•on April 12th, 2013
My lovely friend Katherine and I made muffins today. I’ve been experimenting with wheat-free baking, so I picked up some coconut flour (apparently this is a thing?), which smells like coconut, looks like flour and has lots of fiber and no grains. All that stuff.
We used this recipe but doubled it and added strawberries plus the blueberries, and it turned out really delicious. They have a different texture than normal muffins — there are more eggs, which gives it a quiche-like, dense texture that’s actually really pleasant. Next time I make it, I will probably swap out half the oil with applesauce. I’d also recommend using a bit less honey than the recipe calls for, since the coconut flour is a bit sweeter than regular flour. But regardless, delicious.
•on February 26th, 2013
Last month, my sister Kristin went to Phoenix for a conference, and at the last minute I decided to buy a ticket and join her for the weekend. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to say yes more often, so I figured this would be a great way to start.
The Grand Canyon
On our first full day there, we did the requisite visit to the Grand Canyon, which I wanted to see mostly because I felt like I should. And wow. I know everyone says this, but it’s true: pictures won’t prepare you for how awesome it is. It was completely worth the eight-hour round-trip drive to see it. The south part of the canyon is the only section open during the winter, and we approached the canyon from several vantage points in that area. At the bottom is a fancy lodge, and you can apparently hike down there, sleep overnight in the lodge and hike back up the next day. This is the newest item on my bucket list.
Nobody has ever taken this photo in the history of photography. I’m totally original.
Click to read more
•on February 5th, 2013
I’m apparently insane, and therefore I will be running my first half-marathon next month. My longest race before this was a 10-K in September, so this will be more than double that distance. Because of a combination of injury, the holidays, my sister’s wedding and a bout of the flu/bronchitis, my official training didn’t begin until a few weeks ago, much later than my training plan called for. And so I began preparing for the race in the coldest month of the year.
It’s already getting pretty intense. My run on Sunday was 9 miles, and an hour after I finished, I hobbled to a Super Bowl party in flat shoes and ate everything in sight. This Sunday, I apparently am doing a thing in which I run 10 miles—longer than I’ve ever done and also a ridiculous number to contemplate. People actually run in the double digits? And by people, I mean me?
The great thing about all these long runs has been exploring parts of Central Park I’d usually avoid in the dead of winter. The park is gorgeous this time of year, something I’d never realized, and I sometimes find myself staring at the scenery and forgetting that I’m running. (Not always: other times, I’m painfully aware of each passing mile.)
But it’s been a fun challenge and a really beautiful change of scenery for me. I’m kicking my winter-hibernation instincts and spending hours in the sunny 10-degree weather. I’ve learned the best ways to avoid windburn on your face (Nivea cream and a good neck warmer that you can pull over your nose), how to treat windburn when you don’t know how to avoid it (aloe, aloe, aloe), how to layer so you don’t sweat too much but you stay warm (wicking clothing and a light jacket is usually sufficient) and how to run on ice (run at a constant pace and don’t shuffle your feet).
It’s amazing how many other runners are outside doing the same thing as me, often wearing much less clothing and smiling much more. It turns out that not everyone hibernates in New York in the winter. Just the sane ones.
•on December 19th, 2012
OK, so I love Christmas. I’m the kind of person who never complains that stores are playing carols too early. On Thanksgiving, my iPod is already loaded with my Bing Crosby playlist. My presents are purchased a few days later. You get the picture.
But now that I live with two girls and two pets in a small Manhattan apartment, Christmas decorating needs to be a bit more creative. This year, I’m proud to say that despite our tiny living room, we managed to have three trees, along with decorations and a paper garland. Observe.
My first New York City tree, which I bought for an even smaller apartment in 2008.
•on December 11th, 2012
My co-worker Doug has a book of short stories coming out in May, and I’ve spent the past month or so working with him to create his author website. This was the most complicated Web project I’ve taken on, and it was a lot of fun to figure out how to work within CSS and HTML. (We purchased a template, which I modified based on Doug’s needs, so I didn’t build it from scratch. Just to clarify.)
He has really distinctive handwriting, so for the logo, I had him simply write his name in red pen, which I then traced over with a thick marker, scanned and uploaded as a jpeg. The rest of the site is clean and a bit minimalist, and I thought this gave it a funkier vibe.
I also created text-only logos for each of the stories he featured in his writing portfolio, based on the content and tone of the stories themselves.
It’s been fun and quite addictive, and I’m already planning the next site I want to build.
•on November 30th, 2012
It’s hard to be unhappy when looking at this face, isn’t it? This is Geoffrey, a dog my uncle cared for a few months ago.
•on November 28th, 2012
In September, my friend Laura and I climbed part of Mount Rainier. We started off, fittingly, in a place called Paradise. As New York City starts to feel like the Arctic, I can’t stop thinking about how great that day was and how much I can’t wait to go back.
John Muir once called the wildflowers here “the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings.”
Rocks at the vista
The lovely Laura
•on November 6th, 2012
I love to plan parties and decorate for holidays and special occasions, so I started dreaming up plans for my sister’s bridal shower soon after she and her fiancé Dave announced their engagement. Since we live in different states, the party planning had to be meticulous, which required months of spreadsheets, documents and lists (and dozens of phone calls with my mom in Michigan). In addition, my wonderful father spent almost four hours at Walmart the day before the shower, buying everything I asked for (including six kinds of chocolate), and my mom helped with a ton of the baking and food preparation. My aunts, who came to town from Minnesota, also helped a lot with the decorations. I arrived in town on Friday, and 24 hours later, we had a party!
