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  • Andrea Strong

Mother’s Day, Pandemic Edition: Wine, Cake, CBD, and Lip Gloss.

Updated: May 7



It’s almost Mother’s Day. I know. I can’t believe it either. How did it get to be May already? With all this time inside, it could be Christmas for all I know.

But yes, we're coming up on May 10th, Mother's Day. What can be said other than the obvious—it's not going to be like any Mother's Day gone by. This Mother’s Day, you will not go out for brunch. You will not be getting together for an afternoon bottle of wine or a day of shopping. You will not go to the spa for a mani-pedi. You will be home. So will she. If you live in the same house, you’ll get to hug and kiss her. And then maybe leave her alone to finish her book, drink the bottle of wine she has stashed under the bed, or just cry into her pillow. (Not that this is my dream scenario or anything.) If you’re separated by miles and mountains, you will meet online and most probably see more of her nostrils than you really ever needed to.

On a more somber note, on this Mother’s Day, many of our mothers will be absent. Some because they’re working the front lines, in hospitals and ambulances, in groceries, and delivering packages and mail. And others because their lives have been claimed, by this disease, some other, or by time. That's the most brutal part of all of this, the death, the loss. When I think of losing a mother, I imagine it might be feel like suddenly being untethered, a sense of being anchored that is suddenly gone and leaves you adrift to find a way to feel secure again without her. A void that seems to grow overnight, is the way writer Hope Edelman describes it in her book, Motherless Daughters. "There is an emptiness inside of me—a void that will never be filled. No one in your life will ever love you as your mother does. There is no love as pure, unconditional and strong as a mother’s love. And I will never be loved that way again.”

I have written about grief before, about losing my Bibi, my maternal grandmother, and my aunt Janet, who was like a second mother to me and who died in a fire when I was in my freshman year of college. I don't know what it feels like for you, of course, but to me, grief does not have a beginning, middle, and end. I wrote: "What I learned when I lost Bibi is that death is not a neat or finite experience. It’s like a bruise, the kind you get after you really bang into something. You don’t see a mark at first, but you know it’s gonna be bad. It’s only days later that the deep blue, green, and purple mark begins to bloom, borderless and tender. And it never goes away. Weeks can go by with nothing, and then your hand happens to brush against that spot, and you’re reminded, oh, right, loss, you’re still here.

What can we do? We hurt, cry, mourn and remember. Maybe we cook something, or do something that reminds us of her. Hopefully in that, we will find some joy. Maybe not. We have to feel what we feel, that’s the best way of honoring that relationship, I think.

What else? We can take it one day at a time. We can be kind to ourselves. We can make that 7pm round of applause a little more rousing. We can ask our partners to take over for the day—to lift some of the weight off our shoulders—to make the meals, do the cleaning, do the schooling, deal with all the fights, and keep the episodes of Sex Education coming and the wine glasses full. We can try to find joy in what remains, laughter and love in gratitude for friendships, family, children, making the bed, having a clean sink, and a life in front of us to live.

So yes, back to this Mother’s Day. If you find you want to send mom a little cheer (actually I’d prefer a case of wine and dinner with my girlfriends but hey, you take what you can get), check out my guide below. It’s got everything from donations, to books, wine, cake, CBD, and lip gloss!

Sending lots of love to you and yours, and especially to my mom, Gloria. I am so grateful for you. I love you!

The Strong Buzz Guide to Mother's Day, Pandemic Edition.

Give Back.

There are so many ways to give back and help others during this pandemic. Maybe you want to make a donation in your mom's name? No idea where to give? Check out Charity Navigator. It lists organizations by category —food, medical, education, and more. Here's a round up in Forbes I found useful as well. The Times also did a piece on where to donate your stimulus check.

Books

If you're looking for a great read for mom, be sure to purchase it from a local bookseller. You can do this online through Book Shop, which allows you to shop for your favorite books online through independent booksellers. Here is a list of some favorites from the past year (with the world's shortest reviews in parenthetical): The Overstory (heavy, brilliant, and great), Pachinko (historical fiction, heavy, great), Fleishman is in Trouble (fun, sexy, completely relatable and hilarious), Daisy Jones & The Six (fun, sexy, loved it), Little Fires Everywhere (dark, poignant, thriller), Olive Again (if she loves Elizabeth Strout, and who doesn't), The Nix (loved), The Mars Room (chilling, tough, important, page-turner), Just Mercy (critically-important non-fiction about race and the injustice of our criminal "justice" system).

