Author Archives: DumboDomestic

Food Tourism (The Time We Ate Our Way Through Winter)

To combat the soul crushing polar vortex we experienced this winter,  we’ve been taking a lot of car rides around the borough of Brooklyn.  We’ve discovered some hidden culinary gems in overlooked neighborhoods like Ditmas Park and BedStuy and one great date night go-to option in the West Village.  Here are some of our winter 2014 favorites.

Scratch Bread:   We braved the elements on two separate Sundays to get nourished at Scratch Bread in BedStuy. The Mr. calls it a fly trap because the line, even in the January freeze was 25 people deep!  This window-only establishment serves up a delectable cup filled with a soft boiled, runny egg,  grits and a topping of your choice which include mouthwatering options like pesto, smoked almond romesco, or jalepeno sauce.  Its the perfect to-go breakfast food for days when you want something a little more special than your standard homemade eggs, but don’t want to drop the cash on a champagne brunch.  On both trips to Scratch, we shared our food with the little miss in the back seat of our car. Well be back this spring to try the pizzas, the hot sticky mess (custard soaked sticky buns!) and hopefully bring some baked goods to a park nearby.

Mimi’s Humus:  Aside for the authentic Middle Eastern food, my favorite aspect of this Ditmas Park gem is the design of the dining room. Perforated wood lined walls and white penny tiled floors with pops of sage  and persimmon on the walls,   the modern design influence highlights the simplicity of the delicious, creamy and authentic humus dishes and brunch-y shakshukas (poached eggs in sauce). Garlic and cumin aromas will awaken your taste buds upon entering this cozy cafe. The large windows and relaxed ambiance at Mimi’s are a good alternative for when you’re thinking of Marrakesh or Tel Aviv but are stuck in Brooklyn.

Chez Sardine - We’ve spent two date nights at this restaurant, named after one of my favorite canned foods, and would still return for the well -edited Japanese small plates menu. Creative sushi rolls, our favorite features crushed pretzels, pickled onions and salmon, evoking an incredible Sunday bagel, are served up in an tiny yet airy dining room on a  charming West Village corner.  Add cool beats, hipster waiters and a nice bathroom and you’ve got what New York Times’ Pete Wells calls “Asian Stoner Food.”

L&B Spumoni – When we visited this Midwood stronghold with our friends who recently moved to Park Slope from Venice Beach, CA we reveled in the mobster history of the pizza.   We shared two of L&B’s classic Sicilian style saucy pies inside and played nicely with the corner slices. Spumoni ice cream, a traditional mixture of lemon, pistachio and chocolate was our desert, which we ordered behind a women who advised the scooper to ‘pack it in.” L&B’s  massive front yard was empty but come summer, fuggetabout getting a seat.

Cafe La Mejor – This tiny Bushwick coffee shop has great vibes.   In the darkness of winter, the florescent candy colors of this cafeteria perfectly convey the tropical, retro sensibility of Havana, the gorgeous city we visited just before the Mr. and I got engaged.  The little miss made a friend outside the bright shop and sat still long enough for her parents to drink a Cafe Con Leche which is prepared with a dallop of whipped butter and salt. mm.  We’ll definitely be back to celebrate our love for Cuba and support this local gem.

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reality check

beach baby

beach baby

My mother in law always says that the Mr. and I “roll easily” and its one of the compliments I am most proud of, especially as a new mom.  We love to explore uncharted territory on a whim and don’t let much get in the way of our spontaneous style.   Last weekend, we were fortunate to book a last minute getaway to Florida to visit  Mami Claudette in sunny Boca Raton.  We couldn’t wait to get out of the polar vortex here in NY and save our daughter from her indoors-only routine.

We pushed our sleeping princess’ stroller up to the first security check where the guard demanded to see the baby.   I pulled the sun shade up and jokingly referred to her as my phantom baby with real eyelashes.  The young TSA agent took a quick look at her and admitted, “You’d be surprised by what I see at this airport. People have brought fake babies filled with drugs through here, and sometimes women go through carrying a bundle of blankets with no baby inside.”

