Friday, March 29, 2013


It was a balmy 43 degrees yesterday -- perfect weather for the park! Daddy and son enjoyed an
afternoon swing-a-thon. "Higher!" Caden shouted as daddy pushed him toward the sky.
Got so high I thought he'd wrap around the top of the pole. (@ Cain Park/Cleveland Heights)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Links mar27 (Best music videos in b&w)

Today's links feature my top picks for best music videos shot in black and white. Timeless. Classic. Check it out.


  • After a seven-year hiatus from music making, Justin doesn't disappoint by bringing sexy back. (Suit & Tie/Justin Timberlake)
  • Listen here single ladies. (Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)/Beyonce)
  • Blue jeans never looked so good in black and white. (Blue Jeans/Lana Del Rey)
  • Madge perfected the art of striking a pose. (Vogue/Madonna) 
  • I named my daughter after this song. (Isobel/Bjork)
  • Nirvana's brilliant nod to teenage fan hysteria. (In Bloom)
  • A superb piece of music accompanied by a superb video. (Street Spirit/Radiohead)
  • An 80s send up. This one's a classic. (Straight Up/Paula Abdul)
  • Perhaps the coolest hip hop track ever. (Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)/Digable Planets)
  • They don't make videos like this anymore. That's cuz there's only one RHCP. (Give It Away/Red Hot Chili Peppers) 
  • This one will probably remind you where you were, what summer it was and who broke your heart. (Boys of Summer/Don Henley)

Good relationship advice

Is a good relationship measured by how free one feels to fart in the company of their beloved? This clip, from the movie "Love and Other Disasters," made me laugh this morning. Truth is brilliant.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Links mar25

Iceland's Skaftafell Ice Cave looks straight out of a science fiction film. 


  • You need to put these 17 must-see places on your bucket list. I did. (The Cool Hunter)
  • Heavily tattooed Margaret Cho is happy in her skin and she doesn't give a sh*t what you think. (Jezebel)
  • Lena Dunham's new short film slash commercial for Rachel Antonoff's Spring 2013 line -- quirky in a Wes Anderson kind of way. But cute nonetheless. 
  • I'm not much of a baker, but I might try making this super cute Easter bunny cake for the kids. (Food Network)

Irresistibly cute.

Stories that need to be told

A project my favorite journalism professor at Columbia has been working on for the past year: The Big Roundtable. It's a brilliant endeavor that aims to connect writers of original nonfiction to people who might want to read these stories and pass them along. The Big Roundtable is a creative, innovative response to the revolution taking place in journalism. Check it out!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday selfie: Networking in NYC (three days three outfits)

"Fashion should be the most intoxicating release from the banality of the world." -- Diana Vreeland

Three days of interviews with New York magazine industry culture makers meant three days of intentional, statement-making ensembles. Each of the big three publishing houses in this city have their own distinct personalities. Thus, I picked my outfits accordingly:

day 1

My first meeting was at Meredith Corporation, which publishes Parents, Fitness, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal and More magazines. I felt a modest yet professionally chic ensemble fit the bill for this family-owned company with roots in Iowa (where I grew up!). 

The outfit: Madewell gray jersey dress (super comfortable); Madewell candy pink leather belt (the perfect pop of color); ribbed black tights (it's 40 degrees in NY so bare legs not apply); Mossimo faux leather black wedge heels (comfortable enough to pound the Manhattan pavement).

Total cost: $150.


day 2

When people in this town say, "I work for Conde Nast," they hope you'll think of words like "provocative," "influential" and "world's finest publishing company." With titles like Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ and Vanity Fair I'm sure at least one of those words will pop up.

Hearst publishes some of my favorite magazines. I grew up reading Seventeen and I could spend hours flipping through Elle, Cosmo and Harper's Bazaar. And then there's my dream job -- to be an editor at Marie Claire. For these meetings, I chose clean lines and chic New York black. 

