Archive for the 'Currently obsessed with….' Category

Currently Obsessed with…. Butter London and Shabby Apple


From left: Bossy Boots, Disco Biscuit, Knackered, Slapper, and Trout Pout.

On this Friday afternoon, I give you…. Thoughts of spring and summer — they will come, one way or another.

On my mind: Butter London’s Spring 2012 nail colors. I could do with a happy shot of one of those (I’m thinking Disco Biscuit, that fab hot pink.)

And this adorable swimsuit — a bikini, no less! — from Shabby Apple. It’s only $26.

Cockatoo Island Bikini from Shabby Apple

Cockatoo Island Bikini


You’re welcome.

Last: a quote I’ve found enormously helpful lately. And I’m not really a quote-y type. I came across it while working on a freelance editorial project recently for

“There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.” — Jill Churchill

As my friend Amy says, RIGHT ON.

Happy weekend, mamas.


Currently Obsessed with…. Christmas Pretties

I’m ready for 2012. New Year, new outlook, and some pretty new stuff, too.

Loving this beautiful watercolor calendar from Linda & Harriet.

Linda & Harriet Watercolor Calendar 2012

Note the date: Summer...!

Feeling it for this funky print tunic from Tanvi Kedia.

Tanvi Kedia tunic

I want to smell like this Moulinette Soeurs Eau de Parfum in Arabelle — a mix of magnolia (!), night-blooming jasmine, and vanilla orchid.

Moulinette Soeurs Eau de Parfum

How happy are these Claudia Pearson Four Seasons Tea Towels? VERY.

Claudia Pearson four-seasons-tea-towels

Want to guess which one's my favorite? Hint: It's not winter.

I need The Graces Candle, to burn on a side table in my living room, with the lights way down low.

C_P_Candle_The_GracesAnd this purple frock looks ripe for a party, doesn’t it?

autumn days asymmetrical dress

Or maybe holiday drinks at The Standard Hotel? I’ve got a table booked.

Boom Boom Room The Standard Hotel

(photo: Dan Nguyen)

Here’s to keeping things merry and bright, people.

Oh. And pretty!

Currently Obsessed with…. the October, 2011 Issue of Food & Wine Magazine: New French Classics

food & wine october 2011

Can’t put down the French-food-focused October ish of Food & Wine. Melissa Clark’s Marseille-Style Shrimp Stew — with garlicky French rouille on toasts — is a major keeper. Absolutely delicious and full of flavors we don’t always cook with — orange zest, saffron, cloves.

Other temptations:

More recipes for eating the French way: smaller portions of better-tasting food (with wine, of course)

NYC chef April Bloomfield hits France: note the Lyon-Style Chicken with Vinegar Sauce, the Herbed Steamed Rice, and the Warm Bacon-and-Egg Salad

A fun culinary travel guide to Paris: Can we go back, please, and try all of these places?

Bon Appetit!


Other obsessions:

State Prints from One Canoe Two

Dining at Buvette

Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves





Currently Obsessed with…. State Prints from One Canoe Two

Texas print

I saw these yesterday on Design Mom and I want, I want. At least the Texas print, and maybe several, grouped together to represent the states Chrissy and I have lived in. They’ve colorful, cute, and very affordable.

State Prints — original art turned into a letterpress print — by One Canoe Two. $15.

California print

Currently Obsessed with…. Dining at Buvette


Despite the fact that I’ve eaten French cheese and duck rillettes, have been wearing Petit Bateau and Bensimons, am buying a baguette daily, and have salted French butter (!) in my fridge, I find myself…. still very much back in Brooklyn and no longer in France. Sigh.

So when I read about downtown French eatery Buvette in the Cheap Eats 2011 issue of New York magazine, I was ready to get my American butt there ASAP. Luckily, I had two willing dining companions on two different days last week to accompany me. Yay! (Bisous, Christina and Chrissy!)

