Archive for the 'spring' 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.


June 4 – 5: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

P.S. 39 Spring Carnival

Come, eat, bounce, play, help out a Brooklyn school.

Keeping it short, sweet, and personal this weekend with good ideas from a few Brooklyn moms I like….

What to do:

My friend Diana — who owns fab Park Slope women’s clothing and jewelry boutique Diana Kane — is the lead parent organizer of this weekend’s P.S. 39 Spring Carnival. Join the festivities — food! games! ponies! a bouncy house, and more! — this Saturday. And support a local school while you’re at it.

What to get:

Curious Chef kids' knives

Nylon Knife Set from Curious Chef, $9

My friend Lainie — who, with her chef husband, owns South Slope eatery Sidecar — turned me on to these genius Nylon kids’ knives from Curious Chef this week. Kids can safely chop and slice right alongside you in the kitchen with blades that will handle food but won’t harm little hands. I foresee lots of tomato, avocado, mango, and melon slicing this summer. I’ve ordered my set — and a vegetable peeler, too! — J. and M. are psyched.

What to try:

South of France house via Home Exchange

You could swap your place in Brooklyn for this view. Yep. Ya could.

My friend Cay is taking her family to Yosemite and San Diego this summer — and she’s doing a housing swap with a local family there, through I’ve thought a million times about doing this…. But have never gotten around to it. The idea of exchanging homes with another family on vacation is highly appealing, though — think of the money you could save! and think how much more accessible it could make destinations you’ve fantasized about as well as those you’ve never even considered! — so I’m snapping pics of our house, plunking down the $100 annual fee, and signing us up! Cay says they’ve had offers from families in France, the Netherlands, and more. Count me in.

I’ve already got my eye on this 3-bedroom home in the South of France, right on the beach — note the view above — and very close to where our friends Kim and Pierre live.

(FYI, you can search homes for free to get an idea of what’s available — you don’t pay the fee until you’re ready to sign up and list your place, so let the travel fantasies begin….)

Happy weekend!

Early Summer Musings

Fire Island

Anybody got a ferry schedule?

No time (or inclination) to post a Weekend Links round-up of fun NYC kid-centric activities. My mind’s on only one thing: Getting out of town.

We’re headed to the beach for what I hope will be the gateway weekend to a long summer full of the following:

* do I need to mention more beach? (Maybe we’ll get lucky and run into Tina Fey….)

* boats, ferries, & bare feet

* pool time a go-go

* every ice cream flavor under the sun

* wind in our hair

* alfresco dinners

* new music

* wine, vino, du vin (covering all my bases)

* pretty scenery in foreign lands

* adventures & discoveries!

Gotta pack and catch the ferry — but first: What are you looking forward to this summer?

Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day! May it kick off a fine spring-into-summer season.

5 Things I Hate About Wednesday (+ One I Love)

OK, my sunny outlook (note Monday’s post) has left the building.

Here are a few things I’ve got against this day:

1. More goddamn gray skies and rain.

2. We just found out our tenant — a fabulous guy who’s been renting from us since M. was a newborn — is leaving. Crap. Now we have to find someone else, and I doubt anyone will be able to measure up to him.

3. I think the skinny jeans I talked myself into in Austin may have been a bad idea after all.

4. I have absolutely no clue what to do with the rest of my life, and I am holding this day personally responsible for it. (Ideas welcome, by the way! I can sort of write and edit, I like to travel, and I just planned a successful event for about 5,000 people. This translates into…?)

5. There is not one mother-effing chocolate chip cookie to be found anywhere in this house and I ate the last holdout piece of the kids’ Easter candy yesterday.

One bright spot: this photo of M. It says a lot about her — always looking for another opportunity to stick her tongue out at a mommy! — and it makes me smile, even when I’m feeling down on Wednesday.

m. with jewelry box

Willing Spring to Come

Despite the gloomy gray skies and intense news day, I’m looking forward to real, life-affirming spring weather — willing it to (finally!) come to New York City and settle in for real.

Helping fuel my bright outlook….

Calypso St. Barth comes to Target:


Sleeveless pink tunic, $40, Target. Yes, please.

After a prolonged period of lust, these blue espadrilles have found a home in my closet:

marais USA espadrilles

Marais USA espadrille wedge in nautical blue, $105, the Shoe Market in Williamsburg.

This shot of poppy red would look good on my shoulder (and yours, too):

boden leather trim tote

Boden leather trim tote in poppy, $88.

Smorgasburg, an all-food version (!!!) of the Brooklyn Flea, opens in Williamsburg on May 21:

Smorgasburg Brooklyn Flea


OK, sun — come find me!

April 30 – May 1, Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas: Cherry Blossoms, a Guy Named Bob, and What Your Drink Says About You

cherry blossom festival

Time for the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden! It’s fun, it’s pretty, it’s a slice of Brooklyn life — but it’s also a mob scene. Here are a few tips to get more out of it:

* You can buy tix in advance online, and your entry will be expedited.

* Entry’s free — and faster — if you’re a member, so maybe now’s the time to pony up for a family membership to the BBG.

* Go early, like first thing, which is 10am. You know you’ll have been up for hours anyway.

