Life Is An Adventure

IMG_0377“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” ~William Feather

Life has certainly felt like an adventure this autumn. We were chosen as finalists in the Martha Stewart American Made contest (you can read our entry here). We launched a new collection of coffee mugs (Made in the USA, from the mug right down to the sublimation in our Virgina studio). We opened our own online shop (you can click “shop online” above, or click here). And we are heading back to New York City next week for Martha Stewart’s American Made Summit. Our spoons have been a fixture in her online market, but the were also chosen to be sold at the in-person curated marketplace at the Summit.

With all of my past posts about looking for work-life balance, all of this might sound overwhelming- especially heading into the busy holiday season. But in late-summer/ early-autumn, we hired my dear friend of over 15 years to join the Milk & Honey team. Kate is our operations manager now, and she knows me so well that it’s like having two of me in the studio. I knew as our little business grew that we would need help, but the idea of training a stranger was so daunting. How do you teach someone how to talk to your clients or how to anticipate what needs to be done before the need arises? Kate and I are on the same wave-length, so there was no learning curve- she just gets it. And the hours she saves from our days have been spent exactly where I wanted to spend them most. With the kids. We’ve taken them apple picking in the mountains of Charlottesville all the way to the Hanover pumpkin patch to choose the best jack-o-lantern candidates. But most of all, we haven’t had to work into the wee hours. We can just be with them, which is more important than any fruit- or vegetable-themed day trip.

Looking forward to being able to share much more frequently now. And to sometimes just laying on the couch with my children on a lazy Sunday morning. And not sharing a moment of it. Balance.

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.

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