Last October a dear friend’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. Her name is Scarlett and she is just 6 years old. I have been photographing her since she was born, so she and her family have a very special place in my heart. Since last fall, Scarlett and her family have been enduring a long road of treatment, which will lead Scarlett to the healthy childhood she deserves.
I would like to invite you all to a special afternoon of fun in Scarlett’s honor. She is featured in a book, The Vintage Contessa and Princess, which is being launched today in NYC at Kirna Zabete. There will be a reading by the author, as well as a photo booth and face painting for the children. Come and support Scarlett and pediatric cancer, and stay tuned for where you can purchase the book.
It’s that time of year again when we head to the West Coast to visit with family for the boy’s Spring Break. We will be in Los Angeles and Laguna for the last week of March and I’m hoping to book one shoot while out west. Crystal Cove, Malibu, Venice, Santa Monica, Laguna… you name the location and I’ll be there. Contact me for further details.
Dates: March 26th – March 30th
Two hour shoot at the location of your choice
50-75 images presented in an online gallery and in a set of 4×6 proofs
small print package: 1 8×10, 1 5×7 and 1 4×6
I woke up after the holidays, as many of us do, feeling fat and pretty grossed out with myself after eating everything I could fit into my pie hole over the last 6 weeks. I accidentally got a look at myself naked in the mirror (yikes!), and dragged myself to the gym while thinking about what I needed to do to get back on track. First priority was to buy a juicer. I’ve been longing for one for awhile but didn’t want to spend the money. Luckily my in-laws bought me one for my birthday in January, and I have juiced everyday since. I feel like the juicer had a domino effect. It kick-started my health/diet/food/whatever you want to call it, makeover.
I decided my goal was to work out five days a week. Let me preface this with, that is my goal, not to be confused with what actually happens. I have always worked out but when I get busy with work, my work-out routine suffers. It’s now the time of year when my work is slower so it’s easier for me get to the gym in the morning. I take classes with a handful of girlfriends, which highly motivates me. I have selected classes that are cardio and weights together, and separately, and all of which have good music, since that’s another huge motivator for me to put on my gym clothes and schlep to the gym in 20 degree weather. Good music is a must. I run outside about once a week but for the most part classes are what I enjoy and see the best results from. You will never find me running aimlessly on a treadmill or on an elliptical. I’ve also borrowed the Insanity videos from a friend so I have something to do at home on days when I can’t make it to the gym. Let’s face it, we are busy and the gym isn’t always possible. Running outside is a good back-up as well.
For the most part we eat pretty healthy, but I decided to take a closer look at what we are eating as a family, and really dissect it. The boys’ dinner most often consisted of Bell and Evans chicken fingers, Dr. Praegers fish sticks or an Applegate hot dog with Amy’s organic mac and cheese (or if I’m feeling adventurous, some frozen squash) with a side of fruit and/or avocado. Some nights I would make meatloaf or pasta and meatballs, but for the most part I felt like too much of what they were eating was coming out of a box, either from the freezer or pantry. Not awful, but I felt like we could do better. Not only was I feeling guilty for not making more of an effort but I was tired of making two, sometimes three, meals every night.
Early February I went to a Cookbook club at the Stone Barns Farm which featured Dinner, A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach, and a huge door was opened. She had so many wonderful tips for cooking for, and eating with your children every night. Something she has built her life around. Since then, I’ve stopped asking what my boys want for dinner and have started making one meal that I think we will all enjoy. Sometimes I have to make adjustments to their meal (by adding or deleting something from ours) but for the most part, we are all eating the same thing most nights. And some nights the boys love dinner, and some nights they don’t. Don’t be misled, there are still nights when I open up the freezer and pull out a box of something or another for the boys, it’s just happens a lot less than it used to. I also threw out all of the processed food we had in our house. Anything that had unrecognizable items on the label, or was too high in sugar, went in the garbage. Jenny has alot of wonderful tips on her blog today for dissecting labels and how to avoid the junk at the grocery store. My favorite tip – “It’s wise to stick to the perimeter of the store — produce, dairy, meat — where the fresh products are sold. Interior aisles are filled, floor-to-ceiling, with processed foods.” There was also a fascinating article in the NY Times Magazine this weekend by Michael Moss. Definitely worth a read.
