Andrea Harner
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June 25, 2007

Hosting Etiquette: The 5 Gs

NYC06.07_GarlicBasilCherryTomatopasta1.jpg 1) Generosity, generosity, generosity. Generosity and only generosity should be in your heart and mind. Clear out the rest of the mess and let generosity inspire you.

2) Graciously decline offers from friends to bring something. This is not about sharing in costs for the evening. This is about providing for people you love. Some friends may still bring something but you should never count on it.

3) Give guests a drink as soon as they enter your home. It's all about making people feel welcome and comfortable so it's important to ask right away and be ready to provide.

4) Go above and beyond by buying too much food and drink. The goal is to end up with leftovers at the end of the evening, not to buy "just enough".

5) Gratify your guests beyond their expectations by seeing things from their perspective. Don't drink tea but your friends might? Have tea on hand. Even if you are an aggressive carnivore, keep your vegetarian friends in mind when making or ordering food.

* Thanks to the all the generous and atrocious hosting I've experienced over the years for inspiring this post! I may not always live up to these rules but I certainly aspire to them! Happy hosting!

Child labor can be so cute

While away this week we hired a gardener to take care of our sprawling gardenS.

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Babies like scary dogs

My friend Hannah's kid Tex and his friendly dogs:

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In Paris this week

Delighting in our stay here. Off to get cafe creme, pain au chocolat and the Herald Tribune for the NYT crossword - will post soon!

xoxo
A

June 22, 2007

Wd~50, a curious molecular gastronomy experience

Our dining experience last night at Wd~50 was well, quite an experience. We went all out and indulged in the tasting menu although opted out of the wine pairing. Let's just say that towards the end of the evening we equated this type of food, molecular gastronomy, to new media art: An honorable exercise in innovation, some of it's delicious and awe-inspiring and some of it fails miserably. An absolutely worthwhile experience for the curious and adventurous - you are guaranteed a memorable time!

Here it is in chronological order with dishes listed as they appear on menu.

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The hungry!

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Nice earthy, textured placemats and wooden tables to off-set the less than natural food preparation:

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A toast to the curious!

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Hamachi, fried corn, lime pickle, grapefruit - delicious:

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Shrimp and tarragon macaroons - these were divine and incredibly fun to eat (think cheese puffs):

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Foie gras in the round - hated the watercress dollops but otherwise really interesting rice crispies version of foie gras that enabled me to enjoy foie gras - the cacao balls were an incredible pairing that worked magnificently:

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"I'm now a yuppie. Not sure how I feel about that..."

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Sweetbreads, cabbage-kaffir, water chestnuts - pretty good although I am not entirely comfortable with sweetbreads, the greatest euphemism of cuisine:

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Beef tongue, fried mayo, tomato molasses - the tongue resembled a cow tongue too much for me to enjoy it - otherwise the tomato molasses and fried mayo were good:

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Miso soup, sesame "noodles":

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Interactive food!

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This Japanese-inspired dish was greatly appreciated, yummy and fun:

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DIY noodles!

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Surf clam, watermelon, garlic chive, fermented black bean - this was mediocre:

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Lamb belly, black chickpea, cherried cucumber - the lamb belly which was basically bacon was very good but otherwise the dish was only alright:

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Cameranda:

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Argan oil horchata, cantaloupe, carob - was delicious:

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Fried butterscotch pudding, mango taro, smoked macadamia - this was disgusting - the fried butterscotch tasted like hotdogs:

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Soft chocolate, avocado, licorice, lime - was remarkable:

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"Cool" black currant jelly - pretty cool:

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The chef Wylie Dufresne himself:

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The satiated foursome:

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Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Even though I'm not a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac or Stevie Nicks in general, this is one of my favorite songs.

June 21, 2007

Which Office character are you??!!

The release of The Office video game reminded me of a conversation I had with Mark and Chris the other day about The Office during which Mark said that if I were an Office character I would easily be Dwight Schrute. It's hard for me to describe the elation I felt upon hearing this. I would totally and completely be Dwight and the fact that he was able to so certainly know that and say it was well, beautiful and touching. Mark said he would be Stanley and Chris said he would be Angela. I nearly peed in my pants. So I ask you, who would you be??!! You have to be someone so pick!

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Dwight: Don’t you want to earn Shrute bucks?

