Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Recently Read

I've set myself a pretty lofty goal this year—reading a book a week! Adolescent-aged me would probably roll my eyes at this...growing up I'd read as many as a dozen books over a few weeks, but I'll admit their substance has grown and my free time for reading has shrank immensely. If you're curious how I made it through that many books in just a few weeks growing up, I'll let you in on a secret—I was kind of  an awful student in that I could frequently be found reading under the table instead of paying attention. I thought I was pretty sneaky about it, but my teachers apparently always told my mom during conferences. 

Anyway, more on my current goal. I read less during college and the few years following, making it through a book or two a month, sometimes more in the summer, but my priorities were changing (think classes, work, nights out with friends). Living in Iowa meant a lot of time spent driving to and from places, and when I first moved to NYC I didn't get much of a schedule down in terms of "me" time and time for other things—I was too busy exploring the city and, okay, having quite a few late nights...and early mornings. Now, I always keep a book tucked in my bag and I've set a bit of a schedule—my commute is about 40 minutes each day (provided the MTA isn't trying to f*ck me over), so I sip coffee and read the news on my phone on my way in. On my way home, I settle in to my current book and aim to get through at least 20 pages, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending how dense the book is, before reaching my stop. If I've a quiet night I might read a little more when I get home, and I'll usually make it through another 100 pages each weekend. Thanks to recently tackling Orwell's Collection of Essays, I'm currently a little behind on my goal...we're about 27% of the way through the year, and Goodreads tells me I'm only 19% finished with 52 books for the year! (10 books, if you're still in need of coffee to get your math skills going today.) 

If you want to follow my progress and see what's on my reading list, add me over on Goodreads! I'll be posting updates on some of my favorites throughout the year, too. 

This one was a recent book club pick—my pick, to be exact. I first spotted it at a bookstore in Brooklyn last summer after a friend's book reading, and the cover grabbed my attention. I snapped a picture (how I catalog books I want to read but haven't bought yet when I'm at the bookstore) and read the book jacket, but didn't pick it up again for a while. Then, last fall, it started showing up everywhere. Magazines, friends, other blogs were all talking about it. A quick backstory on the premise: a deadly flu wipes out (a presumed) 99.9% of the world's population and the survivors are left to rebuild. Sounds familiar, right? The author puts a special twist on the story thanks to a troupe that travels what's left of civilization 20 years later performing Shakespeare, but what's haunted me most since finishing it is how humanized and downright realistic this kind of apocalypse is. The relationships people lost and the new ones they form are relatable even now. While I hope an epidemic like this never happens, it wouldn't be entirely unheard of in today's age of air travel and antibiotic-resistant infections. It'll definitely make you think twice about being near anyone coughing on public transit for a while.

I've read one other James Salter novel before, a more recent release called All That Is. I'd seen A Sport and a Pastime at the bookstore before and opted to pick it up recently. If you're not familiar with his work, I'm not sure I'd recommend this as the first book—it was originally published in the 1960's, and the style isn't like that of contemporary novels. That being said, however, Salter is an incredibly gifted writer. Each sentence on its own may not feel remarkable, or even entirely make sense, but combined they weave an intricate, beautiful web of language that completely surrounds you as you read. The plot revolves around a young couple, the boy an ex-pat of sorts from the US, the girl from a small town in Southern France, set nearby. Fair warning, this novel is a little, ahem, x-rated in some ways. I'll also admit one thing that really did bother me was the sexist sort of way that Salter describes the girl, but not the boy. Content aside, though, the writing is some of the most beautiful I've read in a long time.

This was my second Neil Gaiman book. I first read American Gods a few years back, intrigued by the storyline but not the usual audience for sci-fi and similar genres (side note: if you haven't read this, I highly recommend it, especially if you're into ancient mythology and cultures). Gaiman, though, is a master at blending real life with something more than just sci-fi, a sort of old-world mysticism and mythology. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is another great example of this, although it's really more of a novella than full-fledged novel; I think I read it in about two days. Set in England, a man returns to where he grew up for a funeral (though who for is not made entirely clear) and finds himself wandering a route he once walked as a child, drawn back into a memory he can't quite remember is real or not. For me to say much more would probably get confusing as I'm sure I'd mess up the narrative somehow. 

