Friday, July 31, 2009

Pearly Bites

I positively cracked up when I saw this recipe for "Pearly Bites" in Family Fun magazine today. They look gross and goofy and awesome all at once. I think it's the eyes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Moment of Stillness

I know I’ve been remiss about blogging, but I’ve been go-go-go these days, between wedding tasks and an explosion of work. I’ve been trying to remind myself to be still for a short while every day. This morning I stumbled upon the very epitome of stillness; a rare sight that takes my breath away every time: a parked taxi cab.

The yellow color makes a cab seem like it should be in motion at all times. There’s probably science behind that, something about the wavelengths of light and the way my rods and cones equate that color with kinetic energy.

I see hundreds of cabs each day, careening down Broadway, the reckless drivers possibly not giving, deep down, a real crap about whether they live or die. The longest I see a cab pause is to let one passenger out and another in; to shuttle someone else at furious speeds around the buzzing blocks of New York.

So when, this morning on my tree-lined street, I spotted a clean yellow taxi shining bright, I stopped in my tracks. I took a break from pushing the limits, from hurtling through the day at death-defying speeds. I reached terminal velocity. I had my moment of stillness.

Image via benjaminseigel on Flikr. Apologies I did not get a photo of the still cab in its glory.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

St. Bernard barrel

You know how, at least in cartoons, St. Bernards always carry a little barrel around their necks? At some point during my childhood, my mom told me the dogs carried hot chocolate in the barrel. Made sense to me—something hot to give to the cold skiers the dogs rescued from the slopes. 

I still thought it was hot chocolate until sometime last year, when Chris told me it's actually brandy in that little barrel. Innocence shattered. Thanks, Chris.

In a new children's book, Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons Restaurant, the St. Bernard's barrel is said to contain "the spirit of helping others." Yeah, it contains spirits, all right!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Remember how I cry at everything, even dog food commercials? So, I've been somewhat concerned that I'll sob through my vows and generally be a red, puffy mess at the wedding. I don't know if there's any real cure for being emotional, but I have prescribed myself a de-sensitization regimen. It is somewhat working. SOMEWHAT. I only teared up at a friend's wedding recently, but I sorta credit the bride's brother, who was making everyone laugh.

If you, too, would like to follow my regimen, you just need to repeatedly expose yourself to things that make you cry. *Note: This only applies to happy, "that's so beautiful" crying. Not sad crying.

Here's a sample diet of tearjerkers:

1) Bach Double Violin Concerto, 2nd Mvmt. This will be playing as I walk down the aisle. I find thinking about playing the notes on the violin helps me not cry.

2) The Where the Wild Things Are trailer. Gets me every time! I know I've been unsuccessful with this one because I saw it last weekend before Harry Potter and lost to the tears.

3) Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's Oscar speech. Still losing this one. It starts when Glen raises his Oscar and repeats "Make art, make art," and comes back with Marketa's "No matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible...fair play to those who dare to dream."

The hope is that repeated exposure will reduce my emotional response each time, or at least teach me how to successfully trick myself out of crying. Any criers out there with tricks that work??

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cat belleh

It's been a while since your last cat belleh. Too late for a mid-week pick-me-up, but here's a nice little boost for the end of your week. Nothing warms the heart like a little blissed-out cat belleh!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gal on the Flying Trapeze

Did anyone check out Meg's post about her kickass bachelorette party? She went skeet shooting. I got to do this in New Zealand and it was awesome.

I heard about another rad bachelorette party through a girl at work: a group trapeze lesson. Trapeze School of New York does lessons for parties. Genius!

image via TSNY

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

City scene, 7.20.09

9:18am: A young woman successfully applies liquid eyeliner on a moving 7 train as it approaches the Bryant Park station.

