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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Au Revoir, 2014

Well, 2014 is officially over (and I am finally getting back to blogging!). This time last year, I was saying good riddance to a pretty crummy 2013, but 2014 was one for the books, from my work life to friends, travel both near & far to time I spent getting to know my city (even) better. While I'm not wild about new years, the turn of the calendar (it's just the clock striking midnight for yet another day) or resolutions—more on that in another post to come—I do like that I have this little virtual diary to track what's happened so far, and I have another 73 days left until spring so I might as well reminisce about something.
I pulled a lot of the images for this post from my instagram feed in 2014, and looking over it reminded me of some of the amazing things that happened last year (gotta love virtual diaries, no?). Now, I know some of you are probably like, "I don't really care for yet another re-cap from another blogger about their year" (and I think Hitha wrote a great post on this here) but for me, this is more personal. It's a reminder of how far I've come and an inspiration to make the coming spring, summer & fall just as amazing! At the start of 2013, I was feeling unsatisfied in my job when my grandpa got very sick and passed later that spring. It was the first close family death I'd had to really deal with, and it hit me hard. I entered a pretty deep depression and my stressed, lowered immune system fell ill with a virus that wiped me out for months. Things finally started to turn around the last few months as I took on a new job and made an effort to get back out there, but it was really this past spring when I came back out of my shell and vowed to stop letting myself mope or make excuses and start living my life.
I tend to "hibernate" during January and most of February, fashion week and work obligations aside, taking the time to fully un-wind while the days are short (hence part of the reason I've been slow getting back to posting here) and spend as much time relaxing at home and biding my time til the temps warm up. Once they *finally* did this past year, I was on the go around NYC constantly, frequently packing two to three week stretches of time with plans every night and weekend. Picnics in the park, sprawling out with a book in the park, more brunch dates than I could possibly count, pool parties, colorful drinks in the sunshine, flea markets, farmer's markets, early weekend SoulCycle classes then wandering SoHo, happy hours and dinners and rooftops and museums and beaches and bright, warm Saturdays in Brooklyn—nothing was left off my agenda.
I crossed a lot of new things off my list, but also found myself back at my old favorites pretty often, too. Brunch at Joseph Leonard's is always a must, as is a day trip out to Jones Beach (SO much cleaner and nicer than Rockaways or Coney Island!). This summer was my first time on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum, and I can't wait to grab a drink up there next summer, too. I mixed some old favorites + new to-do's in this post, and am pretty proud that I managed to cross all of them off my list, the last one being a trip to the Glass House in Connecticut in early November.
For someone who'd been on a plane only once before college and about twice a year during college, this was definitely my most-traveled year yet. Most of my plane travel since moving to NYC has been to fly back home to see family and friends (a wedding in Mexico aside), but I've been making a conscious effort to see and do more while I'm young and unattached to much of anything. My first trip of the year was to Arizona to visit my very dearest friend, followed by a weekend in D.C. later that spring, a quick trip home (where I celebrated my 25th birthday and went to a wedding), several trips to various beaches and Long Island over the summer, a day trip upstate for horse races, finally capped off with another, longer trip home for my sister's wedding. September and October were a whirlwind at work, then I jumped on another plane for a last-minute trip to London.
So, needless to say, that skyline view was one I got used to this year (anyone else also try to spot their apartment/street from the plane every time they come in to land at home? That can't be just me. This picture is over Brooklyn, so my place is a bit further north!). I still love the feeling of flying in over the city, and will never forget the first time I looked out the window after my first trip back home in 2011  and thought, "This is home." That being said, after traveling so much this year—especially to Europe—I was reminded that New York City probably isn't my forever home. I'd love to live in Europe and was surprised by how much I enjoyed and appreciated London, even more so once I'd landed back on our soil. Now, before you get ahead of me, I have no idea when I will leave the city. It could be in a year, five years, a decade…it's not a plan, just an idea and a thought right now, and there's no reason to say I wouldn't come back after I lived in whatever my next city will be (because I do  really love this one, after all). 
There's a lot more I could say on 2014, but sometimes memories are best re-lived inside the head of the person they belong to because, truthfully, they're just not that interesting to someone who wasn't a part of them! I've got another post coming up (hopefully later this week) about what I'm now looking forward to, and some goals I've been working on and hope to make progress on over the next twelve months. I'll leave you with some of my favorite posts from 2014!

What are your favorite memories of 2014? Anything you're really looking forward to trying out (or doing again) in 2015? 

all photos copyright Rose Mayo for Blonde in this City