My First New York Anniversary

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my move to New York City. (Am I allowed to call myself a New Yorker yet?? Probably not. Even by HIMYM standards, I'm only halfway there.) On that day, I recall hauling a very sleepy version of myself out of an airport taxi, then dragging two large suitcases through the Upper East Side, where I would stay at an AirBNB with my mom until my sublet became available. I did not have a job. I did not know my roommate. I scarcely understood how to navigate public transit. It felt something like the first day of college.

The city taught me a lot in that first week. Frankly I'm embarrassed to think how much I did not know, most of my "experience" having been shaped by TV shows (You know the ones...) and my time spent there as a tourist. To live here is an entirely different beast, but not one that is ultimately beastly in nature. In fact, there is real beauty to this beast.


In October of 2015, just under a month into my time here, I drafted a list: "First Impressions of New York City." Just for fun, I thought I'd revist that list to see if my opinions on the matters had changed at all, or if I had any new insights about them. Without further ado, here they are again:

(1) When you walk down Madison Avenue, you are almost guaranteed to see most beautiful man and/or woman you have ever seen. Five. Times. Over.

Yes, it's true that just about everyone looks good in a suit. I've caught myself admiring men older than my father on the subway for the simple fact they've had 60 years of tumbling around this city to convert their rough, rocky imperfections into the perfectly-polished characteristics of a Silver Fox.

That said, there are attractive people all over this city, and pending my daily preference I could just as easily fall in love with someone shopping in Soho as commuting through Harlem.

In other news, I think it's safe to say I've never found myself at the intersection of Madison and 55th during lunchtime since then.

(2) The best time to go to Trader Joe's (the one on 73rd, at least) is on Friday at 1:30pm.

First off, Trader Joe's is located on 72nd, not 73rd (YOU FOOL.) I still stand by this observation, but I will amend it to say that virtually any weekday between 1:30 and 3:30p is probably a safe bet.

Unless you're visiting the 23rd St location. Here, I've found, there is no "good time."

(3) The majority of people here are helpful, encouraging, and pleasant conversationalists (at heart.)

THIS. Of all the points I made here, this is the one I stand by the most.

I had the fortune of visiting Seattle this past summer with fresh eyes (in both a figurative and literal sense, because the air over there is so goddamn wonderfully clear...) From unsolicited conversations with various apron-clad Pollyannas to looking around empty streets and wondering "Where are all the people??" I experienced culture-shock within my own country. As Planned Parenthood petitioners greeted me at twenty-stride distances away and a store owner regaled me with her (quite intimate) shared custody dramas, I thought perhaps I'd misjudged Seattle: the only freeze to be found around here was the icy deliciousness of Molly Moon, beguiling me at every corner.

But then...

With a friend, I went browsing through a certain department store I will preserve the reputation of by not naming (though I will say Manhattan's set to get one by 2018 and it may or may not rhyme with "Smorsdrom." We were looking for bras -- and that's all we were doing. Looking for them, finding them, "ehmagawd-cuuuuuute-ing" over them, and moving on. I know store employees probably hate this. I know many salespeople work on commission. I know Seattle is a cruel, cruel place where women would rather bind themselves in North Face polar fleeces than lay down cash to hoist their ladies into the (albeit shrouded in a thick layer of raincloud) sun.

I also know my rights as a shopper, as an aspiring minimalist, as a generally polite person, and as someone who speaks their mind. I wasn't going to buy a bra that day. I would happily take a fitting, thank you. Yes, I will gladly consider the bras you bring me. And yes, I still reserve the right not to make a purchase despite your thoughtful suggestions. Dear sales-chick who decided customer-service manners ended when you realized you couldn't bully me into making a purchase, who casually insulted the bustier I'd walked in wearing, who passive-aggressively clicked your tongue and told me I "did my best" when reorganizing the bras you yourself insisted I try on (but which, no, in fact, I still didn't want to buy from you): YOU ARE THE REASON. You are the reason Seattle (and perhaps the larger west coast) has earned a reputation of negative uncommunicative nonsensery. I could not deal with this shit when I lived there, and I sure as hell can't put up with it now. I AM NEW YORKER, HEAR ME ROAR.

