fathers day ideas...

I really like Fathers Day and it's fun to put something together that is interesting, unique and fun for the whole family! These are just a few things that I have thought of doing or getting as a gift for 'Dad' I hope it will spark a creative idea for you and your family too!

We always talk about going to Washington DC and I don't know why, but I think it's a great idea for Fathers Day. I came upon this hotel and it sparked it off for me because it sounded like a great place to stay and also experience DC. (and oh... there just happens to be a spa involved so you could take advantage of that as well!). The Hotel is called Lorien Hotel and it's 15 minutes away from DC but maybe that's close enough to experience it all (it's actually in Alexandria, VA) and an old Village experience together with the history of DC could be a great educational experience for the kids.

In our family Dad travels quite a bit so we like to put these books together or make a fun collage of photos so that he can have them at night to look through and miss us just as much as we miss him. So if the Dad in your family doesn't travel this could be a great home-made Fathers Day gift (I honestly think I got the idea from a commercial on TV?!). Print up some of your favorite recent photos of the kids or take some special secret shots just for this purpose (the kids could hold up "I love you" signs... etc) you will need about 25 for a book or more for a collage. Paste them into a book made of construction paper, I punch holes in one side and then thread a string through and tie at the end or you could sew it together for a binding. I let the kids write comments or just make pictures on the pages. This is a really fun family project and surprise Dad with it!

A family hike can be exciting for the kids and if you do some research and go to an unusual spot it can be more of an adventure! And this year its even warm enough to sleep in a tent or just go crazy with the whole idea! This will take a bit more planning and may be a bit difficult to keep a secret but it could become a family tradition that has a lasting effect! (I'm a sucker for those kind of things)

I love the classic gifts of a watch, a razor or a tie (like the Pierrepont Hicks ties we are offering as a Fathers Day Pop Up Shop). If Dad happens to have a favorite watch maybe a new watchband could be just the trick!? Singular Straps offers wonderful and colorful ideas in leather or ribbon -- I love them both! They even have a full instructional on how to use their bands.

Just a few words about the wonderful world of mens blogs... they are so much fun you must have a look yourself! ...and then pass them on... (below a lovely man via The Sartorialist)

I also put together a little cheat sheet of great mens blogs that have something to offer in every direction...

Welldressed - swedish blog - "style not trends"
The Sartorialist - amazing style... period.
Taylor Stitch - San Franciscan style
Rubin Recommends - very cool music... you choose!
Mens Health Magazine - I used to be in the Mens Fashion business and I always liked these guys, they were honest and really good people to work with, the Fashion editors I mean...
dadwagon - written by Brooklyn dads (it's intelligent and a bit edgy, I'm warning you..)
I don't need it - but I want it - design blog by Andreas Kuefer

The Freemans Sporting Club collection is now available online... this should make many a man very, very happy! If you are not able to drag the 'Dad' down there you can actually surprise him by even knowing about it. here are some of my favorites:

The short sleeve pullover shirt or the patch pocket shorts (if you go to the store they actually have these in fine wale corduroy! grab a pair for yourself!)

Steven Allen is always a store where I can find something really special for my husband, it's just one of those places that really has a look that is perfect for office (albeit a relaxed office), every day and whatever afterwords... His shirts are the best and an easy fit (they are already perfectly wrinkled anyway!) and the pants are causal and cool (a good combination).

In our house the way to daddies heart is by way of food! So we like to have a very special breakfast we put just about everything out on the table and have it at the ready for waffles or pancakes, omelets or scrambled eggs... we just go with it!

Whatever it is you decide to do... I hope that your day is lovely and fun, and just a bit spontaneous, after all just winging it is a blast too!


Environmental Working Group 2010 Sunscreen report is out

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has issued the 2010 Sunscreen report, so before you go out and buy your new sunscreen for the summer check the report and get educated as to what you want to offer for you and your kids. The report is very easy to read, you can even check your favorite brand and see how it rates. The good news is that there are some products that are okay out there (39 to be exact on their list of 500 sunscreens tested) and only 21 with a recommended rating of 2 or lower!

New to look out for... Vitamin A (which is found in 41% of sunscreens)- it has been discovered that this compound is possibly photo-carcinogenic (can accelerate skin damage when exposed to sunlight). The evidence against vitamin A is not conclusive, but as long as it is suspect, EWG recommends that consumers choose vitamin A-free sunscreens.

