February 2014

Monday, Monday… or more posts about kid stuff because my daughter is away for a week and I miss the hell out of her

My daughter is off on her own vacation to the west coast to visit her grandparents. Part of the fun of the airplane is getting to watch back to back movies on an ipad. One of them being this haunting, academy award winning, 2006 version of Peter and the Wolf.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but we may actually help our kids more by letting them struggle than by being quick to lend a helping hand.

Sleeveface is a photographic project composed of, in it’s own words, “one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion.” In my words, it’s genius, pure and simple.

It may be 20 something degrees outside, but spring has already hit Sweet William, one of my favorite spots for kids clothing. I’m looking forward to the near future, when we don’t have to bother with coats that cover up a cute dress like this.

Remember wishing you could live in these like totally amazing kids rooms from TV shows of yore?

And while we’re on the topic of kids’ rooms, check out Apartment Therapy’s Ode to Expedit, the soon to be discontinued box shelving unit that we all have owned at some point in our lives. Fear not. There is a replacement. And it’s name is Kallax. Same inner dimensions (Yay! I can still store my LP’s!) but a thinner frame. Because it turns out, Ikea actually ares about the environment and is trying to use less wood. What an oddly lovely thing to do.

What’s not to love about making these no-bake fruit and nut bars? It’s a family activity that involves cooking, coconut, a food processor and sweet deliciousness at the end. I’ll be making these as soon as little Miss Thing gets back into town. Food52 tells us how to make this dream a reality.

Yesterday, at some point…

N3rd and wythe

This picture is part of a new series in which I am posting single images that describe some moment I photographed during the previous day. Kind of like my own slightly more considered and not-quite-instant, Instagram.

A rare old-school warehouse in the midst of the tornado of gentrification that is the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

The vinegar of my dreams

Quite simply the best balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted.

Quite simply the best balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted.

I have always been a fan of balsamic vinaigrette, while my husband is more of a olive oil, salt and lemon juice type of salad dresser. Josh’s tastes generally win out in the kitchen, his being the more masterful chef, but when he travels, which is fairly often, I find myself sneaking a nice balsamic onto the salad with rave reviews from the peanut gallery that is our daughter. The dark rich sweetness brings a salad just that much closer to candy, which is the ultimate food in her eyes.

But then my friend Nancy brought a bottle of this Cattani White Balsamic vinegar to our house the last time her family came for a visit, and I will be eternally grateful. Maybe it’s the light color, maybe the subtler-than-usual sweetness, but for whatever reason, after the first time we sprinkled this on our lettuce, Josh has been a convert. As have I. It just tastes WAY better. And without the outrageous pricetag of so many balsamics I have seen in my day. Plus my daughter will eat about a pound of greens when covered with the stuff.

I am now generously using up the last of my old vinegar, never to turn back. And so should you.

Yesterday, at some point…

(These images are part of a new series in which I am posting single images that describe some moment I photographed during the previous day. Kind of like my own slightly more considered and not-quite-instant, Instagram.)

(These images are part of a new series in which I am posting pictures that describe some moment I photographed during the previous day. Kind of like my own slightly more considered and not-quite-instant, Instagram.)

Welcome to midwinter break. Which is chock full of moments like the above.

Survival of said “break,” however, requires much consuming of beverages like the one pictured below.

vacation latte

10 movies you can watch with your kids during the break that don’t suck

Because sometimes it’s nice to have somebody else doing the entertaining. And if you’re anything like me, you will end up watching most of the film with your kids, so it has to be at least somewhat interesting to an adult mind. My mother, by the way, thinks I’m crazy for sitting in front of the screen with my daughter, but maybe she would have felt differently if we were watching movies like the following:

Grease. So your kid needs to understand the concept of boyfriends and girlfriends and be able to tolerate their parents singing along (I know every word to every song of this movie) but as long as you got those bases covered, you’re good to go.

Freaky Friday. There is something incredibly satisfying about watching a mother and daughter switch places with your own kid. Also, when it comes to watching movies, there are three words that are of tantamount importance. Always. Watch. Original. There is no way the 2003 version even holds a candle to the 1977 classic.

The NeverEnding Story chronicles the potential fall of the mythical land of Fantasia, the very existence of which is threatened by The Nothing, an evil creature created by human despair. Totally weird mid-80′s fantasy science fiction that foreshadows The Lord of the Rings/Avatar style films of today.

The Bad News Bears is a perfect kids sports movie for both sexes with a nice father/daughter thing thrown in for good measure. And with Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal in the lead roles, you’re sure to score a home run (sorry, I couldn’t help myself…)

Ponyo is a beautiful animated fairy tale about a little sea creature-turned-human who is adopted by an incredibly forceful and resilient mother and her son. But of course, the sea threatens to take over the world and it’s up to the kids to make things right. Directed by the incomparable Hayao Miyazaki. None of his movies, by the way, are to be missed.

Yellow Submarine. Also animated, also trippy, but this time it’s a musical and you probably already know all the words, even if you never saw the film. What kid doesn’t love the Beatles, at the end of the day?

Speaking of musicals, if you haven’t seen this one yet, and gloried in the talents of Kevin Kline and the beyond brilliant performances of the entire cast, you basically haven’t lived. (The trailer kind of sucks for this one, so I’m showing you one of the great songs instead…)

The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Wes Anderson at his animated best. This is a rare case in which the film is truly an improvement upon the original book.

Hello Dolly. Barbara Striesand. Walter Matthau. Gene Kelly directing. Louis Armstrong in a cameo. What more could you want?

The Bear can be difficult to watch, but it does address pretty much all of the important stuff about respecting our environment and the other beings in it, forgiveness, love… The bears, who’s actual voices and sounds are all used in the film, give academy award worthy performances and we all left this film with a renewed respect for the natural world around us.

So that should get you guys through the weekend. Worse case scenario, you can always just watch all the Harry Potter movies back to back, which is what my daughter is doing right now (one a day… I don’t think my nerves would survive a marathon…)

Yesterday, at some point…

snow n february

My reality this past weekend. Fairytale or nightmare? Or perhaps a bit of both… (This image is part of a new series in which I am posting single images that describe some moment I photographed during the previous day. Kind of like my own slightly more considered and not-quite-instant, Instagram.)

Ok so technically this was taken the day before yesterday as I was marveling at the extreme nature of the snowfall this month (fairytale). But right after I took this picture, I dropped my phone in a snowbank and had to crawl around digging blindly (nightmare) until I found it (fairytale). Of course the phone went into a coma (nightmare) and had to be submerged in rice for 24 hours (useful tip) before it fully recovered (fairytale).

Phew. Will the roller coaster never cease?

Oh by the way, I shot this with a really fun photo app called Photosynth that stitches together sequential images into a panorama. Worth checking out.

Monday, Monday, on Tuesday – or more links about Mercury retrograde, Dazed and Confused and renouncing gluten

shelter island ferry in the snow

My husband thought we were crazy to be riding the ferry to Shelter Island this weekend in a snowstorm. At the time, I thought he was being a wimp. Upon closer inspection of this photo, I’m not so sure I was right…

Ugh. On Friday, Con Ed shut down the power on our block (“Only for a few hours”) for repairs. No matter that it was sub freezing and our heat is electric. On Saturday, a crazy snowstorm (they said 1-2 inches and we got 8!) On Monday, my phone somehow fell out of my pocket into a snowbank, causing the whole family to stop our frolicking and dig around on hands and knees till we found it. In short, Mercury is in retrograde. Here are some survival tips.

And, while we’re on the topic of the cosmos, what color is the universe, anyway?

Can British fashion mag Dazed and Confused really help bloggers start to make a decent living?

Unicorns really do exist. Under the sea.

Want to know where you were, say, 2 years ago at 6 pm on February 18th? Chances are, Google can show you. Because it’s keeping track.

Turns out your WiFi router is probably killing your houseplants. But it’s totally safe for humans, so no need to worry. Oh no wait…

And, apropos of nothing, here’s why you might want to rethink going gluten free.

Happy Valentine’s Day

heart tags for valentines

These are the felt tags we made as part of our epic valentines-for-everybody-at-school project.

Above, the heart tags my daughter made for her class. We sewed them onto bags and filled them with red pom poms and a piece of home made bark (chocolate/peppermint candy) which I insisted on wrapping in parchment paper tied with striped twine. Because I’m like that, and clearly don’t value my sleep.

But there you have it: sweets for the sweet. The way Valentine’s Day should be.

And below, if you press play, one of my favorite Valentine’s Day songs, from Outkast.

Enjoy, and may your day be filled with lightness and mirth.

The real fashion show

Yesterday I live streamed the Michael Kors show. Which means, in English, that I sat at home, all comfortable at my own desk, and saw all that there was to see as far as that particular fashion show goes. More, probably, than I would have seen had I actually been there, as my certain standing room status would have most likely had me staring at the back of someone else’s well coiffed head.

And yet I got all caught up in it for a minute, craning to catch a glimpse of celebrities (how much Michael Kors does Michael Douglass really wear?) checking out the models, remembering somewhat wistfully a distant past when I walked the catwalks, wondering what it takes to be a DJ at one of these things (because I would of course have better transitions between songs, or so I tell myself) etc etc.

And then I start to hate myself for allowing the inevitable descent into the world of the fashion show scenesters and all it entails. Why do I care about any of this at all? It’s just a bunch of silly (albeit quite attractive) people prancing around (not even to the beat!) in costumes in front of a bunch of slightly older but equally well put together folks with digital cameras and notebooks.

Fashion is totally inconsequential, right?

And then I watch a video like the (short) documentary above, about a group of men who have taken the whole concept of dress-up, made it their own, made it political, made it into a uplifting expression of joy that flaunts all of the hardships they face in their everyday lives. And I see fashion for what it can be: a vehicle for the expression of our higher selves.

These men are living the most authentic fashion show there is. They are the captains of their own souls.

May we all take a bit of their spirit with us when we get dressed up, too.