Cosette's | Anything but little
I never knew my mother. There was her name and the stories of her and the faded photographs on the mantle, but these were just words and colors. Then one day I found a journal of hers, a dusty notebook with yellowed pages in a box in my father’s basement. Between the faded blue lines were written all her recipes—peach galette, rugelach, challah bread. She was, so it seemed, quite the baker. I took this journal home with me, and this was how I came to know my mother, through the baked goods she used to make.
Unlike her name, which means little thing, her pastries and breads were larger than life. Today, I continue her tradition of baking with simple ingredients to create delicious, comforting foods. And it is through these foods that I hope the rest of the world will come to know her as I have.
Requested Tone: Sincere, Heartfelt, Emotional
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Requested Tone: Brief, Informational, Straight-Forward
It was during the Great Depression that my great aunt, Zia, as she was called, learned how to sew. She made homemade clothing for her and her sisters out of tablecloth, window curtains, castoff linens, scraps of fabric from the factory where she worked—anything she should get her hands on. She was determined to provide her siblings with new clothes during a time when money was tight. The garments she made were simple yet fashionable. People took notice of her craftsmanship, and it wasn’t long before she was making dresses, skirts, entire outfits for nearly all the neighborhood women, usually accepting nothing more than a hot meal in return.
Today, in a world where waste is a prominent feature of our culture, I believe we all must do our part to cut down on pollution. Using the techniques that my grandmother herself taught me, I continue her legacy of using irregular and recycled materials to create durable, sustainable clothing with chic, homespun flair.
Requested Tone: Inspirational, Family-Backed
Anthem | Go on, play your anthem
We believe music is a vital part of life and admire those with the talent and passion to create it. And we know that whether you’re there to simply create a mood or be the main attraction, there’s nothing like getting up on that stage and doing what you love.
But landing those gigs can be an exhausting process, often requiring days or weeks scouting for venues—time that could have been better spent rehearsing or finishing that latest song.
This is why we created Anthem, the intuitive online platform that allows bands and venues to seamlessly connect, allowing you to focus on what matters. Go on, play your anthem.
Requested Tone: Motivational, Supportive, Helpful
Simply Hot Sauce | Always simple, never bland
Nothing spices up a meal like a good hot sauce. But they’re hard to come by. Most brands boast a complex, convoluted flavor profile that just doesn’t deliver, often saturating their product with vinegar to mask the quality of their ingredients.
So we went and made our own. Quality ingredients, flavor first, small batches. No nonsense, no fussing, nothing to hide. Just good sauce in a plain glass bottle. Read the label and what you see is what you get. Always simple, never bland.
Requested Tone: Concise, No Bullshit
Nice 'N Easy Jerk
Hot nights, radio music, my mother calling me in for supper, nothing brings me back to my childhood days in Kingston, Jamaica like some good jerk.
But outside of going back to visit family, there’s nothing out there that’ll do the trick. Most jerk sauces on the market talk about authentic flavors but end up being little more than gimmicks, concocted to pander to other palates.
It took some convincing, but I finally got my mother to share her recipe. This is the flavor I remember. This is the taste of back home, of kicking soccer balls through the dirt and of peppers handpicked from her cinderblock garden. I can see her standing there when I taste this jerk, sweating over the pot, stirring it nice and easy.
Requested Tone: Nostalgic, Evocative
Striped House Bakery
The Striped House was at first an empty lot. In 1911, that lot was purchased by John Breathnach, a baker’s apprentice and Irish immigrant who used what was left of his savings to build a little clapboard cottage for his family. For a while, things were all right. He worked, he saved. He added another room to the cottage. Then, in 1917, hard times struck. The bakery he worked for was lost to a fire. Five months later, his pregnant wife was carried off with influenza. He became a recluse. Neighbors would report strange sounds coming from the house at night.
