150 posts categorized "Inspiration & Bits 'n Bobs"

February 5, 2015

Hello? Hi there!

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Hello?  Hi there!  It’s been a long while, and I’ve so, so missed writing.  I hadn’t had the time to focus on writing, since my last post on September 11.  After some time freelancing, I landed a fantabulous role as the design editor at This Old House magazine.  It’s been a revitalizing and exciting move for me.  I love working on renovation projects, as well as missions, such as our new website dedicated to millennials titled, The Snug.  

So, what has been happening on the life front since my last post?  Here are a few visuals:

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Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream - pastry chef opens up his own eggless ice cream shop with flavors like Vietnamese Coffee, Brazilian Bourbon and Durian Banana.

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Zoe’s first pumpkin and apple picking excursion at Wilkens

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Hiking in Mohonk where we gathered boughs and found baby pinecones.  Before the winter, I bought Zoe a Hawke & Co winter coat.  In the beginning, she would yelp out of nowhere at odd times.  The reason remained a complete mystery to me until I took off the coat, and she looked like a plucked chicken.  She was yelping because the quills were poking her.  Those quill tips are sharp!  This coat shed like this every time we took it off.  A couple coming out of the coat makes sense but 20?  Needless to say, I'm unhappy with this little torture chamber. 

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In December, we photographed Kimberlee Paige Hanson’s kitchen for the July issue.  A gorgeous bowl of compost was sitting there when we arrived, and we begged Kimberlee not to toss it; Kimberlee’s weimaraner, Nutmeg asking for attention; a collection of utensils scored at flea markets; and I inadvertently made our stylist, Jennifer Vreeland work on her birthday.

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Christmas tree shopping in Florida with a spontaneous frolic in the beach sand

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Posted these Chie Mihara Mallard shoes on Ebay

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September 9, 2014

Adieu summer

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Nothing like an email alert from JetBlue 3am the morning of a family flight bound for a vacation in Florida.  A big storm was threatening, and the airline suggested we change our flights because of possible delays and cancellations.  We decided to head to the airport anyway.  

A Car Service Named Uber

We used the car service, Uber, which utilizes this great phone app: they have your credit card info, so no money or tip is exchanged, you can see the name and photo of your driver, and a little car icon pops up on a map showing them moving through the streets towards their destination.  I noticed there was no carseat in the back when he pulled up, which we had requested through the app. The driver then opens the trunk, pulls out an approximately 18” x 18” compact square, unfolds it, and turns it into a carseat.  No bulky plastic, it attached securely to the seat and held her in tightly.  It was brilliant, and it was called Immi.  It’s only available to the car service industry but the innovation is interesting. 

Getting Some R&R…Not!

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Thankfully, the trip out went along without a hitch.  However, vacation with a toddler is what keeps me young and fit.  Let’s face it, I’m burning calories.  The days of sitting still, pondering, dozing, sunning, staring at my pedicure in a lost moment of thought…are gone.  The child website, BabyCenter sends me weekly emails about the developmental stages for my child that I can expect for that particular week.  This week it asked, “What's a reasonable length of time to expect your preschooler to sit still?”  The answer, “A good rule of thumb for normal attention span is three to five minutes per year of age.”  So, that would be an entire 10 minutes. 

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Flipbooks and Tattoos

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On family vacations, it’s all about the thrill of exposing your child to new stimulation, to see, hear, feel and smell a new environment.  That makes it all worth it.  The kiddie pool was a big hit, the beach sand and tide were not.  Naps were not popular but she loved getting a glitter tattoo and watching the tortoise feeding.  The resort we stayed at hosted a carnival-like event with giant bouncy houses and blow-up slides.  Zoe was too small for these activities but we were first in line for a flipbook, which is the most fun thing in the world.  If you never let your hair down, let it be in front of a 7-second camera with a feather boa and carnival hat.  The only other activity not occupied by the 6+ crowd was the beanbag toss.  Zoe opted to stand over the hole and drop the beanbag in.  She scored 5 out of 5.  Good girl!

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September 5, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Cake

I’m a Starbucks poser because I don’t really need coffee.  It’s a luxury for me, a perk, a treat maybe once a month because it’s yummy.  I’ve been known to walk into Starbucks and ask for a “small.”  I’ve had trouble fitting into their culture.  When I stand in line, I admit I practice what I’m going to say over and over in my head.  I get a little apprehensive like I’m heading to a public speaking event.  Why wouldn’t I when the person in front of me is ordering a, “Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip?” 

