Monthly Archives: March 2013

today, spring finally came out to play in new york city. and just like that, the streets were full of people. teenagers jostled each other, playfully linking arms on the 6 train. spring street was full of tourists stopping for photos in front of balthazar. couples roamed the union square flea market. fresh flowers are out in every bodega on every corner. i purchased a giant bunch of oriental lilies for a mere $20.

spring always makes me yearn for new music – and i crave fun, poppy beats with a hint of electronica. you know, the kind of music you want to listen to with your windows down. the kind you want to blast on the beach while you sip a lemonade and vodka. we’re almost there, folks. i have a feeling april is going to be a good month.

and in that spirit, here’s what i’m currently listening to on repeat.

ps: lest most of this music make me seem even slightly cool, there’s the demi lovato track i know every single word and riff to in there too for good measure. don’t diss the demi, folks. this shit is a JAM. go ahead, try and listen to it WITHOUT bobbing your head. it can’t be done.

pps: like everyone else, i am still listening to the entire lumineers album on repeat. especially ho hey. so sue me!

spring flats
i am so ready for spring shoes, you guys. so, so ready. i love my trusty frye boots, but i’m really feeling some bright spring flats and multiple pairs of oxfords. above, you’ll find some fancy footwear (anyone get the chromeo reference?)  i’m planning on adding to my wardrobe. i’m especially feeling the offerings from GAP (of all places!) this season. the fact that their flats ring in around $50 is especially tempting – though i’ve got my heart set on a pair of madewell’s leopard sidewalk skimmers (currently hovering around $88). come on, spring!
target threshold
target has seriously been stepping up their game in the interior design department, and i am S-O-L-D sold. on all the items above. seriously, my online shopping cart (there’s no target in manhattan, sadly) is overflowing with a bevy of goodies (including many of the ones seen above) that i can’t wait to incorporate into my home. in particular, i’m smitten with those gold wire side tables (and at just $50, they’re a STEAL – snagging two for my living room asap) and the brass animals (hello, side table styling). plus that seafoam blown glass teardrop lamp and the funky pillows. target, you are KILLING it. what would you buy from the list above?
Rabbi Herschel Schacter

Rabbi Herschel Schacter leading the Shavuot prayer service for survivors in the Buchenwald camp in Germany in 1945.

i’ve always been weirdly, slightly obsessively into the holocaust. it sounds crazy, i know, but hear me out. my parents were raised by jews who had relocated to brooklyn from poland and russia a good ten years before the nazi party rose to prominence, so i’ve never had any personal connection to holocaust survivors. my mother used to tell me the story of her grandpa nathan, who came to america on a big boat at the small age of seven, clutching to the railings of an enormous ship as the ocean waters churned beneath him. nathan was sent to america by his parents, who fled russia during the pogroms of the early 1900s. my entire extended family, as far back as i can remember, was out of europe before world war I, and long before world war II. but they left behind friends, and neighbors, and lives – lives that would be shattered by the nazi regime just a decades later. my grandfather fought as an american soldier in world war II, and liberated a few of the smaller camps. as the head of his unit, it was his job to write letters home to the families of all the soldiers who lost their lives during battle. in addition to having to answer to the deaths of his troops, he also had to answer to the deaths of his people – to walk into those camps and see body after body, life after life, taken away.

i knew my grandfather as a stern, rather angry man with a violent streak. one night, at dinner, i put my elbows on the table. he reached across and rapped my knuckles with his butter knife, hard. “we don’t eat like that here!” he said. my mother pushed her chair back so fast it flew into the buffet behind her, and told her father if he ever laid a hand on me again, he could kiss his relationship with us goodbye. he nodded, but didn’t apologize. my memories of him are few and far in between. in photos, he can be seen smiling, but my recollection is that he did very little of that. he was plagued by the demons of the war; on D Day each year, he sat in his armchair and smoked his pipe all day long, speaking to no one. according to my grandmother, when they first met, he was a different man. indeed, his letters to her from abroad are long, romantic accounts of the rolling hills of germany and the long overnight train rides. they’re written in perfect slanting script, and contain no mention of the german mistress he took up while he was there. my grandmother’s favorite set of china was one that was reportedly given to my grandfather by this mistress; i don’t know if my grandma ever knew of its origin.

all of this is to say that while no one in my immediate family was a holocaust survivor, they were all deeply affected by it in their own ways. one has to wonder what it was like to be a nineteen thirties housewife deep in the heart of brooklyn waiting for your american husband to come home, knowing that he’s fighting a war against a behemoth that wants nothing more than to rid the earth of everyone like him. i never asked my grandfather what he saw at the camps, mostly because i got the sense that he wasn’t quite able to talk about it.