Queens, NY means business!

We approached the metal detector and I was instructed to wake up the baby and carry her through. Are you f’ing kidding me, I thought.  She woke up with a mild scowl and looked around in the harsh glare of the florescent lighting, getting a little excited to be in the center of all the action.

“Let him do all the work” the metal detector operator barked as he ushered us girls through while the Mr. struggled to place our over-sized stroller(so over it), car seat and assorted metal odds and ends onto the belt. Our boisterous little lady ruined our plans of getting a drink but we passed our time at the gate uneventfully and joined a few other families during pre-boarding when the fun began.

A middle aged lady approached our aisle, “Looks like I’m sitting with your family on this flight,” she said with a smirk.  I gave her a fake smile and tried to get comfortable with  25 lbs of pudge in my lap on Spirit’s tiny airplane seats. My poor baby was overtired and restless.  The constant loudspeaker announcements and bright light were quite disruptive and it was almost midnight. (Note to travel industry: ambient lighting) The crew promised to dim the cabin after “service” — which is what they call making you pay for a $3 coke on an airplane these days.  Our row mate yapped loudly about her Kindle reading list with her pal across the aisle and I wanted to slap her.  Finally after some unbearable screaming, the baby passed out on my chest. I tried to stay as still as possible which isn’t easy for a woman like me sans tailbone in a hard, unyielding airplane seat.

We finally landed at 1 am in a torrential rain storm and picked up our soaking wet car seat from the gate. I gently placed my sleeping baby inside feeling like a horrible mother and we maneuvered our tired selves to baggage claim.  Joe whose father works at my grandma’s building picked us up in his four door that reeked so badly of of stale cigarette smoke, I thought I would choke. My husband climbed into the front seat and proceeded to chat football to keep him from dozing off in the downpour. The car shook and I felt the water slushing on the highway beneath my feet while I held onto my precious cargo. “I’m doing all I can to keep the car moving straight in this lane” said our burnt out driver.

Thirty minutes later, we finally arrived and the baby woke up for what was the 4th time that evening, wailing. We hastily unpacked her travel crib and tried to place her inside.  She screamed, choked and for the first time ever, vomited milk all over us, the carpet and her pajamas. Mami Claudette, (my grandma) woke up, super disoriented  and excited to see us and insisted that all the baby needed was some warm water.  Our princess was really having a hard time settling down. My grandma was trying all her wonderful grandmotherly tricks but nothing  was working because it was 2:30am and the baby was distraught! Finally, the Mr. pulled out his stern, i-mean- business voice and asked my grandma to get back to bed.

The little miss sipped some of that warm water and crawled into bed next to me.  She was in quite the chatty mood and I started to feel like I was at a bad sleepover party with a friend who wouldn’t stop whispering about her crush. She chatted away and crawled over me, precipitously close to the narrow edge of the bed. After many of my sleepy attempts to wrangle her in, shush, sing, pacify and spoon her, she fell asleep.

We all woke up at 8am in a sunny, humid room. We had made it to our final destination safe and sound. Rolling easily sure is a lot more difficult as a mom, but I like to remind myself that a little schedule mishap is not the end of the world. The baby got lots of fresh ocean air and napped soundly in her crib all weekend with Mami C keeping a close eye while me and the Mr. lounged in the warm sand.

TrÈs Brooklyn

Lately there’s been some discussion about abandoning our beloved Brooklyn for greener pastures. I never thought we’d consider a move to the burbs so soon, but more, less expensive space sounds like a great idea on days when our meager toy pile covers our 8×10 living room shag and the constant din of the subway overhead ruins my catch up talk with grandma. Weekend after weekend, we join a crowd of young families, empty nesters, and expats in refurbished lobbies around Brooklyn, vying for a chance to fulfill the American dream of home ownership in the best borough of Manhattan. I will save my musings on the real estate open house circuit for another post and tell you that this weekend, the Mr. and I resolved to forsake the hunt for square footage for some real adventuring to help us remember why we love living in Brooklyn!