Stanley: No. In fact, I’ll give you a billion Stanley nickels if you never talk to me again.

Dwight: What’s the ratio of Stanley nickels to Schrute bucks?

Stanley: Same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns. via here.

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Fantastic Flatware!

The minute I saw these and held these I was in love. It was as if I were transported to the forest where I joined my gnome friends for a feast on a large wooden table laden with goblets of wine, these utensils and whatever food gnomes eat. Jonah says "seems like we would need to listen to Bjork while we eat." Amen, JP, amen. I highly encourage everyone to fall in love with your very own, special flatware.

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June 20, 2007

Kucoon Designs by Andrea Spratt!

I could not be prouder of my dearest and oldest friend (she's 57) Andrea Spratt (pictured below) with whom I spend every waking hour of my very special 14-16 year old existence. She has followed her passion for designing original, sexy, eco-conscious clothing and of course it's all coming together. Check out her stuff online or if in LA you can check out her upcoming show or if you want to be more intimate you can stop by her studio and home (I'll give only psychos her address). Love you Flatty! Congrats and see you in August!

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MizPee!

A new site promising to help you find where to go when you have to go! Personally, at any given time I know where the closest Starbucks and Banana Republic are but often there's not close enough so hopefully this will come in handy for those racehorse times.

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* Thanks Jason!

June 19, 2007

Top of the Rock!

It was that time of the year again this weekend when my spoiled, jaded ass declared, "there's nothing fun to do in New York City!" and thank god for Jonah's better attitude because he suggested we finally do the Top of the Rock and it was super fun! P.S. We took advantage of a special deal combining Top of the Rock tickets with the Bodies exhibition tickets so that will be blogged when we do that too!

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Kang Suh Korean BBQ!

After Top of the Rock fun, we knew we wanted to eat Korean bbq but didn't know how to pick one restaurant in K-Town so we used our trusty sidekicks which yielded good reviews telling us to go to Kang Suh. Other than service that would have been appropriate had we asked them to please leave us alone, it was totally delicious. Highly recommended!

Sometimes you're so hungry and happy eating that you end up with only three photos that scream, "afterthought!":

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Geta gift

Thanks to my oniichan Hiromi for this cute geta painting that I just got framed!

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June 18, 2007

Mini Donkeys

I understand that Jonah's allergic to cats and dogs therefore we can't have one but...no one said anything about a little bitty, cute cute cute donkey right???!!! They're all the craze and I won't let us miss out on it! Jonah, this serves as your warning - be ready for a super cute and wet donkey kiss when you get home!

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Furry blond pole dancer

Go ahead, sexualize this poor little puppy, you dirty dogs:

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* Thanks to my Uncle Derek for the content!

What a dog that's given up looks like

June 15, 2007

Best Bed Sheets FOUND!

UPDATE: READ HERE.

In a challenge to my original post, Thomas of Thomas Lee Bedding sent me a set of his sheets and said, "see what you think!"

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Well, after two washes I can safely say that they are in fact lovely high-quality sheets - on the crispy side so perfect for summer! It must have something to do with how they're made. What was an unexpected bonus was unlike how most bed sheets are packaged, they are packaged like a gift - no plastic, wrapped in tissue in an elegant box.

If you're in search of the best bed sheets, I would encourage you to give these a try! You can request a free swatch or you can order them and if they don't work for you, return them within 90 days.

This is the blond me in my super-soft, gorgeous white sheets:

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June 14, 2007

Snapping turtle! And his privates!

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* In Costa Rica New Jersey via the Harmony Blog!

Eyebeam 10 year anniversary benefit: A mash-up!

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* May 17, 2007.

June 13, 2007

Seeking: Gawande of bunion surgery

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Super duper garlicy basily cherry tomato and olive oil pasta

I cooked this one night last week when Jonah was out and was so proud because it was beautiful and delicious so I took these photos to show him the moment he stepped in the door - and I did! - and he was proud too.

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Soba Koh brunch!

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Woodstock for the day: Lake lazing

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June 12, 2007

Eyelash wigs: How can you not love Japan???

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Prom night success? Or failure??

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* Houston & Lafayette, NYC prom season '07.

Omar's Dinner + Dance Party!

Thank you to Omar Wasow for the fantastic hosting and fun party!

