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Need to know: 5 must-haves for new puppy parents

On October 28, 2019, our lives changed forever when we met our eight-week-old puppy for the first time and flew him home. Despite having read all the blogs and puppy proofing our Manhattan apartment, there were a few surprised we never could have anticipated. Equally, there were a few tools and tips we absolutely couldn’t have done without. I was so surprised by the lack of “lists” for new puppy parents — and so, dear reader (especially if you plan to put a bow on a new Fido this holiday season) — here is your foolproof list of puppy must-haves:

1. FURBO
I’ve seen dozens of advertisements for “nanny” puppy cameras, and hesitated before shelling out about $100 for a Furbo, one of the more prominent brands with top reviews on Amazon and the added benefits of livestreaming video, interactive voice and sound — and here’s the kicker, projectile treats — so you can ask him to sit, and then toss him a treat and tell him “good boy!” Keep an eye out for great deals on one during the holidays.

2. CHEWY.COM
Chewy is not just another online retailer. I have been repeatedly blown away not just by their broad selection and thorough product reviews, but also (and especially) the top-notch customer service. Not only do they respond immediately, but they’re understanding enough (in my experience) to accommodate even a customer mistake with a full no-questions-asked refund. All your previous orders are archived for quick re-ordering (or repeat delivery at the frequency of your choice, if you prefer) which is inevitable as you discover your pup’s favorite products. Bonus, they also have a hilarious and engaging social media team, worth following on instagram @chewy.

3. MR. SLOTH (or a Mr. Sloth equivalent)
My brother gave our puppy this long legged sloth as a gift when he was young, and it quickly became his (and our) favorite toy. Especially for smaller dogs, a toy that’s easy for mom and dad to dangle while reading the paper or sipping your morning coffee becomes a morning necessity (and doubles as a cuddly tug-of-war as needed). Ours is similar to this one from TJMaxx, under $10.

4. A PUPPY COCOON
Dog beds are great and all, but a washable puppy cocoon is essential in the winter months (can you say, bed and blanket in one?) and extremely helpful before your puppy learns to control his messes. At under $20 and easy to find, we love this version from Walgreens.

5. NYLABONE CHEWS
Like a toddler, when he’s young, your pup’s teeth can be a pain. Ours loves these chew toys from Nylabone, and there are packaged “puppy starter kit” options, this one from Petco, so you can upgrade to the appropriate toy for each stage of his development. Lucky for us, this set of puppy keys (pictured) was his first toy on his flight home.

These are @warrenbuffettdoodle and our 5 favorites — which are yours? Share suggestions in the comments! xx

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Last Chance: Delacroix at the Met

This morning we braved the pouring rain and skulked past blocks-long lines to enjoy the most comprehensive retrospective of Delacroix’s work to visit North America (pro tip: line cutting is major perk for all Met members).

Revolutionary French painter Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) came of age after the fall of Napoleon and is renowned as one of the greatest artists of his time. While he is a household figure in France, this exhibit combines and illuminates his many talents and influences; in addition to over 800 paintings and thousands of drawings, the collection features thousands of pages of his journals and ties common threads between his artwork and serious literary preoccupation/inspiration.

Below are a few of my favorite works from the collection. Check them out yourself between now and January 6 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jeune tigre jouant avec sa mère — a young tiger playing with its mother. 

My favorite painting (and among the least violent of the animal set
(of which there were quite a few)


This page features the first known formulation of what would become a credo for Delacroix—that painting is a bridge between artist and viewer, with material advantages over literature:
“When I have done a fine painting, I have not expressed any thoughts. That’s what they say. How simple-minded they are!… A writer says almost everything in order to be understood; painting builds a kind of mysterious bridge between the soul of the characters and that of the spectator.”



A glowing recommendation from Picasso “That bastard. He’s really good.”

Want to learn more? Listen to The Met’s conversation with Ashler Miller on the exhibit:

Events, New Media, Reviews, Uncategorized

See: To Kill a Mockingbird

I have always been impartial to musical theater, though a series of more serious plays have caught my attention from time to time (in recent years – The Curious Incident, Hand to God, The Cripple of Inishmaan) so when my husband scored preview tickets to see Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird, it was a no brainer.

