I am NOT a happy camper right now as I painstakingly wrote one of my better posts (if I do say so myself), saved it, watched two 30 Rocks that were on my DVR, came back to post it AND IT WAS GONE. Damn you, WordPress! I emailed their tech support but no one is getting back to me. I really want to go to bed but I will try to recreate the post…

Just one of many, many Topshop looks

Just one of many, many Topshop looks

Today is the day! For those of you who crave fashion at reasonable prices, you no longer have to head across the pond to find your fav Topshop pieces — it’s now available in SoHo as Topshop has opened their US flagship store. While I still feel that Topshop on Oxford Street in London is the best, I’m excited that I can hoof it or take the subway to find all of the treasures Topshop has to offer.

Some of you may be scratching your head — what is this Topshop, you ask? Well, it’s a British chain that offers fashionable goods at a fraction of designer prices. Kate Moss does a line for them. In addition to clothes they have shoes, jewelry, lingerie, trinkets — really anything cool. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about them being here. Because now everyone will have access to the same stuff, which potentially makes it…uncool. But the truth is, they sell through merchandise so fast that if someone sees something on someone they like, by the time they go there it’s gone. It’s not a place I go for whole outfits (it definitely offers more to the younger crowd, if you know what I’m sayin’), but you go with the mindset of finding a few key pieces. I have a fab striped sweater in offbeat colors with dolman sleeves that everyone thinks is Marc Jacobs, and a black and silver charm bracelet that adds drama to every outfit.

If you can’t make it to the store, topshop.com is offering free shipping til April 9th. Happy hunting! (Topshop in SoHo is on Broome and Broadway.)

Single of the Week

Take it away Ken:

“At the nexus where new wave synth meets fuzzy guitar pop meets Blondie meets Garbage sits Metric and their new single, “Gimme Sympathy.” The great hooks and fetching lead singer alone are reasons enough to put aside Turbo Tax, mute CNBC, wake the kids and crank it up.”

Stand Up and Be Counted

Time is running out on survey week — don’t you want your voice to be heard? Click here to take our short but oh-so-helpful survey. A huge THANKS to all of you who have taken the survey…to the rest of you — come on, what are you waiting for? Time is ticking…

Current Events

Why do rich people feel the need to give each other gifts — does the Queen really need an ipod?

Michelle Obama looks well put together, and I’m glad the world has given the Obamas a warm welcome, but is her fashion really that great to cause all of this frenzy? (I said this to Ken last night and he responded, “Well, after Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush…” I agreed he had a point!) But I mean, couldn’t any of us have gone in our closets to pull out the white top, black skirt, black cardigan combo she wore to meet royalty? All I know is J. Crew should give her free clothes for life with all of the publicity she’s giving them.

It’s hard to believe but apparently just yesterday they identified the remains of a worker from Windows on the World who died on September 11th. I still remember that crazy, tragic day so clearly. I hope this gives his family some small comfort.

Albany better get its act together and figure out a bailout for the MTA that doesn’t rest the burden of their financial screw-up solely on the backs of mass transit riders. It’s ridiculous.

All right, I think that about covers it. I really liked the way this post was written the first time I wrote it, but I guess this will have to do. Oh, technology.

Enjoy the weekend!

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Little Fishy Jr.

April 2, 2009

Not Little Fishy Jr. -- Just a cool picture of a fish.

Not Little Fishy Jr. -- Just a cool picture of a fish.

Today’s recipe comes to us from Rosemary in sunny Florida. I haven’t tried it yet, but she says, “Here’s a good, easy one if you like fish.” I do, so I am definitely going to try it.

(Oh — and the name of this post is the name my sister and I gave our first goldfish. Unfortunately, we went away one weekend and he decided to commit suicide and hop over the side of his bowl, so we didn’t enjoy him all that long…) Anyway, here’s the recipe:

Mustard Roasted Fish

(from the Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients
•     4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
•     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•     8 ounces creme fraiche
•     3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
•     1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
•     2 tablespoons minced shallots
•     2 teaspoons drained capers
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it’s barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it’s done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.

Pasta Tip

You know how sometimes you make a sauce for your pasta and it’s a little too thick? Well, keep some of the water that you boil the pasta in, and you can use it to thin out the sauce. I learned this from a couple of different cookbooks, and I recently tried it and it does taste better than thinning it with plain water. I guess the semolina seeps into the boiled water and adds to the flavor. Try it!

Last Chance for Love

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Washington DC

As I mentioned, I was in Washington yesterday for the day. I hadn’t been there for a while — and most of the day I was inside the convention center. But I did manage to see Charles Grodin while we were waiting in line for a taxi at Union Station. (He looked really old.) We had lunch at a very good restaurant, PS 7, and it isn’t so easy to find a good restaurant around the convention center. And the cherry blossoms are in full bloom! We couldn’t travel out to get the full on experience, but the cherry blossoms framing the capitol were quite beautiful. If you happen to be down that way in the next week or so, it is definitely worth a drive to see the blooms.

Etc.

