New York Times Article: Williamsburg, Toddlertown

Here's the New York Times article that we were featured in! Good morning everyone!

We're still in Jamaica, leaving later this afternoon.  I'm going to squeeze some tropical fruit and a swim in the ocean in before we have to head to the airport.

Meanwhile I wanted to share with you the article that came out yesterday in the Times yesterday.

We were really excited to be included and had the opportunity to meet Jim Rendon (the writer) and Robert Caplin (the photographer) who were both extremely nice and pleasant to work with.

We're really pleased with the article (as you never really know how these things will turn out when you open your home) and have received some awesome blasts from the past from old friends who read it.  And some new opportunities have fallen into our mailboxes as well!

Basically, it's just more proof that Williamsburg is the place for us, with great energy, exciting new horizons, and tons of kids for Avi to befriend.

Here's an image from the New York Times, Williamsburg, Toddlertown article.

Responsible Home

I feel like I'm in a constant struggle between style and responsibility when it comes to decorating my home.  In an ideal world, all the fabrics would be organic and the wood would all be reclaimed.  Unfortunately, in that ideal world, I'd also probably be selling my apartment because I'd have spent way over budget on the interiors! I do my best to be as clean and eco-conscious as much of the time as possible, but too often the pieces that are responsibly manufactured are way out of price range for fledging families like ours.

I spent a good amount of time looking for organic sheets for Avi's bed (we already have some for ours from The Company Store) and towels for our bathroom and was having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted in the right colors.

I wound up buying Avital some sheets from Amy Butler's collection for Bed Bath and Beyond that were perfectly bright and flowery for a little girls room and perfectly priced within our buget!

What do you think?:

I love that these sheets are bright and fun and organic!

And I found these awesome purple towels at Pottery Barn.  And they were on sale!  They have a whole Organic Bath section on their site!

These Pottery Barn towels are organic and high quality.

I feel like these were right under my nose.  Nonetheless, I'm so much happier to have stayed in a reasonable price range AND remained earth-friendly!

Le Creuset Cast Iron Goodness

This Le Creuset is my favorite pot to cook vegan soups in. To be honest, I had to do a little thinking on what I was going to write today.  Nothing was shouting out at me, so I figured I'd do a little snooping through my pictures, kitchen, closets to see if I could find something that I wanted to tell you all about.

Turns out, I found something fabulous!  The other day I decided I needed to get off my butt a bit more and start cooking regularly again (I've gotten a little lazy this summer).  Avi had a cold and Richie claimed to be coming down with something, so soup it was.  Out of all the things I cook, I've been told on more than one occasion, that I have a real knack for soups.

I went into my kitchen looking for some inspiration, but the first thing I wound up pulling out was my superamazing and all-time-favorite pot: my Le Creuset Round French Oven (I also have an oval and a wok).  For some reason it just feels like the right thing to make soups and stews in.  I've had it for a handful of years now and I have a good feeling that I'll keep it forever and ever (which is about as eco-friendly as you can get).

It turned out perfect for the other night as I had a cook-on-top-of-the-stove-and-then-pop-it-in-the-oven-for-a-bit type situation.  I also pulled out the wok to make some truffled cabbage to go along with the meal!  Everything was superyum and cooked to perfection thanks to my favorite pots and pans!

Here I am using two le creusets to cook a vegan dinner!

A Waste Free Goal: Paper Towels

Love Life and Lollipops- Twist Euro Sponge Cloth

Our friends Stacey and Chris are supercool and awesomely forward thinking in so many ways.  I'm constantly inspired by their efforts at living more consciously and purely. In their house, they avoid paper products to the best of their ability which translates to: I've never seen them use a paper towel!  Yes, that means no paper towel.  No paper towel in a house with an 18 month old!  It's crazy to think that this should be so surprising, but it is.  We are so dependent on paper to clean up our lives that it doesn't even occur to most of us to grab a kitchen towel as oppose to a paper one.

I do my best to use as much of our kitchen towels as possible, but to be honest they are just not as absorbent (and with Avi's new habit of pouring out her water to splash, we need absorbent around here).

I started off by buying the Seventh Generation paper towels, but those were really horrible.  While they are definitely better for our environment in terms of production, I wound up using twice the amount due to the lack of absorbency.  For a while it was really upsetting me that I couldn't find a reasonable solution.

Finally I stumbled across these in the market:

These sponges are the perfect nix between sponge and cloth!

