Category Archives: I heart NY

A Day of Ballet Class for Macy & Some Exciting News

nikkiikkin a day of ballet Our family’s schedule dramatically changed when Macy started attending classes at School of American Ballet last September.  It wasn’t a hard decision to accept her invitation to dance there, but we knew that we would also have to accept that ballet rules our life right now.  We are so proud of her and her diligent attitude in her dance studies.  She has come up leaps and bounds in her strength and ballet education since she started.  With only a handful of absences and almost zero complaining, this has been her life 4 days a week.  3 of which are right after a long day at school.  Our time everyday at SAB is more than just waiting the 90 minutes while she is in dance class, we have much more time invested in it than that.  I wanted to share our family’s nearly daily journey and the logistics it takes for Macy have this amazing experience.

MACY’S DAY AT BALLET

We made a decision early on that it was a waste of time for us to pick Macy up from school, walk home, wait 45 min and then walk back to the train.  So we leave straight from school pick up and get to SAB earlier than needed.

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It takes 3 trains for us to get to Lincoln Center.  Its not really a big deal, when you live in NYC, transferring trains is a just how its done.  Sometimes you get lucky and there’s no wait for the next train to arrive and sometimes the train runs late and you have a long wait.  Its sort of the way traffic is everywhere else, its out of your control and you have to be patient. On the plus side you have time to read a book while you travel, in Macy’s case she has 45 minutes to work on homework.  She usually uses the time to do her reading but sometimes she gets distracted.  Especially if a 6 foot tall transvestite with purple hair and giant boots is making a scene on the train.  Would anyone be able to pay attention with that going on?

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We dont always take the last leg of train, sometimes we walk from 59th street to 66th street.  It’s not much difference in waiting for the 1 train and making the 7 block walk.  I often use the extra time we give ourselves to run an errand at the Shops at Columbus circle, printing at Kinkos or to mail a package.

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There is always something going on at Lincoln Center.  We stumble upon events ranging from the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera, to movie premieres (we saw Leonardo DiCaprio and other celebs at the Great Gatsby premier last week) just going about on our day of ballet.  The area of Lincoln Center for Performing Arts is made up of several world renown organizations.  The New York City Ballet, Metropolitan Opera, The Julliard School, New York Philharmonic, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts  and School of American Ballet to name just a few.  Last fall a sky walk crossing over 65th street opened to connect the buildings holding Julliard and SAB to the main Lincoln Center buildings.  Which makes it easier for me to stroll Hudson over to the plazas where a fountain, a reflection pool and grassy lawn are, if the weather is good we often walk over to enjoy their beauty.

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At our earliest arrival to SAB we have about 30 minutes before we can order from the dinner counters at the Julliard & SAB Cafe.  We LOVE the cafe!  I honestly dont think I could handle all of the hours and days we have to spend doing this if I didnt have the cafe to eat and wait in.    Serving  just Julliard and SAB students, staff and families, it has a  grill, hot entree counter, soup and salad bars and sandwich counter, several drinks and luckily brews Starbucks coffee.   We spend a lot of time there and see many interesting performing arts students.  It really is the heart of these two performing arts schools, as students are not just eating there between classes before they go home.  Both SAB and Julliard have resident students that depend on it for meals that are healthly and full of variety.  We on the other hand eat mostly pizza, Hudson does at least.  Macy likes to eat salad and yogurt and I enjoy the fact that its affordable and I don’t have to cook dinner on ballet nights.

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The Cafe is located on the lobby level of the Rose Building, SAB is on the 5th floor.  Unfortunately the school has very strict rules about photography on the 5th floor.  Parents are not allowed to stay on the 5th floor while their child is in class, which is a new rule this year.  There is actually several seating areas with big comfy sofas up there, its a shame really that we can’t enjoy it during class time anymore.  We are also not allowed to observe classes, but twice a year there is a Parents Observation week.

Before each class, I get 20 minutes to help her get ready, not that it takes that long.  Some days she has a morning shower and we do her bun in the morning.  On those days her bun is high and more classic looking.  On dry hair days we do a low bun with a side part just before class.  Macy is getting good at doing the bun herself now, she likes to use a bun form to get a big showy bun, but in general she has pretty silky hair that goes into a bun easily without too many fly aways.

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And here she is ready to go to class!

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After class, if we are lucky and Macy isnt socializing too much she can be dressed and ready to go in 10 minutes.  We don’t usually run any errands after ballet, we have about an hour commute and are just ready to be home.  If you are wondering about Hudson during our ballet days, he doesn’t go every time.   On most weeks, Jacob is home for 1 or 2 of the ballet days and  one of us stays with Hudson.  When he does go, he often falls asleep in his stroller on the train ride there and of course eating dinner and watching some netflix is part of his day anyway, he just has to do it away from home.

