Web Sites »What’s Good At Trader Joes

tjReviews of Trader Joe’s Brand Food Products From People That Are Totally Not Affiliated With Trader Joe’s

Having a Trader Joes (two actually) nearby that aren’t insanely crowded like our old Union Square location has allowed us to fully embrace the chain of that specializes in easy but unique ready made meals, cheap wine, and can boast that it does not use GMOs (yay). But, the variety can be overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be great if someone out there had tried all the offerings then written concise, entertaining reviews?

Well, I have good news for you! What’s Good At Trader Joe’s does just that and it’s already led me to their Mango Passion Granola (yum!) and Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip (yum, again!) neither of which I would have necessarily picked up while browsing. It’s a little over doing it to do research before shopping like this, but we like to over do it, right?!

A few more photos wouldn’t hurt, but I am impressed that it’s consistently updated.

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Posted on May 3, 2013

Spend a Couple Minutes »Livie and Luca Shoes

“Adorable Shoes for Adorable Feet”

Van needed sandals. I asked my moms’ group for suggestions and read online reviews. In the end, I am almost ashamed to admit, I was swayed by cuteness.

Rocket ships! And such an adorable design!

Lucky for us, the maker Livie and Luca is also globally conscious and the shoes are completely comfortable and fit perfectly.

Hooray for form and function!

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Posted on June 14, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Carved Candles from Enchantments

424 East 9th Street

You might be surprised but one of the coolest purchases I’ve made in the city came from an East Village magic/witch/head shop called “Enchantments“.

Like any subculture establishment, you may feel out of place when you first arrive or at least as though you might be intruding (like the familiar feeling of a woman entering a gaming shop, hearing the Magic the Gathering game come to a screeching halt as she patters by in high heels).
But the key, as really in any place you expect costumer service, is to be polite and respectful.

I was looking for a magic candle. I burned one for good luck while pregnant with Van from the Pharmacia Millionaire in Los Angeles and he turned out awesome so, of course, I wanted one for my new pregnancy.

Unlike my experience in LA, Enchantments will hand carve a candle for you, depending on your needs. It is then decorated (in my case with gold glitter and bronze) an encantation is performed (mine involved pennies, honey and inscense) and you walk away with a pretty sweet looking item for your house and superstitious mind.

Skeptical at first, my accompanying friend decided she may like one for herself to bless her upcoming wedding. It’s a much more satisfying experience than I had even hoped for.

Enchantments is also your source more any witchcraft needs including herbs and talismans.

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Posted on April 22, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Caribou Baby Turns One

272 Driggs Ave

It’s been one whole year since friends, neighbors and all around greats Adriane and Greg opened Caribou Baby!

In that time it’s become an invaluable resource for local moms.

We are big fans.

Stop by this weekend to say congrats!

We dropped by today to get Van bigger shoes (the kid’s got gigantic feet) and tried them out on the dance for at the WNNS Beach Ball party at Warsaw where Greg was spinning. (Hence photo of Van doing his signature squat dance).

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Posted on March 10, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Greenpoint Toy Center

736 Manhattan Ave. Brooklyn

Forget those big box stores!

If you are in need of a last minute gift or stocking stuffer for a child, we have one of the best mom and pop toy shops around: The Greenpoint Toy Center.

The friendly spot is overflowing with fun stuff and makes me feel the wonder and excitement I used to as a little kid.

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Places to Visit »Mall Of America

8100 24th Ave S Bloomington, MN

What can I say. I love malls. I find them soothing and comforting so comments of ugly American consumerism need not apply. Maybe it’s because they are largely lost to me.

Gone are the days when my parents would drop me off to meet Sara, Dana, Michelle and Laura. We’d hit the Chick-fil-A and Orange Julius before making ourselves ill on several pounds of candy.

Dana would get a new Spencer’s gifts poster (a black and white hunk holding a baby with the words “a hard man is good to find”, if I remember correctly) and we’d prowl the wide halls for cassingles, mood rings and the latest offerings from Express and Contempo Casuals.