My husband isn’t a coffee drinker either.  He’s a hot chocolate lover.  Here’s a series of conversations in chronological order in various Starbucks around the city just to order good ol’ fashion hot chocolate.

Starbucks #1 - Chocolate Lover {CL): Tall hot chocolate, please. Starbucks {SB}: Whip or no whip. CL: Whip. 

Starbucks #2 – This time, CL requested more chocolate in his drink. CL: Tall hot chocolate, extra chocolate. SB: How many pumps? CL: Umm, extra. SB: It’s usually 2 pumps. CL: Ok, 4 pumps. SB: Whip or no whip? CL: Whip.

Starbucks #3 – CL: Hot chocolate 4 pumps. SB calls out: "Tall 4 pump hot chocolate with whip!"

Starbucks #4 – CL: Tall 4 pump hot chocolate. SB: 4 pumps of what? Chocolate or vanilla? CL: Uh, chocolate. SB: Whip or no whip? CL: Whip. SB calls out: “Tall 4 pump mocha hot chocolate with whip!”

Starbucks #5 – CL: Tall 4 pump mocha hot chocolate, please.

They gave him coffee.  He figures they misunderstood.

Starbucks #6 - CL: Tall 4 pump mocha hot chocolate. SB: Do you want a mocha or a hot chocolate? Mocha is coffee.

The moral of the story: just go for the Swiss Miss next time.  Happy Friday! Here are a few bits ‘n bobs for you.

{ } Cook your lobster by butter poaching. Note: Instruction #1 sounds quite graphic. 

{ } 10 things a New Yorker should not do when visiting L.A. 

{ } The 15 best vacation rentals from Amsterdam to Nantucket to Paris. 

{ } Listen to a snippet of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s 12-year-old daughter, Audrey sing.  She’s good! 

{ } Nostalgic for your childhood?  Pick a year and hit click.

{Photo by TISLstyle; icing a cake at BabyCakes}

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July 25, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Jazz-musicians

There was a time when the mention of New York City inspired fear in the hearts of many. And if not fear, then at least caution, where every New Yorker wore their street-smarts like a badge of pride.  Fast forward to now, we've gotten soft!  Can someone explain how Lyft and AirBnB can exist in New York?  Ok, danger lurks in any city or village, and maybe my identity as a 'street-smart New Yorker' is experiencing a bruised ego but would you really get into a car that doesn't comply with the TLC?  

Lyft is a peer-to-peer app, where if you own a car, you can become a Lyft driver and start driving people around.  This makes me feel like I'm hitchiking, as in, getting into any Tom, Dick or Harry's car.  I've seen Criminal Minds, no thanks.  I do not feel safe with anyone who drives around a car with a pink mustache on their car hood as identification.  Proper i.d. on the vehicle all over a TLC taxi at least allows me to text a loved one the taxi hack number should he be driving me to another state against my wishes.  The clincher is the pricing: you pay what you think the ride was worth.  What?!  And what happens if the driver feels short-changed?  He can give the customer a bad rating on the Lyft app who will have a harder time getting pick-ups from Lyft in the future.  Oh yeah? Or the driver can start harassing you in ways you just wished you took the subway instead.

AirBnB isn't any better.  You're either inviting complete strangers into your home or you're walking into an unknown.  I'm not confident I could sleep at night.  Literally.  Even B&Bs are part of an association.  This has been a public safety announcement.  Now, back to your weekend, and bits 'n bobs.  

{ } The best breakfast joints in the South

{ } What a woman’s beauty looks like from 30 different countries.

{ } Socialite Olivia Palermo’s non-wedding dress: sweater, shorts and a tulle skirt.  Fabulous! 

{ } I will keep this for the future. For parents whose kids say they’re bored

{ } A new smoothie for my roster: frozen figs and almond butter! 

{Photo: Sweet music at Italian wine bar, Il Posto Accanto in the East Village}

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July 9, 2014

#RawBeautyTalks

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Here I am.  No make-up, no filters and no Photoshop.  I’m participating in #rawbeautytalks.  The message: change the beauty conversation and love the raw you.  

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There are a handful of beauty memories that have stuck with me throughout my life.  Years ago, in my 30s, I wasn’t wearing much make-up, and I happened to be in Los Angeles visiting a cousin.  She asked me why I didn’t wear more make-up.  She said, “You live in New York.  How can you not wear make-up?”  In my mind, I thought, she has a point, I need to represent and package myself in a competitive, fast-paced city like NY.  While I had never allowed that statement to sway me, I still do hear her in my head from time to time when I walk out the door fresh-faced. 