Then, one day in the spring of 1918, John Breathnach painted his cottage with yellow stripes. When he was done, he went back inside and wasn’t seen again until a week later, when he was nailing a sign to the door of his home. The sign read: Bakery.
Word soon spread about the cookies he made. Bite-sized, shapeless, but packed with flavors so intense and unique that people from all over the county were lining up down the block on weekends to try them. He worked alone, and rarely spoke, though it was said that he had a curious habit of mumbling to a picture of a woman in a striped dress.
That was over a century ago. Today, the Striped House no longer stands, long since torn down to make room for a chain coffee house. But just across town, in another striped house, we honor John’s legacy of wild and delicious cookies.
Requested Tone: Quirky, Storytelling
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Requested Tone: Professional, Informative
Just a few hours north of the gray ruck and jostled hustle of the city lies the Catskills, a 700,000-acre expanse of some of the most breathtaking and serene country you can find in the great state of New York. From the rolling green mountains to pastoral landscapes, the odd, melancholic beauty of tilled fields stretching away to meet the palest terminals of summer sky. The days move at a different pace up here, among broad fields mottled with wildflowers and the quaint valley towns of antebellum brick and warped glass, paintchipped forenames stenciled across the storefront windows. Take a ride down open roads flanked by quiet woods, down to the camping grounds or hiking trails that go winding through the mountains. Paddle up the Hudson River, spalls of sunlight glinting on the slow current. A different slant on life, with grass heeling in the wind and spiked tea in a highball glass beaded with condensation, the ice cubes rattling in soft harmony with the chimes hanging from the porch. This is your getaway, remote from the whirring and clattering stress of subway commutes and office deadlines, the horns blaring in irate staccato. Listen instead to the crickets, the wind through the pineneedle chimes, with the last colors draining away in the east along with all your worries.
Turning off the paved road, we took the half-mile rutted path wending through the woods as a kind of preamble to the secluded getaway we had been looking forward to, and we could not have been more pleased. The cabin itself sat hunkered in a clearing of foliage and pine needles and all about was quiet and dappled light and shadow, birds chittering, wind through the trees. From the moment we pulled up, we knew we had booked the right place.
The exterior was all stone and splintery timber that alluded to the rustic aesthetic of the interior design—a lot of hewn wood and dark iron. That’s not to say the place wasn’t cozy. There wasn’t a room in there that did not invite you to sit for hours in soft furniture with a book or a drink and enjoy the sylvan views beyond the window. Even the bathroom with its large skylight kept you sitting till your legs went numb. The living room in particular became our favorite spot, especially after the twilight hours. With its large Lawson couch and soft lighting, it was the perfect place to enjoy a nightcap after a cooked meal (prepared in the well-equipped kitchen). During these times, our only regret was that it was not cold enough to make use of the great stonework hearth (you can bet we’ll be coming back here in the winter!). And while at night the broad awning windows offered little more than a panoramic darkness, its daytime vistas were sure to beckon you outside and onto the deck, where we spent a majority of our time eating and drinking and watching the trees sway in the wind.
We booked this place for its remoteness, and it did not disappoint. But I’d caution against staying here if you’re looking to do more than enjoy the quiet and take impromptu hikes through the surrounding woods. This trip was much more about getting away from it all than perhaps experiencing what some quaint mountain town might have to offer—the nearest of which was about five miles away, a one-horse kind of place with a diner and a post office and a small market featuring farm-fresh products.
So, bottom line—if you’re looking for that quintessential peaceful getaway, this is it!
BEST FOR BIG GROUPS
I don’t often remark on pricing unless I’m doing one of my ‘on a budget’ pieces, but the bang-for-buck factor of this place was so incredible that it made the choice a no-brainer. This is truly the best booking for large groups in the Catskills area. At just $350 per night, you get access to the entire estate: five acres of broad field mottled with wildflowers that we found perfect for makeshift games of football and soccer.