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Ed's Lobster Bar

Update: One of the owners of Ed's tells me, "They are live and are so right up until the time you order one." I suggested he amend their menu so that the word 'live' is all over it.

Other than the fact that we're pretty sure their lobsters aren't live lobsters and are therefore frozen lobsters, it was mediocre.

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June 11, 2007

Trash The Dress - sign me up!

I so so so want to do this. Wear my beautiful dress which would otherwise never be touched again, in a photoshoot, the sole purpose of which is to create awesome photos without regard to the precious dress - radical! Anyone done this?

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* via BuzzFeed!

June 8, 2007

Pete Doherty, a regular Mary Poppins

I love this kind of reporting - stoned out of his head Doherty meets feel-good children's event - aptly displays the ridiculousness of reality!

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* via HuffPost.

Angelina Jolie joins Council on Foreign Relations

Ok. It's of course great that Angelina has become a dynamic humanitarian force in the world. It's really really great. BUT I don't know if she should count as qualified to be on this council (I don't purport to know much about this council and its members-I'm merely assuming they are a deserving and illustrious group). Maybe she supplements her high school degree by being self-taught on humanitarian issues but I haven't read or heard anything explicitly saying she has done this. I don't mean to detract from the importance of experiential knowledge at all - I just strongly believe in book knowledge serving as an anchor and framework for understanding the world at large. I am not convinced that she is learned enough in humanitarian issues and other areas of study to be a meaningful addition to the council. I hope to be convinced or proven wrong - thoughts?

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* via HuffPost.

Crossword compliment

On Wednesday night I forcibly snuggled up to Jonah with a 70% completed Wednesday crossword and said we were going to complete it by team work! As I figured out some tough answers we both remarked how I have gotten noticeably better since I started hard-core crosswording 6 months ago. Just as I began to revel in this, the greatest compliment of all came. "You're really going to be good when you're an old lady," Jonah said. If you were in the apartment across the street you would have been momentarily blinded by a flash of light coming from our apt. because I was beaming.

What the World Eats, a photo essay by Peter Menzel

I find this fascinating. I fancy myself an amateur ethnographer always observing and analyzing the consumption decisions made by people all over the globe from food to beauty products. I will have my cultural anthropologist hat on when we're in Paris in 10 days!!

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* via Kottke.

Funny Faces!

My love of Funny Face extends to an insatiable appreciation for funny faces made by little people!

Natalie!

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Josie!

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Funny Face

Funny Face is one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time and admit to having watched it too many times to count. Audrey Hepburn is at her best and plays a book-ish, funny looking girl who gets noticed by premier fashion magazine photographer played by Fred Astaire and whisked off to Paris for fashion week - in a word, divine. Everything about this movie from gorgeous Paris in the 50's to the funny philosophical struggle in the story line to the vibrant colors ("Think Pink!") and clothing designed by Givenchy...it's a treasure.

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June 7, 2007

Happy birthday Prince!!

A gift to all of you on this special day, compliments of YouTube:

Chibi in your face!

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* Chibi of Chibi's Sake Bar.

Mo' Momofuku Ssam Bar!

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Brooklyn visit to Gabby & Frida!

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June 6, 2007

The Disorder Is Sensory; the Diagnosis, Elusive by Benedict Carey

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Almost every parent of young children has heard an anguished cry or two (or 200) something like: “This shirt is scratchy, this shirt is scratchy, get it off!” “This oatmeal smells like poison, it’s poisonous!” “My feet are hot, my feet are hot, my feet are boiling!”

Such bizarre, seemingly overblown reactions to everyday sensations can end in tears, parents know, or escalate into the sort of tantrum that brings neighbors to the door asking whether everything’s all right.

Usually, it is. The world for young children is still raw, an acid bath of strange sights, smells and sounds, and it can take time to get used to it.

Yet for decades some therapists have argued that there are youngsters who do not adjust at all, or at least not normally. They remain oversensitive, continually recoiling from the world, or undersensitive, banging into things, duck-walking through the day as if not entirely aware of their surroundings.

The problem, these therapists say, is in the brain, which is not properly integrating the onslaught of information coming through the senses, often causing anxiety, tantrums and problems in the classroom. Such difficulties, while common in children with developmental disorders like autism, also occur on their own in many otherwise healthy youngsters, they say.

