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Navigate with Style

Charting the style of daily life...with the mouth of a sailor.

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S E A G L A S S

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I love to search for beach treasures, but I must say that I’m not really passionate about sea glass. I can appreciate the beauty of the finds of my sea glass loving family members and friends, but I’ve just never been all that excited about looking for it. That said, my dear cousin Holly (technically my first cousin once removed) sent me a beautiful quote about sea glass (really about aging, tbh):

This luminous piece was found by my sister on our East Sandwich beach.

I want to age like sea glass. Smoothed by tides, but not broken. I want my hard edges to soften. I want to ride the waves and go with the flow. I want to catch a wave and let it carry me to where I belong. I want to be picked up and held gently by those who delight in my well earned patina and appreciate the changes I went through to achieve that beauty. I want to enjoy the journey and always remember that if you give the ocean something breakable it will turn it into something beautiful. I want to age like sea glass.
— Bernadette Noll

Gorgeous words and sentiment, right? The above is merely an excerpt of Noll’s original writing, so read the full piece here.

I might keep my eyes peeled for a glimmer of sea glass when I walk the beach collecting rocks and shells, but even if I never find a piece, the real treasure will be keeping this lovely passage fresh in my mind for the rest of my life.

Fresh Eats: Summah Salad

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I’m a simple girl. I like simple food. And I like to eat the same foods over and over again. This dish is one that I could eat every night, and it can be switched up a little each time, which is just wild enough for me.

Despite the name, we make it whenever we damn well please, but it IS particularly great when it’s hot outside and the tomatoes are in their peak season, and especially so if you pick your tomatoes from your backyard like I do.

Behold, the Fox Fam Summah Salad:

The Foundation: Chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, fresh mozzarella, chunks of avocado, and canned mandarin oranges with just a smidge of the juice from the can. Add a dash of salt & pepper, the juice of two lemons + zest and some really fab EVOO.

Optional mix ins: Apples, garbanzo beans, shelled edamame, blanched and cut green beans, diced carrots, fresh parsley or basil.

Whatever mix you end up with can be served as is, or spooned over your lettuce of choice - like Boston lettuce, because that’s the best lettuce evah.

We typically serve this with fresh bread and buttah. Heaven!

Here's Some Stuff I Ate in February

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I like to eat. I’m not a foodie, because I’m pretty sure foodies must love onions and be way more adventurous than my tastebuds allow. Also, we hate the word foodie now, right?

Steak & eggs brunch by Bird + Cleaver. Use of emoji by me. I’m immature. #playwithyourfood

Fresh colorful foods spark joy!

From left to right: Bird + Cleaver, Core Life Eatery, Proximo and Mr. F @ Chez Fox.

Also sparking joy is a healthy sprinkle of umami powder on pretty much any savory dish. Yum-O!

Vegan pop-tart @ Bird + Cleaver. I love everything they do PLUS they are gracious about my general onion hating.

Ew. I’ll spare mentioning the resto because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. But this menu item, as well as what I actually ordered, was so barf-tastic. Most of the breakfast places in my city leave much to be desired. #beefvolcano

76 Hours in Chicago (and then back again)

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We Foxes love city time, so we plan semi-regular trips to Chicago. We skipped our traditional in between Thanksgiving and Christmas visit, so we went in January instead, during an accurately predicted blizzard, in fact. We weren’t scurred. And it actually paid off, as we had the city virtually to ourselves! ‘Twas fun.

I’ve been wanting to stop at the Albanese Candy Factory for years, and this time we finally did it. They make the best gummy candies in the world. And a truth about me is that I cannot resist a good Boston fruit slice. As we pull onto Lake Shore Drive, we always play a song of the same name by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah. It’s very jaunty and puts us in a festive “yay we’re in Chicago” mood. And now for my fave pic of our stay: a traditional f^ck off to the Trump tower. I love that my five year old knows to do it, and that my ten year old knows to snap a picture of it. We are the resistance.

