Monthly Archives: September 2012

{food joints} stone park cafe

matt + i experienced stone park cafe six{ish} years ago when visiting matt’s brother kevin and his wife alyssa in park slope. we loved that the menu focused around seasonal ingredients offering both unique and traditional dishes. never would we have imagined that years later we would be living in the same apartment/neighborhood that we once visited and celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary at stone park cafe.

owners josh foster and josh grinker grew up in park slope and opened stone park cafe in 2004. “we wanted stone park cafe to offer value, comfort and superb food for diners in park slope and for anyone who wants to experience the heart and soul of brooklyn. our aim is to raise the bar in brooklyn, using our collective background in some of the city’s finest restaurants to create a dining experience that is casual and unpretentious, focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients, served in a comfortable neighborhood environment at an affordable price.”

a job well done to both josh foster and josh grinker for offering a fresh and lovely dining option in the neighborhood!

if you live in park slope or are visiting our neighborhood please be sure to make reservations at stone park cafe it is sure to please every single taste bud!!

stone park cafe
324 fifth avenue {at the corner of 3rd street}
brooklyn, ny

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rear window

rear window is my most favorite film by alfred hitchcock. since moving to our apartment {where proximity is much closer than we have been used to in the past} i have often been reminded of this cult classic.

the weather in new york is absolutely splendid this time of year, allowing us to turn off our thermostat and leave our windows open to enjoy the crisp breeze. i have enjoyed listening to the sounds of our many neighbors and feel as if this is somehow intertwining all of us together as the melody of life blissfully floats through our windows. the sounds are natural and soothing to me and i am beginning to find my daily rhythm through them. the hum of a vacuum, excitement of children, laughter over dinner, clinking of china, a child crying because they are not ready for bed, delicious tunes . . . all simple in nature but when placed together tells a greater story about the unfiltered joys and sorrows in the day-to-day.

i am thankful for these {faceless} neighbors who together are harmonizing a most rich and beautiful story of life well lived and i hope that our humble abode is contributing well to what is being created on prospect park west.

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it’s only natural

first presbyterian’s parents day out {pdo} will forever hold a special place in my heart! pdo was the perfect place for both sophie + hazel to meet friends, become better socialized and begin to foster the learning experience in a classroom setting. after moving to new york, i began to understand that parent’s day out programs are not offered in the city because the insurance is so high that it prohibits churches to offer this kind of program.

there are amazing pre-school options offered in the city but unfortunately they are either completely full and or beyond our price range. for example: some pre-schools average $7,500 a year for two half days {9 am – 12 pm}. this price – – although probably standard for the city – – shocked me after spending roughly $1500 a year for two full days {9 am – 2 pm} in knoxville.

one of my newest friends in park slope has also recently moved to the city and has two darling girls that are three and five years old as well! we are both home with our 3-year olds so we have decided to take advantage of all the learning opportunities that the city has to offer and make nyc our very own hands-on preschool!

this past week we visited the american museum of natural history and explored the world of dinosaurs. it was eye-opening to experience the exhibit through the eyes of two 3-year olds!

the AMNH offers four floors of learning experiences, as well as rotating member programs. upcoming programs that i am looking forward to are:

*field trip to the moon
*behind the scenes in mammalogy: bats, rats and cats
*family astronomy: creatures in the sky

cheers to a great pre-school year!

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slipping through my fingers

sophie’s first day of kindergarten {september 19, 2012}. better late than never!

school bag in hand
she leaves home in the early morning
waving goodbye
with an absent-minded smile
i watch her go
with a surge of that well-known sadness
and i have to sit down for a while
the feeling that i’m losing her forever
and without really entering the world
i’m glad whenever i can share her laughter
that funny little girl

slipping through my fingers all the time
i try to capture every minute
the feeling in it
slipping through my fingers all the time
do i really see what’s in her mind
each time i think i’m close to knowing
she keeps on growing
slipping through my fingers all the time

. . .