PJG2

First stop, the Brooklyn Art Museum where we imagined one day giving away our daughter’s hand in marriage! Eastern Parkway where the museum is located is a regal tree lined avenue designed by Frederick Olmstead in the late 1800s as Brooklyn’s answer to the Champs Elysee. The architecturally delightful  entrance to the museum and its regal domed ceilings alone are worth a visit. But, hurry up and go see the fabulous exhibit we checked out this weekend: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk which runs until February 24th.  JPG as I’ll call him,  a Parisian born master of fashion, designed many of the trends we find ourselves turning to time and time again, without ever forgoing his ability to provoke and shock us. The large exhibit is a celebration of both couture and ready to wear featuring iconic striped tops or La Mariniére (my favorite new term), punk inspired structured plaid looks and feminist approved dominatrix ensembles worn by the likes of Madonna and Beyonce.

You can buy a“Très Brooklyn” t-shirts in the gift store, but a more authentic manifestation of the expression is the floor length leather trench and mink brimmed fedora in the exhibit, a nod to the nearby Hassidic enclave in Crown Heights. In a true testament to his genius, Jean Paul Gaultier nailed the Rabbi Chic look in 1993, long before anyone compared the sartorial sensibilities of Brooklyn’s native hipsters and hassids.

Kid & Coe: Bring the Kids!

The Mr. and I have always loved to travel together and have no intention of ever slowing down. True, bringing our daughter along requires extra baggage and planning, but we can’t wait to for the foreign stamp that initiates our future jet setter’s passport! We’ve had one excellent experience renting  a fabulous apartment on vacation so,  I was thrilled when I first stumbled upon Kid & Coe on Cup of Jo and soon learned more about the awesome moms behind the venture.  A brilliant start up,  Kid & Coe’s mission to create ‘a dynamic community of traveling families’ is based on the philosophy of collaborative consumption. Why not share the wealth? Kid & Coe features 100 gorgeous properties in some of our favorite destinations: Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Brazil.   Whether traveling across the globe to spend a few weeks in a Thai villa or living like a local in an L.A. bungalow for the weekend, rest assured all the essentials for the perfect family friendly stay will be covered.

Each time we travel, my husband and I feel blessed when we have the opportunity to meet and hang with locals. When we’re home in Dumbo, we guide international visitors towards the Brooklyn Bridge almost daily!  I’d love to list our sunny apartment on Kid & Coe, it would be the perfect base for a family setting off each day to explore NYC! I’d make my guests at home with white linens, Brooklyn made snacks, and a cozy crib with plenty of lo fi toys for the kiddos.

Our neighborhood boasts some pretty dope views, great coffee and kid-friendly stops, check out our favorites below!

Wake up

Let your spouse sleep in while you head to Brooklyn Roasting Company (25 Jay St) with the kids to sample some of the borough’s best java roasted on site in a huge warehouse space. Grab a seat on one of the bold orange comfy couches and enjoy your coffee with the sun streaming in, a perfect introduction to Dumbo’s architecture.

 Shop

Susan Lazar is a hip designer and mom whose line Egg Baby (68 Jay St) has outfitted Dumbo’s littlest residents since ’03. Organic cotton basics and festive classics in tiny sizes are the perfect wardrobe additions for your littles. The well edited racks of beautiful designer clothes at Zoe (68 Washington Street) are  strictly for the hippest of Brooklyn mamas. Neighborhood gem, Modern Anthology’s (68 Jay St ) masculine vibe lends itself to a perfectly curated vintage home goods selection and wardrobe basics for the caveman meets creative Brooklyn dude.

Move

Walk or bike to Fulton Ferry Landing, across Scribbs bridge and into the leafy, historical streets of Brooklyn Heights.   Kids of all ages will love Brooklyn Bridge Park‘s wide, grassy spaces, art and 4 playgrounds! For the full playground roundup, schedules of summer movie showings, rotating photography exhibits and food vendors visit the Park’s website first. Borrow a tapestry and enjoy the view with a picnic!