Good times…

Such fond memories always beckon me to malls so how could I resist the Mall of America while in Minneapolis?

Three sprawling stories with an amusement park and an Orange Julius on every corner, the mall is a monster but not one that could not be tamed.

We conquered her in a few hours and left with some sweet clothes for Van and the new found knowledge that H&M is the best spot for cheap and adorable baby clothes (who knew?)
There was no Chick-fil-A and Contempo Casuals is long gone to our world but I found the experience as fab as ever.

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Posted on September 7, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Eastern District

1053 Manhattan Ave

I’ve been meaning to make it up to the new cheese and beer shop, Eastern District in the northern part of the neighborhood for some time now. A recent “au revoir” party gave us the prefect excuse to head up there and buy some fancy cheeses.

The friendly staff helped me pick some greats: an aged gouda, a raclette, and a lovely goat button called Sweet Emotions. Jim and I also indulged in pricey bottles of Hitachino White Ale, a favorite I haven’t had since getting knocked up (it still tastes delicious!) and were intrigued by their entire selection of canned and bottled beers (including a whole shelf of Saisons and Six Point–now in cans!).

The brightly lit, easily maneuverable shop also offers a rotating assortment of beers available in growlers sans snarky drunk beer snobs (unlike Brouwerij Lane) as well as a wall of local and otherwise tasty treats. Can’t wait to come again for lunch–their sandwich list was making me drool (turkey with bacon marmalade mmmmmm).

A great addition to the neighborhood when you need some specialty foods.

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Posted on June 5, 2011

Web Sites »J Cosmas Vintage Photography

41 Roslyn Avenue, Providence, RI

I stumbled across J.Cosmas Vintage Photography quite by accident but was immediately drawn into the arresting images.

Surely I am not the only one among us that can’t resist the eyes of the past and if you too are a fan of vintage portraits, this is an incredible collection.

Priced reasonably, these would make a great gift for the lover of antiquities in your life.

The website is well organized, with large, clear scans, and informative and enthusiastic descriptions. Clearly, they have a passion for their trade (and the passionate are the most fun to buy things from).

Plus, they’re based in one of my favorite American cities, Providence.

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Posted on June 2, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes,Web Sites »Ritual Vintage Tumblr

A Vintage Life

My dear friend Stacy has been a partner in crime during my few solo outings- whether to gobble Malaysian and gossip or sip pink champange at the Metropolitan Opera House. She’s also, and always will be, no matter how many days go between seeing each other, one of my spirit sisters.

We share an affinity for the voice of Sandy Denny, odd remnants of the past (particularly the turn of the century and the 1990’s), heavy metal tee shirts, and intricate embroidery among many other good things.

Her musings, inspirations, and heads up on the latest awesome vintage pieces she’s procured (that you can buy at her shop!) can all be found at her tumblr page. I only wish she was less busy actually doing amazing stuff to update it constantly!

Her brick and mortar shop is at 377 Broome (formerly known as Exquisite Costume and sporting a stunning make over) and you can contact her for a by appointment to peruse her vintage library at her new show room on Eldridge St. by calling 212 966 4142.

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Posted on May 20, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Suno Sample Sale

242 W 38 st 3rd Floor

Today through Friday, get your colorful happy time frocks, blazers and harem pants from my favorite and one of the best, freshest labels, Suno. Everything is up to 70% off!

I got myself a spectacular psychedelic leopard print dress and picked up a tie dye silk mini skirt and wild beaded blazer (detail pictured below) for a friend. I could have gone broke in there, but had some self control.

PS – Be sure to wear stuff you can try things on over as there are no dressing rooms and the clothes read totally different on the rack compared to on one’s body.

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Posted on May 11, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Get a Baby Hat from Sweetpotatoad

Cute Animal Hats for Babies

There are a number of adorable baby things with animal ears but these hand made ones from Sweetpeatoad Tots are exceptionally cute. This wool lamb hat is the sole reason I don’t want the cold weather to end.

