife The Most and How Much Does It Suck Not Having Babies Of Your Own You Not-Mother You" Instagram Competition. Because. My new tradition is buying myself my Mother's Day gift, because I am ornery. And also because I don't like to make poor Brandon stress out about making sure the day is perfect. Not that he would though, let's be honest. ;) Ha ha ha But anyway, for my Mother's Day I bought myself Anne Shirley. And then the Universe gave me Rory and Lorelai I KID YOU NOT. Brandon did get me my favorite flower and a lovely back tickle, which is all I really wanted anyway. I don't know, Mother's Day. Still not my favorite.

Though being this guy's mom is.

And now for more photos all photo dump style without too much accompanying wittiness, because why start now?

Huck, any time "Let it Go" comes on the radio. 

Puddle blasting. I'm excited for more rain. Come back, more rain! 

Just recently we've reached this level with Huck where I pick him up and he is all solid human now. You know when they're babies and toddlers and they feel kind of wobbly still? Just a little? Not anymore. I took him to kindergarten registration just the other day and I didn't even get that pang of "my baaaaaby!" that mommies sometimes get. Just the other day though, while sitting on the bed, Huck looked just like baby Huck, and I felt that familiar little ting in the center of my chest. Not too many of those moments are left to come with this little dude, I can just tell. So I'll take 'em where I can.

Would you look at these boys? Thank you, Brooklyn Flea, for grilled corn on the cob.

Whew! And now you're up to speed. 

Oh and yes! This is fun too:

It's a party!! Won't you join us?? 
Anyway new releases just came out today and btw -- this and this
Hope to see you there!

Nattie the Rattie Over and Outtie!