We are major fans of The Ambassador, because it’s gorgeous, the staff is awesome and we just feel so comfy there. While I always stayed at The Drake with my family (still love you, boo), The Ambassador has become our little Fox family’s #1.

It was cold and snowy and slushy, so when we came back home from adventuring, the crisp yet cozy all white everything refuge of The Ambassador was so comforting, and tres chic, dahlink. As I was flipping through my camera roll from the trip, I realized the majority of my pictures were taken inside the hotel. I just adore it, truly.

If I ever hit some sort of jackpot, I’ll take a permanent suite there, thank you very much.

Strike that last sentence. I’ll snag No. 5 right across the street, but hang out in the lobby, eat some of my meals and grab my morning coffee at The Ambassador. How f^ck!ng cute is that entrance? And the fact that it’s number F I V E seals the deal. In love.

I didn’t take as many food pix as I normally do, but that’s probably because I was too busy eating all the amazing food we had. Our first dinner was at Ramen San and everything was perfect. We did brunch at Le Pain Quotidien one day, then Beatrix the next - both were just perfect for us with kids in tow. Dinner on Saturday was at La Scarola, and we really enjoyed the old school Italian vibe, as well as the Negronis + Shirley Temples. We grabbed coffee at The Wormhole (so fun and funky) on Milwaukee after hitting up the adidas store, as we’re known to do. If there was one great unifier for our family of four, it’s our undying passion for adidas. #yakyak

Rando shenanigans. Those are the best kind, really.

We like to think we’re really good at packing and traveling light, however our cart was loaded with too many bags (though I’ve seen much worse). I was impressed it all fit in the boot of Ryan’s little Prius. *There I go pretending to be British again.

We said see ya laterz to Chicago as late as we possibly could…

…but not before giving one more middle finger to Trump’s midwestern sh!thole. Like son, like mother?


A N D T H E N . . .

I ended up being whisked back to Chicago a couple days later to attend StyleMax, quite unexpectedly but not unpleasantly so.

Lots of randomness here, but I need to move on to another project so I gotta wrap this sh!t up, and how. Love the art deco elevator doors, and anything gold, really, snapped some things I want, some things I ate, and so on and so forth.

I tried on two styles of the blue light blocking glasses from Quay, and I gotta say, I’m going to need a pair of these. It’s a legit work expense, no? *I like to end sentences that way as much as possible. Makes me come across as the teensiest bit French, yes?

The clear highlight of my StyleMax weekend was a trip to Goddess and the Baker (thanks, Liz), for they make a gold glitter latte that’ll burn your eyes out with its unimaginable sparkly-ness. IT. IS. MAGICAL. Everything else was fab too (food, atmosphere) but DRINKING GOLD GLITTER IS THE DEFINITION OF ME LIVING MY BEST LIFE.

Yes, I absolutely went back to visit my pal The Ambassador (I was so close, I had to). Had brekkie, got some coffee to go + a cool felt baseball cap (haven’t worn it yet). I love merch. #shopportunity

And just for the hell of it, this is what I looked like on the way home, with that damn uncooperative bandana. Some days I just can’t get this one to play ball.

~FIN~

Fresh Eats: Avgolemono Soup

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I’ve been on a lifelong quest to perfect my own version of a favorite dish, avgolemono soup. I had my first taste of Greek food at a skating competish in Wyandotte, Michigan in the early 80’s, and instantly fell in love, because lemons + feta = perfection. I’ve attempted the cuisine’s signature soup for YEARS with a modicum of success, always trying new versions that are tasty as well as easy, because I’m no Julia Child. My latest attempt was pretty damn good, courtesy of a simple version found on Epicurious, as well as the addition of one preserved lemon, previously made by my husband, which I chopped up and threw in at the very end.