The outfit: Olsenboye faux silk button-down blouse and sparrow print wide-leg trousers (this one's my fave).

Total cost: $50.

day 3

My last meetings were with a few accomplished New York writers, editors and a well-connected PR guru. Since they were coffee and cocktail meet-ups, I went with a more relaxed, chilled out look.

The outfit: Olsenboye faux silk button-down blouse; Forever 21 polka dot sweater; Hinge plaid punker skinny pants (channeling my style icon Gwen Stefani); Aldo black fringe wedge sneakers (you can't see in this photo how cute they are!).

Total cost: $180.     

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hello, New York

Up in the air: the view from my window at 5,000 feet. 

Every time I return to New York it feels like a homecoming. The moment I see all those magnificent buildings reaching for the sky, something comes over me. Excitement? Exhilaration? The feeling that truly anything can be accomplished? It's that and hope, wonder, ambition and a dash of agitation (I just wanna get things done now!). 

I'm here because I'm going out on a limb. After sending my credentials and portfolio of work to dozens of editors in this city and hearing nothing but crickets, I decided to shift my game plan. "Screw it," I said to myself. "I'm not going to wait for opportunity to happen. I'm gonna make it happen!" My daddy told me sometimes you gotta do a little crazy to make it work like crazy. You know?

So I reached out to every place I'd want to work, (said a lot of prayers), hopped on a plane and here I am. I'm looking forward to how this week unfolds. Wish me luck... 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Links mar19 (on Having it all...)

Is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg changing our ideas of "having it all?" 

The topic of today's hot links: women, careers, motherhood and the concept of work-life balance, integration and if there is such thing as "having it all." What do you think?

  • Sandberg is the cover story of this week's Time magazine. She's also got a new book, Lean In, on bookshelves. (Time)
  • Women still can't have it all: Anne-Marie Slaughter's controversial article. Six months later, we're still talking about it. (The Atlantic)   
  • Susan Chira of The New York Times eloquently responds to Slaughter's article. 
  • Some women are giving up their careers altogether to embrace their role as domestic goddess. (New York Magazine)

Perhaps the question of women "having it all" is the wrong discussion.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Biker chick

Ride hard or stay home.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Links mar15

Yum with a side of yum. (Blueberry crumb bars from


  • I'll eat anything if the words "damn" and "good" describe it. (Damn Delicious)
  • This poor car salesman got the ride of his life.
  • One of my favorite style blogs features this great 20-minute conditioning workout. (What I Wore)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Links mar13

The Interweb is such a wonderful playground of knowledge, curiosities, new things to read, watch, listen to, eat. Taking inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, I'm kicking off my own collection of hand-picked links. Without further ado, here are a few that are click-worthy:


  • Even when I first met him as a young art student, my husband's always preached the "good design is essential to life" sermon. And he's right. This article may explain why. (The New York Times)
  • Super sick music video from Australian synth-pop band Clubfeet 
  • This week's 10 Best Dressed (p.s. Tilda Swinton rocked it in Haider Ackermann; not so sure about Amanda Seyfried's sloppy Givenchy get-up). (Vogue)
  • I can't wait for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut to hit theaters.  
  • All the rain and snow here in Cleveland inspires me to make soup. And lots of it. (Week of Menus) 

LIFE magazine named Jackson Pollock "the greatest living painter in the United States" in 1949,
when he was creating canvases now known to conform to the optimal fractal density
(about 1.3 on a scale of 1 to 2 from void to solid. Pollock's Number 8, c. 1949.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This week's obsessions: Justin's peanut butter, Rewined candles and more


I love peanut butter almost more than sex (I said "almost").

I was on a plane from LA to NY when the flight attendant handed out snack-size portions of Justin's Honey Peanut Butter. The packaging was simple yet creative (good graphic design goes a long way) so I thought, "The peanut butter must be decent." Ha, did I underestimate Justin's passion for nut butter. This stuff is the most amazing peanut butter I've ever had. It's the honey powder that makes it so damn good. After dinner, I'll eat a scoop for dessert and call it a day.


