Independence Day, America’s National day is made for picnics, fireworks, and hamburgers (veggie OK). Some people associated the day with baseball, but my first memory of the federal commemoration of the Declaration of Independence is of a carnival. The Annual Southampton Days Fair in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania was a rowdy conglomeration of live music, midway games, temporary rides, funnel cake, Bingo, a car show, and something strange called a Baby Parade. It doesn’t get more American than an inability to edit excess!

This year feels particularly memorable with the recent SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality. Yes, the country still has some issues. But, it has been said “democ­racy is the worst form of gov­ern­ment, except for all the oth­ers.” I feel proud to be a citizen of the United States.

And what better way to show off that pride than with themed picnic gear and a flag-inspired fashion color palette?

Independence Day themed picnic options featuring Converse, Sur la Table, Kate Spade, Baublebar, Chandon and more!

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Office Holiday Party

It’s that time of year when Uber prices surge because of snow and sludge, the L train can’t be trusted, and cold hearts melt or grow 3 sizes too big. My studio, Brooklyn United, a web development and digital marketing agency, takes the idea of being “culture-led” very seriously. This year, we rapidly expanded, and chose a restaurant to match our motley retinue. We wound up in Bed-Stuy at Bedford Hall, a remarkably preserved slice of the prohibition era.

This combination of a cozy eatery, lounge, shuffleboard space, and pool hall is modeled after your uncle’s warm library, or like a scene out of Clue. Comfy leather chairs, minus the pretentious vibe.  We came for the drink specials, and stayed for the surprise burlesque show!

My favorite part of the night, perhaps, was the fact that my husband donned a velvet smoking blazer replete with a satin color. He looked sharp! (I’m also in velvet, sporting a vintage LBD) Or, maybe it was when I won the award for “Deepest Reservoir of Obscure Facts (literature and fantasy edition) along with the beautiful, hardcover book Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition. Regardless of best moment, I am thankful for a such a fun way to kickoff the holiday season.

Whenever and wherever your holidays, have a merry time! Thank you so much to the super talented, Brooklyn-based photographer, Yoonography, for the photographs in this post.

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RxArt – What the Doctor Ordered

December is a time for myriad emotions. We’re thankful for our families during the holidays, we’re joyous from new gadgets and presents, we take stock of what we have, we’re hopeful of the new year looming ahead, and we’re generally introspective and away of the  “have-nots” of others. Donations to charities surge in the final month; not just due to the tax benefits, but also because now is the time to be generous and be aware of the inequities in the world.

CATHERINE-KIM-RYAN-MCGINLEY-JOSE-PARLA-NORDSTROM-RXARTRyan McGinley Mug, $20 // José Parlá moleskin notebook, $25.95

Cue my sudden fascination with RxArt, based on the Lower East Side of New York City. RxArt is a non-profit organization that transforms pediatric hospital facilities into comforting and engaging spaces through site-specific installations by contemporary artists. The therapeutic potential of visual art to stimulate healing is well known, and the organization provides children and their families with creative respite from the anxiety and the pain of illness, offering hope.

CATHERINE-KIM-ANDREW-KUO-WILL-COTTON-JULIA-CHIANG-NORDSTROM-RXARTNate Lowman Christmas ornaments – PizzaAmerican FlagWhatever, $12.95 // Andrew Kuo Tee-Shirt, $24.95 //  Will Cotton Insatiable Wrapping Paper, $15.00

This holiday season, RxArt and Nordstrom teamed up to bring an artful eye to your gift-giving experience! Decorate your apartment from your kitchen to your closet with pieces by Ryan McGinley, José Parlá, Andrew Kuo and Nate Lowman.  Who says art is just for your walls? 100% of the sales proceeds benefit RxArt.

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Imagine a jazzed up hospital bed on New Year’s Eve, or a more festive Christmas in the children’s ward! The organization mends  the broken spirit of patients caught in that dull system or taupe colored walls. RxArt combines my love of do-goodness and contemporary art. They’re my no-brainer charity of the year.

CATHERINE-KIM-JULIA-CHIANG-NORDSTROM-RXARTJulia Chiang lollipops, $3.95

A combed-cotton T-shirt performs a timely public service with a perturbed-feline graphic that serves as a reminder to us all: Behave, or Santa will leave a pile of coal on your head.  Or choose to adorn the Christmas tree with your mother’s least favorite rejoinder. Hang a withering ‘WHATEVER!’ warning-sign ornament from your evergreen branches and you’ll have a ready-made retort every time someone asks why you aren’t married, when you’re going to get a real job or whether you are, in fact, aware of your declining fertility.

RxArt Wrapping Paper

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2013 might have been the year of the #selfie (another new entry into the Oxford Dictionary) but, make 2014 the year of the #unselfie. Give back.

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