siobhan mccarthy {abba}

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{experience} scotch & soda

i have had a long distance love affair with scotch & soda for some time now {via their online store} and have recently discovered that one of their u.s. stores is located in soho!

scotch & soda is sure to please – – check.them.out!
273 lafayette street; new york, ny 10012

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“be inspired and know that you are doing enough”

that simple tagline is all it took to make me a complete addict to the amazing site of moomah! {thank you erin kalb for pointing me in the direction of this little gem created in the heart of tribeca.}

living in the city, there is always … ALWAYS something to do, see, experience right at your fingertips. upon moving to brooklyn, i made a vow to myself that we would take advantage of all that the city had to offer us throughout our time here. that vow, although well intentioned, gave me permission to place a standard so high for what our days {in my idealistic mind} should consist of and as i am sure one can assume … that lovely little vow backfired on me {already … yeah … i’ve only lived here a week}! with my little ladies in bed and a glass of wine in hand i found myself glassy eyed staring at nyc event calendars, local mom websites, etc. to ensure that sophie + hazel {and myself} were getting the most out of big city living.

after perusing through moomah, i was reminded that inspiration and creative experiences are not fostered through all things planned – in fact it is rather the opposite!

today we had a lovely date with our friends amelia + anna drake daniels who are living in the city for a short time as they escape hurricane season in the british virgin islands. {you can read more about their adventures on island hopping.} we began our day shopping in soho as she introduced me to c. wonder. upon walking in to the store i watched as sophie’s eyes began to light up and asked to use my iphone to take photographs of colors, displays, patterns that inspired her {yeah … she really did … pretty sure she stepped in as teacher on my self-taught course on how to foster your child’s creative spirit.} upon returning home she grabbed her crayons and began drawing things based on all that had inspired her little creative spirit during our time in soho.

today was simple in nature but completely eye-opening for me. i can learn a lot from sophie + hazel. their ability to see beauty and creativity in so many {day to day} things is allowing me to view a much bigger picture of this amazingly diverse city that we now call home!

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never forget

sophie, hazel + i popped in to a local eatery last week for an afternoon dessert date. while there, we began talking to a guy {danny} + gal {kelly} who were sitting next to us. after mentioning that we were newbies to the area, danny quickly  informed us of some must-see’s + do’s of the neighborhood. on his list was sitting on our rooftop on september 11 to view the tribute in light. as he explained this beautiful sight, danny began to look off into the distance. through our conversation i learned that he was a first responder on that fateful day. this strong, friendly and outgoing guy suddenly lost all words as tears began to well up in his eyes and he informed me how many of his friends and colleagues lost their lives.

it’s hard to believe that september 11, 2001 was 11 years ago! i can still remember the morning as if it were yesterday. i was at the gym listening to “in the arms of the angels” by sarah mclaughlin when a newscaster broke in to announce that the first tower had been hit. without thinking, i immediately grabbed my things and drove as fast as i could to my sorority house at samford university to gather with friends and mourn together this awful tragedy. i realized for one of the first times in my life just how evil this world can be.

every anniversary i am taken back to that morning as i hear the names of people who lost their lives. i am once again devastated as i begin to think of dreams not fully discovered, unresolved tensions within relationships, couples not able to live their entire lives together, children losing their parent(s), celebrations that would no longer be the same, etc.

although it has been over a decade i will never forget the sense of the panic, loss, anger and sorrow i felt.

today i will remember those lives that were not lost in vain and all of the people who suddenly became heros all of those years ago!

never – ever – ever – forget!