Wine from Smith & Vine

Smith & Vine is my go-to for wine. This local Brooklyn shop has the most eclectic and interesting selections at every price point. They've created a special "stay at home" selection of 6-packs of wines from every region and style and also this super-popular "Negroni & Aperol Spritz 6 Pack" which includes a bottle of Aperol, two bottles of Campari, two bottles of Prosecco, a bottle of Dolin Sweet Vermouth, a bottle of Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters and a bottle of Allen Katz's New York Distilling Company Dorothy Parker Gin. Or you can always also owner Patrick Watson to make your mom a case, you won’t be sorry. (Yes, mom needs a case.)


One Girl Cookies

This beloved Brooklyn bakery is doing a Pop Up Mother’s Day shop at their Dean Street location (68 Dean Street) on Saturday May 10th. Owners Dawn and Dave are offering a special Mother’s Day cake, French macaroons, and some delicious frozen muffins, scones, and other breakfast items that can be baked off the morning of. Place your order online or by emailing Dawn Casale at dawn@onegirlcookies.com. Items can either be delivered locally on Saturday or you can pick up at the Pop Up shop.

Bien Cuit

Brooklyn-based artisanal bakery Bien Cuit is launching curated gift boxes for Mother’s Day that can be delivered locally or shipped nationwide. The packages include:

The Dessert Sampler: Perfect for the mom with a sweet tooth, this box includes Bien Cuit's coconut, lavender, and pink guava entremet, pecan blondies, and salted chocolate buckwheat cookies, paired with 100% cacao, bourbon cask, and coconut milk bars from Brooklyn's Raaka Chocolate.

The Wellness Box: For moms who could use a little more me-time, this box includes Bien Cuit's salted chocolate buckwheat cookies and Harvey & Sons green tea paired with acacia honey from Connecticut's Red Bee and CBD oil and lotion from Chef Golper’s friends in the Berkshires at Gray Raven Farm.

The Breakfast Kit (available for local delivery only): Featuring everything you need to create a breakfast feast, this box contains a selection of Bien Cuit's viennoiserie paired with accompaniments including butter, jam, coffee or tea, and orange juice. Customers may choose between the vegetarian version of the box, which will include a large quiche, or the non-vegetarian version, which will include bacon, eggs, and a Sunflower Rye loaf. To make it even more special, there is an option to upgrade the package to include sparkling wine as well.


The gift boxes will be available on Bien Cuit's e-commerce partnership platform, Borough Provisions, starting Monday, April 27th, and customers can place orders for both nationwide shipping as well as local contactless delivery to have them safely delivered in time for Mother's Day. For nationwide shipping, orders must be placed by Monday, May 4th. For local delivery to customers in Manhattan and most of Brooklyn, orders must be placed by Tuesday, May 5th.

Sully and Vanilla

Sully and Vanilla, the New York City-based bakery practicing whimsy in the form of butter and sugar, is doing cookies, a cute cake and cookie decorating and cake pop making kits that can be a fun family project (for the people that actually want to hang with their kids on Mother’s Day!!). Delivery is nationwide. Order here.

Kingston Candy Bar

Kingston Candy Bar, an old fashioned homemade candy and ice cream shop in Hudson, NY, is offering a variety of treats for Mother’s Day. Truffles, caramels, donuts, old-fashioned candy gift bags and chocolate assortments are online at Kingston Candy Bar. Right now they are offering:

  • Truffles (right now milk salted caramel, dark raspberry and double dark, straight milk chocolate).

  • Bonbons (we are always making more, choices will change)—dark salted caramel, dark raspberry jelly, dark coconut cream, peanut butter cream, chocolate melt away, almond crunch cup, toasted cashew, toasted pecan, toffee crunch, raisin peanut.

  • Giant cups (4 inches across) peanut butter, smoked caramel sriracha almond, widowmaker (dark chocolate with Hazelnut truffle), campfire candy brownie, caramel shortbread cup with M&Ms, salted caramel pretzel solid cup and the Happy Husband bar.

  • An assortment of chocolate boxes (the box itself is made of chocolate). Most of them are in the $20 range.

  • If you’re making mom brunch, their take and bake cinnamon rolls are perfect. They set up the dough for you to bake then frost. ($25 for you to bake or $35 for a fully baked and frosted tray).

Curbside pick up or free delivery in the city of Kingston, with a $25 minimum. Outside the city add $1/mile to calculate delivery. They will also ship using USPS flat rate priority boxes.

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates

Rhonda Kave—founder of Roni-Sue’s—is the OG of artisanal chocolates. For the past 20 years she’s been handcrafting her confections in small batches featuring direct-trade chocolate from Belize! A mom herself (her son is a great chef), she’s launching a Gimme Shelter’ gift box at Roni-Sue's Chocolates which is perfect for Mother’s Day! They ship anywhere in the US.

