March in review

Our Juliet Kinja FC & Ladies Arsenal The bunnies Val d'Isere, France Love this school!

Trips: Val d'Isere, France

Sasha: was called up to join the u11 team! Go Sasha! Also - Kinja FC is now officially part of the Lady Arsenal Player Development Program… !!

Sophia: performed in 2 shows this month: 1) Hillingdon’s Talent Show and 2) Romeo and Juliet at Her Majesty’s Theater…. And she played the role of Juliet!

Dan: Birthday! Celebrated at Sticks n’ Sushi in Covent Garden.

Bunnies: Got fixed and are now soooooo cuddly!

And me? Just loving life. :)

My new project: Learning inDesign

London field trips: The Affordable Art Fair, The Wallace Collection

Favorite book this month: I loved The Perfume Collector. Other books here.

Time to start: booking planes, trains and automobiles for summer.

Links I loved -

This TED Talk: Teach girls Bravery, not Perfection

Food 52: This article got me out of a food rut.

Pictures & Stories: why I’m addicted to family history.

Tour of the UK through Accents.

Enjoyed this article on parenting: your intensity is sucking the joy out of it!

Hot Cross Buns for people who don't like dried fruit.

Our fall routine: a bird, a dog and a bodega

Regents Park in the Fall

A short month ago I was craving routine... and now we have it!

And wow, does our commute look different this year than last! We walk everywhere we go - and it feels healthy and liberating. 

It takes us about 13 minutes to walk to school - and 30 minutes to get home. The 17-minute time difference is due to a few afternoon distractions…

Polly, the white cockatoo, who suns herself every afternoon in front of The Marylebone Gallery. She says "Bye Bye!" when we leave her. (Check out this 4 second video!)

Shadow, the labradoodle, who plays in Paddington Gardens. (He’s not nearly as interested in retrieving the ball as Sasha is in throwing it.)

And Greenfields, our local green grocer. The girls pick out an after school snack, and I pick up something for dinner.

The commute is not terribly photogenic, I realize. But it's a sweet and peaceful way to end the school day.... except when it’s raining! Then I really miss my stinky old beat-up Toyota. 

I hope you have a great weekend! Here’s what our weekend routine looks like…

Kinja FC

Stagecoach

Regents Park and Primrose Hill

London Junior and Senior Ballet

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It's hot as heck in New York City

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Hi ya! How’s your summer going? We’re back in the US (New York City) for a few weeks… Sophia is at American Ballet Theater, loving life and dancing her heart out. Friends and family - go look for her on Instagram. Her profile is private, so you’ll need to ask permission to follow her. If I recognize your name I’ll give you access.. :)

Meanwhile Sasha is flying high - literally! This week she went to Circus Camp in Brooklyn. Her favorite activity (no surprise here) was the flying trapeze!  NYC friends - I highly recommend STREB. My only complaint is that we had to pack our own lunch, which is kind of a pain. But Sasha has had the time of her life - and the final show was great!

And what have I been up to? Oh you know, wandering around the streets of New York trying to stay cool. I only had a few hours between drop off and pick up, but I did have fun shopping, reading and café-hopping….  :)

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What's making me happy this week:

dress + converse = my summer in the city uniform

Love love love this series and it's available on netflix.

NYT’s Modern Love Video Shorts

I laughed until I cried: 50 shades of awkward.

My favourite book of the month. The audio version is also great.

Such. A. Guilty Pleasure. It's the perfect show to have on while doing housework.

Don't worry, I'm in Paris

Hi friends! Just a quick hello. I’ve been in Paris this week for Sophia’s summer intensive at Paris Opera National Ballet School and Sasha’s week at the Energy Academy (more on that in the next post).

Both girls are loving their camps and Dan is in London... which leaves me all alone in Paris! Five full days with nothing to do but wander the streets and sit in cafes… I know, right?!?! No plans. No goals. I'm happy to report that I’ve been blissfully unproductive.

Here are a few things that made me happy this week:

Breakfast at La Petite Chocolatiere: The best apricot croissant I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Lunch at Le Suffren: Salade Italienne and a glass of ice cold rosé.