Buvette is where the duck rillettes were consumed, and, oh my, but they were delicious. As were the rest of the charcuterie (terrine de campagne, blue cheese), and other things we sampled — salade d’epinards, ham and melon, and more.

And the space (former longtime home of The Pink Teacup) is adorable! Every detail: The long marble bar, the pretty pastries, the snug tables, the small, sweet water glasses, the blackboard map showing the wine list by region, the bicyclette out front. The combined effect is almost transporting.


They serve all day long during the week, 8am through late supper. Weekend brunch is coming soon. I haven’t tried any of the egg dishes yet, but I can’t wait to! They sound fab.

A word to the wise mom and dad, though: Leave les enfants at home for Buvette, unless you’re just stopping in to pick up a pain au chocolat and coffee. This is one for the adults.

And a note on pricing: Buvette serves tempting, well-priced small plates, but the small plates, plus wine, etc., add up. Although it was in the Cheap Eats ish, I wouldn’t really call it “cheap.”

Definitely worthwhile, though.

For more pretty pictures of Buvette — and to see some other NYC restaurants and food you may not have encountered before — hop on over to Eric Isaac’s photography blog, Snap Food.

And get yourself and your honey to Buvette. Have being in France fantasies. Enjoy. And tell me what you thought.

Buvette is located at 42 Grove Steet (between Bleecker and Bedford).


photo: Snap Food / Eric Isaac



Other obsessions:

Porch Crawler Cocktail from Frankies Spuntino

Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves

Bloch Ballet Flats

Currently Obsessed with…. Seeing Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, at The Met

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen / Ensemble, VOSS, spring/summer 2001 / photo via The Met

Looking for inspiration. Looking for beauty. Looking to get in out of the rain.

Think seeing the Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (on now through July 31st) will accomplish all of the above. Don’t you?

(FYI, I hear there’s a wait to get in — go early and, better yet, on a weekday, if you can. The museum opens at 9:30 am daily; closed Mondays. The exhibition is free with museum admission.)

Currently Obsessed with…. Porch Crawler Cocktail from Frankies Spuntino

Porch Crawler

You may have noticed we’re spring-obsessed here at Shiny Brite — ready for sun, bare ankles, and a carefree life post-TAT. (You are coming, aren’t you? Seriously, it’s gonna be kick-ass and we want EVERY KID IN BROOKLYN there.)

Anyway, just discovered this drink — a Porch Crawler — in the April ish of Food & Wine and cannot wait to make it. It’s a blissful-sounding, muddled combination of fresh cherries, mint, hot chiles, white rum, lemon, simple syrup, and club soda — SPRING IN A GLASS. And it makes me happy that it was Brooklyn-grown, crafted by the two Frankies (Falcinelli and Castronovo) behind Frankies Spuntino right here in our home borough.

Here’s the recipe.

Maybe I’ll have one — or ten — when Touch a Truck is over.

Here’s to spring!

Currently Obsessed with…Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves

Last Christmas, I became obsessed with finding Jill Krementz’s A Very Young Dancer for Magnolia.

It’s an oldie, part of a series of oversize photography books that explored the lives of individual girls living out some universal girlhood fantasy (there were also very young gymnasts, riders, and skaters). The books were published in the 1970’s and are now out of print. Dancer follows the life of a little girl in New York City who is chosen to play the lead role in the Nutcracker one Christmas. Perfect for our own little ballerina.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered these books were published by Knopf (my employer), but out of print. Alas, no amount of treasure hunting around the office turned up even one copy of the series.

So I did what everyone else does these days and I Googled the book. And that’s when I made one of my favorite discoveries of the last year: Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves.

This blog, run by San Antonio mom Burgin Streetman, is an absolute find. Burgin haunts vintage shops, thrift stores, estate sales, library sales; really, anyplace there might be a used kid’s book. And the stuff she finds is gorgeous and wonderful.

I’m always looking for great books to read to the kids, so I took time to ask Burgin some questions about her inspirations and strategies.

Q: Your site is so inspiring! It sounds as if you’re constantly discovering forgotten classics. Where do you find these great books? Where would you advise a novice book-sleuth to start their search (and are there any places to avoid)?

