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New York City

02_LIVING_roomso, i stumbled across this beautiful brownstone on design*sponge a week or so ago and immediately pinned the crap out of it so that i would a) remember to write about it and b) save the inspiration for the day that pigs fly (also known as the day i too can afford a 1900s brownstone, well, ANYWHERE). i have long loved the home tours on DS; grace and her team have an incredible eye – but this one really took the cake. something about all those prewar details (SWOON!) and that INSANE FIREPLACE (hello, gorgeous!) had me having a pre-menopausal hot flash.

i mean, would you look at that light?! those windows? that exposed brick? THESE PEOPLE EVEN HAVE A WINDOW SEAT – something us average peasant folk can only dream of. while the living room design is a bit modern for my taste, i can’t help but fall in love with the entire space. i would move in yesterday if i could.

let’s see a bit more of the space, shall we? that, below, my friends, is a FIREPLACE. like, a real, true, working, santa claus could come down it if he wanted to FIREPLACE. and it’s original hardwood. my heart palpates just looking at it. fireplaces, along with washers and dryers, are on the list of things new yorkers acquire when they know they’ve “made it.” you know how they say in the suburbs that you’ve “made it” one you have a garage? well, we don’t need garages here because we use our own two legs to get around (TAKE THAT, SUBURBIA!//it’s a hard knock life for us city dwellers), but what we do need, and want, more than anything in the world, is a washer dryer unit in our very own apartment, and then, after that, closet space and a fireplace.

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point being, these homeowners have made it. clearly. i really can’t get over the original detailing on this beautiful mantle. i tend to be more of a painted wood gal myself, but this just screams historical and important and “DON’T YOU DARE PAINT OVER ME!” okay, fireplace. i hear you.

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more beautiful original woodwork, this time on the front door to the home. and would you believe that bookcase is a bunch of ikea expedits stacked together? yeah, me neither, but apparently, that’s the case. i always wish i could be one of those ikea hack geniuses, but every time i attempt to even put a piece of ikea furniture together, i fail miserably. alas, i guess that’s why god invented guy friends who i can bribe with cookies.

08_DINING_tableanother angle of the living/dining room. can we talk about that otomi/saarinen/persian rug situation? heart palpitations, yet again. this room achieves that effortlessly cool, bohemian layered look that so many strive for (and fail to achieve, might i add). it’s simply yet stunning, comfortable yet stylish, and doesn’t even carry a hint of “trying too hard.” color me impressed, there’s a table in here for four. (pretty woman, anyone?)

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a close up of that amazing otomi. according to design*sponge, the owner found it “hanging behind the table in the dusty back room of an antique store for a steal.” GIRL, what antique stories are you frequently, and can i come along?

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let’s talk about this bathroom. simple, yes, but also oh so clean and serene. give me subway tile or give me death, i say. i know it’s played out and i know it’s everywhere, but it’s so classic and beautiful that i still can’t get enough. and when you’re stuck in a rental apartment whose bathroom contains floor to ceiling pinkish beige marble (i just threw up a little bit in my mouth as i typed that), you start to daydream about white subway tile and all the things you’d be able to do if you lived in a clean white bathroom.

ps: as a certified CCL (crazy cat lady) myself, i can’t NOT mention that painting above. there’s something about really weird art that’s so magical and transfixing, and this piece is no exception to that rule. on her own, the woman might be a little bit strange, but add the cat to the picture and VOILA, you’ve got straight up wacky. i love it, i want it for my own. oh wait, i can’t hang it in my all marble bathroom. a true champagne problem.

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last but most certainly not least, the bedroom. small but perfect, there’s even more amazing woodwork in here. my very first apartment in new york (which was more of a $1300/month closet than it was a home, but that’s neither here nor there) contained those same over the closet storage cabinets, and let me tell you, when you’re living in a teeny tiny bedroom, those babies come in handy. out of season clothing, suitcases, all the random stuff you can’t stash under the bed – it goes in those cabinets. at least here, they’re an excuse to highlight those incredible reclaimed wood shutters, which makes the fact that you likely have to stand on a ladder to reach them a little less annoying.

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if i lived in this room, i’d never leave this bed. there’s just something about crisp white linens that makes you feel like just about anything is possible. george clooney by your side come morning? in a white bed, YOU BET.

okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what i mean. crisp white just never gets old. so, there you have it:  the latest home to inspire some incredible “can i live here” jealousy. harlem might be hella far uptown, but if this is what home looks like on the upper upper west side, count me in.

