Life

LET’S CATCH UP 4.24.22

It’s been a pretty wild month so far and after being away for a couple of weekends in April it felt veryyy good to catch up on all of our errands and chores this weekend. The next couple of months are going to be non-stop, not to mention a big trip in a couple of weeks, so I’m relishing this sliver of time where the apartment is clean, groceries are stocked and laundry is done. Below, what’s on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart tonight.

ON MY MIND:

  • I’ve got a pen pal! The organizer of my newest book club put out an open call on Instagram and I was matched with someone in South Carolina. I picked up a card from Greenwich Letterpress so I can send my first note. There’s something I find so charming about getting mail and hand-writing something. I feel like I need to get some new stationery to keep on hand for my future notes – this boxed set is cute!
  • Mother’s Day is a couple of weeks away and I think it can be a very difficult holiday for a lot of people – those who have lost their mom, those who wish they were a mom, those who have strained relationships with their mom, those who feel like they’re struggling at being a mom. I particularly liked this article on Cup of Jo about motherhood.
  • While it’s taken seemingly forever for the weather to turn here in New York (we’re still barely breaking 60 most days), the flowers got the memo and everything is in bloom around the neighborhood. Tulips explode from curbs, cherry blossoms brighten up the park and the white flowers on the tree outside our windows seem to snow petals when the wind picks up. My allergies hate it but my heart loves it.

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I’m just finishing up Beautiful Little Fools – which is a parallel of The Great Gatsby from the perspective of 3 of its female characters. Is the writing blowing me away? No. But it’s an easy read and as someone who loves Gatsby it’s fun to be back in that world and imagine what the women were thinking, since the original focuses so heavily on Jay, Nick and Tom.
  • Speaking of the 1920s – The Paris Bookseller is high up on my TBR list. It tells the story of Paris’ Shakespeare & Co bookstore and the famed original owner, Sylvia Beach.
  • I’ve heard a couple of people – with really varied reading tastes – rave about this new rom-com. Sounds like it would be fun as a beach/pool/lake read this summer.

IN MY CART:

  • Since I was mostly working from home for the past 2 years, I haven’t really bought much in the way of warm weather office appropriate pieces in awhile. I’ve got my eye on this tweed jacket which will be perfect when the A/C is blasting.
  • This white cotton blouse and suede sandals that I bought before Palm Springs are both on major sale right now (the top is less than $20!) – they’ll both be staples in my spring/summer wardrobe.
  • While these dresses are on the pricier side, whenever I get one from this brand I end up wearing it constantly. And who am I to resist a Pretty Woman-esque brown and white polka dot?!
  • In my dreams I’m a person who only sleeps in pretty sets like this one. In reality I often sleep in an oversized Metallica t-shirt that I stole from Adam because it’s freakishly soft. But that set and matching robe would be a good place to turn things around.
  • I tend to forget that one of my favorite clothing brands has jewelry but these gold link necklaces are SO chic and several of them are on major sale – I’m deciding between this one or this one.

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BEST OF: JANUARY – APRIL READING

I can’t believe that the first few months of 2022 has come and gone. Because of the volume of books that I read, I found it tough to keep up with these recaps last year – so this year I’ve decided to share only the best of what I read. Rating books is so subjective, but for me – I grant an illustrious 5 stars (or a very solid 4 stars) when it’s a book that really captivates me while I’m reading it and sticks with me after I’ve finished. Whether it’s one that challenges my way of thinking or feels like a hug the whole way through. Below, the books I rated 4-5 stars so far this year.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles: This book came out a decade ago and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before this. An absolute 5 stars, this might now rank among my all-time favorite books. Set in the late 1930s, it’s a love letter to New York City – in all of its glitter and grime, ambition and abandon – as well as friendship and finding the people who are right for you, and letting go of those who aren’t. Katey Kontent is definitely a character I’ll keep with me for a long time. This is literary historical fiction at its best.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry: I listened on audiobook and this was just… fun! Not everything I rate 5 stars needs to be brilliant literary fiction, sometimes it just needs to make me feel happy and that’s exactly what this did. I’ve read Beach Read by Emily Henry and far preferred this, I felt like the two main characters really just sparkled and I was so rooting for them both. This would in fact make a great beach read.

