Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How I travel—tweaks to make it bearable

"How I travel" on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

Thanks so much for the sweet notes on the arrival of the newest little member of the family. I've been busy soaking up every minute that I can with him while he's here, 3-hour roundtrip transit be damned!

But speaking of transit, I was thinking about how I travel and what makes it bearable (these days transport is not nearly as enjoyable as it used to be) and wanted to share a few things I do that make being on a plane considerably gentler on my body (and mind...and general disposition). I certainly don't travel often these days for work (and can't say I ever really didthe height of business travel for me was probably a trip or two every two to three months), although I do usually manage 4-5 personal trips a year. Point being, these ideas are good for any and all situations:

Pre-trip:
+ Packing: After my bag is packed, I go do something else for a bit (check in online, reserve a car service, evaluate fridge situation to see what needs to be thrown together into a mushed up meal before I leave, etc.). Then I come back and take 3-5 things out of my bag (depending on the length of the trip). I've never once thought, "damn, I wish I had kept that second evening bag in".

+ Immunity: Before leaving home, down the hatch goes a double dose of Green Pasture's X-factor butter oil/fermented cod liver oil blend (the cinnamon one) and/or green powder (straight up chlorella and spirulina from Nuts.com; previously this). I also sneak in a double dose of magnesium. The latter to make the flight, and process of getting on said flight, more pleasant and the former three to keep me a bit protected from the free-frolicking germs.

Airport:
+ Cleanliness: I slip a pair of ankle socks into the outer pocket of whatever bag I'm toting for easy access when it comes time to do the ritual disrobing for security. The thought of my bare feet or the socks I'm wearing touching the ickiness of the security lane floor fills me with horror, so a pair of socks serving as a barrier between me and the ick is my own security blanket. Before sticking them back in my bag, I fold them in on themselves so whatever lurked on the floor doesn't crawl its way into my tote.

On the plane:
+ Comfort: If you ever see me, you'll notice I have a scarf or wrap somewhere nearby—I wear it around my neck as a scarf in cooler months or around my shoulders during the evenings of warmer months, but even so, I'm especially sure that no matter what, I have one in my bag or on my person before heading to the airport. It serves multiple purposes: planes are either frigid or glacial, so a wrap equals a makeshift blanket. They're also generally full of strange odors, loud noises, and uncomfortable images, so a large wrap can be a face mask, ear muffs and eye mask, all in one.

+ Entertainment: What with the knitting and my reading of fiction, I hardly ever get around to reading the magazines that come our way weekly or monthly (the NYT Sunday Magazine, the American Express Departures we still get from a previous tenant, and Fast Company, Inc., NYMag and Time, courtesy of expiring miles on an airline I no longer have occasion to fly). They pile up in their TV stand-adjacent perch and make me feel guilty each time I pass them (sound familiar? I had to put our NYT delivery on an indefinite hold). But come flight time, into the carry-on bag they go en masse, after I've stripped them off their address label, for a massive catch up on the plane.

+ Mobility: When it's time to choose seats, I always go with the aisle, unless I'm travelling somewhere topographically spectacular and landing during daylight, or taking an overnight flight. The aisle is good for a little extra space and easy ability to stand, but not so good because annoying people put their entire weight on your seat when they get up from behind you or pass your seat as they walk down the aisle. Pick your poison, I suppose.

+ Sustenance: I never said no to airline meals before because I felt I had to eat them since I paid for them. Thankfully I've wised up and now pack my own meal. It's usually a few containers of hard boiled eggs, which are so nice and cute and portable, plus remnants of whatever produce I was leaving behind, and hopefully a wedge of cheese and some dark chocolate, too. I pack my own knit napkin and flatware and wrap it all up in an IKEA dishtowel, rinsing the containers and cutlery when I arrive, so they're ready to be refilled for the return trip.

So there you go–how I make a supremely annoying situation slightly more comfortable. If you're traveling over the holiday (my favorite and one of the things I'll miss most about America!), perhaps you could make use of some of these? Either way, be safe, have fun and eat well—Happy Thanksgiving!

One year ago: Equal play, Tension with the Times, A bit more on Aire

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It all melts away

Sunset from the Hudson River Esplanade, NYC  |  "It all melts away" on http://www.afeatherynest.blogspot.com
The only thing on my mind when the plane took off last week was: 5 more hours until I land in NYC and head straight to the apartment for a hot shower and a long, long nap. As soon as the plane hit the runway stateside, I was unbuckling my belt, reaching for my bag and waiting for my phone to turn on so I could call the car service and let them know I was ready to be picked up ASAP.

