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We’re watching The Great Beauty tonight – to say it is a visual feast is an understatement.  Rome and Italy are the real stars (and the suits!) – the clip below is a compilation of scenes from the film. It’s all good, but my favorite scene is at 2:59 where a man with keys to all the private houses in Rome walks us through one of them. Highly recommend.

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So, what is everyone reading and watching this weekend?  I just finished up The Iron Duke, a steampunk romp which is currently on sale for $1.99 (thanks Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) and have started on Japanese Farm Food but am jones-ing for a all-absorbing read. In terms of TV, we’ve finished up The Americans and started in on the latest season of Scandal (both so good!).  Also, I discovered at the library on Friday that Henning Mankell, on of my favorite authors, has done a young adult series! So that is also on my list.

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I grew up a half hour car ride from the nearest library or bookstore (we lived in the Vermont woods, up a long dirt road).  We didn’t get TV reception, not really anyway.  I remember some very grainy images of the Challenger explosion on a TV that only got black and white reception, flickering in and out and no audio at all.  We weren’t totally without access to culture – we did have a VCR and a whole lot of bootleg VHS tapes (Laurel & Hardy, Say Anything, Roxanne to name a few), and a radio and a whole lot of books.  True, a few friends’ parents had cable but that was a real luxury. On the other hand, I had friends who lived farther out, further off the gird.  So I felt sort of solidly normal growing up in this time before the internet and Kindles and streaming TV, a time, I might add, that is increasingly hard to imagine. [click to continue…]

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3.19.14 – Smorgasburg

March 19, 2014

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I woke up at 4:30am this morning, wide awake. I scrolled through Twitter, checked up on the latest of Flight 370 and then finally got up at 5am.  So that means by 10pm tonight, I’m feeling a little punchy.  Here’s the smorgasburg of things running through my mind. [click to continue…]

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Auction notification emails from Charlton Hall Auctions are my favorite.  This painting by Matt Overend caught my eye ($300-$500 estimate). [click to continue…]

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I’ve always had a soft spot for anything hand-lettered.

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This morning Tim passed Zadie Smith’s Elegy for a Country’s Seasons over the coffee cups and crumbs from breakfast, saying “You’ve got to read this.”  I did, and I’ve been thinking about it all day, her heartbreaking and honest assessment of our collective relationship with nature (and our ability to damage it).  It sounds sort of dry or Al-Gore-boring like when I describe it, but it is beautiful and haunting and above all true, so I guess, now I’m handing it over to you and saying “You’ve got to read this“. [click to continue…]

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So we were out bid on the apartment in Park Slope. I’m sad, because on some level you have to emotionally invest in the idea of the apartment to be able to commit to spending every penny you own (and a lot of pennies you don’t own) on it, but I’m also upbeat (we’ve started the process!), and ready to keep looking.  It’s the journey that counts?!?!? Ha!

This Fuchsia Dunlop recipe originally caught my fancy because The Wednesday Chef presented it as a solution to what to do with that half used length of celery slowly being dehydrated in the bottom drawer of the fridge.  I’ve become obsessed with it because it is so delicious. SO LIPSMACKING DELICIOUS.  It’s my new favorite thing to cook on nights when we previously would have ordered some kind of take-out (like tonight).  It’s spicy but not too spicy and not too heavy or greasy because of ALL THE CELERY.  I bought the two semi-exotic ingredients on Amazon and my sister has reported being able to buy both at local grocery stores in Brooklyn so I’m not sure what that tells us except you might be able to find red bean paste at your local grocery and if you don’t, Amazon will ship it to you over night.

Photo credit Luisa @ The Wednesday Chef. 

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One of my all time favorite kitchens is this one designed by my friend Faith. She detailed every step of the renovation on The Kitchn and I love where she ended up (and that she shared so much of the process – it is so easy to share beautiful pictures on the internet, but Faith really broke down how they got to this beauty).  So many thoughtful details taken care of (like the dish storage and the dishwasher being so close together! ).  I also am obsessed with her cabinets from SemiHandmade which are designed to go on Ikea cabinets.  As we try to buy a place of our own, I can only hope we’ll have a chance to make a kitchen as tailored to our needs and family.  Keep sending the good real estate mojo our way – we should know in a few days about our bid. 

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Someone asked where this amazing couch was from and I tracked it down from French brand Caravane  - it is still available and is the Divan Pacha.

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I’d love to find a paisley print, maybe like the one, to slip cover it with…

 

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Like everyone, I’ve been glued to the news about Malaysia Airways Flight 379. As it turns out, the technology world has a way for us to help look for the plane – by reviewing satellite footage from Tom Nod.  I’ve been looking at the ocean from Sunday early morning which is eerily empty.  PS Found via WSJ’s Twitter, which I highly recommend.

PS for those of you following the bidding process; we are in waiting mode.  Send us good thoughts.  Thanks for all your sweet emails and comments.

 

 

 

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Sometimes the smallest changes make huge differences in my day-to-day existence.  Consider, if you will, breakfast.  I’m not much of a morning person, so breakfast has always been something of a struggle.  During my childhood, I was always late to the table and rushing through a bowl of Honey Nut Cherrios with ice cold milk (delicious, even if rushed).  I remember a lot of turkey sandwiches for breakfast in high school and  I don’t remember breakfast in college at all, even though those were probably the best years for it since the dining hall was open 24 hours a day so no matter the hour, breakfast was just a short walk away.  In my early professional life I religiously had a chocolate peanut butter Balance bar with a tiny single serve container of Smuckers peanut butter that in the days before Amazon (what!?!) I ordered over the phone from an speciality wholesaler.  HA! How times change.  Possibly because I’d bought the peanut butter in serious bulk, this is what I ate for breakfast every single day from 2001 – 2006.

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Then, I guess Michael Pollan happened, right? We all got collectively hip to high fructose corn syrup and the evils of processed food. So,  I gave up the Balance Bar with Smuckers on top (I was tired of it after so many years, too).  And I spent years trying to find something as easy, as portable, as satisfying.  I tried egg sandwiches from the local bodega (convenient), I tried salami with honey roasted peanuts (epicurean AND low carb), I tried left overs from dinner the night before (thrifty).   Tim remembers fondly that when I was pregnant I made us breakfast from scratch every day since I was in grad school and I had the time.  Once we had the baby, I ate a lot of toast (no butter, no jam, just toast, sometimes cinnamon raisin) since that was all I could cook with one hand (fussy baby in the other).  Once Alex starting eating real food, I’d just have some of whatever I made him (smoothies for a few years).  I even tried the newfangled, purportedly less processed bars (Kind, Lara, Epic). Somehow, however, breakfast remained elusive and a bit of a struggle, with lots of days seeing me skip breakfast altogether only to be predictably cranky and moody by noon.

In the last few months, I’ve had a breakfast breakthrough in the form of the humble apple. Even on the days when I’m shepherding the family through what a good friend calls “the morning olympics” I can dependably manage to grab and eat an apple, as I corral lunch boxes and mittens or as I ride the subway (almost no one scowls) or in the office with my second cup of coffee.  Often I have a second breakfast, once I’ve completed drop off, a quick egg or leftovers. Other times, the apple’s enough to get me to lunch. But the apple seems to set me off on the right foot and my moods have been 100% steadier.

Part of why these apples are so satisfying is that apple science has seriously improved since we were kids.  The Honeycrisp, the Pink Lady, the Fuji are all newish (last 20 years) hybrids bred to be delicious.  No mealy apples that make you sorry you took that first bite.  We’re talking juicy crisp every time.  I like Pink Lady and Fuji and Honeycrisp when I can find them (sometimes hard).

What are your go to breakfast foods? And how has it changed over the years?

PS: More about hybrid foods.

PPS: Cost of Honeycrisps explained.

PPPS: Apple people are amazing. 

PPPPS: I want to try the SweeTango.

NB: If apples don’t appeal to you for breakfast and you’re in need of inspiration, check out The Kitchn’s breakfast posts from the 2014 Cooking Cure. Lots of goodies, including how to make perfectly round eggs for breakfast sammies.

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Ok, it’s late and I’m headed to work early tomorrow.  Thanks for coming on my little fantasy tour and send us some good real estate mojo so I can show you all the real thing!  All photos are found in my Pinterest.

 

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New York is a place were, as many of you know, every conversation eventually turns to real estate.  I’ve had hour long real estate conversations at fancy dinner parties and with total strangers standing around the sandbox at the playground. These conversations are a wonderful sort of endless conversation because real estate here is an endless drama that can be tuned into at any point, a sort of telenovela where we all know the players and the villains (brokers, co-ops boards, all cash buyers).

Tim and I have been house hunting for 10 years but with Alex starting Kindergarten in the fall (!!) we’re galvanized like never before. And today, much to our shock, we actually found an apartment we liked in Park Slope (zoned for a good public school, whew!). Screwing up all our courage, I shudder a little to type this, we’re going to make an offer tomorrow morning. I spent half the day convinced we should move anywhere that wasn’t the 5 boroughs  (Minneapolis! Boston! Berlin!) and the other half convinced this was the best choice we can make for Alex schooling-wise and for ourselves financially.   I also kept thinking about the article in the Times about how everyone is faking adulthood (myself included!).

The whole process feels un-real to me, like something that happens to other people (the bidding wars, the uncertainties, the inevitable real estate heart break and massive compromises involved). HA! I don’t know what to say but tune in tomorrow and I’ll let you know if our hearts are broken because we’ve been out bid by a villainous all cash buyer or if we got cold feet at the last moment. 

 

 

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