La Vie en Rose: How to keep your apartment in the pink for less green

Meggie Repp, a 25-year-old graphic designer for Victoria’s Secret, started her blog, Cloud Pink, in July 2010. Cloud Pink is a mix of Repp’s own creations and findings as well as items from other designers and blogs that she follows.

“Cloud Pink is a blog where I post things that inspire me, things that are beautiful, things that make you healthier and happier,” Repp said. “And it’s very girly.”

Many of the items featured on the site can be found in Repp’s two-bedroom apartment in Carroll Gardens. Her world is full of white lights, splashes of pink, sparkly trinkets and bubbly baubles. Repp shares tips and tricks for how to find and create fun, affordable furniture and decorative pieces.

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666: The Mark of the Beast

In New York City, it is common to receive religious advice while buying coffee or condoms or walking your dog. This guidance may come calmly, from someone on the train who wants to talk about God. It may come in the form of a flyer that warns the world will end in 2012 and it’d be a wise decision to save your soul in the coming year so you don’t end up in hell. It may come in the form of someone screaming, or it may come from someone who does not speak at all but hands out sheets of paper that explain that flu shots inject 666 barcodes into your body that will send you straight to hell.

Whatever the form, proselytizing is nearly unavoidable in New York. Especially in the Times Square Subway Terminal. And most especially in the tunnel that connects the A,C, and E trains to the 1,2,3,7 and Shuttles.

The Preacher’s Passage becomes background noise for New Yorker’s who truck through it on their daily commutes. But for those who have yet to experience it, let’s take a walk.

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New York Holiday Windows

During the holiday season, New York offers lot of diversions for tourists and natives alike. You can choose from the traditional, the offbeat and those that fall somewhere in the middle. But one thing that can be easily agreed upon are looking at the holiday window displays.

According to this MSNBC article, the tradition has been around for about 160 years. The practice is even mentioned in Emile Zola’s 1883 ode to the new-fangled (at the time) department store The Ladies’ Paradise.

Famed artists such as Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol began their commercial careers as window dressers. (You have to wonder if Warhol ever used any Brillo boxes while working for Bonwit Teller.) Surrealist poster boy Salvador Dali even designed two windows for Bonwit in 1939. The reign of his “Night” and “Day”-themed windows ended with a bathtub upended through the window onto the sidewalk.

Some have achieved celebrity status in their own right. Barney’s creative director Simon Doonan has lent his opinions on various entertainment shows, has written four books and pens a regular column for Slate.

The effortless grace, scope and detail of these displays belie the year-round work that go into creating them.

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Copts Rally For Peace At United Nations

Police shot dead one young Coptic men and arrested 156 Copts who were protesting for the right to build a new church in Giza, Egypt on November 24.

As a result, the Coptic Orthodox community is pressing the Egyptian government to release the arrested Christian men and women and give Copts equal rights and treatment across Egypt.

The Copts’ argument is not without merit. The U.S. State Department’s annual religious freedom report stated that although Egypt’s Constitution recognizes non-Muslim religions, Christians still “face personal and collective discrimination, especially in government employment and their ability to build, renovate, and repair places of worship.”

In order to escape this discrimination, many have emigrated to the U.S. Since 1976, the Coptic community has gone from having 14 churches and 40,000 members to 100 churches and 300,000 in 2000, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives.

As turmoil continues in Egypt, Michele Dunne, a scholar for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former State Department official specializing in Egypt, said the government is likely to continue its approach: deny the problems and downplay any sectarian violence as isolated incidents.

“There’s not any real effort to prevent or punish discrimination. The government is not proactive. They don’t want to address these issues. There’s a lot of denial about it,” Dunne said.

To address these issues, hundreds of Copts participated in a peace rally at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Fr. Anthony Hanna flew all the way from San Francisco, Calif. to join.

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UES Xmas 101: Where to find a Christmas tree in Yorkville

With t-minus 10 days until Christmas, there’s not much time to find a tree to accompany the stockings and yule logs adorning your Upper East Side apartment.

If you’re in need of a tree — or just enjoy large plants — there exist a number of sidewalk vendors that can help. Since these pop-up locations are seasonal with no web listing, below is the only map you’ll find highlighting Christmas tree vendors in Yorkville, which spans 72nd Street to 96th Street between Third Avenue and East End Avenue.
View Yorkville Christmas Tree Vendors in a larger map

Though the number and variety of trees vary among vendors, you’ll need to choose among the following:

  • Yorkville tree vendors operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until 12/24

    Type – Most Yorkville vendors carry Frazier Firs and Balsam Firs, and larger vendors offer more varieties, including Noble Firs and Douglas Firs. The Noble is generally considered the most picturesque tree, according to Mike Conner, who helps operate a tree stand at 83rd Street and Third Avenue. Most trees are from Oregon, North Carolina and Canada.

  • Size – Trees range in height from 3 feet to 12 feet, with the most popular size running 5 feet (vendors said mid-size trees fit through most apartment elevators and doors).
  • Cost – In general, trees cost $10 per foot, though price varies by type. For example, a 3-foot Balsam Fir runs about $35 while a 12-foot Noble costs as much as $250. Most stands will negotiate prices.
  • Accessories – Vendors offer base stands, wreaths, lights and more. (Tree wrapping is free of charge.)