But placing an outgoing call was made impossible by the phalanx of messages descending on my phone. From one and a half hours previously, my sister-in-law, who returned from Europe a month ago, was heading to the hospital for an emergency c-section. From 30 minutes after, my nephew and godson was safely delivered a few weeks early and both he and his mother were well. And from 15 minutes after that, my brother was boarding a flight across the ocean and headed home.

When I finally got through all the messages I called my mom to ask where she was and where I should go. Then my brother called, heavily emotional and nearly out of his mind with worry and regret. He had been in an intense meeting when he got the message and rushed out and straight to the airport and was now waiting on the far end of an 8-hour flight to get home to see his wife and meet his newborn son.

As soon as I made it through customs I headed the hour and a half east to a hospital on Long Island, instead of the forty minutes west to Manhattan and home. My mom and I arrived about 4 hours after the delivery and my sister-in-law was awake and feeling fairly well, considering the turn her day took after a routine doctor's check that morning. We were alone with her until she buzzed the nurse to wheel in my brother's son and when I saw his completely full head of hair at the top of the bassinet I started shaking uncontrollably. My mom was all smiles and coos and scooped him up, but it was all I could do to grasp my hands under my chin to quell their quivering and just grin madly through happy tears at his sweet, sweet face.

True, I'm biased, but this baby is all delicious puppy-like limbs and dark, dreamy hair and huge almond eyes, that when he's awake, follow the sound of our voices, looking at once like he's slightly rolling his eyes at our gushing or perhaps just taking us all in slowly.

And in that afternoon with him, I realized what people mean when they say a baby changes everything. What's funny is that I thought it was only your own baby that changes everything, but seeing this piece of my brother murmuring and mewling to himself affected me in a way I never expected. I felt so peaceful staring at him, smoothing his winged hair back, caressing his cheek with my pinky. Being there instead of, or without, my brother perhaps made it even more remarkable. But all my wariness and exhaustion from the week before floated off and away from me. Any murky, fuzzy, less-than-happy thoughts batting about my mind evaporated. The only thing that mattered to me was holding this baby bird of an infant close to my heart and telling him how much I already loved him.

One year ago: Milkman nostalgia and Being gentle with myself and A good thing

Monday, November 18, 2013

Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago

I know it must seem like I'm always down in the Caribbean, but this time it was for work, not pleasure. And there was really very little pleasure. When these sort of trips come about, it's usually 15-hour days, non-stop, back-to-back, in conference rooms.

True, I did get to take a 5-minute walk on a beach and there were a few nice dinners, but other than those teensy pockets, it was an exhausting trip. The "touristy" highlight, though, was getting a tour of the Angostura Distillery (by now you know me and cocktails).

And then I came home to a bit of a surprise, but more on that tomorrow...maybe the day after, because honestly, at this point a nice long snooze is weighing more heavily on me than wrapping my head around the thing I want to share.

So in the meantime, a few pictures for you—don't worry, none from aforementioned conference rooms:

Stora Bay |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Stora Bay, Trinidad & Tobago }
Stora Bay |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Stora Bay, Trinidad & Tobago }
Stora Bay |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Stora Bay, Trinidad & Tobago }
Stora Bay |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Stora Bay, Trinidad & Tobago }
View from Fort King George |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ View from Fort King George, Trinidad & Tobago }
Fort King George Museum |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Fort King George museum, Trinidad & Tobago }
Angostura Distillery |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{Angostura distillery, Laventille, Trinidad & Tobago }
Angostura Distillery |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{Angostura distillery, Laventille, Trinidad & Tobago }
Port of Spain  |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago }
Port of Spain  |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{ Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago }
View from Fort King George  |  Postcard from Trinidad & Tobago on a feathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com/2013/11/postcard-from-trinidad-tobago.html
{View from Fort King George, Trinidad & Tobago }


One year ago: Good things right now & Milkman nostalgia

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The only derby I support: A Derby Bourbon


New rule: when the seasons change, your cocktails should too.

Any chance to play around in my cocktail lab (which covers a generous square foot of space in my apartment), is good fun for me. Know what else is fun? Saying "Derby Bourbon", which has been my after-work drink of choice lately.

