LET’S CATCH UP 10.23.20

I’m in the final two weeks at my current job, the election is rapidly approaching, the days are getting shorter – it’s a season of change to say the least. Despite what feels like a chaotic world, I’ve been making it a real point to savor October – one of my favorite months of the year. We’ve baked pumpkin cookies, had a weekend at the lake, I’ve been reading seasonal books… little joys if you will. This weekend, Adam and I are on the hunt for apple cider donuts, going up to see the foliage in Central Park and watching the new Sofia Coppola movie, On the Rocks, with Rashida Jones and Bill Murray on Apple TV. Here’s what else is going on:


  • I’ve passed my poll worker training and am officially set for Election Day. In preparation I’ll be voting early (over 30 states now offer the option!) next week. Have you made your voting plan yet? Voting.org makes it easy.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about what the holidays are going to look like this year. There won’t be the usual throng of tourists here in the city. Many won’t be traveling long distance to see family. There won’t be as much of a need for fancy party dresses and sparkly shoes. I think my content here on the blog will likely look a little bit different, with a focus on getting cozy at home and keeping things smaller scale. The one thing Adam and I are excited for is a return to our winter tradition of ice skating in the city. The Bryant Park rink will be back – and still free when you have your own skates like we do! – you’ll just need to reserve your time in advance.
  • I really loved these honest blog posts by Grace Atwood and Jennifer Lake about not wanting kids. I do want to have kids but was a ‘maybe’ for a long time and found that any ambiguity around the topic for some reason causes strong reactions – almost always from other women. I have been meaning to write a post on the grey area and thanks to their bravery feel inspired to do so. Coming soon.


  • I’ll be doing my best to support local, independent bookstores this holiday season. McNally Jackson reported that their sales are 50% down and Strand is down 70% to last year. Another great, Amazon-alternative option is Bookshop.org.
  • There’s still a week of October left and I’m squeezing in one more witchy-read. This book merges the Suffragette movement with Salem and between Halloween and the Election couldn’t feel more timely! I’m excited to dive in this weekend.
  • This month my virtual book club is reading The Radium Girls by Kate Moore which is based on the real life New York factory girls exposed to radium in the early 20th century. I’ve heard it’s riveting and the movie version was just released. My in-person NYC club is reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, which sounds like a nice escape read!


  • Call me crazy but I kind of want these leopard crepe pants. They’d be chic with a black knit turtleneck and black flats, no? And the price is definitely right.
  • I’m an absolute amateur when it comes to the skincare world – but I’ve been using this Caudalie purifying toner to help combat breakouts from wearing a mask and after just a few days I really see a difference!
  • This argyle sweater is 50% off right now and keeps coming in and out of stock in my size. *Hits refresh again* If I can snag it I’m going to wear it for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Speaking of getting cozy for the holidays – I desperately need to refresh my pajama drawer. I love the classic look of these.
  • This “pumpkin spice” quilted jacket that so many of you swooned over when I shared it is 40% off right now. It’s a great weight for these next couple of months of weather.
  • Is it too soon to think of holiday decor (the answer is a rhetorical ‘no’ here). I love the thought of this sparkly snowflake garland on the mantle.


Last night Adam and I reminisced about summer nights in the city. We have a shared favorite memory that started at happy hour in the East Village followed by a crowded subway ride, then an outdoor movie in the park – a blanket squeezed in among strangers – which led us to a loft party in Williamsburg and finally a cab ride back to my old apartment on the Upper East Side. It was the kind of night that began with almost no plans at all and was swept along by the current of New York City in the summertime. A night that seems as impossible now as it seemed possible then.

A few of you have asked me to describe New York right now and if I had to sum it up – it would be that the spark has sort of gone out this summer. That feeling of spontaneity (the best kind of uncertainty) has gone missing. The spark has been replaced instead with a slow burning tension. A shared understanding that we’re all but powerless over the fate of this city.

Teenagers sit on stoops looking restless, itching to get into trouble just to have some say in the story of their summer. A cashier at the grocery store laments to me that he used to work in theater and misses the creativity.. but is thankful to have a job. The park is full of women and their babies in the morning, many of whom look unsure about their newly appointed title of stay at home mom. They wear workout clothes while their heels presumably collect dust at home. 