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From Epicurious (with my notes in italics):

YIELD: Makes 4 servings TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

4 cups chicken broth (I used organic)

1/4 cup uncooked orzo, rice or pastina (I used whole grain brown rice)

salt and pepper to taste (I waited until the very end for this, because preserved lemons are very salty)

3 eggs (I used organic eggs)

3 tablespoons lemon juice (I used organic lemons and ended up doing 4 tablespoons but could have done even 5 or 6, because L E M O N S are the best)

PREPARATION

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Add the orzo/rice/pastina and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes (20 if using rice). Season with salt and pepper (again, I did this at the end) and reduce heat to low and simmer.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Ladle about 1 cup of hot broth into the egg/lemon mixture, then whisk to combine. Add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan and stir until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Here is where I added the chopped preserved lemons, adding lots of pepper and then a smidge of salt. I also think I could have added 4 more cups of chicken broth at the end, to make it a bit thinner. Also, adding cooked and shredded chicken to this soup makes it more of a meal. In the future, I’ll also add chopped fresh oregano.

If you try this, let me know what you think, and if you feel anything needs to be altered. Also, if you have a different recipe for avgolemono that you love, send it my way! I don’t ever think I’ll stop trying new versions…

A Holiday Wish

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My most sincere apologies to Steve Martin…

If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be for all the children to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. If I had two wishes I could make this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace. And the second would be for 30 million dollars a month to be given to me, tax-free in a Swiss bank account. You know, if I had three wishes I could make this holiday season, the first, of course, would be for all the children of the world to get together and sing, the second would be for the 30 million dollars every month to me, and the third would be to have Cindy Crawford’s body, but in the 90’s, like when she was filming that exercise video with Radu. But then I’d pair that bod with the face of Linda Evangelista. And if I had four wishes that I could make this holiday season, the first would be the crap about the kids definitely, the second would be for the 30 million, the third would be for the 90’s supermodel looks, and the fourth would be to have an Hermes Birkin bag made especially for me. Wait a minute, maybe the 90’s supermodel thing should be the first wish, because it could all go boom tomorrow, then what do you got, y'know? No, no, the kids, the kids singing would be great, that would be nice. But wait a minute, who am I kidding? They're not going to be able to get all those kids together. I mean, the logistics of the thing is impossible, more trouble than it's worth! So -- we reorganize! Here we go. First, I want my 90’s supermodel looks. We go with that. Second, the money. No, we go with the money first, then the supermodel thing. And then the kids. Oh wait, oh jeez, I forgot about revenge against all the betches who’ve crossed me! Okay, I need revenge against the betches, they should lose their wifi signal and any decent coffee shop within proximity to their homes forever. That would be my fourth wish. And, of course, my fifth wish would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace.

Thank you everybody and Happy Holidays!

48 Hours in The Mitten

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I’d never explored Northern Michigan, and kept seeing all these amazing pictures and posts from the area. So I packed up my family for two days and made the 5 hour trek north. It’s safe to say we fell instantly in love.

We arrived late on Friday night so we got up and out early so we could have maximum exploration time. Our first stop was for coffee, of course, and we landed at Blue Boat in Leland. The cappuccinos were perfect and the kids loved their cherry steamers - with sprinkles!

We stopped into a few shops and explored Leland’s Fishtown but it was WINDY AF so we sat down for a second breakfast, so we could get some protein into the boys and strategize our next moves. My second breakfast was a club soda + a damn fine cup of tomato carrot bisque in an unassuming, cash-only diner called Early Bird (can’t link to it, because they don’t have a website) that my husband totally judged by its outward appearance.

I’m amazed by how much Northern Michigan looks like the East Coast, and I kept closing my eyes, listening to the waves crash and could SWEAR I was on Cape. But there was a distinct lack of salt in the air…

The Leland home we stayed in was so charming, and the same was true for its environs. The mass of yellow leaves, both on the many, many trees and the ground, was spectacularly beautiful. I love looking through family homes, see how they personalize a space, how their chattles, collections and all the other stuff of life mixes with the decor, transforming the rooms into a tangible scrapbook of sorts. This is especially true inside well loved vacation homes, where the best version of the family is presented (generally speaking of course, and only because the stresses of daily life aren’t typically in play while on vacation). This particular home had piles of heart shaped rocks, no doubt collected over the many years, as well as beautiful driftwood scattered on the dining table as a centerpiece, and as accents elsewhere.

Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor was really cute and charming, though a little tourist trap-y, but that’s ok, and to be expected. Michigan’s cherry scene is something, apparently. We tasted a few delicious things and left with a sixer of cherry lambic and a cherry pie to eat back at the house.

We explored the various towns like Sutton’s Bay, Glen Arbor, Northport, in addition to Leland, and were thrilled to find accessible beaches and harbors in all of them. We spent a long time on a beach within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, where the boys drew in the sand and enjoyed a rock throwing competish, while I tried to put them all in my pockets. Naturally, Ryan was snapping away with his DSLR.

Michigan is all about promoting their waters as “unsalted” and free of sharks. I’m cool with no sharks, but I love my salt, so I brought my own. #BYOS #GetFoxSea #ABP #AlwaysBePromoting

Cold and windy November was so lovely and delightful, I’m not sure we’d be able to handle the charms of the warm, in-season months!

So yeah, as cliché as it may be, we’re pretty smitten with the mitten…

So That Was October 2018

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I love autumn, even though something dramatic happens with my family every October. This one was no different (I’ll spare the details), but I managed to have plenty of high points mixed with the low, and without my full prescription of Xanax, no less!

From left to right, top to bottom: Finally hung my French Paper Co. posters, with binder clips because let’s face it, I was never going to get around to framing them. | “Faux-ritos” at Bird & Cleaver. | I just really love my adidas NMDs. | Made a couple of special request XL Uni Oils! | I cherish any and all Cape beach pix sent my way from a beloved neighbor. | My favorite ramen. | Felt cute at the time. | The f^ck!ng Beastie Boys released their amazing book, making my month! Year! Life!

HALLOWEEN!

BDF made it easy on us this year, choosing a costume we could easily order. PCF did not. Many hours were spent making/assembling the Daft Punk costumes. But the helmets are now on permanent display at Chez Fox, which we’re all pretty excited about.

One more thing: This October marked one year since the gallbladder surgery I didn’t think I’d see the other side of, so I’m feeling pretty good this Fall, thankyouverymuch.

Fresh Eats: Spicy Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

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It’s soup season! Okay, every season is soup season (I especially love chilled soups in the summer), but fall and winter is PEAK soup season. There’s nothing like cozying up and tucking in to a great crock of soup.

I’m forever scanning Pinterest and Instagram for new soup ideas and recently came across this one for my husband to make. It comes from @anna.culina in Baden, Switzerland, whose feed looks amazing. Screen shots of ingredients and instructions are below, as well as linked to her original post, simply because I really didn’t feel like typing it all out.

Please share with me all your favorite soup recipes (for Ryan to make, and for me to eat)!

Dig Yourself

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Authentic is a word that’s thrown around a lot, and for good reason. As I age, I understand its meaning, and its weight, more and more. It’s said there are no original ideas, and since we’re all influenced by many factors on the daily, sometimes it’s hard to know if yours is truly yours.

I believe while one singular idea may not be original, the way that idea is applied, married with other ideas, carried out by a single person, can transform it into an original. I’m not the first person who loves nautical style, as well as mermaids, rainbows, narwhals and unicorns, has a large (and growing) adidas collection, embraces a bold lip color, loves pink, always wears sunglasses and invests in handbags and lucite costume jewelry, but perhaps the way I blend all those things makes the mix uniquely me.

I’m not a fan of straight up copying - at all. I don’t like it when someone blatantly bites my style, and I go to great lengths not to bite anyone else’s. I’ve returned unworn/unused items when I see them elsewhere in my circles or too many times around town. There are, of course, exceptions, but those pieces are in the minority.