The house itself was an impressive piece of architecture, fashioned out of two renovated barns trucked down here from Plattsburgh and stitched together to create a gorgeous, rustic mansion with seven bedrooms and five baths; an enormous, almost restaurant-grade kitchen; and an entertainment room complete with Ping-Pong and billiard table and a projector for movies or video games (console not included). There was also a rather nice stereo system that kept the tempo of our revelry the weekend long—and with no neighbors nearby we were able blast the tunes as loud as we saw fit.
We had booked this place for a buddy’s birthday and needless to say that this room served as venue to a lot of good times and memories that will surely last down the decades. And that’s not even to mention the pool or the fire pit, which you can bet also saw a lot of action. I’ll say the greatest thing about this place is that for all its rustic charm, it felt like an all-inclusive resort. We were never bored or felt like we had to get out of there. There was a town close by that we drove over to now and again to restock on drinks and snacks, but other than that the house offered everything we could want for a non-stop rollicking weekend.
BEST FOR ADVENTURING
Barring the bucolic vista afforded by the back patio and the many homespun charms of the interior décor, the single greatest thing about this house was its proximity to the several outdoor activities the area had to offer.
Just a ten-minute bike ride down the road on the fixie (generously provided by the host), and you’ll find yourself coasting along the beauty of Lake Kineo, ten acres of pristine water that gives back a blurry mural of the surrounding woods and rolling mountains. Pack a picnic in the bike’s cargo basket and enjoy a relaxing time on the beach or rent a paddleboard or canoe from the park office.
Or keep going down the road a bit farther and take a hike along the Red Moss Trail, an eight-mile path that meanders through forest and wetland, terminating at the peak of Chipnail Ridge, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding hinterlands. You can even catch a glimpse of nearby Prospect Falls—a three-stage waterfall that feeds into Mohonk hole, which is well worth the visit if you’re into dive-friendly swimming holes.
There’s also plenty of abseiling and zip lining spots in the area, no more than a mile or two away from the house. Or, if you’re looking for a more lowkey adventure, there’s always the quaint valley town of Elting, home to several antique shops, boutique clothing stores, and chic restaurants. Whatever kind of Catskills experience you seek, the Buttermilk Lodge makes for the ideal staging area.
Requested Tone: Evocative, Informational but Engaging, Casual
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I’d like to talk briefly about the story of how John and Ella met. Because I believe it serves as a reminder of something that we maybe too often forget about – and I’ll get to what that is in a moment.
The story, as it goes, takes place in a classroom at New York Med on a mild November day in 2017. And at a certain point during this class, the teacher split everyone into groups, and it just so happened that Ella and John were placed in the same one.
And that is the story -- that is the abridged version of the story, anyway. Because there is of course, a whole lot more to it. The story of their meeting is not confined to that classroom, or that day, or even that year. No – their story begins way earlier than 2017, and in order to tell it you’d need to go back years, decades even.
What is left out of that story – what would simply take too much time to ever tell – is everything that had happened before. All the moments, big and small, that had funneled each of them to that one moment.
Here's the truth of it: For 27 years these two had been hurtling headlong through life, toward each other, without ever knowing it.
This is what their story reminds us of – that there is a subtle beauty to our decisions, that they possess a raw and unstoppable force.
There’s no way to know where the decisions we make in life might lead us; we know only that we must make them.
And, sometimes, they send us down paths that are difficult, frustrating, disappointing. And when we’re sent down those paths, it can become easy to think that, well, maybe we’ve made the wrong decisions.
But if somehow you end up in a place like this – on a night like this – in the good company of those you care about and love – to the celebration of love itself – then how wrong could those decisions have been.
John, Ella – I know the path here has not always been easy, but it has nonetheless led you here. So, if either of you ever get to looking back on things and wish something could have been different—maybe you wish you did this instead of that--don’t. Don’t even waste the effort it takes to regret. Celebrate all those moments instead, remember where they have brought you. And regret none of it.
I think we can all drink to that. To John, Ella, and to everything that has brought us here together.