While I like the idea of the Kentucky Derby, I don't know that it's quite the event for me—horses and hats and southern elegance are all things I approve of, but staying out in the heat (even with a wide-brimmed hat) for an extremely short race isn't something I imagine I'd be good at handling.

My first experience with the Kentucky Derby was about 7 years ago in D.C. when I was invited to a friend's apartment for a live TV viewing. I had my first Woodford Reserve mint julep at her table and very much enjoyed its smooth, fresh depths. But as I turned to serve myself another generous pour, the race began and finished.

Thus ended my relationship with the Derby event.*

But the Derby cocktail? It's just beginning. It's warm and spiced, but with a freshness from lime and the barest hint of sweetness from triple sec and sweet vermouth. I think you should try it sometime soon:

For 1 Derby cocktail
   1 ounce bourbon whiskey (I've been using a high-rye blend called Redemption**)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula)
1/2 ounce triple sec (Luxardo Triplum Triple Sec)

Mix and serve over ice.

While we're on the topic of potent drinks, I should also tell you about this tasty squash dish, as it's the perfect chaser, so to speak, for bourbon's wallop. Every year I buy squash because they're so adorable and season appropriate, but I always forget how much of a pain they are to clean and prepare.

But these acorn squashes were fairly easy to turn into a hearty meal. All I did was (carefully) chop them in two, place the halves in a shallow baking pan (cut side down) with a few centimeters of water, and then bake for about an hour.

Then, I turned them right side up and filled them with a cumin and cayenne pepper-spiked mixture of sauteed mushrooms, peppers, onion, chilies, spinach and tomatoes and baked the halves for another 25 minutes or so, turning the broiler on for the last 2 minutes (but not before sprinkling a little feta on top for the always-necessary caramelized crust). 


One year ago: Happy makers

  * Even though I shunned a vital aspect of her Kentucky lineage, we've remained friends.
** Truth be told, the name was half the reason I bought it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Craving a cozy cappuccino

Toby's Estate Coffee Flatiron  |  "Craving a cozy cappuccino"  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com
{ Toby's Estate Flatiron Espresso Bar  |  NYC }
I've long enjoyed a nice cup of coffee—never black, always with milk. Sometimes hot, other times, cold. It used to be coffee + skim milk + raw sugar. Now it's pared down to just coffee + whole milk (frothed). Cafè au lait, cafè con leche, cappuccino. As long as the coffee/espresso is deep, dark, and fragrant and the milk is warm and pillowy, I'm happy.

NYC is a mecca for coffee. There was the Italian invasion years ago, the Swedish one in the last few, but more recently, it's all about local Brooklynites harvesting and roasting their own beans and creating homey, techy, Mac-happy cafès around the city in industrial spaces-turned-chic-lofty-salons or the influx of Australians and their flat whites and laid-back, "it's all good, mate" vibes.

Lately, I've made it my mission to try as many of them as I can.

The agency I worked for in Soho offered a company account at the local La Colombe, a big-windowed space overlooking Lafayette Street (which you saw here, along with your first little glimpse of me) from a Philadelphia-based coffee roaster that serves their drinks and nibblies in and on beautiful Deruta plateware (pretty, right?). Since I can't say no to coffee on the house (or on the studio, as it were), I was fairly loyal to them. The baristas there were lovely and knew that I always had a cappuccino, except for the dark cold months of winter when I was forced to seek solace in a comforting mocha.

But, there were times I strayed up the street to Gasoline Alley, a teensy, triangular (adorable) Australian spot right on the border of Soho, with a bicycle hanging from their rafters, just because. Their cappuccinos were slightly better than La Colombe's to me—I think the milk they used was richer and their espresso never seemed to go bitter (which sometimes happened at La Colombe, but perhaps I only noticed because I generally drank L.C.'s every day). It also helped that they served home-brewed kombucha (from their kitchen in Brooklyn, naturally) and Mast Bros. chocolate, making a trip up to see them the perfect treat.

Now that I'm in a new neighborhood during prime coffee drinking time, some days of the week at least, I had to find my new go-to cafè. The first obvious choice was the Swedish gents at FIKA, which I learned before can be quite pricey, but I couldn't deny the convenience since now that I'm in the Flatiron area, two locations were very close by.

After one afternoon stroll over, though, I realized that my affinity for all things Swedish didn't necessarily extend to my wallet—at least not on a daily basis. I know I'm a New Yorker and I shouldn't be shocked by outrageous prices anymore, but I just can't do $4.50 a day for a cappuccino (and mind you, these are authentic beverages, none of that venti / grande nonsense, so that's $4.50 for a few thimblefuls of goodness).

