03/23/17 10:15am
37 Problems is a new bingeworthy web series that deals with fertility and ambivalence towards motherhood. And it's funny!

37 Problems is a new binge-worthy web series that deals with fertility and ambivalence towards motherhood. And it’s funny!

What does it even mean to “have it all?” 37 Problems, which describes itself as “a raunchy new series about fertility and growing up” explores that well worn question with welcome hilarity and a considerable edge.  

A 37-year-old screenwriter (played by creator and director Lisa Ebersole) has Sundance dreams and wants to borrow $10,000 from her mother to finish her project. Her mom gives her the money, but wants her to use it to freeze her eggs instead. Panic and hijinks ensue, with a cast of eccentric characters like an elderly ex, her father’s ghost, a charming yet slightly sleazy fertility doctor and a kooky editor who lives in a garage with his daughter. Ambivalence toward parenthood permeates throughout.

In an extremely crowded webosphere, Ebersole is an emerging talent worth getting to know. While she’s already an award-winning playwright and filmmaker, 37 Problems is her first web series, and it’s been selected for the Austin Film Festival, Brooklyn Web Fest, and the Hollyweb Festival. 

You can binge watch the entire NSFW series on 37 Problems and on Vimeo. In the meantime, Ebersole took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about Lena Dunham, fertility and Obamacare for us.

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03/22/17 5:07pm
Photo: Dessert Goals

Photo: Dessert Goals

It’s officially spring, can’t you tell? Nothing like putting the old parka away for the season, busting out the sunnies, and feeling the sun on your bare arms, am I right? Ugh, seriously, why is this weather so confusing? I’ve been upstate near New Paltz for a work conference this week and was snowshoeing and ice skating yesterday, which was awesome, but which is not part of my normal late-March routine. Incidentally, if any of you can get away for a random weekday night, I highly recommend taking advantage of the mid-week, off-season price specials at Mohonk Mountain Lodge, which is the all-inclusive, Kellerman’s-type establishment where we stayed. The food was incredible (Bourdain even visited on an episode of No Reservations), and we each had a working fireplace in our rooms, which sealed the deal for me, personally.

Anyway, if you don’t have plans tonight and have a C-note burning a hole in your pocket, Norah Jones is performing a benefit concert at 8pm at The Bell House for the Child Life Program in The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Pediatrics Department that will likely be a really special evening. Alternatively, I’ve been meaning to check out the sound and light installations at the Mela Foundation’s Dream House in Tribeca for months now, and tonight seems like a great night for “a weird and immersive art experience,” as per Yelp, but I’ve got much less meditative plans in store because it’s a friend’s birthday and so we are meeting at The Strip House’s Speakeasy to see if we can get our hands on one of 10 special $26 burgers released every day in March. I’ll let you know if it’s worth the price tag.

If that isn’t enough decadence for one week, Dessert Goals, a dessert fest featuring treats from vendors like Coolhaus, Mochidoki, baonanas, and more, is at Dobbin Street on both Saturday and Sunday. GA tickets are unfortunately already sold out, but if you are interested in attending one of several workshops on topics like how to start a food business or how to grow your Instagram following, you can sign up for $50 and get admission to the main event too.

Otherwise, check out our list of other options to add to your social calendar for the Ideal Week ahead, and try to take advantage of the long hours of daylight that are finally here (even if your winter wardrobe is sticking around a little longer). (more…)

03/21/17 1:43pm

In early February the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to divest from Wells Fargo Bank because of its financial backing of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. While your checking and savings accounts may seem paltry compared to the assets of the 18th largest city in the U.S., moving your money to a credit union is an incredibly effective way of investing in your local economy and taking your hard earned dollars out of the hands of corporate interests.

Large corporate banks like Wells Fargo, Chase, Citibank and TD Bank use customers’ deposits to invest in a wide range of ventures, some of which are risky, divisive and take money outside of the communities where customers live. We’re talking an oil pipeline that threatens drinking water and Native American sovereignty; we’re talking mortgage-backed securities; we’re talking investments that you the consumer are never consulted about and may never know about, in companies and with entities you would never intentionally support.