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And now for Macy’s exciting news!  During the year SAB students are asked to fill childrens’ roles in ballets at New York City Ballet.  This being Macy’s first year learning ballet so intensely we have not auditioned for any of the open calls, but some of the ballets roles are chosen directly by the Children’s Ballet Master……

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Macy has been chosen to perform in the ballet Firebird with the NYCB for 4 nights in May at David Koch theater!   It really was a surprise to us that she was offered this experience so soon, we are so proud of how hard she has been working. This week she begins rehearsals and of course we plan to attend all 4 performances.  I cant wait to she my baby girl on stage at Lincoln Center!  I will certainly have more to share as it happens, so stay tuned.

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Filed under I heart NY, The Chic Tween

Dwell Studio Cookies for Operation Kids Bake Sale

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I think that I’ve been procrastination on working on a new post because I can’t decide which of the fabulous projects I want to share first.  So I’ll start with one that is most overdue.  I should have shared this back in November, not sure why I didn’t, probably because November and December were a blur to me.

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After Hurricane Sandy I found a few outlets to help out.  Besides clothing, food and monetary donations  it was heartwarming for me to donate my talent.  I know cookies are just flour and sugar but they are also smiles and joy.  Like cupcakes and cakes they can brighten someones day even for just a moment.

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Duplicating a pattern is one of my favorite ways to decorate in sugar art.  I’m pretty much a copier with a lot of my designs.  My husband says thats not so, that everyone is influenced by others work and this is true.  Sometimes I start off thinking I’ll just duplicate something Ive seen but then it comes to life in my own way and it ends up an original design.  I have wanted to literally copy Dwell Studio prints on a cake or cookie for a long time now.    Their modern patterns are a favorite of mine and influenced my original design in my son’s nursery, see his Oliver the Owl nursery HERE.

nikkiikkin dwell studio cookies 5I had just completed a large cookie donation to the Red Hook Initiate on Election Day when I noticed Dwell Studio was hosting a bake sale coordinated by Joanna Goddard from Cup of Jo.  to benefit Operation Kids hurricane relief effort .  My kitchen wasn’t even returned to normal from my first bakeathon so I asked my husband if he would mind if I dove in to another project, the cookies would be due in two days so it would be a quick project.  He couldn’t say no of course!

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I combed through Dwell Studios patterns, current and vintage.  I have so many favorites that I was sad that time restraints would in the end restrict my design decision.  I choose two children’s patterns for their color combos and simplicity.

nikkiikkin dwell studio cookies 2Owl and Transportation made the final cut and then I narrowed down the design to just a few recognizable elements.  It is the colors of the designs that really bring the cookies to life.  Colors are also what make Dwell Studio prints so coveted.

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I dropped my cookies off at Dwell Studio’s brand new gorgeous SoHo flagship store, often lovingly referred to as 77 Wooster.  They were well received by Joanna and Christiane.  The atmosphere was energetic as kids were gobbling up treats and people were greeting each other.  There were so many yummy donations and a crowd was forming right away.    I’m sure I’m not the only person that has separation anxiety from their creative work, it’s very a funny feeling!  I’m so happy to share, so proud to make people excited about sugar but I don’t want to let go!  Luckily I always feel that my little works of art are appreciated and enjoyed, it’s the only way I can really walk away.

Screen Shot 2012-11-11 at 2.38.37 PMLater that day Christiane tweeted and instagramed a pretty shot of the cookies with a thank you shout out to me.

Screen Shot 2012-11-12 at 10.13.19 AMAnd the a few days later a post was up at the Studio blog highlighting some of the pics of how the bake sale went.  Again there was a very sweet mention and pic of my cookies!

Screen Shot 2012-11-13 at 4.58.48 PMI also checked up on A Cup of Jo to see how the bake sale went.  They raised $2400 in 3 hours, which Dwell Studio matched for a grand total of $4800 to donate to hurricane relief efforts.  Thats amazing!  Here is a screen shot of some more pics from A Cup of Jo.  I was excited to see the little boy in the lower right picture choosing one of my cookies . <3

To sum it up, I love to create sweet treats, love Dwell Studio and love to help out.  It was a hands down a win – win experience.

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Filed under Cookies, I heart NY, SugarCoated

Here’s to the bright New Year!