Next I tried Pushcart Coffee a few blocks away past Gramercy Park. There were some pros: a decent stroll from the office made for a proper afternoon break, there was certainly a neighborhood feel to the place, they use Perka (a digital loyalty card which pleases my efficiency / sustainability-minded heart), and the very good cappuccinos were $3.75. But, it wasn't quite pretty enough to become my usual place. When I take an afternoon pause from the computer it's for some fresh air, a chance to get the blood flowing again and something good to eat or drink. But it's also to turn my eyes from pixels to prettiness. I need to soak my vision (not just my appetite) with something elegant and delightful, too.

And then, THEN, nirvana.

Toby's Estate Coffee Flatiron  |  "Craving a cozy cappuccino"  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com
{ Toby's Estate Flatiron Espresso Bar  |  NYC }
Toby's Estate is a specialty coffee roaster from Australia that entered the US market last year with a glorious-looking space in Brooklyn (naturally) that was one part cafè, one part lounge, one part roasting facility. For their first foray into Manhattan, they partnered with Club Monaco to open a small outpost connected to the retailer's 5th Avenue location, but with a separate street entrance. You can enter the coffee shop from the street and walk through to Club Monaco, but first you pass through a pop-up type (but permanent) outshoot of the iconic Strand book store (which also features a fancypants florist).

I haven't ever shopped at Club Monaco, but their aesthetic pairs so perfectly with a sleek book store and an even sleeker coffee shop that I get why it works. This is now a thing in NYC, by the way, retailers bringing in restaurants or cafès to broaden a customer's shopping experience.

Not only is the place lovely, in shades of white and gray, with a gorgeous espresso machine (creamy porcelain and warm walnut wood, sigh, perfection), beautiful pendant lights and feathery greenery perching on the mirrored bar, but the coffee? Delicious. And, reasonably priced (at $3.50 for a cappuccino), plus they, too, do that digital loyalty program.

The evaluation phase was fun, but I think I'm done—at least for a bit. So if you're ever in town and want to meet for a coffee, now you know a place I'll never say no to.

One year ago: Cuspids & Today's trio

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Odds and ends

Kaffe 1668  |  "Odds and ends"  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com
{  Gorgeous farmhouse table at Kaffe 1668  |  Tribeca  }

I've got a bit of a week coming up. Some might be inclined to call it an exciting, fun, adventurous week. I'm more inclined to call it a frazzled, stressful, energy-draining week.

Potato, po-tah-to.

I wouldn't mind sitting right here where I am, at home on the couch all warm and cozy, but the week starts this afternoon, so I'm doing my best to squeeze in a few hours of Sunday morning lollygagging before it all begins.

+ + +

So here's something odd that's been happening recently: glasses seem to spontaneously break every time I reach into the cupboard or the dishwasher. Maybe in their own sweet, inanimate way they're trying to help us with future packing headaches. It must be that and definitely not my hurried, harried, impatient ways, right?

+ + +

Last week I set out on my first attempt at working remotely / mobile all day long. Not too surprisingly, I planned out a much-too-jam-packed foot route taking me to two different coffee shops meticulously researched for WiFi, quality of coffee, and availability of seating, while also fitting in lunch in the Meatpacking District and swinging by a library in Nolita where a new stack of books were waiting for me.

Kaffe 1668 in Tribeca was my first stop and would have been perfect, had there been outlets and had there not been head-pounding music playing. I lasted there two hours (which included one conference call), before moving further up into Tribeca to FIKA (once again) to recharge my laptop and phone.

Then on the way to lunch the skies opened up and as I was sans umbrella (thanks to my mistrust of the weather forecast that morning), I got a nice soaking (of course it also happened on the first day I wore my newly-dry cleaned trenchcoat).

After lunch I had planned to head down to another cafe near the library, but all I managed was to hoof it to the library and then I hopped on a subway home for the rest of the day, much humbled and more cognizant of what being a mobile worker really means (and much more appreciative of working at home).

