Friends. It’s been a while. I realize the likelihood of anyone sitting around wondering why MOMnPOP inexplicably fell off the face of the earth is slim to none. And although I hate excuses, just for the record, I have a really good one.
We’ve all heard that life has a way of throwing curve balls. And that you never can tell what’s going to come your way. But three months ago – the Monday after Thanksgiving – my husband and I were on the receiving end of one of the more extreme turns the universe could possibly serve up. It was Monday, November 29, when our first-born – our handsome, hilarious and precocious 4-year-old son, Julian – was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor.
Heavy, heartbreaking, unthinkable and insanely anxiety-inducing are just some of the adjectives that could describe what went on over the holiday season and the start of the new year. The intense ups and downs and dramatic details are too many to recount here. I find each day to be a new and different exercise in mental toughness. But for all the difficulties we’ve had to face, it should be noted how many unexpected gifts we’ve received too – silver linings, an abundance of blessings, moments of humility, the reliability of old friends, the introduction of new friends, small miracles and fresh perspectives on this very short and precious gift we call life.
Julian’s safe right now, but he’s far from being out of danger. He’s had to endure so much: admission into five different hospitals, six operations (four of which were brain surgeries), an uncomfortable familiarity with the inside of an ambulance, and an entrance into a rare and very special community at the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Which has become our home away from home as he receives a second round of radiation therapy and comprehensive care under some of the best doctors in the world.
So yes, life took a dramatic turn, and I’ve been busying myself with priorities way more important than new music, media mania, latest trends, good design and funny videos. But now that I’m getting some footing back, some balance in a new life that is now intertwined with the heartbreaking realm of pediatric cancer – I’ve been thinking about how to use this space. Not sure I’ll ever be back to daily posts, but I think I’m ready to return to writing.
So, after three months of being all-consumed with the not-so-small-task of trying to save my son’s life – I’d like to use this space when I can to relay interesting insights and lessons I’m learning along the way. And for my own sanity, I think it will be good therapy to mix in some of the things that have always interested me and continue to make me laugh as the world goes on around me.
Good to be back. I’ve missed you. To learn more about our campaign to save our little superhero, please visit The Team Julian Foundation.
Thanksgiving weekend is famous for big shopping, but it also marks the start of the holiday movie season with lots of family-friendly, feel-good films – and traditionally a handful of Oscar contenders.
And we all know sequels rarely deliver greatness, but I think we can we all agree that we’re at least hoping for a few good laughs from Little Fockers.
Food on the brain this week – right along with all that we have to be thankful for, of course. I’m not hosting the main event this year, but I do take my contribution of the Green Bean Casserole to two separate feasts very seriously for the coming holiday weekend.
I found this recipe to The World’s Best Green Bean Casserole two years ago, and mark my words, I will never use another again. Once you taste this, you’ll understand why.
It’s simple. Use fresh ingredients and commit a bit more time to snap the beans, wash the mushrooms and make it all from scratch. It takes about 40 minutes to prep, can be made a day ahead, and do consider doubling the recipe.
For such a favorite Thanksgiving dish, it’s all well-worth skipping the canned version.
And so as not to be a total Casserole Snob, I do allow myself the shortcut of buying the onion topping. Lots of good gourmet options at the market, and I certainly have nothing against the ‘ol trusty French’s version.
This came up in a few different coversations over the weekend. If you missed it, here’s Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young performing their cover of 10-year-old Willow Smith’s pop hit “Whip Your Hair.”
Careful – the pop sensation turned folk song will become lodged in your brain for a minimum of one hour after watching this.
Gift guides. So very helpful. But they’re everywhere right now. Need help navigating? Here are a few of our faves as you prep for the holiday gift giving extravaganza.
- Etsy’s Gift Guides – Tons and tons of unique gifts from amazing crafters and artisans. It’s organized by price point, interests and the person i.e. him, her, baby, coworker, etc.
- Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things 2010 – Ultimate because it’s her final season. Talking to a friend Friday morning, she wrapped things up by saying, “K, gotta go, Oprah’s Favorite Things is about to start!”
- Gwyneth’s Gift Guide – Featured in her weekly newsletter on Goop.com, Gwyneth put out some super cute finds – especially for kids and moms.
- Real Simple’s Gifts Under $100 – The most comprehensive I’ve found. Editors even broke the guides out into tots/tweens, mothers/grandmothers, fathers, husbands/brothers and so on.
- The New York Times Gift Guide – Equally expansive and always in good taste, these useful lists are categorized by books, electronics, music/theater, home, travel and more.
- Refinery29’s 50 Gifts Under $100 – For the very fashionable.
- TreeHugger’s Holiday Gift Guide 2010 – For the eco-conscious.
- CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide 2010 – For all things techie.
- Inc.’s Gifts That Give Back – For feel-good gifts that give back to those in need.
- Chic ‘n Cheap’s Blogger Gift Guide – Lots of unique finds by bloggers who love stylish things.
I know more than a few near-and-dear who are gonna love this.
Out this week, The Boss just released a two-CD set – as well as a deluxe set with a DVD – featuring 21 songs that didn’t make it onto Darkness on the Edge of Town back in 1977.
Read a review and the whole back story here at the Chicago Tribune.
Or see and hear about it from the man himself below.
The onslaught of holiday catalogs stuffed in my mailbox and piling up on my desk. Extra thick and glossy versions of the familiar, but many titles I’ve never heard of… which makes me wonder how they found me.
But one I decided not to throw in the recycle bin is Carbon2Cobalt, a site with cool clothes with a rugged, relaxed style for your main man.
Inspired by carbon grays and cobalt blues, the brand was created and launched by Matt Cooper about two years ago in Santa Barbara with orders available online and through the catalog. Read more via SBDigs.
Take a look around to see what you like at Carbon2Cobalt.com.