Catbird Loves Ovenly

Most of us at Catbird cannot at all resist a sweet treat, so of course Maureen and I jumped at the chance to have a cupcake-and-jewels breakfast with the ladies of Ovenly. Tucked at the end of an industrial waterfront row in Greenpoint is where you'll find their bakery. A tall vase of fresh-cut flowers and farm eggs greeted us when we walked in, but their centered glass case is what really grabs you. Tray by tray sits their trademark treats: Brooklyn Blackout cupcakes, pistachio agave cookies, and mustard seed cheddar scones.
Founders Erin and Agatha opened their bakery in 2012, following a whirlwind wholesale success seen in the brand’s first year.

 Tell us how Ovenly came to be.
A week after we first met in a food-focused book club, we sat down for coffee to start talking about beginning a business together. We chatted for about a year and decided to found a bar snack company; by a twist of fate, our first client's company was a bar/cafe and she asked us to both make her bar snacks AND her morning pastries. We said yes and Ovenly was officially born. For the first 1.5 years we wholesaled our baked goods, and then in spring 2012 opened our bakeshop on Greenpoint Avenue. We are definitely accidental entrepreneurs--we had no idea that just mere months after we started with our first client we would quit our desk jobs to run our own business full-time.
What are your favorite picks from Ovenly's current menu?
Our vegan salted-chocolate chip cookie and our currant-rosemary scone are our all-time favorites on the menu. 

We have to ask, sweet or savory?
Erin: Sweet. Agatha: Savory

How do you go about experimenting with new recipes? Are there any ingredients you're curious to try next? 
We usually start by buying a bottle of wine and thinking of flavor combinations that sound delicious. After that, we brainstorm the type of baked good that would be perfect for those combos, then we go to the kitchen to experiment. One of our next experiments will be roasted rhubarb shortcakes with citrus-infused whipped cream.

Baking can sometimes feel like it requires a lot of precision. Can you give us a beginner's recipe for those of us who haven't quite mastered the art of concentration? 
Our gluten-free peanut butter cookie from the Ovenly cookbook is the easiest thing on the planet. All you need is five ingredients, a mixing bowl, and a spatula (and maybe a spoon or a scoop, too).


1 3/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups peanut butter* 
Coarse-grained sea salt, for garnish

*While the all-natural stuff works just fine for this cookie, Skippy is our peanut butter brand of choice for this recipe as we’ve found the dough retains its shape best with it.


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until smooth and completely incorporated, and until no ribbons of peanut butter can be seen. You know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh.

3. Using a scoop or a spoon, form the dough into 12 approximately 2-inch (2- to 2 1/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. For smaller cookies, use a heaping tablespoon.

4. Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, turning the rimmed sheet pan once halfway through baking (for smaller cookies, bake for 16 to 18 minutes). When finished, the cookies will be lightly golden and cracked on top. Let cool completely before serving.

5. You can bake these cookies as soon as the dough is prepared, but they will retain their shape better if you freeze them for 15 minutes before baking.

Makes 12 large cookies; 24 small cookies

Recipe excerpted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin). Copyright © 2014. 
SPOILER ALERT FOR OUR NYC KITTENS: A rather large Ovenly treat might be making its way over to our Bedford Avenue storefront in the coming weeks. After all, it is our 10th birthday and we must blow out our candles! Follow @catbirdnyc to stay in the loop. 

All photos by Maureen Peabody 

In the Studio with N+A

The new Twinkle Diamond Ring from N+A is a line of white diamonds that sprout up from the band, like petite cherry blossoms wrapped around your finger. The sisters behind N + A New York, Noriko and Akiko Sugawara, are originally from Yokohama, Japan, and frequently cite the landscape of the country in their designs. "It's more of an influence from my childhood and younger years that stays with me," says designer Noriko. “I work from my instinct and a reflection of what is around me or what I feel.” 

Twinkling Diamond Ring, 14k white/rose/yellow
Akiko, who heads up the business end of N+A, was with a wine importer in Japan when her sister first began designing under her own line. After helping Noriko at a trade show in the States, they both realized that N+A worked best with both of them together. “It was an amazing and exciting change in my life,” Akiko says of relocating to New York. “Working in a small studio allows me to see my work completed in a more satisfying way. I really enjoy diving into the creative process."

Noriko's take on hoops and studs
What struck the ladies of Catbird first was the naturalism and movement of the line. “We would describe our collection as wearable basics that are totally unique, with organic forms and textures,” says Noriko. “We use lots of tiny diamonds as accents that sparkle, as if they are whispering.” If that is true, we are happy to listen.  

You can view our selection of jewels from N+A at our Williamsburg storefront and wedding annex, as well as online

The sisters by illustrator Ningyo Yamada

Faith & Sriya 

Lunch Lady: How you doin?