 

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9e7bc83e540281b518053fb6f9e07f26recently, i had dinner with a couple of old friends – women i’d met during study abroad in 2006, back when we were wee babies just testing the waters of the world – and we got to talking about what we’d all been up to the last few years. ashley, who i hadn’t seen since 2008, had finished up her time at yale, gone on to tour the world with her a capella group, and then spent 2 years in the peace corp in malawi. from there, she’d traveled the world some more, and done all together “good for the world” things. martha, who i’ve stayed very close with, went back to boston to finish her nursing degree, went on to work in head trauma, you know, saving lives and shit like that, and just spent the latter part of a year doing an incredible kidney disease research project in nicaragua.

and it got me thinking: what the fuck am i doing with my life? see, as a kid, i thought i’d be doing great things. i went through a phase where i exclusively read lurlene mcdaniel novels, convinced that it was my destiny to be a pediatric oncologist. then there was my foray into songwriting, with a stint at a couple open mics, when i thought i’d be the next fiona apple, a teenage lyrical genius (guess that crown went to lorde). then i got into writing, really into writing, and i thought, i’m going to write stuff that will change the world.

i thought people would read my writing and feel things, that my words would give people goosebumps, that they’d make people laugh and cry and fight and make up again. i thought i’d do something great with this one singular talent i’d been given (especially since i’d failed so miserably at pretty much everything else i’d tried). i thought that if i couldn’t save the world with what i did, i’d save the world with my writing.

and here i am, 28 years old, working in PHARMACEUTICAL ADVERTISING. while my friends are doing things like attempting to cure kidney disease in sugarcane workers and bringing relief and calm to places in crisis.

and i know that we don’t all get to do great things. we don’t all get to change the world. we don’t all grow up to be the sorts of people that little kids look up to, that young people aspire to be.

but i sort of thought i was doing to, you know?

couple that with the fact that the internet and the blogosphere (i’m looking at you, pinterest) is FILLED with mantras like the one above, constantly reminding us that if we don’t do what we love, we’re failing. that if we DO do what we love, we’ll never work a day in our lives. that if we’re not doing chasing our dreams and making our passions a reality, we’re doing it wrong.

it can get overwhelming. it can make a person with a perfectly reasonable career and a great job feel like absolute shit. because here’s the truth: not all of us get to do what we love. the single mom who’s trying to make ends meet? she doesn’t get to do what she loves. she just has to go to work.

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i’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we got to this place in society – a place that so relishes our ability to say, fuck a career, fuck a stable salary, fuck benefits, i’m just gonna DO WHAT I LOVE. how we got to a place where pinterest-pretty is pervasive, where everything is about showing just how beautiful and perfectly styled and amazing our lives are, each and every day.

here’s the thing: that shit? it isn’t real. as my friend molly said the other day, “not all of us save the world. some of us just wake up and go to work.”

or, as my mother said to me this weekend, when i explained that i was feeling kind of shitty about my job, “some of us save the world on the side. that’s what you do.”

it’s true, isn’t it? that sure, some people do amazing, incredible, life-changing, world-changing things. and i should be proud, thrilled, amazed, to call some of those people my friends. they inspire me to be a better person, to ask more, to learn more, to do more – but i don’t have to do those things in my day job. i don’t have to wake up each morning and say, goddammit, i am so fucking THRILLED to go to work today. sure, i can say that some days (and honestly, some days, i do), but the rest of the days, i can just be satisfied. satisfied to have a great job, to work with great people, to have a job that enables me to live in the greatest city in the world, one that pushes me and teaches me every.single.day. of my life. i can be satisfied to have things that others in the world can’t take for granted. things like a 401k, and health insurance, and the knowledge that i’ve got a paycheck coming in every 2 weeks.

those things aren’t glamorous, and they aren’t pinterest perfect, and they most certainly don’t amount to saving the world. but they are a luxury, and they make me lucky. because someday, my boring job will enable me to give my children the sorts of experiences my parents gave me. they’ll allow me to send my kids to summer camp, to take them on vacation, to show them the world, to give them perspective. and maybe i wouldn’t have those sorts of luxuries if i worked at a tiny non-profit.

so what if i haven’t written my life-changing novel yet? so what if i don’t save lives daily? instead, i get up and go to work, and i get paid to write each day. my 16 year old self – she’d be pretty proud of that, pharma advertising or no pharma advertising. do i feel uninspired sometimes? sure, but that’s why i started this blog. do i feel like i could do more sometimes? sure, but that’s why i volunteer, and donate my time and on

