Bye bye 2009!

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Not that we all didn’t have all sorts of wonderful moments during this stressful and eventful year, but man I must admit to being very excited for the better times that I am sure lie directly ahead in the form of a rosy 2010.

So here’s to less stupidity, more peace and creativity, and above all more time to enjoy the people and incredible moments that make life on this earth worth all of the struggle (and the overcrowded subways…)

A champagne toast to you all. I’m looking forward to showering you with all kinds of great ideas in the next year. Keep in touch!

And Happy New Year!

peace on earth

A highly qualified holiday wish for you all:

May your days be merry and bright (and prosperous and fulfilling and memorable and fun and enlightening) and may all your Christmases (and Hanukahs and Kwanzaas and Ramadan and whatever other holidays there are around years end) be white (and by white, I mean clean and clear and full of possibilities.)

Thanks for hanging out with me.

Here’s to more in 2010.

somebody else’s gift guide

So I was trolling around the Soul Cycle website and I came across this gift guide on their blog. And it’s great. Like it features the above beautiful object that is, believe it or not, a humidifier. Go figure! And then go check this list out. Stephen Mack, the brains behind the goods, is clearly far more than just a technology consultant.

Just another example of why this particular excersize studio is attracting so much attention!

a new sweater?

Ok grandparents and other secret and not so secret admirers, let us all take a moment out and think about how cute our favorite little scorpio would look in this sweater. That is currently being sold at my favorite neighborhood kids’ store, Sweet William. Probably the most brilliant curation of singular, often handmade (but NEVER hokey) and always tasteful clothing for kids from zero to six, this store is always a pleasure to check out. And I’m going to have to say that I wouldn’t mind owning  just about every single thing in the place.

My daughter has a crush on Bronagh Staley, the wizard behind the cutain at this place, and who could blame her? This native of Ireland has brought a wonderous world of beautiful things to Williamsburg and doesn’t seem to mind near daily visits (and shop redecoration) by the various children of the neighborhood. Future shoppers in training, I suppose.

more below:

And if the exquisite clothes aren’t enough– there is a great selection of the kind of toys even the most particular of parents can embrace. At reasonable prices, too.

Oh if only we had space for a life sized stuffed deer…

a green christmas

My friend Ria Browne, who was most recently the business mind behind the timeless and damned near perfect fashion line Mayle, has decided to pour her eye for design into a flower delivery service that carries only potted plants and flowers, as they last longer and are far more environmentally friendly. Called Tiny Park Flowers, this little company has exploded and she is now most likely going to continue the fun throughout the year. Oh happy day for us NYC dwellers!

Prices start at a very reasonable $25 and she’s got orchids, paperwhites, amaryllis and all sorts of other seasonal flora– she’ll also take requests, as long as the plant in question is available. The arrangements are simple and beautiful– the perfect thing for the person who already has the latest everything else. E mail her at ria@tinypark.net for more information or to place an order.

And click below to see a few more arrangements– just to get your mouths watering!

For example, a simple orchid in a julip cup. Understated, yet festive. (sheesh, I sound like some kind of wedding dress salesperson or something…)

And here are some begonias, all dressed up and ready to go!

instant gratification

Back in the good old days, when Domino magazine was still pumping out issues, I wrote a profile about Tessa Edick, co-founder of a brilliant company called Sauces ‘n Love. She and her business partner Paolo Volpati-Kedra turned their love of Italian cooking and entertaining into 2 mouth watering lines of pasta sauces, one of which (sauces ‘n love) lives in the fridge and the other (scarpetta) keeps in the cupboard. And best of all, they both seriously (and I am NOT exaggerating here) taste like you went out to your garden and picked the ingredients yourself before slaving for hours in the kitchen. I was SHOCKED the first time I tasted their tuscan vodka sauce. SHOCKED. Even my gourmet-calibre-chef husband likes this stuff.

And they have gift sets that you can buy for all of the people you really like but don’t know what to get for the holidays. No pantry should be without, and I’m telling you, your friends will thank you when they get home late on a Sunday night after a flight that was delayed for 4 hours and they realize that they can have a sumptuous meal in minutes with minimal effort.

more below:

I know I sound like an evangelist, but getting to share great products like this is why I have this blog in the first place. They use only the finest quality ingredients, hand picked for freshness and then slow-cooked in small batches to preserve the integrity of the flavors. The sauces are all 100% gluten free. And on top of all of that, the jars are made out of BPA free plastic, so they keep the food pure and can be reused for all sorts of fun things once the sauce is devoured.

So buy some to give away, but don’t forget to keep a few jars for yourselves. You won’t be sorry.

HUGE shoe sale

For the next 20 hours or so, the very very talented shoe designer Eileen Shields is slashing the prices on whatever stock she has left in her online store. This includes these amazing show-stopping sandals she designed for Zero + Maria Cornejo. And many other, equally incredible styles. Seriously, you will not find a more beautifully made shoe anywhere. The construction and materials are out of this world, and best of all, you can actually walk in them!

more below:

We have until midnight on Monday the 14th of December to take advantage of these incredible prices (everything is $110!) Though if you’ve missed the super sale, you should still check out the site as the shoes are incredible and the prices are always super reasonable considering the high calibre of the product.

kenny & zuke

Why is it that I fall in love with every place I go in Portland, Oregon? I’m here visiting my uncle (weather: uncharacteristically sunny, but a frigid 23 degrees) and we popped over to this delicious sandwitch spot for a ruben slider and some chili. Billed as a Jewish delicatessen, but with an industrial-slash-farmhouse feel, the sandwiches (and the succotash, which was yesterday’s soup of the day) at Kenny and Zuke’s rock.

more below:

I mean, I don’t even like corned beef all that much, and I LOVED the ruben. And, true to Portland form, the place doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard. It just is what it is. Which is a fabulous, could stand up to any New York deli, spot. Make sure you don’t miss it if you’re ever out here. Seriously. And bring an appetite.

art for the soul

So I’ve taken up spinning. Yep, indoor cycling on a stationary bike with my feet clipped into the pedals listening to Jay Z in the dark while some incredibly in shape and inspiring person urges me on (and 40ish of my fellow NYers) with the aid of a hands free mic.

The full story (as any of you who actually know me must be waiting to hear) is that I have been lucky enough to be commissioned by Soul Cycle, one of New York’s premiere indoor cycling studios, to make a huge (like 18 feet by 6 feet) installation of Polaroids (actually Fuji brand instax images as Polaroid is out of business) for the new studio they are opening in Tribeca. Similar to the Hands piece I did a few years back (see photo above), it’s going to be like a huge family portrait of the community they have built up over the past three years. You can read more about the piece, and the studio, here.

more below:

In the meantime, I feel like I’m keeping Fuji in business singlehandedly, considering the amount of film I’ve bought in the past few weeks… But I am having a blast. And I am very excited for the new studio to open so that I can come visit the wall once it is put into place.

Oh and for the record, this spinning stuff is the hardest exercise I’ve ever done. By far. But it is fun, and I’m getting in great shape. Plus I get to take pictures of it all. What could be better?

connecting the dots

Now this looks to be just a beta version, but Slate has come up with a lyrically beautiful way to follow the news while also helping us to understand how the f*ck all of these people, places and things are connected. It’s called the News Dots Network, and it is a fantastic way to waste untold hours looking up all of the articles in major newsfeeds that mention both Obabma and, say, Congress.

more below:

So instead of figuring out what to get your mother-in-law for Christmas, go spend some time learning about the relationships between Michaele Salahi and the Pentagon. It’s so much more fun, and you’ll have so much more to talk about at the next family event!