Montauk New Years Day 2013

Montauk New Years Day 2013

Befitting in many ways, my family and I began the New Year at “The End” – Montauk, New York.  The farthest eastern part  of Long Island and New York State. Most of you would be more familiar with its neighboring villages, The Hamptons.   This time of year the billionaires are somewhere south and it is off season, but off season is exactly what we look for when we want to decompress from living in NYC.   Its become a tradition for us to escape there right after Christmas to just hang out and not worry about to do lists and daily routines.  We were lucky to witness crisp blue skies and empty beaches which made for beautiful pictures.  I did not have to alter these pictures to get these blue and taupe tones, this is just how it looked.  Yes it was freezing!  But we weren’t looking to go sun bathing or swimming with the Polar Bear Club, we did however see a surfer go out in full wet suit, to each his own!

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Hudson Berry

Hudson Berry

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Jacob and Nikki Berry

The Montauk Polar Bear Club

The Montauk Polar Bear Club

I never really make new years resolutions, I feel like I’m constantly trying to improve and organize my life anyway.   This year I have made two that I really hope to keep.  I want to pick up the phone and call my friends more often.   For a while now I’ve chalked it up to being too difficult to find the moment when the kids aren’t screaming and when my at home schedule syncs with my working friends schedule to attempt calls.  The truth is none of us can “find the time” so I’ve decided just to make it.  Even if I just get their voicemail.  Besides,  a 10 minute conversation is much more fulfilling than sitting down for an hour to compose an email in which I blubber on about my life.   Secondly, I am spearheading an enormous project to convert our home VHS videos to digital and create mini movies from them as well as our hundreds of already digital clips.  I have a good feeling that once I just get started on this project it really wont take as long as my procrastination on it has.

“Here’s to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; here’s to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.” – Anonymous

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Election Day Cookies

Election Day 2012 Cookies

These election day cookies were for more than to celebrate voting, they went directly to a church serving hot meals to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in Red Hook.  My intentions when making them was not just to brighten someone’s cold day but as an initiative to take civil responsibility even during this time of devastation.   Macy and I walked about 100 cookie and cupcake treats over yesterday before I went to vote.  Which by the way took me about 2 hours of waiting in line.  But of course it was worth it!  Warm congratulations to President Barack Obama for another four years.

 

 

Vote Cookies

 

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A Tour of the Historic TWA Flight Center

The TWA Flight Center was designed to capture  the spirit of flight.  Completed in 1962, this bird is undoubtedly the most famous architectural work of Eero Saarinen.  Composed of four thin-shell concrete lobes and fully supported by only four piers.  The main lobby’s soaring, swooping walls and sculptural staircases stretch onward until they reach the cavernous ceiling, the beginning becoming its end and the end becoming its beginning again.   Theres no doubt when you see this building that you know it is special, which is why the city of New York designated both the interiors and exteriors a historic landmark in 1994 and has spent 20 million to restore it so far.

“All the curves, all the spaces and elements right down to the shape of the signs, display boards, railings and check-in desks were to be of a matching nature. We wanted passengers passing through the building to experience a fully-designed environment, in which each part arises from another and everything belongs to the same formal world.”—Eero Saarinen, 1959 from Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser. Architecture in the Twentieth Century. p250

The terminal was in use until 2001, changing hands throughout the years to American Airlines and now Jet Blue. Restoration of the “head house” is now mostly complete and the building is opened up for public and private tours a few times a year.  Hudson and I were fortunate to attend a very intimate tour sponsored by Archtober and AIA last week.  I have over 50 blog worthy photos, its been hard to narrow it down to the very best but here it goes!

I had built up Hudson’s excitement by telling him that we were going to see a building that looks like a spaceship.  He only heard “spaceship” and was very excited to go.  Saarinen did not disappoint this two-year old.  Hudson’s favorite spot was in the sunken red lounge, that is until he discovered the red tubes.  We entered our tour at the original main entrance, unlike the UHNY tour where Jet Blue opens terminal 5 for visitors to enter through the tubes, so unfortunately I could not let Hudson run down them like he wanted too via Catch Me If You Can style.

Hudson modeling for Banana Republic’s fall/winter ads

The upstairs lounge portions of the head house are not restored yet.  Most of my pictures are cringe worthy, so I’m going to spare you the disgust.  Sometime during the during the 80’s and 90’s it was someones grand idea to remodel the lounges with cherry and brass.  Really.  I have also come across photos from the 90’s that show very unsympathetic alterations to the building’s character, such as floor to ceiling drapery on the 30 foot wing windows, ramps over the grand stair entrance and the sunken lounge was leveled!  I don’t know if the photos I’m including are of original lounge furniture and details but they aren’t far off from the feeling that Saarinen used in the rest of the building.  I enjoyed looking for construction elements that we are not allowed to do in American anymore because of our strict building codes.  Besides there only being stairs to the second level, there were other non accessible areas like entry to the back of the grand information desk and narrow doors

I had to rush through the second floors, running out of time and Hudson out of patience (he was really distraught about not being able to run down the red tubes) but I got some great shots of the first floor from up there.

