here we go!

Felix and I are off on holiday today! We fly to St. Louis in only a few hours! It's my first time flying one-on-one with Felix, and I'm a little jittery about it, but I know he'll be the best boy, because he always is! And anyway, I've got a special surprise for him when we get to the airport:

I love packing for trips like this and I never understand why people find it difficult. It gives me a bit of anxiety, as I'm sure it does most people, but also it's a fun challenge, a great exercise in organization. You simply take how many days you'll be gone (in this case, ten), look back that many days, and bring the things you wore. Three ounces of any toiletry lasts a surprisingly long time, so it's really all you need of anything. Add some lip balm, a magazine, and your cellphone, and that's it! And don't forget your lucky charms!

In our case, with no special occasions to pack for, our luggage doesn't amount to much--which is good, because I refuse to pay $25 whole dollars to check a bag. But it'll be a long couple hours with all these carry ons at the airport! 

Good thing felix has his own ticket. I hope he can share the load!


she's a colour queen

Thanks, British Vogue, for your groundbreaking research. So, how do you think your wardrobe color representation would break down, annually? Like HRM, I also favor blues and florals, naturally. But if you ask me,  4% is altogether too much orange. 

Can't wait til they follow Kate!


flaming june

I feel like I need to take a little break from Beyoncé. You know what I mean? Between playing the new album and watching the videos on repeat, she's basically all I think about! It's sort of like staring at the sun too long: glorious and inspirational, but ultimately not good for you. But there are plenty of other lovely ladies we can talk about/stare at/obsess over. Like, for example, did you happen to see this also very inspirational editorial by Annie Leibovitz in the most recent issue of Vogue? In it, Jessica Chastain stars in the reinterpretations of various well-known portraits of feminine beauty. Of course, she's is perfectly cast in the cover shot, Leibovitz's take on Frederic Leighton's Flaming June, but the text all over it kind of ruins it for me. Thankfully the rest of them are pretty spot-on, too. Like Van Gogh's La Mousmé, for example, or La Robe Du Soir, by Rene Magritte. But I think Le Retour De La Mer, by Felix Vallotton, must be my favorite!

 La Mousmé

 Portrait of Mrs. Grover Cleveland


 La Robe du Soir

 Julia Margaret Cameron

Le Retour de la Mer

images via vogue.com


how DO they do it?!

I spent the better part of yesterday organizing shaitels. I was helping my friend, client, and self-proclaimed "rebel shaitel-macher" do inventory after a sale she had over the weekend. Being in a room full of wigs for hours on end is very bizarre; I went back and forth from feeling normal to very strange, then normal again. As they were all made from "100% virgin european hair" they felt very luxurious and life-like--which was actually what made it feel so creepy. I suppose creepy isn't the right word, but they do look an awful lot like scalps when they're all heaped up on a table together. 

I'm living my professional life in an odd, chabad-bubble right now. So many of the ladies I work with are practicing hasidic jews that their way of life is starting to feel strangely normal. Sometimes I even catch myself second guessing my moves in my own kitchen, questioning whether the dish I'm washing is milchig or fleishig, before remembering that I don't subscribe to such an onerous system of kitchen organization. Truthfully, I think the Kashrut is something I could deal with, though it does limit culinary flexibility (and produce a ridiculous number of dishes to wash); it's the hair covering I can't reconcile. Of course, I have a lot of respect for the women I know who practice it, if only for the level of will-power and commitment it reflects. But not only do I still find the logic behind the custom, especially as it pertains to shaitels, somewhat flawed; I just can't bear the thought of having something on my head all day long, every day, for the rest of my life. In the heat of the summer? Never feeling the wind in your hair? Can you even imagine?

Do you think you could do it?? 


baby love

Lately I feel like all I do is talk about Felix! He's the star of my facebook, instagram, and probably this blog, too. Yes, it's hard to make friends with grown people in a new city, even if you didn't have a little one, and especially when you work from home. But also, he's the funniest guy around and so cute, so why would I want to hang out with anyone else! I hate that it's impossible not to sound trite when talking about your children. But, at least I'm not alone! Judging by her new surprise album--which is all over the place to the point that it already seems silly to even talk about it or how good it is--Beyonce seems similarly consumed by her own new little family.