A conversation with a friend late last fall about favorite authors and books reminded me that I'm not as versed in classic literature as I probably should be, so I've been making a point to mix some in as I go. I'd read precious little Orwell before this conversation took place, and since it's my friend's favorite author I thought I'd give some more a go. I started with Down and Out in Paris and London around the holidays and sped through it. These essays, on the other hand, were another story. The material is dense and at times focused on things I'm not as familiar with (Dickens and Rudyard Kipling come to mind), but other essays really hit home on some thoughts of my own and things I've tried to write about or study, so I found myself bookmarking a lot of pages that I have a feeling I'll be coming back to. 

I picked this up at a bookstore a few weeks ago when a friend and I stopped in to use the restroom after drinking too much coffee at brunch (whoops), and then we ended up browsing for nearly an hour after that. The only Didion I'd read before was a handful of essays (I'm pretty sure Goodbye to All That is a prerequisite for any 20-something who's live in NYC more than six months) and some journalism pieces. In hindsight, I probably should have picked something more uplifting after the Orwell essays—the memoir focuses specifically on the grief she felt after losing her husband somewhat suddenly, while her daughter was ill in the hospital to boot. Powerful grief is something I can relate to, having been affected pretty deeply by the loss of my grandpa exactly two years ago today. If you've ever lost a loved one, particularly a spouse or close family member, I think you'll relate and maybe find Didion's memoir somewhat comforting in its own way. 

Next up—I'm currently working my way through Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (picked up at the same time as the Didion), and my book club picked The Girl on the Train for our next read! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've ready any of these, or suggestions for what I should try to fit in this year...I don't have a plan mapped out, I'm just winging it as I go!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ends and Beginnings

Ah, the official end of winter—only, if you live in NYC like myself, it's got us in a vice grip for as long as it can. These photos are actually from earlier this season, and I realized this week I needed to post them before the weather changed...ha, ha! By the way, if you're a curious weather nerd like me, today isn't actually the first "day" of spring—it doesn't start until 6:48p tonight! Fingers crossed for a warmer, more spring-like tomorrow.
The West Village is, hands down, one of my favorite places to be on weekends (and, ok, it makes for cute photos). The little side streets are never crowded, and my friends and I tend to wander around admiring the brownstones and joking about owning one someday...#marryrich, right? I like to get brunch around noon at Joseph Leonard—if there's a wait, my friends and I usually head across the street to a cute letterpress shop or the nearby puppy store. I would never buy a puppy from a puppy store (#adoptdontshop!) BUT, it's not the dogs' fault they're there and playing with a puppy is a 100% guaranteed way to put you in a good mood. Post-brunch, if the weather is playing nice, we usually wander around Bleecker and the surrounding streets, popping in to cute shops. Since I have a sugar problem, it's a safe bet I'll be scooping up some candy from Sockerbit.
This weekend is going to have a different kind of puppy time in it, though. A few months back, I signed up for orientation with Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue so I can start volunteering, and I finally made it off the wait list! I used to volunteer with a rescue league back home and have been wanting to get involved out here in NYC for quite a while, but I actually found that a lot of shelters are outside the city besides the big ones like ASPCA and the Humane Society, and I wanted to work with a smaller rescue where I can get more involved and be of help. 
Alright, back to wishing for spring weather to match up with the start of the season. Anyone going someplace warm that can fit me in their suitcase soon?

Zara Coat
Zara Plaid Scarf

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Morning // Link Love

This post is brought to you by my desire to be lazy this morning—because even though we're now halfway through March, spring is stubbornly refusing to come join us…today is barely 40 and very windy, and we're even going to see a night or two below freezing this week. Meanwhile, back home in Iowa, they're going to be above 80 tomorrow. That "8" is not a typo, unfortunately—but at least we've been warm enough to melt most of the snow, although a little has been lingering in a corner of my front yard that doesn't get much sunlight. This countdown is for real, though.
Despite the less-than-ideal weather, I'm still making an effort to end my usual winter hibernation (which never really even got into its full swing this year) and start exploring again. Recent weeks have included many a spring press preview, a trip to both the ballet and a favorite off-broadway theater, Orchid Night at the New York Botanical Gardens (though the grounds were smothered in snow at the time), an ass-kicking workout at The Fhitting Room that left me sore—in the best way—for two days after, an intro party for this year's Spring Street Social Society members and a meet-and-greet with one of Instagram's most famous dogs yesterday. So, this year is off to a pretty decent start…although I do need to be getting a few more workouts in somehow, because eventually we'll get some beach weather, right? 