homemade pizza, something we make often as a family
This all began with a conversation I had with my friend Christina, and was put into real motion after reading Dinner, A Love Story. Christina mentioned she was planning out their meals every two weeks and ordering all the ingredients from Fresh Direct. Hmmm… I was going to grocery store almost every day, stressing out about what I was going to make, spending too much money, and wasting too much food. I wasn’t paying much attention to the menu line-up either. It was time for a change. I decided to attempt meal planning. Every weekend I plan out the week’s meals and typically order from Fresh Direct or go to Trader Joes. I cook at least 5 nights a week, choosing healthy ingredients for homemade meals. We now have a wall painted in chalkboard paint in our kitchen where I write out the menu on Sundays. Planning out our meals allows me to choose our meals wisely, and make better use of leftovers. Since I work from home, I try to make things that will work well for my next day’s lunch as well.
EAT MORE VEGGIES
The last effort I’ve made was to enroll in a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, which starts this summer. All of our fruits and vegetables will come from a local farm, Roxbury Farms, from June – November. I love the idea of not knowing what we’ll get in our box every week, and the challenge of creating meals using what has been provided. I think it will be a great example for the boys, even if they don’t love everything we get.
To follow my food journey you can follow me on Instagram, where all of the above photos were shared. Request to follow and I will gladly accept you. Please note, these changes didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy at first, but now were in a good routine. By no means is it perfect everyday, but this is what we strive for. For added support we all take the Juice Plus vitamins. I highly recommend.
Summer is in full swing here at my house and I’m loving every second of it. We’re all about sprinklers, ice-pops and big salads for lunch.
I listen to a lot of music, either sitting in front of my computer, in my car or while working out. To share a few of my favorite tunes from this summer I made a little playlist for you all. Enjoy!
I will be in sunny California next week, from June 2nd – 12th. Primarily in the LA/Venice/Santa Monica area. If you are interested in setting up a shoot, send me an email. I’m available for mini and full shoots and would love to photograph you along the Pacific coast. Please spread the word to those who live on the west coast. Thank You!
I was recently introduced to this wonderful website, ElizabethSt.com and was very pleased when they asked if they could include me in their Mother’s Day gift guide. If you haven’t visited, please do. They are worth the click. Thank you ElizabethSt. and Rosie Pope!
Tap. Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?
I know, it’s been awhile. I’m not sure where the last two weeks have gone but I think I needed a break. It wasn’t even really intentional, it just kind-of happened, and before I knew it, two weeks had passed. For those of you who blog, you know how time consuming it is. I don’t have alot of time to blog during the day so it’s become a night time activity, and for the past several years I’ve spent many of my nights blogging. Lately, I’ve spent my nights watching TV, reading, cooking, browsing magazines, drinking wine, wasting time on Pinterest or you name it, doing anything but blogging, and it’s been really nice.
I’m torn. I love to blog, I love to read blogs, I love to look at blogs, but lately I feel like the blog world is causing me more harm than good. Not only does blogging take time away from my personal time and family, but blog surfing can be detrimental too. Sometimes the more I look at other people’s photography the worse off I am, BUT, then sometimes, it’s the other way around. Don’t get me wrong, I love to blog-stalk, surf, comment, etc., but the more I do, the more I think… god, I should be doing that, or I should be shooting like that, how did she get so many followers or why do I care about how to make a hex bracelet or jeez… why am I not as successful as he/she is? It’s a very thin line. A thin line of being inspired and left wondering if I’m as good as the next person. Do you agree?
So I’ve taken a break from my own blog, and from others. It came at the perfect time since my boys were on spring break. On our agenda? Afternoons at the MOMA, meeting up with Bren for dinner, banana bread, homemade margaritas, EASTER, a trip to the Hamptons, grilled shrimp salads, afternoons at the park and well, just being with each other. We didn’t pack any bags. We didn’t board a plane. We stayed local and spent time with each other. And it was awesome.
I have to admit, I’m a little embarrassed to share this post but what the hell. It’s spring and we have spent the last few weekends spring cleaning, so why not show you some of my progress. Or as my husband would call it, when I go all “Howard Hughes” on him. Hence the reason I’ve been absent here. I’ve also been sick with the stomach bug, a cold and pink eye (awesome!) so I’m cleansing (Blueprint) this week to get myself back on track. To be honest, I have really enjoyed my nights of freedom, which is when I typically blog. I needed a little break from blogging but this warm weather is motivating me to post, so here goes.