3 hours later: My amazement subsides. Sheer admiration remains.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Signature scents

"It was there [inside Chanel's home] that it became clear to me what Beaux managed to bottle when he stoppered that first flacon [of Chanel No. 5] in 1921: an attitude. Chanel was the ultimate self-made woman, someone whose confidence and sense of purpose rendered her indelible."
I became really interested in perfume in late '08. I started to think that having a "signature" scent would be incredibly glamorous and sexy. I was further encouraged after reading this piece about the magic of Chanel No. 5 in Elle a while back. This scent was pretty much genius; no one has been able to come close to formulating something so classic. For me, the scent of Chanel No. 5 is gorgeous, but also reminds me of many random things (my aunt, clubs in Ireland). When I started to look for a "signature" scent, I wanted to look for something else, something that didn't trigger those associations. (Tough, 'cause how could you not want to smell like "the ultimate self-made woman"?)

I'm really sensitive to smells and didn't want something too fancy, so I looked for a clean, simple, soapy or laundry smell. I tried Philosophy's Pure Grace, but I randomly started to get headaches after smelling it too much.

Once, I popped into L'Artisan Parfumer on the Upper West Side. The very Frenchness of it all lured me inside the tiny shop. I smelled many of their perfumes, but couldn't bring myself to spend a lot of money on perfume, of all things. I started to think the whole perfume thing was a silly idea...that cash could go toward MetroCards and meals. The nice shopgirl sent me home with a sampler tube of one of my faves, Mimosa Pour Moi. A snippet from the description:
"A reminder of weekends spent at the Riviera, the perfume carries you away to the elegant shores of the Cote d'Azure..."

When I visited Bali, I brought the sampler tube with me. I wore it every day. I grew to love its light scent and formed my own associations with it. I was giddy when I opened my Christmas gift from Chris last year and found a whole bottle of this for my very own. I wear it all the time now. Even though it's a summery scent, I even wear it in winter sometimes to perk me up.

Now I'm a perfume addict. While Mimosa will remain my "signature" for now, I would love to see the top of my dresser covered in pretty glass bottles. (Damn those bottles! So hard not to buy!) This stuff's been on my list to check out (frangipani flowers are everywhere in Bali), and this Carolina Herrera perfume is tempting me, too.

Do you have a signature scent?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Parent Trap

Guys, I love The Parent Trap. Love it. The other day, I was flipping channels while gluing together wedding invites and found the re-make, with pre-crazy Lindsay Lohan. She was so cute!I even love the re-make. It's nowhere as great as the original, of course. But so cute. However, it JUST dawned on me the other night that this is the most ludicrous movie plot ever conceived. Why do I like it so much?

Why on earth would parents of twins get divorced and decide to each take a kid? Like, I get each taking an end table. But a daughter? And then, to scar your kids up real good, never tell the kid in your custody that she has a twin. But, because you are still meant to be with your former flame and you have lovers' ESP, send your kids to the same camp—without checking with the other parent in order to coordinate your "you-have-no-sister" scheme. And THEN...your kids switch places! And no one notices! (Except wise old Grandpa.)

I am not a mother, much less a mother of twins. But I cannot fathom that, past the infant baby-bracelet phase, any mother (or father) would not be able tell her (or his) twins apart. Especially if, as in the re-make, one of them grows up with a British accent and has to fake an American one (and vice-versa).

So why do I love this movie? Thoughts? My parents are still married, so I never fantasized about getting them back together. Is it just because I always thought it would be so fun to have a twin and play tricks on people? Because the girls are sweet, yet mischievous? Because I loved the idea of summer camp?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sunnyside Special

Sunnyside is featured today in the your downtown series on Erin's beautiful blog, reading my tea leaves. Check out the shots of my 'hood and visit her regularly for more downtowns, inspiration, and pretty things!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Once, my brother told me that there are 2 things you should never think twice about spending money on: music and food. It's been working out for me.

Adding to my list of albums to get. Any recent finds I must have?