Cops stand guard alongside barricades outside our neighborhood precinct and in front of the Washington Square Park Arch. Protecting themselves and their monuments while a convenience store 20 blocks away is robbed at gunpoint. An older woman in our neighborhood compares it to the New York of the 1970s. She says she’s seen it all. Tells us to be careful.

Moving trucks line the streets as fair weather city dwellers go in search of fairer weather. Without the usual swarm of summer tourists those of us that are left spread out like we own the place – because well, we do. The streets are ours alone to rule or to ruin.

The truth is that no one has ever known what’s next for New York but that hasn’t stopped the evolution. And so, we go on. The protests and the progress. The work that needs to be done and the feelings that need to be wrestled with. The thick August heat and our relentless hope keeping the embers of this city hot until it can spark up again.


The Steele Maiden: Casual Valentine's Day Outfit Idea - Pink Velvet Skirt

I’ve never really been in to the ‘traditional’ Valentine’s Day routine (a fancy restaurant.. a dozen roses.. box of chocolates…). In fact, when I look back on the years that Adam and I have spent celebrating together they range from sneaking sparklers and margaritas onto the beach at midnight in Santa Monica to taking a train up to snow-covered Montreal for just one night to ice skating in Central Park then grabbing milkshakes at an old-fashioned soda shop in the West Village.

It’s usually a last minute spontaneous plan and sometimes it’s a date that lasts an entire day. Which is why this pink velvet skirt caught my eye. It would be great for a more casual Valentine’s Day outfit and could transition from day to night. But it also works if you hate Valentine’s Day and ignore the ‘holiday’ altogether. It’s just a cute skirt and it’s on major sale and who can really argue with that?


We shot these photos last weekend when we were handed a very mild Winter weather day – but if you don’t get as lucky come February 14th, just add thick knit tights and a big coat overtop of the rest. And on another note – whether or not you have a soulmate – these navy suede boots could absolutely be your ‘solemate’ (I couldn’t resist…) because you order them specifically for not just your shoe size but also your calf size – meaning the perfect fit. Not too tight, not too slouchy. Now that’s a match made in heaven.

Fisherman Cap | Talbots Cashmere Sweater c/o | Denim Jacket | Madewell Velvet Skirt | Duo Boots Over the Knee Suede Boots c/o – now on major sale! | Lo & Sons Bag c/o 

The Steele Maiden: Casual Valentine's Day Outfit Idea - Pink Velvet Skirt The Steele Maiden: Casual Valentine's Day Outfit Idea - Pink Velvet Skirt The Steele Maiden: Casual Valentine's Day Outfit Idea - Pink Velvet Skirt The Steele Maiden: Casual Valentine's Day Outfit Idea - Pink Velvet Skirt




The Steele Maiden: How Much it Really Costs to Live in New York City

When I asked what you all wanted to hear more of about New York your answer was a resounding ‘your everyday life!‘. And so I figured to begin, I’d go ahead and address the (expensive) elephant in the room. How much does it really cost to live in New York City?

I can’t tell you how many times Adam and I have been in a social setting outside of NYC and had someone has hinted, with wide eyes, at how much it must cost us to live in this city. Or even flat out asked us how much we pay for rent (side note: unless I’m offering up that info or in turn you’d like to tell me how much your mortgage costs.. this question can be skipped) But nevertheless, I get it – this city is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire country (San Francisco actually takes top prize) so it stands to reason that people are curious about just how much we pay and more-so why anyone would want to pay for it?!?

I have two things to say about that. One – it’s expensive to live here so you better damn well love it. If you’re paying an arm and a leg in rent and spending all your time complaining about it.. then leave. There’s some kid in small town Illinois who would kill to take your spot. I dreamed of living here since I was a pre-teen and almost 9 years after first moving here I still think the sun rises and sets with this city. It’s what routinely softens the blow of the expense of it all. And secondly – if you really want it, be willing to make sacrifices. There were times when I was 22 and broke, living in a studio apartment, working two jobs, eating cheese quesadillas for dinner and selling clothes at Buffalo Exchange just to make my rent each month. It never made me want to leave, it just made me want to work harder. Back to point number one. Get it?