This morning I was walking to work and three women, American, were walking in front of me. Suddenly, they stopped short, causing me to almost run into them. “Oh my God!” They shrieked. “It looks so cool!” “Let’s go in there!” What was making them so crazed? The Levi’s store. Now, I know Russians were known to get excited about a pair of jeans back in the day, but these women were not from Russia. Where in America can you not get Levi’s? Whatever makes you happy, ladies. Please enjoy all that NYC has to offer.

Lately I’ve been running into a lot of jugglers. Isn’t that weird? The other day at the gym a guy was walking laps around the track while juggling. Then yesterday a guy was crossing the street coming towards me, juggling some sort of golden orbs. I’m not sure if there’s some hidden message there. (And I guess it’s better than the time I kept running into masturbators — no kidding, three times in one week, everywhere from the movie theater to the subway. Ew.)

Bloomingdale’s Private Sale is on for one more day. If you have a Bloomingdale’s charge, you get $25 off every $100 you spend. If you need something it’s worth checking out — in addition to that discount, they have 20% off any handbag over $150, so if you find something you like it’s a good deal.

All right, we’re one day closer to the weekend. Let’s go!

Just 3 Things

April 1, 2009

Some suggestions for JUST THREE THINGS you can do to make your life just a little brighter.

Choose one thing about yourself that you’re going to accept. Maybe it’s that brown spot on your cheek. Maybe it’s the stretch marks that came and never left with your pregnancy. Maybe it’s that you can’t bring yourself to ever make dinner. Whatever it is, just let it go. Identify it, make peace with it and move on. Ahhh — no more wasted energy on that ever again. Congratulations!

Invite someone (or a few people) over for brunch. Brunch is easy. Bagels, cream cheese, lox if you’re so inclined, fruit salad, maybe some scrambled eggs, and some coffee and OJ and you are done. Yes, you can get fancy and add in waffles, pancakes, french toast, pastries, mimosas and more, but you don’t have to. Paper plates are fine. Serve it buffet style — they key is to make it easy on yourself. If you want to entertain but find you never do, this is a perfect way to invite some friends over and truly be able to chill with them over a meal. And leftovers taste just as good the next morning!

Do something small you’ve been putting off. That button you’ve been meaning to sew back on. Those clothes you’ve been wanting to drop off at the thrift store. That silver frame you’ve been meaning to polish. It may not take a lot of time but it has been hanging over your head for quite a while. Do it. The tasks may be small, but once you do it, your sense of accomplishment (or is that relief) looms large.

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Etc.

I chaperoned a field trip for Austin’s class last week — we went to a bunch of art galleries in Chelsea and an art restoration studio — they were restoring some huge Keith Harings. I didn’t know, but apparently he was notoriously cheap with his materials, so I guess most of his paintings have had to be majorly repaired. It was interesting. I’m not sure how much the kids got out of it, but I think it’s good to expose them to it, because they definitely take something away. At our hotel last weekend there was a big framed picture over the bed. “That’s a Monet,” Austin announced. And sure enough, it was Claude Monet’s Waterlilies. So those trips to the Metropolitan have paid off!

Anyway, I had to go to Washington DC for the day today so I am fried. Hope you had a good day!

My normal beauty routine for my hair consists of washing it, toweling it dry so it’s not dripping wet, and — well, there is no and, because I truly have a wash and wear cut. I don’t like when hair looks “done” — for me, the messier the better. But what you learn with a wash and wear style is that the cut is what makes it all possible. Go too long, and you just look like a mess, not fashionably messy. And right now, I need a haircut. I was a little in denial about it over the weekend and was trying to blame the shampoo at the hotel, but now that I’m back to my regular routine I can’t hide from the truth. Unfortunately, I have no time this week to even think about going to the salon.

080878029952_med1That’s when Pantene Pro V Style Texturize! Texture and Shine Defining Pomade comes in. I think I had a coupon when I originally decided to try it, and I was pleasantly surprised that it really does make a difference. I use it whenever I need a little more polish. It works on dry hair — you rub a little on all your fingertips and then you just run it through your hair lightly, fixing your hair as you go so it looks good to you. It works all day or all through an event (like a wedding), doesn’t have an annoying smell, and you really just need a little, which means one jar lasts a long time. Plus, the price is totally reasonable. Win, win all around! ( A 1.7 ounce jar is about $4.50. I buy it at Duane Reade, but you can get it in just about any drugstore or Target — wherever Pantene products are sold.)

Join the Club!

Have you taken our survey yet? What are you waiting for! Get to it! It’s like voting…if you don’t do it, you can never complain about what’s on the site again! (Ha ha) Click here to take our short but oh-so-helpful survey. You’ll be glad you did! Thanks to all of you who have taken it. Really appreciate it!

Get Dirty

My husband told Austin that he used to plant flowers in empty egg cartons, so of course Austin wanted to do it right away. I am now the proud owner of about 8 quarts of dirt. (Maybe I actually need a quarter of a quart. Ugh.) That’s the smallest bag Target or Lowe’s sold. I guess most people buying it don’t live in Manhattan and only need to fill an empty egg carton! Anyway, it is a fun little project to do with your kids — they get so excited when something actually grows and comes up. Besides flowers, you can grow herbs like basil or chives, and you can use them when you cook dinner — that will really impress them!

