I don’t want to end the week on a down note. In fact, things are not down at all – anxiety filled, yes, but not down. Just a state of continuous questioning, of which will emerge an answer, eventually. I’ve been asking myself, what am I good at? What do I want to be doing? Turns out these simple questions aren’t easy to answer at all, but I can now answer them in a broader, general sense. I’m prepared for a bumpy ride this year, but I accept the challenge. From talking to so many people the past 5 weeks, seems like many of you are too.
Onto more mundane things…oh, this rain! It didn’t put a damper on this sweet party we attended last Saturday, but we are getting killed with rainy, cool weekends at the markets. It isn’t good for business and we desperately need a nice sunshiny day for a change. The forecast doesn’t bode well for the Brooklyn Flea tomorrow, but Mark will still be there as it is rain or shine.
And finally…Father’s Day Gift Boxes and a pre-order sale all through Memorial Day weekend. Have a great one.
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Realized the other day that the month of May has historically been a challenging month for me the last 5 or so years. I know I posted a few weeks back that this May is looking like a mirror of last May, but what is it about this month? Almost at the midway point of the year, May often has been filled with anxiety and angst and even a nervous breakdown a few years back. I can feel panic attacks bubbling under the surface waiting for a moment of weakness and vulnerability to break through and reveal its ugly head, but so far, I have done a pretty good job of keeping them still. Sometimes I want time to stop momentarily so that I can just think and figure things out, but no – life doesn’t stop, so we cope and move on and try not to lament too hard on time slipping through our fingers.
I’m going about my days trying to be open to the universe and trusting that I will find my way soon. Meanwhile, I’m meeting and talking to lots of people. Reaching out. Not closing in. Staying open. When I went through a breakdown a few years ago I nearly hit rock bottom, but I was made to see by my mother that rock bottom doesn’t have to be the end. There is always a solution to most problems. When you go through the exercise of facing your worst fears by imagining the worst case scenario, and then realizing that the worst case scenario is actually not as horrible as you feared, then you realize that you aren’t at rock bottom at all, but actually in a place that you can climb out of.
I do believe that we need to go through some intense self examination and transitions before change can occur, so the struggle is not altogether unwelcome. All signs point to being on the cusp of something, but I know that it might take time. I’ve always tried to do the right thing, and live my life since we started the business by helping others in the hopes that I’m building some good karma. Universe, I can use some of that good karma right now.
p.s. Speaking of good karma, we smashed my individual 1k fundraising goal last night for Oklahoma and our team is more than halfway in meeting our 15k goal. Thank you! People are amazing.
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A bit eerie that I wrote about being at the mercy of the weather yesterday when catastrophic tornadoes were swirling around Oklahoma. Completely and utterly heartbreaking, especially the children. But we can help, and I’d like you to help me if you can. We’ve joined the NYC Food Community For Oklahoma fundraising team to support Team Rubicon‘s disaster response efforts in Moore, Oklahoma. I’ve seen how our local food biz community can rally together in the face of disaster to directly help our community and our city during Hurricane Sandy, and though we are over a thousand miles away from Moore, we can raise money for those who can help. If you aren’t familiar with Team Rubicon, please visit their website to learn more about these group of military veterans, trained and experienced in disaster response. I became familiar with the organization during Sandy and they are the real deal. I think you know how I feel about donating to the Red Cross from my Hurricane Sandy posts, so if you are looking for an alternative organization to donate, please visit our fundraising page and help us meet our modest goal of $1,000. Our team goal is $15k and every little bit helps. I know these are tough times for many people (and believe me, man, can I relate to that right now), but despite all that goes on in the world, I have to believe that we can still make a difference in the lives of those who need it. You never know when we’ll find ourselves on the other end.
Update: Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. I have almost reached my personal fundraising goal in one day and our team is almost halfway towards our 15k goal! You guys are fantastic!
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I didn’t think we were supposed to get this much rain this weekend. A few sprinkles or the possibility of rain was forecast, but not such a washout like the kind of rain we had on Sunday. May is a busy month for outdoor events; it signals the start of the outdoor summer season and there was a lot going on in the city this weekend. The weather just wasn’t on our side. Some events, like the Brooklyn Flea and the annual street fair held in our neighborhood are rain or shine, but there was another big, 3 day event held in Prospect Park this weekend that was cancelled at the last minute on Sunday.
As an event goer, a cancellation or rain might be an inconvenience and derail weekend plans, but as a vendor, the weather can make or break us. When the festival at Prospect Park was cancelled, we immediately thought of all our food biz friends who had worked all week prepping food, only to be left with so much of it before the day even got started. It’s an expensive loss. As a business that relies on some of our income to be generated at outdoor markets, we know how frustrating it is when the weather doesn’t cooperate. As luck would have it, we sat out of our usual markets this weekend because of an event on Sunday where Mark was one of the participating Pastry Chefs (The Manhattan Cocktail Classic). But he was out there at the Flea last Saturday in cool, rain threatening weather himself until the clouds finally broke and he had to break down early. You just never know with the weather.
