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doorsixteen_christmasinsweden
This is a reposting of a guest blog post I did for Dos Family five years ago. I regularly receive emails asking for the link to download the Swedish Christmas record, so I will repost it here yearly!

In the United States, it’s not uncommon to hear Christmas music wafting from shop speakers as early as the beginning of November, but it’s not “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Jingle Bell Rock” that puts me in the holiday spirit. For me, it’s not Christmastime until I put on the recording of Swedish Christmas music that I grew up listening to each and every year: Christmas in Sweden, recorded in 1962 by Åke Jelving and a chorus of parents and children.

This is jovial, happy music, sung with energy and enthusiasm…and with audible gasping and stomping!

Our mother may be Swedish, but my siblings and I haven’t got a clue what the lyrics mean. I suspect that they, like me, sing along phonetically (and badly) in the privacy of their own homes. On Christmas day, we put the record on and leave the singing to Mommy as we all hold hands and dance in a circle, usually around the spread of snacks and glögg on the kitchen island.

My gift to you is a download of Christmas in Sweden. Evan made the MP3s directly from the record, so you’ll hear all the same snaps and crackles that I do when I listen to the original. I think that just adds to the appeal! Unless you’re a Swede, this may not sound like Christmas music to you at first, but give it time. (And maybe enjoy it with a little glögg.)

To download the album, you’ll need to visit this link. No need to create an account, just click on “download.” Easy!

God Jul! (& Happy December 16th!)

Christmas in Sweden

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I know, I know. Actually, I don’t know. I don’t know how people manage to keep themselves together and get things done when they’re overwhelmed. It’s been more than a month (!!) since my last post, which is totally absurd. I don’t know what happened to the month of May. It just…disappeared. And now it’s the middle of June? 2014????? I can’t keep up.

The past month has been tough. A lot of special people in my life—friends and family—have been going through bad stuff, and I’ve been trying to cope with some ongoing health problems and trying to figure out how make things better. I wish I felt like writing when that kind of thing is going on, but it always seems totally impossible—not so much because of time, but because slowing down enough to collect my thoughts feels way too overwhelming. Everything feels too overwhelming.

One thing I noticed this past month is that I’ve really come to rely on Instagram as a visual diary and not just a collection of images. So many of the photos I take are connected to moments in ways that don’t make it into the captions—but that shot of cracked floor tile is enough for me to remember where I was and why I was doing whatever I was doing when I took the picture. I’m so glad to have that. Pre-iPhone, I never felt inclined to record memories that way. For someone who sometimes has a hard time finding the happy medium between wanting to document everything and never wanting to commit anything to paper/screen again, it’s exactly the right solution.

Anyway. I’m putting this here mostly for me, because I know when I look back on May–June 2014 sometime in the future I’m not going to want to face a void. I’ll be back with a real post tomorrow next week. Until then, thanks for indulging me.

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1. Morrissey’s US tour started. 2. Bruno!! 3. I bought a bunch of ’70s-looking plants for the apartment (still haven’t potted them, though). 4., 5., 6. I spent a lot of time in Red Hook. 7. I finished fixing a window! Still gotta blog about that. 8. Summer kinda arrived and I kinda put on summery shoes. 9. I checked out the Navy Yard/Wallabout neighborhood in Clinton Hill, and went to Brooklyn Roasting Company while I was there. 10. I first moved to Brooklyn 17 years ago, and I’m still totally in love. 11., 15. My friends Lisa and Clay came to visit, and we had a great time. 12. We went to Opus 40, one of my most favorite places in the world. 13., 14. We went to dia:Beacon, too—another of my most favorite places!

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1. I really like Red Hook. I wish I’d appreciated it more when I lived there. 2. Evan and I got dressed up for Tina’s 1992-themed prom. This is pretty much exactly what I looked like at my actual prom in 1992. It was fun to wear that much eyeliner and to bust out the rat-tail comb again. 3. My subway went out of service, so I walked home across the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight. 4. I went to Makeshift Society’s Brooklyn launch party, but I was so riddled with anxiety from being surrounded by strangers that I left and ate pizza alone instead. 5. The honed marble hex tiles at One Mile House are very beautiful. 6. We went to see Sean Lennon and his band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. It was a great show! Yoko was there, too. We didn’t hang out. 7. Bruno!! 8. We went up to Kingston to visit Daniel and Max. Their house is so beautiful…even the parts they haven’t fixed up yet. 9. I’m always the first one up. Always. 10. Fritz!! 11. We went to see Peter Murphy again! Wonderful as always. If you can go, go. 12. Alas, we did not and will not go to see Morrissey this time around. I took that photo the morning the inevitable sadly happened, hoping beyond hope that I would be proven wrong. Get well, Moz. See you again when you’re ready.