My reading list

Window shopping for my new London flat on Pinterest

Fewer, better (a girl can dream)

A small happy life

How to keep in touch...

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Hi Friends! This post is for everyone who asked me how to keep in touch now that we've moved to London. The answer is: it's super easy. You just need to check a few settings on your device. Also -- give me a few days to get a new phone number! I'll shoot it your way and we'll be good to go.

iMessage

iMessage is simply a text message sent/received via wifi instead of over the cellular network. Here's all you need to do:

  1. Go to Settings>Messages. Make sure iMessage is switched on.
  2. Text as usual.
FaceTime

FaceTime works best when both parties are on wifi or have a strong cellular signal. Do this to make sure you can connect to someone internationally:

  1. Go to Settings>Facetime. Make sure FaceTime is switched on.
  2. FaceTime as usual.
Skype
  1. Get the app.
  2. Go to Settings>Skype.
  3. Set up your notifications so that when someone contacts you, you will be notified immediately (as opposed to the next time you open Skype).
  4. Use Skype as usual.
Viber
  1. Get the app.
  2. Go to Settings>Viber. Set up your notifications so that when someone contacts you, you will be notified immediately (as opposed to the next time you open Skype).
  3. Use Viber as usual.

I'm on all of the above. As soon as I get a new phone number, I'll let you know (or send me an email). Don't be a stranger!

xo, L

12 Audio Books for Summer

audio books for summer

Do you listen to audio books? I joined audible.com a few years ago, and it's made drive time (and laundry time) infinitely more enjoyable.

Here's my strategy: I read fiction and I listen to non-fiction.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Occasionally, I use whisper-sync to both listen to and read a particularly long novel, like The Goldfinch. And some weeks, I spend so much time in the car, I need a thrilling page-turner to make the traffic tolerable.

Here are a few of my favorites - and a few that are on my summer wish list...

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Fiction

my tribe

walla walla women women wine wine

Last weekend, I went to Walla Walla with my Seattle tribe. We slept in barns and in houses, on couches and in beds. Some of us even slept in a giant wine barrel. These ladies are the best part of my Seattle - equal parts inspiring and down-to-earth... kind and brave and smart and passionate. I only wish that I had more time with them before I move.

If it's true that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with- then these ladies elevated me, at least for a weekend.  (of course, that means the opposite must be true! i must've brought everyone down!)

While I was in Walla Walla (say that 10 times fast), my Eastside tribe was taking care of my girls. These friends are my family. They are my emergency contacts, my backup drivers, my care givers. They've seen the worst sides of me - moody, selfish and without my organizer. They've seen me sick and crying and furious. And yet they still invite me to dinner. They are carpool schedules and christmas eve dinners and bottles of champaign. They are my family.

All this to say, it doesn't take a village - it takes two. Or maybe even three. In one month's time, I'll be back in my original village of Fairmount, Indiana. It seems like a million years from now, but I know the next few weeks will fly by. The days are long, but the weeks are short, right?

Here's what's making me happy this week...

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"Let your heart lead you, do not be afraid, for there will be much to regret if reason and sense and fear are your only markers." -- "The House Girl" by Tara Conklin

Dan found us a house! And this is our street.

Meryl Streep + Women over 40 = Great screenwriters

If Pinterest was a person. Hilarious.

Playground purgatory. yep.

21 books from the last 5 years that every woman should read.

Wanna be happier? Go binge watch this show right now!

Greetings from Aspen!

aspen trees

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Is the sky always blue in Aspen? Every time I'm here, the sun is shining and the sky is crystal clear. What did I do to deserve this?

We are in Colorado with a large group of friends. As I type this, the house is positively filled to the brim. And yet somehow, it’s remarkably quiet. Most people are exhausted and resting from a long day of skiing. Some are in the kitchen preparing for Seder dinner.  And poor Sasha is suffering from altitude sickness. :/ While she rests, I’ve found a desk in a sunny corner of the room to send you this weekend update...

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My key to happiness and productivity: focus on systems, not goals

What you learn in your 40s.

