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O C T O B E R

It’s October 1st and the high here today was 88.  We just can’t seem to shake summer quite yet.  September flew by but it still feels like August.  I think I’m ready for the heat to break so I can start making soup again. 

T H E   E D I T

I’m focusing on trying to appreciate what I have and pare down, so no traditional shopping list this month.  I’ve been spending time raking through my closet and picking out things I haven’t worn, pulling books off my shelf that I don’t think I’ll read again, and weeding out old Sephora products from under my bathroom sink.  I think part of getting older is realizing that sometimes an old favorite is better than something new.  I love having a neat and organized apartment and the secret to that is not always buying something from The Container Store, it is as simple as having less stuff.  

But “just having less stuff” is sometimes easier said than done.  Here are some of the systems I use to make sure I only have things around that I really love: 

Clothes

I keep all my clothes in the same color palette, so it all pretty much goes together.  I get rid of clothes twice per year.  If something hasn’t been worn in two years, it goes (I think that is pretty generous).  I try to keep a “one in one out” policy - if I buy something new, something old has to go (and I try to keep this in mind before I buy).  I also started really embracing returning things and making sure I want to keep something once I bring it home. 

Books

I am very restrictive about buying books.  If I buy any books, they are typically used classics or cookbooks.  Most books I read are picked up from the library, which is a ritual I love.  If I do buy a book, I try to give it away to a friend or donate it to the library after I’m done reading it.  

Housewares 

With housewares I do my best to, “buy for life” focusing on quality over quantity.  I know all the good kitchenware I have will last.  If something isn’t broken, I don’t replace it.  If I have lived without it for this long, I don’t need it.  

Products

Again, I have really embraced Sephora’s generous return policy.  If I try something and don’t like it, I just take it back.  That’s why they have the policy!  I also don’t keep products past their expiration date.  That sounds like a no brainer, but I’m totally guilty of hanging on to stuff that I shouldn’t.  I also stopped requesting samples with every purchase, because honestly I just end up not using them and throwing them away, too.  

 

B O O K   C L U B 

 

Medallion Status by John Hodgman.  

As a library devotee, I almost never buy brand new books (see more on this above).  So when I do, it’s because I really want to support the author.  I recently loved Hodgman’s Vacationland and I regularly listen to his podcast Judge John Hodgman, where he resolves petty disputes.  In Medallion Status, Hodgman writes about becoming spoiled by delightful airline perks as a frequent business traveler and then losing it all.  Well, he claims he writes about that, I can’t confirm because the book doesn’t come out until October 15th and I haven’t read it yet, I just pre-ordered it.  


She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey 

I think She Said could be the All The President’s Men of our time.  In this book, the author’s recant the story of reporting the articles that toppled Harvey Weinstein and started the #MeToo movement.  While I’m not as interested in the specifics of the Weinstein case, I am really interested in reading about all the work that happened behind the scenes. 

                
 

F I E L D   T R I P

New York City 


I recently took a work trip to New York City.  I hadn’t been in a few years and it was great to explore the city.  I loved waking up early and giving myself plenty of time to wander and get coffee before heading to the office.  I was very busy working, but did find some time to wander.  I don’t have anything Earth-shattering to say about New York, but here were some of my favorite spots: 


My favorite neighborhood to bum around was the West Village.  I love the old brownstones and trees.  It feels like a very friendly and quiet place - not specifically like you are in one of the world’s biggest cities.  The shops were some of my favorite - a lot of brands I love have outposts on Bleecker Street, which is a real treat because most of them do not have a big Pittsburgh presence.  
 



Three Lives & Company

I loved the bookstore Three Lives & Company, which I think had an excellent curation of books.  It was small - about the size of my dining / living room, but I felt like every book had been thoughtfully chosen.  I think Three Lives is maybe not the place to go if with a specific book in mind, but rather a place for discovering something new to read. 




Via Carota

After working one super long day, I wanted to have a meal at a restaurant and not just get something delivered to my hotel.  I had read about Via Carota on Bon Appetit’s website and heard the owners interviewed on a podcast.  It was the once restaurant I really wanted to try in New York.  I walked in and the couple in front of me in line were quoted a 3-hour wait by the host, but I was quickly ushered to a seat the bar - one perk of going out to eat alone, I guess.  I indulged in their signature negroni and the most recommended dish: cacio e pepe.  It was a great meal and really fun to eat somewhere I had heard so much about.  


Daily Provision 

Maybe the best thing I ate during the whole trip was a crueler from Daily Provisions.  The coffee shop is part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group.  Danny Meyer is a restauranteur famous for pioneering putting his staff on a salary and making them all part-owners in the business.  I really didn’t have time to eat a multi-course meal at one of his more high-end restaurants like Gramercy Tavern or Union Square Cafe, but I definitely had time for a donut (I did have to wait in quite a line, even at 7:30 am on a Friday the place was packed).  I knew that I whatever I ordered would have been made with exceptional care and attention to detail.  Besides the crueler, I ended up getting a cappuccino and a freshly brewed peach-mint kombucha - all three were excellent.  The kombucha was especially refreshing.  

 

I N   T H E   K I T C H E N


Caprese Peach Salad 


Peaches
Fresh Mozzarella pearls, halved 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Balsamic vinegar 
Fresh basil
Maldon Sea Salt 
Cracked Pepper 

 

As the curtain closes on stone fruit season, I’ve been using the last peaches I can find making this stunning caprese salad.  The I love how the sweet peaches balance out the richness of fresh mozzarella.  This is kind of a non-recipe recipe because I can’t really give very specific measurements for everything.  It’s something that kind of has to be done au pif (cooking by instinct or feeling).

I start by slicing some ripe peaches into small wedges and placing them all over a dinner plate.  Next, I  sprinkle the halved mozzarella balls on top. Next, thinly slice basil and sprinkle it over the mix. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the peaches and cheese.  Finish with great sea salt (like Maldon) and a crack of fresh pepper.  

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