Friday, August 31, 2012
My latest piece for SheFinds is a quiz to see if you are a bad bridesmaid. Because it's a fine line between doting friend and bitter bridesmaid.
Take the quiz and find out.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Maybe it's because of the farmer's market or maybe because there is no need to ever leave -- everything someone could need is on the grounds. Either way, this morning Andre and I had lots of company when I took him out for a morning romp. (We don't live in Stuy Town, but I'm always looking for new playgrounds to explore.)
The fountain was a big hit.
Woodland creature, chasing squirrels
Friday, August 24, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Vogue's September issue landed with a thud in my mailbox earlier this week. I say a thud, because it is 916 pages deep. It's the biggest one ever, bigger than the last one that was 720 pages. It's Vogue's 120th birthday, so a nearly 1,000 page magazine seems fitting.
September, for any magazine, is always the biggest issue of the year. Fall is big, in general, for any big launch, fashion or otherwise. People are back from vacation, starting school, focused and more likely to spend cash. After all, the holidays are coming.
Naturally, this brings out the critics of the issue: Why is it so large? It's mostly ads, anyway. Is there even anything to read in there? (There is.)
Years ago a woman I worked with came into the newsroom after sitting through a few Fashion Week shows in Bryant Park. She had never done any fashion writing before, and someone asked her how she planned to keep track of all the different styles.
"You have to look at it as an art," she said. "You have to look for themes in styles, silhouettes and how it compares to years past. You don't necessarily have to remember the details of every single piece.
Her response stuck with me, and I think about it whenever I hear someone moaning and groaning about the frivolity of fashion and the spectacle that comes with fall. It's not about the skirt or the dress -- it's the artisticness behind it. I think it's easy to forget that designing anything -- be it clothing or art or wooden chairs -- is a creative endeavor. I once wrote a piece for The Huffington Post that suggests that fashion week matters not so much for the clothing, but the fact that being around so much creativity begets more of the same.
It's also a good starting point for looking deeper. I always encourage fashionistas to read Dana Thomas's book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster as well as Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. When one examines the industry beyond the realm of status symbols, there are some fascinating -- and sometimes inconvenient -- truths to be found.
If you've never seen The September Issue, the documentary about putting together Vogue's flagship issue, you must, Below is a clip.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I am nothing but a music nerd. Not only do I have almost encyclopedic knowledge about music, especially of the pop and show tune variety, but I can read it and perform it as well.
The performing part is definitely a skill I take for granted, since I've realized as of late that many people didn't learn to read music in elementary school and couldn't carry a tune in a paper bag. People who understand the mechanics of music (rhythm, dynamics, key signatures, etc.) have a vastly different relationship with it than people who don't. I can't, for instance, write and listen to music at the same time. It's distracting. I get excited when I hear a triplet in a song. (They're tricky to play and sing.)
That said, writing about music brings out this nerdiness. Today's piece for SheFinds is about songs guaranteed to get wedding guests dancing. I was overwhelmed by how easy it was to write this piece.
If you've never seen this CBS Sunday Morning segment about Alan Menken, the guy who wrote all the 90s-era Disney movie music, including "Under The Sea" and "Beauty And The Beast," you must. He won eight Oscar for them, more Oscars than anyone else. Not bad for a guy who was supposed to become a dentist.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Some people are into sweets. Me, I can't get enough of cucumbers. This time of year I can get them two for a dollar from the sidewalk fruit guys. That's a deal.
Not that I'm any kind of expert foodie, but I think the mistake that most people make with cucumbers is that they use them as an accoutrement in the meal, as opposed to centering the whole meal around cucumbers. For example, they make cucumber part of the salad, and not the base of the salad itself. (Who needs leaves? They get stuck in your teeth, anyhow.)
If I have a philosophy about cooking, it's that I like to be able to just cut things up and throw them into a bowl and see how they work out. This is why I like couscous. There are a lot of great combinations that come from just cutting and tossing.
These days I typically cut up a whole cucumber, toss in half a chopped apple as well as some yellow raisins. The secret ingredient, always, is peanuts. They add texture and just the right amount of salt. After exercising I like to cut up a whole cucumber and toss in cantaloupe or watermelon. With a side of hard boiled egg whites, it's quite filling.
Apparently this is what we do now on Sunday mornings: walk The Highline. Andre and I got started about an hour later than usual and the tourists were out in full force.
