Monday, Monday (on Tuesday which is also Valentines Day), or a few links about how to love ourselves just a little bit…

origami valentine hearts

The fruits of this year’s Valentine’s Day labor. After we got over the upsetting new No Candy rule at school. Origami to the rescue!

This Valentine’s Day, we all need to treat ourselves to a little love. So for this week’s set of links, I give you some lovely suggestions for ways to escape from the crazy that we have all been inhabiting lately. Happy Valentine’s Day to us!

14 chocolate treats that you can make in under an hour. Need I say more?

Read something sweet, like these really cute things my friend Joanna’s 3 year old son says to her, and smile.

Make something for yourself, damn it. This Scandinavian wall art/hanging thing is the kind of object I see in stores but don’t buy because I think I can make it myself. Which actually wasn’t true till I found step by step instructions online. Thank you Internet.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. This is supposedly the answer to all of our problems. But we have to do it right. Luckily, the good ladies at Goop are here to guide us.

Listen to some music. ALL of the playlists on here we go now kick ass. For reals.

Maybe just give in and go to Florida for the weekend? Or you could just fantasize about any of the places on Design Tripper

Who knew that pine pollen has been used for centuries as a powerful aphrodisiac? It also balances hormones, boosts metabolism and increases energy. You can add some to your daily smoothie, or use it to make these delicious raw lemon rose truffles.

Earthshakers, or People to know about: A series of profiles for Black History Month and beyond

betye saar

Betye Saar, 90 year old mixed media artist and force to be reckoned with. Photo by Ashley Walker.

I was hunting for Valentine’s Day ideas and came across this profile of African American artist Betye Saar in Design Sponge. She has long been one of my favorites, both because she makes work out of all sorts of things (some of her pieces are paintings, some quilts, some sculptures and everything in between…) and because each piece has a narrative that seems to flow out of it effortlessly. Nothing is preachy, yet they all have a strong message to convey that is at once deeply personal, magically surreal and culturally relevant. She is a true modern master.

So if you don’t know her work, please take a minute to read the Design Sponge profile, and watch the video below in which she speaks about racism in southern California between the World Wars.

And here are three examples of her work, just to whet your appetites to dig deeper.

Stay tuned for more inspirational people as Black History Month continues…

Here comes Valentine’s Day… again!

2016 valentines

Last year, we painted on hearts we’d cut out of newspaper and then stuck them on envelopes we decorated with watercolor and glitter.

It happens every year. I wake up one morning maybe 6 or 8 days into February, and I realize with a panic that Valentine’s Day is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER and I have done nothing to prepare. We do have a tradition of making peppermint bark, so at least that’s decided. But the packaging changes every year. I think we killed it last year (see above) so the stakes are high.

After I have my moment of despair, I generally roll up my sleeves and dive deep into the internet, looking for inspiration. This year is no different, and I’m going to share the ideas I’ve stumbled upon here– because I’m sure I’m not the only person who has not yet made their heart shaped masterpieces…

glitter rocks

These glitter rock valentines are perfect for a party favor or maybe something you wrap in a clear plastic bag tied up with a red ribbon… They say these are for kids, but to be honest, I kind of want one for my desk!

martha's stenciled gift bag

No search for Valentine’s Day craft ideas is complete without a visit to Martha Stewart. She delivers yet again with these fun stenciled gift bags.

dot cards with glitter heart

Who doesn’t love a card with glitter and polka dots?

paint chip valentines

One trip to the paint store, a handful of paint chips and lo! the best Valentine’s Day bookmarks ever.

This origami heart can be a card, or a tag, or you can make a whole bunch of them and string them up as a garland… the possibilities are endless!

valentine's day heart garland

And, while we’re on the topic of garlands, you could also make these heart garlands and hang them up around your house.

Monday, Monday… or more links about people gettin’ ready

I spent the past few days huddling with a posse of like minded souls, thinking and talking about what we can do to help keep our country from sliding off the rails. And as we gathered, and planned, and thought about the long line of civil rights activists that came before us, this song came to mind.

So instead of my usual varied Monday links, I give you 7 of my favorite versions of the great 1965 song by The Impressions that has become an anthem for so many.


Here’s Curtis Mayfield himself, breaking it down with a whole bunch of priceless outfits on stage with him.


The Reverend Al Green, joined by Linda Jones and Wanda Neal, has a smile that could sink a thousand ships.


Ok so this one isn’t a video, but it’s Aretha Franklin. And as she is the Queen of Soul, her rendition of this song is not to be missed.


Eva Cassidy Keeping it real at the Blues Alley jazz supper club in Georgetown, DC, on the 3rd of January back in 1996.


It wouldn’t be a playlist without a reggae break. So here’s the son of God, Ziggy Marley, with his joyous version.


Alicia Keys, singing her heart out at the piano, before she stopped wearing make up.


And last but not least, Rod Stewart. Seated, unplugged, and bespeckled, but still killing it.

Seize the day

gaby hoffman

The actress Gaby Hoffman rocks Jill Platner like it’s nobody’s business…

Jill Platner makes some of the most beautiful jewelry on the planet. And I’m not just saying that because she is my friend. Every piece is made by hand in her SoHo studio and her store feels like a secret sanctuary in the midst of one of the craziest shopping districts in New York City.

I’ve been photographing her work for years now, and wearing it for even longer. They are the kind of pieces that you can’t take your hands off of, once you’ve put them on. And when you see someone else on the street (or in the airport or on the beach…) you nod to each other like you are both members of some kind of exclusive society that only a precious few know about.

