Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Lisa Belkin blogs here about the Barbie controversy; she includes a very thoughtful essay from Peggy Orenstein, frequent New York Times contributor and author of "Cinderella Ate My Daughter," which details the princess/Barbie/gender-specific marketing debate. Like Orenstein, I'm wary of cheesy, sexist products in theory and all for moderation in practice: I wouldn't buy Barbies myself, but I didn't object when a well-meaning friend gave Tessa a few of them. (Of course, her lack of interest in the dolls makes it a total non-issue.) In the comments section of Belkin's blog post, one reader suggests Playmobil toys as a girl-friendly but non-yucky princess alternative. All I know is that Playmobil is well loved in our house. Before Charlie discovered the cross-branded world of Legos, he spent hours setting up Playmobil worlds of pirates, police, and Romans. (He's since moved on to all things Lego and Star Wars. That's a whole other story. Resistance is futile.) And now Tessa is equally involved with what she calls "magical land" or "royal party" or "animal party," depending on which Playmobil sets she takes out. It looks good on our coffee table:

Wouldn't you like a tiny rabbit hutch and a pink-maned unicorn in your living room?
Playmobil is open-ended and creative, and the variety is amazing. You can get sets of animals, a hospital, a grocery store, dinosaurs, bank robbers, and—for the girlishly inclined—fairies and, yes, princesses. One category is missing, however: Charlie's been hoping for Playmobil samurai and ninja for years now.

girly springy storage

Bin in Dwell's new zinnia pattern

I love Dwell's new line of bedding storage containers, baby stuff, and bedding: feminine and modern at the same time. If Tessa's room weren't crammed with woven baskets (overflowing with stuffed animals) I'd pick a couple of these.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Image from
I'm not sure what the story is with these leather flip-flops. Maybe I'm late to the tkees party? Like, what's up with the makeup metaphor? (All the colors are named after makeup items, in categories like "foundations" and "liners.") And why aren't they available anywhere normal online (hello, Zappos and Piperlime)? But I'm definitely curious.

happy children, pretty produce

Not much more to say about it than that. After two nice family visits, we're all glad to be home.


Friday, April 15, 2011

pink stripe

Images from

Check out this adorable wallet (it's called a "pochette") from Los Angeles bag designer Clare Vivier: natural undyed leather, eighties-fluorescent accent stripe, little gold ball fastener. She makes simple, gorgeous, hip purses, clutches, and iPad and laptop cases. I love this iPad sleeve, though I think my husband will stick with our practical, Apple-endorsed plain black folder:


But wouldn't this one be so much more fun?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

dream gardens

All images from Elysian Landscapes

These beautiful spaces are all designed by the LA firm Elysian Landscapes. I love how they make nature so clean and peaceful. Don't get me wrong: I love me some overgrown wildness too. But I love the geometry and balance here. And the little bits of color, the orange flowers or bright red pitcher or blue pillow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DIY kids' art

I'm not especially crafty, but I like making a little creative something-or-other every now and then. For these pictures for my kids' rooms, I drew simplified animal shapes (clean lines + animals: am I predictable or what?) onto patterned paper, embellished them with old buttons, glued them onto card stock, and put them in plain wooden frames. Forgive my poor photography skills:

Why is this bear not smiling? Could it be the flash?

Fish silhouettes are easy to draw freehand.

So are birds.

Paper Source sells some great inexpensive paper by the sheet; the buttons were just castoffs in my jewelry box—you know, the extras you get with sweaters or coats and never use.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

spring chicken

Yes, I was reading "Lucky Kids" magazine, I admit it. And by way of a cute pigeon T-shirt in a feature on kids' outfits, I found my way to this online shop. Coral and Tusk offers some sweet stationery, T-shirts, and pillows. And this embroidered chick hits all the right notes: cute animal, delicate but strong colors, simple clean white frame:

Image from

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the perfect boot?

Are these not perfect? I'm jumping ahead of summer, which isn't even here yet—but I'm thinking about these for the fall.

Frye Melissa button boot, image from

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I'm kind of ashamed of how much thought I put into my four-year-old daughter's wardrobe. I'm also kind of proud of how great she looks—not to mention how proud she feels when she gets a compliment. It's delicate, though: I want her to feel pretty and enjoy having nice things, but I don't want to overemphasize prettiness. Kindness and compassion and respect and gratitude are much more important, of course. But I don't think being kind and enjoying, say, a pretty dress are mutually exclusive.

(Can I take a second to address the pink/princess issue? I like the color pink just fine; I wear it myself, and Tessa has plenty of pink clothes and pink stuff in her room. Her favorite color—and mine—happens to be blue. I try to stay away from all the packaged princessy stuff; it's a throwback, it's sexist, it's limiting to the imagination, and often it's just plain ugly. Those polyester ink-saturated nighties? Please. But I don't have strict rules about princess-ness; I don't offer it up myself, but we do get princess gifts sometimes, and I try not to make it a big deal.)

Anyway, this not the place for moral debate; I'm talking about girl clothes, after all. I like a balance of sassy and pretty. I loved Stella McCartney's collections for GapKids. Now she's putting out her own children's line, at, and it is gorgeous. If I had some sort of summer event to take Tessa to (anybody want to invite her to a wedding?) I'd choose this little white number:

Love the squared-off armholes and fantastic embroidery

This one has flounce *and* embroidery
Love the ruffly straps
Just like miniature JBrand Houlihans, right?
Would look great with the skinny cargoes or cutoff jeans
Blue, check; flowers, check