Anyway, though I've not had much time for blogging lately (let's just say there have been a few too many nights lately where I fall asleep with all the lights on before I even wash my face), I have been bookmarking some things around the web that I wanted to share!

Read this:
Shop these:

*image via

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brocade This, Brocade That

I'm going to both apologize for and blame any mistakes or grammatical errors in this post on House of Cards...
I wanted to finish the season before too much time passed and someone inadvertently spoiled it for me, which meant multi-tasking between blogging and Netflix (thankful for whoever invented Smart TV's). I succeeded at about 10p last night…and all I'm going to say is, this was really Claire's season (sorry, Frank!). I haven't talked to many other people who watch it yet, so if you did I want to know what you thought of the season! 
Anyway, back to the reason for today's post, aside from the fact that I needed to get one up since it's been a while (oops). Let's rewind to a few weeks ago—I don't want to get too in-depth on NYFW because really, what do I have to say that's different from what anyone else can say? I think Hallie summed up what's going on in the blogging industry side of NYFW pretty well in this post; I did very little reach-out on behalf of my blog, but I did attend some shows for work—or, more aptly, I had invites to a lot of shows for work that I didn't even make it to. We hosted a little party at the SoHo Grand on Friday night that week, which meant an early morning, late night, and whopping five shows missed that day (including my favorite, Suno!). 

Saturday rolled around and I finally rolled my already-dragging ass out of bed to hit up Tibi & Mara Hoffman, which the NYFW gods had put one right after the other in locations 50 blocks apart. I hoofed it a few blocks east after the Tibi show to beat the crowds, snagged a cab, and zoomed uptown as fast as I could. Both shows were beautiful in their own right—Tibi had a great color palette for fall with unexpected pastels and soft, chenille-like fabrics, while Mara Hoffman continued to grow away from her signature printed fabrics and experiment with embellishments and hints of oversized accents. Afterwards, I met up with Emily to grab some much-needed caffeine, catch up before she jetted off somewhere warm, and snap some photos in the snow…we are fashion bloggers, after all, and what's a winter without snow photos? I kid, obviously, but it does make a nice accent (and help hide the huge bags under my eyes). 
It will be interesting to see how NYFW continues to evolve in coming seasons to accommodate bloggers and the demand for instant gratification, but for now I'm just glad it's over. It was right back into a busy work week for me after the weekend, and I haven't really slowed down since—spring is coming, after all! I've been packing my calendar and just this past weekend saw both the New York City Ballet and a Broadway show; yesterday morning was spent hanging out at Jonathan Adler's incredible SoHo store to kick off his collaboration with Pond's, and tonight I'm going to get my ass handed back to me with my first-ever class at the Fhitting Room's new location in Flatiron. Wish me luck! 
Zara Jacket (old)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lazy Layers

Today's post is perfect for a Thursday since we're throwing it way, way back—back to the days when the trees didn't look so depressingly bare!
These pictures were taken around mid-October; looking at them, it's hard to believe the trees were still changing in the city and I was warm enough to go without a jacket and not have goosebumps (although if you look closely enough, you'll notice I have my favorite military-inspired Zara jacket tucked in my bag for after sundown). These pictures have proved perfect inspiration for this week, though, as I'm really feeling the lazy-but-layered approach to dressing for NYFW this season. I always care about February a little less, because to be honest it's just too damn cold and the days are too long to give a sh*t. Today's in-real-life look? Ripped Rag & Bone boyfriend jeans, a light blue cashmere sweater and my favorite Loeffler Randall boots with minimal accessories, which is ideal for the in-and-out office lifestyle I've got going on today.  
Unfortunately, the temps this week are going to be a bit too cold for me to pull off the dress-sweater combo I wore endlessly in the fall (adding tights just runs the risk of me looking like a crazy person with all of my limbs covered and flow-y layers added on top—very Man-Repeller and hard for me to pull off, honestly). It's all good, though, because I've been counting down the days to spring somewhat obsessively and you can bet as soon as we hit highs of 50 I'll be bare-legged and quite possibly forgoing coats during daylight hours. For now, though, I'm RSVP'ing yes to everything NYFW with an open bar...alcohol is supposed to warm you up, right?
The Lady & the Sailor T-Shirt Dress
Vince. Slip-On Sneakers (size down 1/2 size)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hello, I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name?