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The second memory took place on a hot summer day, and I spotted the hostess in the restaurant I was dining in.  She was tall, model-thin with a gorgeous afro and wasn’t wearing a lick of make-up.  She was very small-chested, braless wearing a colored tank top.  She was a vision of raw, natural beauty.  She owned every ounce of it.  It was a form of sexy confidence I had never seen before, and one I never forgot.  

Do I cover my grays?  Every three weeks.  Do I think the eyelashes on my right eye that I just curled look better than the straight lashes on the left?  Absolutely.  Do I wish I didn’t have chronic eczema?  No, I wish I didn't.  I have no problem walking out of the house with only moisturizer on my skin but there are moments I feel vulnerable and exposed.   

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My husband tells me I look better without make-up.  He’s a sweetheart, and never makes me feel like he’s looking at the wrinkles, uneven skin tone and red splotches that I know I have in spades.  The other person who looks into my eyes without judgement?  My two year old.  It should be said, it should be shouted, Accept meLove me!  I love myself. 

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June 27, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Paint-set

Happy Friday!  When I was pregnant with Zoe, I began noticing parents congregating and socializing in our grassy courtyard.  They would have large picnic spreads, adults chatting, kids cavorting and having fun.  I felt a little intimidated.  Did I have to make new friends all over again so that Zoe had kids to play with?  I had heard stories of mommy cliques and mommy drama, and I felt like I was entering high school all over again.  I didn’t want to be friends with people I didn’t care for but I also didn’t want Zoe to be friendless.  I was feeling the once familiar pre-pubescent angst.   

This was before I understood that the parents had kids the same ages and they all grew up together.  Now they were a social unit; family and kids moving together in unison through the grades.  I’m happy to report that I’ve met a handful of great moms.  I feel very fortunate.  They’re generous and kind.  It turns out that I have a good rapport with the ones I socialize with and Zoe has made a few first friends.  I realize now that kids or no kids, people gravitate towards other birds of the same feather and of similar comportment.  Note to new moms: Seeing other kids the same age as yours also helps the conversation to start.  I didn’t have to force a square into a circle.  That was a relief. 

I’ve had my share of moms who didn’t want to be my friend though.   We shared a handful of meals with one particular family.  One day, she and her husband were walking towards us in the neighborhood; she splintered off and sent her husband to greet us.  I guess I wasn’t a bird with feathers like hers.  My feelings weren’t hurt!  Off-put but not hurt.  It’s so great not being 14 anymore because I would have been in pieces.  How liberating it is to be older and wiser, and with a to-do list that keeps you so busy that you brush off the people who aren’t friendly to you, and you appreciate the people who are.  And on that note, some bits 'n bobs!

{ } One dad discovers the difference between being a baby in the 1970s versus today.

{ } I learned how to fold a fitted sheet from Martha Stewart. Here’s another helpful video

{ } 30 commonly mispronounced food names.

{ } Jamie Oliver’s 3 tricks for poached eggs.

{ } Overcome shyness, and turn strangers into connections.

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June 20, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Bday-cookie

Happy Friday!  Here’s a quote I read today, “Fashion is what you buy.  Style is what you do with it.” I’ve believed this ever since I was old enough to earn my own money at 14, and something I still feel to the core.  I’m not being a drama queen.  Materialism is a black hole in our society, and you can suffocate in it every single day.  Name brand does not automactically equal style.  However, I’m a girl, and it doesn’t mean I’m not fond of seeing what Stella McCartney or Chloé have done lately.  For the record, this is what I admit to owning:  a Marc Jacobs wallet from 10 years ago that I still use everyday; and a purple Prada wallet from an outlet mall that I’ve never used, probably because its so pretty and clean, and I want to keep it that way.

Fashion tells you what you should wear but style is editing that notion, which says, “This is how I will wear your fashion!”  Remember Sharon Stone when she wore Gap {twice!} paired with a designer piece to the Oscars?  It was the shot heard around the world.  I LOVE watching the pre-Oscar shows on the red carpet.  The gowns are beautiful, but it’s less about their great taste, and more about the talent of the designer for drape and silhouette.  