Talk about recycling and reusing: these candles are the coolest.

Charleston, South Carolina-based company Rewined uses repurposed wine bottles and makes each deliciously-scented candle by hand. They also carefully blend the fragrance to capture the flavors and aromas found in your favorite wine. The Cabernet candle features black cherry, currant, smoke and burnt toast. Merlot: ripe pomegranate, plum, vanilla and violet. Sauvignon Blanc: fresh mown grass, basil, mint and grapefruit. Heavenly.      


Lay it on thick: leave it to Francois Nars to come up with a to-die for color like Super Star.
Though it's been on shelves since well-before the holidays, I can't put it away quite yet.
That's OK... I've got seven more days of winter. Find it here.

I can't believe I just discovered Fresh's Sugar Lip Polish. It's provides my smackers
the perfect nourishment and conditioning for the harsh winters here in Cleveland.
Wash the stress away: my shower becomes my personal spa thanks to this drugstore find.
You can get Village Naturals Therapy Stress & Tension Relief body wash here.


My new favorite dress is this lovely silk number from Swedish designer
Carin Wester. I love the relaxed fit, dropped waist and multi-slit,
pieced hem along the front. You can find it here.

I've been wearing my winter boots every day since we moved here from California.
Good thing = heavy, chunky boots means toning up my legs. Bad thing = I miss my flats!
I found these adorable ones at Aldo. I feel like a ballerina when I wear them. Click here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm loving this: Duro Olowu

Nigerian-born, London-based fashion designer Duro Olowu's collection for JC Penney
features bold patterns a playful mishmosh of colors. Love love love! 

As someone who loves seeing new collections hit the runway but can't afford to shell out the dough (not quite yet), designer collaborations serve as a way to indulge my fashion sensibilities without indulging the good folks over at American Express.

I'm loving the latest duet between Nigerian-born Londoner Duro Olowu and JC Penney. When I first heard of the team-up I admit I was a bit surprised because when I think of Penney's, it conjures up images of frumpy Easter dresses, ill-fitting cardigans and mom jeans -- not style and certainly not high fashion. But it was a smart move, especially after bleeding some $985 million in sales for the last fiscal year.    

Wanting to see it for myself, I took a research trip today to my nearest JC Penney in Richmond Heights. The store's layout didn't look much different from the last time I was there (30 years ago). They were still stocked up on cheesy Easter frocks and boxy sweaters. Moms jeans aplenty, too. Then I saw in big, colorful block letters:  

A beacon of light amidst the retail blahs. 

I rushed over and wasn't disappointed. Big, bold color. Strong, make-a-statement prints. African roots with a modern twist. And everything in the collection is $10-100. LOVE! 

What's not to love about this amazing piece of luggage? Carry on!
I saw this carry-on luggage online and I couldn't resist. I had been looking a while for something interesting. Something with flair and personality. Something fun. I mean, why does every piece of luggage have to be so business-y and boring? One look at this and you can bet it will turn heads at baggage claim. So I snapped one up (thanks Mom!) for an upcoming trip.

A few other pieces you might want to add to your closet (but don't wait too long; I'm noticing many items are already out of stock online):

Super cute tapestry handbag that looks like a mini coin purse. Only $30!

I love this green printed maxi dress ($60).
Unfortunately, I think it already sold out online.

This mixed print ensemble is very chic. Ladies, be brave-- not beige!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why working from home doesn't work

My edits: Unwashed (but combed) hair + bra (thank you very much) + sweatpants +
 a laptop 6 hours a day (if I'm lucky)= Being married with two young kids and
working from home. (Illustration:

Working from home is a solitary existence. Perhaps that's why I hate it so much. OK, hate is a strong word. But as an extrovert who craves human interaction outside of my home and preferably in a cafe, at an interesting intersection, or dare I say it -- in a pod of cubicles -- I'll use the words "strongly dislike." 