Pizza

If you’re hardcore, Grimaldi’s, Julianas and Ignazios all sling pies on the Old Fulton strip. My favorite place to grab a slice is Fascati’s (80 Henry Street) where thin crust is served up at the counter. Grab a booth at this local Brooklyn Heights spot owned by the same family since the 70s.

Date

For the most romantic, Brooklyn-y spot in the hood that is decidedly not kid friendly, dine at the Vinegar Hill House (72 Hudson) or grab a drink next door at Hillside while the kids are asleep a few blocks away. For a VERY special occasion, the River Cafe is a show of old New York elegance, recently reopened after a post-Sandy makeover.

Autumn salad

my baby girl and i spent a bonus  day together in what seems like the last of fall’s brisk and sunny days. there have been so many great afternoons this season and today’s impromptu stroll had us walking through a very autumnal Brooklyn Heights. it really doesn’t get much better than that. solo for dinner tonight, I raided my crisper and found myself eating a two course dinner of salad. the first, created with csa remnants, avocado and tamari dressing finally filled my week old craving for sushi.  the crisp and salty combo so hit the spot, I found myself reaching back in the fridge to recreate it, grating a rind of parmesan and fennel to toss with lemon and oil.  though cooking for one has its pitfalls tonight it looks like a light and healthy salad is just the thing to ward winter off for another few days…

 while a classic vinaigrette is my go to, here are some asian inspired dressings for those nights you’re craving takeout but know better…
cookieandkate a lovely missouri based food blog's tamari vinaigrette is a simple winner
cookieandkate: chopped kale salad with edamame carrot and avocado

This miso tahini dressing is a killer combo. Check out the Hemsley sister's other recipes, Vogue istempting me into cooking with gorgeous photos
vogue uk: hemsley & hemsley salad

Oh Gwyneth, you didn't make my favorite mom blog list, but I do like your recipes.
goop's detox recipe for ginger carrot dressing

Isabel Marant pour H&M

There are two huge canvas tie dyed Isabel Marant pour H&M shopping bags under my desk right now! I cannot wait to add these oversized totes to my bag of bags! My shopping mania may be due to my lack of sleep.  After whipping myself into a baby food making frenzy last night, blending roasted carrots and turnips for my girl, I stayed up til midnight last night to shop the collaboration online only to realize it went on sale at 12PM EST.   After checking  Racked.com from my desk and realizing there was no line, I ran the 3 blocks from my office to the H&M store and shopped while a DJ spun my favorite Duck Sauce song. Arms ladle with assorted garments and hangers from my elbows I began to consider that the physical demands of competitive shopping was surprisingly less intense than those of motherhood.  i don’t ownanything from Isabel Marant’s line but I do love the boho chic meets rocker sensibility she’s got going on. If I had to summarize the core of the designers ethos I’d say, girlfriend has mastered the idea of not trying too hard. Pair a grey sweatshirt with any one of her metallic, silky, printed bottoms and you’re done, insta-insouciant glamour. The H&m line perfectly captures this aesthetic. So here’s what I got:

(all photos courtesy of hm.com)

Looks like there is a lot of black and white going on although some of the dresses have shimmery colored patterns.  Upon first glance, the fabrics seem great, most are 100% silk!   The sequin trousers will be perfect for mama’s next night out and the silk ones, I may wear to a rehearsal dinner in Mexico in a few weekends. Love the 40′s silhouette on the longer dress and the shorter one has a cool cutout on the small of the back, perfect for holiday parties and nights on the town with a pair of booties.  I can’t wait to snuggle my babe in the furry black and white sweater while she dons the matching cap, we’re gonna be so cozy and so cool, not like we’re trying though!