In my book, style outweighs fashion any day.  If you can mix low, mid, high-priced items all over your body, straight out of your closet at one time, then you have an impeccable eye for style.  Kate Moss and the Olsen twins are three, who mix vintage and highbrow, and do it so effortlessly. 

I think it's high-time I pull out the Prada wallet, and pair it with baggy boyfriend jeans from Levis and a vintage cropped leather jacket.  Some bits ‘n bobs for you!

{ } Seriously, how can Cindy Crawford’s daughter look EXACTLY like her?  By the way, her son has awesome flair!

{ } The perfect picnic sandwich with a twist.

{ } 10 decorating mistakes that you can avoid.

{ } Interesting glimpse into Charles Dickens’ personal life, and the mistress he abandoned his family for.

{ } Hurray!  The 2-year-old ate this whole spinach burger.

{photo: a cookie for Zoe’s 2-year-old birthday party by Nikkiikkin}

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May 23, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Cherry-Blossom

Happy friday!  My hair and my hairdresser have been dating for over 10 years.  It’s been a very successful relationship; he’s followed the trials and adventures over the course of my life, as I his.  I’ve always wondered what I’d do if he ever moved to another country or decided to retire.  What would my hair and I do?  With each visit, I try to glean his level of happiness with his career, whether he’s bored cutting hair 10 times a day, five days a week.  I know my hair requests haven’t changed in a decade, “long layers, bangs at an angle.”  I want to spice up his day, so he won’t be bored, and then not leave me and my hair, so I try to change it up, “Let’s go a little shorter, say an inch off the back.  And maybe some messy layers this time.  I trust you.  Whatever you think.”  

On my last visit, he announced he wanted to get into hat making.  

I said, “Hats?  Do you draw?  I wasn’t aware you had an interest in making hats.”  

“Are you leaving me?” I thought as he showed me pictures of all his fashion sketchwork on his phone.  

I replied, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to make shoes.  I think I could love the process of how a shoe is crafted.”  Good cover!  Don’t let him see you sweat.  

“Yes, I love the idea of working alone.  Not being bothered by anyone.  I could sit home and get lost in my own world.”

We all fantasize about doing something new with our life, and all good things eventually come to an end.  So, for now, I think I’m safe but I remember a life’s lesson: don’t get too comfortable because life rarely stays still for many people, and learn to love hats.  Have a wonderful weekend!  Some bits 'n bobs for you...

{ } A granddaughter’s tribute to her grandmother. 

{ } A photographer takes a pic out of the steeple of the tallest residential building in the world in Dubai.

{ } Rob Lowe wrote a beautiful essay on sending his son off to college. 

{ } Sarah Jessica Parker’s new docudrama on the NYC Ballet looks interesting.  

{ } Love the idea of using a cake stand to display perfume bottles.

{Photo via TISLstyle}

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May 16, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Swedish-Hasbeens

This tweet, “Be the person you needed when you were younger” was one of the most thought-provoking ideas I’d ever come across.  It’s so obvious, so hopeful.  It’s beautiful if you think about it.  Trying to be more for others than you may have had yourself.  This isn’t easy because it requires the ability to be truthful with yourself; to be vulnerable and say, “Wow, I needed this in my life but didn’t get it.” And I’m referring more to fulfillment than material goods.  “Be the person you needed when you were younger” just speaks for itself.  It needs no explanation, and doesn’t everyone understand exactly what it means?  Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies.  I leave you with some Bits ‘n bobs.

{ } If you miss film and Polaroids, click here

{ } These cards make all other greeting cards seem outdated and predictable. 

{ } I love the science of body language.  Here’s how to read it. 

{ } A wonderful happy birthday breakfast idea.

{ } The many uses of coconut oil: face & body moisturizer, hair mask, makeup remover, cooking oil, baking ingredient. 

{Photo by TISLstyle. Trying on a pair of Swedish Hasbeens at Tani, Lower East Side}

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May 9, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs

Painting

The most popular baby girl name beginning with the letter ‘B’ is Brooklyn.  It is the most popular in almost every state in the U.S. except for New York.  There are more girls named Brooklyn in Montana than in the borough of Brooklyn.  This map shows how the name blankets the country.  Some interesting trivia for today.  And some Bits ‘n Bobs for your weekend!

{ } An exhibit of colored wedding dresses at The Victoria & Albert Museum.

{ } Overcoming fear of public speaking.

{ } Wish I was spending all my money here in a few weeks.

{ } These shoes would satisfy my fantasies of being a dancer. 

{ } I need to practice making these pom poms.

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