Unlike so many thorny political and financial issues of conscience though, there is a good answer for this dilemma: Join a credit union.

“It’s like shopping local,” says Michael Mattone, the vice president of public relations for Municipal Credit Union. “We’re the shop local of banking.”

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03/21/17 9:56am

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Every successful business got its start somewhere – are you ready to take the first step? PowerUP!, Brooklyn Public Library’s annual Business Plan Competition, is back for its fourteenth year, which means you’re this close to making your business dreams a reality.

Since 2003, Brooklyn’s aspiring entrepreneurs have turned to the Library’s PowerUP! program to get their business ideas off the ground. Participants meet for free with a business counselor and attend workshops to determine their next steps. In addition, the Library provides access to a ton of resources to help write a business plan, develop a marketing strategy and find elusive financing.

Did we mention the cash prizes? This is a competition, after all. Write the best business plan; win the top prize of $15,000. Simple! More than $300,000 has been awarded to past winners.

PowerUP! alumni include Redbeard Bikes in Dumbo, Prospect Heights’ Mermaid’s Garden, and Argyle Yarn Shop in Windsor Terrace. Borough mainstays like Bogota Bistro and Greenlight Bookstore are also previous competition winners who launched their businesses thanks to the Library. How’s that for some inspiration?

To participate, you must attend one of three remaining orientation sessions. Sign up online for one of the remaining sessions this Thursday, March 23, Wednesday, March 29 or Friday, April 10 at branches across Brooklyn.

Check out the Brooklyn Public Library website for more details, and remember to register—it’s the first step you need to take to PowerUP! your business.

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03/20/17 1:13pm
The noodles are perfect, the broth is delicious and the ramen bowls are handmade in Greenpoint. Photo: @Takumenlic via Instagram

The noodles are perfect, the broth is delicious and the ramen bowls are handmade in Greenpoint. Photo: @Takumenlic via Instagram

A few weeks ago a friend who lives in Long Island City invited me to come over, mentioning that if we got hungry we could pop around the corner from her house to a Japanese izakaya where we could grab some snacks and sake. I’ll admit it, I was dubious. Long Island City has lots of choices for Asian food, but none that I’ve loved. There’s mediocre Thai in spades, just like the rest of New York City. Mu Ramen has delicious food, but the wait is always a problem and frankly, they’re just not that friendly. Hibino I do like, but I wouldn’t call it an izakaya.

What I was shocked to find, tucked behind the 108th Precinct, less than a block from the Vernon-Jackson stop on the 7 train was a perfect neighborhood restaurant, a place you can indeed pop into for some snacks a beer, but that also feels fancy enough for a special night out. (more…)

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03/18/17 1:05pm
We're giving away 16 prizes upon check-in this Sunday at Wedding Crashers. See below for the full list.

We’re giving away 16 prizes upon check-in this Sunday at Wedding Crashers. See below for the full list.

We’ve planned the ultimate day of wedding planning for couples this Sunday at our 8th annual Wedding Crashers. Here are 7 tips to make the most of your visit (and win some prizes!).

1.Check in is at both 501 Union and The Green Building. Be sure to visit both venues to meet all our fab vendors. (See the map below for their locations.)

2.We have roughly $5000 in prizes to give away! Enter by midnight tonight, March 18, to win one of the 16 prizes in our raffle. We’ll be notifying the winners upon check-in.

3. We have 100+ more surprise gifts for you! We’ll be in the Gather and Lounge area of the 501 Union atrium, giving away goodies throughout the day.

4. The Green Building and 501 Union have prizes to give away too–stop by their booths to enter.

5. Mimosa Floral Design Studio is giving away a 2-hour flower arranging class for up to four people–tag your favorite florals at the fair with #mimosafloralparty and #bigdayplanning to enter.

6. Buster will be shuttling guests to our wedding band showcase, Wedding Crashers Live, from The Green Building to The Bell House between 2:45 and 4pm. The showcase runs from 3-6pm and tickets are $5.

