With Easter upon us, I’m summoning the springtime holiday spirit, drumming up ways to stay inspired in our house. Home may feel all too familiar — confining, even — for many of us who’ve been quarantined for several weeks. The repetitiveness of days at home beg for indulgences to brighten the hours, domestic delights to mix up rote routines and nurture fresh connections with loved ones. I’ve shared some ways I’ve perked up my home here in the Journal and on Instagram. This week, I’m foraging fronds from the yard and clipping herbs (I see you, overgrown rosemary!) to add bursts of green throughout the house. Below I’ve rounded up a few other preoccupations, rabbit holes, and rituals that are livening things up around here — tools and contrivances helping us usher in this new season, from the comfort of home.
…. CURRENTLY ….
PLANNING: Since a standard grocery and flower run is not in the cards this year, I’m making do with what's around the house. I’m mixing odds and ends from my cabinet for our table setting, lighting candles to make the meal feel special, and arranging flowers gathered from outside. I’ll put on a playlist (favorites listed below) and the boys will ransack their Easter baskets which I've filled thanks to FaceTime shopping with my favorite toy store. We’ll end our simple meal with a lavish dessert for fun and call far-flung family to let them know they're in our hearts and on our minds.
READING: I find cooking to be cathartic and consider the kitchen my “happy place.” But thrice-daily meal prep and dishwashing has the kitchen feeling less than therapeutic lately. A couple of weeks ago I bought Alison Roman’s Nothing Fancy, and now I can’t tear myself away. After reading it cover-to-cover once, I’m working my way through the cookbook again, flagging recipes as I go!
WATCHING: Family movie nights are in full swing around here. With two young boys, we’re deep into all things Harry Potter and Star Wars. We’ve also watched Call of the Wild (bring the tissues!), The Princess Bride, and Little Shop of Horrors. Once the kids are asleep, I’m binging on The Blacklist, Homeland, Schitt’s Creek, and Little Fires Everywhere.
COOKING: On my first reading of Nothing Fancy, I zeroed in on Roman’s Labneh with Sizzled Scallions & Chile. I’ve now prepared this savory-spicy dip three times over the past week-and-a-half, spooning it on top of everything from eggs to roasted veg. No doubt the Labneh will find its way to our Easter table, probably as a complement to a roasted pork tenderloin. While I haven’t decided on the full menu, this year’s meal will be made with plenty of love and zero fuss. Stresses are high and days are long, and this Easter I’ll be focused on stripping the holiday of its usual hubbub.
(photos by Haylei Smith)
IMBIBING: Right before the pandemic took hold, I traveled to Healdsburg, California for a week in wine country. In serendipitously auspicious timing, the fruits of the trip’s labor are beginning to arrive at my doorstep. My current favorites: Idlewild Arneis, Croix Zinfandel, Banshee Rose, everything from Portalupi and Trattore. When a cocktail is in order, I’m mixing Kettle One Grapefruit & Rose, Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic, and a squeeze of lime. For a refreshing non-alcoholic option, I love Ettiene Market’s aptly named Sunshine infused iced tea (start at the 3:45 mark).
WEARING: Relaxed, effortless layers lend themselves to homeschooling, kid wrangling, tidying, cooking, and lingering at the dinner table longer than usual. Anything from Pleats Please fits the bill, but their Thicker Bottom and Mellow Pants are my staples. Even after they are thrown in the wash, hung to dry, folded, and stuffed in a drawer, pieces from this line will always look brand new. Trust me when I say you’ll reach for them more than anything else in your closet! I pair my pants with a tee and sneakers and dress them up with heels and structured tops. For Easter, I’m thinking of wearing these pants with simple flats and an easy knit top.
LISTENING: Pandora’s Van Morrison Radio is perfect for an early morning rise and Brazilian Radio will boost you into the afternoon. Once the kids are in bed and you’re ready to share a nightcap with your quarantine mate, Hotel Costes Radio and Obama’s Summer Playlist provide an upbeat chill vibe — perfect background music for crushing (yet another) puzzle together.