Saturday Reads: the “I’m in New York so it’s the best Saturday ever” edition.
Here are some of my favorite finds from the week:
The 20 Most Incredible Houses from the Movies. I love a good movie house, don’t you? The farmhouse from Marley & Me is one of my absolute faves…
A Cure for Hyper-Parenting. I adored Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bébé and in this most recent piece for the New York Times, she dishes out another dose of totally logical (imagine that!) parenting advice.
Ina Garten’s favorite foods. Because if this blog wasn’t called What Would Gwyneth Do, it would be called What Would Ina Do.
How to Improve Posture. Because I am slouching while I am typing this. And you are slouching while you are reading it.
Scarier Than Ebola. See the note about logical parenting above. This is a good reminder.
Have a great weekend! We certainly plan to. Follow me on Instagram to see what we’re up to! xx
*image above via here
So hopefully you remember Little D’s experience with the school play last year.
She did a great job playing a hyena and mustered up so much energy for the part that she was even chosen to sit in the front-row of the chorus, proud as could be, chanting “Hakuna Matata!” with a smile a mile wide.
Well, it’s a new year, friends. And with it comes a new production.
This time, it’s Shrek.
No hyenas to be found in Shrek, as far as I know.
So she went into it with an open mind and a very open heart. It was her second school production after all and she had given her first so much dedication and effort, this one was going to be her big moment. She just knew it.
Until she got cast as a “citizen.”
A glorified extra, if you will. A part with absolutely no speaking parts, no solo singing, not much of anything. Not a hyena, but not much more.
Do you remember the citizens in Shrek? Exactly.
She was bummed from the get-go and again we did the enthusiastic parents thing and reminded her that her best friend is also a citizen and that she is only in second grade and that the bigger roles are probably going to older kids again…
Well, it turns out Fiona is being played by…a second grader.
So my little hyena is not a happy citizen. Again.
But this time, I learned from experience. This time I knew that I couldn’t rush to fix it, that I couldn’t demand a casting review. That I had to let my little citizen find a glimmer of shine in the spotlight…no matter how small it may be.
Turns out, Little D learned something too.
Last week, I went to pick her up at play practice and while all the kids came pouring out of the auditorium, I waited patiently but saw no sign of her. I peeked inside and there she was, talking animatedly to her director. You have to know my daughter to love this moment because she was wearing a headband that day that was very reminiscent of Luke Wilson’s look in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and rocking it in ways you can’t even imagine. Style icon in the making, I am telling you. But I digress. I saw her chattering away to her director, full of passion and prose. He started to nod in agreement, slowly at first and then more excitedly. Gave her a high five and saw her on her way. She started to come my way, headband firmly in place, backpack loaded up high on her little frame.
“Hey D,” I said, nonchalantly. “What were you talking to your director about?”
“Well, I told him I need another role in the play,” she said, with equal nonchalance, more focused on her shoelace than the conversation at hand. “I don’t want to just be a citizen, so I told him I want to be an animal instead. A dog.”
“Ok…” I said, cautiously. “And that means you won’t be a citizen at all anymore? You will have a new role?”
“No, mommy,” she sighed, a slight roll in her eyes. “I am still going to be a citizen but I want to be a special citizen. One who is a dog. He said I can’t bark but I can crawl on all fours like a dog and wear dog ears and be an animal citizen.”
And just like that, her little role became a very big deal to her.
This dog-loving former hyena may not be Fiona, but she will be a citizen to remember. A dog citizen. The dog citizen, if you will. And more importantly, she fixed it all on her own. She is the one who demanded a casting review, without telling me a thing. She didn’t need her mom to make things better for her, she did it by herself. She went out and found some extra shine to add to her spotlight.
For one very important moment, she became the director of her own little seven-year-old life. And I was just a spectator.
And, as with her esteemed role as a hyena, I know she will be the best dog animal whatever citizen Shrek has ever seen. And next year? Maybe she will have a line or two. Maybe a small solo in the choir. Maybe even a role like Fiona.
But if not, that’s ok too. Because this girl is clearly a little superstar already. And I am her biggest fan.
*image above is a beautiful hand drawing of Little D when she was even littler, done by a close – and very talented – friend of ours.
The Shopbop Friends & Family sale is officially on through Thursday at midnight PST!
You can get 25% off some of the best names in fashion and accessories, which is pretty great. The overwhelming selection, however, can be pretty daunting.
So here are my favorite picks from some of my go-to brands, in case you need a little direction:
Penfield Parka. I love a classic army parka for cool fall days.
Joie Mathisa Sweater. Joie’s knits are super soft and heavenly.
Hatch Collection’s Perfect Tee. Lots of GREAT maternity finds in the sale!
Helmut Lang’s Smoking Tux Blazer. I have this in white and have practically worn it through completely. No one makes blazers like Helmut Lang. An investment, but I promise it’s worth every penny.