One year ago: Not a first

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The rosy glow of an autumn dusk

NYC/Manhattan from across the Hudson River  |  The rosy glow of an autumn dusk  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

This past weekend was rife with fallishness. Lovely, fiery fallishness. Is there anything more gorgeous than autumnal light pulsating across my city at dusk? Look at that rosy-hued urban mountain above. Doesn't she look stoic and majestic? I spent Sunday with my mom and after seeing the city under a crisp, almost sharp, blue sky and noon-day light on the way to see her, then again in the sweet light of dusk on my way home, I felt a tender fondness for this crazy, chaotic, absurd city that I call home.

NYC/Manhattan from across the Hudson River  |  The rosy glow of an autumn dusk  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

While at my mom's we took care of seasonal mending and washing as soon as I arrived (lucky her with her own washer/dryer!), then spent the rest of the day listening to classical music on shuffle with water and milk for creamy, spicy chai percolating all afternoon and both our sets of hands flicking about under, over and around our needles. She was putting the finishing touches on her layette, while I continued to toil away (....happily!) on the sweater R requested.

Mother-daughter knitting |  The rosy glow of an autumn dusk  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

The day before I had visited a friend craving a fresh start on the Upper West Side—it's an area I don't know very well, but I'm thinking I need to change that pronto. My warm and fuzzy feelings toward it a few weeks ago were only intensified this trip up. Such a welcoming place for a new chapter.

And not only is her apartment on the top floor of an adorable brownstone with a proper vestibule and curving staircase, but she has a generous skylight, an exposed brick wall and she's painted a few accent walls in soothing shades of blue to complete the feeling of a floating sanctuary. That sereneness, plus a view over the low-rise skyline to a salmon pink and orange Julius sunset on her first night there was reason enough for me to bring her a heady bouquet of fuchsia roses the next day as an homage to her rosy omen of a sunset.

What have y'all been up to these weekends?

Upper West Side (UWS) + American Museum of Natural History |  The rosy glow of an autumn dusk  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

One year ago: Foiled

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Neighborly

Washington Square Park Arch by night  |  Neighborly |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

Last night was a little ridiculous.

The heat was on, approximately 14 candles were lit, and my new (obnoxiously young and nerdy and hipstery and trying-hard-to-make-it-in-NYC with their many 6-packs of BudLight) neighbors were pumping the bass on their recently-installed sound system as they blasted heavy metal.

So we retaliated in our own, non-obtrusive, Mahatma Gahndi'esque way. And by "retaliated", I really mean, "coped", since we, being the thoughtful, non-annoying neighbors that we are, (1) could never make noise loud enough or sustained long enough to irritate them without first irritating ourselves and (2) who wants to start that game?

Instead of weapons of mass deafening, there was an entire bottle of wine grown on the slopes of Etna by R's friends. An absurd Indian comedian on Netflix (I mute the raunch and replay the accents/cultural stereotype bits). An insane amount of dark chocolate and an amazing late 80s-early 90s playlist with Meatloaf and Bon Jovi and Extreme and Aerosmith and U2 and Bryan Adams and Roxette that made me proud to be an American.

And then we went to bed, mission of muting out the miscreants accomplished.

One year ago: Forward

Monday, November 4, 2013

Easing into winter

Orange roses, Derby cocktails, and candlelight  |  Easing into winter  |  http://afeatherynest.blogspot.com

With the changing of the seasons, shortening of the days this past weekend, and advent of the cold (in our hemisphere), it seems like time to reinstate my wintry weather tweaks. Perhaps you'd like to try some?

Burning a candle at both ends:
I've reinterpreted this phrase—no longer shall it mean running yourself ragged by trying to do too many things at once and overextending yourself! No, now it shall mean, starting and ending your day with candles. There is nothing sweeter than rising from your bed juuust as the sky is starting to brighten, padding around your home opening blinds and lighting candles, then going to wash the sleep from your face and opening the bathroom door to a candlelit room. It's like the last 5 minutes didn't happen and your day is just beginning now, in softly lit coziness.

Most mornings R is gone before I rise or a few minutes after, so I unroll my yoga mat on the floor in the den (which has blessedly stopped creaking, another plus for humidity-less fall!) and work out by the glow of all my ivory pillars. I'm always a little disappointed on the days I need to go downstairs to the gym to make use of their free weights and machines, but I try to limit that to once or twice a week, using my own body weight for exercising at home on my other strength days. Gym morning days aren't all sad, though—I still light candles and they're just as cozy after the sunrise.

Then come evening all my candles are relit, this time in the bedroom as well, helping me smoothly transition from post-dinner futzing around to pre-sleep reading in bed. The end-of-day candlelight helps me turn my mind off sooner and sends me to bed much earlier in the winter, which is always a good thing, especially since that pre-dawn alarm ring then becomes much less intrusive.

