Summer wouldn’t feel like summer without a trip to our friend’s lakehouse an hour and a half north of the city. It’s pristine waters, good company, good food, and a chance to escape everyday life. It’s a secret pocket tucked away that remains hidden from time. No running water or electricity; there is phone service, but it’s pretty much the only thing that connects you to modern life.
It was a good way to cap off the month as we headed into the last week of July.
Wow. July. It’s almost hard to process. So much packed into this month. And while it’s pretty unbelievable that we’re facing August tomorrow, July felt long, like we lived through a whole summer.
On the job front, it’s been a wild ride that took us a bit by surprise. We officially pivoted the company after a 3 day hack project took over our time and captured users’ attentions. We went to market with Meerkat, but three weeks ago we opened up Katch to Periscope users and the reception was crazy. Seems like being able to archive live videos that was meant to be ephemeral struck a chord. It’s pretty amazing to witness something that you helped create go viral with its users because they are truly excited and believe in your service. We’re in an amazing position right now and the product is just getting started, but the road to here was not without its bumps. Live stream video is still in its infancy, but the community very much feels like the very early days of blogging and twitter, and I’ve been meeting new people online in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time. This part is exciting. Nobody knows where any of this is heading, but our startup does hope that we can help shape the future of mobile video – lofty goals I know, but you can dream big.
If you’re on the Periscope app, we’d love to connect with you. You can find us at whimsyandspice. We’ve done a few streams so far and as self conscious as we are sometimes, it’s been fun! Last weekend, we streamed the making of this watermelon feta salad. If you missed it, you can watch the replay (and others) on katch.me
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I’ve been pretty quiet, I know. But sometimes you need to be quiet, you know? Just to balance out the “loudness” of life and all that comes with being alive. But I wanted to share these photos of our recent visit to Wave Hill in the Bronx. I suspected Spring would be a nice time to come, but I didn’t expect such a spectacular display of flowers. Seriously, this magnolia tree; it was magnificent. I had never seen blossoms like these before. It looks like a Saucer Magnolia which is everywhere in the city, but these blooms were fuller and luscious with a deeper, vibrant shade of pink, plus the blossoms were still very much peak when most of the sidewalk magnolia petals had fallen. As tall as the tree was, some of the branches of this massive tree curved down to the earth almost as if the size of the giant blossoms weighed it down.
I was pretty enchanted by all the various potted cactus and succulents when we visited last summer, but look…flowers! I wasn’t expecting to see them flowering this time around. I tried to get the rest of the family over to take a look while I geeked out on the flowers but they weren’t as overtly impressed like I was. Pffftttt.
And more magnificent magnolias – this time, a different species and a paler shade of pink.
I’ve been enjoying the flowers this Spring a little more intensely than other years. I guess something about surrounding yourself with beauty to remind yourself of the good things in life. Or something like that, right?
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The kids have this thing when we drive through small towns (which seem to be one of our favorite weekend pastimes) of calling out all the big houses we pass and “claiming” the ones they like as future houses they want to live in. It isn’t a surprise that they get curious about living in houses since all they’ve ever known is apartment living. I wonder too if we’ll ever live in a house someday, though we’re most certainly staying in the city for the foreseeable future. But it’s been on my mind more lately. I’ve admitted on more than a few occasions that I’m not cut out for home renovation, at least not in the lives that we live right now, but I also know that we won’t be living in this apartment forever. It’s a bit strange to think about where we might retire someday and I can’t believe I’m already thinking about life after the kids leave home, but it’s not *that* far away when you think about it. Maybe that’s why we like bumbling around small towns on the weekends because you know, the grass is always greener…
Two towns that stood out to us in our recent adventures coincidentally have the same name: Cold Spring. One is north of the city along the Hudson and the other on a harbor on Long Island. When I daydream about living in an old Victorian house in a charming town, these are the kinds of places that come to mind. They’re both near water and have small, walkable Main Streets full of shops and cafes. Seems idyllic and quiet, but I also know it’s because it’s a nice change coming up from the city. So the questions always remain: would I get restless in a small town like this? Would I feel isolated? When I think about the girls, I know that where we are is the right place for us. They’re both homebodies by nature; sometimes they need to be motivated out of the apartment. I fear that if we raised them in a small town they would be too isolated, but that assumption could be because it’s all we know. So we remain, city folks, with a weekend hobby of visiting old estate mansions, antique shops, and charming small towns along the water.