Visit their Etsy Shop – they make a great gift if you have any babies coming into the world soon. Ours was a generous gift from my brother and sister in law. Cute stuff!

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Posted on April 18, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Brooklyn Flea

Sundays 10-5 at 27 North 6th St.

I am so happy Brooklyn Flea has decided to set up within walking distance this summer. Not too psyched that it’s on gravel which made stroller pushing impossible – but lesson learned – next time we will use our carrier.

There were the usual selections of vintage goods and silk screened tees, with the dapper vintage tie seller Travis Sylvester selling particularly tempting bow ties at reasonable prices. But I was mostly indulging in the food stuffs.

For on the spot eating I enjoyed the Frgal Cakes, a pear crumble pizza of sorts that are traditional in Czechoslovakia. Also excellent was the homemade ricotta, arugula and fresh carved prosciutto bruschettas from Salvatore Brooklyn.

I brought Jim home a merguez sandwich from Brooklyn Bangers which was nice and flavorful with an incredible kicky sauce. A refreshing warm weather watermelon juice allowed me to almost ignore the bitter sudden gusts of winds that shook the proceedings.

For take home yumminess, I opted for Lime and Pickle mayonnaise from Sam Mason’s Empire Mayonnaise, which I haven’t tried yet, but expect to be wonderful and a jar of vanilla lemon marmalade from Momofuku Milk Bar and Friends which we just enjoyed on warm English muffins. So delicious and summery.

Can’t wait to return to try what I missed, including the Mile End smoked meat sandwich and local beef jerky.

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Posted on April 3, 2011

Web Sites »Urbanog

Cheap, Often Slutty and Awesome Shoes

OMG. I totally found an online equivalent to the now long gone Square One – the awesomest cheap/hooker shoe shop where I used to get the most amazing, often neon ten dollar shoes from.

It’s called Urbanog or “Urban Originals” and I have Refinery 29 to thank for introducing me to it in a summer wedge round up.

It looks like a cheesy site and it is a cheesy site, but when it comes to shoes, cheesy can often yield the best and funnest.

Cheap shoes and used books – my biggest weakness and now both can be fulfilled online.

And, yes, I bought the crazy shoe pictured.

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Posted on March 27, 2011

Places to Visit »Tattered Cover Book Store

1628 16th Street, Denver

Lately I’ve been sentimental about the places I grew up with, maybe because I’d like to take Van to them some day but sadly so many classic Colorado Springs shops are closed now:

Levine’s – a gorgeous old department store turned toy heaven, Michelle’s - the local old fashioned ice cream parlor, Bryan and Scott – the high class antique treasure trove where the charming, dapper owner Roberto would make us kids as comfortable around African sculptures and decorative vases as we would be in our own home (and where I got my lovely wedding ring), and Chinook Book Shop, where Dick Noyes looms as prominent in my childhood memories as Mr. Rogers.

Some how, Zeezo’s Magic Castle, Repeat Performance, and Barney’s Diner still hold on (though I was not too happy to hear Barney’s moved from a trailer to a brick and mortar spot).

So, long story short, I wanted to recommend at least one of my childhood loves that still exists. This one a couple hours north in Denver – The Tattered Cover Book Store. It will probably be a while until I set foot in the mammoth, multi floor book store, but you totally have to if you find yourself in the area, if only because bookstores like this are a dying breed.

I pretty much grew up in book stores – either crawling around during my dad’s book signings or as a family in our free time, accumulating large stacks of new books to read (even now my biggest splurge is on dozens of used books). Tattered Cover is one of the most memorable book shops of them all – and I can vividly recall details from my time spent there. The winding stair cases, the magazine corner on the first floor which was the only place on the planet (or so it seemed at the time) to see forgeign Vogues and stuff even more exotic.