 

 

071f1eff1e6704c21a729ddd41fc8400yesterday was one of those days that made me think a lot about what i have, and how easy it is to lose everything in a single moment. i purposefully held off on posting; i think in the case of september 11th, for the most part, silence speaks louder than any words i could write. i didn’t live here when the planes hit the towers, but having been here for the better part of 6 years, i feel like i can at least call myself somewhat of a new yorker, and every year on 9/11, i feel a little pang in my chest, like a tiny piece of my heart has chipped off and swirled down the drain. the world is kind of a scary place these days, you know? i don’t remember the last time i saw something truly happy on the news, and conflict seems to be around every.single.corner. yesterday, i woke up to clouds obstructing the sun, and i thought, good. it simply wouldn’t seem right for the sun to shine on a day like today. 

like millions of other new yorkers, i got up, and went about my day. i took the subway, i walked to work, i got a coffee at my regular spot – but i did so with a heaviness in my heart that isn’t there on other days. then, when i got to work, i found out that a friend’s father had passed away the evening before. and while i’d never met him, and while this friend and i aren’t that close, i felt this dark cloud settle over me, one little prick of sadness after another.

the world just isn’t fair, you know? i know, that’s a silly and childish thing to say. of course the world isn’t fair. but sometimes i want it to be, so that bad things, hard things, things that break our hearts – so that those things don’t happen to the people i care about.

i’m not really the god-fearing type, but i do ascribe to the belief that there’s something greater than us out there, something that has a sense of our purpose, and our plan. that’s not to say there is a reason for everything, but i like to think that sometimes, there’s someone up there (oprah, is that you?) pulling just a few strings.

all that heaviness yesterday got me thinking about just how lucky i am. sure, i put up a post two days ago about my wounded heart, and sure, i’m SAF (single as fuck, a term i recently coined to describe myself), but if that’s the worst thing in my life right now, god damn am i grateful.

grateful. it’s a good word, isn’t it? it makes you think of the things, the moments, the people and places you’re thankful for. it reminds you to take a step back, and see everything as relative, and remember the good instead of focusing on the bad. on days when it seems like the world is a terrible, horrible, scary place, and like no one’s up there minding the store, i like to remind myself of what’s important: all the things i do have, not all the things i don’t. thinking about all those people who lost their lives on 9/11, thinking about my friend who will never get to call his father again – those are terrible, horrible things. and when i stop and truly think about them, they make me realize: my problems? not so bad.

so, as a short exercise, a few things i am grateful for.

1) my health, and the health of my loved ones. almost immediately after hearing about my friend’s father’s death, i texted my entire family. had my parents not been at a medical conference, i would have called. i just needed to hear that they were okay, that they were there. and then i said, i am so thankful that we’re all still here, and we’re all still healthy. my family isn’t perfect (who’s is?) but we love each other dearly, and i wouldn’t be where i am today without them.

2) my job. sometimes i hate it, but i quite like it, and i feel happy to go into work each day. doing something you enjoy is an absolute privilege, and i try not to forget that.

3) my city. i live in one of the most vibrant, exciting, interesting, diverse cities in the entire world. sometimes, new york uses me as its punching bag, but most of the time, the city is pretty damn nice to me, and i’ll be damned if i don’t feel lucky to live here.

4) my body. slightly connected to my health, but also its own thing. anyone who reads this blog regularly knows i struggle greatly with my body image (and i probably always will), but over the past few years, i’ve been working towards a place of acceptance. while i’m not there yet, i have gotten to the point where i have moments in which i feel strong, and capable, and oh so thankful for two working arms and two working legs, and the ability to get just about anywhere on my own two feet. there are many people (my own cousin included) who do not have this luxury; i try not to take it lightly.

5) my friends. i have never been the girl to have a huge group of friends, and slowly but surely, i’m learning to be okay with that. what i do have, however, is a good handful of people i can count on rain or shine, and then a whole other bucket of folks who are just plain wonderful, even if i can’t count them as my inner circle. this morning, one of my old coworkers reached out to send me a little ray of sunshine, and i can’t tell you just how much it made my day. people like that – ones who do things to make others happy purely out of the kindness of their own hearts – they make my time on this world worth it.

i’d love to know: what are you grateful for? 

5 Tips for a Better Night Sleep

so, yesterday, i talked about my overall sleep issues – from the little ones that plague me in my own bedroom to the bigger ones that hold me back when traveling – and today, i’m offering up 5 tried and true tips i use to help get me on my way to dreamland. these tips work best for me at home (of course), but they’re also easily adapted to travel. little things such as bringing a pillow spray that reminds you of home, toting your eye pillow from place to place (i’m that girl), and making sure you hunker down with a good book before bedtime can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. so, without further adieu, sleep tips!