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Sometimes on weekend days when Mark isn’t working, we wake up with an urge to look for an adventure. This is about as spontaneous as we get these days. Like most families with school-age kids, our lives can feel over scheduled. We’re bound by school days and vacations, and boxed in by the kids’ extracurricular activities and our work lives. I know it’s just temporary since the years that we have with the kids before they turn into teenagers who’d rather do anything but hang out with their parents are running short, but for now, these impulsive weekend drives satisfy that itch (well, almost).
Locust Grove was Samuel Morse’s old estate – a summer house like so many of his fellow wealthy contemporaries used to own. The daughter of the new owners who purchased the house in 1901 set up a foundation to preserve the house and stated in her mandate that nothing was to be removed, nor anything brought in. So the walls have the original fading linen wallpapers, the cupboards are full with liquor and medicine bottles half full, and shoes were left peeking under the beds. It almost makes you feel like you’re a voyeur and it’s kind of a trip to think about how old everything is.
I’m pretty sure that when the girls grow up, they’ll remember how their crazy mother dragged them to all these old mansions along the Hudson River and Long Island. I don’t think they’re quite old enough, however, to know what it means to humor somebody, so I’m going to take their attentive attitude on these tours as genuine interest. They’re also studying American history at school so the details of this era are pretty fresh in their minds already. Me? I just like going into old houses.
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Do you know how sometimes among friends it can be hard to collectively agree on plans? Everyone throws out ideas and then you do this back and forth dance until a decision is finally made. It ends up sounding a little something like this:
So what do you guys want to do today?
Do you want to go to a museum?
Do you want to go to the street fair?
Do you want to go to the East Village? I think there’s a traveling circus performing today.
Do you want to go to Dumbo? There’s an art festival there.
I don’t want to go to Dumbo, I don’t want to go anywhere.
When your kids get older and start expressing their opinions about weekend plans, it gets much harder to motivate the family out of the house sometimes because there’s always that one person who disagrees and throws everything off when you have 4 people trying to make decisions. Sure, we can exercise our parental powers and make all the decisions – and we often do otherwise we’d be going to Coney Island every single weekend if they had their way – but we do like to give the kids a vote on how we spend our weekends sometimes. But holy hell! It can be a painful process.
When we finally got out of the house in the afternoon on Sunday after much group deliberation, Dumbo was already teeming with people. The Dumbo Arts Festival is an annual three day art event with exhibits, open studios and plenty of tables and supplies on the street to make your own little pieces of art. Despite the crowds, it was one of those weekend days that made the effort of getting out of the house quite worth it. Sometimes crowds can be draining and other times it can be energizing, and Sunday was one of those days where it felt good to be out in the city amongst other New Yorkers, looking at art, getting inspired and enjoying what is probably the last of the lingering summer weather. NY was full of energy last weekend; so many different kinds of events happening all over the city. And thank you to those who stopped by our booth at the Chile Festival on Saturday. If we appeared frazzled, I apologize. It’s always our biggest event of the year and this year proved no different. It isn’t often that I’m at these events, so it makes me really happy to hear people come back to say that the Chocolate Curry Fudgsicles were the best thing they had at the Festival or that they had never tasted this flavor combination before. And to that man who enjoyed the Massaman Curry Peanut Butter Sandwiches so much that he saved the last bite in a napkin to enjoy later because he didn’t want the cookie to end – you made my day.
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