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy: A heart-breakingly honest memoir that recalls journalist Ariel Levy’s mid-30s, with all the mistakes, relationships, grief and choices surrounding career and motherhood that came with it. There are some brutal things that happen to Levy in this book – some she brought on herself and some that no one ever deserves. She looks back on it all with levity and a hard-earned grace I really admired.

Hollywood’s Eve by Lili Anolik: I first read Eve Babitz a couple of summers ago and was completely swept away. A real life Penny Lane meets Carrie Bradshaw meets Joan Didion, she was at the white hot center of everything cool in LA in the 60s/70s. This biography managed to be capture the spirit of someone who seems impossibly hard to nail down. I loved it and have since picked up even more of Babitz’ work.

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas: Dark academia happens to be a very specific subsection of literature that I really love and this book explores that area in a totally new way. A modern look at morality, relationships, the divide between generations and more – this had me hooked from the very first page and never let me go.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors: A debut novel that really I really loved (it might make my top 10 of 2022 list), this looks at the whirlwind relationship between Cleo and Frank from a mix of their perspectives as well as others close to them. It sounds like a simple story but the beauty is in the characters, their joys, their flaws and ultimately their evolution.

Permanent Record by Mark H.K. Choi: Choi is probably my favorite YA author because her stories feel fresh and young, but also sophisticated and modern. This is one of her earlier books and as usual, I totally fell for the characters and flew through it.

Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron: I heard this described as a ‘coming of “old” age book’ and I think that perfectly captures it. At 72, Ephron (Nora’s sister) is rediscovering herself in the wake of her husband’s death – when suddenly and shockingly, she falls in love again. She also falls ill. The book is a look at hope, love, second chances and realizing there’s always more life to live. Will go on my list of favorite memoirs for sure.

The Marvellous Light by Freya Marske: Maybe my most surprising reads of the year – Edwardian England! A gay love story! Secret magic! I went in blind and ended up loving it. I still think about this book often since reading it in January.

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo: On Instagram I said this is for fans of Father of the Bride – not because the plots have anything in common, but because there’s a sweeping feeling of familial love in this book that reminds me of that movie. I loved this family – the Mom and Dad especially – but all 4 daughters kept me equally interested and even though they were flawed (as all families are) I was rooting for them all the way to the end.

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LET’S CATCH UP 3.12.22

Hello strangers. Another month has dragged by weather-wise and flown by work-wise and here we are. I’m feeling deeply ready for spring, hopeful about the loosening of pandemic restrictions and cautiously optimistic about our upcoming travel plans. While also being worried for the state of the world at large. Aren’t we all? It’s still so surreal to think that on this day, two years ago, we had no idea how much things were about to change. And even now – who’s to say what will come next? Seize the day, history tells us. Or at least that’s the lesson I’m trying to take from it all. Here, a few things on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart lately. Hope you all had a great weekend.

ON MY MIND:

  • I haven’t had a ton of time for TV lately but we’ve started the new season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and are down to the last episode of The Great – which in my opinion, is one of the best shows on TV right now (it’s on Hulu to be specific). At turns smart, funny, sweet, cutting and almost painfully relevant given that it’s about Catherine the Great’s rule of Russia and how she wanted to move away from the nation’s barbaric past into a more enlightened future.
  • I’m a big fan of James Clear’s newsletter that sends simple quotes and advice for better habits and a happier/healthier life. This quote by poet May Sarton, sent in this week’s newsletter, really struck me: “The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.” May we all make time to sit in the changing light of a room. Especially now that we’re getting more light each day.
  • The recent legislation passed in Florida and Texas (and beyond) targeting LGBTQ youth both enrages me and breaks my heart. The Freedom For All Americans site does a great job of breaking down ongoing legislation by state and then offers ways to donate or get involved. I urge you to at the very least make calls to your state officials if you live in a place where this is happening. These kids need our help.