Now that I’ve collected these pictures and gone through and captioned them all, I’m starting to question whether I was right when I said that Instagram serves as a visual diary. Maybe it doesn’t…at least not accurately. Where is my angst? Where are the sleepless nights and the tears and the worry? Where is the uncertainty and anger? It all gets washed away in favor of aesthetics, I guess. Maybe that’s a good thing. When I look at this list of events in my life from the past month, I feel like it’s all going to be OK.

It’s good to be back. xo

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Ohhhhh yeahhhh. Last weekend I hosted a big family gathering at my house, and even though I wasn’t in charge of dessert, I selfishly decided to make a little vegan cake so Evan and I would have something to enjoy with our coffee. I’m really not much of a baker, but this turned out so beautifully! It was delicious, too.

OK, so…let’s get my confession out of the way first: I used a mix for the cake part. Yes. I know that baking an actual yellow cake from scratch is not difficult, but we had a box of nice, all-natural cake mix in the pantry already and this was a last-minute plan, so there you go. No shame.

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The mix called for adding water and melted margarine. I subtracted a teaspoon of water and added a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, and substituted melted coconut oil for the margarine. I love baking with coconut oil! I divided the batter in half, then baked two layers using an 8×2″ Wilton heart pan.

I knew if I waited until the morning to bake them I wouldn’t have enough time to let both layers cool completely before frosting, so I played it safe. I left the cakes on the counter until bedtime, then wrapped them in parchment and foil and refrigerated them overnight. First thing the next morning, I took them out again so they’d come to room temperature.

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FROSTING. Holy hell, this frosting. It’s so good. I wasn’t sure if it was going to come out right so I didn’t think to take pictures until I’d already started putting it on the cake, but it made exactly the right amount to frost two small layers or one standard.

Coconut cream cheese frosting (vegan)
Adapted from this recipe / Enough for two small layers or one standard (or 12 cupcakes)

1 cup powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar/icing sugar)
1/2 cup coconut oil (must be solid/cool)
2 tbsp almond milk
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Put everything in a food processor for 1-2 minutes, or until everything is well-blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate.

After about 30 minutes, mix up the frosting with a fork. It’s going to feel like it’s too runny to work as cake frosting, but don’t worry—once the coconut oil cools and re-solidifies, it’ll be perfect. You just have to periodically mix it as it cools so you wind up with a fluffy end result. I mixed it up every 15 minutes or so for about two hours because I was in the kitchen doing other stuff anyway, but I think it would be fine if you wait a little longer than that. Just make sure it stays in the fridge long enough to be cold and fluff it up every now and then. I left it overnight, then took it out first thing in the morning. After it had warmed on the counter for about half an hour and I gave it another fork-mixing, it was PERFECT.

Note: Taste the frosting, but do not eat all of the frosting with a spoon (even though you’ll want to).

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I prefer the dome-topped look when it comes to homemade cakes, so I only de-domed the bottom layer (then I ate the discarded dome for breakfast, naturally). It’s really easy to do that with a regular serrated bread knife—just get down at eye level and go slowly. Small pieces of parchment paper under the perimeter of the cake will make it easier to transfer the layers to your serving plate after frosting.

(That gorgeous cutting board was made by Ariele Alasko, by the way! It was my and Evan’s Hanukkah gift to each other, and it’s right at home in our kitchen.)

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I am by no means knowledgeable about cake decorating, but the most important thing I’ve learned is to do what’s called a “crumb coat” before frosting the cake completely. It does take more time, but it’s worth it. Spread a very thin layer of frosting across the top and sides using a light hand. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, it just has to lightly coat everything. Put the cake in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes after doing your crumb coat. This will seal the cake surface and prevent crumbs from finding their way into the frosting while you’re doing the real decorating! It works so well and makes a huge difference.

