Friday, June 26, 2009


I am speechless. Love this necklace. Via Peonies and Polaroids via White Owl on etsy.

Hands II

In Bali, women craft gazillions of these beautiful little offerings by hand each day. They also use their hands gracefully in everyday situations. Whether setting down a cup of tea or handing a customer an item, they seem to always extend their hands from the wrist and, where possible, fully extend all of their fingers. Each gesture is careful—not cautious, but full of care.

Since I've visited Bali, I've tried at points to be more conscious of the use of my hands. At work, I caught myself executing perhaps my most careless hand movement: impatiently jabbing at an elevator button with my thumb. 

There are a lot of theories about hands, about energy flowing from the palms and what have you. I don't know much about those, but here's a new hand assignment. As you move your hands today, try to take a little more time to make each movement beautiful. How does it feel?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Top Chef Masters

My only current reality-TV addiction is Top Chef. And now there’s a special season to tide me over til fall! In each new episode, 4 famous chefs compete as Top Chef Masters.

The competition is decidedly not fierce. The chefs have already established names for themselves in their industry. They’re all competing for charity. On the regular seasons of Top Chef, the competition is cutthroat as newcomers compete for a big break.

Still, it’s amazing to see what these guys do within the crazy restrictions of the judges’ challenges. And also to see them goof around with each other. Highlights so far…

Master Chef Hubert Keller makes a whipped-cream mouse, delighting 3 junior Girl Scouts. (And me.) Wins competition.
New York City food critic Gael Greene. Period.

While awaiting the judges’ decisions, pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake (best restaurant name ever) decides to have the chefs bake cookies together. A deadpan Wiley Dufresne makes fun of his wacky creative side (and the fact he's not a pastry chef): “Can you microwave a cookie? Deep fry? Pan sear?”

I'm psyched for the real competition to begin again, but this is good fun in the meantime.


The director of a major modeling agency said that when she first meets someone, she always notices his or her hands. I, too, am a noticer of hands. Yesterday, I told an artist at work how impressive her hands are. (Luckily, we are friends and she did not find this weird.) She has long, straight fingers with precise nails that look like they've been French manicured—only they haven't been! The modeling agent said she can tell a lot from a person's hands. I say my friend's beautiful hands imply that she is someone who can make beautiful things with her hands. Here are my hands...
If you remember our Save the Dates, you can kinda see my hand on the left and Chris's on the right. I think you can tell here that I have small hands and keep my nails short. Like, really short. With no white part showing:
There may be a hint of white in this shot, as I was on vacation and not exactly playing instruments at the time. I think my nails probably say the most, being kept obsessively short, clean, and unbitten: picky musician.

Do you think your hands say something about you? Try to notice some hands this week. Tell me what you see!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend wonderfulness

Despite the rain, we had a great city weekend with the visiting little bro(-in-law-to-be).

Deliciousness: Frugal Fridays at Craft = best invention ever. Divine small plates at one of the best eateries in NYC. And now, in an effort to keep cash-strapped diners coming, Frugal Fridays are held every day except Tuesday (when Tom Colicchio takes over for Tom: Tuesday Dinner). Also, had I arrived one second earlier, I would have seen Kirsten Dunst!

Adorableness: Disney Pixar's Up. Next time there's a big Pixar film I'm interested in, I'm going to watch it at home, because I cried so much I went home with a headache. They love to tug at my heartstrings. This article will make you all cry, too, whether you've seen Up or not.

Education: The Guggenheim's 50th anniversary exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward. I was never particularly attached to any of Wright's designs...just a general aesthetic preference, I guess. But this exhibit was amazing. I saw quite a few designs that I liked, and I have gained infinitely more respect for Wright's aesthetic, his practicality, ambition, and spirit of innovation. Who knew he had created a whole city plan for Baghdad?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I always run into this problem with Father's Day. I look for funny cards to send my dad, and all the funny ones are centered around the premise of dads with good intentions trying to fix things with tools and failing. What do you get for the dad who actually fixes stuff?

Happy Father's Day to my dad, my beloved Papa, and all of the other wonderful pops out there.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Andrew Bird

Saw Andrew Bird last night at Radio City Music Hall. I first saw him a few years back at a tiny venue in Providence. I've now seen him live 4 times, each time at a bigger venue. Rock.

