04/18/17 12:33pm
Denise Mei and Cait McLaughlin team up at class 3 of the W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive on March 29 at the Lutheran Church of St John the Evangelist in Brooklyn for women/trans/non-binary identifying individuals. Photo: Kate Ryan

Denise Shu Mei and Cait McLaughlin team up at the W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive for women/trans/non-binary identifying individuals. Photo: Kate Ryan

The early birds entered through the red door of Williamsburg’s Lutheran Church of St. John the Evangelist at 5:45pm. They descended a flight of stairs to a basement with tile floors, chairs stacked against the wall, the lingering smell of incense.

And a bike workshop.

“Take a sticker, and write your name and pronouns,” said Denise Shu Mei to newcomers.

One woman carefully printed “Erika” and “she/her” before sticking it to her shirt front.

 

This was the third and final class of Mechanical Gardens‘ inaugural W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive. The hands-on classes were open to women, trans persons, and non-binary individuals.

The waitlist for the series, which stands for Women/Trans/Femme, was long and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Instructor Sera Stavroula said it will not be the last.

“People were excited that it wasn’t a 101 thing,” said Stavroula, 29. “There are classes like that: “Women’s Intro to Bikes,” “Women’s Intro to Riding,” “Women’s Intro to Flat Fix.” She said she wanted to offer something more challenging.

Erika Jozwiak ponders her maintenance options at class 3 of the W/T/F Bicycle Repair and Maintenance Intensive on March 29 at the Lutheran Church of St John the Evangelist in Brooklyn for women/trans/non-binary identifying individuals.

Erika Jozwiak ponders her maintenance options. Photo: Kate Ryan

Each night Stavroula focused on a different system, how it functioned, potential issues that might arise, warning signs, ways to fix the problem, and how much the repair should cost at a bike shop. She said students got their hands dirty and sized chains, recabled shifters, and changed tires and brake pads. They learn to diagnose and fix problems, and if they need to take their bike into the shop, this class should demystify the process.

Stavroula, who has worked with bikes for six years, was the first female mechanic at a pro-shop in Richmond, VA. Today she works as the Bike to School coordinator and a mechanic at Recycle-a-Bicycle in Dumbo.

“You go into a bike shop and it’s a lot of guys,” said Stavroula. “It’s hard to access that space if you don’t have experience.” (more…)

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02/02/17 10:18am

February may be the shortest month, but it has a tendency to feel more like the longest page on the calendar. Instead of despairing that your work schedule or bank account won’t allow you to escape somewhere warm to recharge, find some inner sunshine with these three inward retreats, for less than you spend on your morning coffee.

7310557616_1aa99df928_z_0_0Lovingkindness Fridays
If you love the idea of guided meditation, but don’t want to wear yoga pants or feel like you’ve joined a cult, The Interdependence Project may be where you make more space for yourself in New York City. The approach is a secular study of all aspects of Buddhism, mixed with psychology and a deep exploration of meditation as a tool for living better and more fully. In addition to special classes, intensives and series they offer regular weekly sessions like introduction to meditation classes on Sunday afternoons and Metta meditation on Friday evenings, which focuses on exploring the Buddhist concept of “lovingkindness.” Many workshops and classes are also available online, including a series called Transforming White Privilege, if you prefer to dive inward in the privacy of your own home. The suggested donation for most classes is $10-20, and the center is committed to making sure that people of all incomes are welcomed and have access to the community. (more…)

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01/10/17 11:57am
Photo: Catbat

Photo: Catbat

And so, late one evening, the Catbat became stuck in time. Once mythical–both lynx and bat, philosopher and shapeshifter–now ashes of a gnostic tarot card.

Written for Catbat Shop by Kelley Deane McKinney

A mix between a blazer and a blanket, the Catbat cape could very well be a talisman for our uncertain times. Kat Shuford, the designer behind Catbat Shop, believes that “people of all genders and sizes should feel magical every day,” and that a gorgeous wool, mohair or cashmere cape, sustainably sourced from reclaimed and recylced fabrics, and locally made in Greenpoint, has the power to conjure a charmed existence.

