February 2015

Another thing I really don’t need but toally want, regardless

butter box

This item comes from a land where people get big hunks of butter from farms and put them in boxes like this one that they leave unrefrigerated on the counter, not at all worried about the butter going bad. These people are secure in the knowledge that their food is good.

I would like to live in this land.

But from the looks of this website, I should probably be moving to Denmark, which isn’t happening any time soon.

This does not stop me from admiring this butter box from afar, however. Or any of the other lovely things in the Helkak webstore…

How to fold a fitted sheet

fitted sheet

This is my husband’s version of a properly folded fitted sheet.

We tend to do our laundry on the weekends, when there is more time to spread out, and somehow it feels more OK to leave a huge pile of unfolded laundry on the extra bed for 24 hours. (Don’t ask me why, it just does. Maybe it’s because we spend most weekends in a house where there is an extra bed…) This weekend, my husband (who, it should be noted, began folding his clothes before bed at age two) took on the job of folding everything and putting it neatly in the laundry bag for transportation back to Brooklyn. He’s very organized and has recently really gotten into storing complete sets of sheets inside one of the pillowcases, so you just pull out one neat bundle and you’re all good for making the bed. A great idea if I do say so myself.

This morning I pulled out one of the aforementioned pillowcase bundles and discovered that, evidently, Josh’s folding skills do not extend to fitted sheets. (see photo above) This is ironic, as not only is he a folding fanatic, but he also oversaw the production of the incredibly useful One Kings Lane video called, appropriately: How To Fold A Fitted Sheet.

At the risk of being accused of trying to be the next Martha Stewart, I am posting this video here. Because most of us, no matter what we think, don’t really know how to fold a fitted sheet properly. And all of our lives would be vastly improved once we mastered this skill. Which takes about 5 seconds, by the way.

You can thank me later.

Monday, Monday– or more links about Black History Month (better late than never)

annie eastley

Without the work of Annie Eastley, space travel may never have been possible.

Engadget is profiling African American pioneers in the universe of science and technology. Check out how Annie Easley helped make space flight possible and then go here to learn about other groundbreakers.

The 50 essential African-American independent films, according to the master listmakers at Flavorwire.

This month, Stylelikeu decided to keep the Black Lives Matter conversation going by asking groundbreaking African American trendsetters with inspirational personal style and asking them what it means to be black and all sorts of other stuff. Start with their moving profile of style icon Lysa Cooper and then dig around for more.

I just listened to this recently discovered 1962 speech by Martin Luther King, Jr and was struck both by the power of his words and by how far we have yet to go to achieve the dream.

Listen and be inspired by the music of the Civil Rights Movement by checking out this playlist on 8tracks. Or if you’re feeling flush, this Smithsonian Folkways CD called Voices of the Civil Rights Movement looks pretty damned good.

A book is always a great place to start when tackling difficult subjects with your children. Here’s a list of 11 kids books that address and celebrate the African American experience from the Huffington Post.

History is being made every day. Consider being a part of it by checking out what the people at #BlackLivesMatter have to say and keeping the conversation going.

Maybe the Monday, Monday posts should just be on Tuesdays at this point. Or, more links to some sites about fashion

tess giberson fw 2015

One of my favorite looks this season from, of course, Tess Giberson. Quite possibly because it’s so cold out these days, but whatever. Photo by Elizabet Davids / Courtesy of Tess Giberson

Because it’s fashion week. And like it or not, this is the moment when everybody is thinking about clothes. May as well jump on in.

When you just want to see images of the shows, head straight to style.com. I rarely bother with any of their editorial content, but their coverage of every look to come down the runways is comprehensive and a great place to start.

The polar opposite to Style.com (and a particular favorite of mine) is Stylelikeu which is all about the expression of the self through style, and not at all married to seasons or trends. Their profiles really get to the heart of what makes their incredibly inspirational subjects tick. I do believe it is the only fashion/style related site that moves me to tears on a regular basis.

Lucky magazine founder Kim France’s Girls of a Certain Age is great because, well, it’s for girls of a certain age.

I find myself drawn to Racked because it looks good (I’m a sucker for nice design) and is comprehensive without feeling all overwhelming and dizzying.

Refinery 29 comes close to being just a bit too overwhelming, but they have been at it for, like, ever (in the internet world at least) and the site is kind of like an old friend at this point. Plus they parse out other useful information like how to drink tea properly which is the type of knowledge I like to gather. They also serve up a nice horoscope.

Another more commercial site that stays on my radar is The Cut. Because once you get past the moving parts and ads it is surprisingly smart and has a great sense of humor, not to mention lovely taste in clothes.

This is a bit random, but I always enjoy checking out the mood board from The Glamourai. They even have a shop, so we can all be copycats with the touch of a button.

The award for best name goes to Andrea Linett’s I Want To Be Her. Because how many times have we all thought that phrase while checking out some girl?

For the most part, I find the obligatory here-is-another-photo-of-me format of the fashion blogger to be slightly annoying, even if I love everything they wear. With the exception of Accidental Icon Lyn Slater, who somehow manages to pull it off. And her prose is so intelligent, that it has inspired me to try and take it up a notch here. Wish me luck.

And then last, but far from least, there is Garance Doré, bien sur.

Yesterday, at some point…

dustin yellin

Last night we went to the New York City Ballet and were treated both to 3 breathtaking and seminal works by Balenchine and to Dustin Yellin’s life-size multi-layered explosive chaotic ethereal glass collage sculpture installation pieces. They are called Psychogeoraphies and were commissioned as part of the NYC Ballet’s Art Series.

They are not to be missed.

Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day (mostly). 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.

A post about cooking in which I complain about my latest mothering chore of packing lunch for my child

pot stickers

Here they are… our first batch of dumplings. Pot stickers, to be specific, but who is really that specific when dealing with second graders’ lunches?

The party’s over.

Or at least the my-kid’s-school-has-a-lunch-program-so-I-don’t-have-to-deal-with-packing-a-daily-lunchbox party is over. She just wasn’t eating the food, and I was forced to admit that a rice cake and some juice that she was given as a substitute does not a nutritious meal make. If I want to help that little brain to grow, I’m going to have to suck it up and make her lunch. Every day.

What a nightmare.

Or at least, at first it seemed like a nightmare. But once I realized that she can heat up her food (do I have the only child on earth that doesn’t really like sandwiches?) I decided to take this as an opportunity, rather than just a burden. At the very least I finally have something to do with all of the slightly less than full portion leftovers I have from dinners past.

But sometimes there aren’t any leftovers. For those days, if you’ve planned ahead (a new skill I am developing in spades in 2015) there are dumplings. Which you have made in bulk with your kid (fun activity!) and stored in the freezer in single serving size packs for just such a moment.

Here’s the scenario. You put your little angel to bed, you then open the fridge to see what you’re going to cobble together for lunch the next day. Nothing appropriate. It’s freezing outside, so running to the deli is not an attractive option. You then remember the dumplings in the freezer. You jump for joy (but only internally… on the exterior you remain all calm like “of course this what was I was planning all along”) and take one of your little pot sticker packets out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge. Cook ‘em up the next morning (which takes all of 5 minutes) and you’re good to go.

And lest you think that there is no way you could possibly manage to create something so exotic and complex, let me be the one to inform you that the most difficult part of this operation is finding the dumpling wrappers (which these days can be found in any grocery store with an Asian section.) And that isn’t all that hard, is it?

We used Mark Bittman’s super simple recipe 10 days ago and had a blast making 48 little suckers. We still have one or two lunches left in the freezer too! Here’s how we did it:

First we get the ground pork (but you can use any kind of ground meat, or even make a veggie version with cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and carrots) mix it with cabbage, scallions, ginger, garlic and a bit of soy sauce.

making pot stickers

Then we place a spoonful onto the dumpling wrapper.

making pot stickers

After we rub a tiny bit of beaten egg around the edges to act as glue, we carefully fold them in half, pressing the edges together…

cooking pot stickers

And then they are ready to cook! The cooking is a 3 step process, but super quick. See the esteemed Mr Bittman’s recipe below for the exact methodology and then hop to it!


¾ pound ground pork or other meat
1 cup minced cabbage
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoons minced garlic
6 scallions, the white and green parts separated, both minced
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons good soy sauce
48 dumpling wrappers
1 egg, lightly beaten in a bowl
4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, more or less
¼ cup rice vinegar or white vinegar


Combine meat, cabbage, ginger, garlic, scallion whites and 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a bowl with 1/4 cup water. Lay a wrapper on a clean, dry surface, and using your finger or a brush, spread a bit of egg along half of its circumference. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling in center, fold over and seal by pinching edges together. (Do not overfill.) Place dumplings on a plate; if you want to wait a few hours before cooking, cover plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Or freeze, for up to two weeks.