7. You can still get tickets to the fair — save $5 online and at the door with code BB!

Prizes pictured above

1-Wedding day hair and makeup from MG Hair & Makeup 2-Day of coordination package from Campbell Events 3-Floral design class at Rose, Red & Lavender 4-$500 gift certificate towards a bridal gown at any of the Macy’s Bridal Salons by Demetrios 5-Engagement photo session from JDZ Photography 6-Instagram package by Red Letter Day Invitations & Design.

Remaining prizes not pictured:

Zen bride basket from Namastay Life Bridal Yoga; $175 gift certificate from Katherine Elizabeth Events, Paper Florist; Engagement photo session with Wilde Scout Photo Co.; 2-hour photo booth session for a Brooklyn bridal shower from The Photo Bar New York Photo Booth; 2 tickets to The Wedding Present at The Bell House; Handcrafted pair of leather suspenders from Mary Jane Lane Suspenders; $100 gift certificate to Guesterly; Handmade Silver Inez Ear-Jacket Earrings from Vanessa Lianne Jewelry; Large gallery print from from Brooklyn Art Library; and 2 tickets to an upcoming Brooklyn Historical Society public program.

03/16/17 10:59am

We all spend a lot of time in the bathroom, managing (what might be seen as) embarrassing fluids, hairs and smells. Here’s a roundup of items to make your personal daily and monthly rituals more convenient, productive and all-natural. You might be surprised by the updates to your favorite bathroom gadgets and products, and how they’ll simplify your life and de-stigmatize what happens behind the bathroom door.

This toilet stool will change the way you poop, although it won't make unicorn flavored ice cream. Photo: Squatty Potty

This toilet stool will change the way you poop, although it won’t actually deliver a unicorn to your door. Photo: Squatty Potty

Squatty Potty ($29-$99)

One of the best things about the squatty potty is the commercial. The ad wiz who came up with this campaign compared a good bowel movement to soft serve unicorn ice cream. (Genius!) They claim that this toilet stool will change the way you poop. I was interested, but dubious. I ordered the basic 7” Ecco model ($29), and was immediately happy with how space saving it is; it fit snugly around the toilet when not in use. In terms of aesthetics, there are upscale models to match any decor including a $99 clear ghost version, but I’m happy with the basic white.

In terms of actual use it’s not like you need a flexible yoga squat to make this work. Just like a little foot stool for your throne, the squatty potty helps to correct your form for that important daily delivery. At first my family was bewildered, but within a few days of use, we all quickly came to love it. After you’ve finished your business, you actually feel cleared out. The stool works, and begs the question: how have we been living without it for so long? And who designed toilets anyway? A converted friend of mine says she refuses to go without one. When she’s in a public restroom now, she has “to kick over a garbage and put my feet on it.” There is a $29 travel version, should you become as completely converted and refuse to vacation without a plan for efficient evacuation. Once you’ve had the best poop of your life, it’s impossible to go back. (more…)

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03/15/17 2:13pm
We were all expecting more snow yesterday, even Hurley. Photo: Kate Hooker via @BrooklynBased on Instagram

We were all expecting more snow yesterday, even Hurley. Photo: Kate Hooker via @BrooklynBased on Instagram

Back to the grind, everybody! One of the awesome conveniences of modern life is that for the majority of us who aren’t ER doctors or something, there’s no longer any need to brave angry sheets of falling ice to physically be in the office on a day like yesterday. The bummer side of this, though, is that the notion of a true snow day has gone completely out the window.

I personally logged something like 16 hours in front of my laptop yesterday, breaking only to walk my dog and to watch one eensy episode of Love on Netflix, the second season of which I’ve been inhaling. Today I feel more burnt out than I would have if I’d just had a normal day yesterday that included a subway commute, lunch with a friend and a stop at the gym, and I’m moving at a glacial pace. Gotta find some espresso somewhere though, maybe at the Coffee and Tea Festival happening in Greenpoint this weekend, because this Ideal Week is action-packed and I don’t have time to dawdle.

