October 2013

Happy Halloween!!!

jack o lantern

This pumpkin was plucked from the field, its face designed by Ada, its features carved by Josh and then photographed by Brooke. Truly a family affair.

This morning, my daughter declared that this is the happiest day of her life. The combination of being allowed to wear “high” heels to school in costume, having her mom come join in the school Harvest Day parade, and being allowed to stop in all of her favorite neighborhood spots to ask for candy and get it…. It’s almost too much to bear.

Plus the weeks afterwards of slowly finishing the haul of sweet, not-so-good-for-you deliciousness. It really is the Best. Holiday. Ever.

As a parent, I can get all caught up in the worry about too much sugar being ingested, teeth surely decaying, stomachs rotting, kids getting confused and thinking that they deserve candy all the time, etc etc. I could even start looking at the other, far more creative, more labor intensive, more clearly-his-parents-love-him-more style costumes that parade around the streets of our neighborhood today and feeling the tentacles of jealousy reaching up, threatening to ruin my day.

But I’m not going there. Instead, I like to think about how fun it is to run into all sorts of friends on the street, how lovely it is to see all of our favorite shopkeepers out in costume, making the kids they know so well smile by giving them a treat, how much this holiday is really about a sense of community, as every neighborhood celebrates in it’s own way, having local parties and parades and just forcing people out of their normal day to day routines for just a moment. Even the most serious allow themselves a bit of silliness today.

Which is a beautiful thing.

ps: While you’re taking your make up off tonight, if you have time, listen to Orson Welles’ crazy 1938 War of The Worlds radio broadcast, which had the whole country up in arms thinking that we’d really been attacked by Martians. 75 years later, it still resonates.

Oh sh*t, Halloween is tomorrow!

halloween witch

Our very own, resident, extremely powerful-but-good witch. In full regalia with very carefully selected lipstick and nail color.

I have been feeling very smug this year because we actually got the whole costume situation worked out waaaay ahead of time. We are a magical family for 2013, with Ada as the witch (powerful but good) Josh as the wizard (who looks more like the grim reaper as he’s wearing a navy blue hooded cape I made for myself in the early 90′s when such things were in fashion) and me as their pet black cat. I wanted to be a ghost, but Mme Witch was having nothing of it.

We even went pumpkin picking last weekend.

But do we have a trick or treat bag ready? Nope. Have we carved out the aforementioned pumpkin? Negative. Have we decorated the house? No, again. So I find myself today, at the 11th hour, scouring the internet for ideas. I figure I may as well share them with you guys, while I’m at it. Because hey, I have a feeling I’m not the only person out there in my predicament. And we all want to wake up on Nov 1 with our heads held high, right? We’re gonna need it. Our kids are all going to feel horrible from eating so much candy.

Here are a couple of cute ideas to get your juices flowing…

Super simple, very kid friendly spooky decorations for your house. And you can make each one in about 10 minutes.

copper leafed pumpkin

Nevermind that this involves getting your hands on some copper leaf and having a bit of skill and patience. It looks great. (Though I bet these people don’t have kids…)

For the truly ambitious, there is always this copper leafed pumpkin display from One Kings Lane.

A great DIY treat bucket from MerMag.blogspot.com.

A great DIY treat bucket from MerMag.blogspot.com.

Here are some super cute treat buckets made from paint cans. So much more festive than a plastic shopping bag, and so much smaller (ie less candy!!)

spider sweets from bakerella

The cutest Halloween spider sweets ever. From Bakerella.com.

These spiders are made from rolled up brownies, licorice legs, and raspberry candy eyes. How happy would you be to see one of those in your treat bag? If you were 6, that is…?

candy corn cookies from baked bree

I never liked candy corn, but these cookies look delicious! from Baked Bree.

These are sugar cookies with some orange zest and a bit of food coloring to transform them into giant pieces of candy corn. Yum!

Delicious pumpkin gruyere soup. Both the recipe and the photo come to us from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer via Bon Appetit.

Delicious pumpkin gruyere soup. Both the recipe and the photo come to us from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer via Bon Appetit.

Oh and Bon Appetit just posted this delicious looking recipe for cooking soup inside of a pumpkin, so maybe this year we should skip the carving altogether!

Just a little something

Ten underwear

My new favorite underwear. Super soft cotton. Bright color. Subtle detailing.

Style wise, I am the kind of person who finds something I like and then sticks to it. Until it really starts to let me down, like Levis, which has seemingly forgotten how to make a quality pair of jeans. Or they go out of business, like Daryl K has. Multiple times. To wit, I have been wearing the same brand of essentially perfect underwear (araks, if you must know) for around a decade.

But I may be forced to branch out.

While I was browsing through Beautiful Dreamers, one of my favorite shops in the ‘hood, trying to decide if I could stomach paying $80 for the most incredible hair/body oil I have ever encountered (by Dr Alkalitis, and I’m still on the fence but leaning towards yes) I saw them laying there, all perfect and “boy” cut (though do any of you know any boys who actually wear underwear shaped like this?) and really soft cotton with just the tiniest bit of stretch and bright red.

