Monthly Archives: April 2010

Jailbirds

How amazing are these birdhouses by The Curiosity Shop and artists Luke Bartels and Jeff Canham? I love them! Thanks to Dani for the tip.

{from Apartment Therapy}

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Typographic Moustaches

This is brilliant.

{from PubActuelle, via NotCot}

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Jim Lahey is a genius


Bread will never cease to amaze me. The most basic variety is just four ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, water), and together they create something that exists in almost all cultures and is unbelievably tasty. Over the weekend I dove head first into Jim Lahey‘s amazing book My Bread. I was really excited to make the PB&J bread (which I did, and which will be covered in a subsequent post), but he recommending trying a loaf of the most basic bread first. I trust him and don’t trust my own ability to have a civilized conversation with yeast, so I followed his advice. The recipe is, completely seriously, idiot-proof. I don’t know how he figured it out, but Jim has discovered a completely foolproof bread-baking method. The image above is of my loaf right after I took it out of the oven when it was “singing.” Loaves will often make little crackling and wheezing noises when you take them out as steam starts escaping through the crust. In his book, Jim waxes poetic about singing bread and I have to say he’s right. It’s a beautiful sound. The picture below is my bread after I sliced it open. A few pictures of my dough in various stages after the jump!


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Empire State of Mind

I’m back! And ready to resume blogging like a normal person. Being at home was lovely and relaxing, but once you have been bitten by the New York bug, there is nothing like returning to the city. Here are three things to celebrate:

1. I just purchased and watched this movie the other day and it was great. It was created by the same people who organized Paris j’taime and is pretty much the same in concept and format: a bunch of different directors do short vignettes on love and the city. It’s not the fastest-paced movie ever, but it’s gorgeous and definitely accessible even if you don’t know much about New York. That being said, there are all kinds of little nods and winks to the city that make the movie particularly charming to those of us who love New York.

2. “New York, Concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothing you can’t do / Now you’re in New York / These streets will make you feel brand new / the lights will inspire you” I now make a habit of listening to Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind every time my plane approaches JFK. Look at the Manhattan skyline from above. You’ll know that everything about this song is true.

3. There are lots of cliches about New York. And as a New Yorker, I feel like we often ignore them or dismiss them as part of a naive fantasy kept alive by over-zealous Midwesterners wandering around Midtown in safari vests triumphantly wielding telephoto zoom lenses and street-vendor hot dogs as if this gives them a new, gritty perspective on the city. However, there are moments when I see something that is so New York that I cannot help but get a gooey feeling in my heart and remember how amazing our city is. Last night I was walking to a friend’s apartment a few blocks away. On the way, I passed this little cafe/deli place, as always, but last night there was a scene that could have been a postcard. There were about ten men of widely varying ages and about six different ethnicities huddled around a backgammon game. They could not have been dressed more differently or seemed less likely to be gathered together. Yet there they were, completely absorbed in the game and each other, laughing at each other and taunting each other at every move in the game. I had to smile as I walked by because on some level I really do think there’s something that unites everyone who lives in New York. As different as we may seem and as much as we piss each other off on a daily basis, ultimately there’s something that draws all of us to the city. I’m glad to be back.

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Monday Things

I’m heading back to New York tomorrow, which means blogging activities will resume at their normal pace tomorrow afternoon. Here are just a few things in the meantime.

1. I saw The Young Victoria last night and it was amazing. Even though there’s no clear plot structure, the movie is gorgeous and very well acted. It also has some of my favorite British period actors (ex. Miranda Richardson as Duchess of Kent, Jim Broadbent as King William, Harriet Walter as Queen Adelaide, and Michael Maloney as Sir Robert Peel).

2. I love happy PostSecrets. This one was posted yesterday and might be my all-time favorite.

3. Selectism, as always, read my mind and posted this amazing striped jumper. I don’t care if it’s supposed to be for boys. This girl wants one.

When I get back I promise to blog about all the bread I baked this weekend and my photogenic cat and grilled cheese.

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Advice for the Lovelorn

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday. I’m probably not going to be blogging much until I get back to New York on Wednesday, unless I come across something that absolutely has to be shared. Like this blog post from Marisa Silver. She was asked to come up with some advice for young/new writers and ended up feeling like she was writing a dating advice column. She offers ten pieces of advice for the lovelorn, and then explains how each one also applies to writing. My favorite is probably the last one: Don’t Panic. Ms. Silver explains this in writing terms:

“10. Your work will often look horrible and embarrassing.It will be unoriginal.  It will fill you with shame. You will lie down on your bed and think that no one has ever written more awful, ungainly sentences than you. Get up off the bed. Don’t panic. Like any kid – your work has to go through its awkward, pimply faced adolescence before it emerges as something another person might want to look at, hold in her hands, take into her heart.”

{image from National Geographic, quote from Marisa Silver on The Elegant Variation}

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Food for Thought

Again, sorry for the lack of blogging today. Here are two semi-related food stories for today though:

1. Mark Bittman’s post on the recent articles debating whether so-called Big Food can turn around and start helping with “overnutrition” problems. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am pouring a Diet Coke down my throat as we speak.

2. Jamie Oliver‘s Food Revolution show ends tonight. If you haven’t been watching this show, you should. Jamie’s trying to do something really amazing and change the way kids eat food in schools and how families eat food together. Along the way, he is helping people become not only healthier, but also happier. I really love his space in West Virginia, where the show takes place. He’s opened Jamie’s Kitchen were people can come learn about eating and cooking. What I like best about it is that it is presented as more than just a classroom or a kitchen. There are big sofas and places to hang out as well. I think it’s perfect for what Jamie’s trying to say: food isn’t just about eating or even just about cooking. It can also bring people together and create better, healthier communities. Sign his petition here.

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