* For an awesome FREE kid’s craft project station, be sure to seek out Curious Jane Camp, who’ll be hosting a weekend workshop at the festival. (And read my interview with camp founder Samantha Razook Murphy here.)

For a printable schedule of events, advance ticket + membership info, and more, head to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s web site.

If the crowds at the garden sound overwhelming and you’d rather stay home downloading new music and making cocktails while the kids zone out with a movie — appealing, no? — then make this tune by Austin musician Bob Schneider the first thing you buy.

Here’s “Honeypot,” from his addictive new CD, A Perfect Day. The song is deeply awesome and the video completely enjoyable. As always, I must advise that you listen to it VERY LOUD. And note the babe-ish blond on guitar in the background. Mmm-hmm.

For new cocktail inspiration, and humorous commentary on what your choice of drink says about you, check out this fun post from one half of the parental team (the dad) over at Dinner: A Love Story.

Clink — cheers!

Spring Break, Here We Come!

First, in case you were wondering, here’s what went down yesterday afternoon at the pool party on the Upper West Side….

I was looking and feeling pretty good, if I do say so myself — I bought a new last-minute swimsuit, got a pedicure, whipped out the curling iron, shaved my legs, found something cute to wear, and made use of my new makeup. By the time I’d yanked the kids out of school early and schlepped into Manhattan, I was READY to meet the famous mom. Psyched, even.

But she was a no-show! Just as we arrived, she texted our friend that she was stuck in a meeting. So she sent the kids (who are polite and look just like her, by the way) on to the party with their nanny. Rats! If the meeting ends up happening another time, I’ll no doubt go through the same neurotic thoughts, but hopefully I’ll be able pull my sh*t together again. Who knows? We’ll see. (And thanks for the sweet comments yesterday! They helped.)

NOW. Moving on.

SeeWee Restaurant

Southern-fried goodness at SeeWee restaurant in Awendaw, South Carolina. (photo:

coconut cake

A reliable source (Grammie) tells us there is good coconut cake to be had at SeeWee, too. (photo:

Spring Break! You’re looking at what we’ll be doing. We’re headed to Charleston, South Carolina, which means GOOD SOUTHERN FOOD is in store. Beyond that, our plans are humble, and we’ve given them zero advance thought. We’re looking forward to getting in some pool time, some beach time, and some serious doing nothing time. We’re all still TAT-weary, and we need this vacation.

Even if we were in NYC for the break, we’d be looking to escape, at least for a day or two. And I’d consult Mommy Poppins‘ list, 30 New York City Family-Friendly Day Trips, on where to go.

Wherever you are, may there be coconut cake in your future.

Off to pack!

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…. 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


Calling Kids of All Ages: Touch-a-Truck Brooklyn, April 9, 11am – 2pm, Rain or Shine!

Touch a Truck Brooklyn

Chrissy and I are excited to tell you about — and if you live in Brooklyn or nearby, invite you to! — a cool event we’ve been working on since last November. And by “working on,” I mean “devoting our lives to.” It’s been fun, but also overwhelming (more on that in another post. Maybe.)

Anyway, on to Touch-a-Truck Brooklyn!

What it is: A fun, exciting event where kids can climb in the driver’s seat of the trucks they see in everyday life — and some unusual ones, too — to “drive” and explore them with the help of the person who brought the vehicle. Admission: $5 a person; kids under two FREE. All proceeds will benefit the arts programs at P.S. 295, The Studio School of Arts & Culture (the elementary school Jasper and Magnolia attend.)

Vehicles scheduled to come include:

* FDNY fire engine

* NYPD police cruiser

* garbage truck

* tow truck

* dump truck

* concrete mixer

* ambulance

* vintage Airstream trailer

* a moving van

* The Truck Farm, a traveling garden and CSA

* The BioBus, a mobile science lab on wheels — sponsored by Target!

* vintage soda truck + other vintage cars from the Brooklyn Antique Automobile Association

* The Chip Shop delivery car, a funky little British ride

* and more!

There will be yummy food, too: Know how popular NYC food trucks have become? Well, we’ll have some of the best on hand selling sweet and savory treats:

* Frites ‘N’ Meats, selling their amazing burgers, fries, and hot dogs

* Country Boys Foods, selling delicious tacos and more — they’re one of the famed vendors from the uber-popular Red Hook ball fields

* The Treats Trucks, selling a variety of yummy sweet treats to please both kids + parents.

Where the idea for Touch-a-Truck came from: As New York City’s public schools face dire budget cuts, parents are looking for new and creative ways to raise money to benefit them. Chrissy and I attended a Touch-a-Truck fundraiser at a school in Connecticut and thought it would be cool to transport the idea to Brooklyn. So, yo — we did!

And we got some generous sponsors on board to help — TAT would like to thank:

TargetUnion MarketGreschlers’ HardwareStomping Ground PhotographyQuadrozzi Concrete Park Slope PlumbingPaul SignsSidecarAstoria Federal SavingsEagle Provisions

So mark your calendar and come join us! With help from others, we’ve worked hard to make this happen for P.S. 295, our children, and kids all over Brooklyn.

Now let’s get down with some big, bad trucks — and awesome food — on April 9! See you there!

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