When people find out I work from home the reaction is usually one of envy. "Oh, that's so awesome -- you get to make your own hours," "I can't stand my commute, it would be amazing to work at home," "So cool! I would KILL to work in my pajamas every day!" Yeah, you can make your own hours, avoid a headache-inducing commute and you get to work in your pajamas (heck, you don't have to wash your face or even brush your teeth if that's your thing). But working from home is overrated.   

It's why I nodded my head in agreement when Marissa Mayer shut down telecommuting and decreed that Yahoo employees could no longer work from home. Of course, there was public outcry for her seemingly un-21st century corporate CEO decision (Virgin supermogul Richard Branson called it "old school thinking" and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg declared Mayer's directive as "one of the dumber ideas I've ever heard"). The outrage was especially fierce from feminists and working mothers alike. "I find it ironic that a woman with a baby and the leader of Yahoo, of all companies, feels the need to step back in time and order everyone to the big building," a woman commented on a Washington Post column. 

Marissa Mayer got a lot of heat for ending Yahoo's
work-from-home policy. But I think she got it right.

I get it. It seems like a step backwards, a usurping of individual empowerment, and completely impractical given the technology at hand.     

I've spent 15 years in the workforce and of those, spent a good chunk of my writing career freelancing AND going into an office.  Yes, as a freelance writer I have the luxury of making my own hours. But sometimes that means working late into the evening when the kids are tucked into bed. It means trying to squeeze in more work when you feel like you haven't done enough. One thing I liked about going into an office was the fact that I would leave my work AT WORK once it was time to come home. It's healthy to physically uproot yourself from your work space. Separating your professional life from your personal one helps to set clear boundaries.   

I understand the allure of working in your pajamas. But there's something empowering about getting dressed for work. For me, there is great fulfillment in putting on my war paint, wearing a stylish outfit and throwing on some heels. And I don't care what anybody says, there's absolutely NOTHING empowering about wearing sweatpants 24-7. Your hair is unkempt, you probably need to change your underwear and your breath stinks. Sounds silly, but when I worked in an office, one of the most exciting parts of my evening was figuring out what I was going to wear the next day. Button-down blouse or t-shirt? Pencil skirt or skinny jeans? Flats or wedges? Colorful chunky beads or delicate sterling silver necklace? (See how much fun it is?)      

Yeah, everyone poo-poos their commute. But there can be something magical (yes, I said magical) about it. Given it's within reason and something that isn't making you want to end your life (ex: I've done the one-hour drive to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 and IT SUCKS). My morning commute had a specific ritual: after I dropped off the kids at school I would go to Starbucks and get my favorite drink then drive the rest of the way with my stereo blasting my favorite music. Since hip hop and gangsta rap isn't conducive to good parenting (well, some of it anyway), my commute was MY time to listen to whatever I wanted without having to explain what the F word was to my toddler. See what I mean? Magical.    

And let's not forget the simplest (and perhaps most brilliant) of workplace concepts: community. This is the #1 reason why I like going into an office. I love collaborating. I love working on a team. Nothing gets your creative juices flowing better than discussing (even debating) ideas with your colleagues. When I worked in a newsroom, I loved the sound of phones ringing off the hook. I loved the hammering away of fingers on keyboards during deadline. I loved peeking over my half-cubicle to ask how the word "flummoxed" should be used in a sentence. Researchers call this "synergy." I call it iron sharpening iron.

Why working in an office rocks. (Illustration:

I can't wait to get to New York and work in an office (that sounds kind of funny, right?). But it's not the building that's important, it's what it symbolizes -- the exchanging of ideas, the collaboration of creative minds, and working together to build something greater than any one person could do by herself.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rascals R Us

Would you trust these adorable faces? Yeah, I wouldn't either.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Imperfectly perfect

Some days, I feel like this and for that I want to thank Fernando Botero.