I’m particularly annoyed by the cookie-cutter vibes happening among style bloggers on Instagram. I am not a style blogger, but I follow a ton of them, and am now unfollowing them, one by one. I’m bored by the same shots over and over - it’s not inspiring or interesting. Now, I am guilty of some of these things, too. I recently posted a doormat pic, complete with pumpkins! How basic. Please shout at me if this becomes the norm. But more and more, I want to see unique people, dressed uniquely, doing unique things, making unique things, in unique places. I want to see a unique point of view, and something a bit more real. I’m bored with the fashion blogger template of Louis Vuitton bag + coffee combo. It’s played. Don’t even get me started on the smokey eye and full face of makeup all day, erryday. The Kim K standard of beauty is so distasteful to me. But I think I’m getting off track here…

I’m a long time Bob Dylan fan, and bought his children’s book, Forever Young, for my firstborn as soon as it came out. We read it a lot back then, but after a few years without cracking the spine, it’s back in our regular rotation. The book takes Dylan’s legendary lyrics and couples them with charming illustrations that encourage kids to know themselves, love themselves and to be courageous and strong in the face of adversity. Good lessons. That Bob Dylan is pretty wise - I think he’s going places.

One of my favorite messages from Dylan, shown on one of the many placards in his iconic video for Subterranean Homesick Blues, and included in the charming illustrations by Paul Rogers for Forever Young, is Dig Yourself. Yes, indeed. Revel in what makes you you. Love you. Be you. I am uniquely me. You are uniquely you. Let’s keep it that way.

DIG YOURSELF.

A Bushel & A Peck

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Yeah, we went apple picking. I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to wax poetically about the event. I don’t do such things often, but when I do it’s more likely to be about the ocean. Or the soft leather of a high quality handbag. I’ve had a lot of shit going on this week, while my husband’s been out of town, so I’m just tapped, you know? While I just don’t have the words at this moment (one might ask why I’m choosing to blog about it now, in that case) I do have some pictures of our very basic betch apple picking outing. And those are worth about a thousand each, as they say, so in lieu of six thousand words, here are six pix. You’re welcome.

Freelance Nomad

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My day to day is very loosey goosey — I’m always on the go, biting off WIFI wherever I can in between meetings and school drop offs/pick ups. Sometimes I write early in the day, sometimes late in the night, and sometimes, not at all. I’ve gone days pretending my deadlines don’t exist (sorry, EIC) while other days, I eschew showers, proper meals and interactions with adult humans in service to my work. It’s challenging but it’s also quite lovely to be my own boss. I live in joggers, take donut and reading breaks whenever I feel like it, and enjoy the luxury of writing about my favorite things. I am so fortunate to exist professionally outside the walls of a cubicle, outside the rigid M - F, 9 - 5 template. I’m hashtag blessed to be a freelance nomad.

Live a little be a gypsy, get around
Get your feet up off the ground
Live a little, get around
— Paul McCartney, Uncle Albert

Calm Yourself

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There are plenty of things that rile me up these days. When I literally can’t even, I have a few resources I rely on, so I’m sharing here just in case you need them too.

I used to call The Calm Center Hotline, which tickled me because it actually existed, but it’s no longer a thing, sadly.

I’m obsessed with my Sleep Pillow app and use it to create a soothing environment at bedtime as well as when I’m feeling the need throughout the day.

There’s almost nothing as soothing as a lovely cup of tea. Even better is using all the best accoutrements possible to really get lost in the ritual of the whole experience, which is something I really love. I have two favorite teas, one of which is widely available, including here.

If I really need to zone out, I game. I love putting pencil to paper and playing a few games of sudoku (if I’m really feeling anxious, I stick to the easy level). I also love to play Tetris on my old school Game Boy, spider solitaire on my iPhone or Luxor 2 on our XBox360.

And, at the risk of being too sales-y, I often rely on an awesome bath to soothe my mind, body and soul. This is another activity where I really dig the ritual, which is one of the reasons why I make bath and body products (ahem, #GetFoxSea). A candle, ambient sounds from the Sleep Pillow app, a cushy bath pillow and a big ass mound of FoxSea Sea Soak calms me right down.

Wishing you peace of mind, mates.