Guess what! Today is St. Joseph's Day! The name or feast day of San Giuseppe, the sorta-father of the most famous surprise baby in history. Legend has it that he saved Sicily from famine using the magical fava bean and now every March 19th people get together and eat the foods and wines and things.

Also, this holiday is vegetarian friendly because, technically, you're not supposed to eat meat. I will most likely eat a burger or something but WHTVR. "To each his own" or "sauzeech calzone," as my sister likes to joke.

Now onto the good stuff... you can also celebrate this holy day by getting a special zeppole!  There are a few different kinds, but the only ones you need to worry about are these two…

They are delicious. They look like boobs. And they're as big as falafel sandwiches. So even if you're not religious, even if your family doesn't talk with their hands- just grab your favorite Joe,  JoAnn or Josephine and stuff your faces with cannoli cream, custard, cherries, pastry & powdered sugar.

Plus, he was a carpenter and since I know yous guys are totes obsessed with woodworkers, grab one of these treats for them as a 'thank you' for being so babely and useful.

I got my pretty ladies at Fortunato Brothers on Manhattan just off the Graham L stop. Definitely one of the best Italian bakeries around. They were $3.75 a pop and absolutely worth it. And good news! They stocked up this morning so I think you should be able to grab one or ten if you really haul ass.

<3 Ash

Sleeping Beauty

I bet even her drool is lovely.


image via Byrdie

Dream Date: Anouk Aimée

Magnetic beauty, mellifluously named.


Dark & Stormy Winter

Liz Phillips' Jaipur

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. - Sir Francis Bacon

These are the words that jeweler Liz Phillips designs by. “I tend to be drawn to things that aren’t entirely correct or beautiful in an obvious way,” she acknowledges. It’s a visual belief that is most apparent in Liz’s surprising gem pairings, self-described as “a bit off" -- deep violet amethysts surrounded by tsavorite, stormy labradorites anchored to a black pavé band, and bright emeralds big enough to swim in. 

Though she recently moved her studio from Santa Fe to Brooklyn, Liz continues to work with her long-standing production team in Jaipur. She spends three months in The Pink City every year, sourcing and designing alongside a community of creatives. For anyone who has experienced this famously colorful city in Northern India, it’s a sensory overload of sights and sounds, and one that is a fitting source of inspiration for Liz’s work. “It was a planned city, created in the 18th century, and from the beginning there was a great tradition of patronage to the arts. So the best artists and craftsman came to Jaipur and you still feel that legacy today,” explains Liz. In the buildings, textiles, and people of the city are the colors she captures in her jewelry.

For a designer who doesn’t shy away from any stone, Liz still plays favorites. “I have always loved labradorite. It always looks to me like some kind of magical, shimmering storm is raging inside of the stone! But I also absolutely love spinels. They occur in all sorts of pretty, subtle colors -- dusky pinks, purples, and blues -- but I love the bright red ones. You see them a lot in old Mughal jewelry…gobstopper-sized red spinel drops! They’re just amazing.” 

Experience Liz Phillips' color-filled world at Catbird's Williamsburg flagship and online



The Saucer: Five Leaves

It’s the dead of winter, I almost slipped off the M train platform on black ice this morning, and there was frost INSIDE my bedroom windows last night.

Cue: Cocktail to ease my angst. Enter: Five Leaves.

A resounding favorite of the Catbirdettes, this place boasts the best truffle fries, like, ever, and my absolute stand by -- the bruléed grapefruit (I have a penchant for any foods your grandmother might have eaten, and am a Florida girl at heart so citrus is my jam - spring break 4 evr). They’ve also currently got our Kitten Candles burning, making me feel right at home.

I think the bartender, Chris, could sense my need for a mental escape, and, at 11 am on a Tuesday served me a Southern Belle - the ice around my heart melted and I may or may not have left him my business card. I highly suggest visiting the bar yourself, but if going outside is just not an option, (no judgement!) try the recipe at home and light a Kitten Candle for full effect:

Southern Belle
2 oz. Tea infused Vodka
1 oz Lemon Juice
.75 oz Simple Syrup
5-10 mint leaves

Shake, pour over ice, top with sparkling wine.


Book Club: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.

“I love that word. Forever. I love that forever doesn't exist, but we have a word for it anyway, and use it all the time. It's beautiful and doomed.”  - Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. by Viv Albertine from the Slits

I'm not usually the first to sign up to read a music autobiography but who doesn't want to read about hanging out with Sid Vicious when he was awkward with girls, being a leading pioneer in the punk scene, being intimidated by Vivienne Westwood in the 70's, and living as a strong feminist while still longing for someone to love you? Viv Albertine is surprisingly relatable and a true badass. Plus, the fashion. Come on.


Photo of The Slits in 1979, Viv is far left.