A: We find our books everywhere. Used books shops, thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, library sales, on-line. If you are a novice, my suggestion would be go everywhere. The times when you feel an impulse to avoid someplace, go there! Odds are, everyone else gets the same vibe when they pass, so you’ll be the only one brave enough to search. The trick too is, if you find a shop that you really like, go there, often. That’s how you make sure that if something great comes in, you’re the one who snags it.

Q: What is your philosophy on buying vintage books? Are you looking for specific titles, or is it a treasure hunt? Is there a price point you won’t go over?

A: It’s a treasure hunt, really. For the most part, I stumble across things, but if I’m really desperate, I’ll pay for something online. As far as price goes, I’m pretty thrifty. I’ve only paid premium for two books. $50 for Jim Flora’s The Day the Cow Sneezed (before it was reprinted) and $125 for the Charles Harper’s Golden Book of Biology.

Otherwise, I probably won’t pay more than $10 for something I really want.

Q: Your son is obviously a big reader (sounds like he’s already reading alone at five?). How often do you read to him?

A: When he was three and four, we probably read together three hours a day. Now that he’s in kindergarten, we read maybe 30 minutes a day of picture books, and about an hour a night of longer chapter books. My biggest piece of advice to parents who want to raise children who love books aside from reading to them, of course, is audio books. I can’t sing their praises enough. My son started listening to books like Charlotte’s Web when he was around three, and eight million hours of audio later, he loves it. More than TV even. He listens to audio books almost constantly when we are home. While he’s playing and coloring. Children can listen to them anywhere and everywhere, road trip, alone in their room, and in the end, they’ll end up with gigantic vocabularies.

Q: We all have books we remember from our childhood, but as a parent I am always amazed at the wonderful books I discover that I never knew about (I Am a Bunny and Harold and the Purple Crayon both come to mind).

What are some of your favorite discoveries (or re-discoveries) you’ve made with your son?

A: Mercer Mayer, for sure. I loved Mercer Mayer when I was growing up, but I probably only ever owned one or two of the Little Critter books. The rest I would check out from the library. Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp was a book I saw once in a book store when I was four or five years old, and I remembered it passionately for years. I didn’t remember the name or the author, just a general idea of the story and pictures. About ten years ago when book searches became so easy on the internet, I tracked it down and fell in love all over again.

Q: Our six-year-old has just started asking to be read chapter books. Do you have any suggestions of books worth seeking out for this transitional stage (beyond Roald Dahl)? Any unsung (vintage) heroes in the adventure story/fantasy genre (beyond Narnia)?

A: You know, I wish there were more. My son really loves the fantasy genre like Harry Potter, Narnia and Percy Jackson, but I often find so many fantasy books of old were not written with children in mind so you really have to dig. He loves Peter Pan, Treasure Island, E.B. White’s books, and L. Frank Baum has lots of books (other than The Wizard of Oz) that he loves like The Magical Monarch of Mo. He is starting to get into Lloyd Alexander’s five-part series The Chronicles of Prydain. The Phantom Tollbooth. My Father’s Dragon.

Q: What are your three favorite picture books and why?

A: Just three, really?

William Steig’s Rotten Island… I’ve read this books to so many boys that I’ve lost count and every single of of them gets their mind blown when they read it. Steig had such a wonderful, off-kilter and somewhat dark imagination, but always with a spark of uplift and hope at the end. His books never get boring to me. EVER.

Mercer Mayer’s One Monster After Another… Mercer’s pictures are so fun to look at and his words so silly to read, my son adores this book, as do I. It’s a weekly read, but honestly, we could read it everyday and my son would never stop asking for it.

Tomi Ungerer’s Zeralda’s Ogre… Any book by Ungerer is gold in my mind. My son loves them. I love them. Dark and magical. And awesome.

Thanks, Burgin! Check out her blog for inspiration for your kiddos.

