Mmm... Bread...

Mmm... Bread...

For mother's day, JBB got me the bread of the month subscription from our local, highly-acclaimed, New York Times- AND Mindy Kaling-approved bakery, Montclair Bread Company.  

Run by the amazing and talented Rachel Crampsey, MBC is one of the best places in town. They've built a fantastic reputation as THE place for doughnuts. But their bread, holy shit is their bread out of this world!

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Have we talked about cocktails?

Have we talked about cocktails?

premixed cocktails kept in the freezer.

It's a goddamn REVELATION. 

As in, make an enormous batch of manhattans in a mason jar and KEEP IT IN THE FREEZER ALL THE TIME. When you want a drink? Pour into a glass and top with a cherry.  DONE AND DONE.

Now, manhattans are my jam for the colder months.  But summer months? Negronis. 

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The Aloe is dead. Long live the Aloe.

Preface: I love plants. I love the look of a lot of houseplants and a big lush English style garden. But the outside makes me itchy and has bugs and is hot, and I am a slacker when it comes to plant maintenance. Because, once again, dear readers, it all boils down to: I am lazy.

the collection. The big pot with the jade in it used to be the aloe plant. The other two are newbies that have yet to feel the pain of my neglect. And oh man does that table top need a helping hand. Oof.

And yet.

In 1997 or 1998 after college (shut up I'm old), I got an aloe plant. Probably from some random garden center or Home Despot or someplace. And by some miracle, I have kept this sucker, alive, and for a time, thriving. By sheer luck. And neglect. 

The aloe in better health, but a poorer picture. And piles and piles of crap around it. 

At it peak, the aloe was massive, too heavy to lift by myself, and poking the faces of the cats and kids on the daily. The cats loved it. Kids, not so much.

And it was getting so big it was starting to topple over. It shared the massive pot with a jade plant that was rapidly taking over. Just look how droopy that poor thing is. The aloe had started send out little babies to make their way in the world. The time had come.

I yanked the big sucker out of its pot. I pulled the babies too, leaving the jade to take over the giant pot and be the rambling crazy sprawl it so wants to be. I have no qualms about chopping back a jade plant if it starts sprawling the wrong way. Those things are impossible to kill and will propagate at the drop of a hat, or leaf, as it were.

In the past, I'd had success with the aloe just yanking off the saddest of leaves and repotting the rest.  But this time, it was just too far gone for a mild renovation. It had lived a nice long life and I didn't think it was going to settle nicely into a new pot, so out in the tub trug it went. 

the aloe is dead. Long live the Aloe. 

And its baby took its rightful place as the new aloe for me to neglect and possibly kill. Last year I threw a few pots on the potters wheel with the idea toward putting some succlents in them.  I even thought ahead (a rarity) and added drainage holes while trimming them before firing them.  However, I killed the succulents within two weeks, so the pot had just been laying empty, waiting for it's one true love: baby aloe. Top with some pebbles so the toddler doesn't decide to go digging in the dirt, et voilà. 

long live the Aloe! (And the jade plant behind it)

Swim bag

Yeah, maybe soon I'll actually be on a better-than-not-even-once-a-month posting schedule. Theoretically yes, since work stuff has eased up a bit, and we've finished moving. . . But on the other hand it's about to be summer and really, who am I kidding?

But in the meantime, speaking of summer, it's gorgeous here today, and I am already thinking of the pool. The problem with going to the pool is that's getting ready for the pool is effing torture.


Unless you have a ready packed swim bag with all your crap in it, ready to go at a moment's notice.

a fully packed swim bag, complete with mulch stain from last year

Here's the thing: I am fundamentally lazy. So I'd much rather put 30 minutes of effort into something once a season to prevent the inevitable "goddamnit, where are the towels?!?!" that would happen EVERY DAY otherwise. 

This way, I never search for sunscreen--it's in the bag. Goggles--in the bag. Towels--in the bag. Snacks--in the bag. My rash guard and suit--in the bag.

What exactly do I pack? Well I'll tell you. And show you! Because who does not love a good "What's in your bag" piece?

fully unpacked. It all goes in the tote.

Back row: tote and towels.

Second row: wet bags, sunscreen on top; mesh duffel with piles of toys on top; big kid's swimsuit, rash guard, and hat.

Third row: my swim coverup, above goggles and sunglasses; my swimsuit and rash guard; diaper clutch with uno, soap case and brush on top, sitting above the prescription goggle case; little one's oldey timey bathing suit and swim dipe.

The bag:

Lands End's XL tote, with the embroidery so everyone knows exactly which bag is what. We have some L.L. Bean totes, which i like for the stiffness of the canvas, but I need the pockets and the attached key fob. (This was purchased before LE stuck their foot in it by retracting the Gloria Steinem interview after right wing nutjobs bitched about feminism. As such, I wrote them and told them that until they got a goddamned spine they'd lost all my business. Which was considerable. And now I'm without a go-to tote and swimwear place. Assholes. Also why I'm not linking to them.)


The biggest little has a specific pool-branded towel he likes, but the rest are Turkish foutas, or peshtemal. I am OBSESSED. They absorb a ton, dry out quickly, are cute, and I got them off of eBay (from this shop--the thick ones are the best) for way cheaper than the fancy places sell them. 