No one has a standard diagnostic test for these sensory integration problems, nor any idea of what might be happening in the brain. Indeed, a diagnosis of such problems is not yet generally accepted. Nor is there evidence to guide treatment, which makes many doctors, if they have heard of sensory problems at all, skeptical of the diagnosis.

Yet in some urban and suburban school districts across the county, talk of sensory integration has become part of the special-needs vernacular, along with attention deficit disorder and developmental delays. Though reliable figures for diagnosis rates are not available, the number of parent groups devoted to sensory problems has more than tripled in the last few years, to 55 nationwide.

And now this subculture wants membership in mainstream medicine. This year, for the first time, therapists and researchers petitioned the American Psychiatric Association to include “sensory processing disorder” in its influential guidebook of disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Official recognition would bring desperately needed research, they say, as well as more complete coverage for treatment, which can run to more than $10,000 a year. Continued...

Mail-Order Assistant apply within!!

Talk about temptation!!!

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Sea Lions Hit by High Levels of Acid Poison in California by Regan Morris

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Southern California marine mammal hospitals have been overwhelmed by sea lions sick from the acid, which appeared in record levels off the coast of Los Angeles in April. Domoic acid poisoning has killed hundreds of the animals across Southern California this spring and thousands since a major outbreak in 2002, and has also afflicted animals in Monterey Bay, south of San Francisco.

“In over 22 years of marine mammal rescues, I’ve never seen such distress of marine mammals,” Mr. Wallerstein said. “The stress and the fright, it’s kind of shocking.” Continued...

Ask the pilot: A look back at the catastrophic chain of events that caused history's deadliest plane crash 30 years ago

This article is a really interesting piece detailing exactly what the title says! What continues to haunt me after reading this and of course since 9/11, is how at times, our reliance on technology fails us, fatally.

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June 5, 2007

Big Love Shower Scene

This clip captures the show nicely. In case you haven't been turned on to Big Love yet, and you care what I think, I strongly recommend that you check it out!

Eau de Polygamie

Ha ha ha. I am so needing to distinguish myself from my "sisters" so this will come in handy!

* via BuzzFeed.

He reminds me to blink more often when staring at my screen for hours.

Hopefully he can be helpful to you too:

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June 4, 2007

I Heart Christoper Hitchens

I'm a little late in posting this but in case you missed this too, check it out. I am delighting in Hitchens, my new BFF. He said everything I've wanted to say about this topic and with a British accent to boot!

Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments by Dominick Dunne

This book was enjoyable the way a three star movie is enjoyable. I love the topic and generally speaking I believe Dunne is pretty right on with his opinions and hunches however his thought process seems overly simplistic to me. I would prefer that "true crime" books be guided by sociological insight as provided by Lefkowitz in Our Guys or a psychological perspective as Carrere explored in The Adversary. I like some scientific thought to anchor the process of thinking about crime. It was fun however to reminisce about the "great" crimes of the 90s such as the Menendez brothers and of course OJ (still makes me rant and rave that he was acquitted) and if I were stranded on a desert island for a day I would be happy to have only this book...but when the rescue plane came I would surely talk the pilot's ear off about how the book isn't as thoughtful as I would have liked.

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Knocked Up by Judd Apatow

Knocked Up was great. Go see it.

NYTimes' A.O Scott: The wonder of “Knocked Up” is that it never scolds or sneers. It is sharp but not mean, sweet but not soft, and for all its rowdy obscenity it rarely feels coarse or crude. What it does feel is honest: about love, about sex, and above all about the built-in discrepancies between what men and women expect from each other and what they are likely to get..."Knocked Up" made me smile and wince; it made me laugh and almost cry. Above all it made me happy.

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Zoo jonesing

I dare you to say the title of this post over and over in rapid succession. Only things that are hard are worth doing, people! Think of the immense payoff!!

While reading a half a year old person's blog, I happened on these photos and they have me jonesing big time for the zoo. I have never been to the Central Park Zoo nor the Bronx Zoo. I know, lame. I think I just might visit one of the two within the next 7 days. Until then I will gaze longingly at peacock butt, a regal zebra and giraffe eyes so emotive I could cry.

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June 1, 2007

World's smallest cupcake!

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* At Soho Park on Lafayette & Prince.

Fall 2007 classes at John Jay!

Man it feels good to be registered! I've been realizing recently how much I have loved being back in school. Can't wait to get my dirty paws on these subjects in the fall!

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