Just reading her blog brought back a few of my own childhood favorites:

Big Sister and Little Sister is one that my mom read to Katie and me when we were kids. Big Sister is (what some would say) typical: always instructing Little Sister what to do and how to do it. Little Sister has to show Big Sister that she can take care of herself before they can both take care of each other “because Little Sister had learned from Big Sister, and now they both knew how.” Just thinking of it makes me want to call my little sis.

The Three Little Horses by Piet Worm is a book my godmother gave to me when I was probably about seven. The three little horses of the title decide to take a break from horsey pursuits and visit the local town beneath the field where they play. They dress up as princesses and pass among the people. It’s a sweet book with gorgeous illustrations and it has recently been reissued. I bought it for Magnolia; she loves it as much as I did.

The Children’s Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit and illustrated by Rolf Klep. The inscription is to “Sarah Marie” (my mom) from “Mother and Daddy 1960.” And it has my mom’s childhood address in it, which makes it that much more special to me. About the book: it’s a gorgeous hardcover (published by Random House!) that essentially breaks down twelve of Shakespeare’s greatest to kid-friendly prose. I blame this book for my college, and later my graduate-school interest in Shakespeare. Worth seeking out, and in print.

Happy hunting!

Currently Obsessed with…. Bloch Ballet Flats

Bloch ballet flats

Happy feet: Bloch ballet flats, from Soula in Brooklyn, $125

It may not feel like it yet, but it’s spring — which means I’m looking forward to putting away the boots and moving on to flats and bare ankles. (Can sandals be far behind?)

I’m all for a cheap shoe fix at Target or on our annual shopping pilgrimage to Austin, but you get what you pay for, and this spring I decided to splurge on a pair of flats I don’t just like, I love.

I seem to go through a pair of black flats every year, but I’m hoping these Bloch ballet flats (above) will take me farther. The Australian shoemaker has been around since 1932 and made its name producing real ballet slippers and pointe shoes, but eventually added in footwear for ladies, girls, and toddlers. Find them in Brooklyn at Soula or browse their catalogues online.

The black flats I bought were soft and supple, with a flexible soul and reinforced heel — and they were INSTANTLY comfortable.


Other spring shoe obsessions:

The Espadrille Wedge from Marais USA

Colorful Bensimon Sneakers from Basic French (you can spot them in chic shops in Brooklyn, too.)

New line of footwear from fab tee company Splendid


Currently Obsessed with…. ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

Chrissy and I recently managed to sneak in a moms-only lunch at ABC Kitchen, the Jean-Georges Vongerichten farm-to-table spot in ABC Carpet & Home. Oooh, la, la. Swank. And yummy.

Dying to go back. (Maggie, maybe this should be our next lunch spot?)

The food was delish and the place made for extremely entertaining NYC people-watching — it’s like a little piece of the Upper East Side plopped down in the Flatiron. Sweater sets, oversize handbags, facelifts, and ladies-who-lunch a-go-go. Apparently, celebs, too — Chrissy just *happened* to spy Stanley Tucci‘s name in the reservation book.

We popped in early, sans reservation, and sat at one of the tall bar tables up front — a perch that made the people-watching even easier. But if you want a real table in the main dining room, definitely call to reserve.

On the menu:

Roasted squash toast with ricotta and apple cider vinegar

Mackerel sashimi with ginger and mint

Roasted carrot and avocado salad with crunchy seeds and citrus (surprising and divine)

Smoky lentil soup with herb-infused oil and Parmesan

And, we had no room for it, but of extreme interest for dessert:

Salted Caramel-Peanut Ice Cream Sundae

Here’s what The New York Times had to say about ABC Kitchen…. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable review — let’s just say Sam Sifton had fun with it. And he concedes the food is very good.

Need to schedule a lunch date with a colleague or friend? Want to treat yourself while downtown for a doctor’s appointment? You’ve found your place.

ABC Kitchen

Other obsessions:

Moving to Austin!

Cute Kindle Covers

Viva Zapata! Bags

Who I Am


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