September 11, 2014

My Sorel Winter Boots





I didn't read all 200-something reviews on the Slimpack but it's hard to believe my size 7 foot is different from anyone else's size 7 foot! 

Last winter, I ordered the Joan of Arctic in a 6.5 after reading that the boot ran big. It was too small but I also thought it was way too clunky and too much boot for me, so it got returned. I decided to order the Slimpack next in a 7 because it had an urban style with its leather shaft yet warm and winterproof. The 7 was still too small! Keep count: this is return #2. I spoke to customer service, and was told different styles were sized differently. Because it was the end of the winter, they ran out of sizes, so I had to wait until the summer when Slimpack was restocked. 

Fast forward to summer 2014, I order Slimpack in 7.5. STILL too small. Really? I also needed someone to help pull them off me. Return #3. I couldn't believe I had to order a size 8 but I did. They came, and they were still too small. Do these sizes go up by centimeters?? I even tried them on with thin socks and I could see my big toe poking through the rubber front. I called customer service because I really needed guidance and counseling because I truly was tired of going to the post office. At this point, I was determined to own a pair of Slimpack boots. She suggested going to a size 9, especially if I was going to wear thick socks. I was worried they would swim on me around the calf. I did order the 9s, and they fit. Let's not forget Return #4, however. So the 9s stay. I can wear thick socks, I can remove the boots on my own, and they aren't over bulky in the calf area. 

Overview: I will love my Slimpacks and use them well in NYC winters. However, I'm hesitant to make another Sorel purchase because I never ever want to return four pairs of footwear again.

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September 9, 2014

Adieu summer


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!



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. 


Flipbooks and Tattoos



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


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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September 4, 2014

Ikea 2015


I'm always chomping on the bit to see what comes out next in Ikea's collection.  Their global design team usually makes me say the following things: “That reminds me of that XX antique I once saw,” or “…that piece of furniture comes in all those colors?” or “I can get that for that price?” Whether it’s a small or large item, there’s usually some small detail that makes an impression.  Here are a few examples that make all the difference in my book for this new season!

{1} Jane Austen comes to mind when I spot a secretary, as well as hidden panels with love letters stuffed inside.

{2} Clearly, I have the 18th century on the brain because wing chairs are a classical piece of furniture that make a statement.

{3} Here’s a tumbler that resembles milk glass.  And in pink!

{4} This chest of drawers has something art deco about it.

{5} A simple towel rack chair serves style, function and Nordic, Shaker-style lovliness.

{6} Increase the convenience quotient and solve small-space problems with a drop-leaf, wall- mounted shelf any where. 

{7} Who doesn’t love a table with a sexy leg?

{8} Not only are wardrobes with sliding doors a space-saver for tight quarters but I have a soft spot for country-style beadboard.

{9} A storage box is merely a container until you put a Victorian-esque label holder on it. Now, there’s character!

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August 13, 2014

10 Reasons to Visit the Lower East Side


{ } Café Katja – Their Emmentaler Sausage dish is accompanied by savoy cabbage and quark dumplings.  I felt certain I wouldn’t have room for dessert.  To my surprise, it was not only the lightest cheese sausage I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming but I had the stamina to finish dessert too! 

{ } Vanessa’s Dumplings – The space here is probably 4x the size of the average dumpling hole-in-the-wall.  And, it’s packed on a daily basis.  Favorites on my list include the cabbage & pork boiled dumplings, noodles with meat & bean sauce and a side of Shanghai bok choy. 

{ } Ivan Ramen – The much talked about ramen house infiltrates the quiet indie street of Clinton, which is also the home of soon-to-shutter, WD-50.  Hands down, I had the best ramen here with its thick, tasty bowls of dashi, a broth made of seaweed and dried bonito.  You will be tempted to order your bowl “Fully Loaded” giving you an egg, extra pork chashu and two roasted tomatoes.  Do it! 

{ } Malt & Mold – A sweet, tiny tailored shop sits on the quiet end of East Broadway specializing in artisanal beers and well-curated cheeses.  You’ll also find all the accoutrements to complete this nosh-fest, such as pickles, chocolates, cured meats and crackers.  I see fare for the perfect picnic emerging, don’t you? 

{ } The Sweet Life – If you’re looking for a candy shop less nostalgic than Economy Candy and less PR-powered than Dylan’s Candy, head to The Sweet Life.  You’ll find sweets that are organic, treats from 10 European countries, and baking ingredients to make your own recipes at home. 

{ } Spitzer’s Corner – Sit communal-style at long tables and benches at this popular American gastropub. During the summer, the windows open, and it’s some of the most relaxing people-watching you can get on the Lower East Side.  Choose from 40+ beers that go splendidly with their Truffle Mac & Cheese or Kobe Sliders. 

{ } Top Hat – You’ll have fun perusing this tiny trinkets and home goods boutique, if you like trinkets with a modern, global edge.  Scope out the shop’s eclectic collection of textiles, quirky calendars and Japanese washi tape.  They don’t have a website but you can find them at 245 Broome Street, 212-677-4240.