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I just started Better Luck Next Time – set on a ranch in 1930s Nevada where women would go until they could claim residency and get divorces granted in Reno. It’s a fun, easy read so far!
  • Last week I listened to People We Meet On Vacation on audiobook and absolutely loved it – one the best rom-coms I’ve encountered in awhile. I’ve also read Beach Reads by Emily Henry, but I far preferred this one.
  • Earlier this month I devoured The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy – a searing memoir about her mid-thirties, coming to terms with the balance of career and relationships, her outlook and experience with motherhood, forgiveness, loss and more. I thought this was beautifully done.
  • My book club is reading Greenwich Park next – a buzzy new thriller about a pregnant woman with a seemingly perfect life, who meets a friend in her prenatal class and suddenly things aren’t what they seem. I haven’t read a thriller in awhile so I’m looking forward to this one!

IN MY CART:

  • After having it on my running personal to-do list for about two years now, I finally went and picked out new prescription eyeglasses (these) plus got a pair of prescription sunglasses (these). I’m thrilled with both and frankly even more thrilled to finally be able to cross it off the damn list.
  • Call me crazy, but I kind of love the idea of this raffia bucket hat for our upcoming warm weather getaway?
  • I’ve also got my eye on this lace-up, nautical inspired sweater. I’d pack it for our trip but also wear it this summer at the lake with a pair of cut-offs.
  • I have these pajamas in navy and they’re just perfect. Thinking of picking up this oatmeal color (on sale right now) for spring.
  • How chic are these wide leg gingham trousers? They look as comfortable as the aforementioned pajamas. I’d wear them with a black crewneck t-shirt and a fun pair of earrings.
  • I love this black dress for spring date nights. It feels very Audrey Hepburn, á la Roman Holiday to me. I tried this brand last summer when they gifted me a dress (they make things in the same factories as your favorite contemporary brands like Reformation and Faithful, but at a fraction of the cost by charging a monthly site subscription and going straight to consumer). I was pleasantly surprised by the fit and quality and since you can cancel the subscription at any time I’m planning to try them again to pick up this dress.

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LET’S CATCH UP 2.12.22

It’s been a month since my last blog post and while it wasn’t exactly a planned break… I likely needed it. I’m still not sure about how regularly I plan to approach this space moving forward, but I like these check-in posts so I’m going with that for today. Tomorrow? Who knows.

January was both a very long month and a fast-paced blur. Work was as busy and stressful as ever, the days were veryyy cold, and after recovering from Covid at the start of the month we promptly got our booster shots and then recovered from that. We visited family, caught The War on Drugs show at Madison Square Garden and spent lots of nights cozied up on the couch. Below, what else I’ve been up to + what’s on my mind, on my bookshelf and in my cart. Hope you’re all having a great weekend.

ON MY MIND:

  • How are you doing on your goals/resolutions/intentions for the year? I’ve been drinking more water, going for daily walks and making time for writing and weekly dates with Adam. Nothing ground-breaking but a better work-life balance is a major focus for me this year, so even these small shifts have made me feel a lot better overall.
  • Speaking of work-life balance, I am determined to travel again this year. Last year I was able to go visit my best friend in Minnesota for a weekend and spent a couple of days in Florida with my sister.. but the last time I had a proper vacation? A week off work? I can’t even remember. I don’t want to jinx it by sharing my potential destinations before we book something – but you’ll be the first to know once I do.
  • We started watching The Gilded Age on HBO and while it’s definitely a slower show, the NYC history and costume design is worth watching for. Meanwhile, I can’t wait for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to come back next weekend.
  • We finally watched the movie Spencer (with Kristin Stewart as Princess Diana) last weekend and I’m frankly still haunted by it. I wouldn’t say I absolutely loved it, but I can definitely see why she’s an Oscar contender.
  • Slowly but surely I’m making my way through this embroidery from The Fabled Thread. My goal is to be done by this summer so I can frame it for our room at the lake house! It’s the perfect activity in the evening for when I want to keep my hands from endlessly scrolling my phone.

