Monday, December 31, 2012

I thought I'd post Woody Guthrie's 1943 New Year's resolutions here today for some inspiration if you're looking for it.  I really love all of them, but I think my favorites are:

  • Read lots good books
  • Listen to radio a lot
  • Learn people better
  • Keep hoping machine running
  • Help win war- beat fascism
  • Love everybody
  • Wake up and fight
Here's to living well and cheaply in the new year. xoxo

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just wanted to say a quick hello today.  Alex and I are in California for the entire week!  And apparently, it's snowing in New York right now.  Are you guys enjoying it? That's nice, because I'm enjoying that picture above. :)  My day started eating delicious avocado toast on homemade bread made by Alex's dad.  And seriously, can we talk about how superior California avocados are? Jeeze Louise they taste like buttah.  Our only plans for the day include going to see Django Unchained and to then eat a delicious dinner.  Anyway, I'll try to check in and post some more this week.  We're still not sure about exactly what we're going to do for New Year's Eve.  Probably be in LA, any suggestions you guys for what to do or where to eat? I'd love to hear them in the comments.  Hope you enjoy this second to last day of 2012!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I saw this idea originally on The Curious Pug last year and decided to play along this year (thanks for the inspiration Alycia)  Here are seven blog posts from 2011 that fall into the designated categories below.  And a big thanks to all of you for reading my writing this year! xoxo

Most Beautiful- In Memory.

I shared an interview I did with my grandmother about her life on her 80th birthday.  Her kind, thoughtful, beautiful and wise words during this interview never cease to inspire me.

Most Popular- Things I'm afraid to tell you

The Things I'm Afraid to Tell You blogging series which started on Creature Comforts inspired this post about my experience with Alex getting run over by a car, but more than that, it inspired me to write those hard scary posts all year long.  The popularity and positive feedback from this post gave me the courage to write about things I'm afraid to tell you.

Most Controversial- On Having Kids Part 2

I don't think that any of my posts this year really caused any controversy, but this topic is one that can sometimes be controversial and that people can have very strong opinions about, so I think it's the closest I came to writing a controversial post on my blog this year.

Most Helpful- How To Still Have a Good Day When You Wake Up to a Rejection Email From Your Dream Job in 6 Easy Steps!

I wrote this post sort of like a helpful "how to" but I think sitting down to write it was the most helpful for myself.  The comments were extremely helpful too! Thanks everyone.

A Post Whose Success Surprised Me- Do You Sleep Better Alone?

You guys, people love talking about sleep.  Deal with it.

A Post I Feel Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved- My Parent's Music

I really enjoyed writing this post which as inspired by the "My Parent's Music" series that was going on on All Songs Considered. I talk about my first middle school dance.

Post I'm Most Proud Of- Life Story of a Kitchen Table

I loved reflecting on the deeper meaning behind certain objects in our lives.

Thanks for reading everyone, and please let me know if you do a seven links post on your blog in the comments!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy day after Christmas everyone! I hope you're still getting to relax today, and if you are at work, that you're having a quiet and stress free day and have time to read some blogs :)  Remember the day after Christmas when you were a kid and there were so many new things to play with and you could stay in your pajamas all day?  I guess I'm pretty lucky to be having a similar type day today.  I slept in until 11 am and I'm still in my new Christmas PJs and slippers at 12:12 as I write this and eat some cold leftover kielbasi on a roll.  Yum.

I just thought I'd do a little check in post, since I haven't written one in a while.  We just got back from three really fun Christmas days in New Jersey and on Friday we're heading out to California for a week to spend New Years with Alex's dad and grandparents.  I'm really excited especially since we're finally getting real winter weather in New York.  It's supposed to be a high of 36 degrees on Friday when we fly out and land in 60 degree California.

I'm planning on seeing as many movies as I can this week including Les Mis!  But I still haven't seen it yet, so no spoilers in the comments please!  I'm also thinking about, like everyone, the coming new year.  I always have mixed feelings about New Year's Resolutions.  Alex hates them because he feels like the pressure is always too big and they are designed for failure and that we shouldn't need a new year to make changes in our lives. And while I do see his point, I always end up getting excited about the possibility of making positive changes with a fresh new year ahead of me.  Can you tell that the old saying "opposites attract" really holds true with our marriage? Haha.

The two big things that I always want to improve on are my health and my writing.  I'm starting a personal essay writing class in January which I'm really scared about but also totally proud of myself for doing.  I'm going to show up to that first class and I'm going to write.  The scary feeling makes me know that this is something I must really need to do.

I'm looking forward to reading as much as I can this next week starting with This is How You Lose Her, which was a Christmas present from Alex and then Black Swan Green and The History of Love.  Have you read any of these books? What are you reading right now? What movies do you really want to see?  Do your New Years plans involve brisket and champagne with family or something louder and crazier? I'm really looking forward to a quiet New Years with good food and people that I love.

Thanks for listening to my rambles.  Let's ramble some more in the comments!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

M'ladies, M'lords, Downton Abbey, Season Three is starting in a matter of weeks. Days even!  Some of you may already know that last year the word "obsession" wouldn't even accurately cover my Downton craziness.  There were parties, there were recaps there was the NY Times and CNN.  I decided to republish the Downton mania from my old blog on Well and Cheaply to get ready for Season Three! So if you're feeling fancy, put on your fascinator and some silk gloves and click on my new page that I've made available in the side bar for some fun Downton reads.