The EWG also suggests that the best source of 'sunscreen' is wearing a hat, the shade and wearing clothing to cover up from the sun. The obvious staying out of the sun from the hours of 10am - 2pm are important. The suggest "Products with high SPF ratings sell a false sense of security because most people using them stay out in the sun longer, still get burned (which increases risk of skin cancer) and subject their skin to large amounts of UVA radiation, the type of sunlight that does not burn but is believed responsible for considerable skin damage and cancer. High SPF products, which protect against sunburn, often provide very little protection against UVA radiation. Also, most people don’t get the high SPF they pay for: people apply about a quarter of the recommended amount.

So don't miss this chance to check out your sunscreen and read-up on what is better for you and your family!

The Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Report


recipe: Strawberry Cake

I could have sworn I had written about this cake that I have been making for years... I bring it to every event, bake sales.. all that kind of thing and everyone always flips! It's so easy, kids love it and if you are having friends for a visit it's the perfect thing to "just happen to have lying around" and it's SUPER easy... all this equals a really good Strawberry Cake recipe, I only wish that I would have given it to you earlier! (and this is not the best photo... I was certain I had taken many others but had to crop this one out of a larger photo - from the baby shower actually!)

So here you go, Strawberry Cake, you can put in as much sugar as you like, I change it depending on who is eating it... for kids I cut sugar in 1/2 (I've also made it with honey or agave and it works too!) for adults I use the recipe amount pf sugar (otherwise adults will complain that it's not sweet enough, while kids just don't know the difference!)


6 tablespoons butter (softened)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (plus some to dust on top) sugar (+/-)

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk (I have used rice or barley)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 pound organic strawberries hulled and quartered

1) preheat oven to 350 degrees. I spray my pan with olive oil spray and then use parchment paper for the bottom. sift together dry ingredients.

2) mix butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, lower speed and mix in egg, milk and vanilla.

3) reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture. put batter into pie plate and take the strawberries and put on top and then kind of push them into the batter lightly. sprinkle with some sugar.

4) bake cake for 10 minutes. reduce oven to 325 degrees and bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about an hour.

This is adapted from a Martha Stewart Living recipe. I had a party and I served all strawberry deserts... it was GREAT! and a lot of fun!

Good Luck! and happy summer!


Pierrepont Hicks - POP-up-SHOP for fathers day!

A girl meets a guy and he is from Minneapolis, is how the story goes. Minneapolis being the wonderful place that it is, it became their home and they started Pierrepont Hicks. Meet Kat and Mac the husband and wife team that blazed the way in Menswear with their courageous ties... Rugged Luxury is the way that Mac put it to me!

"Menswear is busy at the moment - bloggers and designers are talking about style in menswear more than ever. The beauty of men's clothes to me is the simplicity thereby the importance in the details: accessories, like ties. Our ties are a bit whimsical in the splashes of contrasting colors and the reverse bows (2 bows in 1). We think there is a movement happening in menswear - in the same sphere as slow food and organic local foods - people are hearkening to an earlier time - when men dressed up a little. A dapper gent feels good and puts out a good vibe. Ties are coming back not only for suits but with jeans or cargo pants. PPH is about RUGGED LUXURY.

Just hanging out with these two (albeit online as I have) and I feel as though I am plugged-in, as they say. They have opened the door for me to some raucous music, interesting blogs and a good amount of sweet stories from their friends (yes, we have friended each other on facebook as well!). I love the way that their lives comes out in what they do and what they make, that's when you know something is right!

The Pierrepont Hicks line of bow and ties are all Made in the USA and will always stay that way, that's important to them. Kat has a history with Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and in publishing with Gourmet and Elle magazines. Mac worked in real estate development and construction for over 11 years. With the birth of their daughter, it was time to embark on this journey and Pierrepont Hicks was created. "We tell our children to follow their dreams, shouldn't we teach by example?" ...now that's someone who is thinking!

Together we are offering the Pierrepont Hicks Spring/Summer collection in a Pop UP shop on Nonchalantmom. I'm so excited to have them here for a visit... and maybe, just maybe, we can ask them to make some ties for ladies... now wouldn't that be some kinda luxury!

visit the Pierrepont Hicks website for more information
visit the Pierrepont Hicks Pop UP shop on Nonchalant Mom


britt beautiful skin - skin brushing system - class 102

I introduced the Britt Beautiful Skin System at Nonchalant Mom a few months ago, but my sister has been developing it for a few years now and so she has been 'brushing' for quite awhile. She had been doing it a few years before the light-bulb idea went on that she should sell this as a system. So when I was in Minnesota last month we had a little skin brushing summit between the two of us. We are both finding huge benefits, and my personal experience after just two months I felt were very fresh so I wanted to let her know what I thought.