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{sort of} under my umbrella

our saturday morning started off with a chance of rain as we headed to the 7th avenue donut shop for breakfast.  as we left our apartment, i was proud of myself as i dutifully followed my sister-in-laws rule of thumb “when in nyc, always carry an umbrella”.

i’ll admit – – one of the things i have had anxiety over as a {new} new yorker is being caught in the elements without the escape of a car, garage or any of the other southern comforts that i have grown accustomed to. but, just like most things in new york, i was faced with my fear and quickly broken of any plan that i had come up with!

as we began to make the trek back to our apartment, the bottom literally dropped out without any warning. it was raining so hard that the wind was blowing sideways and we could not see in front of us – so much for my loyal umbrella carrying {wink and smile}. we were soaked through and through and quickly just embraced the downpour – closed our umbrellas and ran through the streets laughing at the top of our lungs. it was exhilarating!!

this first “in climate weather” experience will forever be tucked away as one of my favorites in new york. i am thankful to have days like this to remind me to let go a bit more and completely embrace the city where we now live. i am confident that with each “challenge” that comes along, i will be reminded to hold my plans a bit more loosely and repeat the phrase “it is … what it is …and it’s a-okay”!

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{food joints}: bareburger

this afternoon we happened upon a lovely {organic} burger joint just blocks away from our home. bareburger is located at 170 7th avenue in brooklyn.

{being suckers for good design} we were lured in by the rolled up garage doors, mix + match chairs and reclaimed materials that adorned this happy little lunch spot … and of course their culinary selections sealed the deal!

matt and i both ordered the california burger with sharp cheddar, hass avocado, romaine lettuce, tomato, raw red onion and cilantro lime dressing and opted for bison as our meat of choice. the options included: lamb, wild boar, elk, bison and ostrich!

as i am sure you are quickly gathering, bareburger is not a typical food joint … their offerings and ways of doing business are extremely intentional.

here is part of their mission:
“almost everything placed in bareburger restaurants are built from sustainable and reclaimed material. the tabletops are crafted from trees felled by storms. booths are recycled, post consumer vinyl. the ceilings are paneled with reclaimed tin siding from deconstructed barns. most of the takeout products are made with plant resin or recycled paper products, and all of them (even the bags) are biodegradable. they are proud that the animals that supply the meat have been treated humanely and with respect. bareburger supports farms that provide honest and fair wages. they support local food artisans like NY Foods Organic, Blackwing quality meats, alberts organics, ricks picks and maine root soda. all of the bareburger restaurants are powered by renewable green energy sources from green mountain energy”

i highly recommend this place!

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it’s elementary my dear

september 6 is the first day of school for new york students, the day that parents dream of.  unfortunately for us … we are on the wait list and will not be attending the first day of school. yep … a wait list for public school. i have learned the hard way that kindergarten is not a mandated grade in new york city, meaning if they don’t have space for your child in your zoned school then they are not required to make space for them until the first grade.

this saga began when we called to register sophie for kindergarten literally 30 minutes after they closed registration back in the spring – isn’t that  crazy! so now we are on the wait list in hopes that some children have moved out of the neighborhood to make room for miss sophie. i must say that although this has been a frustrating process of not knowing how to plan for sophie’s first year in school, the administration of this school have been extremely kind in helping us navigate this crazy process.

for those that know me … i can be somewhat – well – controlling. i thrive best with structure and knowing that all is in it’s “perfect” order. most of the components of this move to brooklyn have been slowly and steadily breaking me of any disillusion that i have any control over my life or the lives of my husband and children.

lately i have been dwelling on an excerpt from one of my favorite morning reads – jesus calling by sarah young.

“living in dependence on me is a glorious adventure. most people scurry around busily, trying to accomplish things through their own strength and ability. some succeed enormously; others fail miserably. but both groups miss what life is meant to be; living and working in collaboration with me. when you depend on me continually, your whole perspective changes. you see miracles happening all around, while others see only natural occurrences and “coincidences.” you begin each day with joyful expectation, watching to see what i will do. you accept weakness as a gift from me, knowing that my power plugs in most readily to consecrated weakness. you keep your plans tentative knowing that my plans are far superior. you consciously live, move, and have your being in me, desiring that i live in you. i in you and you in me. this is the intimate adventure i offer you.”
{2 corinthians 12:9-10; acts 17:28, colossians 2:6-7, john 14:20}

and so with hopeful expectation – – we will wait.

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