Despite the steady rain, the girls and I pulled on our rain boots and rain jackets to wander around the street fair that they look forward to every year. There were a lot less crowds and there were plenty of empty booth spaces that should have been filled as it is every year when the weather fares better. As a vendor of markets ourselves, it’s hard not to recognize the disappointed faces of vendors as we were walking around. On days like this, you hope that you break even and just cut your losses. Maybe you make a little money, but most likely not enough to cover material and labor costs for the days preceding the event. This would be the best case scenario, to break even. The girls and I did our best to support the vendors who were set up by spreading our money around – a grilled corn on a stick at this booth, a taco at that booth, a corn dog here, a bubble tea somewhere else. There will be other street fairs and outdoor events and while you might win at some, you might lose at others; we’re at the mercy of the weather. Hopefully it won’t rain on Saturday when Mark goes back to the Flea.
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Have you ever used a ceramic knife? I think my friend Nichole was the first to tell me about the ceramic knife when I spotted it at her house. Mark and I later saw a Kyocera knife for sale at one of the stores at Chelsea Market and we decided to give it a try. They’re lightweight and super sharp, but the claim that it actually prevents cut fruit from getting brown (which supposedly happens when metal interacts with acidic juices) was the thing that sold me. I pack the girls apple slices nearly every day for lunch, and in the past those containers of cut fruit would sometimes come back untouched at the end of the day because the apples looked “too brown”. Now, I will say that it doesn’t prevent all browning as it claims, but it does a good enough job that I definitely do see a difference and the apples get eaten every day. Besides, that white blade! It really is a fun knife to use.
I think you all know by now that the girls wear Salt Water sandals almost exclusively as their summer sandals, but have I told you why? (Miss C got these gold pair this year). Aside from the reasonable price (yes, there was a time when I got sucked into all the adorable, yet pricey kid sandals when the girls were toddlers), they are durable and have even lasted us 2 summers depending on how much their feet would grow during the winter. Those more expensive, adorable brands? They would be trashed by the end of summer sandal wearing season, absolutely trashed. One of the reasons why the Salt Waters survive is because you can get them wet and they won’t get ruined in water. If you live in NYC, you know what a big deal this is. With sprinklers open at every playground in the city, and with a playground every 7-10 blocks (at least in our neighborhood), it’s hard to avoid the sprinkler in the summer, especially when all your kid wants to do is get wet. Before I started buying Salt Waters, I’d have this conversation with the girls almost daily:
Me: “Wait! You’re wearing your sandals and we don’t have your crocs or flip flops. You can’t go in the water with those sandals”.
Girls (as they run towards the water): “But…SPRINKLER!!”
Me: “Did ya even hear what I said?? You can’t get those shoes wet. They’ll get ruined.”
Girls: “Can we go barefoot then?”
Me: “Do you see where we live? This is the city! With rats and glass and god knows what else.”
Girls (as they run into the water anyway): “But…SPRINKLER!!!”
But now when we enter a playground with the water on, it’s like…sure, get wet, whatever. By the way, there are 2 types of Salt Water sandals – the ones that have stitching on the foot bed and the ones that don’t. The smooth, slightly higher foot beds without stitching seem more durable and hold up best in water.
And finally, this dress. Yeah, it totally looks bleh and boring on the website and I would have never even looked at it twice past these photos because I don’t particularly like the way it hangs on the model, but the dress is actually pretty nice in person. I bought it as a late birthday present to myself (and I’m all about dresses with pockets these days).
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I will confess, I have never been to the Hamptons. Not once in all my life long years as a New Yorker. When we think of Long Island beaches, we usually head to Robert Moses or Jones Beach as it’s a quick drive from my parents’ house, but when we want to spend a day tootling around the island for some peace and quiet, we head to the North Fork. It’s kind of like the anti-Hamptons and it might just be one of our favorite places to go. Things are quiet out here. Yes, you might hit some traffic as there really is only one main road going all the way to the end until there is no more land, but by and large there are less people on the North Fork as there is on the south. There are a ton of farms and farm stands, wineries, and places to picnic. The one challenging thing is to find a public access beach as many of the parking lots are by permit only for residents and house-renters, but it’s not impossible. And when you do, it’s not unusual to have the entire beach to yourself.
We haven’t been back to the beach by the house we rented since we stayed on the North Fork 4 years ago in 2009. This was before we were going to Seattle every August, so it does stand out as the year we spent August a little differently. Claudine doesn’t remember the house at all, nor anything else from that summer, but it did make a strong impression on Mia and she talks about it now and again. We did a lot of fruit picking and farm visiting and when I think back to that summer, I think of the lavender fields; I can almost smell them again.
One of my favorite memories was stumbling on a boat race on our last evening there and meeting some of the town people who live there year round. While in town this last weekend, we visited the fish market where we would often buy fresh seafood for our dinners. Mark picked up some oysters and bay scallops and we recreated one of our favorite dishes from that trip for dinner that night.
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