And tell me in the comments, are you planning on watching come January 6?  What are you hoping for? Let's talk about it!

I've kind of been lusting over side parts lately.  Is it a subliminal 90's are back thing or something else? I don't think you can do a side part and bangs and I'm not ready to get rid of my bangs anytime soon, but man, some of these side parts are so pretty!

What do you guys think?

Also, me.  With a 90's side part.

My 7th grade year book picture, where I apparently signed my own photo in my own yearbook.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Looks like my dorky adolescence is finally paying off.  I 'm really excited to have contributed my obsessive analysis of the Les Mis Trailer to XoJane.  Please click here to check it out! 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Tuesday everyone!  After trying to buy tickets to see the Nutcracker with my friend Dustin, who told me, "There is no one I would rather go with. And I really want to go." (awwww) And then failing because OMG that's a lot of dollars and we probably should have bought them in October (next year!) we came up with a different Christmas Joys in the City plan: window display gawking and then a drink at Bemelmans bar!  Where I'm positive there will be live piano music of exclusively Christmas songs. YAY!!!

Here is a map of the most famous New York Christmas windows: Macys, Lord and Taylor, Saks, Berdorfs, Barneys, Bloomies! Say that ten times fast.


Do you have a favorite window display in your town?  I feel like it is a true art, sort of like a life size diorama- which were always my favorite projects in school.  Will be back tomorrow with Well and Cheaply Exclusive photos!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Every Christmas, my grandmother used to do something that made us all roll our eyes behind her back.  It was a tradition my sisters and cousins and I always found awkward.  We would share a piece of Christmas wafer called opÅ‚atek and wish each other good things for the year to come.  We had to do it in front of everyone and it was hard not to get silly about it.  And yet, I always knew there would be a Christmas where my grandmother wouldn't be there to make us do this tradition, I just never knew it would come so soon.

This Christmas is the first one my family is celebrating without Mama and I'm really not sure what to expect.  I think I've been subconsciously pushing away a feeling of dread and sadness, since the Christmas season started approaching. I came across this quote from A Wrinkle in Time, recently and it seems to keep popping into my head: "Believing takes practice."

This Christmas, a person in my life who always believed in so much and with such sincerity, faith and hope, will be missing.  She didn't just believe in her God and her religion, but she believed in people.  She believed in good and kindness and delight and laughter.  And all of that is making me realize how important it is for me to believe too, especially during Christmas.  It's important to remember to believe in giving presents, in surprises, in looking forward to things, and togetherness.

So this weekend, when we decorated our apartment, and when I watched Mariah Carey on Jimmy Fallon on you tube (seriously guys, I love her so much) and when I called my mom to get ideas for what to get my sister's for Christmas, I practiced some believing for Mama.

It's hard for me to really grasp why I love Christmas so much, but I always have and I think it's the believing that does it for me. I'm so thankful to have had people in my life who have taught me how to practice being a believer every single year.

What are you believing in this holiday season? I'd love to hear all about it. xo.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Saturday night everyone!  Alex and I are going to spend it working on our own projects- him with radio stuff, me blogging and writing.  Yay! I love having a partner who also likes to be creative outside of his day job.  It makes for good Saturday nights in every once in a while.  But Saturday day, we decorated our Christmas tree and apartment.  I love my crooked little snow angel on top.

I thought I'd use this post to highlight some of the small business shopping I've been doing this Christmas.  And since I'm not good at photo shop, you're just going to have to click on my link descriptions to see what the heck I'm talking about.

If you can't read my t-shirt about it says "Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal" and is a play one on of the many super awesome Home Alone quotes, which just so happens to be one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time.  You can buy it on ebay here.

Do you love wearing cardigans? Some times buttoning the top button to keep it elegantly closed just doesn't cut it.  This makes wearing a cardigan a million times better.  Perfect for your frequent cardigan wearing bestie who also happens to love everything vintage.

The Strand is one of my all time favorite bookstores and they have these really great literary t-shirts for the book lover in your life.

Another great book lover gift, last year I bought this for my Mom.

Also for the nerdy boyfriend in your life.  I know you're going to love anything from NerdJerk.

Do you have any great small business holiday shopping suggestions? I'd love to hear about them in the comments!

PS- How do you top your tree? Do you come from an angel family or a star family or something else? Let's discuss!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Occasionally I will post a piece from my old blog on Well and Cheaply.   I thought I'd share as a blog post I wrote about an email exchange that I had with a friend almost exactly a year ago talking about the "rules of the internet," because I think it might start a fun discussion.

This friend is someone who's never really cared about the internet that much, and just signed up for a Facebook account.   After being on Facebook for a little while he sent me a message telling me how when he first signed up for Facebook about a dozen people from earlier phases of his life reached out to him. Most people sent a 2-4 sentence email or posted something on his wall.  He responded with a four or five paragraph email briefing them on the past ten years of his life and asking questions about what had been going on with them.  And not one single person responded to those emails.  He was feeling kind of down about it all and said:
I signed up for Facebook so I could reconnect with people.  So far, this has not really happened for me, at least not in a meaningful or fulfilling way.  I cannot help but take it personally.
He asked me if his long emails might be off putting to people, and this was my response:

I'm responding through email because the facebook mail format makes me want to rip my brain out of my head. Why the little tiny box?  WHY???