We all read Harper Lee’s novel in high school, but Sorkin’s version featuring Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch brings new life to the story you thought you knew, in an age when we have all been forced to rethink the storyline’s important undertones about racism, abuse, sexual assault and standing up for what’s right. 

PLAYBILL SYNOPSIS: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.”

It’s a must see, and a refresher on the nobility and importance of bringing access to justice equally to all people. As a daughter/sister/granddaughter/niece of lawyers, my family never understood my lack of desire to attend law school, and leaving the Schubert after Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird is the closest I’ve come to wanting to take the LSAT in my life. 

For Tickets: http://www.playbill.com/production/to-kill-a-mockingbird-2018-2019

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Trees on Demand: Holiday Hack for Busy New Yorkers

While the holidays signify time with friends and family, gifts, relaxation and thankfulness, for some, they also represent an even busier period of take-out meals, skipped workouts, and gifts delivered within the Amazon Prime Now two-hour window.

Help me help you:

This year our tree came from the St. Nicholas of Firs, NYC Trees. For slightly more than your average six-footer, two muscular dudes will drop off your tree within an evening time window, set up the stand, fill it with water, and even add a Santa-themed skirt. We were worried our tree would be less handsome or shapely than one we picked out ourselves, but couldn’t have been more wrong or less pleased.

Trees on-demand

NYC Trees: https://nyctrees.com/

Prices start at 109 and include delivery, stand and setup

Removal starts at $60

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Nerds Delight Continues: The Secret Science Club

For weeks I’ve been on the Secret Science Club mailing list in nerdy anticipation of their next event and my introduction to the underground awesomeculture I always suspected somewhere… like a spectacular back-room-wood-and-leather-barn-like-Brooklyn-bar-space.

Well, yesterday I braved the hailstorm (via the southbound R train) and sure enough I found them… lined up down the street outside of The Bell House, nerd flags waving in the post torrential downpour winds, just beside mine.

Last night Featured Duncan Watts, mathematical sociologist, social network expert, and author of Everything Is Obvious (*Once You Know the Answer). Watts, who also currently conducts research for Microsoft, challenged our societal default to common sense, reacquainting us with the scientific method and a strong reminder for skepticism– we should question everything, and test over and over again until the data proves us (theory) right.

While much of Watts’ presentation hit chords of personal bias– from his own research of Yahoo’s dating site preferences (apparently what users say they want v. what they actually want proves Avenue Q’s theory that “everyone’s a little bit racist) to questioning leadership in the workplace– do we inflate the credentials of the best looking man in the room? Was George Washington the default pundit for our Nation’s forefathers because he was always the tallest guy in the room?

Interesting things to consider (from Watts):

-“We can skip from day to day and observation to observation, perpetually replacing the chaos of reality with the soothing fiction of our explanations”

-Watts’ theory centers around the idea that we draw lots of conclusions about factors that led up to an event… after the event. And that it would be just as easy to draw conclusions why the OPPOSITE outcome had come true. (Example: reasons why the financial crisis happened… if the economy were booming, we could have also found reasons pointing to why).

-Avoid “halos” or generalizing people with a certain characteristic. Just because most of the senior leaders at your company are tall, handsome men in suits, don’t assume someone tall in a suit has leadership qualities.

-Do the hard work– don’t make assumptions based upon one outcome. If you don’t have the benefit of results/data from many outcomes, build strategies that don’t depend upon accurate predictions– like reacting quickly (retailer Zara, for example, demos small runs of each style in-store, and then mass produces the ones that sell most successfully).

The New York Times review of Watt’s book summarizes well: “Common sense is a kind of bespoke make-believe, and we can no more use it to scientifically explain the workings of the social world than we can use a hammer to understand mollusks.” Pick up his book here.

Whether you support or disagree with Watts’ contention of common sense, I’m of the camp that it is always worth asking ourselves the question (and working toward truth).