{ } The Tenement Museum – New York’s story of immigration is a fascinating one, and you can begin at this museum to learn about life on the Lower East Side in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Check the schedule for neighborhood walks, tenement building tours and free discussions and screenings at the museum. 

{ } Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream – Pastry extraordinaire, Nick Morgenstern opens his first ice cream shop.  He uses a European ice cream machine to whip up his egg-free {yes egg-free} ice cream.  Burnt Honey Vanilla, Vietnamese Coffee, Black Ass Licorice {not a typo} and Green Tea Pistachio are just some of the flavors that will turn you into that very indecisive person yet. 

{ } Russ & Daughters Café – The fourth generation Russ cousins open up an offshoot of the family business serving up kippered salmon, white sturgeon and matjes herring.  The bar serves up wine, old-fashioned egg creams, Bloody Marys and cucumber soda, which pair well with the artisanal rye bread and potato and onion knishes also on the menu. 

{Photo by Alan Gastelum}

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August 11, 2014

Try This! Flower Potluck


I recently came across a most beautiful idea that took place last year.  It was the brainchild of Kinfolk Magazine, which celebrates the simplicity of good food and good company seen through gorgeous photography.  The idea was a Flower Potluck, an event they hosted in 22 cities and towns.  A simple meal was provided, while the guests each came bearing bounties of florals, leaves, foliage and flowering branches: freshly picked, store-bought, flower crowns and floral bowties!   At the end, everyone took home a mixture of what everyone had brought.  Imagine going to a party, and being surrounded by beautiful blooms and nature?  I can’t help to think this is such a thoughtful, elegant and sincere way to host a social gathering with family and friends!  Here’s a guide on how to start your own.












{Photo credits: Brooklyn by Nicole Franzen; Lisbon by Rodrigo Cardosa; Athens, GA by Chrissy Reed & Kristen Bach; Charlotte by Anna Naphtali; Portland, OR by Laura Dart & Parker Fitzgerald; Fukuoka, Japan by Ayaka Noguchi; Istanbul by Dugme Film; Madrid by Monica Bedmar; Bridgewater, VA by Chelsea Diane Photography}

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July 25, 2014

Hello Friday...Bits 'n Bobs


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 21, 2014

Kids: 7 very cool rooms


You rock that head scarf, baby!  Don’t try to climb out of your crib yet.  I’d stay in there, and enjoy that awesome bohemian vibe.  Eschewing bunny posters for vintage art and a seemingly dismantled pendant lamp, I love the cool ease. 

{Photo via thewiegands}


The dusty rose shaggy pillows give an edge to this otherwise girly room but so do those awesome silver trunks.  Bedside tables are the most interesting, when they’re an unexpected medium that also function and provide a surface. 

{Photo via decocrush}


A Vermeer painting was the first thing I thought when I saw this room.  The contrast of a dark wall, honey-colored wood and Marimekko’s bright oversized pattern gives it a gorgeous painterly quality.

{Photo via handmadecharlotte}


Children’s wall art doesn’t need to be expensive.  A variety of colorful hankies does the trick.  Did you see the display case wardrobe closet?  Beautiful!

{Photo via sfgirlbybay}


I’ll be taking a cue from this room for Zoe.  It’s never been my habit to lay out clothes for the next day.  I love the idea of having a designated hook in the middle of the wall, and hanging tomorrow’s clothes on it.  What a time saver, not to mention it looks very artistic.

{Photo via lovelylife}


I love a bold, extrovert wallpaper pattern.  You can get away with it if you keep it to one wall.  The different yet matching bed sets are creative and functional, since they seem to be able to extend as the child grows.

{Photo via mokkasin}


This French Directoire-style bed really says nothing kid-like.  Yet once you festoon it with plush toys and pillows, it immediately becomes approachable.  The entire room has an adult sensibility, and soft touches like the wire wall hanging and flokati rug will make her an envy with all her friends.

{Photo via sfgirlbybay}

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July 9, 2014



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.  


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. 


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.   


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 30, 2014

Family day in Dumbo




Dumbo is one of our favorite destinations in Brooklyn.  We spent the day with another family whose daughter is the same age as Zoe.  With two toddlers, things can unravel very quickly if a plan isn’t in place.  This was our itinerary:

{ } Met at 2pm (after naps)

{ } Took the train to York Avenue

{ } Walked to Front Street where we had 3pm lunch reservations in the outdoor garden of Gran Electrica.  This was key to the success of our excursion.  Have you ever strolled aimlessly looking for a restaurant with a toddler??

{ } Walked to Jane’s Carousel for a ride on the historic spin.






{ } Headed to Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.  You can wait on line to buy your scoop inside their landmark fireboat house or stand on a shorter line and get your flavors from their outdoor ice cream cart.  We opted for the ice cream cart. 

{ } As you wait in line, there’s a fabulous open-air, covered area that serves beer and wine.  Sit at bistro table and chairs, and enjoy the view of downtown Manhattan and the East River.



{ } The kids kicked around a ball in the plaza, ran among the dozen bride and grooms taking photos, and played with the locks left on river fences by the married couples.  The dads drank beer and watched the World Cup on the television set up in the outdoor seating area.  

{ } We packed up and headed home at 6pm.  Happy parents, happy toddlers: it was a perfect day.


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