If you follow a few of the blogs I do, by now you've seen a post circulating about the "How to Fall in Love" article from last month—which all loops back to Hallie of Corals + Cognacs. She put a unique spin on the questions last month, and it's easy to see why so many have been quick to pick up on doing their own—Hallie is a force in her own right, with a great sense of humor, a unique voice, a killer closet and more life-and-career experience than some women twice her age. Her funny, open posts always inspire me to put a little more thought into my writing, and I thought I'd take a page out of her & fellow bloggers' books and answer a selection of the questions here. While I share a lot of superficial information here (brands I like, design aesthetics, shallow bits and pieces of what's going on in my life), I don't often share much about who I am—it's something that takes me a while to do even with some of my closer friends. But, since we're going on three years into this thing, it's time we take it to the next level, don't you think?
If you're not familiar with the questions, the premise is this: researchers wanted to see if there was a formula, if you will, for two people to fall in love, so they developed a set of questions that gradually increase in seriousness and intimacy, bringing the respondents closer together, culminating in four minutes of silence were you stare into the other person's eyes. I personally think the results are influenced by a lot of factors that go into it beforehand, such as the respondents' upbringings, history and backgrounds, but if their answers are similar enough it helps them develop a closeness and create feelings of emotional intimacy. Two of the participants even went on to get married!

Anyway, let's get into it, shall we?

Would you like to be famous? In what way?
Not in the way that celebrities are today, no. Their every moment is scrutinized and in ways that tend to be beyond frivolous. I do, however, have passions and things that I hope to work towards as I continue to grow older, and it wouldn’t hurt to get recognition for them—if and when—I achieve some of my goals!

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
It depends on the scenario; I talk to my mom about five times a week and never plan what I’m going to say, unless I know I need to ask her about something and I’m trying to make sure I don’t forget. I do business development and informational calls for work, though, so those tend to be a bit more planned—usually in the key points I need to hit or the questions I need to make sure get answered, which I jot down in a notebook before the call. 
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Keeping this as realistic as could happen in my life right now; no crazy fantasies! I’m a morning person and summer girl, through and through, so let’s start with those—it’s a warm, sunny summer day in the mid-80’s, lightly humid with an occasional cool breeze. I’d get up around 7, make coffee, put on some jazz (probably The Dave Brubeck Quartet) and read a book, barefoot on my back porch (yes, my apartment has one!) for an hour so til I’m ready for a break, then do some light yoga and stretches in my apartment or head to the pool in the park to swim. Take my time getting ready, then head to a favorite brunch spot with a few close friends, obviously stopping by the puppy store nearby to get my dog fix. Wander around downtown NYC or Brooklyn somewhere before finding a sunny strip of grass in a park to spread out and read books, maybe sneak sips of wine and munch on snacks. At night, we’d grab dinner, then bounce around some of our favorite bars in the East Village, having loud and funny conversations and drinking too much gin, maybe even staying out til the sun rises. So, yeah, I miss summer. 

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I have a terrible singing voice, so I can’t even recall the right answer to this. I hum or lightly sing to myself sometimes when I’m walking around NYC, particularly if I’m in a good mood or enjoying the song that’s playing. More often than not, I’m humming a jazz melody. I haven’t sang to anyone else in years, although I did rap 99 Problems in front of some friends at a karaoke bar last winter. 

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Really, though, I want to know—does anyone say body? To be honest I think these are both things that can be worked on continuously throughout your life, and since I’m nearing 30 and still haven’t learned or understood half the things I want to yet, the prospect of limiting myself there would be a bit scary. I’d like to continue to grow and change as I age, so long as I’m able to feel young and stay nimble both in my mind and body, I don’t think I’d pick either. 

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Having (what I think is) a good head on my shoulders and a strong, supportive mother. 
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
To be a better listener. My mind aways feels like it’s going a thousand miles a minute and I’m usually thinking three new thoughts before I’ve finished my previous one, so when I’m the one talking I tend to hit about five subjects in a matter of minutes, particularly if it’s an informal setting or I’ve had a glass or two of wine. When it’s not my turn to talk, I get wrapped up in all the thoughts chasing each other around my brain and can get hooked on what I want to say next, instead of listening and taking in what the other person has to say.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
Honestly, I don’t think so, at least not a true, pulsing-down-to-my-bones kind of dream. I’ve never been a big planner, I kind of jump to the next thing when I feel I’m ready for it. I would like to write more, though...when I was really little, I used to tell everyone I wanted to be an author, and now I feel I’m at an age where I could write somewhat cohesively and not hate it weeks or even days later. 

