December 31, 2012

Year in Cities, 2012

Cities / Towns where I spent at least 1 night in 2012

New York, NY
Seattle, WA
Bend, OR
Portland, OR
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Garrison, NY
Poughkeepsie, NY
Portland, ME
Brimfield, MA
Boston, MA
Austin, TX
Lyme, NH
Mexico City, Mexico
Boulder, CO
Munich, Germany
Starnberg, Germany
Itter, Austria
Silver Spring, Maryland
Niskayuna, NY
North Adams, MA
Dusseldorf, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Istanbul, Turkey

What else? Produced 50+ screenings of Girl Walk // All Day. Moved apartments. Got a new / old car. Took a pottery class. Made my first batch of oatmeal molasses rolls. Learned how to use a drill. Quit one job, started another. Ate mass quantities of Japanese sweet potatoes. And tomatoes. Volunteered after Hurricane Sandy. Turned 30. Became an aunt for the 2nd time. Made yogurt. Said goodbye to my cat Winston. Floated down a river on a traditional Bavarian log raft. 

And all the sunrises, sunsets, sleepy mornings, gray days, books read, movies watched, recipes made, recipes broken, hours worked, moments spent in transit and breaths taken in between. 

Happy 2013 from Istanbul! 

December 30, 2012

Xmas prep

More Christmas prep, crafting + relaxation: tree hunting, watching the snow fall, stringing cranberries, making golden walnut ornaments, visiting the holiday markets, late night gluhwein, visiting friends, trimming the tree, wrapping gifts, soaking in the long nights where the sun sets early. 

Off to Istanbul this afternoon. More dispatches from there. 

December 26, 2012

Christmas in Berlin

Merry Christmas from Berlin. Christmas here feels utterly different than in the states, most obviously because of the way privacy, family and traditions are far more respected by retailers and advertisers. Stores, while festive, are fairly subdued in terms of pushing their wares and sales at you (at least compared to NYC). A lot of shops close for a week or two or six because shop owners around the holidays are off to Bavaria or Austria or elsewhere to visit family and it's just understood to be the way it works because it's the holidays. It's closed: deal with it.

The air is and was very merry though, with a palpable sense of anticipation as people rush around gathering provisions -- wine, roasts from the butcher, bread from the baker, candles, gift wrap -- for the few days when the world around them is shut down. There are Christmas markets open around the city -- big, beautifully lit parks and spaces transformed into shops and restaurants and eateries and performance areas for the month of December. Earlier in the week we went to the popular (if not slightly cheesy) Gendarmenmarkt, where you could get hot roasted chestnuts, pick up stolen, get hot mulled wine, hear carolers, or pick up a lot of local crafts and handmade goods. Most people seem there also to soak up simple holiday cheer, and be around people with food and drink before tucking away with family.

We fetched our tree the weekend before Christmas amidst two days of minor snow squalling which left a dusting of powder along the sidewalks, but managed to disappear before Christmas morning. Trees in lots here are notably more "natural" looking -- less symmetrical, often sparse, shorter and stubbier or freakishly tall. There are Berts and Ernies of the tree world with thinner trunks and balder tops. There's also an abundance of fresh mistletoe and more varieties of evergreen branches than I'm used to seeing. We carted little IZP across Mauer Park amidst bluster to fetch our tree from a friendly lot on the edge of the park, then Jacob and I strung cranberries and painted golden walnuts for the tree, adding ribbons to fill in patches and lights, of course.

Christmas Eve here is also the big night for presents and family gatherings, rather than the tradition of Santa appearing in the middle of the night and eating your cookies. We kept to the American-style tradition of gifts in the morning, (but it was still a bit strange to be 6 or 9 hours ahead of festivities than most friends in the States and watch their celebrations roll out on Instagram throughout the day.)

Today, the 26th, everything remains silent aside from runners in the park and a few cafes and restaurants open, but not many. It's Jacob's 30th birthday. The quiet is restful, the air clear, tinged with deep indigo and hints of gray and moisture is ripe in the air. The New Year comes soon, but not yet.

December 18, 2012

Maine nights.

Maine nights. More & Co's Come Darkness opening + Tandem Coffee / Bunker Brewing holiday party. Caroling, coffee, yule logs, and the feelings of the real camaraderie of a small town city. 

December 17, 2012

Maine mornings

We ventured north to Maine last weekend to celebrate Come Darkness at the new More & Co. space. A night of plants, brownies, photographs, projections and old-and-new friends was followed by a morning apple pancakes, warm buttery maple syrup, a wood stove and Lionel the cat. 

Maine's a place that feels like it could easily become home (thanks to ultimate hosts MAV + CDR ... and RTS and Lynsey). We're greeted by gorgeous old spaces, the light dances in the morning, and coziness is written into the walls. What a restorative weekend that was. 

December 12, 2012

Giving + Going

I'm traveling to Berlin / Istanbul* next week and all my holiday gifts must fit in my suitcase, alongside clothes for the month (!) we'll be away. So, I'm limited in my ability to transfer baked goods -- and gifts -- which I do love giving -- into a suitcase that remains under the weight limit. If there are some people you are still hunting for, here are things that've caught my eye of late*.
  1. Napkins
  2. Planters
  3. Cookbooks
  4. Neckwear
  5. Robes: 
  6. Mittens
  7. Wall things
  8. Bags
  9. Baskets & bins
  10. Enamel
  11. Pottery
  12. Subscriptions / Magazines
  13. Potholders
  14. Pouches
  15. Trays
  16. Little Flower caramels
  17. A Cat Cave (if you have a cat). 
  18. Calendars
* If you have any recommendations for things to do, see or eat in Istanbul, please let me know! Email me: 
** Photo above is from Berlin a few years ago. It's an old favorite that someone just requested a giant print*** of for the holidays. 
*** Stay tuned for a print shop in the new year. 

December 6, 2012


Little brother.

Older brother.

The Hudson Valley has only really come alive to me in the last 5 or 6 years. Growing up just north of there, tiny main streets and old farmhouses had little charm. I wanted more activity than the quiet street I grew up on. Now, trips up from New York and down from my parents house are very much a treat, and long meanders around the same tiny (but evolving) main streets unveil both history and a very changed landscape.

We were in Hudson, NY a few weeks back, perhaps the most changed of all the Hudson Valley towns of this last few years. Lots of antique shops, mid-century scandinavian furniture shops and boutiques line Warren Street, the main drag.  Storefronts are being transformed by city transplants. Wander on the parallel streets, however, like Cherry Alley and Prison Alley, and you'll see lots more color, wandering vines, crumbling buildings -- some being revived, others falling into despair. And, locals and their stories are ever the backbone of this place.

Stop for a coffee at Swallow (if LOAF is open, grab some bread for later), wander down the street to Cafe La Perche, and ask if the cheese danish are warm. If so, it's going to be the finest cheese danish of your life, oozy. flaky, with cardamom crumbs rolling off your hand at every bite. You plan to get one to share, but you end up each needing your own.

Keep strolling, walk off your breakfast (snack), then hit Baba Louie's for sourdough pizza for lunch. Get the pie with the figs, prosciutto, gorgonzola and onions, get beer to share, bring home lots of leftovers.