5 tips for a better night's sleep

number one: invest in nice sheets. my personal favorites are these from pottery barn (and i have this duvet). they’re soft as can be (and only get softer over time), they come in crisp white (my favorite for creating a calming space upon which to snooze), and bonus: they’re pretty darn cheap! which means you don’t have to feel guilty about replacing them when the sun yellows them or you accidentally spill food that stains in your bed (what? that’s just me?). if you invest in anything, make it your sheets. there’s nothing like getting into a bed with scratchy sheets (my legs are tingling just thinking about it). your bed should be your oasis, the place where you escape from the world. so make it nice. bonus points for a big fluffy comforter, lots and lots of pillows, and a good mattress (which can make all the difference).

number two: power down. this is probably one of the most important ones. i know we’re all glued to our iphones, and i personally am guilty of checking my instagram feed right before bed, but it’s best for all of us if we just SHUT THAT SHIT OFF. an hour before bedtime, power down. shut off your computer, your phone, your ipad, your nook, your kindle, your TV. anything with a glowing screen should go bye-bye. except the old school kindle, which doesn’t glow at all (!!). hop into bed, or your favorite armchair, or your couch, and grab a book. research shows that the artificial light exposure created by our devices suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhancing alertness and shifting our circadian rhythms to a later hour. AKA, making it way more difficult to fall asleep.

number three: make it smell good. i’m a huge fan of linen spray, and pretty much anything that makes my life/room/body smell good. so when i stumbled across this pillow spray during a trip to space.NK while in LA earlier this year, i pounced on it. and never turned back. scented with lavender and chamomile, this spray lulls you into dreamland with its calming aromatherapy.

number four: make it dark. really dark. natural light is great for waking up in the morning, but not so great for going to sleep. if you, like me, live in a city, you know that it never REALLY gets dark, what with all the lights of the concrete jungle glowing around you. i’ve been using an eye pillow since middle school, and i kid you not when i say i CANNOT sleep without it. something about the light pressure of the flaxseed, the calming scent of lavender, the cool silk…eye pillows are a godsend. they’re also great for headaches and stress, and can be popped in the microwave/fridge depending on how you’re feeling. i get mine here, in my hometown beauty shop (they’re locally made), but any silk/lavender/flaxseed version will do.

number five: embrace the cold. people sleep better in cold, dark rooms. we’ve already tackled the “dark” part above, so now, we’ve got to tackle the temperature. set your thermostat to 65 or lower, turn on your AC in the summer, open your windows in the winter, invest in a good fan – do whatever you have to do to cool it down. this is a really interesting read from the nytimes on how cooling down your bedroom won’t just help you sleep better, it might even help you lose weight! SCORE. personally, i love the feel of sleeping under a heavy comforter, so i ALWAYS keep it cold (this means i keep my windows open in the dead of winter). there is nothing i love more than the nip of chilly winter air coming through my window at night.

and there you have it: my five tips for falling asleep. other ideas include: exercising daily (this works wonders for me), no coffee after 3pm, and writing down tomorrow’s to-do list before you shut off the light (alleviating all the “omg i have to do this and this and this tomorrow” worries).

now, go on and get some shut eye!

 


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ah, weekend! i am so, so happy friday is here – mostly because it means that i’m officially on vacation. AHHHHH. that’s my big ass sigh of relief. tomorrow morning, i head to rhode island to spend five days on the beach with my family. a whole lot of ice cream eating, tanning and book-reading (i downloaded THREE new books on my kindle!) is about to begin. then it’s back to new york, where i’ll be hitting up central park summerstage for a gavin degraw concert weds night (haters, hush, i can’t wait), a single full day at work, and out to montauk for more beach time. a good august, indeed.

what do you have planned for this lovely weekend? and ps: where did summer go?!

fuck you. pay me. a great read on freelancing, and gettin’ those benjamins like you deserve.

imagine if the subway was a spa. too good, too funny, and too freaking ON POINT. this stunt was conducted by an improv group, but it’s actually a genius idea for a skincare company looking to make a splash with their out of home advertising.

i cannot get enough of this song lately. sam hunt, you do it so good. those drums in the background, that sweet like molasses voice. if you want me to have your babies, i will.