I have to say that I am shocked that no one responded.  Even if just to give you a shorter response than you gave them.  However my guess is that they thought about giving you a long response when they had the time and then never got around to it and just forgot about it completely.  I really don't think that they read your detailed email and were like- whoa didn't need to hear all that!  They were probably really happy to get it.  I know I'm always happy when someone sends me a long email.  Long emails are more and more rare in my life these days and I think it has to do with the way we use technology now.  Most people answer emails on their phones and use facebook on their phones.  I know tons of people who don't even talk on the phone anymore and just text.  I've fallen prey to this a little but not as much as I think most people I know have.  Almost all of my friends have a smart phone and I still don't. (Update: I do now! haha)

From what I can tell, technology doesn't play the kind of role in your life like it does in most peoples these days.  It's funny because in a way you're using technology more, by spending the time to write a long email, but people might not really be used to that on facebook...I'm not sure, even the tiny little text box makes it seem like facebook isn't meant for the long email.  While I kind of hate facebook and think it is so stupid and boring, for me, the best way to feel like I'm keeping in touch with people is to post status updates a lot- like everyday and to read through my friend's status's and comment on them. Look at photos and comment on them, upload your own pics.  I think if you uploaded a bunch of pictures you might get comments on them from those people who never emailed you back.  It can be easier to do the very simple/casual updates on facebook. A long email is almost as formal as writing a letter at this point.

So to answer your questions, I don't think in any way that you are being offensive or off putting in the way you communicate, but maybe you'll start to meaningfully connect with people if you do it how they are- like a status, upload and article you found interesting, tag yourself in some photos etc.  I know it's all so stupid, but kind of interesting to sit down and really think about the nature of facebook.  I think it's endearing that you do not use the internet like, at all- but I have told you before that I find it frustrating too- I think we'd be in better touch if you had more of an online presence.  Like, you have gmail but you're never on chat!  Gchat is a great way to have short conversations frequently with people you never ever see- it makes it feel more like a real relationship where you talk about the little everyday things.

Also know that people are reading it and just responding in their heads (I know, annoying) but I post my blog posts to fb and know that people click on them but a lot of those people never comment on what I post.  Whenever I do get a comment it makes my day, and while I think everyone feels this way, it's easy to forget it.  It's a lot easier to read a meaningful blog post and think "that was good" in your head and then not take the time to write a witty positive response in the comments.  I don't know, I feel like I've been rambling, and that I could also talk about this all day!   Let me know if any of this makes sense or if you agree!  Actually I feel like the entire topic of this email could turn into a blog post!  So thanks for the inspiration! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, readers.  Do you agree with my highly scientific Facebook analysis?  Have you ever had the same or similar experience with Facebook as my friend did?  And although I talk about the importance of updating statuses, I kind of never do it! So I'm a little bit of a victim of "practice what you preach" there.  Tell me you thoughts on The Facebook in the comments!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hello Tuesday, where did Monday even go?  I'm having the feeling that this week is going to be a week of serious and important blog posts, especially since I'm starting on a Tuesday.  So, first up: do you all curl your hair???

I am a 30 year old woman who has never owned a curling iron.  I used to put up with those pink squishy but not squishy enough to sleep on curlers when I was little, which resulted in completing my "puffiest of sleeves" (yes that was an Anne of Green Gables reference) first communion look, as pictured above.  But as I've been spending time researching haircuts lately (Sidebar: I got my hair cut on Sunday and did some layers but nothing major.  Click here to see!) I've noticed that all these girls have curly hair and there are not that many curly haired people out there- are there?

So here are my questions:

  1. Do you use a curling iron.
  2. If so, when, and how?!?!
  3. Are you shocked that I do not and never have owned one, or is it no big deal?
Please, let's chat in the comments.  This is serious, you guys.

PS- Erika won the Butter NYC giveaway!  She wrote: "The rubber address stamps will make a perfect housewarming present." And I agree. Thanks so much for entering, everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why are there two separate boxes from the same exact bakery in our fridge right now?  Let me tell you a little story.  There once was a husband and wife who lived a happy life together.  And while the wife enjoyed chocolate and the husband enjoyed desserts of all kinds, they did not have the same tasting sweet tooth.  Mr. wanted chocolate every single time and Mrs. favored fruit and vanilla flavored desserts.  But they loved each other and liked to do nice things for each other.

On the way home from work one Thursday night, the wife decided to stop at their favorite bakery and pick up her husband's favorite desserts to go with dinner.  While her favorite was the key lime pie, she chose the chocolate mousse because she loved him, and liked to do nice things for him.  When the husband came home shortly after the wife, he presented a brown cardboard box to her and inside of it was her favorite key lime pie.   Just because he loved her and liked to do nice things for her.

It's sort of like the gift of the magi in reverse, don't you think?  And a story of love sweet and true.

The Butter, NYC

Have you figured out your holiday cards yet?  Every year, I love sending out Christmas cards so much.  It's something I've loved since I was little and would help my mom by stamping our address in the corner of each envelope and licking stamps (remember licking stamps?) And while it's always fun to receive cards in the mail, the real joy for me is making or picking out the card, organizing my list of people to send to, and then setting myself up at the kitchen table with a good pen, some holiday stamps (I LOVE this years) and some Christmas music going in the background one December Saturday afternoon.

