Doll companies I’m happy to support

At the time we lived in Southeast Asia there was a growing but tiny industry of local crafters that made blocks, stuffed animals, kitchen sets or doll houses, and other toys. We spent a lot on those, but they were locally sourced and well-crafted. Coming back to NY was a different story. Options, wow. The pop culture focus of the toy industry, a profit-over-people corporate ethos, the consumerist culture - it's over the top after several years abroad. My little girl hit the doll phase this year and has been asking for one. But finding a toy company I'm happy to support is hard enough; Barbie, American Girl, and other chain store brands whose company values hew to the mainstream for profit's sake won't be getting my business. … [Read more...]

Surviving a long haul flight with a 10 month old

Last month the most direct route from our house in Phnom Penh to my parents' doorstep in NYC took 29 hours. We took two flights: Phnom Penh - Hong Kong for three hours, then Hong Kong - JFK for around 16 hours. It's a long time on the road with an infant. Our baby practically lives in a suitcase, and has been on numerous flights since he was born - always as a lap child (at $1520 a seat on this flight, I think we're going to take him as a lap child as long as we can!), so he's used to flying and is generally manageable on flights. Nevertheless, I'm always anxious before the trip and packing "his" carry-on is de-stressing me. We're preparing for our trip back this weekend -- yes, after I'd finally adjusted to the time zone and the cold … [Read more...]

Gender in Toys Advertising

This one's fun. H/T to Information is Beautiful. Most common words used in advertising for girls' toys, and for boys' toys: … [Read more...]

around the ‘hood with a visiting friend

Here's my street, we live a block off the Royal Palace. It's everyday scenes like this that you never bother to take photos of until a friend comes along and captures everything you don't blink twice over anymore. To the left is a tuk-tuk, riding the line to his left and back is what they call here a cyclo, and practically most people travel by some form of motorbike here.Every day monks walk around the neighborhood collecting alms (this is one of the stores downstairs). Since the Khmer Rouge decimated the elder ranks, the religion's influence has not gained its previous legitimacy and credibility. Respect for monks and the solidarity they fostered before the conflict era have been largely eroded.Time for some tours around the city! This is … [Read more...]