But right now, for the first time that I can remember, she is having a huge sale both online and in her store. So don’t ever say I don’t love you guys. Go check out her site and then get your hands on some of the magic while it’s discounted. You won’t be sorry. You have till Valentine’s Day.

jill platner

A beautiful low hanging pendant by Jill Platner

Making apple sauce at home is way easier than you think

apple sauce

Here’s my own version of quick and easy apple sauce!

My daughter is home sick today. Stomach bug. Fun! So we are currently limited to what our family doctor calls the BART diet. Bananas, apple sauce, rice and toast.

Ada hates bananas. And for some reason she isn’t feeling toast today. (though she has eaten 100 saltines…) which leaves us with apple sauce and rice. And of course, I am out of apple sauce. But I have apples… so I figured, why not? I’ll just make my own. Now in the interest of full disclosure, my father makes the best apple sauce in the world. He picks the apples from the tree in the yard, cooks them down forever, has a whole ricer setup… My version is nowhere near that much of a production. But it was still good. And easier than trying to figure out how to run out to the store and get a commercial version when your kid is home alone sick. Plus I like to think I have apple sauce making in my blood.

Here’s how I did it:

Cut up 4 apples (or less… whatever you have on hand)
Add 3/4 cup apple juice or cider
½ cup coconut sugar (you can use regular— we just had this on had and I figured why not?)
1 tsp of cinnamon

Cook everything down for about 15 minutes till the apples are nice and soft. Then smash them with a potato masher till they reach the desired consistency. You can get a smoother version in a food processor, but I wanted chunks since this is going to be my daughter’s dinner tonight.

Soup to nuts this takes about 30 minutes and is So. Much. Better. than sauce from a store… You may never go back to store-bought again!

Monday, Monday or a few links about getting back on the proverbial horse

Over a million people marched in Washington DC for the Women's March on Washington. My family was there along with lots of our friends. It was a day I won't forget.

Over a million people marched in Washington DC for the Women’s March on Washington. My family was there along with lots of our friends. It was a day I won’t forget.


There is so much going on right now… my head is literally spinning! But a person has to start somewhere, and I have finally decided to stop piddling around and just write a little bit about the crazy world we are living in these days… I’ve been living it, organizing with the brave and amazing women who organized the Women’s March on Washington and just trying to stay active rather than put my head in the sand.

Which is what I recommend for all of you, too.

Here are a few related links… somewhat scattered in order, but all somehow dealing with what is going on in the US politically and how to make sense of it all. Oh and don’t worry– this isn’t becoming a hard nosed political blog, but I do find it next to impossible to skip over all of the insanity. Wouldn’t be authentic, now would it?

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is my hero and she should be yours too. Here’s what she wrote about why she refused to defend Trump’s Muslim ban.

Here’s a piece I wrote for New York Magazine’s The Cut about teaching my daughter how to be an activist.

And while we’re on the topic of kids, At Once always has thoughtful things to say about raising thoughtful aware but healthy and safe kids. If you’re anything like me, you can’t read enough stuff like this.

The Women’s March on Washington wasn’t just a one day thing. The objective is to take all of that positive energy to the next level and really affect change. Every 10 days they are leading an action on behalf of a cause they care about. Be a part of the movement and join the 10 Actions in 100 Days campaign.

Movement to Oppose Trump is an email newsletter that goes out once a week with a few short specific actions you can take to help stem the tide.

MLK on drawing up a blueprint for our lives

I’ve been sitting here, with loads of work to do, a mountain of unread emails, an apartment to clean (or at least make semi-presentable for people coming over) all kinds of self-care resolutions to wish I had time to fulfill… and my MLK post to write.

So what do I do? In classic procrastination style, I open up my email newsletter from NY Times Cooking, which my friend Sam Sifton writes, and which I almost always make time to read no matter what else is on my plate. The first line after ‘Good Morning’? “Here is Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, Oct. 26, 1967.” I clicked on the link, watched the speech, cried as I always do when I hear Dr King speak, and then realized that my search for a blog post was over.

So thanks, Sam, for hooking us all up with today’s content. And thank you, Dr. King, for continuing to be a beacon of light and an inspiration to us all… especially as we enter these murky and unstable times. And for speaking so eloquently to kids about what their potential can be if they take themselves seriously.

Parents, if you have kids old enough to listen, you should all sit down and watch this video today. And then let us all pay a little attention to our blueprints, make adjustments if necessary, and head out into the bright world full of determination to change what needs to be changed, to protect what needs to be protected and to treat everyone with the love and respect that we would like to have shown to us.

Amen.

And Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

Sometimes hanging out with dogs is just what the doctor ordered…

find shadow

This is Rasha and his great dane puppy Tigran. Who is going to be HUGE, by the way…

For the past 6 months, I have been managing the Instagram for a posse of dog lovers called Find Shadow whose current purpose is to help people in Brooklyn and Queens to find their lost dogs. I would never have defined myself as a dog person, but I have to say that hanging out in parks and dog runs and just talking to folks with their awesome four legged partners is starting to make a convert out of me. Plus with all of the hectic stuff that’s going on in our geo-political universe as of late, sometimes you just want to feel good. And nothing feels better than helping somebody find their lost dog.

So in the interest of spreading some of that good feeling around, and also just to let you know that this crew exists and can help you if you’ve lost your dog, I’ve posted some of my favorite shots below. Please enjoy them. And if you or anyone you know has lost their pup… send them to findshadow.com for some help.

Merry Christmas to all…

xmas tree 2016

Put everything else aside just for a minute and hold your loved ones close. Tell your parents you love them. Smile at a stranger. Go out of your way for someone before they ask you for a favor. And remember that the more joy you can hold in your heart, the stronger a warrior for good you will become.

And we’re going to need all the warriors we can get.

For unto us was born this day a savior. And that savior is all of us.