5 non-fiction books to read on the plane.

I’ve tried to ban the word “busy” from my vocabulary. It’s a work in progress.

Writing your way to happiness.

Even if it’s just one sentence a day.

If you like Adam Handler’s Happy Hanukkah, you’ll love this video!

Have a great weekend!

We’re moving to London!

we're moving to London!

Yes! Years of hard work (Dan) and dreaming/scheming (me) have finally paid off! We are moving to London at the end of the school year!

I’m so proud of Dan and his new job - it seems like a perfect fit for him. He gets all weird and embarrassed when I brag about him, so I’ll just say this: his new job is very cool. Challenging and stressful, no doubt - but cool. I’m very proud of him. :) He will move to London in May - the girls and I will join him towards the end of June.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Believe it our not, we’ve already sold our house. (The market here is cray cray!) Next week we're headed to London on a scouting trip. We’re going to visit our top choice schools and a few key neighborhoods. We've been to London before, but it will be so fun to visit with the intention to move! Details to follow...

No big surprise - today's links are all about London:

My (ever-changing) moving checklist.

10 Romantic Comedies set in London.

800 years of english history in 20 day trips.

That's not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What our English Says About Us

The Londoner on pinterest.

Best apps for London.

20 London bloggers

And thankfully, dogs don’t need to be quarantined anymore!

how to live simply

travel light, live simply

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Every summer, I pack all my favorite clothes into a suitcase and fly to Europe. I only bring the pieces that I love - no raggedy t-shirts, no ill-fitting jeans, no unflattering sundresses. The same goes for my toiletries, my makeup and all the crap that’s accumulated in my purse. I only bring what is truly useful or beautiful.

That’s one of the unexpected side effects of travel - you weed out the clutter in your life and focus on what’s most important.

I’m long overdue to bring this philosophy into our home. Our closets and cabinets are filled with things we never wear and don’t use. And now that our bathroom projects are finished(!!!!!), I’ve begun the process of editing/purging all the “stuff” cluttering our house. Yesterday I took 9 bags of clothes to Goodwill - and I’m here to tell you - it was so liberating!

So that’s the theme for this Friday’s Links: How to edit your belongings and live more simply... happy purging!

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30 day declutter challenge

Fewer, Better. I love this company's philosophy so much, I made it my 2015 goal.

Ready to purge your closet? Ask yourself: Does this spark joy?

How to build a minimalist wardrobe.

How to decide which books to keep.

I do this: Admin Mondays

Cut down on unnecessary purchases with this just one question.

72 Zen Habits. But 72? really? 72 is not zen. Let me paraphrase:

1. Identify what's most important to you.

2. Eliminate everything else.

Road trip to Whistler

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Happy Friday to you! What do you have planned this weekend? I’m heading to Whistler with my girlfriends. We just learned that we’ve been upgraded to the penthouse suite! How awesome is that?! Unfortunately, the weather looks terrible. My friends plan to ski in the rain… I plan to read books by the fire. :) Hot chocolate might be involved.

Here are some fun links for your weekend distraction....

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These language family trees are so cool.

How to find yourself. This is just perfect.

Brits and American label maps of Europe and US.

Do you know anyone in a Lean In Circle? It’s a great idea. Especially for moms in transition.

Send glitter to your enemies.

(Don’t) Ask your spouse these questions. (So funny)

The White Album App. I love this idea for capturing memories -- and it's so retro!

The best gift for a skier: the shotzksi.

You're doing it wrong: hot chocolate.

And, where I'll be eating in Whistler.

My Favorite Books of 2014

In no particular order...

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

“Research consistently shows that the risks to health outweigh the benefits of drinking alcohol. My argument is that the benefits to my mental health justify the risks.”

"I learned a lot about Rosie's life. It was important background for the difficult but essential task of developing a high level of empathy for one person in the world."

Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

“Grandmothers in Botswana tell their children that if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, you must go together.”

The Fault in our Starts – John Green

“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

Still Life with Bread Crumbs – Anna Quindlen

“It’s a funny thing, hope. It’s not like love, or fear, or hate. It’s a feeling you don’t really know you had until it’s gone.”

