Thoughts From the 68th Floor

You know what is straight up special about New York City? Some days it beats absolutely everything out of you. And then it fills you up with something even better.

Oh, this town.


Not Another Manic Monday

I suppose right on cue with all of the new year resolutions flying around, as a family we are trying to be more mindful of how we spend our time.

Ignoring the buzzes that come from our phones, our email, our computers. Stepping back from the social media trifecta -- Facebook, Twitter & Instagram -- and instead seeing more of our family and friends. Tuning off the television. Simplifying our schedules so they look less like blueprints. You know, disbanding the armies of distractions in our lives. Looking back at 2012 I fear the thing I wasted most was time. And, time? Well, it isn't always kind to us. It goes and promises it will never come back.

So because of that Monday nights are my new favorite thing around the Stanley loft. I zip out to candelight yoga with a friend, come home to take a bubble bath {these bubbles are lovely!} and the mister cooks us dinner and puts CJ to bed. I'm secretly over-the-moon for my decadent little Mondays now. 

What about you, sweet friends, how do you disband your armies?

P.S. While Mondays are mine, the mister has his own night where he plays ping pong with the guys and drinks craft beer.

{Photo via Kae Laerin}


Say No To Faux Fir

So I have a deep, soul-searching, philosophical question for you, sweet readers. What kind of tree are you? While you are thinking...

We are the Stanleys and we proudly say no to faux fir!

We are bristly needle, sweet smelling, heavy bough, deep evergreen, real live Christmas tree people. I feel the holidays when there is a tree making my apartment smell like an enchanted forest, when there are pine needles sprinkled across the floor sticking to my wooly socks. It is symbolic of the season, really. Our tree is living and breathing and pulsing in the corner, but the reality is, it is dying. And another year is, too. Making way for something...for the new. It's beautiful, really. Could you imagine if the Rockefeller tree were plastic? 

We've never really had a tradition of how we get our tree. We have gotten them from the farmer's market, from the guys selling them on every city street corner, but this year we decided to drive out to the mountains and cut down our own tree. 

And that feeling of Christmas carols coming from the radio, hot chocolate in a thermos and pine needles blowing from the top of our car down the highway.


That's Christmas.

And now the ante has been upped and not only does our tree need to be real. But we need to cut it down ourselves.

Here's a little peek from our adventure, if you'd like to see.

The Christmas tree farm was about as cute as a gingerbread house. You literally pulled down a dirt road, past a lake and up to a field of trees. Santa's little green soldiers.

We took a hayride out to the portion of the field where the trees were prime and proud. On the way our driver took us past their section of Charlie Brown trees, rows of bushes growing holly and bushes they use to make their wreaths. It was so pretty and the air smelled of sap and wood.

We searched through patch after patch of prickly trees, interviewing the potential candidates. CJ let them down slowly, describing one as too sharp and another as sort of tall and weird. What can I say, they just didn't have the qualities we were looking for. And then we found the one. CJ helped topple it down, we tagged it and...went to eat marshmallows by the fire, of course.

And just so we are clear, this is a kid happy on sweets...

And this is the Grinch when you cut off his marshmallow intake...

And once that was clear, we bundled up our tree and headed home.

So, sweet readers, what kind of tree are you?


A Moment That Means Something

I have been unintentionally quiet on the blog lately, but today, I want to be purposefully silent and take a moment to remember the victims and grieving families of the Sandy Hook school shootings. A pause to show we will stop our worlds to lift up those in need. However, quickly, I also want to share that if you want to help here are a few ways to support the people of Newtown. And a quote a friend shared recently. 

"The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands love is mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater." -- J.R.R. Tolkien


Give Thanks 2012

We are elbow deep in preparation for our tropical Thanksgiving shore side. The beach blanket is set. We are wearing our best bikinis. We've made a jazzy cranberry relish with pineapples and slid in a key lime pie along the typical pumpkin. 

Because today we shall give thanks.

There is nothing I could ever be more grateful for than my little trio of a family. My heart beats stronger and my steps are more purposed because they are in my life.

So, my dear readers, cheers to the things that we are thankful for and may they stack up higher than the turkey on our plates. And if you are so inclined, I'd love to hear what you are feeling especially warm and fuzzy about today.