I love this man's music. He's a musical machine—whistling, swapping between violin and guitar at lightning-quick speeds, looping recordings of himself in his live shows by using his feet to control buttons and knobs. Probably even his sneezes are musical. But for some reason, I have a hard time picturing him, say, making a sandwich.

"Plasticities" in the second video above is a great song, but check out the album version if you can, from Armchair Apocrypha. Bird tends to change his songs live, just enough so that you're getting a unique experience, different than you would were you listening to the album. But there's much to be said for the straightforward melodies on his albums, too. And the violin and the playful poetry...and even the suit. Oh yeah.

My lovelies, I shall be leaving you for a couple of days to spend time with my little bro-in-law-to-be before he jets off to England, then Indonesia, then DC (yeah, nuts!). There's lots of other bloggy goodness for you to see, though. Have you seen Erin's my week in objects this week?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Beast

Yes, my pretties...
The Beast is back. More to come...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Catchy tune

Normally, my iTunes downloads don't include anything played in the background of a "Jon & Kate Plus 8" commercial on TLC. But I couldn't resit this song. It's so damn catchy and cheerful, and helps chase away the rainy-month blues.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend wanderings

This weekend felt like summer, despite all the rain. On Friday night, Chris and I moseyed on down to the new Dutch Kills speakeasy in Long Island City. Dark wood, old-timey details, themed drink names (I ordered a Gershwin), and live jazz made for good times.
Our neighborhood's new farmer's market made my Saturday morning—and my Sunday morning, too, when I got to eat the delicious eggs we bought. And to the Strawberry Fair!
Unfortunately, there were not many strawberries involved in the Strawberry Fair. But there was an international potluck lunch...and this Bugs Bunny popcorn truck:
Plus, I scored this neato blue decanter at the flea market. I'm using it as a vase right now:
AND we scored 2 chairs to use outdoors for 9 bucks. How could you not love Sunnyside?
We hit the World Science Festival in Washington Square Park on Sunday. This might be one of the coolest New York things I'll get to do all summer. We saw magic shows, giant bubbles, jugglers, dog trainers, medical animations, Brian Greene (got a lucky visit to the VIP area through our awesome science writer friend!), and learned about analyzing crime scenes, too. The best thing I learned was that Diet Coke and Mentos create a giant geyser eruption. For some reason, everyone seems to know this but me, but in case you didn't, enjoy:

What did you get yourselves up to this weekend?

Farewell, old friends

I have chosen the occasion of my 100th post to bid farewell to some old and faithful friends.
We have journeyed many miles together. We’ve finished high school and packed for college. We have trekked the streets of this city, loitered in the back of the Bowery Ballroom, climbed the steps to the subway. We have traversed campus and finished a degree. We have marched in protest. We have wended our way along wooded paths beside the Corrib River. We’ve stood for hours at some rotten jobs. We’ve run the course of relationships. Twice, we helped lead 300 adolescents to and from the country’s oldest Fourth of July festivities. We’ve been caught in many an unfortunately timed rainstorm. We’ve trod, sauntered, perambulated, strolled…you get the point.
You don’t need to walk a mile in my shoes to understand me. You only need to look at them.
I like simplicity, practicality, versatility. I stand by that which serves me well. I form attachments where maybe I should not. I step in gross stuff.

These shoes and I started far from here and walked and walked and walked our way to someplace very different. Thank you, old friends.

Do not go gentle into that good night. You won’t; I’ll make sure you live on...

Childhood “loveys” aside, have you ever been attached to an object that you felt somehow defined you or a chapter in your life? What was it?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tuesday's child

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

What day's child are you? Sometimes when I'm feeling ornery, I recall this rhyme and try to be full of grace. Do you exhibit the traits attributed to those of your day?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ernesto Neto

This is amaaaazing! I went over to the Park Avenue Armory last night for Ernesto Neto's anthropodino installation. I'm not sure I get it, but I do know I like it.
It's a big giant mesh structure with which visitors can interact. All of the dripping bits are filled with various spices, so the whole place smells amazing. There is a ball pit and also a quiet little chamber with a squishy floor and pillows/sacks stuffed with chamomile and lavender. In the hallway pictured above, the drippy bits are filled with cloves. Yum.

It only runs through June 14, so if you're looking for something to do in NYC, check it out soon! Admission is $10.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Look out for lead

Our outdoor garden has been thriving. I've been really looking forward to tasting our onions and sweet peas. Then Chris saw this piece in the NY Times about the prevalence of lead in urban gardens, so of course we're gonna get our soil tested. Luckily, our tomato plant and herbs are indoors and were planted with new soil.