The Orphan Train, A Novel – Christina Baker Kline

"Time constricts and flattens.... It's not evenly weighted. Certain moments linger in the mind and others disappear.”

“So I am learning to pretend, to smile and nod, to display empathy I do not feel. I am learning to pass, to look like everyone else, even though I feel broken inside.”

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt  

“That life - whatever else it is - is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”

“Every new event—everything I did for the rest of my life—would only separate us more and more: days she was no longer a part of, an ever-growing distance between us. Every single day for the rest of my life, she would only be further away.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

“She's the most important person in the world and her family living in poverty. If our mother is so important to science, why can't we get health insurance?”

Also...

Here are all the books I read in 2014.

Here's why I keep a reading list.

5 Cookbooks for Travelers

Certain foods - like songs - instantly transport me to a time and place. A fresh tomato tart with a crunchy butter crust will always remind me of a weekend in Provence with our Parisian friends. Meringue with fresh berries and mint reminds me of my sister-in-law, baking away in her charming cottage outside of London. Blueberry cake? Prague. Chocolate truffles? Brazil. Corn on the cob? Indiana - duh. :)

That's why I love cookbooks. To remind me - or introduce me - to the flavor of a place.  Plus, some cookbooks are so damn gorgeous they just beg to be owned. Here are the 5 cookbooks I'm asking for this Christmas...

Happy December!

nutcracker season!

It's officially Nutcracker season! This is PNB’s final year doing the Stowell and Sendack version of The Nutcracker. Sophia is in nineteen shows this month and loving every single moment. And really - what more could a girl want? She gets to ditch school and dance around backstage with professional ballerinas! She’s in heaven.

And so am I! Because I turned 43 this week! I’ve been spoiled rotten with lunches and dinners and gifts and chocolates and flowers... I am truly a lucky girl. xo

Here's what's been on our minds this week....

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6 things you didn't know about being a ballet dancer.

It's all about the peacock.

Sophia's reading Misty Copeland's book right now and totally inspired.

Here's the difference between Balanchine and Classical Ballet (PNB will do a Balanchine Nutcracker next year).

And look what I got as a gift this week.... Do my friends know me or what? :)

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy thanksgiving

Wherever you are in the world, I hope this day fills you with gratitude and mashed potatoes. We are super duper lucky to have my mom visiting us. She is cheerful and helpful and an all-around awesome house guest.  Plus, she’s a retired elementary school teacher with endless craft ideas. My girls have been working on art projects for days! By the end of the weekend, our house will look like Christmas exploded.

Speaking of which… time to start working on those christmas lists!  Have a great weekend!

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Just a few foodie links…

How to Set the Thanksgiving Table.

Forget bacon. Give me a jar of caramel. And a spoon.

20 awesome food journals

Provisions for food lovers: a gift guide

Insider’s guide to Pike Place Market, Seattle

Goofy foods you’ll find in a French supermarket.

Paris Grocery Store in Seattle

Armchair Travel

Armchair Travel

Sasha and I have been stuck at home this week. The poor thing has pneumonia! No fun whatsoever. She’s a sweet and cuddly patient, but I miss the old Sasha.

Neither of us have enjoyed the forced down time. We both like to do things - go places, exercise and see friends. Instead, we spent the week sitting on the couch, playing board games and watching TV.

It was fun the first day. Not so much on Day 8.

What do you do when you can’t go anywhere?  Read books? Watch movies? I do both. But mostly I start planning for the next trip. We're thinking seriously about a Paris séjour next summer... what do you think?

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Here are a few fun distractions...

I love this book: Book Lust To Go - Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers

Good Reads List of Armchair Travel Books

I love this idea: Murder, They Wrote

This post made me smile and reminded me of our Provence séjour.

I devoured every single syllable word of this article! Hint: Walnut Grove

I’m reading/listening to The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. Which inspired me to learn more about the Cockney Accent.

I was mesmerized by this video with Marion Cotillard.

Cool map of world events, festivals and celebrations.

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Have a great weekend and stay warm!