 

Georgia on my Mind

Back in June, the Mr. and I headed to Savannah with our 3 month old in tow to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. It was the first time we flew as a family and although we had some reservations, we had the perfect weekend. We checked the super light, highly recommended bjorn baby travel crib and our brand new, enormous wheely suitcase containing the familial wardrobe,  breast pump and formula supply and off we went.   I was born and raised 30 minutes from Manhattan and often find that I am way too NYC centric. What a nice surprise it was to discover the charming city of Savannah with its hipster art students, and picturesque town squares.  I experienced my first dose of southern hospitality in a celebratory weekend  filled with long walks with the stroller, southern comfort food, and perfectly garnished Bloody Marys!  Here are some of our favorite spots…be sure to check out the NYT’s 36 Hours in Savannah before you go too!

Sleep

Pulling a classic move, the Mr. promptly checked out of the 4 Points Sheraton,  minutes after entering ourdingy room that overlooked a scary parking lot (the sweet bellhops were dumbfounded).   Starwood points be damned, we took a 2 minute cab ride to the Bohemian (102 W Bay St) where the concierge warmly welcomed our “lil miss” and showed us through an art filled hallway to our well appointed room. I was so happy to see a spotless marble bathroom, a crushed velvet (!) tufted headboard, and a British campaign style desk,  the perfect makeshift spot for mixing bottles! Traveling with a baby meant hanging out in our room more often than we used to, so the money was well spent. The room was clean and cozy and the hotel bar was the perfect spot to hang.  Our lil miss is a fancy hotel kind of gal, she slept through the whole night for the first time at the Bohemian!

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baby in the bed!

Shop

 Don’t miss Savannah College of Arts & Design shop, ShopSCAD (340 Bull St‎). Its filled with clever stationary, clothing and home designs by students and alum. We picked up a colorful, waterproof, graphic rug for our kitchen which is a great souvenir from our family weekend.  The jewelery selection had me drooling as did the effortless gypsy style and bold lips of the shop girls manning the counter.

graphic mat

Eat

Peak your head in to Gryphon Tea Room (across the street from the ShopSCAD or stop for lunch or tea.  I adored the colorful bookshelves, mid century chairs and leopard print carpet.

photo via wisdomholiesttreasures.com

Upon the recommendation of the hotel clerk, we hit up local joint, J. Christopher’s (122 E Liberty St) for our first brunch. We grabbed a seat outside next to graduating SCAD students and their proud parents and indulged in our southern brunch fantasies: skillets full of eggs, meats and potatoes and my favorite, pecan pie french toast.  We also loved the restaurant at our hotel, Rocks on the River/on the Roof where we could kick back and take in the views.   Had to go back twice for the fried green tomatoes smothered in goat cheese and jalapeno buttermilk dressing. Each time I washed this excellent dish down with a southern style Bloody Mary topped with shrimp and pickled okra.

There’s no shortage of great food in Savannah, in addition to buttery desserts and ice cream everywhere you go, particularly in the historic district.  At Byrd’s Famous Cookies, we sampled jalapeno, chedder, and vidalia onion biscuits .  I fell in love with the shop’s old timey feel and wanted to buy a dozen tins to take home.

via Byrd’s Famous Cookies

Nearby, we laughed every time we passed the line outside of Paul Deen’s The Lady and Son’s restaurant, which reminded us of this SNL skit. Hot butter and oil!

On the eve of our anniversary, we set off for the The Olde Pink House, (Reynolds Square 23 Abercorn Street) with our lil miss. I’m a sucker for ‘olde’ mansions and this one was just perfect, right down to the bubble gum pink facade.  Each room had a little bit of a different vibe to it but the common denominator was gorgeous wide plank wood floors, fireplaces and crystal chandeliers! We sat a bright And contemporary room at a table with plenty of room for the car seat, and I was very tempted by the adjacent empty balcony and the dark candlelight tables I spotted en route to the ladies room.  Cornbread in the bread basket made up for the lack of romantic lighting as did mac and cheese poppers, fried fish, green tomatoes and collard greens.

