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.

Read on for specific info…

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.

Kyp Malone goes solo

I am sitting here, at my computer, coming down with a cold/virus/oh-please-not-the-swine-flu, listening to TV On The Radio guitarist/vocalist Kyp Malone sing his heart out on his solo album, Rain Machine. Which I am loving. More stripped down than his day job project, but emerging equally (and excellently) from someplace far out in left field this is the kind of record to be listened to when everyone else is asleep. Not because it will drive them crazy, but because you actually want to pay attention to what is going on.

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Which is a beautiful thing, and something I strongly recommend you people go check out. Punk in the true sense of anything goes, kind of fuzzy garage, with some elements of jazz and folk topped with Malone*s otherworldly vocals… it is a truly unique experience. You can hear a couple of tracks on the Rain Machine My Space page. I am still trying to figure out if it has been released on vinyl (that is how I buy all my favorite music, whenever possible) I will let you know if I find out anything.

For now, I am going to drift off to sleep, excited to see how this music affects my dreams…

Bye Bye Cookie…

Is it me? This is the second magazine in a row with which I have been regularly affiliated that has gone under. Still do not know what is happening with the website, but my guess is that it will go the way of dominomag.com and so many others. Run do not walk to the site to stockpile the great recipes, decorating ideas and fun products (even if many are way too $$ to ever consider for your 2 year old) And check out the home decor stories for some inspiration– the more recent ones I wrote can be found here (for now!)

While I will not miss the $300 cashmere sweaters for toddlers, I will miss the photography, the style and the whole attitude of Cookie-world. It is never a bad thing to help to remind us that new motherhood does not equal a life sentence of wearing spit-up covered sweats.

You will be missed.

Colson Whitehead’s Sag Harbor

I have spent the vast majority of my summers in a house on the same street as one of the significant locales in Colson Whitehead’s latest novel, Sag Harbor. In fact, we played tag together as little kids and I’m sure he must have scooped me up dozens of ice cream cones from behind the counter during his summer gig at Big Olaf’s in town. So I was more than a little curious to see what this semi-autobiographical novel was all about. And thankfully it does not disappoint. Because there is nothing worse than struggling through your friend’s unreadable novel (or unbearable play or unlistenable concert) and then trying to figure out how to respond when he (or she) asks you how you liked it. We’ve all been there.

Whitehead (also author of The Intuitionist, John Henry Days and Apex Hides the Hurt, to name the major titles) is a beautiful writer, whose prose in this novel alternately takes your breath away or cracks you up. Which is particularly fitting for a boy-coming-of-age-in-the-80′s story. His descriptions of the people and places that populated his adolescence are so true to the version of Sag Harbor that I remember as to almost confuse me into thinking that this story is the gospel truth, rather than a fictionalized version of one semi-imaginary kid’s journey.

Not that there aren’t quite a few real life events and people thrown in, providing lots of conversation fodder at the beach in recent weeks. But that is neither here nor there. At the end of the day, the novel is a pleasure to read and offers a great deal of insight into the confusing and contradictory world of a young and priviledged African American male growing up in the 1980′s and trying to make sense of his various worlds. Having inhabited a somewhat parallel universe, I appreciate such a sensitive and complex portrayal being out there for people to check out.

Which I highly recommend that you do.

is this my next bike?

So to begin with, there is a compass and a live webcam. Which rocks. Next throw in the 13 speaker sound system, the laptop, the EQ panel and the radio receiver and I’m basically sold. But what makes this thing truly dope is the classic seat combined with the gold plated hubs, wheels and pedals. I mean, what is the point of all this technology without equal attention to style?

This is why Howard Goldkrand and Beth Coleman, aka soundlab cultural alchemy, are so brilliant. All of their work, both physical and sonic, is transcendent and well worth checking out. They pay loving attention to every last detail in all of the pieces that they build—it is truly inspiring. And their site is just the tip of the iceberg.