Monday, September 21, 2009

the september issue

raced to see the september issue this weekend and adored it! didn't expect the amazing grace coddington, vogue's creative director who dazzles with her genius eye and creativity. she left me breathless!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

monsieur chagall, meet chavuet

last night, at my mother's urging (and we know moms are always right), i went to a lecture by dr. jean clottes, a charming, erudite frenchman who's an expert in rock art. no, not art for rock n' roll, but prehistoric drawings found in the caves at chauvet. they are the earliest known cave paintings and date back an estimated 32,000 years ago. looking at the slides during the lecture, i couldn't help thinking of marc chagall's drawings. they are so similar (and sophisticated), yet chagall couldn't have seen the chauvet drawings, because they weren't discovered until 1994. wow!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


this, my friends, is why i'd never cut it at fashion week (and why i get up at 5:30 to run). others dream of true love, untold riches, trips to paris...i dream of chocolate, strawberries, croissants--and true love in paris.

Monday, September 14, 2009

monet's water lillies

this can never do justice to monet's breathtaking, large-as-life canvases ("les nympheas") that hang at the musee de'orangerie in paris. (when i saw then during my visit to paris in may, they literally moved me to tears.) so, how thrilled i was to read that the musuem of modern art in new york just opened a smaller, gem of a show of waterlillies, including this large one. well, when i heard that, i raced into nyc to see them with my sweet friend clare. if you're ever in manhattan or paris (even better) go see these.

Friday, September 11, 2009

blue nail polish, really?

all right you glamoristas, i've been reading that blue nail polish is the new deep purple, which is to say the new black, the new de rigeur. i admit it: i'm on the fence on this one. the ladies i see sporting blue polish are all under 12. or 18-year-old models in fashion mags (looking divine). then again, if you're an 18-year-old model you can wear gardening gloves and a tutu and look amazing. would you/will you/are you wearing blue this season? if not, what's the color you're sporting this fall?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

the most perfect (and easy) dessert

about a year ago a friend made the most delicious peach cake and gave me the recipe. i finally gave it a try over the weekend, and am so glad i did! it's the most perfect cake.

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla or grated lemon rind
some canned peaches, sugar and cinnamon

put butter and sugar into a food processor and mix for 1-2 minutes. add eggs and process 1 minute. add flour, salt , baking powder and vanilla, and process until well mixed. Pour batter into spring form pan. place canned peach slices on top (they will sink into batter, but that's fine. you can also substitute apricots). Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (when toothpick comes out clean, the cake's done). great for dessert, but even better for breakfast with a cup of coffee. (and how bad can the day be if it begins with cake?)

grammar, anyone?

not the most riveting topic to many, i realize, but i need to vent. last night i attended my first open house at my son's new school, and during her classroom welcome speech, his teacher kept mixing up good v. well. (the worst: "it worked out good.") with each slip up, i felt my heart break a little more. as parents, we hope our children will be well served at school. we want them to be equipped with the kind of education necessary to open doors and attain dreams. most of this comes from home, i realize, but when a first-grade teacher doesn't know the difference between an adverb and an adjective, it's crushing. i have heard how "good" our school district is in our fancy connecticut suburb, but i wonder if it's a case of the emperor's new clothes: do others notice? if so, are they too scared or reticent to speak up? i don't want to be the angry, difficult mom, but i want to know my child is not listening to "that worked out good" all day long. (another peeve: "how are you?" "good.") i feel guilty i can't afford to give my sons a better education at the local private school ($29,000 a year). would you say something to the teacher? the principal? thanks for post will be cheerful. promise!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

robert's tomato

this summer my husband succumbed to the ad pitches for hanging tomato plants after he heard they would produce a guaranteed 22 pounds of tomatoes. he hung the plant in a sunny patch, watered it, did a little dance to the tomato gods, and dreamed of BLTs, caprese salads, and home-made pasta sauce but...this is the first, and ONLY, tomato the hanging plant has given us. on the bright side, it was delicious!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