My boys recently acquired quite a few of husband’s old toys, some of which were legos. Before they started to take over our house I did a little research, headed to the Container Store where I purchased the medium 7 drawer Elfa system, and spent a morning color coding legos. Good times.
I know I have a little OCD thing going on, but I can’t help it, I like to organize.
Lisa and I met about 8 years ago when we were both NYC residents. I remember coming across her wonderful Cocoa Crayon website and calling to place an order for a baby gift. We got to talking and before I knew it we were arranging photo shoots of her girls, and once Conner arrived, playdates. She was a big inspiration to me when I was starting my business and even though she has moved to California, we will still keep in touch. Because Lisa makes ordering through her SO easy, I always order baby gifts for my long distance friends from her (which arrive beautifully wrapped, with a gorgeous note) and often add in few extra items for myself. I’ve also purchased ALL of the boy’s Dwell bedding through her. Lisa’s helpfulness, attention to detail and customer service is unparalleled and keeps me coming back every time I need something special. A few of my favorite items include:
Wallcandy Arts Wall Decals, I especially love these polaroid-style frames
French Bull Melamine Tableware
Swoop’s Play Mat/Toy Bag
A variety of Dwell items including bedding, towels and toy storage
A little bit about Lisa and Cocoa Crayon…
How long ago did you launch Cocoa Crayon?
I started Cocoa Crayon in 2003.
What gave you the idea?
I have always had a passion for cool, modern, unique things. When I had my first daughter in 2001, that passion naturally transferred to cool, modern, unique things for babies and young children.Some of the best baby gifts I received were from friends in Australia, England and Italy. They were things that weren’t available here in the United States. Similarly, there were great things for babies and kids here in the United States that I knew weren’t available elsewhere. People were starting to shop more and more on the Internet, but traditional shopping cart sites didn’t (and still don’t) allow for much flexibility with how things are wrapped and where things are sent when ordering numerous items. And it’s impossible to find a US website that will ship anywhere in the world. I created Cocoa Crayon to fill that void. I do beautiful gift wrapping that is no charge. I ship anywhere in the world and I am totally available by phone or e-mail to offer assistance with selections when needed.
What did you do before Cocoa Crayon?
I had careers in marketing and advertising and then moved into editorial work for Condé Nast for many years before starting Cocoa Crayon. These previous roles were ideal platforms to jump into e-tailing from.
How do you find all of your amazing products?
Various sources. Searching on the Internet and trade shows are a big part of it. New designers send me their product information all the time. But one of my favorite sources is from customers. I have customers e-mail me regularly to let me know about something really great that they received as a gift or found while travelling somewhere that they think would be a good fit for Cocoa Crayon and I always really appreciate that.
What do you enjoy most about Cocoa Crayon?
I get to speak with interesting people all over the world and help them in making the perfect purchase whether it’s something for them or a gift for someone else. I truly love everything that I sell on my website so what I do is true to my heart.
What do you think is most important to Cocoa Crayon’s success?
Offering stellar customer service, being meticulous about details and communicating well. Over the years, I’ve had customers ask for some pretty tall orders and I always do my best to be a “yes” gal. I’ve chased UPS trucks down the street to get something to someone in a pinch. I’ve driven miles to someone’s house to help with birthday gifts for their child’s party. But it’s never a pain – it’s my pleasure as I’m just wired that way. I love helping people.
Do you have any plans for Cocoa Crayon in the future?
I sure do! Cocoa Crayon will be expanding in the next few months. The best way to stay informed and in the loop on all the exciting news is to “like” Cocoa Crayon on Facebook and/or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) me requesting to be added to my e-blast list. That way, you’ll be the first to receive special offers and exciting product news.
LISA IS OFFERING 15% OFF ALL PURCHASES FOR MY READERS THROUGH 3.15.12.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year with my boys, I’ve pulled together a few items below that I know they will love.
I came across these adorable Valentines for Conner and Tyler’s classmates on Dandee-Design’s blog, and knew they would be a big hit. We made them yesterday, pairing them with candy and wrapping them in cellophane bags sealed with bug stickers.
Brendan picked up strawberry frosted donuts last tonight for their breakfast today. They are my absolute favorite. I know, not so healthy but when else can you eat a pink sugary donut?
I spotted these foam pirate sets in the toy store while picking up the plastic bugs for their valentines. They are obsessed with pirates right now so I figure these will be a big hit too. And the colors were perfect for Valentine’s Day.
And for the husband? I’m surprising him for lunch in the city with one of these in hand.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!