I think that vitality is probably my favorite part of skin brushing, my day is much more focused, I eat less, I finish my projects, and it's hard to explain by my body stays 'warm' or pliable for the entire day and into the evening. My skin is much softer (more on this later). I have moles on my skin and I feel some of them going away (theoretically I don't know if this is really possible but I feel that it is happening) or at least fading. And I also feel that it has helped with my body stiffness (arghhh I'm getting old!).

But I have noticed a few things, I need to drink a lot of water on the days that I skin brush -- it's almost like getting a deep tissue massage and you can almost feel the mucus in your body trying to leave it (your lymph system draining) -- so drinking a lot of water feels really good. I also think that you can't skin brush every day, it's just a bit too stimulating, I think that maybe you can work up to it but starting out just about three days a week is just perfect. Brushing too hard can also send you off on a different day, it's too much stimulation, and may give you a weird semi-headache or just a weird feeling. So keep brushing to a nice soft light brush and if you want to do it harder maybe you can work up to that over a period of a year or so but you will be amazed at the stimulation from a nice soft brushing, I think that going through the system with various brush techniques you will find what works best for you (and I think its good to try subtle variations to see what feels best for you).

When you follow the instructional book (and you need to READ it and not just look at the pictures!) you will find that at first it takes you about 10 minutes and after a few weeks you will be able to quickly breeze though the skin brushing in about 2-3 minutes.

This morning I had a little dream, which is why I decided to write this email, at that time in the morning when you have already woken up about three times; letting the dog out at 6am, kids into our bed at 7am, and a bit of laughing and fighting. I found myself in a deep dream that seemed so real, my friend and I were planting potatoes in a field and she said to me "my skin is so rough and dry" and I felt the skin on her face and it WAS... and then I said "have you been skin brushing?" and then I felt my skin and it was super soft... it was such a funny dream... anyway, woke up late, kids were late for school, etc... It just felt nice to write this email in hopes that you can have soft skin too when you skin brush with Britt Beautiful Skin System!

Britt Beautiful Skin System on Nonchalant Mom

Britt Beautiful Skin System website for more information


My Dogeared Pages - Nonchalant Mom

If you have not already found My Dogeared Pages then I am OH so excited to be the one to tell you about Barbara Magnini! She has put together a well-edited list of wonderful-ness! (and a peek in daily is always good for the soul... or maybe it's the heart?) But beware, you will end up there, pulled over, for a long time as you peruse her finds. Everything from Home, Fashion, Art -- there's just a lot to love! And today she loved Nonchalant Mom!

We did a little interview style blogger to blogger of my favorite things -- she had some good questions and we had some fun doing it together! I hope that you visit her blog and check out our interview and stay for awhile... Maybe you will find some new secrets that you never knew about!

Thank you Barabara and I will always be a big fan of Dogeared Pages!

visit Dogeared Pages here
visit my interview with Barbara here


Dinner: A Love Story

Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what -so-and-so- is having for dinner?" well, Jenny Rosenstrach will answer that for you and then give you some recipes for the coming week! With her blog Dinner: A Love Story she will take you off your regular schedule of 'dishes' and make your family happy with some wonderful ideas!

I also love the way that she introduces each recipe, it usually has a lovely story to go with it.. a memory, which will give you a memory... and so on and so on and so on.. I think that's the way it's supposed to go. I like her recipes because you can almost taste them when you look at the ingredients... for me, that's what counts in a good recipe.

And as far as I can tell from her blog she has just about published a new cookbook called Time for Dinner! Which you will certainly find on my cookbook shelf. Jenny was a features director at Cookie magazine (see sometimes a bad thing can lead to a VERY, very good thing!).

Her most recent recipe is for
Porcupine Meatballs... you know they will be on our table this week! (I am going to try to do them with brown rice... stay tuned!) Thank you Jenny for opening up our dinner table and making it MUCH more fun and exciting!

click here to visit her blog - Dinner: A Love Story

Time for Dinner - strategies, inspiration and recipes for family meals every night of the week - click here to pre-order a copy!


minneapolis! spring 2010

We took a short visit to my home-state of Minnesota a few weeks ago and it was perfect timing, who thought that in April we would have 70 degree weather and perfect sunshine each day! We managed all those typical Minnesota passtimes....