…see you at next month’s  Secret Science Club!

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“Our Little Nerd Circus” – Radiolab LIVE!

Radiolab’s Live show “In The Dark” makes. me. so. happy. At the end of last night’s show, I declared that if Jad (Abumrad) and Robert (Krulwich) just sat down and taught me a show about everything important about science, I’d be a genius. They are the Bill Nye the Science Guy for curious adults. After all, Radiolab is “a show about curiosity.”

First things first, let’s start here: Radiolab is “a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.” The boys performed their live show “In The Dark” at BAM last night, co-hosted by Demitri Martin, with whom I was previously unfamiliar, because I (apparently) live in a cave. He was hilarious, as (apparently) is to be expected, and was actually far funnier when he was improvising/making fun of the audience than when he took us through his scripted bits/slide shows. One of my favorite parts was a quick round of Good/Bad/Interesting, which (apparently) he’s played before.

EDITORS NOTE: It’s really tough for me to tell you about these things, because I really want you to experience them. This is why I don’t just show you pictures of our weekend at the beach. I don’t want to show you pictures. I want you to come. I want those hair curls you repress to swell with ocean salt and your hands to be all sticky clammy from cracking lobsters and sand to fall out of your pockets when you return to Manhattan and drop them on your parquet floor. So keep that in mind, lobster hands, and, just this once, mainly because the two New York shows are sold out, I’ll tell you a bit about what we saw. But you have to promise to listen to the podcast when it’s posted (and I’ll post it for you).

And hence, our 3 part show “In The Dark”:

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Part 1: Jad and Robert began by taking us through the evolution of the eye, a controversial subject of Darwinian debate, and for this they summoned (one of my faves) Carl Zimmer, who took us through eyes as light detecting blobs to the modern day ones we know and love, that are embedded in our skulls (really neat, I didn’t know either, check it out). At this point in the show, the evolution of the eyeball is being beautifully exhibited by choreographed by modern dance troupe Pilobolus (brooklyn natives!) — who pretty consistently, fluidly, entertainingly accompanied (without distracting from) the show whether dressed as giant glow in the dark eyeballs or stripped down to their skivvies.

Part II: Next, we met two blind men from opposite ends of the world, one of whom tries to wipe his memory of all images so as not to skew his ability to live in the moment, and to live “truthfully” (as opposed to thinking of his wife the way she looked in her youth, he prefers to have no visual, mental picture at all) and the other, who strives to remember and envision as much as humanly possible, to the point where he intimately knows the cheek creases of his wife’s laughter and is comfortable crawling around on his roof to fix a leak. This dichotomy, and difference in perspectives was poignant and thought provoking. The gents provoked the audience to think of whether our full impressions of people are rooted in visual expressions, in images… whether our emotional attachments are cemented by seeing/understanding each others’ “isms,” reactions… I’m still thinking about it now.

Part III: SPACE! Of course I wasn’t at all excited to be introduced by phone to NASA astronaut Dave Wolf (did you know NASA’s hold music is actually sci-fi-ish space sounds? me neither. *SWOON*) who told us about the last 30 seconds of his life (or so he thought) when he was “locked out” of an airlock, for hours, in deep space, and had to disconnect his “umbilical cord” (co2 filter/cooling system) in a last ditch effort/affording a 4 minute window to break back into the pod and save his life.

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Here’s where my heart breaks because you weren’t in the theater. They also gave us all these little light-conductory contraptions, so at the end of the show we were able to sort of “give a present” back to Jad and Robert by making the audience look like a glittery night sky, with a giant sun projected on the stage (pictured above). Of note that Jad and Robert sang the praises of stage band Thao Nguyen (who also boasted an earlier solo performance) thanked the audience, took a bow, Demitri Martin came back out in a dorky red backpack, and all was right in the world.

My final plea is twofold:

1) If you don’t already listen to Radiolab, start. They even have an iphone app now to make it super easy.

2) If you don’t already (listen and) donate to NPR, start. It is one of the most enriching, important private institutions we have.