Here are a few decor/food highlights. read more
•on September 20th, 2012
Years ago, my friend and former editor Carrie started painting. She took to it quickly and found she really loved it. Over the years, her paintings got better, more confident and more distinctive. They started to have a style all her own, with saturated colors and thick palette-knife strokes.
Recently, she quit her job to paint full-time, and I’m so proud of her. Her landscapes are beautiful, and I’m especially drawn to a series of 10×10″ paintings she’s working on (and selling for $100 apiece).
Check out her work on her blog and her website.
•on September 18th, 2012
In the past few days, I’ve been working on invitations for my sister’s wedding shower, which I am throwing for her in October. Here’s a sneak peek at part of the invitation, which I created in InDesign. It was a fun process; I don’t do much vector designing anymore, so it was nice to relearn some old skills.
Also, I’m in the middle of a side project called The Man Fast, which I’ve been doing for a few weeks now. Basically, I’m taking some time off dating and guys to focus on myself, train for a race I’m running, work on some self-improvement things and strengthen my existing friendships. I’ve been keeping a blog pretty faithfully throughout the process, and a few of my friends are joining as well. (Click here to read the rules.)
I also just returned from a fantastic trip to Seattle, and I’ll upload some photos in the next few days.
•on August 7th, 2012
I spent the weekend in the Detroit area, where I helped my sister shop for bridesmaid dresses, went to a Tigers game with 14 other people (the Tigers won, of course, despite end-of-the-world thunderstorms) and hung out in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti with my friend Jon. Ann Arbor, it turns out, has a fantastic assortment of charming and quirky graffiti. Pictured here: a quote from Dr. Seuss, a depiction of Sonic the Hedgehog and a crosswalk sign with wings.
I turned 29 on Saturday! It was a fantastic day of going to the beach, eating fish tacos, hanging out with friends and generally enjoying being a little older and a little wiser. Someday I’ll get upset over birthdays (maybe), but not yet.
Last week, I helped my friend Desmond with a short film he wrote and directed. I didn’t do much — mostly set design and general assistant-type stuff — but I did manage to take some photos throughout the process. It was great fun, and the entire team was incredibly professional and talented. Click through to see shots from each day, and see here for even more photos of the process.
I’m back home in New York after another fantastic trip to Michigan, where I visited family, caught up with old friends, had memorable adventures and enjoyed every moment.
Usually when I return to NYC, I feel a sense of relief, but this time was a little painful. I wish I could somehow manipulate geography so that New York City and Northern Michigan were right next door — an hour’s drive or so apart — and I could see everything and everyone I loved all in one day. But barring that, I suppose I’ll just have to visit my other home more often.
I wrote a story for the fantastic online magazine Found Michigan that describes my experiences going back to Alpena for the Fourth of July last year.
Check it out here: “Alpena, Americana, & the Great Cardboard Boat Race: How to Do a Real-Deal Midwestern Homecoming Without the Smirk.” (Also, you should take a look at the awesome Michigan T-shirts they sell in their shop.)
•on April 30th, 2012
I’ve been painting murals at a school in Harlem since November. My job is mostly doing the quotes on the staircases (see below), but we’re also doing some great stuff in the (four!) cafeterias and common areas at the huge public school. It’s been a lot of fun. The project is through New York Cares, which is a fantastic site for any New Yorkers who want to volunteer but aren’t sure how to get started. Projects I’ve done for them range from reading to kids at a homeless shelter to working at a soup kitchen to gardening in Manhattan’s public parks. There’s really something for everyone.
It’s officially spring in New York, and the blossoms (and my allergies) are out in full force. Here are a few snapshots to brighten your Wednesday afternoon.
Click for more images
Blog, New York City
•on April 3rd, 2012
One of my favorite parts of Central Park is The Mall, a long stretch of gnarled trees that begins at Bethesda Fountain and is guaranteed to be full of musicians, dancers and random performers. On Sunday, Sue, Amy and I encountered a group of New Yorkers and tourists gathered around a childhood favorite: giant bubbles.
Several people stood in the center of the crowd, dipping sticks tied with rope into buckets of soapy water, then holding them up in the air. A German tourist laughed as a 10-foot bubble emerged from her rope, snaking through the crowd before it exploded. A girl in the back of the crowd, wearing a light purple coat and clutching a red balloon, laughed as well. She handed her mom the balloon’s string and made her way to the front.
The girl dunked the sticks into the bucket and threw her hands over her head. The first bubble popped immediately — a dud. The second bubble began to expand, floating out of the makeshift wand and toward the crowd. A photographer squatted down to get a better angle, aiming his lens at the sky and the bubble overhead. Suddenly, the bubble popped, covering his face and lens in soap. He began to swear but caught himself, glancing at the nearby kids.
An old man in a bright pink hat stepped from behind him to take his turn, using a practiced hand to create the biggest and most complex bubble yet.
In the background, a young man in purple spandex and a red bandana leaned against the fence, smiling as he finished a street-cart hot dog. Next to him sat a hand cart filled with jugs of soap and extra sticks, but I didn’t see a tip jar anywhere.
We had a beautiful model in our portrait-painting class a few weeks ago; her outfit included touches like a jeweled hairpiece and a giant bow tie. (Below is my painting of her and a photo of her in the pose.) Yesterday, I was flipping through the New York Times Style section and noticed that she’d also caught the eye of street photographer Bill Cunningham (that’s her in the bottom left).
I’m relatively happy with the painting I did, but I can’t help but notice a few obvious flaws. I still need to practice capturing people’s likeness and hone my skills in painting skin color. Still, it was fun to work with such a pretty, vibrant model, and it was kind of exciting that Cunningham noticed her style as well.