In the Studio with Mullein & Sparrow

Long before Anit Hora created the apothecary line Mullein & Sparrow, she practiced her craft in any and every spare moment found. Though she never lost her deeply rooted passion for ayurveda and aromatherapy, Anit detoured into corporate fashion in her 20s. Only after an eye opening trip to South America did Anit fully immerse herself in the teachings of herbal medicine, leaving her 9 to 5 to work at a yoga studio. "All the natural instincts about self care and holistic remedies just came back to me,” she says of her turning point. Today, Anit continues to develop and batch the full Mullein & Sparrow line herself while also practicing as a Brooklyn based holistic esthetician.

Since the Catbirdettes have been bemoaning our lackluster winter skin, we asked Anit for a DIY recipe to help us exfoliate and hydrate some of the dullness away. “Oats are amazing for helping with any skin irritation, honey is incredibly moisturizing and also antibacterial and sugar helps retain moisture and exfoliates,” Anit said of this simple remedy she generously shared with us. 

  • 1 tbspn oat flour
  • 1 tbspn floral powder( you can use rose, lavender, chamomile in any combination- I use them all!)
  • 1 tbspn honey
  • 1 tspn sugar for exfoliating action

  • Mix ingredients into a paste and then add a little water as needed.
  • Spread mixture around face using circular motions to lift up dead skin cells and dirt. 
  • Wash to reveal cleaner skin with a glow! 
  • Can also leave this on as a mask for 10 minutes.

Enjoy Kittens! You can also shop our Mullein & Sparrow offerings here



Did Someone Say Carrier Swan?

New York Kittens, this one's for you! We've partnered with our neighbor Parcel to bring a very last minute Valentine - planning ahead is so over - straight to you! Choose from three limited edition gifts and we'll do the rest. This means fancy wrapping and a Swan dispatched to your door on Thursday or Friday night - your choice. Okay, the Swan might actually be a Parcel driver, but beating Catbird's holiday crowd and free same-day delivery still sounds like a win/win. 

And if you want to get creative and send this Valentine right to your love's door, we're in the business of surprises too. 


Catbird Bride: Emily

He proposed on a houseboat in Amsterdam, and while I was totally overwhelmed in the moment (and getting splotchier and more emotional by the second), I was completely thrilled by the two black diamonds he presented. Ryan has a timeless and simple taste, and the rings perfectly represented both our styles. 

Valentine's Day Playlist!

Cupid's reign is upon us my friends! Whether you have a special someone, or that "special someone" is actually your cat and a bottle of jim beam, these tunes are sure to put you in the mood for love. 

Chocolate-covered smooches,

We're Playing Cupid for a Day!

We know how it goes with Valentine's Day. You plan and primp and re-think and then plan again. Or you might be baffled by the holiday all together. And like some of us at Catbird, the day just entirely sneaks up on you, until you finally notice how stocked on heart shaped chocolates your local drugstore is. 

However you like to do V-Day, we promise you'll love this dreamy date our friends at Vensette and ShopBAZAAR have planned - and so will your dude, best gal, or lucky mom. Whoever you choose to share it with! 

One lucky kitten will win a set of rings from yours truly and a $1,000 shopping spree from Fleur du Mal - maker of the prettiest underthings. Then you'll be whisked off to hair and makeup from the expert artists at Vensette, and end the day with a reservation for two at Bar Primi, courtesy of The New Potato. So celebrate Valentine's Day your way, but let us do the rest!

Enter here, Kittens! 


Book Club: Wuthering Heights

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” - Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Cue heart in eyes face, classic broken heart, stream of tears face emoji characters in that order...


Still from the 1939 film adaptation

Lay Lady Lay

We're snowed in though there's not much snow - a delightful excuse to putter around and practice the magic of tidying and preen just a little.

 Bianca Jagger via Pinterest


Shopgirl: January Picks

January, the month of resolutions, new beginnings, and a chance to get it all right again. Thankfully, this edition of Shopgirl has nothing to do with any of the above! 

Josephine was one of the first Catbirdettes to land the Sweet Nothing bracelet, which debuted approximately five days ago. This thin chain bracelet is classic in a way that allows it to be worn any which way. It can be a subtle player in your existing wrist stack or worn alone as a barely there thread of gold. 

Oh, and who's that perched so elegantly on her desk? Well that's Mr. Sweet Bun, our resident truffle enthusiast. 


What We Love Today: ManiaMania for Catbird

Today, we love the belated snow. The Cat Cave faces the Williamsburg Bridge, and its red steel frame is finally coated in a dusting of white. 

We also love that our dear friend Melanie of ManiaMania has done it again, and created a wondrous necklace exclusively for us. The Ritual is a triangular pendant with seemingly mystical properties. A single champagne diamond hangs suspended on thin chain over an open pavé arrow cradling the most glorious rose-cut diamond stunner. How does she do it? We're spellbound. 

