what does back to school look like this year?

at home with team époque

four époque staffers on life now — in month seven of the pandemic, and heading into an uncertain (but bright! we can feel it!) fall.

 

nancy taylor


co-founder

what is your life like right now? 

“our house is very full and has been since March. we had an empty nest for eight months then COVID hit, and my sons were all suddenly back home. one son is still here at home with us in Marin, and one just left for San Diego to start his sophomore year — virtually, from an apartment. we got a new puppy during the spring, which has been a delightful addition to the family, with everyone pitching in on the responsibilities. i love the family dinners, it is our time to connect each day. we all cook, taking turns. my sons miss their social life, their friends, their freedom, but are making the best of it. 

a lot of creative projects going on daily!”


 

current mantra? 

“one day at a time. no expectations. just show up and be present.”

 

how you feel, in one word? 

“present. it's been a roller coaster to get here, but i am present. the slow down forces it every day. i’m not traveling, i miss that but in a way it gives me more time in my day.”

 

pass it on: the last thing you did / read / saw / heard / ate / discovered / found on Instagram that brought you joy? 

“gardening. connecting with nature and touching the earth. very grounding!”

 

HEIDI STUBLER BROWN


STRATEGIST

what is your life like right now? 

“we're mostly still hunkered down at home in Muir Beach — me, my husband Adam, our 3-year old Paige, and almost 1-year old Callie — but are finding low risk ways to make summer memories and adventures. we live on coastal highway 1 ,so have been doing a lot of hatchback picnics overlooking the ocean, beach bonfires, and hiking the bluffs.”

 

what change will the fall bring? 

“our 3-year old Paige was looking forward to starting her first real preschool in the fall, but we made the hard decision to defer participation. we live in a sweet little rural community (population only 300!) that has the sense of community you would expect from the 1950s. we're going to pull together the five toddlers in our neighborhood, and conduct our own little private, outdoor preschool, led by someone close to home. they are going to hike, tidepool, visit the farm our produce comes from, and learn to milk the goats. all the fun things you can still do while socially distancing. we will have to teach them to color inside the lines next year.”

 

current life hack? 

“concentrating more energy into a smaller spatial realm has sparked creativity in making more with less! my husband and i started doing a weekly date night (at home, of course), where we alternate who is in charge of planning something as fun as we would have done pre-COVID. a few recent dates were projector screen movie night in the backyard, cocktails + mastermind game night, playing in the ocean like children (but without our children) and stargazing on the deck (no screens allowed). we have gotten very competitive around who can plan the best date night. the joy of utilizing what we do have takes the focus off of what we don’t have.”

 

how do you feel, in one word? 

“wanderlust. major wanderlust. we took so much pride in traveling with Paige when she was young. she was in five countries by the time she was two years old. Callie has barely left our home. i have a deep yearning to show our babies the world, in all of its beautiful imperfection. and the urgency feels exaggerated now, knowing that it's no longer a given to be able to do so at your free will.”

 

pass it on: the last thing you did / read / saw / heard / ate / discovered / found on Instagram that brought you joy?

“Jess King's Peloton classes. i can take myself very seriously while cycling, but when i take Jess's class, i start laughing so hard at her random and inappropriate comments that then i start laughing so hard at myself that i’m laughing so hard at her and the cycle continues like this. it is a wonderful mess.”

 

Katie joyce


intern

what is your life like right now? 

“i’ve been living at home with my family after my plans of living in New York City this summer got canceled back in March. while it’s not what i imagined, being home has been a good chance for me to slow down and refocus on the little things that make me happy, like doing yoga in the morning, going to the farmers market, and hiking around Mt. Tam. i grew up swimming and love being in the water, so i have been exploring Marin with my mom for the best spots for open water swimming (because a lot of the pools are still closed or hard to get into). 


 

what change will the fall bring? 

“this fall, i’ll be going into be senior year at Colgate University. (wow, it’s super scary to say that outloud!) we are returning to the Colgate bubble in Hamilton, NY (AKA the middle of nowhere). the whole school is quarantining for the first two weeks after move-in, and then after that we will still have to wear masks and follow social distancing and such. so even though we are back on campus, it’s not going to be like previous years. i image i will spend a lot of time getting even closer with my friends, living in the moment, and capturing memories on my dad’s old film camera (a new quarantine hobby). 


it's really hard to image that a year ago i was getting ready to fly to Copenhagen for a semester abroad. i rode my bike to class every morning ,trying to keep up with the Danes who would ride to work in a skirt and heels or a suit. i studied architecture while i was there, and we spent a lot of our classes outside exploring cool pockets of the city and sketching for hours. my friends and i spent our weekends exploring little cafes, natural wine bars, and vintage shops all over Copenhagen. we traveled all over Europe — to Lisbon, Paris, Belgium, Stockholm, Munich, and Florence, to name a few. what i miss the most about traveling is striking up conversations with strangers and sharing stories about our experiences. not to mention trying new food, walking the streets of different cities, hearing people talk in languages i don’t fully understand, and being surrounded by beautiful architecture. while i’m doing everything to stay safe from COVID, it's made me come down with a serious travel bug.”

 


CURRENT MANTRA? 

“it will all work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.”


 

HOW DO YOU FEEL, IN ONE WORD? 

“optimistic. it makes me sad to think about how different my senior year will be, but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. COVID-19 has made me slow down, and reminded me of the importance of the little things that make me happy. i’m grateful i get to return to the place i love so much with the people who make it so special. that’s all that really matters.”