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Love: Hand Dryers

I love hand dryers. Not because they dry your hands (which they don't really, with the exception of the badass Dyson Airblade), but because if you are stuck in a heavily air-conditioned Starbucks on Long Island awaiting your immigration interview appointment, you can make frequent bathroom visits and use them to warm up your frozen little hands.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Those Darlins

We went to Southpaw in Brooklyn on Friday to catch Those Darlins. This performance of "Wild One" was from their last Southpaw show, about a year ago. (PS: Southpaw is a great venue. I will live there now.) This song's been stuck in my head for three days. 

Based on this single, I'd expected a lot more country, but got quite a bit of rock n' roll—the kind where the ukelele player spits bourbon into the crowd. Despite some speed bumps onstage (broken bass string, handled gracefully; sound issues with uke, handled not-so-gracefully), the show was a good time. There was a man in a chicken suit running about after "The Whole Damn Thing" (a song about being drunk and eating an entire chicken—"not just a leg, not just a wing"), and we saw the premier of their video for "Red Light Love," which was animated by one of the band members.

Many of their songs follow a similar vibe to this one, but the 3 girls have very different (great) voices that can be heard individually on various tracks. And now I sorta wanna buy an electric guitar...

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Beast II

Remember The Beast? Well, it's back in full force, treating us once again to its loveliness:
Why would we call something that produces blossoms of such delicate beauty by a name like "The Beast"? When we moved in, the hydrangea was the only living plant in our garden. The rest of the garden was full of trash and dead plant matter, but the hydrangea still thrived. Now, the hydrangea grows wildly out of control and I can scarcely bear to prune it at all. I feel it is not my place. Its will cannot be contained. I feel it deserves to grow as much as it likes for all of the hardship it endured in the beginning. It rewards me by pouring forth an abundance of electric-blue blossoms all summer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Story webs

I just read a great piece in the educational journal Young Children about teaching the writing process to first graders. I started thinking about my own early writing education. I think it was truly great for the most part. My classrooms were print-rich and all of my teachers encouraged my writing. I hated getting my yearly dose of grammar from our public school’s standard-issue texts, but I guess it served me well in the end. The one thing I hated and still hate to this day?

Story webs. Did you ever have to use these doodads?

I believe that they quell creativity. I always felt they were a terrible chore. I say if you must use these godawful things in school, wait to introduce them until kids are older, like around the time they have to learn the evil, rubric-graded, formulaic 5-paragraph essay structure for their state standardized tests.

The piece in Young Children talks about how first graders often defeat themselves before they start to write because they feel they must spell everything correctly. If a child does not know how to spell a word, he will refrain from using it. (In the article, the children’s wonderful teacher encouraged them to make mistakes and mark things they weren’t sure about so they could come back to them later.)

To me, introducing story webs in first grade supports that instinct to avoid beginning for fear of failure. If a child thinks he has to plan perfectly and execute his story perfectly, that could be discouraging. Maybe more kids don’t keep writing or see it as a useful mode of self-expression because they’re given these evil boxes and circles to cram their thoughts into. If it doesn’t fit in the box, how will it ever get on the page?

The teacher in the YC article introduces story webs, but also allows children to organize ideas by talking with a peer or by drawing pictures of details they want to include in their stories. Neat alternatives.

What do you think? Do we need to beat the ability to construct a linear narrative into our young ones? Is social conditioning (telling stories to friends, listening to stories told by grown-ups or older kids) enough? Does insisting upon the use of these devices crush creativity?

Monday, July 6, 2009


Friends, I am having trouble getting back into work mode after a beautiful long weekend. I needed some Monday morning inspiration, so I watched this. It's Natalie Osipova, a Russian ballerina best known for dancing the role of Kitri in Don Quixote. She executes every move with laser-like precision, yet none of it feels mathematical. It seems like she's a world apart when she dances. She seems to float when she jumps in the first video, no? I shall try to tackle this day with a fraction of that energy and grace. Thanks, Natalie.
image via Flikr

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This morning in my subway car, I counted 7 women reading and 0 men reading. Whenever I get numbers this disproportionate, I think of this New Yorker piece I read back in February, in which Ian McEwan says: “When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.”
What is up with the gender discrepancy among readers?