perhaps its because of my lack of connection to any survivors that i’ve always devoured any holocaust literature and material i can get my hands on. as a teenager, i read every work of historical fiction i could find on the topic; when i decided one day i’d be a writer, i told myself that i’d write the stories of survivors, to ensure that when they passed, their stories would live on. a rather lofty goal, looking back on it. when survivors spoke at my temple, i sat with bated breath, with hot, salty tears dripping down my cheeks and dotting my dress.

i continue to read every bit of holocaust literature i can find, and admittedly finished jodi piccoult’s newest book, the storyteller, on a crowded metro north train that probably wondered why i was sniffling loudly while i turned the pages. (sidenote: if you’re a jodi fan, you need to read this book). so, you can imagine that i was beyond taken by this new york times obituary of rabbi herschel schacter, the man who brought word of freedom to the jews of buchenwald. i beseech you to read the entire thing for yourself, and i dare you not to cry while you do so. but i was particularly moved by the passage below, which tells a story so symbolic of the holocaust and the damage it did to all those who lived through it. i could read this passage again and again – but then i’d be sitting at my computer in an open workspace crying to myself, and let’s face it, i don’t think my office would be too happy about that.

but seriously, please, read the whole thing. it’s important to remember the past, and i think the power of the written word is a pretty good tool to help us do so.

from rabbi herschel’s obituary:

In Buchenwald that April day, Rabbi Schacter said afterward, it seemed as though there was no one left alive. In the camp, he encountered a young American lieutenant who knew his way around.

“Are there any Jews alive here?” the rabbi asked him.

He was led to the Kleine Lager, or Little Camp, a smaller camp within the larger one. There, in filthy barracks, men lay on raw wooden planks stacked from floor to ceiling. They stared down at the rabbi, in his unfamiliar military uniform, with unmistakable fright.

“Shalom Aleichem, Yidden,” Rabbi Schacter cried in Yiddish, “ihr zint frei!” — “Peace be upon you, Jews, you are free!” He ran from barracks to barracks, repeating those words. He was joined by those Jews who could walk, until a stream of people swelled behind him.

As he passed a mound of corpses, Rabbi Schacter spied a flicker of movement. Drawing closer, he saw a small boy, Prisoner 17030, hiding in terror behind the mound.

“I was afraid of him,” the child would recall long afterward in an interview with The New York Times. “I knew all the uniforms of SS and Gestapo and Wehrmacht, and all of a sudden, a new kind of uniform. I thought, ‘A new kind of enemy.’ ”

With tears streaming down his face, Rabbi Schacter picked the boy up. “What’s your name, my child?” he asked in Yiddish.

“Lulek,” the child replied.

“How old are you?” the rabbi asked.

“What difference does it make?” Lulek, who was 7, said. “I’m older than you, anyway.”

“Why do you think you’re older?” Rabbi Schacter asked, smiling.

“Because you cry and laugh like a child,” Lulek replied. “I haven’t laughed in a long time, and I don’t even cry anymore. So which one of us is older?”

i know i’m not alone in feeling more than ready for winter to get its chilly ass outta these parts and for spring to come on in and make itself at home. i love the cold, but i’m sick of my winter coat and my dry skin. i want sunshine and outdoor seating and light that lasts till 8pm and I WANT IT NOW. lest i get too overzealous with my aggravation over mother nature’s decision to totally ignore punxsatawney phil’s prediction on groundhog day, i’ve decided to channel my efforts toward ushering in the season the only way i know how: by pretending it’s spring already.
last week, this included brightly colored fingernails (essie’s mint candy apple), an abundance of fresh flowers (ranunculus and flowering branches, along with tulips for good measure), as well as some springy makeup. i’m FEELING the dewy look above (though let’s be honest, i’m always feeling dewy skin. who wants dry, matte skin? no one, i hope), and have been attempting to create it with my current highlighter of choice: nars the multiple in luxor. i’m a huge fan of highlighting creams, powders, sticks – you name it, i’ve tried it. i’m a big fan of benefit’s high beam, but i find that nars multiple sticks last longer. in winter, i go for luxor, and once i’ve got a hint of a tan, i switch it out for a slightly darker shade, copacabana. these babies are expensive, but soo worth it. so, mother nature, what do you think? can we strike a deal here?