 

PASS IT ON: THE LAST THING YOU DID / READ / SAW / HEARD / ATE / DISCOVERED / FOUND ON INSTAGRAM THAT BROUGHT YOU JOY? 

“my spirulina smoothie! here’s what i put in it: banana, a pitted date, peeled cucumber, blueberries, fresh mint, spinach or kale, spirulina, a little chunk of ginger, and a dash a cinnamon blended with water or coconut water. it’s super hydrating, super energizing, and very yummy. it’s a game changer.”


 

Sarah Cason


Partnerships

what is your life like right now? 

“my husband, six year old and three year old are at home with me until school starts for my three year old. My six year old will be homeschooling until further notice. whatever gets done, gets done. i have let go of big ideas and projects... my to-do list has become more flexible as i focus more on what the kids need from us. however, we both try to get in a little bit of "me" time daily to help keep the balance. this way we can say "yes" more instead of "not now" to the kids, and enjoy these slow moments with them before they are all grown up.”


 

what change will the fall bring? 

“last year at this time we were moving from out of state, renovating and starting a business among other things. so! we feel far more settled than we did last year — thank god! this fall will be unique and memorable in its own way. we would love to be headed back to school and giving lots of hugs, but we are ok with staying home and wearing our masks until things change for the better... which hopefully is not too far off.”

 

current mantra? 

“when you feel stuck or you have reached a plateau, keep moving until you are unstuck. sometimes plateaus are the best launching pads for something bigger and better.


there are others that would take your problems in a heartbeat and call them blessings. serves as a reminder to cherish what you have and know that the tough times will pass. 


you don't need to justify a decision when it doesn't align, just say no.”


 

how you feel, in one word?

“lucky. for my health, beautiful friends and family and a beautiful place to live/call home.”


 

pass it on: the last thing you did / read / saw / heard / ate / discovered / found on Instagram that brought you joy? 

“like many, we have been finding a lot of joy in gardening and making things from the garden, but what we get really excited about (mostly the kids here, let's be honest) is all the delicious sweet recipes that have been posted on Instagram. especially @Kalejunkie. we make one of her recipes at least once a week since many are gluten free, dairy free and no refined sugars... we now keep tahini well stocked in the pantry for make her amazing life changing chocolate chip cookie recipe!”

 

SYDNEY WEST


INTERN/ MODEL/ BRINGER OF GOOD VIBES

AND HER AMAZING MOM MARY WEST

what is your life like right now? 

Most of my time these past few months has been spent at home with my family, which has really been a blessing in disguise as I am getting ready to head off to college this fall. I've really been trying to soak up as much family time as possible!


My daily dose of joy has come from a new quarantine habit - morning yoga! I decided to give it a try back in April, and it's become something I look forward to each morning. I've also been spending a lot of time outside on some of the beautiful Marin County trails for a welcome change of scenery. 



 

what change will the fall bring? 

SYDNEY: "For me, the most obvious change is starting my freshman year of college at Washington University in St. Louis. A new city, new peers, and an entirely different level of academics. I guess the biggest difference, really, is the opportunity to test my hand at a kind of independence I have yet to know. Little will look the same! I'm anxious to get on campus and begin this new chapter, but also ready, to my surprise."


MARY: "Sydney leaves for school in early September. We will miss her so much. It's hard to imagine our home without her and her wonderful energy. But we will have a chance to love up her little sis Margot all the more. She's a musician and I'm excited to give her the chance to fill the home with even more of her essence. Bring it on, Mugsy!"



 

current mantra? 

SYDNEY : "I'm generally a very optimistic person, but these unique times have definitely put that to the test. But one ritual I've stuck to for the past two years is taking a moment at the end of each day to write down one good thing that happened to me that day, no matter how small. It's a great way to end the day looking for the good rather than ruminating over everything that's wrong. Optimism is a habit that must be tended to!"


MARY: "One of my most tried and true MO's for surviving is my daily grounding ritual. Before I begin my day, I find a quiet space to sit. My favorite spot is on our deck as the sun is rising. The quiet of the early morning dawn helps me set the tone for a day ahead of being present, listening and breathing. After I've had a few sips of coffee, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then I set tall and imagine myself "dropping anchor". This looks something like me extending tree-like roots out of my sits bones that drop down through the chair, through the deck, into the soil and down to the earth's core. Once I reach the core, I imagine it as either a ball of light or a beautiful crystal. Then I wrap my roots around the core three times. One, two, three. Once I've done that, I travel back up into myself. And I feel rooted. Held. Ready to rock...no pun intended. :)"


 

how you feel, in one word?

Excited. I was trying to think of a more eloquent word to describe my jumble of emotions, but what I am full of is excitement. There is so much to explore as I begin this new chapter, and I can hardly wait to jump right in.


 

PASS IT ON: THE LAST THING YOU DID / READ / SAW / HEARD / ATE / DISCOVERED / FOUND ON INSTAGRAM THAT BROUGHT YOU JOY? 

MARY : "I've recently been introduced to highland cows via Instagram, and to say I'm in love would be an understatement. They are quite literally the manifestation of that "warm, fuzzy feeling". If your instagram feed just isn't cutting it anymore, I highly recommend adding these guys into the mix."


MARY : "Just two days ago, I opened Instagram and saw that my best gal's 17-year old daughter Stella had just launched Folding Chair Magazine. A vision she has held and cultivated for the last few years and has now officially brought into the world! My pride is big and fills me with so much joy. I love you Stella Vie!"



 

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