Walking as much as possible:
True, I tend to incorporate this year round, but especially now when the weather is crisp enough to be invigorating, but not so crisp that you'll get frostbitten, walking above the city streets instead of being whooshed along in the (germy) subway is so nice and refreshing. You'll steer clear of cold weather yuckies, strengthen your immune system by keeping your body moving during a time when you'd most likely be bundled up somewhere still and stationary, absorb at least a little Vitamin D, and take a small stance against the natural padding on of "winter insulation", shall we say, as our bodies go into hibernation mode.

Plus, at least for me, more time outside on the sidewalk means a greater chance that I can catch one of the wandering neighborhood jazz saxophonists in action. There's something hauntingly lovely about hearing brassy, plaintive notes echoing through the chilled air and reverberating off of the brick, steel, and stone facades of my street.

Accepting that hibernation is not a bad thing at all:
Sometimes I just don't want to stick a toe, much less my entire body, out of the warm cocoon of my bed, especially when it's still dark out. Sometimes I can't stomach the idea of putting on skimpy (proportionately) workout gear and bopping around. Sometimes a vegetable that isn't snuggled by cheese isn't palatable in the least. Sometimes taking the subway to work instead of walking so that I can sleep an extra hour sounds dreamy.

And that's okay. It's more than okay. Our bodies are under a ton of strain when the weather gets cold. Don't block out what yours is telling you to do because you feel guilty—it's almost always better to listen to your inner cues (they're there for a reason). So indulge in some hibernating, in fact, revel in it (but in moderation, okay?)!

Color blocking
I'm almost always drawn to bright, sometimes neon, colors over any other kind, but when the darkness begins to descend for months on end I make extra sure to always wrap scarves in saturated hues around my neck and to set the dining table and bedside tables with vases of flowers in shockingly dazzling colors. Bursts of oranges, yellows, and fuchsia help allay symptoms of S.A.D (and who can resist their innate cheeriness?).

Lugging your lunch around:
I'm a soup gal. No matter what's around, I'll find a way to turn it into a hearty soup or puree. I find a way to make it palatable during the warmer months when soup doesn't seem as interesting, but now that the cooler ones are here, I'm finding an excuse to make something soupy every other day! Last week I roasted a massive kabocha squash then pureed it with coconut milk and sauteed onions, lacing the lush orange mass with cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon to make a big ol' pot for lots of dinners and lunches.

But since I'll not always be home to eat leftovers for lunch, and I don't like microwaves, does that mean my soupy ways are in trouble when I'm in an office?

Not at all! As soon as I wake up in the morning I take my Pyrex lunch container out of the fridge and set it on the counter (if my lunch doesn't contain anything worrisome, I'll take it out of the fridge the night before). By the time I leave (2-3 hours later), and eat lunch (another 3-4 hours after that), my lunch is room temperature and ready to dig into without getting an ice cream headache. Yes, a piping hot bowl of soup is much nicer, but room temperature isn't too bad, especially if it means I can avoid the microwave.

+ + +

One year ago: Hurricane Sandy
(for anyone new, an excellent primer on my crazy ways)

Friday, November 1, 2013

2013 in pictures: October

Being childless, and living in an urban high-rise apartment building sans stoop, Halloween passes us by every year with very little fanfare. It doesn't help that I'm a little averse to costumes, too, since I grew up with very limited choices as a kid (Pocahontas and Sacagawea were my mainstays until—thankfully—Disney finally did Aladdin and I could add Jasmine to the mix).

But if you celebrated, with or without little munchkins all dolled up, hope you had a blast!

Now that November's here though, let's turn our attention to a holiday that's much more my speed—Thanksgiving! First, a quick recap of October:

{ One year later  |  Oct. 1, 2013 }
{ Properly ushering autumn in  |  Oct. 7, 2013 }
{ The notion of home  |  Oct. 9, 2013 }
{ The international travel essential we forgot  |  Oct. 14, 2013 }
{ Autumnal things: walks and more knits  |  Oct. 17, 2013 }
{ Autumnal oil concoction  |  Oct. 24, 2013 }
{ A wee shuffle  |  Oct. 26, 2013 }
{ Welcome  |  Oct. 28, 2013 }
{ Toasting change }
Oct. 31, 2013