Nicole Harkin, Writer and Photographer


Cool Tools Show 093: Nicole Harkin

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Our guest this week is Nicole Harkin. Nicole lives in Washington, DC with her family. She recently published her first book, Tilting: A Memoir, and she’s currently working on a mystery set in Berlin. She also runs a small photography business focused on family portraiture. She is from Montana and before becoming a writer worked in government oversight.

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Show notes:

Yuba elMundo LUX ($3800)
“My bike is the mini-van version of the cargo bike. The most amazing thing about my bike is how much more interaction I have not only with my environment but also with my kids. I have my bike outfitted with one giant pannier and the ‘Monkey Bars.’ I have had up to four kids on the bike at once but generally ride with my two boys. However, the bike can carry, in addition to the rider, 440 lbs. Mine is the 2nd version I believe. They are now on the V5. My bike has Bionx system. My battery is a bit older and I unfortunately have to charge it anytime I stop riding. I have the Rack Bag for the front ‘bread basket.’ It’s waterproof and holds my phone safely for me.”

Yama Glass 8-Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon ($51)
“My husband and I have two small children. Before kids we made pour overs every morning…well Brent made them for us. When the kids came along we switched to the Technovorm Moccamaster, which is a lovely machine. I had the siphon on my Amazon wish list and my mother-in-law purchased it for us. To our utter surprise, we have started using the siphon for our daily coffee. It takes less time than the pour over and makes substantially better coffee than the Moccamaster. For two cups of coffee it is perfect. We use four scoops of beans and eight ounces of water per cup of coffee. First, you fill the coffee pot with water, put the siphon on top, and bring to a boil. There is a filter with a metal chain already in the top of the siphon. Once the water is boiling, you put the coffee grounds into the top and the water will climb up the chain into the upper glass siphon. Once it has boiled for two minutes, you turn it off and the cooling water in the pot reverses the vacuum pulling the hot water back down through the coffee. …. One weird thing though is you have to keep the filter in the refrigerator in water.”

The Windi Gas and Colic Reliever for Babies ($15) and Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator ($19)
“Our kids are too big for these now, but when they were babies, these things were super helpful. Babies cry for four reasons: hunger, tired, diaper, gas. The Windi helps with the fourth. When a kid is sick and can’t breath well the snot sucker comes to the rescue. I think that people used to use a blue bulb thing to try to suck snot out, but those blue bulbs don’t really work well. This thing does. The company is Swedish. If you give this as a gift, the parents to be will look at you like you are crazy. But in a few months they will thank you.”

SodaStream Penguin Sparkling Water Maker ($200)
“After years of lugging cases of sparkling water into our third floor apartment, my husband asked for the Penguin for his birthday. We’ve never regretted it. I also once dropped the entire machine onto the floor. It naturally broke. I called Soda Stream, explained the situation, and they sent us a new one. So I recommend springing for the more expensive Williams Sonoma version rather than the cheaper versions. Additionally, I like that the carafes are glass rather than plastic.”