I like how this sweetest song to her little one sits comfortably alongside such super sexxxy tracks as Blow and Rocket. It just proves she's just living a real life--or at least singing about one. And she does it so well. Better than almost anyone else, seems like. She's no angel, obviously... but at least she's trying! amirite? Both the Knowles sisters do a good job of making motherhood look soulful and stylish. Remember this one?

Not quite as glamorous, but just as sweet!


gifts for the special lady

Because special ladies deserve extra special presents! Don't you agree?

Perfume is sort of a cliché, but that's because it's a luxurious gift that ladies love! Choose her signature scent, or find a new one that captures her personality. Byredo's Gypsy Water, by the super-sexxxy Ben Gorham, is at the top of my list. Starting at an unfortunate $110.

Pajamas are another classic christmas gift. Just pick some especially nice ones--wouldn't she look adorable in these? Very Coco Chanel. $98 

And to keep her from changing out of them, try bringing her her breakfast in bed on this handy reversible acacia serving tray. It doubles as a lap table when you flip it over, which is perfect. $42.88

Top it with one of these super cute one-cup tea sets--or an equally jolly infusion coffee pot, if she prefers! $35-$36

Speaking of coffee, isn't this combination bag clip/scoop so handy? Meant for sealing and dispensing coffee grounds, but also good for bags flour or sugar, if she bakes. A perfect stocking stuffer! $8.56

If she's in to stationary, these gold-embellished zodiac birthday cards are just the thing, and so so magical. Set of 12 folded birthday cards (one for each sign) with matching inserts, $36

Not sure why this girl looks so glum... this faux-fur snood is the most luxurious thing I can think of, and looks just about as warm as can be! $70 at Topshop (find similar styles for $24.50 at Circles of Softness). 

The Portable Dorothy Parker is a must-read for every modern woman, so if she doesn't have it already, you should buy it for her. No one is wittier or more hilarious--a true role model! This is one of my favorite books of all time! $17.59

This Donna Wilson wool throw is the perfect thing in which to wrap up while she reads. Admittedly pricy, but it is hand knit--in Scotland, even! And so cheeky! $298

Lily Dawson grew up across the street from my grandparents, and guess what: she's making jewelry now! Her pieces are super on-trend, totally affordable, and best of all, absolutely gorgeous! Choose from a range of handmade rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, starting at $10, at Lily Dawson Designs


gifts for the gentleman

Not to say that I've only be suggesting gifts for women up until this point, but sometimes boys can be particularly tricky. You understand. 

if there's one thing I've learned, its that boys just want to be cozy! Imagine him wrapped up in one of these all winter like a Stark of Winterfell. $79

Men also enjoy a beverage of quality. Luxury mixers, gifted alone or alongside a bottle of his favorite fine liquor, make a gift you know he'll really use. This cardamom clove syrup looks especially tasty. $11

Plus he needs something nice to drink it from! Just choose the appropriate vessel for his favorite drink, then buy at least a pair, so you can use them together! Solid copper mugs for Moscow Mules, $9 each (add a monogram, or silly emblem, for $7)

Or if they're more of a coffee drinker, these stanley thermoses are classic. $19-$32 

Men also appreciate useful objects, be they rich or humble. Bonus points if they're small enough to fit in the palm of your hand--they're handier that way. For example,

a tin of mink oil ($6) to protect and polish his leather items. Or try cream for his hands if he's rough on them at work; a masculine lipbalm if he's frequently outdoors in the wintertime; or some of the best-smelling after shave balm--products he'd use every day if he had but is perhaps unlikely to spring for.

Other tiny, giftable objects include these horn scoops, $15

and these pebble tape measures. $17

Any of these would fit tidily inside one of these very giftable wooden and leather boxes, but he likely already has something he could keep in it. $29.

It's a bottle opener, and a hammer! $4.50

Lastly, for the mason: these golden equilateral triangle nails, $28


gifts for the kitchen

You can't go wrong with kitchen gear. It's a solid, platonic gift, good for people who cook and encouraging to those who don't. Here are some things I think would be nice to have around!