The drummer around 20th Street or so was very sweet to Andre and let him hit his drum, etc. Onlookers really liked Andre's dancing.
10th Avenue never looked so good.
And afterwards, as usual, we hit the Bleecker Street playground, which is so clean your kid can run around barefoot.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
I just ran the entire course of Summer Streets, all 4.5 miles of it -- back and forth. So I guess I just ran nine miles. I ran from East 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge and back. Even though it's Manhattan, there are a lot more hills than you would expect.
I mention this because out of all the projects that aim to reduce cars in Manhattan, Summer Streets is the best. It promotes exercise and biking and getting out of the house. And today, perhaps because of the early rain, there weren't as many crazy, wanna be Lance Armstrong bicyclists. I've never understood why the weekend warriors like to speed race at Summer Streets, or even in Central Park. Neither location condones or encourages speed.
Summer Streets started three years ago, when Andre was a newborn. TR and I would put him in his stroller and we would walk the route. He would sleep the whole time.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Andre and I sometimes wake up early and walk The Highline. Before 10:00 a.m., it is quite a scene for toddlers and early riser New Yorkers. Then the tourists wake up, and we hang out in the Bleecker Street playground. It's quite an adventure, and all before noon.
You can see a more photos here.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Thursday, August 09, 2012
This week over at SheFinds.com I tackle the issue of post-wedding withdrawal: How to deal when you're no longer the center of attention and have nothing to plan.
Dealing With Post-Wedding Withdrawal
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
I've been on a big Jazz Age kick lately. I found this old New Yorker cover recently on Pinterest, which turns out to be a trove of all things Roaring 20s and Art Deco. I would love to have it in poster size.
Monday, August 06, 2012
It was 1,000 degrees in Manhattan this weekend, but I left the house nonethless.
Saturday: A kid's birthday party at the Beekman Beer Garden. This place is amazing. Even though you have to walk through that wreteched mall at Pier 17 to get to it, it has great beer and an expansive menu. Pulled pork! Fish tacos!
It's a good place to take out of town guests, especially with the amazing backdrop of the waterfront.
What is this mythical place you call...Brooklyn?
Later that same day some old friends from Syracuse washed up on shore, and we headed to STK in the Meatpacking. On a Saturday night. Because we are masochists. The food was outstanding, though, especially the side of truffle mac and cheese bites. Make sure you get a table on the roof.
This is what one wears out to have steaks on a Saturday night. The necklace: Baccarat. The dress: Filene's Basement (RIP), the clutch, H&M circa 2008.
With Jen and Kristen. I've known Jen since we were 17 and we tried out to be cheerleaders at Syracuse while we were still in high school. We did not make it. At 5'6 each, we were way too tall. Then she ended up being randomly placed on my floor freshman year. Kismet!
Sunday, August 05, 2012
Piaget Watermelon Ring: Yellow gold set with white and yellow diamonds, emeralds, rubellite and black onyx. Limelight Cocktail collection.
Friday, August 03, 2012
Myths and legends abound when it comes to preschools in New York City. In some parts of town -- I'm looking at you, Upper East Side -- the process is akin to a blood sport. There are stories of frantic phone calls made the day after Labor Day weekend in order to score a limited amount of applications. Whispers that you can't even get into some schools without a sibling already enrolled. Some reportedly cost $20,000 a year, and that's if you're a Seinfeld.
When you live anywhere else in Manhattan, say, Murray Hill, there is no such thing as a Top Tier Preschool. (And anyone who buys into the idea of a Top Tier Preschool needs their head examined.)
Everywhere else in New York City, the preschool process is a relatively civilized ordeal of appointments, tours and eventually a pleasant phone call welcoming you into the fold. The more schools you see the more you realize where your kid would do well and where he would be downright frightened. Even if you are lazy and wait unti August to find a preschool, you can and you will get into one. This is New York City, after all. People defect to the suburbs at the last minute all the time. A deal on a house with a yard comes through and all of a sudden you have a spot.
I went to Andre's preschool orientation and left pleased with the decision. His class is quite small and the student body is diverse, which for me is a major bonus. As of September 5th the boy is going to school full time. In New York City. No blood was shed in the process.
Everyone loves C. Wonder. Recently they paired up with SheFinds.com (where I write daily) to give away a $1,000 gift card. Given how inexpensive everything is at C. Wonder, that's a whole lot of goodies. I would be remiss not to let you know about it.
Click here to get to the contest page.