Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Hampton Classic

For most, with Labor Day quickly approaching, the summer season is coming to a close.  Beach houses are being packed up, back packs are being purchased, and fall ensembles are being picked out. But, before saying goodbye to the Summer of 2015 in New York, there are two splendid sporting events that finish the summer season elegantly and spectacularly, The US Open and The Hamtpon Classic.
All dressed for the Classic

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon enjoying one of these splendid events -- The Hampton Classic. Helping to take the sting out of the end of summer, The Classic is as tony as American sporting events get. But, this is not a typical sporting event (a far cry from a Mets game);  at The Classic attendees get dressed, really dressed -- women and men alike are truly natty.  For me, this is half the fun of it. For for my daughter, simply walking around the stables, where we hung out with all things equestrian,  petting horses and other animals, kept her contentedly amused.

As one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States, The Classic is a grand event unto itself, for both horse enthusiasts and casual spectators alike.  It is a bit like a beautiful outdoor fair, albeit a very civilized one.  At its core, it is ostensibly a horse competition. But don't be fooled, it is much more than just that.  It is an event -- with the Bridgehampton countryside as the backdrop, where celebrities walk around anonymously, where high end shops set up booths, where equestrian skills are showcased, where delectable food can be savored, where exciting polo matches can be observed and where animals trot about freely in an unthreatened environment.

If your summer plans didn't include an outdoor equestrian leisure show such as the Hampton Classic,
here is a quick pictorial look at an event that , of the like, hasn't changed much since the times of Downton Abbey:

Stables are decorated impeccably, complete with boxwood plantings.
Lots of glamorous style at The Hamptons Classic
Our daughter taking a break from the horses, with an iced cold lemonade at the Ghurka shop. Her dress is from CrewCuts.
My vote for the BEST pop-up shop:  Galet  -- luxury shoes handmade in France...
After finishing a long day of jumping, horses trot back to their well appointed stables.  And for us, it was time to get home for dinner.  Until next year, so long Hamptons Classic.
Enjoying our last few nights by the beach. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park
Photographic Tour

Brooklyn is the Bomb!

There are so many trend pieces being written about Brooklyn; it's impossible to pick up a food or art or design magazine without seeing a featured account of a Brooklyn innovation, or a refurbished run-down Brooklyn building, or some other fresh project happening in the borough. Why is it so popular?  For starters, Brooklyn sits right next to Manhattan.  But more than that, it retains an amazing historical backbone, attracts talented artists and young companies, is becoming the food capital of the world and is exploding in things to do! I read recently that on any given night there are over 200 live performances happening in Brooklyn. Every night!

Brooklyn Bridge Park, before the renovations! These piers stood empty for many years. 
Brooklyn Bridge Piers, today

Of all things newfangled and refurbished in Brooklyn -- check out
 Brooklyn Bridge Park!

This summer, I spent countless afternoons in this park, often with many children in tow. I fully realize why it is the new "must see" attraction in the popular borough.  Aside from the soccer fields, the food stands, the roller rink and the amazing playgrounds -- is the view!  If you haven't been, here is a quick look:

The Sports

The park offers too many activities to list, but here are just a few:

Ride the carousel, play soccer on Pier 6, fish on any of the piers, BBQ on the grills provided, swim in the pop-up pool, sail with the Brooklyn Sail Club, ride the carousel, roller skate in the roller rink...

The Art

One of Copenhagen's most celebrated contemporary artists, Jeppe Hein, is being represented at the Park as part of The Public Art Fund.  The pieces, peppered around the park, are colorful, whimsical, engaging and wonderfully fun. Best of all, kids and adults alike are encouraged to touch, sit, and play around the art.

Modified Social Benches, by Jeppe Hein. That's Governor's Island in the background and, of course, the Statue of Liberty further back. 

Mirror Labyrinth, by Jeppe Hein.
Vertical planks of mirrors, mimicking the Manhattan skyline, create infinite illusions. It's superb to view from afar, up close, 
or from within. 
More Jeppe Hein
Appearing Rooms (above) is an dramatic installation where walls of water create rooms that appear and disappear.  Fun, but be prepared to get wet! 

The Food

Along with the view, the activities, and the overall atmosphere, are some lip smacking food options.  Fornino (below), perfect for kids, offers coal oven pizza and delicious salads, with a commanding second story view of the Manhattan skyline. 