Do

Savannah is the perfect walking city which made it ideal for our new family.  Downtown Savannah was designed in 1733 by James Oglethorpe and retains much of its original town planning.  Gorgeous candy colored mansions, lush secret gardens and historic squares shaded by sweeping branches are the perfect setting for ambling along after one too many Bloody Marys! We fed the lil miss on a bottle on many a square bench as she stared up at the  Oaks, Magnolias, Crepe Myrtles and Palms trees in wonder!  While the riverfront was quaint but a bit too touristy, we adored the vast Forsyth Park with its statues, fountains and tree lined walkways.  We passed many a hearst carrying ghost tours through town and debated doing a paranormal mansion experience but in the end opted to take the tour at the Owens Thomas House for a peak into the beautiful English style garden and  ‘one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South.’

Check out Savannah, ya’ll! You won’t be disappointed.

Giorgio Armani: One Night Only

ARMANI  ONE NIGHT ONLY NYCThe night after Diner en Noir, the Mr. surprised me with passes to a once in a lifetime event that blew my mind! Italian billionaire, fashion designer Giorgio Armani recieved the key to New York City and unlocked some fashion magic by curating a gorgeous couture retrospective that was launched with a spectacular runway show and celebrated with the best dance party I’ve been to in a looong time.  It’s not every night this mama gets to glam out but when I walked into the SUPERPIER, a massive industrial pier from the 1950s,  transformed into what the husband called, a chic department store, complete with soft peach and black carpeting, movie-set lighting, and optical illusion causing round mirrors, I felt like a million bucks! With my hair blown out and my teal suede stilettos heels, I was living out my 80′s excess fantasy on the West Side Highway!

We didn’t get to see the fashion show, but I wasn’t too upset! The runway viewing was for VIPs like Penelope Cruz, Renee Zellweger, Hilary Swank and Leonardo DiCaprio.   I did, champagne in hand, spend the first hour or so browsing the Eccentrico exhibit which rivaled, if not flat out crushed the Met’s Alexandar McQueen display.  My husband had to tear me away from the goods; I was so close, I could practically try on the clothes and accessories! Unfortunately, the lighting was so bad so my photos do not do any justice!  I can barely begin to describe the remarkable designs that have made Mr. Armani, 79, a household name. My favorite pieces included a massive jade pendant and floral print pill box purse that attached to the wrist with a tortoiseshell cuff.  When I think of Armani, I think perfect tailoring and structured, classic garments, but the exhibit told a different story at times.  I was really feeling the groovy vibe -palatzo pants, backless dresses, fur and jumpsuits-  worn by my some of fellow guests, too.

photo via pursuitist.com

We arrived as the show was ending and just as the husband tried to pull some work strings to tour me around the inside of the runway setup, a handsome throng of well dressed Italian men made their way out of the exit, buzzing around a diminutive yet very tan and dapper Giorgio. The Armani groupie procession made their way down the carpeted hallway and into the lounge area where young models mingling with fashion bloggers and industry royalty, craned their long necks to see what the commotion was all about. Sitting down on a low banquette, surrounded by glowing orbs and his minions, Mr. Armani’s mere presence seemed to signal the after party had officially begun!

In the “dinatoire” area of the room, gorgeous waiters passed around perfect portions of truffle risotto, delicate ricotta filled ravioli, and seared tuna bites with caper berries.  I was too excited to focus on food (though I did wake up regretting that decision) as I took careful bites, I cautioned to my husband  ‘fashion parties are not for eating!’  He steered me onto the dance floor where Mark Ronson mixed Amy Winehouse with the Bee Gees and Tribe Called Quest as fresh faced ingenues taught botoxed editors how to ‘Dougie’. A matronly queen bee of fashion PR stood behind the DJ booth scanning the crowd alongside model Alec Wek whose wacky fist pumping made me giggle and boogie down. Being surrounded by gorgeous, fabulously accessorized fashion people can sometimes make you feel really inferior. But thanks to Mr. Armani, for One Night Only,  spirits were high, the turntables omniscient and, amidst the free flowing bubbly and incandescent lighting  everyone was feeling fabulous.

