124 articles

an MKS knife!

While we’re on the topic of cooking, it just so happens that one of my favorite friends from high school (the talented furniture designer Adam Simha) is now designing a brilliant line of kitchen knives that are as pleasant to look at as they are a joy to actually use.

With brightly colored bicycle grips for handles and blades produced in Sheffield, England (a world capital in the knife trade) these old world/new school hybrids will make any serious cook smile.

Just read what the pros have to say, and check out the MKS website for store information or to buy one directly from the source!

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And for the chef who thinks she already has everything, you can also go all out and have a knife custom made, like this beautiful 29 cm Yanagi-ba with an ebony and water buffalo horn handle.

Damn….

Once you have tried a proper knife, you will never go back.

an elegant toy stove

Let the Holiday Gift Guide begin! From now through the end of the season, I will bring you as many cool gift ideas as I can muster (which better be numerous as I haven’t even started doing any shopping for my posse!)

Here’s one for the kids:

 

Some families on this earth are lucky enough to have whole rooms devoted to the toys and entertainment of their children. Playrooms, I think these spaces are called. I wouldn’t know, as I live in a typically space challenged apartment in New York City. Which is why, when considering a toy stove for my daughter, I had to also consider the fact that it was going to be living in our dining room and had to meet the design approval of my very very (dare I say overly?) discerning husband.

 

I found my answer in this beautifully crafted wooden stove by Camden Rose. Truth be told, I saw one at a friend’s place and immediately had to know where she’d found it. She generously pointed me to palumba.com, which is your dream destination for old school and often hand crafted toys for your kids.

 

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Incredibly well made and not overwhelmingly huge (the stove is only 24 inches wide) this is a great compromise in the grown-ups vs. kids design war, without feeling too terribly precious.

They also have this super cute doll bed on sale right now, so go check out the site and think about getting less plastic for your kids this holiday season.

bell horses is music to dream by

Lets get one thing straight right off the bat. I have had a copy of this CD in my possession (and been listening to it on a near daily basis) for months. So while I am happy beyond words that my friend and some time collaborator, the extremely talented Xian Hawkins (of Sybarite) got a glowing review in the Paper Of Record (aka The New York Times) I am slightly annoyed that this entry might now feel a bit like I’m following the pack.

I am not, damn it! I have been a fan of Bell Horses since before they even had a name. So there. Though I must admit that when Jon Pareles refers to this music as a gorgeous disorientation, he’s got a point. It lifts you up and carries you away to some other nearby spot– almost like home, only warmer and with greener grass. Though you need not despair of getting completeley lost in a psychadelic soundscape. There is always a thread of a song, and a downright hummable one at that, to guide you through the complex swirling waves of music that make up these compositions.

Click below to hear it for yourself (and to read me rave on a bit more)

Having worked with Xian myself (here is one of our joint efforts for his band, Sybarite) I know what an amazing thing it is to have your lyrics and melody transformed into an altogether different animal. One that is way cooler than you could have possibly imagined. I can only hope that Jenny Owen Youngs has a similar experience when listening to the fruits of her labor.

Take a listen to some of their music on their myspace page and then I challenge you to try to get the melodies out of your head. And when you realize that you can’t, just be glad that what is stuck in there is not an insult to your intelligence and realize that your day is a much better place to be with these songs as part of your soundtrack.

Run don’t walk to the Bell Horses site to buy the CD or to find out where else you can get it.

a truly great online moment

This is the holding page for my friend Brian Keith Jackson’s website. It is the best holding page I have ever seen, hands down.

Brian is the author of several novels, including The Queen of Harlem, and god only knows how many magazine articles and sundry other writings such as a brilliant introduction to Kehinde Wiley’s catalogue of recent paintings. He is also a great human being, and I am a huge fan of his work and of him. (is that grammatically correct?)

And as far as the wesite goes, the linking is working so we are pretty much back in business. It’s not 11 Nov, tho. It’s Nov 2.

One of these days…..

we are all winners

Still no link functionality on this thing, (plus the date and time are completely off (it’s actually 10:30 pm on Nov 1) but I couldn’t resist posting this photo of me (in the red sweatshirt) screaming my brains out cheering for the front running men in the 2009 NYC Marathon. And in this shot (taken by my husband, who I now owe all sorts of favors) we are cheering on Meb Keflizighi (white shirt, grey hat) who went on the win the marathon in 2 hours, 19 1/4 seconds. Incredible. I mean, what do I get done in 2 hours these days?

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Plus he’s the first American to win this race since 1982, when the rest of us were all trying into Studio 54 with our fake ID’s. Which is a hell of a long time ago. Rock on Meb!

But what really got me was this evening, around six o’clock, seeing an upper middle aged woman with two crutches, an official marathon number pinned to her coat, and a guardian angel walking with her, moving at a slow but steady pace up Bedford Avenue. I asked her if she was walking the marathon and when she replied yes, I clapped for her and told her she was amazing and that she was almost half way home. It was all I could do not to burst into tears, she was so incredible.

That is what makes this day such a moving one. One person practially runs faster than the speed of sound and another crosses seeminly insurmountable obstacles. Both are truly inspirational. Sometimes I feel so lucky to be a witness to it all…

working out the kinks

So as it turns out, there is something horribly wrong with the linking functionality on this blog– whenever you click on a link, you end up right back here at thisisauthentic.com. Not that I don’t like the destination, but it kind of misses the whole point, you know what I mean? Anyway, we’re working it out and hopefully will be back up and running in the next week or so. Thanks for your patience.

Really.

ice cream!

Oh happy day! The beautiful weather has brought the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck back to Bedford Avenue. This is, bar none, the best ice cream ever. For real. And it’s parked right outside of my local subway stop. I have no idea what arduous tasks I completed in a past life to deserve such proximity to this deliciousness, but indulge I will. And frequently.

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My favorite flavor is a ceylon cinnamon, which I have gotten my daughter hooked on as well. My husband swears by their mint chip. If you ever, EVER see the yellow truck with the ice cream cone painted on the front, drop everything and get yourself a scoop of this stuff. You will not be sorry.

clover new york

These people make really nice clothes for kids. Beautifully constructed, simple and classic. Original without being annoying or overly cutesy. Plus the color palatte is mellow, unlike so many clothes for children– especially girls– these days. Worth every penny (which is saying something in this the land of H&M and Target…) Check them out here.

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And bookmark the site so that you can go to them in a pinch when you need to send a birthday gift to your godchild and you care about what the parents think, too…

TEDxBlue

Ummmm…. not sure why I didn’t take any photos at this event, but behold the program above. This was a truly interesting look into some of the most  forward thinking work being done in education today, and about how we can all participate, which is the exciting part. It was brought to East 3rd Street by the Blue Man Group, who have founded their own school (think Reggio Emilia meets Neuroscience) to attempt to address what is lacking in current mainstream primary education.  If they keep this up and continue to inspire in this way, there is actually the possibility of a truly bright future for our kids. My favorite part of the whole thing was a video of a talk given by the classical music conductor Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion. Take a minute to check it out here. You won’t be sorry.

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The event is an offshoot of the TED conferences, which are basically conferences about, in their own words, ideas worth spreading. What they are trying to do now, with TEDx, is to keep the conversation going at a local level, getting all sorts of different people to organize talks according to their own passions, thus growing the community. Which is a longwinded way of saying that they are all about spreading the word and keeping it real.

And anybody who is trying to do that is cool with me. Especially when it’s about helping the next generation gather the tools they need to make this insane world a better place.

little lunch boxes

Ok, Ok I confess. I have fallen prey to the obento box craze that seems to be swelling amongst those of us who pack lunches, either for ourselves or our kids. Being a person who feels like I do the majority of my mothering on the fly, coming up with everything from meals to activities at the last possible second, the whole idea of preparing a lunch ahead of time is beyond traumatic. So to help ease the pain, I thought I’d go with something cute. Here are my two favorites.

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The Gel-Cool polar bear box was designed to benefit the polar bears at the Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, Japan. What’s especially great about it is that the top can be placed in the freezer overnight and then acts as an ice pack, keeping the contents fresh and cool for at least four hours. The Tomo Tomo Giraffe Sidecar box is made of BPA and lead free plastic and has a classic Japanese-meets-English phrase: ‘Lets enjoy a time with me’ printed on the top. Which doesn’t exactly make sense, but puts a smile on my face every time I read it.

Both boxes are smallish– perfect for a toddler lunch– and, without the lids, are microwave safe. And super reasonably priced, so when they are inevitably tossed down a grate by your 3 year-old, they are painlessly replaced.

Maybe next year I’ll get into making the amazingly beautiful decorative lunches to go inside as well. But this external cuteness will have to do for now.