New York City

10557373_720595188008097_2029964732994957630_nSince late summer is the slow season for us, it is also the perfect time for one last getaway before the busy holidays. New York City is one of my favorite places on Earth, but we didn’t want to bring the children until we were long out of the strollers and nap time years. We put a ton of planning into the trip, not just because we wanted to show the kids a great time, but because for the first time we decided to leave the shop open with my sister at the helm. photo 2(13)

We went to The Blue Man Group, took a double-decker bus tour of the city, had a special night out at Nobu, and visited tons of museums.

Lilly was a huge fan of the police horses and we had to stop at each one for her to meet them. Nate’s favorite moment was at Blue Man, when a jello mold was catapulted into the audience, hitting me square in the chest before rolling into his lap. We had ‘poncho seats’, which I would highly suggest if you’re seeing the show with kids.photo 4(10)

An exciting part of our trip was getting the chance to see many of the wonderful people we work with but never met in person.

First we visited the Food 52 offices. Their test kitchen is something out my best Pinterest dreams. Farmhouse sink, reclaimed wood shelving, and a beautiful assortment of vintage kitchenware. photo 2(10)

Next we visited Martha Stewart’s headquarters in Chelsea. Taking up an entire city block with a massive rooftop deck overlooking the river, the offices are vast and white and remarkable. There are glass rooms filled with props, story boards for future issues of her publications, kitchen sets for filming any number of cooking segments, and friendly faces at every turn.

Our last meeting was at Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn. We spent the better part of the day there, having lunch (called ‘Eatsy’), meeting with several departments, and touring the offices. The kids went off with staff member Adrienne to see how many dogs they could find in the office (final tally was eight!). photo 2(3)  During our tour, we passed by CEO Chad Dickerson’s office and were told that the wood used to make the walls was reclaimed from the sub-flooring of Thomas Edison’s office. I was blown away and asked Ryan to snap a picture of me in front of the wood. Just as he was about to take the picture, I glanced over my shoulder to see Chad looking back at me from his computer. Ryan took the picture and I laugh every time I see how red my face was! Later the kids told me that when they were dog hunting he waved at them every time they went past. I was so impressed by how down to earth everyone was. threearm Now we are back in Richmond, preparing for the upcoming holiday season. School starts in just a few short weeks and then time will shift into fast forward until we break for Christmas week. Nate and Lilly are already asking when we are going back to New York, and while I haven’t made any promises, I can’t help but think how much they’d love to see the city lit up for Christmas. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jalapeno Water

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I have a hard time remembering to drink as much water as I should. Especially with the summer heat and the amount of coffee I consume, it’s important to avoid getting dehydrated. I make different flavor infusions which taste so good I actually look forward to my eight glasses a day.

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After trying the usual combinations (various blends of cucumber, lemon, lime, and strawberries), I was in the mood for something different. I wanted something with a kick but also a fresh, clean flavor (I save the Indian spices for warm winter drinks). Jalapeno it is!

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Slice some cucumber and cut a jalapeno into chunks. You can adjust the level of spice by how many seeds you leave in (more seeds make a spicier infusion). I added a few berries, tied the cheesecloth into a pouch and chilled in a pitcher of filtered water. I’ve been drinking it by itself, but you could probably add some spirits or even use the water to brew tea.

Just a little sweet and a touch spicy.

Just a little sweet and a touch spicy.

The Best $5 I’ve Ever Spent

procrastinate  I’ve always loved this Jessica Hische quote because it is exactly what brought me to my life as a small business owner. Bogged down with the left brained requirements of my science degree, I found myself drawn to creative procrastination. Any chance I got, I substituted metal stamping, sewing, and glass etching for gram stains, probability distributions, and repeated measures ANOVA tests. I found the work I should be doing, and I honored that.

 

IMG_5697 Which brings me to the $5. While making my usual silverware rounds at an antique auction, I came across an old binder that had creamy thick papers sticking out. Inside was a huge collection of architectural drawings. I had my eye on reproductions at Restoration Hardware, but $695 reproduction prints didn’t suit my budget or my common sense. The auction was almost over when they brought the old binder up for bidding. By then most had gone home and the auctioneer was obviously ready to wind things down for the night. He thumbed through one or two papers and said, ‘Alright, we have some old drawings here.” Then he started the bidding at $15, quickly working his way down to $5. No one else showed any interest, so I won the entire binder of antique sketches for a measly five bucks.

Most are of a brewery in the Caribbean, built in the nineteenth century. The brewery drawings are square and industrial. But mixed between the pages of these work sketches were the most beautiful scrolling columns and classical reliefs. Perhaps the daydreams of a skilled architect taking a break from the cast iron factory designs he made his living on?

I safely archived all of his finished works. It was his daydreams I chose to have framed.

Here is our new living room the day we moved in: photo(1)And here it is this morning:

living room, after

IMG_5696Still so much to do (paint the walls, hang curtains, add crown molding, etc, etc etc). Curtains will go a long way towards enjoying them more (kicking myself for not upgrading the glass to non-glare museum grade). But I rarely walk through the room without stopping to look at his sketches.
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