You’ll want to put the frosting back in the fridge, too, if it’s starting to feel a little loose. Don’t let it get so hard that you can’t spread it, of course, just keep an eye on things. If you’re working in a hot kitchen or during the summertime, you’ll definitely need to let the frosting cool down while your crumb coat sets.

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Ah! All decorated! I am not very good at this part of cake-making, but I don’t really care. As much as I admire the artistry of beautifully-decorated cakes, I like to keep things simple. I don’t have any special tools, I just used the back of a wide soup spoon. The sides of the cake were looking a little uneven, so I pressed on some shredded coconut. Carefully transfer to a plate, slide out the parchment, and you’re done.

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Ta-da! The cake sliced cleanly and with minimal crumbling, and it’s a miracle I managed to take these photos at all. My family was all crowded into the kitchen while I barked, “DON’T TOUCH THE CAKE, I HAVE TO TAKE PICTURES FOR MY BLOG!” My brother made rabbit ears behind it.

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SO YUMMY. It might actually be the best cake I’ve ever eaten. It’s definitely the best cake I’ve ever made, and even though I used a mix, I’m still pretty proud. The addition of coconut oil produced a dense but moist cake, almost like a pound cake. That frosting, though—it’s amazing stuff. I want to make another batch for carrot cake! I love that it really tasted like cream cheese frosting without relying on packaged vegan cream cheese. Heavenly.

Most importantly, everyone at my house from young children to grandparents thought the cake was delicious! There really is nothing that makes me happier than feeding people I love.

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YAY, I’m finally writing my first Stockholm post! I got back from my trip a week ago, but I’ve been scrambling to recuperate/catch up since then. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen a bunch of snapshots, but holy mackerel (holy lutfisk?)…I took a lot of photos with my camera-camera. I kind of don’t even know where to start.

WHAT A TRIP. I left for Stockholm the evening of Saturday the 1st, lost an entire night of sleep to the 6-hour time change and the 9 hours of traveling, then arrived at noon-ish local time on Sunday. I can’t sleep on planes no matter how hard I try or don’t try, so I was a mess by the time I got to the hotel. I pulled myself together and met up with my aunt and cousin (who was at work 5 minutes from my hotel) for lunch, though, which was really fun! I’d never spent time with my aunt apart from my mother before, and in her absence I felt very moved by how similar they are. They may live thousands of miles apart, but they are sisters to the bone—and I love knowing that there’s another person in the world who reminds me of my mother. (I feel more than a little choked up writing this…)

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From there I met up with Emma, who very kindly took me around to some of her favorite shops in the area despite the icy rain that was falling. Unfortunately a lot of stores are closed on Sunday (or because it gets dark at 4:00 in the afternoon!), so we were a bit limited, but I still managed to take in some of the city and squeeze in fika time at Snickarbacken 7. Mostly it was just so nice to spend time with Emma! We’ve known each other through blogging for years now, but we’d never met in person before. I felt instantly comfortable being with her.

Side note: I love saying “snickarbacken.” Google translate tells me it means “carpenter hill,” but I prefer to imagine it having something to do with peanuts and caramel and maybe a graham cracker crust.

I stayed at the incredibly fancy Nobis Hotel (more on that later), which is in what travelers call an “ideal” location, but it’s really a very touristy/business-y part of the city. I still don’t really have a great sense of Stockholm geography, but I’ve learned that next time I probably want to stay in Södermalm, which I repeatedly heard referred to as “the Brooklyn of Stockholm” and “the Williamsburg of Stockholm.” As a transplanted Brooklynite, I understand what that means (nope, I’m not going to use the H-word)…so, noted!

Anyway, despite being a bit restricted by location, Emma and I had an amazing dinner out at Riche. Their menu is decidedly un-vegan, but the chef was MORE than happy (I’d say he was excited, even) to prepare a special vegan meal on the fly for me. I don’t even remember everything that was on my plate because I was so tired and I wasn’t thinking about foodstagrams, but I do know that there was a vegan risotto, a fennel salad and something with hazelnuts. Whatever it all was, it was DELICIOUS. Such a nice place to sit and talk, too.