    Tree stands cost $10 - $25

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It’s Alive! – Patient Zero Edition

[audio:|titles=It’s Alive! – Episode 1]

It’s Alive! is a weekly podcast roundup of the best – and by best, we of course mean strangest – news in health science, representing everything you need to know about the week’s news in health and medicine in one bite-sized morsel.

This week we get to know a mouse with two dads, and not one that exists only in well intentioned children’s books that are banned in school libraries.

In diet news, we bring the mixed blessing that healthy food won’t protect you from cancer, but junk food may cause you to tear your own hair out – if you’re into that sort of thing.

Also, if you are a mouse. So maybe less to worry about there.

And we’ll also tell you what this picture is… though if you want to ruin the surprise, you could just keep reading after the jump. No pressure.
Continue reading

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This Holiday Season, Many New York Parents Choose Reason for Their Kids

It’s winter and the holiday season is fast approaching. It’s a time when many of us feel nostalgic for childhood – a time of innocence, when we believed that anything was possible. But just as many parents around New York are telling stories, singing songs and fostering this seasonal spirit of wonder, an increasing number of parents are choosing science over Santa for their kids.

Over the Rainbow

flickr photo by charissa 1066 *in and out*

“We, at a very early age with our son Orin, were able to play games with him: Is this myth or is this reality? Is there a man in the moon? Is the tooth fairy real or not?” said Peter Schweitzer, a rabbi with the City Congregation for Jewish Humanism.

Schweitzer teaches a community of cultural, secular Jews and their families.

“At a very early age he learned that there was no tooth fairy,” he said. “Once he learned that, he was able to make other distinctions between fact and fiction.”

American Atheists recently paid for a billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that  targets New York commuters. It encourages viewers to “celebrate reason.”

“We like our kids to have open minds,” said Ken Bronstein, the founder of NYC Atheists, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization.

An increasing number of New York families are reflecting this idea as they raise their children. The trend appears to be controversial. I spoke with a variety of New Yorkers about the whether or not the idea of “honesty with children” is a positive thing.

Talking to Kids About Magic by rebeccadouglas

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How Does New York Influence Fashion?

My second assignment for Sunglass Hut’s “Full Time Fabulous” competition asked an important but extremely broad question: How does New York inspire fashion?

Thee are many directions in which I think I could have taken this project, but I really wanted to focus on New York’s cultural influence on fashion.

The words “melting pot” seems to be the default phrase of choice when describing New York’s population, cultures and general atmosphere. Every borough hosts dozens of communities whose languages, beliefs, practices and customs differ both slightly and drastically, and yet they all get on the subway, walk together on the street, and weave past one another everyday, maintaining individuality and thriving amongst the masses.

New York City influences fashion in ways other metropolitan cities cannot; it boasts one of the most diverse populations in the world, and this is reflected in the way people dress and how they approach the simplest task of all: getting dressed.There isn’t one mold of “cool” that everyone must adopt in order to survive or fit in. New York’s designers offer high street, grunge, classic, minimalist and conceptual styles that we can all pick and choose from, essentially creating a hybrid style that is our own.

The art scene, graffiti culture, music sphere and general sense of pop-culture rebellion combine to form a cultural hub unique to New York, inspiring designers every year and becoming solidified in countless collections making their way down the runways during New York Fashion Week.

I asked a handful of people around New York how the city influenced their style and fashion decisions. Of course, I ran into women from across the globe and people of all origins. What they all had in common was a strong sense of individuality and the desire to express themselves through their personal style.

Everyone seemed to share the notion that New York not only embraces high fashion, with its high end stores on Fifth Avenue and the luxury boutiques scattered across its landscape, but New York also accepts, and even encourages, improvisation. There are flea markets, thrift stores, vintage boutiques and locally-owned shops, cultivating a mix-and-match, hybrid idea of fashion that the rest of the world has yet to catch on to.

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Wearable Collections Helps New Yorkers Recycle

Adam Baruchowitz is the CEO of an innovative New York company called Wearable Collections, which aims to make recycling clothing “as easy as recycling bottles, cans or newspapers.”

Baruchowitz started the company with an idea on how to eliminate waste, but has since grown his business to include a partnership with the GrowNYC organization as well as other partnering charities such as the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Habitat for Humanity.

Waste makes up 5% of the New York waste stream, and accounts for close to 386 million pounds of waste every year. Because Baruchowitz has given New Yorker’s a convenient way to recycle, his business has gained popularity, and recently expanded to New Jersey and Long Island. And despite the increasing media attention, Baruchowitz still maintains his business with a small staff and an office at home.

Baruchowitz works from home and handles the business side of the company, while his neighbor and friend Alex Thoman drives the trucks to various pickups throughout New York City.
Take a look.

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Graffiti, Inc.

Bio, an artist from the Bronx, is one of five graffiti gurus who make up Tat’s Cru, Inc., or Top Artistic Talents, a company of street artists-turned-professional muralists. Known as “The Mural Kings,” these innovators of urban advertising have been (literally) breaking the rules of the art and design world for the last two decades.

Tat’s Cru tackles projects large and small, from being called upon to cover the wall of a five-story building in Poland to painting custom canvases for New Yorkers. Their work, which includes promotional campaigns, company vehicles and custom murals, banners and canvases, can be seen in urban landscapes across the globe.

Bio recently shed light on the origins of Tat’s Cru and his creative process while designing a custom piece at the company’s office in Hunts Point:

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