So, my city-dwelling lovelies, before you plant your edibles in a little yard or garden plot, check out your soil to make sure you're not munching on more than you bargained for!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quick visit

Well, only 2 days in Rhode Island brought a wedding dress fitting, some catering decisions, and a minister to perform our ceremony. It also brought visits to staples such as The Crow's Nest and The Mews Tavern. (I wasn't going to link to The Crow's Nest's website because it is so bad, but decided I had to for precisely that reason. Once you get through the intro, you get to click on quahogs to navigate the site.)

I hadn't been to The Mews in ages and had forgotten how much I love the ceilings, lined with dollar bills and white Christmas lights, and the creative tap handles—this place boasts a famous 69 brews on tap. See above for my favorite tap of the night, the Red Sox-themed Green Monsta Ale. And the sampler board is a must: mini glasses of any 4 brews (your choice!) neatly arranged in a little wooden test tube rack.

I missed little ol' Rhode Island. It was good to see everyone and to be in the kinds of places where someone you know could walk in at any moment (and my cousin did walk into the bar while we were there)! I somehow always feel like my best self when I visit. Next time I just have to make sure my dad doesn't rope Chris into vacuuming the pool...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rhode Island born

...and Rhode Island bred. And when I die, I'll be Rhode Island dead. Off to the Ocean State this evening. Looking forward to a quiet road trip with the boy and a little break from the city. What's your favorite mini-getaway?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Greatest game idea ever

This thing needs to be released, pronto! (Yes, the family is hilarious. Note how the young girl keeps taking sips from her water bottle, because this is an active video game.)

When it is released, I demand a Buffy the Vampire Slayer game, so when I walk by that thing, it'll be all like, "Well, well, if it isn't the Slayer?" And then I will open up a can of virtual whoop-ass and take out all my commuter's aggression on a CGI vampire. NICE.

Sugar Shack

How do I end up at the places I end up in this city? Last night (yep, that's Wednesday, very unusual for me as an old person) a friend of mine was go-go dancing at the monthly Sugar Shack Burlesque show at Bowery Electric. Go-go dancers are chosen during a dance contest one month and are given the honor of appearing onstage the following month. Naturally, we had to go support "Lucky Penny" as she warmed up the stage for the stars, Legs Malone and Runaround Sue. Personal ties aside, turns out this is a small, rockin' dance party with a low cover charge, fishnets, corsets, and free shots of huckleberry vodka. I felt like I was right back at Sadie Lou, but with less whiskey and more happy. I'd definitely go back!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wedding Zen

Well, we're off to RI this weekend to spend time with the fam and cross some wedding stuff off our list. I've hit a very Zen level of wedding-thinking lately. It may be short-lived; we'll see. As often detailed on A Practical Wedding, it is very easy in the planning process to simultaneously feel that you must conform to a "traditional" standard, and, depending on the crowd you run with, to pull off an event so hip and unique it could hardly be called a wedding. 

I am marrying the most wonderful man who puts much thought and care into wedding details, but I do think the woman ends up feeling more acutely the pressure to "pull it off" in a particular way—it's almost always assumed that the details are a reflection of her tastes and that the management of the event must have to do with her, too (does this date back to worrying if the lady can manage a household? Am I making this up?). This is why so many vendors prey on brides (I'll save that for another post). Anyway.

My new level of thinking: Event? What is this, the Oscars? In wanting the wedding to reflect us, I think it's easy to start feeling like it somehow defines us. Not so, of course. I like to break it down really simply: We dress up, get married, eat food, drink, dance. That all sounds really fun to me. And our family always has a good time partying...even when we do stupid stuff like have Lego car building contests or make Christmas ornaments out of Sculpey clay. 

So, simple. Happy. It ain't rocket science. In fact, I'm thinking of posting the wedding checklist I made when we first got engaged—simple, one-word, broad items to cross out. I've been using it this entire time. Stay tuned (and stay chill)!

Monday, June 1, 2009

They're baaack...

Who? Who is back, you ask? All the summer staples. The Fruit Guy. The flyer-hander-outers. The lanky Italian and German boys peddling (teehee) bike rides through the park.     
Must be SUMMER! 

(Above: The Fruit Guy, Upper West Side. I keep trying to get a pic of his Sharpie-on-cardboard sign that actually says "The Fruit Guy," but have not been successful.)