gallerywallSJsweetsafter all my hemming and hawing, i ended up going with a mirror that hadn’t even been on my list to begin with: this starburst mirror from target’s new threshold line (which, by the way, is great). i loved that giant round wisteria mirror, but it was really big, and honestly, i just couldn’t bite the bullet on the $300 price tag (it was $228 but had a $75 oversized shipping charge). to spend $300 on something that couldn’t be returned if i didn’t love it freaked me out, and then i happened upon target’s starburst mirror for $35 at my local target, and went for it. i know, i know, i talked a big talk about a fancy schmancy starburst for my wall – but fear not, i still ordered one. it’s from one kings lane (which, for those not in the know, is the online interior sample sale mecca), and it’s set to arrive on my doorstep on thursday. obviously, i’ll instagram that baby as soon as it’s hung. like i previously discussed, i’m going to hang it above my couch, as i’ve moved my marilyn minter photo to the other side of my eating area. someday, when i have a huge loft-style apartment with period details and lots of exposed brick, i’ll order that wisteria beauty, and the sunlight from my floor to ceiling factory windows will set the room ablaze. but until then, i think my $35 purchase suits me just fine.

the gallery wall itself is coming together. if anyone wants sources, i’m happy to list them – just leave a comment if you’re curious! it’s pretty much all etsy art, which makes my heart happy. i still have a few more purchases in mind for the wall, mainly this, this and this. but it’s coming together! progress!



this morning, the lovely jamie meares of i suwanee blogged about a recent styling project she did for her friend, jordan fearney (also a blogger – the woman behind oh happy day!). jordan and her family (a total of four people) live in a tiny, but light-filled 500 square foot apartment in san francisco. as a new yorker with a serious penchant for real estate and interior design, i’m always amazed by tiny spaces that manage to seem big. the space below achieves this with lots of natural light and white walls, as well as well-thought out design and furniture that fits. it sounds easy, right? but believe me. i’ve lived in a tiny apartment or two myself, and it is NOT easy. so major kudos to meares and fearney for managing to put together a small space that feels big, both spatially and stylisticall

Imagei’m dying over the capiz chandelier (from jamie’s shop, furbish) and the entryway in general. again, white walls, lots of light…it makes a huge difference. when i save up my pennies, i’m going to invest in a capiz chandelier like the one above (if not the exact one above) for my living room redesign. slightly beachy, effortless with a dash of bohemian. i like it.

Imageanother view of the living room – love the art, and the pillows on the sofa are perfect. such a great muted color scheme – it’s neutral, but not at all bland. what i would give for windows like that.


let’s talk about the photo above the bar cart turned bookshelf. actually, let’s just talk about how much i want this bookshelf to be my bar cart and live in my apartment forever. industrial chic to the max, people. i’m forever lacking storage, and i have so many books in boxes at my parents’ house that i’d love to have with me here in new york. and i can just imagine a nice big tray sitting on that top shelf, filled to the brim with chevron paper straws and vintage glassware. le sigh. someday!

Imagelast but not least – let’s talk about the art in this hallway. i love it. it’s so serene. i love all white – white mats, white frames. it’s a look i’ll be incorporating into my gallery wall. so crisp and clean. i have a rather sizable hallway in my apartment that currently houses a college-era tjmaxx mirror, but i know i could do better. these shots are good inspiration, and might just give me the motivation i need to tackle my hallway next.

for more eye candy, check out the full post on i suwannee.

Siriano Payless Shoesyou may have noticed that i’ve got a thing for sparkles, shimmer, and anything and everything metallic. so it’s no surprise that i’m positively smitten with this perfect spring shoe, from (wait for it), payless (of all places)! it’s part of christian siriano’s line for the retailer, and these exact shoes walked down the spring runways in new york city. that’s right folks, models wore these shoes. well, not these exact shoes. you know what i mean. anywho, these babies are a mere $44, so scoop ’em up before they’re gone! here’s how i’d wear them.



spring shoes

Imagethe other day, while strolling in the east village, i had a bit of an epiphany. it was one of those sunny, late winter afternoons that give a nod to the promises of spring. the lilies were back in their rightful spot at the flower shop on the corner. the sunshine dappled the leafless trees, while couples sipped on iced coffees as a light breeze tousled their hair. as i stepped out from starbucks and turned right onto 13th street, i was suddenly struck with a strange sense of deja vu. and why not?  i spent my first year in new york city at 346 east 13th street, a small, pre-war walkup building across from popular restaurant the redhead. i had turned this corner so many times – multiple times a day, in my first year in the city. and yet, here i stood, almost four years later, such a different person. the girl that had walked down those streets in 2008 wasn’t the girl i am now. for starters, there was no starbucks on the block when i moved in, nor when i  moved out. that came later, along with the decidedly modern condo building that sat atop it. the bodega, which used to smell like a mix of stale coffee and spicy body odor, has gotten a total makeover, complete with a real name and a brightly lit sign to go with it. much has changed on 13th street in the past few years. but so have i.