I can almost exactly remember the layout of the fiction floor, the large nook with the art books, the back area where shelves of tween fiction enticed me (the Sweet Valley Highs, which I secretly wanted but was to embarrassed to ask for lined the bottom shelf) as well as the science fiction and mystery sections around the corner. There was even a well stocked paper doll section, which is where I learned about Erte, Dior and Poiret (thanks Tom Tierney). Every corner offered a well worn seat to relax and read in. Even with the most ernest attempts, a new spot could never feel this lived in and cozy and would never match the ambiance of this place.

This site offers an odd little video tour and takes credit for the lovely photo below.

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Posted on March 13, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Caribou Baby

272 Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

When we first took Van home, neighbors Adriane and Greg were awesome. They brought up home cooked lasagna, took our trash out, and offered helpful encouragement on our new adventure. As Van’s gotten older, Adriane has become my first and best source for all things baby.

She took a master course in baby wearing and can weigh the pros and cons of all carriers (saving my back from Baby Bjorn pains) and is up on the most organic and baby safe products on the market. Who better then to open a baby store in our neighborhood than she?

I am so excited for her new Greenpoint boutique and activity spot, Caribou Baby. The space is beautiful and evokes the feel of a lived in ski lodge – featuring vintage plaid wallpaper, rustic wooden floors, antler chandeliers (that Van took a shine to) and the best looking bathroom changing table you coudl find.

From a vast option of carriers, adorable toys (including those oh so cute rabbits pictured), bottles, vintage clothes, and health and beauty products, anything you could need for mom, dad, and baby is found inside. One of my favorites that I couldn’t leave the opening without purchasing? Baby friendly nail polish – which will put my worries of chemicals to rest.

Aside from the store, there are two activity spaces that will hold classes and events. Some that are upcoming are Birth Education, Infant CPR, and Breastfeeding. The clubhouse back room was home to a dance party opening night where some good tunes were spinning, including some sweet disco era Cookie Monster.

Whether you’re a parent or a friend of a parent to be, this is an amazing resource that’s come to Greenpoint. Congrats Adriane and Greg!

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Posted on March 6, 2011

Web Sites »emusic

Music Downloads

A subscription to emusic was my birthday gift to myself. Not finding satisfaction with any free services – which either have a very limited selection and or don’t let you keep any music – I decided to look into paid services for my music needs.

I find itunes too expensive and can’t always find what I need, so emusic, a monthly subscription site (you get a certain number of credits each month that carry over if unused) that features more obscure stuff as well as the more mainstream, sounded good.

The fact that albums cost half what they normally would (usually around $6) sealed the deal. The easy browsing searches have already introduced me to new fabulous things (like recent pick, Darondo) and a nifty “save for later” feature helps me make sure I don’t forget albums that interest me.

Added bonus points and discounts were a nice addition. Once my new month credits come, I think I’ll finally get that Grinderman album which is exciting.

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Posted on January 11, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Cato’s Army Navy

654 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint

Out west, where I grew up, Army Navy stores were ominous places. No matter how close to town they were, they seemed to be off a dirt road where no one would hear you scream and in the days of grunge, venturing in for a flannel meant coming face to face with local yokels that could cause such screaming – at least in the mind of a fairly privileged teenage girl. Cato’s Army Navy in my new hometown couldn’t be further from that experience.

It’s one of the hood’s most friendly stores, and while we’re at it, possibly one of the nicest in the whole city. Family run since 1975, you will be helped with courtesy and find everything you need. Since it stocks utilitarian goods, we always find something useful – Jim usually gets a new set of winter gear every season. This season? They have  great looking heathered sweater trooper hats, nice wool scarves and simple military gloves. (He models all three below).

From well made pea coats to great plaid jacket shirts, from adorable yellow galoshes to a wide variety of Levi’s – you’ll find stuff here that is on trend for far less than “hipper” shops would make you pay for it. Be sure to follow their website and twitter for specials.

Click here for the rest of Cato’s Army Navy

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Posted on December 21, 2010