While I'm not ready to reveal my card design to you guys yet- I was excited to find a small online design shop called The Butter NYC and ended up creating my card with them.  They were such a pleasure to work with (it's a small two woman operation) and I loved so many things on their website- I'm thinking the rubber address stamp would make a great Christmas present for someone- that I contacted them about hosting a giveaway.

Yay for you guys, because they said yes!

The Butter agreed to offer a $15 gift card to one lucky winner.  All you have to do is like them on Facebook and then leave a comment on this post letting me know that you did.  This giveaway will be open through the weekend and the winner will be announced on Monday.

I hope you will consider supporting at least one independently run, creative business while you do your holiday shopping this year- I'm planning on supporting several, which I will tell you all about in a post soon to come!  And The Butter NYC is one of them for me.  Will it be one for you too?  Hope you're feeling lucky!  Go on and like them on Facebook now!

PS- I can't WAIT to show you guys our card :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm guest posting for Annika on All the Live Long Day today while she's on vacation!  I'd love for you all to see the post I wrote about blogging, so why don't you stop on by? And try to show some love in the comments if you can- Annika's blog is super!  Xo Sarah

PS- Other places I've been:

Over at Eeep! I'm a blogger talking about my experience with cat calling for her Feminist Friday series.

On Lydia twice! Here and Here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Making my bed every day is an important routine that I actually stick to.

Okay guys, I have to write another Tiny Buddha inspired post today.  Two days in a row!  But sometimes this website really speaks to me, and I guess it's just one of those kind of weeks.

As 2012 is coming to a close, I'm feeling a little down.  Another year has gone by and my professional writing goals have not been met. As I've been thinking about writing a post reflecting on the year, all I seem to keep thinking is that I'm disappointed in myself for not achieving any writing goals.  My blog traffic is not where I want it to be, I do not have a manuscript of my novel ready to submit to an agent let alone even have an agent.  I don't like when I find myself only thinking negatively, and I try to stay positive while also keeping it real on this blog, but as December approaches, all I can really think is- where has this year gone?

Part of being a person with creative goals outside of my day career (yes, it's much more meaningful than a day job, which I'm grateful for) means that I need to make the time to do the things I love.  I feel like I've spent my entire life trying to live by routine but it never lasts.  I remember making lists really young in life- like 7 or 8 years old as a way to make the most out of my days.  I've started to think that living by a routine is stiff, not the kind of life meant for a creative person, it just doesn't work.  But after reading "Create Better Days With Empowering Routines and Loving Rituals," I'm feeling inspired to give routine and ritual a shot once more.  I was really moved by this quote:
"If you want an extraordinary life, you must have equally extraordinary routines and rituals."
It's possible that I've spent the entire year, off and on, channeling my energy towards bad habits instead of my real desires and goals.  By going online as soon as I come home from work for no reason, or watching TV instead of exercising, or not cooking dinner and/or eating a bad breakfast, I get myself stuck in an "alternating cycle of feeling either overwhelmed or paralyzed."  Pretty awful right? Why do I keep doing this to myself? But without routines and rituals, I do.

I also find myself having a hard time balancing social time with work time.  And sometimes I won't do something socially because I have to go home and write, and then I don't end up writing.  UGH.

So how do I establish a routine, and some rituals and allow myself to be flexible instead of rigid?  I'm not entirely sure, but I hoping to spend the rest of the year thinking about it and figuring some things out and hopefully start living an extraordinary life ofextraordinary routines and rituals in the new year.

Ideas that I have right now include writing in a gratitude journal about what I'm thankful for as a bed time ritual every night and using the simple routine of taking a shower every morning as a time for reflection and a way for me to choose how I want to feel during my day.

The big thing though is establishing a writing routine.  That's what I still need to think about, however rituals are still really important and I think will help my writing in the long run.  Smouse writes in her article that rituals offer "compassionate disciple," which I think I need to stop being so hard on myself when it comes to my writing.  And they are different from a routine because they need to be "celebratory and meaningful."

I'm curious readers, are you a routine person?  Do you find them too rigid or do you have a hard time maintaining them, like me?  Do you have special rituals that are important to you? I'd love to hear about some of your routines and rituals in the comments.  Let's chat!


Or will I look like Liz Lemon on that episode of 30 Rock when she gets short bangs?

I think I already know the answer.  And yet...

PS- Is ombre hair over?  Does that explain why I suddenly want it?  What should I do?  Please tell me in the comments, I need your help!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Recently I read a great post on Tiny Buddha that inspired me to write today.  It's title "How we judge others is how we judge ourselves," is an idea that I think has become so common that it's almost like a saying.  It might even be criticized as being "psycho babble," but I have to admit that every time I'm reminded of it, it's like a light bulb goes off in my head all over again.  As in, oh yeah, I have to remember that.

I used to have a theory that I thought made me feel like I'd figured out how to deal with people I didn't get along with very well.  I decided that all people who I found annoying fell under the category of not being able to be "their true selves."  If they could just relax and be themselves, they wouldn't be annoying, and I was sure I would like them.  I was completely positive that that was what was going on. I told myself that I wasn't judging them, but that I actually felt sorry for them, because they weren't comfortable in their own skin.  So very sad, but unfortunately, it's what made them annoying to me.