it’s odd, isn’t it? how the streets of this city hold so many memories, tell so many stories. sometimes i feel like every step i take here permeates my senses, reminding me of where i’ve stepped before. it’s like walking in freshly fallen snow. your boots leave a footprint, but as the storm continues, they’re soon covered up. you can’t find them again. you can’t possibly tred the exact same path you’ve made in the past. here in new york, you can walk the same exact streets dozens, hundreds of times – but you can’t ever go back to where you’ve been. and yet, every time you walk outside, every time you hustle down the steps to the subway, you can magically be transported back into a moment, a memory, a story of self.

being back on 13th street gave me such an odd feeling – a mix of progression and stasis. the laundromat to which i used to drag my laundry every saturday is still open. the polish woman whose scent of detergent and cigarette smoke permeated my clothes even when clean is still there, sweeping her storefront with a broken broom. her hair is still platinum blonde, dark brown at the roots. the dumpsters into which i dumped vodka bottles and kitty litter haven’t moved, nor has the office to which i delivered my rent check each month. and yet, the street has grown up. hell, there’s a starbucks on the corner – right next to the eco-conscious city bakery, mind you!

i suppose new york city stops for no one, and nothing. just as i have moved on from 13th street, 13th street has moved on from me. it doesn’t remember that one night i went home with a 35 year old who lived two buildings down from mine, drunkenly stripping down in his railroad apartment, kissing him on tangled sheets spread onto a mattress haphazardly placed on original hardwoods from the early 1900s. it doesn’t recall his tiny oven, his grey longhaired cat sitting in the hallway watching us with eery blue eyes. 13th street doesn’t remember the pigeons that clustered outside my window each morning, chirping their hellos in a tone that was decidedly off-pitch. it doesn’t remember my moments of insomnia, the nights i spent lying in bed staring at the ceiling, wishing to god i could shut of my brain and the reminders of failure. it doesn’t remember how often i cried myself to sleep in that tiny closet of a room, with no sunlight nor moonlight, no stars or clouds to be seen.

no, 13th street doesn’t remember me at all – and if it does, it merely remembers yet another college graduate arriving to the streets hoping to add their layer of memories onto the caked concrete. but me? i remember it all.

you guys, i’m totally having a moment over here. remember when i said i was in the process of redecorating my living room, and i had it all figured out? well, this morning i was scrolling through my google reader, and there goes the amazing jenny komenda of little green notebook talking about how amazing giant round gilt mirrors are. and linking to THE PERFECT oversized one at wisteria. yesterday, i was all set to go for a large sunburst mirror over my dining area, but now i’m having second thoughts. why? because as much as i love the sunburst mirror i’ve picked out, the mirror portion of it is actually small. as the whole purpose of this mirror exercise was to add light into the space, i’m thinking that a mirror that’s all, well, mirror might be the way to go. i mean, look at this space below. doesn’t that just scream light and cozy and comfortable?

Imagebut then there’s this great shot of an oversized sunburst mirror like the one i’ve picked out. contrast it with the leopard, and the space totally pops. given that i was planning on ordering a few leopard pillows for my couch, i’m torn. like i said, a sunburst mirror has been in my “someday home” category for years now – and now that i’ve finally saved up to do a redesign, i’m worried that i’ll regret it if i don’t order what i had my heart set on for so long. i mean, sunburst mirrors are a total classic, and they perfectly demonstrate my design style – ever so slightly edgy, a dash of bohemian, a sprinkle of classic, with some worldly traveler thrown in (at least, that’s what i’m going for, eventually). but when it comes to bringing light into the space, i’m thinking the larger mirror might be the way to go. i’m also thinking that the round mirror would contrast really nicely with the angular frames that i’m planning on for my gallery wall – whereas the sunburst mirror might be a bit of visual competition with the prints i’ve selected.

Imageso i think i have an idea. bear with me here. right now, above my white pottery barn couch, i have a giant marilyn minter photo that sits in a white ikea frame. it’s not exactly the one below, but it’s close. most people think it’s totally weird (minter is a bit weird, let’s be honest), but i love it. it checks the “edgy” box on my design style checklist. Imagewhat i’m thinking i might do is move the minter photo to the other side of my eating area (where right now, i have three simple hanging frames that i’d happily get rid of). that would open up the space above my couch – which i think would be perfect for the lamps plus sunburst mirror i had in mind for the eating area.

sunburst mirror

lamps plus’ sunburst mirror, to replace the marilyn minter above my couch.

if i go that route, then i can order the large round wisteria mirror for the eating area/gallery wall and let the light shine in. this is a more expensive option (meaning i’ll have to wait on my side tables for now), but i think it’s the way to go. it’ll mean two big mirrors in one relatively small room – but i think it might just work. hopefully, it’ll mean a room that looks larger, lighter and brighter.

wisteria mirror

wisteria’s large round gilt mirror – to go over the dining area on as the centerpiece of the gallery wall