View from Fornino Roof Deck

Pop Up Pool Concession Stand 
Ample Hills Creamery -- simply the BEST ice cream in Brooklyn!
Jacques Torres chocolate in Dumbo, enough said!

The Shoppping

Adjacent to the carousel, on the North side of the park, is trendy DUMBO.  Here you will find one of my favorite shops -- West Elm Market. The Feed USA bag (above) is not only practical, but a portion of the proceeds is donated to Feed 100, providing 100 meals to hungry Americans.  And the bag is made in America!
The West Elm Market is also a perfect place to make a rest stop, use the facilities, get a cappuccino and buy some gifts or housewares.  This carved bowl (below) would work splendidly to hold fruit or maybe some sliced bread, wrapped in a gauzy linen napkin. It is a great find, and is currently on sale at West Elm:

Practical laundry baskets, on wheels, are also on sale now at West Elm Market:
Use the code: REDHOT to get an extra 15% off clearance items here:

The Statue

After spending the entire day in this lively park, when dusk appears, the scene becomes even more unbelievable:

Getting to Brooklyn Bridge Park:


  • High Street

  • York Street
  • Clark Street

  • Court Street
  • Borough Hall


  • B25Fulton Ferry Landing
  • B63Loop road on Pier 6
  • B61Atlantic Ave. & Hicks St.
  • B67Jay St. & York St.


You can now take the ferry by East River Ferry, New York Water Taxi, or Governors Island Ferry to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    That's me! 30. 
    I found this picture while looking for
     old pictures of the Brooklyn Piers.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School Hairstyle for Girls

Easy French Braid-like Hairstyle 
using Hair Ties --
A Back To School Favorite

Hair Ornaments have been used for centuries, with various levels of success!
Borrowing from these classics, below are instructions for an updated, whimsical style that always gets favorable comments, wherever we go...

French Braids are beautiful on girls, but for most (dads especially) they take a good deal of time and  practice before they look camera-ready.

My work around? Hair Ties...

Sephora hair ties are a staple in all of our bathrooms. 

Hair ties can be purchased in most chain drug stores and also at Old Navy.  But the Sephora nude ties (above) are my favorite, are the best quality and are perfect for autumnal ensembles. Check them out here:

These styles (green) are on sale now (over 40% off), check them out:
Grouped together, hair ties make playful, youthful pony tails (above and below).

Hair ties, spread out on the pony tail, look frolicsome, as well:

But my unbeatable use of the Hair Tie is the 

Modified French Braid

And here is one of the many reasons why:  Last night, we went to a restaurant in New Canaan, Connecticut and the woman seated at the next table asked how I did my daughter's hair.  Since she  was so enthusiastic about the look, seemingly ready for me to do it to her hair, I quickly promised that I would post the instructions on TheNattyDad, pronto!

More than any other hairstyle that I use on my daughter, I get the most comments on this style. It's easy, it holds and it makes an impressive, yet tasteful statement.

So here they are:

Section off the front forehead of hair and twist the first hair tie into this small section of hair. Be sure to get all the stray bangs (see below).

Next, pull the temple hair back into the crown of the head and pull it into the already tied first hair tie grouping. Place another hair tie into this group of hair (below):

Brush the side sections (near the ear) into the center and combine it into the two tied 
sections above it:

Keep pulling more hair into the tie until you have reached the end:

What makes this style unique is that, with each new tie, a wavey, graceful, almost 1940s coiffe is produced.  This wave can be made more feathery and dramatic by slightly pulling out some hair from each tie. 

This hairstyle holds all day long, even for active girls -- like my daughter. 

Another reason this style is ideal -- hair ties are less likely to break the hair. 
Placing an elastic in the same place everyday tends to cause breakage at that point, resulting in small hair pieces falling into the face.  Positioning hair ties throughout the hair not only looks colorful and gives a wavey shape, but it evens out the stressed points in the hair, keeping it more healthy, with less breakage. 

Above is another easy Back to School hairstyle. I did an illustrated tutorial on this last year, 
check it out:

 Below is a link to a charming NY Times article, a Dad Braiding 101 of sorts, pointing out the growing necessity for men to learn how to take care of their daughter's hair:

After many (too many) weeks of summer
I say -- Let the school year begin!