Pretty smart theory right? Ugh. I'm cringing as I write it out.  But I really believed I was doing the right thing thinking that way.  I was not only being nice but also smart about how to deal with annoying people.  And yet, my theory never made that annoying feeling go away. My theory did not make me stop judging.

Alright, so I guess you know where this is going: not being my "true self" is an issue I have with me.  It's something I judge myself on really harshly, and trust me, I can be kinda mean to me.

So here's my new theory: when I find myself judging others (this is connected to feeling "annoyed" with them, which I didn't realize at first) I remind myself to feel compassion, which is totally different than pity.  Compassion reminds me that we probably have a lot more in common than I think we do.  I also try to remind myself that I probably don't really know the person who is annoying me very well, that there are probably huge chunks of their story that I know nothing about.

I'm not saying that being aware of what we judge in others will miraculously make you get along perfectly with everyone you meet, or suddenly allow you to accept and get rid of those flaws you judge about yourself   It's not a magic spell.  But it really can make you change how you see others and yourself.  Feeling judgmental is something that most of us have been doing for a long time, before even being aware that we were doing it.  And I think for a long time, for me, I thought secretly judging others, or judging someone with a friend was not only harmless, but kind of fun.  We've all laughed at things like this, or the Sex and the City scene I posted above.  But, until I stopped to think about it, I never realized how much I judged myself for holding back and not showing the true me all of the time.  I didn't realize that when I judged others it was always for the same reason, for the thing I judged in myself.

I know that being your true self all the time is really hard.  It makes you feel really vulnerable and puts you at risk- what if someone doesn't like the true you?  But what would I want someone to do if they noticed me acting this way?  To be kind, and try and put me at ease and not judge me for it, which is what I'm trying to do now too.  I should understand this better than people who don't have this problem, I should be an expert on making people feel okay about it.  But until I stop judging myself about it, that mindset won't come naturally.

I'm curious readers, would you be willing to share your judgments of others and yourself in the comments? Are they also one in the same?  Have you ever thought about this before?  And how do you deal with people you find annoying?  Feel free to comment anonymously on this post.  I know how hard it can be to let everyone see the true you.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving everyone! I'm currently writing this from Alex's mom's back porch in Gulfport Florida.  I've got my Saltwater sandals and a sun dress on and can feel the sunscreen making my face feel greasy.  But that oh-so-good greasy, because the sun feels so good!  Also, it really feels like the sky is bluer down here- is that true?

Alex and I flew down Wednesday and are here until Sunday.  Yesterday consisted of cooking our own little feast (a roast chicken since there were only 4 of us, pumpkin pie and plenty of delicious sides).  All while the dog show and Willy Wonka played in the background.  We thought we were cooking a mini feast but even with a chicken instead of a turkey, we could have easily fed 12 people.  Haha, I guess that's the way Thanksgiving's supposed to be though, no matter how many people are around the table- there should always been too much food.  Then we headed over to Jane's friend's house where they had food for like 100 people!  I'm not joking, there were at least 2 Turkeys.  It was great to meet some friendly people (and dogs) and start the season off right with my first Baileys of the year!

Then we went home full and socialized and watched TV until we fell asleep.  Today consisted of walking around beaches and then Cirque du Soleil in St. Petersburg tonight!

Yay vacation.  Yay warm weather. Yay family. (Yay means I'm thankful for these things).  Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! Sorry to rub in the beautiful weather Cold Winter Weather Readers, but I just can't help myself.

PS- Follow me on Instagram for more pretty Florida pics!

Friday, November 16, 2012

This year at school, we're having a Thanksgiving assembly and the call was put our by our music teacher to form a staff chorus to sing the song Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant.  While I'm what most would consider tone deaf, or on some sort of tone deafy spectrum, I do like to belt it out now and then.  Especially at school assemblies when we sing This Land is Your Land and Free to Be You And Me. So I decided to sign up.

Our first practice was yesterday afternoon and I had so much fun!  It was so invigorating!  When was the last time you sang with a group of people?  I'm telling you, you should try it.  And of course it was an awesome group of teachers.  You guys now how cool teachers are right?  They're so much fun to hang out with.

I've always loved this song by Natalie Merchant, but it wasn't until practicing the lyrics over and over that I realized how sweet and well said they are.  And I just kept feeling like I was singing about my parents.  I was feeling bummed that I didn't think to play this song for them at my wedding- but then I thought I should at least share it on my blog.

I love you Mom and Dad!  When I hear these lyrics, I think about you guys.

You've been so kind and generous
I don't know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I'm in debt to you
For your selflessness, my admiration
And for everything you've done 

You know I'm bound... 
I'm bound to thank you for it 

You've been so kind and generous
I don't know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I'm in debt to you
And I never could have come this far without you
So for everything you've done 

You know I'm bound... 
I'm bound to thank you for it 

I want to thank you
For so many gifts
You gave with love and tenderness
I want to thank you 

I want to thank you
For your generosity
The love and the honesty
That you gave me 

I want to thank you
Show my gratitude
My love and my respect for you
I want to thank you 

I want to... 

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

Who would you sing this song for, readers? Let me know about it in the comments!