The Ritual Necklace, exclusive to Catbird, is available at the storefront and online meow! 


Let's drink very cold champagne and groovy slow dance.

Romy Schneider and Alain Delon, dancing at home - 1959


What We're Giving: Catherine

Catherine is our graphic design extraordinaire, the Catbirdette behind everything from the direction of our latest look book (Off Duty Ballerina!) to that killer neon sign in the Catbird Wedding Annex. Kind of an obvious statement for me to say she has a great design sensibility, which is why I've been looking forward to peeking at her gift list!

I'm giving Rodin Lip Balm rings to my gal pals. I love finding gifts that strike that perfect balance between casual and fancy. The most refined lip balm in a pretty kitsch container hits the mark.

The Swan Ring is for my mom. As a Catbirdette who joined the team this year, I'm so excited to be a part of our ten year celebration, which almost everyone here worked on! My mom also collects unique pieces of jewelry from all over the world, but she doesn't own a swan from Brooklyn (yet).

For my fiancé, the Equilateral Nails (and an appointment to the Wedding Annex. Haha). The nails are made by my friends at Winsome Brave, and are perfect for the apartment sprucing we're planning for the new year. 

What We're Giving: Anna

Anna is our super awesome web manager -- the gatekeeper to the flurry of holiday orders coming in and shipping out to Kittens worldwide. Her whole system kind of mystifies me because I know hundreds of requests are passing through her everyday, but she never seems to break a sweat?! So what's the lady who gets all of you your holiday presents on time giving her BFF? 

Anna's giving her best friend the Les Fleurs Wall Calendar -- complete with 12 Rifle Paper Co. illustrations to mark 2015. The calendar is being paired with the porcelain swan mug, our favorite vessel for morning caffeine jolts. 


In the Studio with Ariel Dearie

Ariel Dearie easily has one of our favorite career hyphenations. She’s created towering headpieces for Dior and bucolic fantasy backdrops for VOGUE, but her twisting, overgrown floral designs also have a very real life presence among Brooklyn locals who see her magic up close and (wildly) contained in tiny jars and bouquets. Walking by the street-front windows of her South Williamsburg studio space on any given day, you’ll find amnesia rose, anemone, and ranunculus among piled antique brass and silver vessels reminiscent of a topsy-turvy Persian tea.

So what’s the hyphen to master florist? Ariel’s second calling is, in a way, a natural extension of Ariel Dearie Flowers. As a compliment to her botanical work, Ariel began developed apothecary in 2013. Royal Botanicals started with three signature bath soaks that capture the aromatherapeutic properties in natural elements. She continues to small batch the crystals herself, bottling them in deep amber glass with spherical stoppers. 

We scooped up her bath line soon after its debut, along with Marlow and Sons and The NoMad Hotel. But when this didn’t quite satisfy our girl crush, it came time to make something special with Ariel, tapping into our collective love of all things rose. Released today in our storefront and online, Thousand Rose Bath Soak is an Ariel Dearie x Catbird exclusive. “We worked with Leigh and discussed what scent characteristics the Catbird girls love most,” explains Ariel of the starting point. “We knew we wanted to do something with roses and worked to create a blend that was powdery and feminine yet also had a warm and woodsy quality to it.”

For more of Ariel's world, scroll down Kittens! 

Lush overflow with Japanese Ranunculus
"When we were looking for a new studio space, natural light was the highest on the list." 
Ariel's collection of antique brass, a signature accompaniment to many of her designs.
Two Henris: Ariel cites the influence of Matisse and Fantin-Latour in her work

Scoop two to three tablespoons of Thousand Rose into a warm bath for a moooost soothing soak. Velvet Underground record and a glass of wine optional, but highly recommended.


What We're Giving: Rony

Rony is keeping her recipients anonymous so as to not give away the surprise, but her top picks do reveal that she leans towards tiny things in pretty packaging. 

I give Egyptian Magic to all of my friends over 35 because it's all natural and truly good for any skin type. 

Aster & Bay Cleansing Oil is is a rich blend of nourishing oils at only $28 a bottle. It's one of my favorite new beauty finds. 

The Sleeping Beauty Ring is just the right amount of sparkle - you can't really go wrong with gifting jewelry this classic and subtle. 

Goest Silent Films is a complex scent packed into a simple bottle. It also comes with a beautifully illustrated card that explains the different notes in just a few words. 

Continuing with my love of gifting tiny things, the new Marvis Gift Set includes two small tooth brushes. It's a great idea for anyone with a guest room. 

Head in the clouds.

And the body, too.

The Nightgown Enthusiast

confection by Christian Lacroix 

What We're Giving: Amy

I’m giving my mum a Jewel Thief Bandit Raccoon. She loves tree decorations, especially ones that my sisters and I pick up on our travels. I’ll be sending him all the way to Australia soon! 

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