Favorite books for school-aged kids

19 December 2018
Thumbnail image for Favorite books for school-aged kids

The books that kids read in grade school – when they are discovering reading and the faraway worlds that books open up for them – are the books that become cherished, comforting childhood friends. It was from my squishy beanbag reading spot as a child that I first experienced Victorian England, the American frontier, Prince […]

Full article →

Favorite books for tweens and teens

18 December 2018
Thumbnail image for Favorite books for tweens and teens

Starting around 6th grade age, it becomes hard to find books for kids. It’s hard to strike the right balance between the rosy childhood world of imagination and the colder light of reality. As children grow up, they become more aware of themselves and the world around them, and books can help give insight to […]

Full article →

Favorite picture books for kids

14 December 2018
Thumbnail image for Favorite picture books for kids

There’s something so special about writer-illustrators of children’s books. They create a world and then personally lead you through it, the way a singer-songwriter does with music. Well-paired writers and illustrators can make a great team effort too. But the product of multiple people calls for compromise, whereas the vision of one mind can remain […]

Full article →

A host’s guide to Thanksgiving

16 November 2018
Thumbnail image for A host’s guide to Thanksgiving

Santa Claus doesn’t take Christmas off. So after being absent here since spring, I’m back for Thanksgiving, the Superbowl for home cooks and my fave holiday by far. We eat, and we give thanks. My kind of holiday. On any given Thursday, the food we eat in America is as diverse as the world – […]

Full article →

Grand Canyon’s quieter east entrance

10 October 2016
Thumbnail image for Grand Canyon’s quieter east entrance

My parents avoided the crowds and tension of cities, so we rarely traveled to urban areas on family vacations, unless we did the Asian thing and stopped for a college tour. To their immigrant eyes, the wonders of America were not in cities but in the immense protected landscape of the country, unusual in a […]

Full article →

Summer hack: fruit stain removal

1 June 2016
Thumbnail image for Summer hack:  fruit stain removal

June is freaking me out. I’m a week away from being the parent of a high schooler. The two minor graduations we have next week – middle school and elementary – are reminders that in four years our household count will start shrinking. My heart hurts just thinking about it. It sounds silly that end […]

Full article →

The greatest city

12 May 2016
Thumbnail image for The greatest city

I’ve spent more years living in California than New York, but because I was in Manhattan for my first independent decade – the years between leaving my childhood home to having children myself – New York City is where I feel most free and alive. I went to college there, built a career there, met […]

Full article →


8 October 2015
Thumbnail image for Paris

I’m four weeks into a six week no-wheat, no-sugar, no-rice experiment, and I hope to heck it’s good for my health because it’s definitely not so great for my joie de vivre. Or maybe I hope it’s terrible for my health so I when I’m done I can get on with my regularly scheduled life. […]

Full article →

When you get there

12 January 2015
Thumbnail image for When you get there

Across the finish line, I’m a little unsteady on my feet in the silence. The youngest of my kids started kindergarten, and the oldest just entered his teens. Our endless house project is at last over, three and a half years after it began. I thought the decade of my 20s was the rat race […]

Full article →

Outdoor school

20 October 2014
Thumbnail image for Outdoor school

I realize school can’t be fresh and different every day – goodness knows work and home aren’t either. But every once in a while the kids get a golden day – a break from routine to do something exceptional – and it reminds them how fun learning can be and recharges them for the regular […]

Full article →