What do you value most in a friendship?

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
Human rights and the way we treat other people. I’ll be first to admit I make jokes out of numerous situations (I love a good "that’s what she said" joke); I’m frequently borderline inappropriate or offensive, but jokes about race, homophobia and sexism that are, at their core, mean-spirited and ignorant, are never cool. Case in point: this was trending on Twitter this past week, but if you search for tweets about it, most are teenage boys and young men who think it’s laughable there’s a day dedicated to raising awareness for women who are irreversibly harmed against their will. 
Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
My dog doesn't live with me right now, but she would certainly be my first priority, despite it saying she's been saved. In terms of material possessions, this is kind of difficult, because they all seem unnecessary in the face total loss. I'm torn between my computer + cameras (which are usually stored in the same place) and my book collection—the former would certainly be easier to carry. 

Alright, now it's your turn. If you haven't yet, go ahead and answer some of the questions and share them on your blog if you have one! Even if you don't, I encourage you to answer them anyway. There were several that I knew I wouldn't post here as they were a little too personal, but I still typed out an answer because I was curious to see what my fully formed response would be if I had to think about it. If you want to see the full list of questions, you can check them out here; and if you're over it, you should check out New York Magazine's hilarious response, a.k.a. 36 questions to fall OUT of love.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Toast Meets Karen

It's Monday and I hereby declare we all need a little "aww" moment in our lives to get the week going (especially because if you're in the Midwest or on the East Coast you've been dealing with round 5 billion of snowstorms this winter), so without further ado, my newest favorite campaign from Karen Walker.
If you're not familiar with the impossibly adorable mug above & below, that's Toast, she of instagram fame, rescued from a puppy mill and brought to live out a pretty awesome life in NYC (her dad is The Fat Jewish, just sayin'). I have to be honest, I don't know much about how this campaign came to be, but I kind of don't care because it's just plain awesome. Karen Walker has always made some pretty great shades (she also does RTW—I'll be checking out her show at NYFW in a few weeks and can't wait to get a peek at FW 2015.

In the sunnies business, Karen Walker is definitely queen of tortoise and funky, retro-inspired shapes. Looking for a good cat-eye? She has you (and those bags under your eyes) covered. This collection is available here; scroll down for some more of my favorites or hop over to either her website or Shopbop to check out currently available specs! 
Shop Karen Walker

*all images via Karen Walker

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Favorites: Instagrammers to Follow

Hello from a very snowy NYC! I'm writing this while snuggled up in bed…the subways are still out, so today is officially a snow day! We only ended up with about 14-16", but it's safe to say it's the biggest storm I've seen in quite a while, although a little reminiscent of my first night ever in NYC back in January of 2011. A friend & I had just caught the last bus leaving DC up to New York, trying to outrun a snowstorm. We got to our hotel, cleaned up, and headed out to get some food—by the time we traipsed the few blocks back we were all but soaking wet from the snowfall and woke the next morning to a solid 12+ inches on the ground. Funnily enough, nothing shut down that day and we ended up wandering the Met Museum for several hours—it's funny, because in Iowa we pretty much just call this "winter" (a friend shared this map of blizzard history with me; I grew up on the edge of "21-40").