PS- Thank Your Parents is the title of an Oneida Trilogy set and I think it's one of the best album titles ever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

L train running again, at the movies, at the post office, volunteering in the Rockaways.

I can't believe it's been 5 days since I last updated my blog.  Not sure what's going on, other than I haven't had the urge to sit down and write.  I'm sure fellow bloggers who read this blog know exactly what I'm talking about. It just happens sometimes.

While I'm still not feeling the urge to say anything thoughtful or deep, I am missing you guys so I thought I'd just check in quickly.

Here's what I've been up to:
  • Sleeping! I've been tired and ready for bed at 10:00 every night since Friday, and then I actually go to bed!  It is amazing.  Every day I wake up feeling healthy and so ready for the day.  Do not underestimate the value of sleep!
  • Listening to Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood on audio.  I am so thankful for good books. This line about the word "lady" this morning particularly spoke to me: "That word has been through a lot.  Noble Lady, Dark Lady, she's a real lady, old-lady lace, Listen lady, hey lady, watch where you're going, Ladies' Room, run through with lipstick and replaced with Women. But still the final word of appeal. If you want something very badly, you do not say, Woman, Woman, you say Lady, Lady."
  • Seeing movies.  Perks of Being A Wallflower had me balling at the end and Wreck it Ralph was so sweet! Have you seen either of them?

And here's what I'm looking forward to:
  • Watching this week's Mindy Project, which I haven't yet.  My sister just posted this line from the latest episode on my Facebook wall and I'm dying to see it! "I am a warrior and my warrior name is Beyonce Pad Thai."
  • Getting our Christmas tree- not until December though!  I don't know where we're going to put it yet this year...
  • And just Christmas in general.  Duh.

Things on my to do list that just won't get done are:
  • Taking a bag of clothes to the dry cleaner and tailor.
  • Getting things that need to be framed, framed.
  • Hanging things that are already framed up.
  • Organizing my closet so that sun dresses and tank tops are put away and sweaters and cardigans are hung up.
  • Changing our entire lamp situation because one is broken, one needs a new light bulb and I hate all of them.

More meaningful posts to come, I promise!  I'm just accepting this little blogging dry spell for what it is.  Sometimes you just need a tiny break.  Please, tell me what you've been up to in the comments! xo

Friday, November 9, 2012

Banned Books, Bangs and Bright Red Nails.

Aww yeah Friday! What a week it's been, am I right? It felt like the longest week of the year for me, I think. Just wanted to check in and say hi to everyone today. Yesterday the L train started running again! So after getting home in just 30 minutes, I finally got that Faye Dunnaway manicure and a bang trim to boot. I feel like a brand new woman!

Today was one of my favorite days of the school year, when the librarians get to take off (it's conference day for the teachers and school is closed) and spend it at The Strand buying books for the library! Soooo many great new books to read! I can't wait until they arrive in the library. And on my way out I bought a Banned Books t-shirt for myself. Can't wait to wear it to school.

Tomorrow I'm planning on hooking up with New York Communities for Change in the Rockaways. They need volunteers to canvass for long-term assessments around repairs, insurance, mortgage issues, unemployment, etc. They're having a 10am meet up at the NYCC office to ship volunteers to the Rockaways: 2-4 Nevins St., Brooklyn.  If any of you are local readers and looking for a volunteer activity, email me for more info!  Last week I made a point of reminding myself that the Sandy cleanup effort is going to need to be more than a one time thing.  I'm hoping to stick to doing one thing a week that goes towards helping out until this storm is a distant memory.

I thought I'd kick the weekend of with a favorite links post, because they are fun and it has been a tiring week.  Let me know what you're up to this weekend in the comments!


I wanted to see the video for the new Pink song Blow Me (one last kiss)- don't you just love it?  But clicked on this by mistake. Is it weird that I watched the entire thing?

I want to make this for dinner and then this for dessert.  And then this for a night cap.  Sunday perhaps?

Have you seen this sign that Nordstrom puts up?  I wish everyone would do that!  I don't want to feel angry when I see Christmas commercials, I want to feel Christmassy!  But I just can't in November, it's against my moral standards.

Do you like Jon Brion's music?  Alex turned me on to him when we first started going out.  I guarantee this video will make you smile.

Lousia May Alcott may have written it, but you know Jo March was the one who said it.

Just Hemingway and Just Patti Smith.

This CBS Memo from 1969

I loved Nicole's post about meeting Martha Stewart.

And finally, this Grandma and her cat are the cutest best friends ever.  Warning: might induce a cute overload.  Thanks Lana for sending me this link in an email with the subject "happy friday."

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I ended up having a "walking home fail" this evening but did manage to hail a cab.  As soon as I got in, I had to ask my driver how he was doing.  It really is the thing that all New Yorkers have been saying to each other this past week.  Usually, the way hailing a cab in New York works is that you don't say much more to your driver other than the address you're going to, which I think is fine, but every once in a while you might want to start up a conversation.

I learned that my driver was Muslim and had immigrated to New York (Astoria specifically) in 2002. He lives in a one bedroom apartment that he pays $1300 a month for, and unfortunately his rent keeps going up.  He lives in his one bedroom apartment with his wife and three kids, who he said never complain.  "The secret is, you don't really need that much space.  You go home to sleep but that's about it.  Space is not as necessary as most people think."