Diner en Noir

DD is back with a vengeance. After a long dry spell on the entertaining front, we held a fabulous (if i do say so myself) ‘diner en noir’, a riff on the Parisienne pop up picnic ‘diner en blanc’, in honor of my old college roomate and BFF’s new book: How to Disappear Completely: On Modern Anorexia. I love a theme party and the moody ambiance of the evening was the perfect compliment to the title of Kelsey’s book.  From the inside cover:

“…Kelsey Osgood unpacks the modern myths of anorexia, examining the cult-like underbelly of eating disorders in the young as she chronicles her own rehabilitation.”

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Buy the book, people!

I’m almost done with the book and highly recommend it, particularly for women (or guys) who have gone through an eating disorder or any type of mental illness, and especially for their loved ones. Check out my cameo on page 141, holler!  The book is very well researched, intellectually challenging, dark, funny and overall, uplifting as the author describes her path to recovery.

Diner en Noir was a fabulous ladies night with college friends, and fellow Brooklyn bloggers and artists.  I couldn’t find a black table cloth so I hit up $0.99 Dreams and DIYed a black table runner with shelf lining material, added some velvety textured florals ( brain flowers according to the guests) in small vases,  houseplants, and of course tons of candlelight!

As guests arrived, I tried to create a shadowy and hushed environment ( sleeping baby helped).  We drank dark & stormy’s and nibbled on apps with Fiona on in the background. Dinner was lively, followed by a chills inducing reading by the author and a decadent (dark) chocolate dessert.  The few remaining party girls and this hostess polished off the last bottle of red on the roof with the pitch dark sky above us and the ominous rumble of the train below.

Appetizers
Sauveur’s Black Olives with Rosemary and Orange Zest
Sliced Black Radishes with Rose Salt
Pumpernickel Toasts with Goat Cheese & Smoked Salmon
Mains
Black Kale Salad with Apples and Maple Mustard Vinaigrette ( inspired by Tiny’s NYC)
Miso Eggplant (great two step technique of roasting and broiling here)
Roasted purple Romanesco Califlower and Potatoes with Black Truffle
& the piece de resistance: Deb’s Harvest Chicken with Black Olives and Black Grapes
Dessert
Dark Chocolate Tart
Chocolate covered espresso beans, black licorice & grapes
 

Mom Blog Roundup

Happy Fall! Its about time I reappear from the annals of new motherhood. What a long, strange and magical trip it has been so far!  One of the first things you learn as a new parent is that you are not in it alone. There are a tremendous number of witty, smart and stylish mamas who have taken to social media to share their experiences and talents.  Many are “mommy bloggers” who illustrate brief narratives about their day to day adventures with their children with beautiful photography. Others provide an emotional peek into the compelling challenges that accompany parenthood, infertility, and heavens forbid, sick children. Another growing category are  ‘momtrepreneurs,’ successful business owners slinging hip, homemade baby gear from their home studios and Etsy pages.

During my maternity leave, I spent many hours singlehandedly stalking blogger moms on social media while I fed my daughter with the other. While a part of me fantasizes about joining the ranks of mommy bloggers, I can’t get comfortable with the idea of plastering pictures of  my child or should I say “little” on the internet, and have yet to even post a photo of my daughter to Facebook (Instagram though, is fair game?!).  I wonder how successful blogger moms feel when readers recognize their children on the street and already know so much about them! How do their husbands feel about the intimate details of a marriage discussed in a public forum?  While creating a digital trust fund for your child seems like an extreme measure against over-sharing,  it takes a brave and, very ambitious mom to be so open and vulnerable with her family in order to grow readership and ultimately run a blog that can turn a profit.

All these questions aside, there is very strong community of mom bloggers and an audience so large that multinational corporations have begun to take a notice. In addition to generating revenue through advertisements, many mom bloggers are approached by huge brands (think: Tide, Home Depot) who sponsor quaint posts featuring their products in the context of authentic family life. Of course, this close knit community attracts the sponsorship of small, homemade brands and you can see fabulous friendships between women and creative partnerships being born on the regular.   In this endless debate of opting in, opting out, leaning in, wondering if women can have it all, or just being ok with “the medium chill” many of these bloggers who seem to effortlessly combine their careers and family life are a source of fascination to me.

