May 2014


karen Kingston Clear Your Clutter

Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston lays it all out plain and simple.

Anybody who knows me or has followed this blog for awhile knows that I have a problem when it comes to accumulating stuff. I have “tried” all sorts of things, but I still find myself buried underneath the piles of books and kids art and records and photographs and clothes and glass bottles (for all that iced tea I’m always making?) and candles and papers and anything else you can imagine.

You name it, I probably have 6 of whatever it is, taking up space in our closet. Or, worse and yet more likely, on the dining room table.

About six months ago, I found the solution… Or actually a friend pressed it upon me… a miraculous book by Karen Kingston called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. And while I find trying to figure out Feng Shui next to impossible, this book is filled with all sorts of great suggestions for how to just get over yourself and clear out some space in your home and your life, damn it! The mystical energy flow stuff is just a bonus, should you choose to go there.

I actually cried when I read Chapter 5 which is called: How Clutter Affects You. Procrastination, depression, extra time cleaning, disorganization, exhaustion, spending a lot of unnecessary money… the list goes on. So many of her points rang true.

But six months later, our place looks pretty much the same as it did when I first got the book. Life gets in the way… you know how it is… and just about any time I cleared a tiny space, new clutter managed to seep in and take over.

Just recently, however, our daughter finally graduated from the bassinet/crib/toddler bed she’s had since she was born to a bonified big girl bed, with built in storage to boot! We had to clear out her room to make the transition, and her things are now all over the floors of just about every room in our place. Adding insult (even more kids books and hair ribbons and spangly jewelry) to injury (all of the stuff I already had piled up.)

I have officially hit the wall.

Yesterday, in a conversation with some of my “other mother” pals during our kids’ Streb class, the Karen Kingston book came up again. So I dusted if off, took a photo of it and decided to try again. But this time, I will listen to the wise advice of my fellow stressed out never-enough-time mother and plan to attack just one small space at a time. And finish the task before moving on to the next one. It worked so well with my kitchen cabinet

Sounds basic, and yet has been next to impossible to practice.

First step is just to put everything away, even if “away” isn’t the perfect ultimate place for the object in question. Once our place is neat and my daughter’s stuff has migrated back to it’s home in her bedroom, I can begin to make some strides.

Pray for me. I need all the help I can get.

Yesterday, at some point…


Lattes are so 2013.

Now it’s all about the short white, which is an Australian, slightly smaller, more concentrated version of the venerable Italian drink.

I learned all about them at St Balmain, the newest cafe in my area (it’s on N 8th between Bedford and Driggs, in Williamsburg) They are delicious and well on their way to becoming this mother’s favorite little helper, if you know what I’m saying.

The food that this spot serves up looks great too, though I have yet to try anything. Summer is coming however… and with that, lots of free time to spend sampling various lunch spots in the hood. We’ll have to add this place to the list!

Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

New shades

glasses by Takemoto

Custom made bamboo glasses by Takemoto on Hong Kong. Photo from Ebay.

So there I was, buying ice cream from the yellow truck on Bedford Ave, and I found myself dumbstruck by the incredible glasses that the girl serving up the scoops was sporting. And for once in my life, instead of just noticing them and walking away, I asked her about them.

I even remembered what she told me (handmade, Etsy, Hong Kong) and went straight home to my computer to look them up. They are really meticulously handcrafted, come in lots of different colors, will fit you perfectly (if you fill out all of the information correctly) and will be made especially for you, at under $100. Which in this age of overpriced designer everything, is a beautiful thing.

So go check out Takemoto’s Etsy shop and order yourself up a pair of these glasses, be they for reading or just looking good. I can’t imagine that you would be sorry.

Look! Up in the sky!

Look Up!

Look Up! A kids book about bird watching by Annette Leblanc Cate.

Once a week my daughter’s class gets to check a book out of the library at school. You never know what’s gong to come home… for awhile it was books from the Magic Treehouse series, a couple of weeks ago a thesaurus, and twice she’s brought home these semi horrible modern takes on Greek mythology called Goddess Girls (think Sydney Sheldon novels for the young readers world.)

But anything that keeps the kids interested in reading is worth having around for a week, right?

And then sometimes a book crosses the threshold that we don’t ever want to give up. Look Up! is one of those books. In fact, I like it so much that I am going to order our ow copy just as soon as I finish this post.

Meticulously written and illustrated with humor and love by Annette LeBlanc Cate, the book is the perfect introduction to the world of bird watching for kids. There is tons of information, without seeming at all overwhelming, and the cheeky narrator opens doors to this singular universe that even the most novice of naturalists will want to step through. Plus the cartoon birds, lovingly drawn in a totally approachable style, have all sorts of amusing things to say about their world.

look up by annette leblanc cate

In this chart, the birds tell us all about their various colors, while also throwing in some funny facts about temperament (the Merlin just says “Grrrrr” while looking at the smaller birds he can’t eat because he’s in a chart)


This page begins to describe all of the different styles of feet, tails and plumage one might find when looking at our avian neighbors.

Our walks to school now take twice as long, because we are both busy stopping and trying to figure out just what kind of sparrow we’re looking at, or whether or not that was a crow flying overhead.

But it’s time well spent. So much more fun to look at birds than text messages, if you know what I’m saying…

Kara Walker’s sweet tooth

domino sugar factory kara walker

The centerpiece of the exhibit, monumental, overwhelmingly feminine, made of sugar yet she don’t feel so sweet…

If you do one thing this weekend, you should go see Kara Walker’s breathtaking installation at the Domino Sugar Factory, which is just north of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. Provided you are in New York City, of course. You’ve actually got through July 6… all the info you need is here.

The show, titled “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby– an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant,” is a sickeningly sweet portal into the brutal world of the Caribbean slave trade, forcing us to both admire the incredible majesty of the people depicted as well as contemplate the disturbing reality of the conditions under which they labored and our own relationship to that work.

Which is complicated. And a mouthful. But it is what Kara Walker’s work is all about. Because the world is a complicated beautiful excessive mouthful, to say the least. It’s about race, and work, and family, and money and… well… just about everything.

And while we are in the space, we also confront the fact that this whole place, literally dripping with history, is about to be demolished and turned into a huge luxury condo building with all that entails.

I saw the show with my family and took loads of photographs… some of which are in the grid below. This is a new trick for me, but they say that if you click on the images, it turns into a slide show of sorts and you can scroll through them all at their full size. Seems like a nicer way than to have to scroll down forever, but you guys will let me know, right?

Enjoy the photos, the show (if you get there) and your Memorial Day weekend!

Better… Stronger… Faster… More Productive…

rocket fuel by juice press

Rocket Fuel. Brought to you by Juice Press. it totally delivers the goods.

We are now in the home stretch… the May-into-June-into-summer that all parents of school aged kids alternately live for and dread. There are all sorts of year end activities and recitals and gifts that need to be done and seen and made. And it’s important to note that one’s other, more adult, life doesn’t just kindly move over and give you a bit more room to deal with all of this stuff.

Oh yeah and in my particular case, my teammate in this parenting adventure has suddenly begun traveling for work far more than the one week a month we had become accustomed to.

So I have been forced to say a tearful goodby to whatever sleep I may have been having in the recent past.

But no worries. Because there is a Juice Press quite close to me (I worry that JP is becoming the Starbucks of the cold pressed world, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing) And where there is Juice Press, there is Rocket Fuel. And Rocket Fuel is my new best friend.

It’s got pear, lemon and ginger juice (yum!) guayusa (a naturally caffeinated, antioxidant rich leaf from South America) and maca (more superfood stuff from South America that gives you energy and evens out any hormonal fluctuations you might be eperiencing) Everything a person needs to be present and awake though these trying times.

Which is great, because actually all of these celebratory school activities are wonderful moments that I would be heartbroken to sleep through, just because I had a deadline and had to stay up in front of my computer till 2 am the night before editing photos and reckoning (again!) with my overstuffed hard drive.

(but that’s another story for another time…)

Yesterday, at some point…


All sorts of minor logistical things went wrong yesterday. But when I saw this field of blue at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, my breath was taken away and I started the whole day again from scratch.

Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day. The posts are meant to be stand alone images, though at times I can’t control myself, and I end up expanding the caption into a more lengthy bit of text. Hopefully the extra information is useful, or at least interesting. If not, feel free to ignore it.

Yesterday, at some point…


I remember, so clearly, riding the subway as a kid, obsessed with looking out the windows trying to catch a glimpse the mysterious world of the tunnels and the abandoned stations.

It’s comforting to see that some things haven’t changed at all…

This image is part of a new series in which I am posting single photographs that describe some moment I had during the previous day. Kind of like a not-quite-instant Instagram.

Summer kicks

restrepo shoes at Jumelle

Here is the pair of shoes I most want this summer, staring back at me from the always-tempting window of Jumelle on Bedford Ave in Brooklyn.

Not that any of you noticed, but I usually write about books on Tuesdays.

I am straying from that path today, however, because I was so completely distracted by the above pair of shoes (seen in the window of Jumelle, a neighborhood favorite in the style dept.) Suddenly, all I can think about is the fact that it is finally warm, Memorial Day is upon us, and I can finally trade in my wool Adidas hightops for some cute summer kicks.

And the above pictured Dieppa Restrepo loafers are on the top of my list. Because they’ve got a little color whilst remaining neutral… a little pattern but you can wear them with anything.

But, of course, there are other contenders.

robert clergerie loafer

Neutral airy platform… what’s not to love about these Clergerie loafers?

Like these Robert Clergerie espadrille/loafers I spotted at Bird. All easy breezy with a platform to make you feel like you have something special going on without the least bit of discomfort that a heel might serve up.

bensimon tennis sneakers

The shoe that every cool french girl wears whilst strolling along the shores of the Riviera…

And then there is the classic Bensimon tennis elastic sneaker, which, to be honest, I don’t think would be all that good for actual tennis playing. But they will do quite nicely between the farmer’s market and the beach…

IX Style sandals

These sandals, by IX Style, are handcrafted in Guatemala by female artisans.

Last but certainly not least, these Huarache sandals won’t break the bank ($89!) PLUS a portion of your cash goes to helping impoversihed kids get clean drinking water. What’s not to love about that?

(Oh and of course there’s the new pair of Tretorns I have yet to buy…)