Rag & Bone Classic V Tee. Because every girl needs a little Rag & Bone hanging in her closet.
Shop the whole sale online here and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get those shipping benefits on the Shopbop site, too. Who knew!
Before I get to the book I just finished, let’s talk about the one I read before it: The Goldfinch.
Ah, The Goldfinch.
I resisted it for so long. Too much hype. Too much talk. Some of it good, some of it bad. But all of it, simply too much.
There was no possible way this book could live up to my – or anyone’s – expectations with all the anticipation that came along with it.
And it didn’t. At least for me, it didn’t.
With the writer’s previous book, The Secret History, which I chose to read first just to be an “against the mold” kind of gal, I felt like I invested time and energy and lots of “what the…?” moments but was given a gift in the end. The gift of an intriguing, well-written story that captivated me – and lost me a few times along the way – with its narrative, its writing and its conclusion.
With The Goldfinch, I felt like I invested a lot of time and energy and “what the…?” moments and in the end, I felt like I didn’t get much from it at all. Maybe it took me too long to burrow through it. Maybe it was all the talk, though I tried to ignore most of it going in. Maybe The Secret History was that much better.
And hey, maybe you will think – or did think – the opposite. Because a lot of people did.
Which brings me to the next read I checked off my list: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This story became an “instant New York Times best-seller” largely in part to its origins: the young, esteemed writer passed away suddenly in a car crash in her early 20s and her family, mentors and writing teachers pulled together a collection of her fictional and non-fictional short stories into this posthumous collection.
Some of them are good, some of them are great. Some of them are just so-so. Of course you feel terrible saying that when you know the tragic ending behind the stories, but the reality is that some of them are good, some are great and some are so-so.
Do I suspect Ms. Keegan would have grown to have an incredible career as a writer? Absolutely. Was she a better writer than I will probably ever be? Yes. Should you run out and pick up this book? Maybe.
It won’t change your life, necessarily, but it changed hers and her loved ones’ lives with considerable measure, I am sure.
So perhaps that’s the best ending anyone could ask for?
Next up: Brain on Fire. I have had this one on my list for a long time and I am really hoping for a read that is going to rock my world. Hoping this is it. Will report back.
As always, please leave your favorite reads of the moment in the comments so I can add them to my list. And you can always see the ones I have on my radar on my Pinterest “books to read” board here.
*disclosure: this post contains affiliate links
Scarves are my sartorial security blanket. I always have one with me, tucked away in my bag, for an instant dose of warmth and easy style. It’s probably thanks to the 20+ years I spent braving those long, cold Montreal winters. A big scarf with your hair loosely tucked in and just enough extra fabric to pull up over your cheeks and nose when a crisp wind blows by is my idea of fall fashion done right. Here are my favorites for the season:
Faux-fur from Anthropologie. I got a faux fur scarf last year for Christmas and I love how it adds instant glam to any old look, day or night.
Two-tone leopard from Casana Designs. Two-tone is a big trend in scarves this season, it gives some much-needed new dimension to some of your favorite prints.
Tory Burch mini dot infinity scarf. A stylish infinity scarf that lets you take on the trend with ease, even if you have little layering skills.
Meda black scarf from Accompany. Fabric is key in a good scarf – opt for silk or cotton in warmer climates and cashmere or this beautiful alpaca for cold ones. Cheaper fabrics will leave you with a clingy, static-y feeling that is anything but cozy.
Buffalo plaid. You got the memo, right? You need some Buffalo plaid in your wardrobe this season and this scarf is a perfect option. Comes in the classic red/black pattern as well.
And for you DIYers out there, a thick, chunky perfect scarf…that you can knit on your own with this pattern right here. Feel free to send an extra one my way
Fall is slowly starting to creep in around these parts.
The mornings have been foggy and cool, such a welcome respite from endless months of sun and heat. By mid-day, it’s warm again, but those first few hours of the day help ease the mind into the new season, if even only temporarily.
A few white pumpkins are sprinkled here and there around the house and the kids keep begging for Halloween decor (mommy is a Christmas gal, so it’s a struggle of sorts…ah, motherhood) and today may finally be the day.
We went to the pumpkin patch last night with Kai’s school and the kids jumped in bouncy houses, rode crickety old carnival rides that looked like they were on their last legs with their faded flashing lights and old-school safety belts. They ran around from attraction to attraction, hand-in-hand with friends. We would lose them for a minute in the crowd and our minds would panic. Then our eyes would find them and relax once again and we would continue the conversation we had paused mid-sentence in the way that only parents can. Without any excuse. We picked out the perfect pumpkin for the family. And then smaller ones for each kid and more white ones for mommy. And then they collapsed into their beds, far past their usual bedtime, exhausted yet begging for more.