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Even though my photos of it aren’t great, I need to mention the Nobis Hotel, who put me up for the three nights I was in Stockholm. The Nobis is by far the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in (though to be fair, it’s competing mostly with fleabag roadside joints—I don’t have much fancy hotel experience). It’s located in a former bank—a very famous bank, in fact—the one where the Norrmalmstorg robbery took place in 1973, and where the term “Stockholm syndrome” comes from. It’s a gorgeous building, with its protected late-1800s interior layout and architecture preserved yet made contemporary by the Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune in 2010. The picture above is of the ceiling over the atrium that houses a lounge area.

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Orla Kiely toiletries, Scandinavian design everywhere, and a collection of great lamps from all over the world in the lobby. I wish I’d taken more photos, but I didn’t have much time at the Nobis during daylight hours. Here’s a really nice collection of both the common areas and the rooms, if you’re interested to see more. So. Damn. Fancy. (Also, the mattress and pillows? They’re making me rethink my entire approach to sleeping at home, where my bed now feels like a pile of rocks in comparison.)

After that first afternoon in Stockholm, I basically had NO free time whatsoever to do anything on my own. There were media events (and the Furniture Fair, of course) scheduled from early morning until late at night, so no time to go to shops or museums or restaurants that weren’t part of the Design Week tour. So Monday and Tuesday were jam-packed, and then I left for New York very early Wednesday morning. Talk about a whirlwind! My sleep schedule was completely crushed, and I brought home a nasty cold and a whole lot of exhaustion with me. It was a amazing trip, yes, but I really wish I could have added on a couple of extra days just to be able to breathe a little and get out to explore Stockholm. Next time.

I have SO MUCH MORE to talk about and share from my trip, but it’s too much for one post—I think it might be more like a dozen posts! Next up, lots of studio visits. For now, I leave you with a collection of Instagrams from Stocklhom…a little taste of what’s to come.

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For the past six months (and by “six months” I mean my entire life) I’ve carried this looming sense of having forgotten to do something really important, but being incapable of remembering what it is because I’m so overwhelmed by all of the things I either procrastinated doing or discovered I had to take care of at the last minute. It’s a terrible feeling, but it’s one that’s come to define how I (mal)function on a day-to-day basis. Everything is always about catching up. I never feel on top of things. I am always certain I’m disappointing at least one or two or a dozen people, including myself. Any time I feel like I might be getting close to making progress, something happens—usually I get sick (like yesterday, which was spent lying on the sofa curled up with a box of Kleenex and a couple of dogs), but sometimes my website gets hacked or the furnace breaks. You know, normal things that happen to people. When you’re already struggling to keep up with the rest of your life, though, those little roadblocks start to feel uncrossable.

That’s when the recurring dreams start. I have a few that keep coming back to haunt me, but the one that I associate the most with stress is what I call “Forgotten Animals.” In this dream, there is either a small room or a basement or some neglected space in my house that I enter after a long absence, only to discover that it’s filled with animals (usually mice or rats, but sometimes ferrets—all pets I’ve had in large numbers in the past) in cages that are dead, dying, or living in filth and suffering. They are pets I’ve forgotten about that had bred out of control but have no food or water source. I immediately struggle to get their cages clean and hydrate and feed them, but I can’t move quickly enough. It’s a terrible dream, and it’s one that I have at least two or three times a year. It’s not hard to figure out what it means, and I try to take it as a warning.

Well, THAT was a fun therapy session! Anyway, yeah, I need to heed the dream warning. I need to figure out how to get myself organized so I can deal with the simple stuff and not get overwhelmed by the big stuff. There’s no reason to be in a constant state of chaos. I’m not really into resolutions, but I guess I’m kind of making one.

I don’t want to end on a low note, so here are some nice things from this weekend…

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Top to bottom, left to right:

VIVA HATE banner on my living room mantel by Going Steady Shop.
Next up on my reading list, Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure. Have you seen the trailer?
My new jade plant has passed the three week mark, which might be a record. I’m determined to not kill it.
I’ve been OBSESSED with Patrick Townsend’s Orbit Chandelier for years. This was a very, very nice thank you gift from Victoria, and it’s going up in my living room just as soon as I figure out how to deal with the old, non-standard electrical box in the ceiling medallion that thwarted my efforts this weekend. (Sigh.)
Daniel and Max came down for lunch this weekend. I made fancy grilled cheeze sammiches and we watched Flowers in the Attic. Perfect Sunday?
Nothing really, just admiring the tiles in the living room fireplace. So nice.
Fritz had his 6th birthday yesterday! Remember when he was brand new? (Warning: SO CUTE IT HURTS.)