To celebrate the return of Dumbodomestic,  I’m calling out just a few of my favorite mom blogs from around the web.  Check out their blogs and be sure to follow them on Instagram too!

Hippy Crunchy Moms:

The Road is Home - Nirrimi, a young and renowned Australian fashion photographer and herbivore will charm you with her spirited and dream like portrayals of her family and travels.

Dancey Pants Disco
Artist Michelle lives on an island with her sweet son Odin. The frequent appearance of galoshes, baby chickens and babywearing makes this the perfect read for a cozy fall Sunday.

Theres been some talk about Mormon housewife blogs because these ladies bring it!

Rockstar Diaries - The original IT girl of Morman bloggers (this intro wouldn’t be complete without her) Naomi Davis aka Taza is a Juliard trained dancer with a megawatt smile who explores New York with her ‘”littles,” Eleanor and Samson.  With her colorful style and a joie de vivre that is ever present, she makes navigating the city’s sidewalks with a double stroller look so easy!

HeyNatalieJean – With her recently revamped brand, Natalie Holbrook, the artist formally known as NattheFat has become the Steven Alan to Taza’s Anthropology.  Readers are devoted to little Huck’s impish smile and Natalie’s matter of fact and cheerful account of life in NYC.  This duo makes live in the big city seem positively whimsical.

One mom led to another on Instagram and I realized I’ve been following a pack of new girls in town! I’ve been admiring their honest perspective and penchant for sarcasm.

Lillies and Leon
Sweet and retro cool mami Nicole is gorgeous and her son Lucas has fly style!  With her new series besosdemiami she connects the Latina mom community.   Nicole’s photos have a light and airy feel to them and her joyous and appreciative take on life is refreshing.

StrollerNaps – Working mom Julie Garces’  style is very punk meets Brooklyn glamour. Musings on her sweet son Rio, bloody mary fueled weekend romps through iconic Brooklyn and succinct thoughts on the culture of motherhood portrayed through photos and interesting type make this blog a great read.

The C-Word – North Carolina transplant Christine and her daughter Marlo are a stylish, smart and free thinking duo with amazing pouty lips that are typically adorned in red (mom only).  Christine is a fabulous writer with a genuine voice and an eye for fashion, food and design.  I think she is moving to my zip code and I can’t wait to see whats in store for her family.

Don’t miss these moms who run some of the greatest conversations on the web!

Cup of Jo
Joanna is a powerhouse in women’s blogging.  Her website which includes content on style, design, food and, humor has a global readership made up of women in many different stages of life.   While raising her sons,  toddler Toby and new baby Anton,  this former magazine editor bridges well- styled photography with sweet and approachable content.  Joanna’s work  highlighting Motherhood around the World and Working Moms demonstrates that there is some real journalistic talent behind her pretty smile.

Motherlode - one of the most honest and informative looks into parenting today, the New York Times Magazine parenting blog features different contributors who foster critical discussions about gender, infertility, education, (scary) challenges confronting parents of children of all ages and family life.

And finally, some of my favorite design blogs written by moms:

Eye Swoon – Athena calderone, is a beautiful wife to jetsetting DJ Victor and mom to a skater, Jovi who lives in perhaps the most gorgeous apartment in my neighborhood. I have watched her blog blossom into a solid destination for beautiful photography, cooking and fashion – I would expect nothing less of such a talented interior designer and creative soul.

Little Green Notebook
Jenny is the queen of DIY with an incredible eye for textiles and a knowledge of design history. Her 3 blond girls will hopefully inherit her can do spirit and ability to execute on phenomenal home improvement  projects from the sprucing up the laundry room to laying wood floors by hand(insanity!!). With a recent move from brownstone Brooklyn to her hometown of Phoenix where she is the proud owner of a new house, a whole new chapter is unfolding, don’t miss out!

[I've had a really hard time finishing this post. Every time I go to hit the publish button, I'm reminded of another blog I've come to adore. Consider this an intro to the genre.  Please share your favorites in the comments! To be continued...)

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