I've only used one of these once, but I really liked it! Very quick for chopping parsley, or anything, and so zen. Or maybe tao? I like this model, from the Nigella Lawson line, but it's proving pretty hard to track down. But of course there are plenty on the internet, just google mezzaluna or ulu knife. 

These tiny rubber-dipped wooden bowls are adorable! And you can put anything in them. Spices, dips, small snacks... Anything! I like this marbleized set of four, but she offers them in lots of colorways and combinations. Starting at $8, Wind & Willow

Speaking of adorable, how sweet is this little hedgehog potguard! Also available in moose or owl. $7

I checked this out from the library some months ago and I really loved it. It includes plenty of tasty and not-so-tricky recipes for things like salty chocolate sablée, Rose gelée, and how to make your very own sea salt. Equally appealing is the inspiration: author Caitlin Freeman is head pastry chef a the Blue Bottle Cafe at the top of the San Francisco MoMA, and all of her desserts are modeled on works of modern art featured at the museum. I loved the Kudless smores, and of course, the Thiebaud cakes! This book is for anyone who appreciates sweets, art criticism, and the challenge of negotiating two distinct media in order to create a cohesive work of art. Starting at $13.87

To serve up their resulting creations, why not this adorable glass pie plate? Something they almost certainly don't already own. $35.90.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: dishtowels are a good gift! Considering their visible and quotidian presence in one's life, it only makes sense to get the most beautiful ones you can find. I like the selections at Huset, Zara Home, and, if you're lucky enough to live in the UK, of course Liberty London

Plants are nice to have around, especially if you can use them in your recipes! A rosemary tree is festive and seasonal, and will make any kitchen smell amazing. Aloe plants are nice too, and easy to care for! $49.99

Do they have a butter bell? An olive jar? A honey pot? Probably not, but how sweet and wonderful! Or what about mustard jar--just the thing to hold a batch of this delicious tart cherry mustard I made for thanksgiving that I just wanted to tell you guys about because its real easy to make and so tasty! Le Creuset accessories, around $30 each on Amazon.   

How handy is this cookbook/tablet stand? I especially like the splash guard, it would make me feel a lot better about using the ipad in the kitchen. $24.99

Finally, they may truly have everything they ever need, but you can never have too much salt! $16


gifts for the little ones

For a more exotic alternative to your run-of-the-mill building blocks, how about this pyramid set, complete with a smiling sphinx? So mystical. Find these, as well as JapaneseRussian, or Middle Eastern block sets, $45 each at Acorn Toys. 

This is a classic. Their parents might hate you for it, but what little scoundrel wouldn't love one of these old fashioned sling shots? $26, Atomic Garden

Little girls will love this cuddly Lapin bunny bag. It's the perfect size and so so cute! $34, Catbird

These DIY drums are so cool! Using the kit, you make them, then you play them! Truly fun and educational. Plus there are far noisier and more annoying things they could be playing with. $45, Poketo

Kids of all ages enjoy playing with fake food, and there are plenty of good quality felt and wood products out there. This breakfast set is my favorite--what better way to start training them to bring you breakfast in bed? $16.93, Amazon

When it's time for real food, it's nice for children to have their very own dishes (it's one more way to get them excited about mealtime). These melamine sets with their compartmentalized trays are a good choice for the fastidious feaster, and come in two super cute patterns. $30, Husset

Fact: kids love shoes. Or at least, every kid I've ever met does. Zara has an especially gift-worthy selection--I wish I owned a lot of these, myself! Get them a tiny version of something their mother/father would wear, and they'll feel so grown up! Starting at around $30 at Zara

Can you even imagine? $59.99, Target

You can't go wrong with legos, and this deluxe Parisian Restaurant is the stuff dreams are made of. See the tiny roast chicken? The croissant-shaped molding on the roof? The man about to propose with the most ridiculously oversized gold ring Ive ever seen? There's even a little rat out back by the little blue dumpster! (I've spent way more time than is reasonable looking at this... I wish I could live in the studio apartment upstairs!) $149.99 (eep!) at the lego store

But if, like me, you're reluctant to gift a little one who already seems to have an excess of toys, books, and nicknacks in general, my friend recently shared a good idea: buy them a trip or membership to a local museum, science center, botanical garden, anything! The children's museum here in Pittsburgh is supposed to be really cool; we're going next week, and I'm excited!