To cook, put about 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet and turn heat to medium-high. A minute later, add dumplings, one at a time; they can touch one another, but should still sit flat in one layer. Cook about 2 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Add 1/4 cup water per dozen dumplings to pan, and cover. Lower heat to medium, and let simmer about 3 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce, combine remaining soy sauce, green parts of scallions and vinegar.

Uncover dumplings, return heat to medium-high and cook another minute or two, until bottoms are dark brown and crisp and water evaporates. (Use more oil if necessary.) Serve hot, with sauce.

Monday, Monday– or a few links to some great end-of-season sales that are still happening right now

OC jacket

Photo courtesy openingceremony.us

Ok first up, this wrap/blanket/jacket from Opening Ceremony is now only $188, which is practically free.

photo courtesy Florahenri.com

photo courtesy Florahenri.com

A girls’ liberty print bathing suit from Flora and Henri that’s so pretty that the fact that it’s called a maillot doesn’t seem at all pretentious…

photo courtesy Sweetwilliamltd.com

photo courtesy Sweetwilliamltd.com

You can always find something amazing (like this orange floral dress by anais and i) for your kid to wear at Sweet William and right now the winter stock is 40% off…

Photo courtesy mnz.com

Photo courtesy mnzstore.com

Maryam Nassir Zadeh still has a rocking sale going on… if you wear a size 37 or 38 you can score a pair of these open loafers by Ter et Bantine

Photo courtesy Onekingslane.com

Photo courtesy Onekingslane.com

You might not be aware of this, but One Kings Lane, everybody’s favorite online furniture store, has a whole section called “Downstairs” where everything is even more discounted than on the rest of the site. Today, I am thinking about upgrading my umbrella situation, which is somewhat pathetic…

Photo courtesy redflower.com

Photo courtesy redflower.com

If you know me at all, you know of my devotion to the sensually holistic beauty line Red Flower… and they are having a valentine’s day 3 for 2 style sale right now that is not to be missed…

Photo courtesy tessgiberson.com

Photo courtesy tessgiberson.com

I own this crochet backed sweater by Tess Giberson and if I hadn’t worn it about a thousand times between September and now, I would be all annoyed that I didn’t wait for the sale to buy it at it’s current (very) reduced price. You, on the other hand, can take full advantage of this last-gasp sale should you be so inclined…

Yesterday, at some point…

Sag Harbor, NY

NYC did not get the 30 inches of snow promised last week. But Sag Harbor did.

And it was magic.

Yesterday, at some point is a series of photographs that describe a moment I experienced during the previous day (mostly). 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.

Monday, Monday (on a Tuesday)… or a few links to help wrap our collective brains around the fact that Valentine’s Day is around the corner

tree hotel Sweden

Photo courtesy Frankupdates.com

If you really want to go for it, you should give your valentine tickets to Sweden and a stay (with you, of course) at the TreeHotel, where every room is a unique and distinctive tree house. Just you try to come up with something more romantic.

nova natural valentine cards

Photo from blog.novanaural.com

Walk away from the giant hypnotic pull of Hallmark and make your own Valentine’s Day cards with your kids. Begin with this great template from the lovely Nova Naturals blog and then go as simple or elaborate as your fancy takes you…

Photo from Amazon.com

Photo from Amazon.com

Give your sweetheart a leather journal into which he can pour out his feelings of love for you (and then when you’re having a tough moment, hopefully he’ll go back to it, read over what he wrote and that original flame will burn once again…)

Photo: Valerie Peterson for the New York Times

Photo: Valerie Peterson for the New York Times

Add a little vodka induced heat to your evening with this spicy hot chocolate cocktail from the New York Times.


Illustration by Ellen Jang for A Cup of Jo

How about helping cure what ails your sweetheart by giving a foot massage that has some actual basis in reflexology? Joanna Goddard from A Cup of Jo hooks us up with some basic knowledge…


Photo: datetodoor.com

If you can go online to order your meals, your movies and pretty much anything you need for your house, why not mail order the makings of a perfect date night? I kid you not. The age of datetodoor.com has arrived.

Photo from MarthaStewart.com

Photo from MarthaStewart.com

No Valentine’s Day is complete without doing something a la Martha Stewart… If you’ve got to hand out multiple gifts, how about making these pink and chocolate heart shaped cookies?