The line is called Ten, and they are designed by an equally captivating woman named Daphne Javitch. After checking out her website and her amazing apartment (which has piles, but the attractive well-edited kind… Granted, she doesn’t have kids, but I digress…) and her blog, I want to be best friends with her.

Needless to say, a pair of these beauties somehow jumped into my bag as I left the store and, I must say, I am not bummed. Maybe it’s the airmail-envelope-cum-packaging that takes it over the top…

Ten underwear packaging

Here’s the little ‘bag’ that they come in. Just another thing I want to save. Thanks a lot, Daphne.

I think I may now have two BFF’s in the lingerie dept…

Monday, Monday, or the King is dead, long live a bunch of random links.

Lewis Allen Reed, 1942 - 2013. Rest in peace, fellow Pisces.

Lewis Allen Reed, 1942 – 2013, pictured here with his wife, Laurie Anderson. Rest in peace, fellow Pisces. We will miss you.

I’m having a hard time trying to imagine a world without Lou Reed in it. And yet a new day dawns, full of foolishness and beauty.

If we all actually absorbed how much Google knows about us, and what it is already doing with the data (much less what the bad guys would do with it when they get their hands on it) I think we might be out on the streets protesting instead of sitting at our desks googling “internet privacy.”

Oh my god I totally want to go to China.

Here’s an actual scientific reason why we all need sleep. Not that you really need one, but there you have it.

I saw an image of one of Canadian artist Myriam Dion’s exacto knife newspaper cutouts on girl of a certain age, which led me to an article about her on Laughing Squid, which led me to her website. Which is in french. But her work is amazing and transcends language, if you ask me. Of course, I took french in high school so I’m happy that it’s finally come in handy.

I just photographed rock star hair stylist April Barton for Jill Platner’s website. She’s a true inspiration.

And lastly, for no particular reason, a recently uncovered video of previously unreleased Star Wars bloopers. Watch it while you can.

Any excuse for a cookie

black hound cookies

These are the delicious Black Hound cookies I chose to purchase yesterday. They were all incredible. Every last one of them.

While we’re on the topic of celebrations, I happened to find myself in the East Village yesterday whilst all filled with hooray-my-ceiling-is-painted good spirits. And I’m sure I made some kind of gasping out loud sound when I realized I was but one block from Black Hound, which is by far the best cookies-and-other-sweet-stuff bakery around. Even my daughter knows them by name.

So off I went to 2nd Ave and 9th Street to gather myself a little bundle of deliciousness. There are all sorts of sumptuously delicious looking cakes, but I always head straight for the rear of the store to stock up on their cookies a la carte. Maybe a detour at the “try this stuff for free” display (Yesterday’s sample was german chocolate cake. Yum!) The result is pictured above. Well, most of it. Some of the cookies never made it home.

Because while I started out thinking only of my daughter, I of course ended up with more cookies for myself, hiding the loot so that she doesn’t know what she’s missing. Dishonesty, or self-preservation? You tell me.

After you’ve tried some of them for yourself, that is.

More links for the otherwise occupied…

new office ceiling

This might not look like much, but to those of you who have been following my saga, this is the current state of my office ceiling. Woo hoo!! No more giant hole! Paint! Cute red paint, even. And later, after I fix that smudge (I am the world’s messiest painter) I’ll put the rest of the fixture up and begin to reckon with moving all of my stuff back into the office. Oh happy day…

It is far from from my usual Monday post. In fact, it will be Wednesday by the time this gets uploaded. Been busy priming the various ceilings in our apartment now that the giant hole is my office (and the various other bumps and cracks around the place) has been repaired. Allah Akbar, which means God is great… a statement I will happily stand behind, now that I see a light at the end of the tunnel of my life-amidst-piles-and-tarps.

But in the meantime, here are some things that I have noticed in the vast procrastinatory abyss that is the internet.

Listen to (and watch, and be blown away by) my friend’s 13 year old daughter Ruby Karp give a TED talk about feminist activism and what it means to her.

I mentioned this on facebook already, but you guys should all read Rebecca Carroll’s conversation with Jezebel.com founding editor Anna Holmes on The Aesthete. Two very intelligent women telling it like it is… almost makes you want to actually pick up a book and read again.

Artisinal gummmies from Portland, OR. What’s not to love?

Oh lord, did I really just read about an app called Saga that helps you create a “lifelog” by automatically recording everything you do (got coffee at El Beit, took L train to Union Square, bought lettuce, etc) and then lets you share aforementioned (and thrilling) lifelog with your friends? Please say it ain’t so…

Oh and Dear God, while I have you on the horn, please let the near-future version of my daughter be like Amanda Soule’s son Ezra in Maine, whipping up concoctions for his family and dancing around the kitchen while he does it. It’s moments like these that make all the other bullshit worthwhile…

People have all sorts of things to say about Malcolm Gladwell. I say listen to the man himself and then decide if you’re going to be one of the 10 or 15 people on Earth who choose not to read his latest book…

And while we’re on the topic of professorial men of african descent, PBS has just aired the first of Henry Louis Gates’ six part series called The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross. It is a comprehensive look at the crazy, multilayered, intense and often inspirational history of African Americans. Required viewing, as far as I am concerned.

