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The Repetto Ballet Flat

The Repetto ballet flat is one of the very few fashion purchases that look as good today as they did 50 years ago . Always in style, the ballet flat is often the perfect choice to wear with a skirt, shorts, capris, a dress or pants when simplicity and comfort are paramount.. The ballet flat has the distinguishing characteristic of being both casual and elegant while most shoes are unable to transcend one category. Read more »


Ladurée in Paris

Most people go to Ladurée for the fresh macarons: a sweet meringue based confection filled with a ganache or buttercream. Crunchy on the outside, moist and soft on the inside, the classic small round macaron originated in France. Ladurée has been making macarons since 1862 and is the most well-known brand in the world, if not the most elegant. With more than 20 flavors offered in the most beautiful ribbon covered pastel boxes ever made, Ladurée macarons can make you feel like Marie-Antionette at Versailles. Read more »


Jour Naked in Paris

Only the French could name a chain of restaurants “Naked Day” and get away with it. “Jour Naked” is a relatively new type of fast food in Paris that is sure to expand in popularity with tourists and locals who welcome the opportunity to choose the ingredients of their meal.  While strolling the avenues of Paris this week, I discovered this treasure of a restaurant that specializes in fresh hand-tossed salads. “Jour Naked” does to salad what “Pinkberry” does to frozen yogurt:  they take a good basic product and offer quality toppings to make it a real treat. Read more »


“Ms. Hempel Chronicles”

Ms. Hempel Chronicles,” a finalist for the Pen Vaulkner Award for Fiction in 2009 was written by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, a writer who graduated from Brown University and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and now teaches writing and literature at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California. Read more »


Why Not Brownies?

Products that are difficult to make at home or those that someone already does an incredible job of making are the ones to seek out: crispy potato chips made in olive oil (San Nicasio), caramel (Suss or Bequet), Viennese Crescents (Amy’s Cookies), delicious sugar cookies that look as good as they taste (Eleni’s), chocolate chip walnut cookies (Levain’s Bakery), chocolate (Tristan’sMaison du ChocolatMarie and Freres), croissants (Galaxy Desserts through Williams-Sonoma), cream cheese biscuits (Gagne’s), granola (Early Bird or Adirondack), hors d’oeuvres (Dufour Pastry Kitchens), specialty desserts (Galaxy Desserts), and jams (Sarabeth’s). Notice there is no brownie supplier on that list. Read more »


The Lime in the Coconut

The Coconut Pattie has been redefined and reached a new pinnacle with the creation of The Lime in the Coconut – a candy bar with a chewy coconut center, chunks of toasted macadamia nuts, lime zest and a touch of white rum all enrobed in dark chocolate. For those of us who grew up devouring Mounds Bars and for those who just call themselves coconut lovers, The Lime in the Coconut is pure bliss and it all started with the culinary talents of two very talented pastry trained chefs with a vision. Read more »


“Mrs. Bridge”

More than 50 years ago, Evan S Connell wrote “Mrs. Bridge” – a fictional novel that is remarkable in many ways. “Mrs. Bridge” is the story of India Bridge, a woman who was born in the late 19th century and came of age during World War 1 and yet, the reader doesn’t realize this information until half-way through the novel because the story is timeless. The story of Mrs. Bridge is not the story of events during Mrs. Bridge’s lifetime, but of the day-to-day events in her life. At 26, India marries Walter Bridge and becomes Mrs. Bridge although she quickly realizes that love is not always an equitable affair after Mr. Bridge spurns her advances early in their marriage while holding her secure in his arms as he falls back asleep – an action that deftly defines their long life together: security, yes; passion, no. Read more »



An artist friend of mine introduced me to a relatively new website last month called “FAB” – a design e-retailer that has four distinguishing characteristics:  (1) the products are fabulous in design, taste, or use; (2) e-mails are sent daily alerting subscribers to new products offered; (3) the products are not widely available; and (4) the products are all offered at a discount. Founded in June, 2011, FAB was the brainchild of Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer – two West Villagers who believed they could build an e-commerce powerhouse through word of mouth, which is exactly how it’s grown (witness my introduction to the website by a friend who has an eye for design). Read more »


The Molasses Clove Cookie

The Dancing Deer Baking Company uses all natural ingredients (unbleached wheat flour, cane sugar, canola oil, cage-free eggs, molasses, baking soda, spices, and kosher salt) to make an exquisite Molasses Clove Cookie that is thick and chewy. Originally thought of as a seasonal cookie for the holidays, the Molasses Clove Cookie dominated the company’s production when demand for this universally loved treat didn’t slow down after the holiday season. Read more »


“Getting A Life”

Several years ago, Helen Simpson published a collection of nine short stories called “Getting A Life.” Simpson, an English novelist is a master at writing about women overwhelmed with their lives as mothers – be they stay at home or working moms – and as wives to men who don’t think their responsibilities go beyond going to work everyday. At times hilarious – especially the scenes with children – but more often sad, the stories portray women in England who are trying to keep their lives, careers, and marriages together while raising children – not an easy feat. Read more »