Wet bags:

Two of them. Because inevitably one will not get put back. And tell me why I never knew these were a thing until I had kids? Cause they are AWESOME. The Skip Hop one has a mesh outside pocket which is where I stash my swimsuit and rash guard.

Packing cube:

That's the black mesh bag. Holds the boys' swimsuits and rash guards.  Please to note the little one's oldey-timey one-piece striped job. Last season The Gap had a similar suit that I am kicking myself for not buying in all the sizes, so I hunted one down from Etsy this year (do you die? I die. That is some cute ass shit right there). I need to find him a toddler-sized straw boater, a handle bar mustache, and teach him some barber shop harmonies before fourth of July.

Packing cubes are the shit by the way. I got a bunch in multiple colors from ebags a few years ago. So now when we travel, the boys and I have our stuff color coded. Biggest little is red, littlest little is orange, I am green. It makes packing all those tiny little socks so much easier. JBB is on his own, cause he's a grown ass man and can pack his own stuff.  

Diaper clutch:

That's the crazy patterned zip bag (it's a Ju-Ju-Be wristlet; I have a couple because they are the perfect size and I cannot resist an obnoxious pattern), which is also waterproof so can function as a wet bag just in case. This one holds a tiny wet brush, a spare barrette for me, soap, and all the other little toiletries that we'll seem to collect randomly over the season.

Toy bag:

That's the blue mesh duffle, which is new this season. I straight up copied another parent at the pool who had all their water toys and dive sticks in a big mesh nylon bag. Genius. It fits in the main bag to go to the pool and can just hang out separately on the way back. 


Two pairs for the littles and a prescription pair for JBB (in that fancy stripey case) get tucked into one of the side pockets. I am neither blind nor a delicate dainty flower about opening my eyes underwater so I skip 'em.


Side pocket, alongside extra swim dipes. I have sunscreen in every car as well. Because, preparation! I should buy stock in Banana Boat, Coola, and Supergoop, because despite trying seriously every brand under the sun, those are the only ones that are easy to put on (no ghostly cast or impossible to rub in craziness), smell nice, last a while, and actually work. 


Kid ones go into that little drawstring bag. Mine are either on my head or in the car (I have no joke 6 pairs stashed in there. Again, preparation).  I've had good success with picking up kids sunglasses cheap at The Gap.  I have zero faith in either kid's ability to not break things or lose things, so I get multiple pairs when they have their massive sales.


Uno--a pool STAPLE--goes into a little pocket. Not shown but thrown on top will be a skip hop diaper clutch (also have spares on both cars, because, preparation) with wipes. I generally just throw my wallet and phone on top; my wallet is one of the cute ones from Mochithings hat will hold my phone as well. As I'm sure you can tell, I am a big proponent of the "little bags inside the big bag" method of organization and that site is the best source for all kinds of pouches and wee things. Keys get clipped to tote's attached fob. I usually throw a magazine or book along the side edge, and a water bottle and Cheez-its for the hangries. 

Swim bag, organized and packed, with the toy bag in front.

It is amazing how much crap I can pack in this bag. All that stuff, turns into this...

Swim bag, packed! All but the toy bag which gets thrown on top.

Oh, and this is just for me and the kiddos. Any other grown ups are on their own with their stuff because THEY ARE GROWN UPS and can handle their own shit. Except for the goggles. I got tired of the misplacing of the goggles. 

Back again, again

Whelp, we survived the move. And by "we," I mean "me."  Because let's face it, it was never a question that the other three members of my household would be JUST FINE.  Mostly because two of them are under 10 and would be fine so long as the Legos and the TV survived.  And the other because he's moved a zillion times and does not have the anxiety about having everything you own NOT IN ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE.  

I like things to have their places and to live there and have those places be labeled.  Because I am crazy, I know this.  I also have a tendency towards chaos so this is my way of reining that in somewhat. 

But now that we've made a considerable dent in the boxes, now comes the organization of stuff.  My favorite-slash-the-bain-of-my-existence.  Right now the kids are pretty well sorted and have been since day one.  There are a few more boxes of toys to put away and bins to acquire to put them into.  Books have been shelved, save a few in the living room still looking for a place to live.  My closet is put away, but not put together if you know what I mean.  I have to reorganize that.

The cookbooks are put away, which makes my life much happier.

In the middle of shelving cookbooks.  That whole run is cookbooks.  Because I am crazy.

Oh but my office.  My office.  It's a mess. 

This one is really driving me batty because in one of those boxes is my label maker. AND I DON'T KNOW WHICH ONE. The stress. The STRESS!  On one of my many many trips to the container store I very nearly picked up a new one.  But I can't do that. I have a perfectly good one buried somewhere in that mess, goddamnit.

So meanwhile, look at the pretty wallpapers! Let's pretend this is all we see and there are no boxes anywhere.  These were taken while the papers were going up. 

Mini Moderns Paisley Crescent wallpaper in Tangerine Dream.  The paisleys have lil houses and bikes in them!

Orla Keily Stem wallpaper in Multi

Oh and let's not forget the basement stairs.  I love them so much.

miter your stripes!