Less than two years ago, Shuford, an artist and website designer came up with the idea for a line of capes, and with basic sewing skills and a DIY attitude, she cobbled together a pattern and searched out a family-run fabric business based in New York. “I didn’t know how to begin,” she says. “But it was just, sit down and do it anyway.” Her web experience allowed her to wear many hats, designing her own site and maintaining her online store. With a little luck and a lot of drive, Shuford found other people to help her along the way and came up with the prototype–one pattern that fits every body type regardless of height or gender. “I kind of did this on a self challenge,” she admits. (more…)

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12/13/16 9:48am

Although it is tempting to just make donations to the ACLU on behalf of all your friends and family this year, sometimes you really need a physical gift. This year, let Brooklyn Based take the planning out of the equation, so you can spend more time signing up for boycotts and protesting to save our planet. From ultra-serious Brooklyn dads to work spouses, and all the other special snowflakes in  your life, your holiday shopping is covered with our 2016 gift guide.

What to get the woman in your life who rocks her Future Is Female t-shirt, is still checked in to Standing Rock, and consistently gives her rent money to Planned Parenthood.

Photo: Slow Factory

Slow Factory’s NASA Scarf ($140)

Celebrate the future by honoring the past with Slow Factory’s NASA Scarves. Each one features a high-resolution digital image of NASA’s first female scientists. Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, pictured above, “made fundamental contributions to the U.S. aeronautics and space program with the early application of digital electronic computers.” Beyond being a braniac and feminist go-to item, these scarves are also printed on high quality Italian silk from a supply chain that is 100% clean and fair trade. Complement this gift with a copy of the wonderful book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World by Rachel Ignotofsky ($16.99).


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ladyj1

The true gems in your life deserve something stunning, and Lady J +1 is filled with bold, beautiful gifts. The trendiest indie fashion and accessories boutique in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights is also home to the design studio of Lady J Jewelry Designs. Inside the intimate storefront on Classon Ave. you’ll find a huge selection of award-winning jewelry that is known for its use of striking gemstones like Rutilated Quartz and Super Seven Stone, all designed to look as good as they make you feel.

You can also shop other indie designers and artisans including:

Apparel by Mary Meyer, Eve Gravel, Emilime, Family Affairs and Samantha Pleet
Handbags & clutches from Saint Catello
Ceramics by Jonathan Castro and SKT, palo santo
Candles from Morphologically and LoveNature, and much, much more!

Lady J +1 is located in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights right near Berg’N, and everything in store is shoppable online at ladyjjewelry.com. (This season, you can even select in-store pickup and they will have it gift-packed and ready to go for you!)

Get all your gifts and stuff your stockings, too, at Lady +1, open every day 12pm-7pm, except Mondays. Just don’t wait too long to pick out the perfect gift because they procure limited quantities for the holidays, and it all goes fast.

A few things you’ll find in store and online:

ladyj1_sevensisters_detail

This style of Lady J’s signature Super Seven necklaces is already sold out, but there are more available online. The Super Seven stone is so-named because it contains seven different minerals, including amethyst and smokey quartz, and is known to exhibit the phenomenon of St. Elmo’s Fire, an etheric auric light reminiscent of the “holy light” around church towers and treetops visible due to atmospheric electricity. It produces electromagnetic waves, providing a self-luminous quality, and assists one in “seeing” auras. Plus, it’s gorgeous.

ladyj1_rutilatedquartznecklace

Rutilated Quartz is one of the few gemstones desirable because of its inclusions. This gives it a special allure and desirability as a unique gemstone. This one-of-a kind piece features a fine-silver bevel setting and hangs on a 20” silver chain with a lobster-claw style clasp. Fierce and beautiful at the same time.

ladyj1_virgotop

Inspired by the constellations, this Snake’s Tail top by Eve Gravel is full of geometric connectivity. The button-down top features a loose fit, side front pocket and rolled sleeves. Can be tucked or worn loose, depending on the stars.

11/21/16 7:27pm
Learn to make your own medicine at home, the natural way. Photo: Remedies Herb Shop

Learn to make home remedies. Photo: Remedies Herb Shop

This time of year germs run wild, sailing from cubicle to classroom, plaguing even the strongest among us. Add airborne viruses, existential and political dread, and short days, and you’ve got a recipe for everything from the winter blues to the superflu. It’s enough to send a person back under the covers with a bottle of whiskey and bag of Ricolas. Go ahead, call in sick. We all need a day of rest and comfort, where we can wallow in our emotions, rage with fever dreams, and start the healing process. Here’s how to feel better all winter long.