Fishing on Lake Minnetonka
The Walker Art Center
The Guthrie Theater for M. Butterfly
Mall of America - rides!

and for Earth Day we worked with my sisters family company called Onesta and planted 1,000 trees! I have to say that this was a big highlight, we had so much fun and I really can't believe that we planted so many trees in one day! My sister, her husband, my mom, the kids, myself and two women from the company did it all in ONE day! As a company they have a pledge to plant 5,119 Norway Pine trees (this is how many bottles of shampoo they sold in the month of March!). On April 22nd, Earth Day we planted 1,000 and then they planted the rest on another two plots of land last week.

Here’s some information about the impact of trees on our lives and our planet:
• One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe for a year. One tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year.

• The amount of carbon stored annually by an acre of trees is approximately equal to the amount released by burning 1,000 gallons of gasoline!

• Trees harbor wildlife, improve air quality, conserve water, reduce storm runoff, and the possibility of flooding and moderate our climate. Trees absorb ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide and give off oxygen.
• In one year, Onesta’s 5119 trees will reduce atmospheric carbon by over 140,000 pounds!

click here for more information on Onesta! (shampoo and conditioner free of all unneeded chemicals and bad stuff!)

Here are some Minneapolis favorites:

-Lakewinds Co-op - they are so lucky to have a really amazing co-op!
-Mind Body solutions yoga center - offers Iyengar yoga!
-The Walker Art Center
- and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden!
-The Guthrie Theater - you can still see M. Butterfly through May! it's amazing!
-French Meadow Bakery - the Macrobiotic plate is delicious! (the healing plate)

these are all of my old favorites...

and the NEW ones are via two of my favorite new Minneapolis people (thank god for their blogs!!)

- Pretty Mommy - Michelle LeBlanc
- Pierrepont Hicks - ties and lots of other chic business by Katherine and Mac McMillan (you will see their ties on Nonchalant Mom very soon with a little Pop-Up-Shop just for fun for Fathers Day!)

Thank you Minnesota for a much needed vacation and so much good to look at! I couldn't stop the amazement with all of the Minneapolis Beauty!!


new magazine - Fryd

I am sure that everyone is already following the wonderful blog Fryd - she is Jeanette Lunde, from Norway (I think?). And if you don't know about her already please don't miss it! Jeanette has an amazing talent for design and beautiful things! (and might I say a beautiful still-life photographer as well!) She also has a very sweet way of posting (in english usually) that is quite poetic.. it's the kind of blog you want to wake up to and just help your day get off to a good start!

She is also a mom so I always like that... you will find here and there little anecdotes on raising kids the pleasures and the daily beauty!

She just finished her magazine and it looks so lovely! Just sit back and enjoy!

fryd+design magazine

fryd+design blog

fryd shop on epla

Greyson Michael Chance- paparazzi

Are you sitting there wondering what your sixth grader is up to?
well if his name is Greyson Michael Chance he was singing Paparazzi at his schools choir practice!

... it's amazing!

hhhmmm... it's time to start piano lessons


mothers day!

I hope that everyone had the happiest mothers day!!

We had a wonderful day... kind-of... a beautiful brunch at a friends house and then home to work in the yard a bit, or so I thought... I had bought a rose bush to plant on mothers day and there I was planting it myself, kids playing in the sandbox, husband unloading artwork from his show at Art Chicago...

BUT now I have a lovely rosebush to look at and pick lovely red roses all summer long!!

I always have high hopes for mothers day, and one of these days I will get breakfast in bed, a home-made card from my kids, a lovely gift from my husband, then we will go outside and have a nice day working together in the garden... ho hum... I can dream!!

I did manage to drop everything, go to bed early, with a cup of tea and read my book .. ahhh the simple joys in life!

Happy Mothers Day!


the morning benders.

the morning benders.

I love this music, it came to me from Pierrepont Hicks... (love their ties too!)

thank you!


mothers day under $200

Vogue.com asked some designer moms what they wanted for Mothers Day and Tina Lutz of the cashmere label Lutz and Patmos said:

"a farm share at our local organic farm"

"the Matta Maya metal wrap from Nonchalant Mom" YAY!

which can be worn in oh so many ways!!

a bracelet ::
a belt ::

or necklace! so very versatile!

$84 at nonchalant mom! (click here)

visit vogue.com to see what others wanted! ...and get some ideas...


sale! 15% off - just for MOM!

SALE :: 15% off today through SUNDAY Just in case you don't think you are going to get what you really want we are offering mom a 15% discount on any ONE item now through Sunday - This is on MOM items only, just to make sure that you shop for yourself and not for others on your very special day! If you shop more than one thing we will take 15% off the most expensive item.

We have not yet figured out how to execute this so we will take the 15% off when we process your order and you will see the discount reflected on the receipt in your box. (sorry!)

Thank you and have a LOVELY Mothers Day!!