weekend plans

this stunning blue bike with its profusion of flowers makes me want to take a long end-of-summer bike ride this weekend. what are your plans?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

fall beginnings

in less than 48 hours my oldest son will board a school bus for the first time and head off to elementary school. this is a mind-blowing quantum leap because i was nursing him and changing diapers just last week. still, this traditional ride into fall brings opportunity for fresh beginnings: new backpacks, scribble-free notebooks, an updated list of personal goals, some new clothes. as much as i want time to slow down, i love the seasons' insistent reminders (fall leaves, spring shoots) that years pass and we'd better get on with the business at hand: sharpen those pencils. learn to cook that great autumn meal you once tried a fancy restaurant. wear a new sweater. hop on the bus. and embrace the ones you love -- and the next adventure.

Friday, August 28, 2009

garter belts

cheesy, soft-porn shot aside, i've been wondering about garter belts lately. when i was in paris, my tres chic friend whose been living there told me about the little shop where she buys lingerie and pretty underthings, which are, of course, a MUST in france. garters, too, apparently. i agree that stockings are awful, oppressive. just consider the language: crotch control/control top. who thinks of that? phyllis schlafly? but garters? liberation, mesdames! then the other day, i saw these in the shop window at vicki's secret. (somehow not quite as nice, or as liberating, as the ones in paris.) neverthless, i'm hooked. have spent two days channeling my inner french woman -- elegant, mature, worldly, sizzing hot, not tarty -- so i'm mentally ready to actually buy some. am i nuts? do you ladies wear them? i mean really wear them, in the daytime, under suits, not just at night when you're showing off for someone special. and if so: how to pull off smoldering chic, not trashy? would toting around dog-earned copies of colette and sartre help? if any french women are out there, spill the beans. i gotta know.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

window of the day

love the pots hanging in front of the window. they remind me of notes on a scale.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

dreaming about...

this vacation house in tuscany that's for rent by the week. five bedrooms, pool, and close to siena, florence and monteriggioni, which i don't know but sounds deee-vine! rental also can include cooking lessons! oh my!

Monday, August 24, 2009

mantle inspiration

one more for, love, love the photos over the mantle! the lavendar-white walls rock, too.

what's love? questions from a 10-year-old

my friend kim took her son, whose about 10, to see the movie A.I. , and he asked her if robots could be programmed to feel love. it got her thinking about love: is it unconditional and should it be? is forgiveness part of love? how much do you forgive; is there a line? is its opposite indifference? these are such great questions! what do you think?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


so yesterday started to look for a newish car (slightly used) to replace the death-on-wheels machine i've been tooling around in. so many choices, and it's tough not to get caught up in the whole sales/image thing. a station wagon makes sense, but i balk about being "the suburban mom." in my mind i see myself in a mini cooper (how to cram two kids and one 72-pound black lab is another matter), a pickup truck (heading "West" with nothing but open skies), or a snazzy sports car. strange how our material possessions reflect our personalities, or what we want to convey about ourselves. how to resist it?

Friday, August 21, 2009

free time

my husband and children have been away for the week. when they pulled out of the driveway i burst into tears, missing them. but confession: after a day, i grew quite used to having the house to myself and the dog. without having to make meals/do laundry/manage kids, i've had tons of time for myself. it's been interesting to see what i've done. instead of rushing off to a zillion art galleries or repainting the kitchen (much less cleaning it) as i thought i might, i've been reading a lot (finally finished anna karenina!), seeing friends, going on bike rides, making yummy suppers i've actually eaten slowly and savored. nothing earth-shattering, but living more deliberatly like this makes me feel lighter and more creative. my challenge is to find that mental real estate when everyone returns tomorrow, full of stories and bags brimming with laundry. how do you carve out time for yourself? do you feel guilty about it?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