Christmas in Sweden
This is a reposting of a guest blog post I did for Dos Family four years ago. I regularly receive emails asking for the link to download the Swedish Christmas record, so I will repost it here yearly!

In the United States, it’s not uncommon to hear Christmas music wafting from shop speakers as early as the beginning of November, but it’s not “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Jingle Bell Rock” that puts me in the holiday spirit. For me, it’s not Christmastime until I put on the recording of Swedish Christmas music that I grew up listening to each and every year: Christmas in Sweden, recorded in 1962 by Åke Jelving and a chorus of parents and children.

This is jovial, happy music, sung with energy and enthusiasm…and with audible gasping and stomping!

Our mother may be Swedish, but my siblings and I haven’t got a clue what the lyrics mean. I suspect that they, like me, sing along phonetically (and badly) in the privacy of their own homes. On Christmas day, we put the record on and leave the singing to Mommy as we all hold hands and dance in a circle, usually around the spread of snacks and glögg on the kitchen island.

My gift to you is a download of Christmas in Sweden. Evan made the MP3s directly from the record, so you’ll hear all the same snaps and crackles that I do when I listen to the original. I think that just adds to the appeal! Unless you’re a Swede, this may not sound like Christmas music to you at first, but give it time. (And maybe enjoy it with a little glögg.)

To download the album, you’ll need to visit this link. No need to create an account, just click on “download.” Easy!

God Jul!

Christmas in Sweden

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A little more than a year ago, I wrote a post about how little traveling I do. It was difficult to write because it’s always been something I’m a bit ashamed of, but (as is often the case with the posts I hesitate to write) I felt braver and stronger once it was done. A few weeks later I traveled to London and had a wonderful time. This past June I went to my friends Lisa and Clay’s beautiful wedding in San Francisco, last month I went to Palm Springs for Camp Mighty and yesterday I got back from a long weekend in New Orleans! Look at me: Anna Dorfman, occasional traveler. Who could have predicted?

A very good friend of mine moved from Brooklyn to New Orleans about six years ago, and I’d been talking about the possibility of making a visit for a while. Our birthdays are a couple of days apart (I turned 38 right before Halloween — hello, 38!), and just by chance it turned out that The Cure were scheduled to play on the last night of Voodoo Fest. K and I met because of our love for The Cure and it’d been years since we’d gone to a show together…so really, how could I not go? Everything just seemed to fall into place perfectly. This was my first visit to New Orleans, and I loved it. What a magical place!

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K and her husband and son live in an incredible 1875 house in the Bywater neighborhood. She has always had the best sense of style when it comes to interiors, and unsurprisingly her home is amazingly beautiful inside and out. I slept in a bedroom painted black from the bottom up, save for a white beadboard ceiling. So perfect and cave-like. (And no, sorry, she doesn’t have a blog, haha. Believe me, it was all I could do to not take a million pictures!)

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Like all grown-up former (?) goths, we made sure to visit a cemetery. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest in New Orleans, all crumbly and beautiful and densely packed. (I also just learned that a New Kids on the Block video was filmed there, so, um, a slight reduction in goth points.)

GOATS!!! This guy was just walking around a residential neighborhood with a couple of goats on leashes. They were super soft.

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Top to bottom, left to right:
(1) I have a new appreciation for shutters now, especially when they’re floor-to-ceiling (2) Pretty outdoor lights at Pizza Delicious (the vegan campanelle was very good) (3) Living room mantle, fancy fancy (4) Belated vegan peanut butter birthday cake from Shake Sugary (5) Me, all moody right before the Cure concert (6) Matching manicures (Saints colors totally unintentional) with my waiter at Booty’s

Here’s a silly little video I made of a lenticular photo stuck to a door in the French Quarter. Love!

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Top to bottom, left to right:
(1) Drinks at Cane & Table — I had the Valeira Gorge: Portal Tawny Port, Banks 7 Year Rum, lime, fresh coconut water, vanilla and Angostura bitters (2) Skulls grow on agave plants in New Orleans, FACT (3) Dinner from the Fat Falafel truck (4) Freret Street (5) LIZARD!!! I saw a lizard in the wild for the first time, very exciting (6) Perfect tofu scrambles and coffees at Satsuma

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This is Willie. He was just a little kid when he lived in Brooklyn, and now he’s an old man. I love French bulldogs and all of their grunty croissant-marshmallow-bodiedness. He’s such a sweet guy, and a very patient model.