I loved how he said his kids never complain, I loved his positive attitude.  He had half a tank of gas and was doing what he could.

I love that our country is made up of immigrants just like my hard working, good fathering cab driver. Let's not forget where we all came from! My great grandmother was a maid, and two generations later her great granddaughter has a master's degree and a career.  I'm sure my cab driver's children are going to have a very similar experience to my family's, who came here at the turn of the century.

Anyway, I thought my moment in the cab tonight was awfully fitting on election day.  I love immigrants and I'm voting for a president who does too.  Immigrants are the strongest most hard working people in the world, and isn't that what we want America to be made of?

Hope you got out and voted today.  What was your experience like? Did you have crazy lines? I was in and out in 15 minutes but heard horror stories (one friend waited in line for 3 and half hours!)  But how cool is it that people are willing to wait that long to vote!  Please, tell me all about your voting experience comments, and happy election night!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Just wanted to check in quickly to say that I walked the full five miles to and from work today.  A total of 10 miles! I'm feeling it right now at 8:30 at night, now that I'm fed and showered and pajama-clad, so this post will be short- I've got a new Bones episode to watch at 9! (guilty pleasure)  But I have to say it was pretty invigorating and inspiring.  I will always be awed by the New York City sky line every time I walk over a bridge connecting two boroughs, I know this to be true.

The above slightly blurry picture was taken with my phone on my walk home on the Williamsburg bridge, and reading that sign made me feel invigorated and excited to do some more walking tomorrow.  I'm nervous about the weather though.  If we really do have the nor'easter they've been talking about, I don't think I'll be able to pull of the five mile trek.  But tomorrow is supposed to be sunny so I'm taking it one day at a time.

I'm so curious readers, how do you get to work? I would really love to hear about all of your commutes in the comments.  Do any of you walk or bike? Please, show me some love and tell me all about it, I'd really love to know!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I couldn't bring myself to take any photos while volunteering today.  While I believe that getting the word out about what's really happening out there is important, I couldn't help but feel insensitive taking pictures of other people's losses, so I refrained.  Instead I'll try to describe in words only, what I saw today.

Alex and I got in the car around 9:30 and drove to the Red Hook Initiative, which has been using a school as a donation center head quarters.  There we found a gym full of donated supplies and a basement full of even more.  We spent around 2 and a half hours organizing the supplies into five piles for places in need: Coney Island, the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Gowanus and Staten Island.  When we first arrived there were about 20 other people there just like us.  They'd showed up and were reading to work.  Around noon there were starting to be too many volunteers and people were trying to figure out where to go.  Since we had a car with gas, and don't rely on it for every day transportation, we really wanted to help deliver supplies.  It was decided that our car would be filled with all sorts of pet supplies for an animal shelter that had lost everything in Freeport Long Island.

With our car loaded up we passed line after line of people and cars waiting for gas and saw things like boats on the side of the belt parkway, and a trailer that had somehow smashed into a building.  But there was electricity (mostly).  When we arrived at the shelter we saw the damage that four feet of flooding can do.  Luckily all of the animals survived and were currently in foster homes, but the shelter itself was in ruins.  After unloading the car, we spent a few hours trying to help out in any way that we could- scrubbing and bleaching the cat run and helping knock down and bag up damaged dry wall. I saw a woman's small business destroyed on top of the worry and concern for finding more foster locations for the displaced shelter animals.  It was heartbreaking.

Bobbi, of Bobbi and the Strays was strong and sweet and thankful, but Alex and I couldn't shake the feeling that we'd barely made a dent that day.  We realized that it's basically going to take hundreds of people for hundreds of days doing the same little tasks that we did over and over.  Sorting and delivering supplies, and cleaning up a big, big mess.  Even so, I do believe it is the little things that make the difference, even though it might not feel like it in the moment.  It's easy to think, "this is such a big mess, that there's nothing I could do that would help".  But actually it's the complete opposite.  I was amazing by how quickly we could sort supplies and load up cars with tons of people.  If everyone carries one bag, the job get's done faster leaving less people exhausted at the end of the day.  It's that simple.

It's starting to become more and more clear that people in need are relying on grassroots movements more than anything else.  The Red Cross and FEMA are not enough.  So for readers of my blog who do not live in the area and want to do something to help, please consider donating to a smaller grassroots organization instead of giving to the Red Cross.  I think your money will be directly put to use faster.  And if you're in NYC and haven't volunteered yet (I know it can seem daunting) just show up at the smaller places, and help strangers out.  That's really all you need to do.

Here are a few really easy ways to find places to volunteer no registration necessary, just show up.

And here are links to some more grassroots stories with organizations you can give to:

  • Reading about Jenna and Sharon's experiences really moved me- please check them out.  
  • And Ingrid's post is really informative too.  
  • I am particularly concerned about the Ali Forney Center and think that I will try and donate some money there.

There are so many ways to help out.  If I learned anything today, it's that small help is still help.  Please, do what you can, New York needs love from around the world more than ever.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hi everyone! Great news.  As you might have heard, the power is back in lower Manhattan and the subways are almost all running again. Alex was actually downtown when power starting coming back on and said it was amazing and emotional.  It felt like New Years Eve but better.

