Friday Favorites: Confused Easter/Passover Edition

Happy Everything, from our confused family to yours! Here are a few holiday favorites…

1. East Side Jews is having a community Seder on Saturday at the SLJCC! If you’re in Los Angeles and you’re looking to connect to Judaism alongside eclectic, interesting people and holidays filled with an unconventional take on ritual, story, song, art and family, the ESJ event may be a great fit for you. We’ll be there!

2.Thou must have deviled eggs on Easter. It was supposed to be the 11th commandment, but it got edited out due to limited room on the tablets. I made these last year and they were a huge hit. Remember- they’re from BETTY CROCKER, so they taste better if you make them while wearing 3 inch heels and a smile!

3. Rabbi Becky Silverstein’s Open Letter to Tom and Transgendered Teens Everywhere.
“Tom, at the heart of our communal narrative is the courage action of individuals taking a risk. In sharing your transition with your parents, community, school, and the greater world community, you modelled for all of us what it means for us to feel as though we ourselves were leaving Egypt, a central commandment within the Passover Hagaddah.”

4. Sam Sifton, Melissa Clark, Kim Severson, and Julia Moskin are personally answering all your Passover and Easter food questions on the NY Times Food FB Page. The questions are great! I LOVE me some Melissa Clark. Also… the ham I’m trying.

5. Practice Resurrection: Progressive Christian Theology for Easter, by Carl Gregg. There is so much cool stuff in this post, including terrific poetry the the origin story of Habitat for Humanity.

6. If I was a better person, I would actually make these rather than just drinking chardonnay and midnight and wistfully Googling them.

Friday Faves 2/20


1. Chicken with Cardamom Rice, from Jerusalem, by Yottam Ottolenghi and Sam Tamimi. This recipe will change your life. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love it. It’s great for a last-minute dinner party. Once you get it down, you can bang it out in under a couple of hours and it’s both impressive and the perfect one-dish comfort food. I’m wild about the entire cookbook.


2. Remembrances of David Carr. Carr’s brilliant The Night of the Gun forever changed the way I think about memoir, journalism, memory, storytelling and healing. I’ve enjoyed reading the many remembrances of him online and have spent a lot of time this week meditating on what his writing means to me. All our love and prayers go out to his friends and family.


3. Millihelen beauty blog. I met the delightful Jane Marie backstage at Margot Leitman’s Origin Story show at UCB, and was delighted to learn about Millihelen, her smart, sassy new beauty blog at Jezebel. For those of us who like beauty and fashion but don’t like being made to feel like crap about ourselves by people trying to sell us stuff. It’s funny! You’ll like it!


4. Rockin’ Baby Sling. My favorite shower gift. T was nearly 11 months old when we brought him home but he was the size of a 6 month old, so I got a few good months of being able to carry him in the sling, which is a terrific attachment-promoting activity. I still treasure the memory. These are made in America of such pretty fabrics, and for every one you buy they donate a sling to a mom in need.


5. National Day of Unplugging. I’m really excited about this campaign and the discussion it inspires. Scott about falls on the floor laughing every time I tell him I’m going to do this, saying things like, “I last saw you without your phone in your hand in 2006.” I’ll show him. Probably. I’m sure as heck gonna try. Will you join me?

Friday Faves 1/23


1. I loved Kelly Wickham’s Talking to Children about Ferguson and Social Justice post at Little Pickle press. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach these tough topics in a developmentally appropriate way. I don’t want to raise Tariku blind to these deeply important issues, but I don’t want to frighten or overwhelm him either. Kelly writes, “The easiest definition [of social justice] presumes that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities. Teaching children that everyone is deserving of such things means teaching them to value diversity and all people. Instead of tackling all those things at once, however, it’s best to choose themes based on the questions that children are asking.” She also suggests using art projects to explore different topics, so that kids have a way of expressing feelings that might come up. It’s a terrific post and was extremely helpful to me.

2. Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? This biography series for young readers covers a broad range of historical figures. The stories are clear and engaging. For a brief moment now and then, these books can help me get Tariku more interested in Rosa Parks than Spiderman.

3. The Buddha Board is the best holiday present we got this year. It’s simply a board with a ceramic surface, a brush, and a water receptacle. You paint on the board with the water, and as it dries the image fades. It’s a great emotional release as well as good practice at creating and letting go, again and again. I’ve spontaneously used it during some difficult conversations to paint funny pictures of my feelings (ie- a head on fire). It brought some humor to a hard moment. Tariku has been practicing his Japanese characters. I have no idea where he learned them. Don’t look at me- I just paint heads on fire.

4. This extra large, ruled, soft cover Moleskine notebook is The One. I’ve used these notebooks as journals for years. My garage is filled with stacks of them. The Buddha Board got me thinking that for the last six months, I’ve drifted away from writing in my journal. Journal writing is important to me because, much like the Buddha Board, the writing is about process rather than product. Journals have always been the place I write terribly, messily, carelessly. It’s easy to shove aside when I’m racing toward deadlines. But journaling is essential to remembering who I am, and it informs and deepens my other projects. I’ve recommitted to it and have been busting out the Moleskine again.

5. The Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison. Jamison manages to combine a mastery of craft with an ability to still leave the raw emotional seams showing. These brave essays reach both outward and inward, exploring sticky things like empathy and sentimentality without wrapping them up in a forced bow. It’s awesome.

Five Friday Faves

I’m trying out this new curated Friday faves thing. Totally not because my book editor asked me to do it (ok, she did, but she didn’t have to ask twice) but because I love having opinions! And this is my blog so I get to! These picks aren’t sponsored at all. They’re just random stuff I like, both fluffy and serious. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up the fashion-y recommendations because my interest sort of stops and ends at good lipstick and great boots, but here goes…

Here are five things that worked for me this week:


1. Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook At Home. Tariku and I love to cook together and we’re obsessed with Chef Marcus Samuelsson. I love all of his cookbooks, but this one is particularly cool because it includes a section about cooking with kids. Not to mention awesome music playlists. Chef Marcus is a great role model for T. He was adopted from Ethiopia as a toddler by Swedish parents, and I use his recipes as teaching tools not just for how to make incredible fish sticks, but also how to honor and integrate different cultural influences in order to create something with an incredible flavor all its own.


2. MAC Syrup lipstick. Where have you been all my life?

3. Lily Burana’s Letter to My Possible Son, in Dame Magazine. The suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn caused my friend Lily to reflect on faith, parenting, and the possibility of raising her daughter as a son. “The First Commandment of child rearing is to parent the child you have, not the child you wish you had.” I can’t get it out of my mind.

4. Jamelle Bouie’s newsletter. This writer/photographer is a columnist at Slate Magazine, who writes brilliantly about politics and race. Plus his last issue had a killer tomato sauce recipe!


5. These Seychelles boots. Heel not too high to walk around but high enough to make you feel tall and sassy. I have these in two colors and wear them all day long every day.