crazy acts of boundless compassion

my friend amy just told me an amazing story. she was walking by the east river last weekend when she spotted a cormorant with fishing line tied around its neck. the bird was in great distress. the next thing you know, amy's tracked down a kayak and paddled out with an old knife to free the bird. what makes this story even more amazing is that amy doesn't know how to swim, and the east river has some of the deadliest and strongest currents around. but she went anyway. people were yelling to her from a bridge, the cormorant got under the kayak, but she prevailed and got the string loose. it's completley crazy and irresponsible...but also so admirable. i wonder, what impetuous, out-of-this-world acts have people done to help someone or something?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

feelin' pretty

confession: i want to feel a little more glam these days. lipstick always helps, but for me, confidence and the feeling of being completely and totally loved by the right person reign supreme in terms of feeling and projecting gorgeous.
what makes you feel pretty?

Friday, August 14, 2009

feast your eyes

don't you think? from lobster and swan.

hat trick

as in, "why don't you take your hat off and stay awhile?" loving the hat rack over the bed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


lucy is a black lab/chow mix i adopted from a shelter 12 years ago when i was single in new york and sharing a cramped rental apartment with my airline stewardess roommate. needless to say, she and i (lucy, not the roommate) have been through a lot together. when i got her, i gave her a ross perot chew toy (he was running for office). fast forward: the two of us are now five, if you include husband and two kids. (that's a photo of lucy pre-wedding, which she was in.) we live in in our own home in connecticut. she and i watched obama give his acceptance speech the night he was elected. and, you got it, we're both getting older, a fact i've studiously ignored, until this week. lucy has started to limp and move very slowly, so today, i took her to the vet for x-rays to find out if she's got a fracture or injury of if it's just old-age setting in. needless to say, i'm incredibly sad because i never believed she'd be anything other than a puppy. i'll pick her up after work, and she'll ride next to me on the front seat of the car, like she always loves to do. maybe we'll take a (slow) walk in the dog park in westport, followed by a trip with the kids to get an ice cream. at 12, she's entitled to a little mint chip every now and then, don 't you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the tooth fairy! (and other rites of passage)

my oldest son lost his first tooth last night! realize this isn't big news to those of you without kids, or those of you who've been through this with your own, but i am blown away. yes, i knew the tooth was coming out. it's been wiggling and twisting in his mouth like a kid on a church pew for days now. but it seems like just yesterday that his first tooth was growing in. anyway, he carefully left the tooth in a "tooth fairy bag" (photo coming soon) that my mom made for him, with a note: "dear tooth fairy, can i keep my first tooth? love, william" and it worked! good old t.f. left the tooth, a morgan dollar, and a note to keep brushing.

another milestone reminding me how fast life is, how we must cherish every day, and mark special milestones with rites of passage, which seem all-too-few in our culture. (maybe it's time to start a few new ones in our family?) but most of all, william's lost tooth reminded me of how good it feels to believe in the possibility of the tooth fairy. and dreams.

Monday, August 10, 2009

what i'm reading

somehow i never read anna karenina before so i made it my summer project and am almost done. i have to say, it's been a huge surprise: i was expecting a big Love Story, based on the hype. but it's not at all. it's about divorce, the fragility of marriage, the hardships of motherhood, and reality eroding dreams. (it's about other stuff, too: faith, politics, etc.) it's surprisingly modern and rich. makes me wish i had taken a seminar on it in college.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

pasta salad for toni

do you remember how satisfying it was when you started to cook on your own? my mom let my sister and me "experiment" in the kitchen when we were really young. (i've still got the photo of us covered in flour at ages 3 and 5.) now my 13-year-old niece, toni, needs to bring a pasta salad to a picnic. here's one that might work:

1 cup fusilli
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sel de mer
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 cup of diced mortadella/salami
1 cup diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan
freshly ground pepper to taste
cook pasta and drain. let cool. mix oil, lemon juice, salt and mustard then pour "dressing" over pasta and other ingredients. enjoy (but save room for dessert)!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

are stores the new museums?

i've long wondered if stores have become our new museums. is fashion just moveable sculpture? then i read michael kimmelman's thoughtful piece, "how we look at art," in yesterday's new york times. "almost nobody, over the course of that hour or two, paused before any object for as long as a full minute," he writes, noting that in the old days, people digested art slowly. really looked at what they were seeing. today, kimmelman writes, we capture art on the fly, in bits and bytes, on cell phones and digital photos, but don't bother to see it properly. but i wonder if we've become more attuned to looking at stores, to design and fashion, which seem to promise an immediate connection to and reflection of our lives (even if it's aspirational). looking at photos of the british museum and the louis vuitton store display, it's hard to tell commerce from art apart. interesting that the baby "remembers" how to devour art (literally!) in a way kimmelman writes about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

dinner rolls

i love nigella lawson, with her cheeky encouragement and simple recipies. last night the boys and i feasted on her soft white dinner rolls, which she says are perfect for kids to bake. both boys were too engrossed in legos to participate, but my babysitter and i had fun making them.

you'll need:

3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons (1 envelope) rapid rise, bread machine or other instant yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 heaped tablespoon butter

mix, let rise a few hours, then shape into small balls. put on pan abotu 1/4 inch apart. coat with mixture of:

teaspoon of milk
pinch of salt

bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
eat as soon as they're cool enough with butter or jam. or both.


i admit it, my creative tank has been empty lately, and i'm in need of an inspiration board.
what inspires you? and how do you stay inspired?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

what causes are important to you?

wow! my friend connie sent an e-mail to a group of her friends about a good Samaritan who bought a soldier lunch, and that led to a spirited exchange (!) about opinions and what things matter to people. the debate with connie & co. makes me wonder what things matter enough to motivate people to actually do something - write a letter, volunteer, make a donation, take a stand -- instead of just talking (or e-mailing) about a particular cause.

as for me? i'm most passionate about providing a good education and safe, loving lives for all of our children and speaking out against violence, in all its forms (domestic, government-sanctioned war, terrorism). what do i do about it? on a personal level, i try to create the peace and opportunity i want for all kids by creating a safe, loving home where my children and their friends are encouraged to be curious and are loved for who they are. on a global, political level i admit i could do far more. but peace and education do get me to write occasional letters to washington. i also support two groups in particular that are devoted to issues that matter to me: save the children and doctors without borders.
what matters to you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

world's uglist birthday cake

who knew you could buy birthday candles shaped like army tanks?

my son wanted an army-themed birthday, so i made what is hands-down the world's ugliest cake (photos coming). it was pure military-industrial complex on a plate, with soldiers hiding from little diorama trees, guns pointing. never mind that i've spent months practicing making lovely fondant cakes in pleasing colors. never mind that i've taught my children that we pray for peace, pet animals, vote democrat, and "feel the love." the gun thing is encoded on little boys' dna. army is what he wanted. so i made the cake. as i mixed up green and brown camouflage icing, i couldn't help wondering about the pet-me-pony cakes a six-year-old girl might ask for on her birthday. or the dessert cart brimming with miniature pastel-colored cakes at the plaza, where my father used to take me for tea as a special treat when i was a child. in any case, happy birthday, william! you are six, and you are my world. i love you.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

yes, please!

loving these bags from luella. clothes super, too.

clever smart car

kept seeing these in paris and they've grown on me. how easy would it be to find a parking space! but i wonder: would driving down the highway feel like being in spin cycle?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

happy birthday, terah!

it's my sister's birthday today, and since we're both on either sides of the country, i'm sending her love, love, love and a big wish that someone treats her to a zillion cupcakes!

lost and found

not sure about you, but i'd love to know the story behind this note posted on

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

but can you wear them to the supermarket?

sorry for crazy layout, but the point is, i'm dying for these completly fun and sexy shoes. then reality hits: would i wear them to stop n' shop? when i take the dog to the vet? picking up my kids from playdates? oh, you young, urban lovelies, enjoy it now and wear the most beautiful, insane heels you can! or maybe i should just go for it. what do you think?