Turns out, the only train that we live near to take us into the city (the L) is still completely flooded and they do not have a time line for when it will be up and running again.  However this inconvenience (the nearest running subway is now about a 30 minute walk) has made me decide to walk partially to work everyday starting Monday!  I live 3 miles from the first subway stop over the bridge in Manhattan and my plan is to walk this route to work every day, and then get on the train for the rest of the way.  On the way home, I'll take the train to the Marcy ave stop from west 4th street and then walk that last 30 minutes.  It will end up being about 4.5 miles a day, and i'm really excited to give it a try!

As you also probably heard, the NYC marathon was finally canceled yesterday.  Every year I say I'm going to go watch it, because everyone I know who has done that always says it's the most uplifting and inspiring experience, but I never actually have.  I was having mixed feelings about this year, and as more disasters became apparent from Sandy, the more I felt it should be canceled   So I will have to wait another year to be a marathon spectator, but in the mean time, I'm excited to participate in the NYC Volunteerathon  tomorrow!  Alex and I are getting in touch with the Red Hook Initiative right now and are hoping to put our almost full tank of gas and able bodies to good use.

I am so proud of our city right now.  Even though a lot of things are not running as smoothly as they should be and people still feel hopeless, so many people want to help and I know it will make a big difference in the long run.  I keep seeing the phrase that hurricane clean up is not a sprint, it's a marathon and I'm going to try and help out as much as I can in the coming months, but I think the symbolism of volunteering on marathon day is important. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be inspired and uplifted just as much as I would have been as a spectator of the marathon- if not more.  So click here for more info on the Volunteerathon and help spread the word if you can!

PS- Katrina survivors talk to New York.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

via In Focus

It's almost the end of day three in post Sandy NYC, and I thought I'd at least try and explain the roller coaster my brain has been through in the most honest way that I can.  Yes, we are all thankful, yes we're sending positive thoughts out into the universe, but what's really happening in a Brooklyn girl's brain in her heated, powered apartment? Let me try and explain.

Monday night on Facebook, it was all about the snacks.  This was me:  Only thoughts in my head right now: what can I eat next? Right now- Mac and cheese and pumpkin ale!

And then: Can the news people start saying "Sandy has landy" please? You know they want to!


And then I lost internet.  But never power.  We listened to the radio, we attempted to play trivial pursuit, we ate a ton of snacks and then we went to bed.

Tuesday was all about getting out of the apartment and doing some shameless disaster tourism. Although it didn't feel like that at the time. Alex and I walked into Manhattan, spent about 15 minutes there thinking, this is weird, no power, yet no flooding either.  And then we walked back.  We ended up taking in our friend Dustin, picking him up in our car on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg bridge.  I tried to blog about it in a somewhat honest/ somewhat removed way- but I had no idea what I was talking about.  We walked to the supermarket and bought things to make tacos.  We drank some wine and watched Anne of Green Gables.  Everything we did had comfort written all over it.  The food, the entertainment.  It was a sleepover and school was closed again tomorrow. I think we all felt like kids and there had just been a blizzard. Maybe I'll clean out my closet, I thought.

Wednesday, Alex walked into work from the bridge (about an hour and 15 minutes) while Dustin and I had brunch with friends.  We talked about how weird it all was and the uncertainty of things was starting to settle in.  How long would we be without subway service? The guilt was beginning too.  When the waitress told me they had no fresh lemon for my tea, we all laughed.  Of course, no problem! Who needs things like lemons, when we just had a hurricane?  It felt like a joke, we were all being good humored.

Dustin and I then went shopping for Halloween costume materials. I went to a very full yoga class where people talked about being stressed even though nothing happened to them.  Alex came home from work exhausted and feeling sad and surprisingly emotional. Working in a building running on generator power with no lights in the bathrooms and important warnings not to drink the water felt too big to process what that actually meant.  I didn't quite get what he was talking about.  I just had what felt like a normal Saturday (even though it was Wednesday) in Brooklyn.  But I was getting there.

But we got dressed up and went to the Halloween party.  We went because we'd been planning for it.  We went because it was Halloween and there was a party, even if there was just a hurricane.  We went to support our friend's bar and to feel resilient.  And we had fun.  But we only stayed for a few hours and then went home.

And then it was Thursday.  Thursday was when I couldn't stop watching the news.   Which went from being about traffic in the morning, to suddenly being about the under reported tragedies still happening in Staten Island.  Fuck.  I should be helping people.  What is wrong with me? What is wrong with this world? Oh no I feel a global warming spiral freak out coming on!  I wrote a fun blog post about nail polish that I had been thinking about for a while.  I wondered if I should only be posting hurricane related things before posting it, and then posted it anyway. I realized that the gas shortage was in our neighborhood now too.  Not just in Manhattan, not just in New Jersey.  Alex and I went out to dinner but felt guilty about going out to dinner,  but also like we should go out to dinner to support our neighborhood that we love so much.  My mom joked that as long as we felt guilty all through dinner then it was okay to go out.  Haha.  I looked into volunteering   I remembered that I had a pack of unused batteries.  People need batteries.  Like, really badly actually.  I also invited a friend over for lunch tomorrow.  But shouldn't I be volunteering instead of eating lunch?  Shouldn't I have been volunteering this whole time???  What can I do over the weekend to help out? I never cleaned out my closet.

Thanks for listening.  Please don't judge me but this is what the hurricane's really been like for me so far.  At least I think it is, still trying to figure it all out.