sometimes i think about where i’ll live when i’m a real grownup. you know, because i don’t think i could raise my kids in the city – i want them to have a real yard and i want a garden and maybe even a garage (gasp!). and because i can’t imagine living in connecticut (eek, so conservative!) or westchester (eek, too moneyed), i tend to imagine myself in the hudson valley. and why not? there’s so much good there.

this story, of two women playing a soccer game to choose which last name they’ll use post marriage is amazing, hilarious and heartwarming.

i’m OBSESSED with this video of the lion king cast surprising a crowded A train with the circle of life. so good, and such an ILOVENY moment. i would seriously shit my pants if this happened to me. that, or cry tears of musical geek happiness.

and, in case you missed it:

a story about anxiety, and trying to sleep + homemade almond vanilla granola 

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|click here to listen|

yesterday was one of those perfect spring sundays. the city came alive, the sun came out to play, and everywhere you looked, bare legs saluted the warm air in shorts and sandals. nothing compares to new york city in the spring, i tell you. the trees begin to bud, and the flowers spring up around us, and just like that, our bitter, cranky, winter-hating hearts are thawed and we’re all happy again. i get such a kick out of walking around the city in the 70 degree weather, earbuds in and music cranked up. this music, to be precise. above is my spring playlist – a mishmash of new to me music, and oldies but goodies that i can never get enough of once the weather warms up (dispatch, i’m looking at you). happy listening!

KIMS-APT-ENTRY_046on tuesday night, i instagrammed this photo of my hotel room with the hashtag #realgrownup. i was on a trip for work in philadelphia, and was staying at a sheraton, in a room with a giant king size bed that i had all to myself. and as i took off my makeup, washing off the day, and changed out of my fancy ‘meet the clients for the first time’ dress into my leggings and sweatshirt, i had a little moment of “holy shit, i am a real grownup.”

i know it sounds silly. i am a real grownup in a lot of ways. for starters, i just turned 28, which is definitely real grownup territory. i have a good job where i make good money. i have a nice apartment that i pay for all on my own. in fact, i pay for everything i do all on my own: my vacations, my (expensive cult class) exercise habit, my many orders of takeout sushi and my shopping excursions. i am a decidedly separate entity from the family unit in which i grew up. the live i live is mine -though i share it with other people – it’s no one else’s.

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sure, i don’t have children, or a serious relationship (the latter i’d take right away, the former i want eventually), but beyond those missing pieces, i’m doing fairly well at being an adult (there were some serious roadbumps when i first graduated college). i am, for all intents and purposes, a legitimate, real, grownup.

that being said, i sometimes feel light years behind my peers, a lot of whom are in serious relationships, a few of whom are married, and most of whom seem to have it all figured out. and don’t even get me started on my imaginary peers – the legions of bloggers i follow who SERIOUSLY seem to have it all (i know that a blog isn’t real life, but you know what i mean).

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this is going to sound ridiculously superficial and shallow, but the one area where i do feel like a real grownup on the regular is my home. my apartment is my pride and joy. i moved into it during a time when i was really going through some shit (and that’s basically the understatement of the century), and for a while, i was convinced it would never feel like home. but almost five years later, i’m still there, and it’s more comfortable than i ever could have imagined. it is my sanctuary. i’ve poured a lot of time, and heart, and money, into it. and yet, not a penny i’ve spent on it feels wasted. the things i buy for my home, even the expensive ones, feel like the most worthy investments in the world.

which is why i fell head over heels for this ‘starter apartment’ (and i use that term insanely lightly; this woman clearly has moolah and resources many of us don’t) featured on one kings lane. it’s a one bedroom, and belongs to the eldest daughter of OKL founder susan feldman. like i said, girl has resources.

KIMS-APT-LIVING-RUG_787 KIMS-APT-LIVING-BARCART_243kim, the article states, had spent the past 5 years in a cramped roommate situation (we’ve all been there, thanks new york!), and this was her first real grownup home. she enlisted OKL stylist andrew to help her create a glamorous, modern place that she could call her own. the before pictures are nothing special, but the after shots are truly spectacular – proof that you can take a boring white box and turn it into something beautiful.

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i doubt that i’ll ever be able to afford the level of decor this apartment boasts (and even if i could, i’m not sure i could stomach those price tags), but the message of the piece – that you should buy what you love, and create a home that feels like it’s really YOURS – sits well with me. my apartment might not be as fancy schmancy as this one, and i might not yet have figured out my true decorating style (as OKL says, design is never done!), but it is MINE, and it looks and feels like me…

and that, my friends, is real grownup territory.