The Steele Maiden: How Much it Really Costs to Live in New York City

So here it is – a realistic look at what New York City costs me. To note: this is specific to me – you can live for a lot less (and I have) and you can obviously live a lot more extravagantly (looking at you Beyoncé). But I think for an average person in their 20s/30s without kids, this is a fairly good average.

Rent: Ouch. Here’s the big one. I live in a one-bedroom, walk-up (meaning no elevator.. or dishwasher.. or laundry…) building in the East Village. Average rent for an older apartment like ours downtown will set you back anywhere from $2,250-$2,750 a month. Because I’ve got a roommate that I share that one bedroom with, I luck out a bit as opposed to having to cough up the money for a bedroom all to myself. And if you head uptown or to Brooklyn you can easily get yourself some better amenities or more space for that same money. Or of course you can jump up to the $2,800-$3,300 range and secure a balcony or a walk in closet. I love our current neighborhood and the fact that we are within walking distance to most of downtown Manhattan and my office – but as we look for new apartments I’ll be sharing what we find and where we end up!

The Steele Maiden: How Much it Really Costs to Live in New York City

Transportation: Here’s the great thing – you can ride anywhere you want in this city for $2.75 on the subway or bus (a monthly pass for unlimited rides is $121). You can catch a a crosstown cab for around $15 with tip or buddy up and take an Uber Pool double the distance for just $5.

Because of that East Village apartment, I am lucky enough to walk to work so I personally spend about $30 a month on transportation (a handful of subway rides and maybe a cab or two) which is a considerable savings if you compare what a monthly car payment, insurance and gas cost you out in the suburbs. Adam actually does drive to work in New Jersey so he’s got $5 a day in tolls and gas, but his car is paid off and we park for free on the street.

Food & Drink: Admittedly, a big portion of my money after rent and regular monthly bills seems to go towards food and drink. The great thing about this city though is that you can eat and drink on a dime and still get something great. Or you can reallyyyy #treatyoself and splurge.

An average cocktail is $14 (more if you’re paying for a rooftop view or a hotspot ambience) but you can also find $5 beer and $1 oysters at a great happy hour like the one at Mermaid Inn. Same goes for food – an average dinner for 2 at say, a delicious Italian spot in our neighborhood will run you about $75 before tip (appetizer, two glasses of wine and two entrees), but the $17 large pizza we get in our neighborhood is damn good too. Top dollar steaks or hole in the wall ramen that will knock your socks off. You choose here.

I’ve found grocery store costs to be slightly higher but if you make use of Trader Joes, local farmer’s market and small grocers I’d say these costs can end up being comparable to elsewhere in the country. Except for cereal which is inexplicably almost $7 a box in Manhattan. Why, New York, why?

The Extras: You can easily get a huge armload full of beautiful fresh flowers at any corner bodega for less than $20. But in a good neighborhood a soy chai latte will set you back $6 from Starbucks. Views from the Top of the Rock cost $34 but entry to the Met Museum is technically a donation (so if you can only pay $1 they’ll still let you in). Tickets to see a late night show like Jimmy Fallon are completely free as long as you can grab a spot when the seat lottery opens up and there are major deals on same day tickets for Broadway shows if you wait in line in Time Square. This city has a million things to offer. It’s all about finding which of it falls within your budget – and then getting creative for the rest.

The Steele Maiden: How Much it Really Costs to Live in New York City






NYC Central Park Bow Bridge wearing Talbots quilted vest and scarf

Day dates, wearing layers, fresh flowers, crisp air… I could go on and on about the reasons I’m excited that it’s officially Fall. If you’ve stopped by this week than you’ve already come along for the first two looks and locations of my Fall Favorites series with Talbots (here and here) – showcasing my tops picks from their new collection paired with my top spots to visit in New York this season. And that list would be incomplete without a trip to Central Park.