First of all, I have to fill out three different brackets for various March Madness pools before noon tomorrow, and I know less about the field this season than I ever have (although I did have the amazing opportunity to watch my beloved Blue Devils win the ACC championship IN BROOKLYN (!) last weekend, complete with NC-appropriate ad signage at the Barclays). I also need to make St. Patrick’s Day plans which, depending on my end-of-the-week mental state, will either mean hightailing it out of the city, or finding a way to get into the center of the action.

And then of course we’re hosting one of our favorite events of the year, Wedding Crashers, on Sunday at The Green Building and 501 Union from 11:30 am on. This year, we’ve got more than 70 of New York’s best wedding vendors and seven bands performing, so there’s a lot to see and take in if you’re planning on stopping by.

In other news, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. is hosting a five-course prix fixe Italian dinner tonight for $45 if you ate every scrap of the food you had at home yesterday, and Eugene Mirman has announced a live recording of his Hold On podcast featuring guests David Cross and Jon Benjamin at The Bell House on Saturday, April 8. This will for sure sell out so you should pick up a $20 ticket for yourself pronto. Otherwise, take a gander at our suggestions to help you maximize your fun quotient in the Ideal Week ahead. (more…)

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03/15/17 8:12am

Kids having fun

Join the A Child Grows in Brooklyn community for the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Camp Expo, March 26, 2017, from 12pm to 3pm at Williamsburg Northside Lower School (299 N. 7th Street),  presented by A Child Grows in Brooklyn.

This is a FREE family-friendly event for parents looking for summer camps, holiday camps and after-school programs for their children. Over 30 camp and after school program directors will be onsite to talk to parents about all the wonderful things their programs have to offer local families.

Capacity is limited, so please be sure to register!

NOTE: Face painting and kids crafts will keep kids busy while parents speak with camps, AND Brooklyn Robot Foundry will provide FREE 45-minute Robot Building Workshops for kids ages 5+ at 12:15, 1:00 & 1:45. To sign up your child for one of these workshops, please click here.

03/14/17 5:24pm

Let me be blunt for a moment. All those delicious Pi Day pies and snow day stews aside, this is the worst time of year for cooking. Late winter and early spring are a challenge in in the kitchen. The chicken pot pies, roasted vegetables and bean soups I was so excited to make in October feel heavy and boring now, and it’s going to be more than a few weeks before the first spring edibles show up at the farmer’s market.

We’re in luck though, fellow cooks. A new book came out today that will help get us all over the hump and into nettle, asparagus and pea season.

Vibrant India, Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn is the first cookbook from Chitra Agrawal, cook, writer and owner of Brooklyn Delhi. She wrote a great guide to eating all over the subcontinent by taking a day trip to Edison and Iselin, N.J. for us a few years back, and if you’ve always wanted to try your hand at cooking South Asian food, but have never quite been able to make sense of all the spice roasting and grinding, this is the book for you.

Agrawal’s recipes are not the heavy butter chicken and saag paneer type fare–which is generally Northern Indian in origin–that often represents Indian cuisine in the U.S. In the foreword she explains that her cooking is very much informed by the vegetarian cuisine of South India, Bangalore specifically, which is based around rice, beans, pulses, fresh vegetables and spices like mustard seed, hing and tumeric.

What does South India have to do with late winter cooking?

Many of the recipes in Vibrant India are variations on rice and dal, which are not just hearty, durable, winter fare, they’re also fragrantly spiced and lush with coconut, ghee and curry leaves. This combination of new flavors and cooking techniques is sure to hold your attention until the farmer’s market is full of ingredients for her spiced spring vegetable and coconut polenta recipe.

I’ve tried to wrap my head around how to build up a pantry of spices and the techniques for cooking Indian dishes at home several times, never with much luck. There are several South Asian cookbooks on my shelf and I’ve never prepared a single dish from any of them. I get overwhelmed by planning what to make, gathering the ingredients and understanding the techniques. This book feels so much more accessible and easy to understand than my past forays into subcontinental cooking. (more…)

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