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Mother Essentials: Debra Szidon Of Cocoon Home & The Cass Clutch

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

While many city-dwelling families have been looking to make the move to a more rural or suburban setting due to the pandemic lockdown, mother of three Debra Szidon got a head start by moving her brood (twin boys Max and Ben, 14, daughter Zoe, 12, and husband Alex) to the mountain-centric town of Tahoe City, California in August of last year. Grateful to have beaten the rush, Szidon is now running two businesses—The Cass Clutch, a leather goods company, and Cocoon Home, an interior design and floral business—out of a studio that’s surrounded by nature. That is, when she’s not trouble-shooting distance learning with her kiddos. Below, the busy and earthy mama shares her current Mother Essentials that are getting her through it all.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. “Having always enjoyed cooking, I’ve taken it up a few notches after watching and re-watching Samin Nosrat’s Netflix mini series, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.” Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, $18.40, Bookshop and Amazon.

Go-To Outfit. “My current go-to ensemble includes wide-legged high-rise jeans by Citizens of Humanity, a Cass muscle t-shirt and a sweatshirt. Layers are key in Tahoe, as are pointy-toed shoes that take my casual attire to a different level. I’m also loving Hark + Hammer’s floral silk mask. It’s super pretty, soft, and easy on one’s face.” Anina Trouser Jean, $238, Citizens of Humanity; Cass Muscle Tee, $38, The Cass Clutch; Silk Mask, $38, Hark + Hammer

Hand Hydration. “With so much excessive hand washing, I’m keeping mine hydrated with Birdbath’s Super Luxe Body Cream. It’s thick, non-greasy, and super smooth. My favorite scent is Mahogany Tobacco Bay Leaf.” Super Luxe Body Cream, $18, Birdbath.

Good Scents. “Norden incenses are balanced, earthy, and somewhat nostalgic. I light one every morning as I sip my coffee before my favorite virtual yoga class.” Norden Ojai Incense, $20, Free People.

New York Times Mini Crossword Puzzles. “Now more than ever these have become a coffee table staple, always at the ready for a quick fill-in. My choice is pencil.” NYTimes.com.

The Cassie Clutch. “This go-anywhere crossbody bag comfortably and stylishly carries all my of-the-moment essentials and more. I’m finding I’m also wearing the coordinating cross body pouch more than ever. Attaching the Cassie strap, the pouch becomes a compact carryall, with enough room for a mask, sunglasses, credit cards, and even a lipstick.” The Cassie Bag, $595, The Cass Clutch; Insider Pouch, $125, The Cass Clutch.

Perfect Brew. “My husband has mastered the Chemex brew and I look forward to it every morning.  Our favorite blend is Giuseppe from Coffeebar in Truckee, it’s ground specifically for the Chemex.” CHEMEX Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker, $47.95, Amazon; Giuseppe Italian Roast Blend, $16, Coffeebar.

Momma’s Hydration. “I’m a beer drinker and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA can always be found in my refrigerator. Especially now.” Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Beer 6-Pack, $12.99, Target.

Gaming + Fishing. “Family competition is at an all-time high with Gobblet, a fast-paced, satisfying strategy game. On the flip side, we recently bought our children fishing poles as another way to get them outdoors and into a more introspective activity.” Blue Orange Gobblet Board Game, $22.99, Amazon.

All-Day Lipstick. “Beautycounter’s Color Intense lipstick in Brunch is the perfect quarantine color. It has just enough pigment for definition without that dressy vibe.” Color Intense Lipstick, $34, Beautycounter.

To-Do White Board. “After multiple (unsuccessful) attempts at making to-do lists for the kids, a white board has proven to be the most effective. I write the list, they mark off what they’ve completed, and voilà! No need for repeated and often ignored reminders.” Trenton Whiteboard With Rustic Wood, $79, Pottery Barn.

Caftan Love. “Before the pandemic, I would shower and get dressed for work immediately after yoga. Now I put on a caftan while I ready our children for distance learning. No need to sacrifice style while sheltering in place.” Silk Scarf Print Caftan, $130, Ginger.

Mountain Air and Lake Views. “Both have become my meditation muses and evening kayak rides are my new ‘date nights.’ I’m grateful for them.”

Take-Out Treat. “The Lobster Rueben at Morgan’s in Truckee is off-the-hook delicious and I treat myself at least once a week!” Morgan’s Lobster Shack, 10089 West River Street, Truckee, CA.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with Curasalve founder Kelley Williams, Trade Street Jam Co. founder Ashley Rouse, Weelicious and One Potato founder Catherine McCord, Milky Mama’s Krystal Nicole Duhaney, mega-influencer Chriselle Lim, Matana Organics founder Gabriela Babila, interior designer Susan Work, author Tiffany Dufu, Les Gamins founder Veronique Nguyen, Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, DockATot’s Roma Patel, designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca Atwood, and Dana HaimOlympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, children’s author Serena Minott, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, wellness influencer Joanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvetteand many, many more!

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  1. Hello + thank you.
    I’m honored to be among so many talented and driven mothers.

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