Take a class

If you want to preemptively find a way to boost your immune system and recover from sicknesses more quickly, sign head to Remedies Herb Shop for an immune-boosting tonic. Or, sign up for a class on aromatherapy, soapmaking, meditation, or an introduction to medicinal herbs. If affordable health care goes away, you’ll be still be covered. Remedies Herb Shop, 453 Court St., Brooklyn. (more…)

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10/18/16 10:07am

This matchbox sized storefront sells "big city, small batch" products. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Julia Small O'Kelly will welcome you into smallhome with the stories behind all her treasures. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Julia Small O’Kelly will welcome you into smallhome and share the stories behind all her treasures. Photos: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Walking into smallhome, a matchbox-sized storefront on Metropolitan near the Graham Avenue stop on the L train in Williamsburg, feels like spiriting through a portal to rural America. Cluttered with handcrafted wares that range from white sage body wash to the perfect red plaid handkerchief, the store’s displays feature creative props like a rusted ladder, and assortment of wooden twigs and a vintage wicker chair. Although smallhome is, well, small, you could spend days sorting through the goods, uncovering treasures that you never even knew you wanted (like an astrologically-themed embroidery hoop).

Upon entering, you will probably be warmly welcomed by owner, Julia Small O’Kelly, who will definitely be wearing a work apron, ready to tell you the stories behind her collection. (more…)

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09/20/16 9:28am
A picture is worth a thousand words. Artist Hansky's mural can be found on the LES. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

As Artist Hansky’s LES mural proves, a picture is worth a thousand words. This election year, showcase your favorite causes in creative ways–use consumerism as a canvas.  Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

This may be a supremely weird and exhausting election, but it does have one thing going for it–amazing political gear.

We don’t get to vote until November (if you haven’t yet registered you can do so here–Oct. 14 is the deadline), but the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 26. Judging from their swag, the Clinton team is raring to go, with a debate watch party pack that comes with “Chillary” beer coozies. It’s still anyone’s guess whether Trump will actually participate, but either way, you have time to outfit yourself. Take a stand with slogan t-shirts, show your passion for the cause with a baseball cap, or let your guests remember to dump Trump every time they use your bathroom. 

[Editorial note: In a normal election we would give you gear supporting both candidates. This is not a normal election and we won’t pretend that Trump is a normal candidate, or that readers of Brooklyn Based are interested in buying a Make America Great Again cap. If you are, well, Google it.]

Slogan: I’m With Her!

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

You don’t have to go look hard for stylish swag supporting Hillary Clinton. She’s got a web store that rivals Barneys, with big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu making limited edition t-shirts to support the candidate. Nothing beats this unisex Everyday Pantsuit tee ($30), a fun shirt to support a serious candidate. [Ed. note: Why this doesn’t come in blue baffles us.]


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07/19/16 8:56am
Find sunglasses that fit the shape of the beach you lay on. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Find sunglasses that fit the shape of the beach where you bask. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Everyone knows you need sunglasses at the beach. Which pair is best for you though, depends on which beach you love the most–each summer destination has a different vibe. Put down the Pokemon Go, and take this single-question, multiple-choice quiz to find out which sunglasses are right for you. It’s easy, and we won’t even force you to figure out what shape face you have.

Finish this sentence. I summer in… (more…)

06/28/16 10:42am
Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

There are all ways to enjoy biking in the city, but this gear will help you look cooler while doing it. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Brooklyn’s bike lanes and greenways cover over 300 miles, which is more than any other borough. There are Citi Bike stands sprinkled about conveniently, ready to take your credit card. To purchase a bike, check out our guide to the friendliest bike stores in the borough. If you really want to be a bike boss, and have the time and inclination this summer, the free class series at 718 in Gowanus will start you off learning basic maintenance and eventually how to design and build your own bike. Did I mention these are FREE? And, if you’re feeling intimidated, check out our guide to getting on a bike if you’re new to cycling in the city.

If you’re ready to put the pedal to the pavement, here’s the bike gear, gadgets and go-to’s that will keep you riding in style all summer long. (more…)