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THE CURE!!! Yayyyyyyyy. I’ve never succeeded in taking good photos at a Cure concert, and this time was no exception (here are some MUCH better ones!). No matter, though, because the show was great as usual. The Cure will for always and ever be my most favorite band, and the best way to experience them (I mean other than locked in your dark bedroom with headphones on, age 15) is LIVE. Their festival shows are shorter by default, but 2+ hours is still nothing to sneeze at. Plus, I got to hear “Burn” played live for the first time ever, and it sounded like a whole new song — like it came off of Pornography instead of The Crow soundtrack! So great.

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Some classic Robert Smith dance moves…

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My lovely friend Roger doing his thing up on on stage. Toss that hair, shake that tambourine! What a fun night. It’s been two years since the last time I saw The Cure, which is far too long to go between shows. I’m so glad I made this trip!

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Full setlist:
Shake Dog Shake / Fascination Street / From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea / The End of the World / Lovesong / Just Like Heaven / Burn / Pictures of You / Lullaby / High / Hot Hot Hot!!! / The Caterpillar / The Walk / Stop Dead / Push / Inbetween Days / Friday I’m in Love / Doing the Unstuck / Bananafishbones / Want / The Hungry Ghost / Wrong Number / One Hundred Years / Give Me It // (encore) The Love Cats / Close to Me / Let’s Go to Bed / Why Can’t I Be You? / Boys Don’t Cry

Thank you so, so much to K (+ family) for being such wonderful hosts and for having me stay in your beautiful home. I had the most amazing time. And thank you Roger for everything I can possibly thank a person for.

Since Fritz and Bruno don’t put much effort into their Halloween costumes (they go as a flightless goat-bat & a baby polar bear every year), I thought it would be fun to do a retrospective of my favorite dog’s getups from the last four years. Presenting…MAMMA BISCUIT! Mamma is the beloved pug of my dear friends Tommy and John, and she’s been featured here at D16 enough times to warrant having her very own tag. I adore Mamma B! Her pink and gentle demeanor never fail to make me happy on a bad day, and she has an awesome blog, too.

Let’s begin with Mamma Biscuit’s INCREDIBLE costume for Halloween 2013, Dame Vivienne Westwood.

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I mean…my goodness. Mamma really outdid herself this year, and she’s getting all kinds of press for her efforts! She’s been on the Huffington Post, Time Out New York, Gothamist, Cute Overload, Mashable and even Vanity Fair! It’s no surprise, really — just look at that attitude. Mamma Biscuit’s attention to detail (not to mention her natural punk attitude) are unparalleled.

If you want to see more of Mamma Biscuit’s homage to Vivienne Westwood (and why wouldn’t you?!) as well ever ever-stylish and handsome man-handlers, head over to her blog. PUG SAVE THE QUEEN!

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And now, a look back…

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Last year, Mamma Biscuit channeled Björk in her fabulous Marjan Pejoski swan dress from the Academy Awards.

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In 2011, Gaultier’s look for Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour inspired Mamma to put on a cone bra and headset and hit the streets.

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And of course the look that started it all, Mamma Biscuit as Anna Wintour. How far she’s come!

On a more serious (but no less uplifting) note, Mamma Biscuit’s story is an important reminder of why adopting dogs and other animals in need of permanent homes is so, so important — and of how rewarding the experience can be for everyone involved. Mamma is a puppy mill rescue who spent seven years of her life caged indoors and was forced to produce over 100 puppies against her will. Only when Curly Tail Pug Rescue (and John and Tommy, of course!) came to her aid did she finally get to experience running in the grass, peanut butter treats, warm cuddles from her humans in a big bed, and all of the other luxuries of life that she deserves. Mamma is a triumph of good spirit, and an inspiration to us all.

Happy Halloween!

When I was out in San Francisco over the summer, I went to visit Makeshift Society, the clubhouse/coworking space for creative people that Rena (who I totally want to be when I grow up), Victoria and Suzanne opened up last year. It’s a really, really cool space, and it immediately made me feel envious of the people who get to hang out (and, you know, work) there. A large part of the reason why I prefer working in an office environment over being at home on my sofa is that for all my anti-social tendencies, I really do thrive in the company of other likeminded people.