But my favorite photos to take are always of the details, so here’s for all you detail oriented designers!

I also caught two great photos on my way out, these are exterior shots at the front of the building.

As an interior designer I was ecstatic to come across the survey drawings for the restorations by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects, here are 2 of my favorite sheets from the set.

I hope that the restoration continues for the TWA Flight Center and I plan on returning to any tour that I hear about, it is truly an amazon building to visit.

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Filed under Design 101, I heart NY

Happy Fall Ya’ll

Traditionally, celebrations in autumn are associated with harvests and country life.  Maybe its just how we see it, but it seems like that country life is stereotyped as Southern culture. “Happy Fall Ya’ll!”  is not a phrase we hear in New York, but in the South its on nearly every front door wreath during September and October.    We still embrace our Tennessee roots and instinctively have the need to get away from the city every now and then.  Luckily, just about an hour outside of the hustle and bustle, in any direct you drive, there is farm and country.  Today we took the kiddos to a farm in Long Island called White Post Farms.

 Even at $15 per person, (plus extra for pony rides, train rides, sheep food, bird food, etc) I thought this farm was wonderful and would recommend it to other parents. We spent nearly 3 hours there and our kids had a great time petting animals, bouncing on air bouncers, riding a hay ride, picking out pumpkins and playing in storybook play houses.

While we are thankful that there is somewhere nearby to let our city kids experience animals and “farm life” we can’t help but joke about this faux farm experience. It sorta pains us to pay for our kids to have experiences that back in Tennessee we can enjoy in a much more realistic way.  I’d like to share one of the favorites we like to mock.

Here are my kidos petting goats at the petting farm in New York:

And here are my kidos petting goats on their Grandmother’s farm in Tennessee:

See the difference?  I hope they do too.  It’s important to us to make sure our city kids get back to their roots at least once a year.  Next summer Macy might even go to Tennessee for the entire summer!  And while she is there, there will be plenty of family farms to visit, all kinds of animals to feed without the fences and she can practice saying “Ya’ll” like a true southerner.

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Filed under I heart NY

NYC Art and Design Events in October

Hooray for the cooler weather!  Im a fall & winter person.  Im even happy about rainy days.  The end of September in NYC always brings excitement for this weather along with our favorite month, October.  We love Halloween, its our favorite holiday to decorate, celebrate and dress up.  This year I have a lot of other plans in October that aren’t Halloween related, they are art related!

The biggest of the events is Archtober,  Architecture and Design Month in NYC presented by Dwell Magazine and New York Magazine.  Everyday during month of October there are architectural tours, lectures and exhibitions, most of the are free too!  As soon as I received the guide I sat down and ordered all the tickets to events like a tour of TWA Flight Center, Diane von Furstenberg Studio Headquarters, Gracie Mansion, a lecture by Christo and an architectural boat tour of NYC.

TWA Flight Center

Gracie Mansion

DVF Studio Headquarters

Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin – 1995 Christo
Photo: Wolfgang Volz

City Modern is also presented by Dwell Magazine, New York Magazine and Audi in October, its a week long celebration of New York design and is focused around Modern home tours in Manahttan and Brooklyn.  The home tours require a ticket purchase but I have volunteered to be a guide at one of the homes so I am excited to get more of an inside view of the events.

We just stumbled upon this next exhibition and I have to say that I think Im most excited about it.  The Public Art Fund is presenting a birds eye view of the Columbus monument in Columbus Circle. ‘Discovering Columbus’ is an installation that had me galking at the once in a lifetime opportunity to see.  Scaffolding has been built around the monument and a full on living room is surrounding  the 13 foot Mr Columbus.  Tickets are free and timed and you must be able to climb the 6 flights of stairs to get to it.

russo’s sculpture before being built into his impermanent home
image by jesse hamerman, courtesy public art fund, ny

Discovering Columbus, a living room atop Columbus Circle Monument
Photo: Justin Lane/EPA

‘discovering columbus’ by tatzu nishi, 2012
image by tom powel
image courtesy of the public art fund, ny

Lastly, we plan to squeeze into the month of October a visit to the MOMA to see Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of “The Scream”.  Which became the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction at Sotherby’s in May, it went for nearly $120 million!  This is the only version of the 4 paintings by Munch that is in private hands and its has never been shown publicly in New York before.  It goes on viewing on October 24th for 6 months.

Munch Museum/Munch-Ellingsen Group/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Munch’s 1895 “Scream” will temporarily be at the MOMA

All that and Halloween to celebrate!  I look forward to posting updates as I experience all of these art and design events!

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