Le Marais, San Francisco

Le Marais' Mother's Day Spread

Le Marais is partnering with Marigold SF for a uniquely San Francisco Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed! Their “La Fête des Mères Petit-Déjeuner au Lit” ($75) includes Le Marais Bakery's special brunch box with large bowls of yogurt, granola, fruit, scrambled eggs, avocado, smoked salmon, two fresh baked french butter croissants, and two breakfast pastries, and from Marigold SF, bouquets wrapped, tied and with the best of Spring's flowers. Order for pick-up and delivery at www.lemaraisbakery.com.


Red Hook Lobster Pound

Red Hook Lobster Pound has been doing marvelous takeout and delivery since the pandemic began and their regular menu of lobster rolls and more makes a great Mother's Day brunch. But if you want to pull out all the stops, they are doing a rather fancy Four-Course Mother's Day Dinner (serves 4). The menu includes shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, or caesar salad; scallops over risotto, steamed lobster, or beef Wellington; with sides of creamed spinach, mac and cheese, Brussels sprouts, or old bay potatoes; and for dessert, either banana mousse, key lime pie or s'mores pudding.

The dinner is $250 for 4 people plus $25 Admin Fee. Orders must be placed by Thursday, May 7th at 3pm. 1-hour pickup windows begin Sunday at 10am, until 5pm. Free delivery is available for orders within their delivery zone. Order here.

The Bread Basket from Baked

Baked has partnered with with Bread Basket - now dropping both locally and nationally! This is great company to keep: each Bread Basket features a curated assortment of breads and sweets from the best New York bakers. Be sure to check out this week's basket which includes Baked's signature sweet and salty brownie.This is how it works: 1. Shop Bread Basket. 2. Choose a one time basket or subscription. 3. Order by tomorrow, Tuesday April 28th, to receive your 1st basket on Friday May 1st. Order Today


A Gallon of Margaritas or a Magnum of Wine?

Carmine’s and sister restaurant Virgil’s Real BBQ are offering two family-style feasts that each feed four to six people for $145. Both packages are available for pickup or delivery throughout Manhattan.


Both restaurants are operating out of Carmine’s Upper West Side location; orders can be placed by calling the restaurant at 212-362-2200 or by ordering online at www.carminesnyc.com. Carmine’s Mother’s Day package is the perfect Italian feast of the restaurant’s signature dishes including Caesar Salad, Penne Vodka, Chicken Parmigiana, a side of Meatballs with Chocolate Torta for dessert -- perfect to pair with a magnum bottle of wine.


If mom prefers barbecue, treat her to a sampling of Virgil’s classics. The Mother's Day Pig Out Platter special includes Memphis Style Pork Spare Ribs, Sliced Texas Beef Brisket, BBQ Chicken served with two large sides, along with cornbread and biscuits, served with a gallon of margaritas. 


Pancakes and Brunch from The Smith!

DIY Pancake Kit ($45) Menu: https://bit.ly/TSmothersdaykit

To make breakfast in bed, The Smith has created a DIY pancake kit that includes:


  • Pancake Batter (1 quart) 

  • Toppings — whipped ricotta, sticky toffee sauce, toasted pecans

  • Fruit & Berries

  • Mimosa Bar — bottle of Prosecco and orange juice


Brunch for Two ($45)

Choice of two mains, two sides, and brunch cocktails

Menu: https://bit.ly/TSmothersdaybrunchfortwo Orders can be placed Saturday or Sunday for pick up or delivery via phone or the delivery apps here. The Pancake Kit is a special for this weekend only but the Brunch for Two can be ordered any weekend.


Lip Gloss from Lipslut: 50% towards charity, 100% against tyranny.

Who’s wearing makeup now? Well, no one, but a good lipstick is an easy way to dress up any shelter-in-place pajama ensemble. Granted you’re wearing masks outside but indoors, it’s all about the gloss, am I right?

For your daytime social distancing look, go with something neutral, I love the peachy Impeach gloss. 50% of all earnings from Impeach lip gloss go towards organizations working to support women and other members of marginalized communities running for political office—hopefully ensuring someone like Trump never gets elected again. This organization is to be chosen by the people, as with every lip gloss purchased comes an opportunity to vote.

For a more dramatic “another evening at home” look, put your order in for the deep and dark Feminist as F*ck, which is now in stock. 50% of all earnings from Feminist as F*ck go towards supporting Women’s March and its mission of creating transformative social change by empowering diverse women and their communities.

Here's to our Mothers!

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    © by Andrea Strong. Photo by Joachim Wiese.