They are AMAZING!  They absorb better than conventional paper towels, ring out easily without ripping, and are super soft so as not to scratch any of your dishes or surfaces.  They are the perfect blend of sponge and cloth!

And for in case of emergencies or on-the-go snacks, I have a few rolls of Marcal Small Steps paper towels around the house.  They are made from 100% recycled paper and have been since 1950.  I use their bathroom tissue as well (it's softer than the Seventh Generation).

In case of emergencies we use these earth-friendly paper towels.Some 40% of trash in our landfills is made up of paper products!  It seems so silly to me that when we can be using recycled materials to make the same products we mostly don't.  Why would we cut down more trees and further pollute our air and water?!?

Green Seal's Choose Green Report has a bunch of good information (and is a pretty short document) worth reading.  It talks about how recycling and buying recycled products can cut back on so much of the damage we are currently causing and how by buying PCF or Processed Chlorine Free products (like diapers!!!) we can avoid some immune and reproductive system problems we are unknowingly inflicting upon ourselves.

My goal is to avoid as much paper use as possible (including printing emails, articles, etc, reading the "paper" online).  Twist Euro Sponge Cloths have been treating me well (as have all the other products they make.  Check them out here) and I feel comfortable supporting a company like Marcal when I need to use paper products.

Are any of you on board? The more of us that commit to trying, the cleaner our world will be!

Flea Market Finds

Love Life and Lollipops- Bedroom Bookcase

To say the least, Ikea is on my sh*t list.  Long story very short (seeing as it's boring and ridiculous), they've screwed up the same order we placed three separate times now.  A month later (a month living amongst superfluous boxes)  we decided to be done with Ikea furniture and do things the way we used to: scavange flea markets and the like. I didn't go my old, faithful route in choosing new pieces for this apartment because we've moved so many (too many) times in the past six years and seeing as this is a rental apartment (and while absolutely charming and perfect, not exactly spacious) we'll definitely be moving at least one more time in the next few years.  In moving here, so much of our stuff wound up in my parents' attic (thanks mom and dad!), I felt that buying anything too specific (or expensive) for this apartment would be silly.

So I went to Ikea.com and ordered a couple large wardrobe-like storage pieces and not only did they look so cheap and ugly once they got here, they weren't even exactly what we ordered.  In a huff this past saturday I decided it was time to hit up the flea market.  Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene puts any other flea market I've been to to shame!  And I've been to my fair share of flea markets!  If you're ever in the neighborhood (or want a saturday afternoon adventure) definitely check it out.  There's tons of food and furniture and handmade crafts and vintage clothing and more and more.

We snagged two awesome antique painted bookshelves that look like they were salvaged from a farmhouse.  I put one in my bedroom to use for clothing storage and one in the kitchen and I'm loooooooving them.  They're exactly what I wanted and will fit into any home we have!

Here they are:

Vintage and salvaged furniture is best for the environment.

(ok yes, I know I have a denim problem...it's more like I can't ever bring myself to throw anything out.  I did build an entire business on peoples' old t's, but that's a whole nother post.)

Moving Day

Love Life and Lollipops- Me and Baby Sophie

We just got back from Jamaica late last night and I’m already back in the thick of things at home.  We’re moving at the end of this week from the Village here in Manhattan to Brooklyn’s Park Slope. I’m so so sooooooo excited to move, but I can’t help but take pause and think about the things I love about my current home.  Here are a few of my favorite things about this apartment:

  • It gets light from two directions since it’s a corner apartment, plus we’re on the 2nd floor AND right on the garden, so our living room looks right out into a little tree orchard (which is about as serene and green as it gets in downtown Manhattan).
  • It is in walking distance from Murray’s Bagels, which are by far and away the most amazing bagels on the face of this earth.  Bagels make both Avi and I happy:).
  • It is a block (and a half) from Washington Square Park where, on hot days, Avi and I can dip our feet in the fountain and play barefoot with the other kids and free spirits.
  • The kitchen is a perfect size for all my crazy appliances.  It houses a chef’s oven and cook top and an extra large country style sink.  It’s big enough for me to turn around in, but not big enough for anyone else to join me in there (read: cathartic cooking time) and…it has a pretty big window.
  • And if all that doesn’t make it special enough, how many of you can say this: my daughter’s first room was once the first room my husband and I shared together.  How cool is that?!?

Here are a few amazing moments we spent in this apartment: