— Noted.



Looking forward to this career retrospective of Tomi Ungerer at the Drawing Center, Jan 16 – Mar 22.


On my netflix to-do list is watching this movie:

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough.


Need an intro to Ungerer? Try this interview with Teri Gross.

This quote by Maurice Sendak on Tomi Ungerer captures why:

“I’m proud of the fact that we helped change the scene in America so that children were dealt with like the intelligent little animals we know they are.”


And, this. Kitty-Shaped Kindergarten, which he references in his interview, was designed by Ungerer with architect Ayla Suzan Yöndel. A building where kids walk into the kitty’s mouth and there is a slide in the back for the tail.

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Photos by Adriano A.Biondo, for milkmagazine.net


From the Guardian:

“Inside the ‘Christmas village’ of Yiwu, there’s no snow and no elves, just 600 factories that produce 60% of all the decorations in the world…”


19-year-old Wei works in a factory in Yiwu, China, coating polystyrene snowflakes with red powder. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex



I thought this was a photo. It is not. What is it? It’s my neighborhood bookstore, located at 163 Court Street. I have spent many hours inside this place. It is in the same category as manatees, endangered and a little bit mystical but very real. I could be that girl, standing out front.

See more drawings of “The Endangered Bookstores of New York” by Bob Eckstein at The New Yorker.


Bird eye’s view from a drone, by Eric Cheng. More about the project here.


This started as a post in which I was going to tell you that I just finished reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo.

Which made me think of this book on North Korean life, by Barbara Demick.

And then there’s Dave Egger’s What is the What, a novel about Sudan’s Lost Boys, told through the the real life story of Valentino Achak Deng. And then I just discovered that all proceeds of the sale of this book are going to a foundation that Valentino formed, which has helped to fund the opening of the first functional high school in Marial Bai. What and where is Marial Bai? I urge you to read this book to find out.

And then I stopped, saved this post as draft and went about my daily business. It just isn’t easy to write something poignant about books that bridge the human condition. I remember talking to a friend who was working on a documentary of someone who was camera-shy, and how long it took to have the camera present to get his subject to forget it was there. I’m sure it’s not easy for someone from these worlds to trust a westerner to accurately tell their stories. Just as it isn’t easy for the westerner to accept the responsibility. A long-winded way to say, that I’m feeling very lucky that I had a chance to hear their stories, and that what separates me from others, is really, so very little, and so much.


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I am currently away on vacation. If you are in need of assistance and unsure of how to get away on your own, I highly recommend checking out the latest update to Tinybop’s app, Plants, available for iOS devices. It includes the addition of the Grasslands biome, an excellent get-away that you can take on your couch, at your desk, or a nearby park. And yes, we did make this app for kids (as we do all our apps), but I think it’s perfect for anyone who’s just a tad bit curious about the world we live in.



I got the most perfect surprise birthday present from my girlfriends. They took me to the Philip Johnson glass house, with the current fog installation by Fujiko Nakaya.










The property had several structures on it that Philip Johnson designed and used.
A little library:



Painting gallery, with several revolving walls of notable contemporary art, including Frank Stella:



Sculpture gallery:



Pavilion, and stair sculpture:



I always thought Philip Johnson was a very serious man, with his black glasses and stern face. But it’s clear, he was not afraid to experiment. Adjacent to the glass house is a brick house. And the pavilion shown above is a bit of an optical illusion as the ceiling is only 5’3″ in height, meant to appear further away than it really is.

Philip Johnson died in the glass house in 2005, at the age of 98. If you are in the NYC area, it is the perfect day trip by car or train. The fog installation is on until November.



I’m a follower of Nicholas Kristof‘s column and the Half the Sky movement he has led with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. After reading the book, I was inspired to sponsor women in Rwanda through Women for Women, and educated on
the potential of a girl’s education, despite the threat it poses. While this past Sunday’s column comes off as a softer subject in the midst of his usual reporting on inequalities around the world, it takes one to know Kristof to understand he actually really wants us to visit the far-off places, for the far-reaching potential that it would make the world a better place.

Read it here.



And, adding no. 53 of this to my to-do list.


Faroe Islands. Photo by Hans J. Hansen.



I went to Palm Springs for the first time a few weeks ago. I’ve not seen much of the Southwest at all, and aside from seeing my best friend, was mostly excited about a trip to Joshua Tree. As I nosed around for places to stay, I saw that the Ace had a location in Palm Springs, which totally satisfied my vision of doing a morning of hiking in the desert in the early morning, and swimming in a pool and lounging with a michelada in the hot afternoon.

I am always at odds when it comes to staying at hotels. The practical side of me hates spending lots of money on something that will disappear as soon as the stay is over. The designer side of me wants to stay at a place that is well-considered and special. I most often settle for the place that looks clean enough and not much more.

The Ace in Palm Springs is my idea of a perfect hotel. The rates are affordable, and the rooms are just the right amount of detail (and more fun than fussy).

From the ace website, this is the room we stayed in:




And here are a few details I noted:





Artwork in the room for sale:




A little black make up towel:


The hotel used to be a “mid-century desert modern former Westward Ho with a Denny’s.” The cafe made me think of the episode of MadMen when Don is on the Ho Jo account and goes for a visit:





On my way between the two pools:





And the pool. The glorious pool. Quiet in the morning with its orderly shades:




In full disclosure, I do have to point out the fact that we went in the heat of summer, which is the winter of Palm Springs, when the locals hibernate inside their air conditioned rooms and no one is caught wandering outdoors in the noon-to-6pm afternoon sun. Our room rates were low, the hotel was quiet, and the trade-off was a 110° forecast. But I loved it, and it was perhaps the perfect city escape and final extra defrost that I so needed. And I am encouraged, by how much there is left to discover, in places near and far, that can suddenly change your secure feeling of how much you know of the world around you and somehow, then… the adventure is only just beginning.


Back from a splendid vacation in Palm Springs, and I can’t stop thinking about the chilled corn soup I had at this Austrian restaurant. I know what you’re wondering — corn soup, Palm Springs, Austrian food? But it all made sense at the time (could have been the 112° desert heat)! Found a recipe to try to replicate:

From Bon Appetit:

Chilled Corn Soup with Lobster Salad


Photo by Ditte Isager


Speaking of chilled soup makes me think of my all-time favorite, first tasted when traveling in southern Spain. It’s a creamy version of a standard gazpacho, but made creamy by adding bread. Recipe here!

Gazpacho Andaluz from Saveur