ON MY BOOKSHELF:

  • I’ve been saving Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi (one of my favorite new authors that I found last year) for the week of Valentine’s Day as a little reading treat to myself. She has such a sharp, modern voice that to call this book a romance feels reductive. Emergency Contact and Yolk were both favorites from my 2021 reading, and I’m already loving this too.
  • I joined another book club… that makes 3 if you’re counting. This one is a local group and we’ll be reading books either by New York authors or ones set in NYC – and then when we meet to discuss we’ll also do an activity related to the book. In short, it combines my two great loves – books and New York – in such a fun way. Our first read is Speedboat by Renata Adler, originally written and published in the 1970s.
  • Look past the cover of this new release, Vladimir by Julia May Jonas, because I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews. About a set of married professors and their romantic entanglements both on campus and off. Claire (my partner in crime @prettywords) said she couldn’t put it down and I generally love a dark academia setting. Looking forward to diving in.
  • My virtual book club is reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett this month. She’s one of my very favorite authors and I’m excited to read more of her back list work. This was originally published in 2008 about a diplomat dinner turned hostage situation.

IN MY CART:

  • I haven’t been doing much shopping (saving up for the aforementioned travel instead!) but this cute gingham tote is on my wishlist and won’t break the back.
  • Coincidentally this navy and ivory bouclé cardigan would be a perfect match. I like the idea of this dressed down with slouchy jeans and fun heels.
  • I’ve been using this toner religiously for the past two years. I just ran out and swear I notice a difference in my skin after just a week of not using it. Time to place a reorder, stat.
  • I have this classic striped shirt in camel and white, but I love this new pistachio version. Green seems like it’s going to be everywhere for spring.
  • Starting this week I’ll be in the office 3 days a week. This textured red blazer would add a bright pop of color to my usual rotation.

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MY INTENTIONS FOR 2022

I usually share my goals and intentions right at the start of the new year. Hopeful and ready to see what the next 365 years can bring. But I ended 2021 in bed, quarantined with a case of Covid.. so I’m giving myself a bit of grace here. 346 still to go, right?

In so many ways, 2021 was harder for me than 2020. The first year at my new job was incredibly fulfilling and exciting – but also really demanding. I dealt with some health stuff. Travel was put off for another year. My world felt really small in a lot of ways. Work, home, sleep, repeat. The word on everyone’s lips was ‘languishing’ – not quite depressed.. but not exactly thriving either. I certainly could relate.

When I think about the near year ahead I feel, despite two years of a pandemic, resiliently hopeful. I like to pick a word each year that kind of serves as a guide to how I want to approach things and this year I picked “vast” – like the wide expanse of the ocean. I want to get out into the world – exploring the city and beyond. I want to remain really open to new opportunities and to seeing where things lead even if the path isn’t immediately clear. I want to stop talking about some of the things that I’ve wanted to do but have put off these past few years and finally do them. Vast!

In more practical terms that means intentionally shifting my life so that work – while still a major priority – is better balanced. Making time to write each week. See what direction my imaginary novel begins to take. Daily walks. Prioritizing setting weekly dates with Adam that take us to new restaurants, places and experiences. Finding ways to travel, from a day or overnight trip to bigger trips. Continue working towards our financial goals. I have a big birthday coming up this year and I want to enter the year feeling really great about where I’m at and where I’m headed in my life.

This blog remains, honestly, a bit of a question mark for me. While so many influencers are lamenting Instagram right now, I do still really like sharing content in that space and having a quick way to connect with so many of you in a way that I don’t always feel here on the blog. However, I also like writing in longer form content.. but not necessarily about the same subjects as I used to here. Sometimes I like the idea of shifting to a weekly newsletter instead. In general I find myself wondering if the time I spend here takes away from work I could be doing in other areas? I’m not sure of the answer, but I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s to 2022. May the year be ‘vast’ in all that it brings us.

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Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.