Anyway, on to a new installment. I've found myself recommending instagram accounts to follow more and more often as of late, to both friends & fellow bloggers, and I decided to start sharing some of my favorites here in what I hope becomes a least a semi-regular series! I tend to be pretty picky about what makes me hit the "follow" button, and the number of photographers and designers skews a lot higher than bloggers or even friends of mine. I like knowing my feed will be full of beautiful images when I open it and can easily get lost in a rabbit hole of some of the amazing photographers out there. So, here we go—four accounts I discovered & am frequenting as of late! If you have some favorites, leave them in the comments.
@_sarahnguyen_ // scrolling through Sarah's feed makes me feel calmer almost immediately—she's a designer based in NYC and clearly has an eye for a beautifully framed shot both indoors and out (indoors, always with great lighting, outdoors, frequently on a cliff or similar bit of nature!). Palette: white, gray, black, hint of blue, red and green.
@figandtable // Rebekah's instagram is a really recent recommendation that I can't even entirely remember how I stumbled across. Regardless, I'm happy I did, if not always a little hungry—her feed is full of beautiful shots of food. I'm particularly impressed because most things tend to be snacks or little meals she made for herself while working on other things, yet they always look both delicious and beautiful. Lots of pretty healthy things, plus she eats local & seasonal often, all things I can get behind. Palette: white, green, yellow, red, blue, occasional pops of color.
@jannikobenhoff // I'd just like to take a second and point out that Jannik, the photographer behind this feed, is only 14 years old. You know, in case you didn't feel bad about your grainy, poorly lit shots of coffee and brunch yet *raises hand*. He's based in Munich, Germany, and shares some of the most beautifully framed shots of nature; he's also got an eye for capturing a subject when he shoots portraits. Palette: green, brown, black, blue, white, yellow, gray.
@taylahnilsson // Because I'm always daydreaming that summer is just around the corner (even when it's clearly not), I had to share Taylah's feed. It's another recent discovery and one I really, really would like to be living in. She's based in Australia, so think LOTS of beach-y, beautiful water shots, sunshine and general warmth emanating from her gallery. Palette: blue, turquoise, gray, green, white, orange, red.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Link Love

Ah, Sunday. If you're on the East Coast/around NYC, chances are you're having a morning like me…or, if you're not, you should be. Today's one of our warmer days in a while, but with rain all day. Since I had a fairly quiet night after dinner with a friend last night, I was in bed pretty early and woke up early to the sound of rain outside. I've spent the last hour or so reading (I just finished Orange is the New Black and started Gone Girl—I'm late on the latter, I know) and enjoying coffee from bed. 
I know that sounds really glamourous, but I promise it doesn't look nearly so pretty in my room right now as it does in the photos we use for inspiration. Still, the picture in my head likes to think I'm being very cool and glamorous. I even have a chill-music playlist going in the background. 

Unfortunately, it's not a long weekend for me, but I've made the most of my time off anyway. Friday found me exhausted from a stressful and long work week (I'm also looking to hire an assistant—must be NYC based, details here), accompanied by the start of a cold, so I've kept it pretty chill, only venturing out for a movie and dinner with a friend and to hit up my dry cleaner. I devoted a big chunk of my day yesterday to cleaning up around my (still new-ish) room, and most all my belongings are now in here short of some stacks of papers I can never seem to shake and the items waiting to be put away in the standing closet I've yet to order. So, today is going to be devoted to making progress on those next steps—I'm ordering a few little things (a new wastebasket, a clothing hamper) from West Elm and Manhattan & Brooklyn bound later this afternoon to check out some furniture options with a friend. 

There are a lot of other little things that jumped on my radar over the last few weeks, though, and I wanted to share several of them with you below in case you missed them, or in case you saw them—because I'd love to hear your thoughts!
  • Have you heard of the 30-day minimalism challenge? Some of the things on it are just not feasible for me, but I'm making an effort to incorporate many of them into my daily life in some way. 
  • I'm always looking to spend less time on my phone, too, and found this article particularly interesting. I've freed up some space on my phone to download the app they recommend and am interested to see my results after a week!
  • 2015 is the year of getting my financial sh*t together (more on that in another post to come), so I was anxious to read through this article over on refinery29.
  • I've long enjoyed Joan Didion's writing and have thought in recent years I need to read a lot more of it, but I found this piece on why loving her is a trap over on The Cut to be pretty honest and, quite frankly, it made sense! 
  • A more light-hearted read…we have ice skating to thank for the splendor of Fifth Avenue over the last century!
  • Hallie put a unique spin on the article making its way around the web on how we fall in love, based on a study from a while back. 
  • Speaking of, here's the link to the article ICYMI. I found it particularly fascinating to re-read after watching the first two parts of Richard Linklater's trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy this weekend, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which focus on two people and how they fall for each other, simply while (mostly) just talking. If you need something to do on this rainy day, I highly recommend renting them, both of which are available on iTunes. 
And, lastly, a few things on my more materialistic radar:

*all images via pinterest

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Re-do, Redecorate, Refresh

Alright, I know I just waxed poetic how I'm not a fan of resolutions, new years, etc. etc., but the timing on this one is a little too serendipitous.
To preface, the pictures here are inspiration, not my actual place, but we'll get to that in a minute. Few of you may know this—and it's certainly going to surprise some fellow NY'ers—I've never moved out of my first apartment. Yeah, you read that right. Almost three and a half years ago (seriously, where does the time go?), I hopped a plane to NYC and landed after dark with just two suitcases. I caught a cab in the drizzling fall rain and attempted to give him the best directions I had to my new place, where I spent the first night in my new, tiny bedroom on an air mattress one of my fellow roommates loaned me. There were four of us living here at the time in our three bedroom, two living room apartment that's on the second floor of a house in Queens, and as I was the last one to move in, I got the short stick, if you will.

Our overall apartment is pretty great, all things considered, especially when you factor in the relatively affordable rent (yep, I pay under $1k a month, if you're wondering). It's near both the subway and a sizable park, plus every kind of amenity a girl could want—like a cobbler, dry cleaner, laundry mat, nail salon, coffee shop, apothecary, wine bar and pizza place all within view of my bedroom window. We have a decent sized kitchen and bathroom, and though both could use a remodel/update, but they could certainly be worse. The majority of the apartment and common spaces are painted a cheery yellow, with a few arched doorways around the kitchen, and we have a huge porch on the back end of our place. 
So, you might be wondering, what are the downsides? Well, there's only one closet—in the ENTIRE apartment. An apartment which was lived in by three straight girls and one gay guy for three years, the only storage place to stash both clothes that need hanging plus all the unsightly things like suitcases, air conditioners, tool boxes and the like. And, that tiny bedroom? It's a whopping 60 square feet, fitting a full size bed, a slim, tall-ish dresser, a long storage bench, and not much else.

But, as I mentioned, changes have been afoot. Late last summer, the girl who claimed the second living room for her bedroom moved cross-country for work, and we decided not to let it out to another person. Then, just a few weeks ago, my guy roommate moved back home for grad school, opening up the biggest bedroom in our place (which also holds the door to our back porch). While my tiny room had grown on me in some ways, it was time to move on up in the world, if you will, and I was ready for the little change in scenery that comes with it. Also, moving bedrooms is considerably less stressful than moving apartments.
The not-so-fun part that came with all of this, though, was the desperate paint job the room was in need of. I'll be sharing some step-by-step photos of the project once it's actually finished, but for now I wanted to share some of my inspiration and where I'm at with all of this! One wall was painted that cheery, light yellow I mentioned earlier, but the other three were a deep red-purple, like a bad glass of cheap red wine. To top it off, the room doesn't get a lot of direct natural light, as the only windows are south-facing and partially blocked from light by the overhang on the porch, so I knew I needed to take it lighter before I could really get settled. I used the above photos as my main inspiration and starting point for both paint and decor, all of which are of Athena Calderone's incredible DUMBO apartment. I even went so far as to ask her the paint color on Twitter! Once I got to thinking about it, though, I decided I wanted some blue undertones—because you know me & the color blue—to give the room a light wash of color and feel a tad warmer than a full-on gray. 

I spent several nights last week and most of my weekend cleaning, priming and painting, and what I ended up with was a little more blue-with-a-hint-of-gray than the other way around, but I'm going to make it work (paint is expensive and I am too lazy to re-paint just because I'm feeling particular). I moved my meager three pieces of furniture in on Sunday and have most of my belongings scattered about right now, but it's finally starting to feel like my room and I'm excited to have a space of my own that I can influence and change to fit my own aesthetic! My next step is to invest in a few more furniture pieces, including a standing closet (I'm leaning towards this one) and nightstand, so I can get everything organized and put in a proper home. After that, I'll start in with finishing touches, like hanging artwork (I love the idea of a set of Kara Rosenlund prints above the bed!) and maybe adding a few shelves to help with storage space.
Alright, enough blathering on this from me for now—there will be more to come as I make progress, with the hopes that everything is feeling finished by summer! I'm sure I'll be sharing some behind-the-scenes images on Twitter and instagram, so make sure to follow along. I'm really emphasizing a gray and blue color palette for now, though, and have rounded up some more of current inspirations below! 
*all images via my Pinterest page