Time out for grown ups

lunch at bakeri

A delicious carrot curry soup and freshly baked bread at Bakeri, in WIlliamsburg.

A short and sweet thought for you all today.

On the day when your apartment is all covered with plaster dust and under tarps, your husband is out of town for, like, ever (ok 10 days, but it feels like forever…) and you are horribly underslept but only have 30 free minutes to yourself before all hell breaks loose again in the form of your kid home from school and the guys returning to “finish” the work on your collapsed ceiling, I suggest you take yourself out to a cafe for lunch. With a nice glass of water (lets be honest, wine would knock you out) and a real life, hold in your hand, made out of paper magazine or newspaper to read.

I did that today and it has saved my a**.

If you live in Williamsburg, the cafe of choice is Bakeri. Fresh bread. Perfectly brewed coffee in vintage cups. Deeply flavorful food made to order. Bikini Kill playing in the background. What more can you ask for?

Open daily from 8 to 7. 150 Wythe Ave, at N 8th. Always delicious.

Tuesday is the new Monday, so be afraid.


Nothing like a vampire creeping up your stairs to get you in the mood for Hallowe’en. That and living with a little girl dying to transform herself into a witch. Photo courtesy of Flavorwire.

Yesterday was my father’s 76th birthday, so I took the day off to roast a fresh ham and bake him red velvet cake. More on the ham later, which was delicious. But I’m back on track now, and for your web-surfing pleasure this week I hope to provide you all with some motivation to bring your best game to Halloween this year. Or at least to remind you that it’s coming up, so those of you with kids better get on it. Enjoy.

Leave it to the listmakers at Flavorwire to provide us with 20 “essential” vampire movies to get us in the mood this season.

Speaking of a little girl and her costume, this is the witch getup we’ve finally settled on this year. Thank you, Chasing Fireflies, for having the best selection of pre-made-but-not-totally-horrible costumes out there.

Here’s a great book by Lemony Snicket about a little boy who gets over his fear of the dark.

Leave it to Kim France to point us towards this crazy Cinderella/Carrie video mashup that turns our favorite princess fairytale into a bone chilling nightmare.

Perhaps this guy in Mustang, Oklahoma has taken his Halloween decorating a bit too far this year…

Do you guys think I could justify buying these Isabel Marant boots by claiming that they are going to be part of my witch costume?

Lastly, this video below might not be actually frightening, but it does feature our favorite wizard, one Harry Potter. Well, not Harry, but the man who brought him to life, British actor Daniel Radcliffe, in a more current role singing and dancing his a** off in a Broadway musical. And to my shock and surprise, he is GREAT.

Still closed.

government shutdown chart by enigma.io by

By the time you read this, the numbers will be higher, as will both our collective tempers and our national debt. Chart by enigma.io

I have been, over the past few months, struggling with trying to define just what this blog is about. Is it a mommy-blog? A design blog? Should I write more about art? Music? Parties I go to? Cute people I see on the street? Disasters around the house?

Right now I have chosen all-of-the-above. Except maybe the parties, because I rarely go to those these days (cut to: peacefully sleeping child) But today I add a new category: politics. I generally stay away from this, as I don’t feel that I add anything profound to the conversation. I still don’t, but right now it’s so all-I-am-thinking-about that I can’t help myself. I promise to go back to cute-stuff-to-buy and stuff-to-do-with-your-kids in the next day or so.

And I am not going to get profound here, but I do just want to wonder, out loud, why we are not all in the streets protesting this crazy government shutdown and the takeover of our democratic political discourse by a small section of extreme right wingers.

The above chart by enigma.io makes it all very real. We are digging ourselves a bigger hole by the minute, and it doesn’t look like we’re getting out of it any time soon. Which means that we will emerge (if we emerge) in far worse shape than we started. Owing more money, behind in just about everything. It’s overwhelming, when I pause to take it all in. I mean, we’ve done all this work, clawing and scratching ourselves out of the Bush-era financial mess only to be pushed right back down into the pit by this new generation of Texas style politicians.

You can go to the DSCC, or the White House to learn more and potentially help out, aka sign petitions and donate money which seems to be what we do about pretty much everything these days.

And speaking of our MO, if you want to drive yourself crazy by seeing what segments of the government are deemed “essential” as opposed to others, check out this story on the Huffington Post.

I am no longer afraid of butternut squash.

Thanks to this brilliant video I just watched on Food52. You should all watch this and then prepare to make all sorts of stuff out of those butternut squashes you have sitting on your counters from your CSAs that you have not touched because they are such a pain in the neck to deal with and you are too lazy.

And by “you” I of course mean “me”.

Or rather, the “me” of the past. Because the new me is going to make some bad ass soup out of this million pound baby we got in our box last week. See photo of aforementioned mutant squash below:

butternut squash and feet

A very mysterious and painterly iphone photo of the squash next to my feet, so you can see just how HUGE it really is.

I promise to tell you all about it if it’s delicious.