This week we are going to New York with them for the first time. To show them the Statue of Liberty. To show them Central Park. To show them FAO Schwarz. To (hopefully) show them the splendor of autumn’s changing leaves and crisp air. Half of me is excited and half of me is a little nervous. New York is a busy, intimidating place to many adults I know and I am not sure how their little minds will absorb it all. With excitement, I hope. With a little exhaustion, I am sure. But undoubtedly with memories – like the ones from the pumpkin patch last night – that will stay with them forever.
And that alone makes it worth it.
Have a great Saturday. xx
Saturday reads. On a Thursday. Because why the hell not?
An inside look at Michelle Williams’ super-cool Brooklyn townhome. That library! Yes, please. I am such a library nerd, to have one in my home would be the ultimate dream.
I haven’t always been a huge Reese Witherspoon fan. I don’t love her or hate her, I have just been mainly indifferent about her. But she is so cool and delightful in this Vogue video, that I have decided to jump on the bandwagon. Just in time for Wild, obviously…#teamreese.
24 Surprising Things About Parenting in the U.S. Such a good read.
29 Year Old Brittany Maynard Explains Why She’s Ending Her Life. This story has been everywhere this week and surprisingly, it’s a fashion news site that gave it this really good, thorough interpretation. Such an incredibly difficult experience for Brittany and those who love her and another perfect reminder to those of us sweating the small stuff…don’t. It isn’t even worth it for a second.
Inside Erika Bearman’s beauty cabinet (aka Oscar de la Renta PR girl). Because I love this stuff.
Have a good day. xx
*image above via here and no, you’re not dreaming…it has nothing to do with the post. It’s just pretty.
Now that bikini season is over (sort of, unless you live here in southern California), some of my favorite comfort foods are rearing their tempting little heads again. I love a thick, rich meat sauce when I need something to warm up my tummy and my bones, but I hate making meatballs from scratch. Every time I do it, it’s so much work and trouble and I tell myself to never do it again. So now, I make homemade(ish) meatballs instead. Here’s how:
Buy handmade meatballs from the store. Nothing frozen or machine-made, friends. Check with your butcher and I can almost guarantee they make fresh meatballs by hand and they are very reasonably priced. Probably very similar to the ones your mother/grandmother/great grandmother used to make, but…bland. Always bland. Because this is the butcher’s kitchen, not yours, and he needs to appeal to every customer that walks up to his counter. Bland. So here’s how to jazz them up:
Brown them on all sides in a few tablespoons of olive oil and then add a big can of crushed tomatoes. You can add a jar of sauce here instead if you insist but thick, real crushed tomatoes really are much better.
Stir and mix and cover the meatballs completely in the sauce. I like to cut mine in half at this point so they’re more manageable for cooking and eating. You can also chop them up completely to make it a meat sauce. It’s that easy.
Add: fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper, fennel seeds, dried basil, a splash of dry red wine and garlic powder. Lots of garlic powder. It makes everything taste better, I am convinced. All of this is “to taste” but be liberal. You need to be aggressive with this sauce and it’s well worth it. If you think you have enough of something, add a little more.
And don’t skip the fennel. You think you will never use fennel but once you’ve added it to this sauce – or any red sauce, for that matter – you realize you will never cook Italian without it again.
Let it simmer away over low heat. For a while. Maybe 20 minutes, maybe 45, if you have the time. Let it get thick and rich. Once in a while, grate a little fresh parmesan on top and stir it in. And hey, maybe another shake or two of garlic powder.
When it’s done, serve with pasta or spaghetti squash (that’s how we had it the other night and it was to die for) and save some for leftovers.
This sauce just gets better with age. Just like your bikini body
You know those cute little boutiques you stumble upon filled with things that you love and dream about and want in every corner of your life? Lindsay Leggett-Stone opened one. When she moved from New York to Delaware for her husband’s job, she decided to bring her Big Apple sense of style with her and launched Hattan Home, an online emporium curated with chic, stylish finds for the home and for you. And when she asked me to share it with you guys I took the opportunity to fill this post with the Hattan Home finds I love the best – and to get you a special discount on all of them! Here they are:
This linen cockatoo floor cushion is a fun way to find an extra seat for your guests or the kids.
Anything by Anna Bond is a favorite and this 2015 calendar is no exception. Perfect gift idea for the holidays.
A pineapple and parrot tea towel because every home needs one.
Darling little match boxes that add a hint of cool to every home. Hattan Home has an amazing assortment and these gold bicycle ones are my fave.
Finally, these super soft pom pom throws that come in lots of different colors. I have my eye on the plum purple for fall – it will make chilly nights cuddly and cute.
And now, to get you going on your shopping wish list (or early Christmas list!), our friends at Hattan Home are offering a special 15% discount for this week only with the code WWGD15 (valid through October 14th). Just enter it at checkout for 15% off your purchase – and orders of $60 always enjoy free shipping. Enjoy!