Etc.

It is so windy here today. Really crazy — it literally blew me back while I was crossing the street! Everyone just wants spring to arrive and STAY. It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow — of course I’ll be on a train and inside for the whole day.

Just a reminder that if you don’t like something your elected officials are doing, they work for you. Call or write their office and let them know. I am fed up with the MTA and its decision to hike fares 30%, so I called my state senator’s office in Albany. You might think it doesn’t do anything, but you’ll feel better that you actually did something instead of just complaining, and if enough people call or write, it will spur them into some sort of action.

My lovely children passed on their fabulous coughs to me. It’s horrible! I woke up in the middle of the night with a coughing fit. Such a drag. I am all about vitamin C and Zicam.

Hope you’re all feeling well!

Draw on the Walls, Kids

March 30, 2009

5166et3cifl_aa400_One of the cheapest toys for kids is actually a great way for them to express themselves artistically: a box of crayons. My children, particularly Austin, will sit for a while and draw all sorts of things, from self-portraits to outdoor scenes to robots and bugs. And in restaurants, it’s an excellent, portable way to make the time pass between ordering and actually getting the food, without having them devour the entire bread basket or dump out all of the sugar/Sweet N Low/Splenda packets. The drawback is that kids don’t always stick to paper: tables, clothes, walls, counters and carpets are all targets for the errant (or deliberate) scribble. Which is where washable crayons from Crayola come in. Same great colors, but marks just wipe up or wash out. We’ve banished any crayons that aren’t washable from our home, having been burned a couple of times. It’s peace of mind when they pick up a crayon to color — it’s a beautiful thing, and not a potential weapon. (Available at Target and other places you’d buy art supplies. A box of 16 Crayola Washable Crayons is about $3.50.)

It’s Survey Week!

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And Finally…

We roadtripped to Pennsylvania to meet my new little nephew. Very cute! Addison gave him lots of hugs.

Since my parents were staying at my sister’s, we stayed in a Homewood Suites hotel, which is owned by Hilton. It was good — it’s nice with the kids to have a separate bedroom so you can shut the door when they go to sleep and the parents can still stay up. The breakfast was decent (actual fresh fruit!) and they bake cookies every night. Bath products are from Neutrogena. Plus the rooms have kitchenettes. I think the key with those sorts of hotels is to stay at the newer ones — once they’ve been around for a while they tend to get worn out. But I would stay there again.

We also ate a good French restaurant for brunch today — Confit, on Market Street in Camp Hill. If you’re in the Harrisburg area, check it out — apparently they have an all you can eat moules frites night (that’s mussels and french fries to you) on Monday nights — $18. And believe me when I say finding a good French restaurtant in Central Pennsylvania is a true find! (And no, that’s not NYC snobbery, that’s just a fact!) It’s about 20 minutes from Hersheypark, and it just might be worth the drive if you’ve had enough fast food.

Thunder and lightening just cleared out all of the fog and I can see the Empire State Building again. Kind of a gloomy weekend, weather-wise. Hope you took advantage of it and got some stuff done inside!

Help Us Help You

March 27, 2009

family-fav-logo-webOK people, Family Favs has been around for about 3 months now, and we want to hear from YOU! We want to know how to best serve your needs: how often do you read Family Favs? What would you like to see more of? We promise the survey is short — 8 little questions, most requiring just a click. It’s anonymous, but collectively we’ll be able to get a better picture of our audience and your wants and needs. So come on, you know you love it when it’s all about you! This is your chance to have your opinion matter and shape the blog you know and love.

Click here to take our short (but very worthwhile) survey!

THANK YOU!!

Single of the Week

If it’s Thursday, that means I have to give Ken the floor:

“If you took a lot of bits and pieces from your early nineties college radio station, you’d get The Pains of Being Pure at Heart — fun, driving melodies, disaffected lyrics and slapdash production quality. Remember those days, when you were ransacking your parents’ savings instead of having AIG and Citigroup ransack yours? Real cool, Citigroup. Real cool.”

And Finally…

Everyone in NYC (everyone who takes mass transit, anyway) is up in arms over the MTA’s vote yesterday to raise fares 25 – 30 percent on most lines, including the subway. No one understands why if the Agency is so mismanaged, they don’t clean house and get people in there who know what they’re doing. And, why aren’t the state’s elected officials figuring out a plan to help ease the burden on every single taxpayer who commutes? I was so enraged I actually called my state senator’s office in Albany today. Big surprise, no one called me back.

We are excited to meet the new bambino this weekend, so we are roadtrippin’ to my sister’s in Pennsylvania.

Austin said to me this morning, “After today we can all be together, right?” It’s so cute that that’s what he thinks of when he thinks of the weekend. I said, “Yes!” and told him all of the fun things we will do together.

Hope you can get out this weekend and do something together with your friends and family, too!

Thanks again for taking the survey — it’s a tremendous help.