At Makeshift Society SF, a really nice little coworking community has come together. Aside from desk space, there’s a kitchen, a private conference room, a book lending library, bikes…even a loft space for napping if the need arises, something I often wish for at my own job. They offer classes of all kinds, too! (Seriously, look at that schedule — I want to take them ALL.)

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Photo by Makeshift Society member Sarah Deragon

See what a nice place this is to sit and work? So nice. But also really, really far from Brooklyn. But guess what? MAKESHIFT SOCIETY IS COMING TO BROOKLYN! The Makeshift team has joined up with Bryan Boyer (who wears really nice shirts), and they’ve rented an amazing (and HUGE!) space in Williamsburg to call home. In addition to all of the great stuff that’s going on in San Francisco, the Brooklyn location will be expanded to include a lending library of all kinds of tools, from cameras to sewing machines to editing software.

And yes, there will be CLASSES! And a maker-in-residence program! It’s going to be great. Even though I work in an office, I’m really looking forward to becoming a part of Makeshift’s classes and events, and maybe even sneaking some evening freelance hours in there as well.

In order to get the whole operation up and running by early 2014, Makeshift is running a Kickstarter campaign to get things off the ground successfully. These folks know what they’re doing and how to make shi(f)t happen, but they need a helping hand. The AMAZING news is that they just crossed their funding goal (!!!), but you can absolutely still donate some bucks for the next 24 hours…even if you don’t live in Brooklyn.

Check out the plans for the space below, take a look at the details on the Kickstarter page, and watch the video at the top of this post. Then maybe go fork over a few clams! We’re down to the very last day of funding, so get in there while you can.

p.s. There are great incentive rewards being offered when you donate, like punchcards for classes or a really nice tote bag designed by Lisa Congdon. (Yeah, that’s what I chose — you know I’m all about tote bags.)

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Top to bottom, left to right…

✚ I’ve been meeting my father for weekly lunches when time permits. We have great conversations, mostly about art and design theory. I do a lot of listening and try to learn as much I can. I walk away from every lunch thinking about something in a way I’d never considered before. A side bonus of our lunches is that I’ve started walking to parts of Manhattan I don’t usually have any reason to go to. I love 7th Ave above 50th St.

✚ Oh, Bruno. This guy has a super-short haircut right now, and he looks über cute. (That pillow is made by Nell & Mary in Portland. It was a gift from Jen.)

✚ Did you know Van Leeuwen has coconut/cocoa butter-based VEGAN ice cream now? Yup. Bourbon & Tahitian Vanilla and Michel Cluizel Chocolate…and they’re working on more flavors. Their Brooklyn location is right outside my subway stop, so I have to resist getting a cone every single day!

✚ My walk to the subway in the morning usually takes me down Bergen Street. When I was making this same walk ten years ago, the block between Court and Smith didn’t have much going on. Now there’s 61 Local, The Invisible Dog (pictured), Recession Art, RAD’s Beam Center

✚ I don’t need this t-shirt, but maybe you do? It’s at Aritzia. You’re welcome.

✚ I cut my bangs at an angle again. It’s always the late, sleepless nights when I start cutting my own hair. I should do it more often. (That cocoon is from RVCA, and it’s super-comfy. Too warm for this time of the year, but I’m not letting that stop me.)

✚ My dear friend Roger is in town! One of the nicest things about living in New York is that all of your friends (well, almost all of them) wind up visiting eventually.

✚ I forgot how much I love Schiller’s Liquor Bar. I know it’s fake-old and manufactured romance, but it’s beautiful all the same. Even the bathroom is perfection. They make a mean Pimm’s cup, too. (Fellow vegan-eaters, don’t be put off by the menu! Order the roasted cauliflower with a side of broccoli rabe, and maybe also a side of fries for good measure. They know what they’re doing!)

✚ I don’t drive, but if I did, I’d like to drive this. My parents had a VW Microbus when I was kid, and I’ve always thought old VW are really cool-looking. This orange one is parked outside of these two wood-frame houses on Dean Street that I’m always ogling. I know vines are bad for houses, but they sure do make for a pretty picture.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!