(I know, I know I'm not yet. But give me this one.)

In contrast, I walked into the Union Square 'Rack today to run an errand for my boyfriend. When an saleswoman approached me, I told her what I was looking for. She guided me to the options, asked if I needed anything else, then left me to it. She didn't even tell me her name. It was heaven.

(4) The more time you spend in midtown, the more you feel entitled to the life of a well-paid lawyer. 

Again, I'd amend the location beyond 5th Avenue and Soho (is this really all I knew of the city back then??) but, sadly, yes; I have become the kind of woman whose eyes pop when she unearths Manolo Blaniks at thrift shops and who spends her commuting hours carefully studying designer handbags so she'll be ready when her match hits Ebay. Bless me, father, for I have sinned...

(5) It's not a concrete prison.

I mean... who needs nature, really....? ;)

I love you, New York.
I'm so happy to call myself a part of your twisted, grid-locked, garbage-scented, honk-if-you-love-no-one chaos.
Happy Anniversary.
And cheers to many more.


Fall 2016 Inspirsession (+ How To Use Inspiration Photos To Construct The Perfect Capsule Wardrobe!)

I don't think a year has passed without me longing for fall before summer's even hit its peak. Despite the fact I seem to run ten degrees colder than the average human being, I'm a cool-weather gal through and through. I'll take extra layers any day over sweaty shorts and shifty tank straps.

From school supplies to fashion week to crunchy leaves to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, the season only proves to outdo itself with each passing week; I simply can't see what's not to love here. In fact, if we could just cut March through August out of the calendar entirely, I think I'd be perfectly happy. Two Christmases a year sounds like a great deal!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Today New York is still gracing us with temperatures in the 90s, and I'm only in the early planning stages of my fall capsule wardrobe.

Like most Type A individuals, I spend roughly 90 percent of my energy thinking about how I'm going to do something, leaving just 10 percent for the actual doing it. As it turns out, though, my style has really solidified in the past few capsule cycles, so my inspiration-gathering process was fairly straightforward this time around.

If you're building a capsule of your own, I'd encourage spending a day or two collecting inspiration images (from Pinterest, blogs, books, magazines, etc.) These don't necessarily have to be fashion-related -- they can be as abstract as you like -- just be sure you can identify what about them sparks your interest. However, if you do compile mostly outfit photos, as I have done below, the capsule-building process is made that much simpler.

For instance, here's a little cheat I used this time around:

1) Make a list of the individual pieces that you like from each outfit photo. Be specific about fabric, shape, color, etc. (i.e. denim jacket, straight skirt, black boots.) If an item shows up in more than one photo, take note: it could be an ideal foundation piece. Consider making room for duplicates of these items.

2) Refine your list. Pending on how large you want your wardrobe to be, you may also need to consolidate similar items. (For example, if both "denim jacket" and "moto jacket" turned up on your list, you could combine these into one "lightweight jacket.") This is also a good time to consider color palette and silhouette. You don't want an unmixable wardrobe of clashing tones or mismatched proportions!

2) Cross-reference the completed list against your current closet stock, including anything you may have stored from last season. Check off any listed items that you already own. You may need to try them on to ensure good condition and fit. Collect any seasonal misfits to donate, sell, or repurpose.

3) Review what's missing. These are the items you should focus on purchasing to complete your capsule. Go forth and shop!

Now here's a peek at what's inspiring me for fall:

This Mod Look:

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Thanks to a recent viewing of God Help The Girl, I've been absolutely mooning over this oft-revived 60s look. I just can't wait to pair last year's long-sleeve floral dress with opaque tights and oxfords!

1970s Silhouettes

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It's rare for me to chase two different decades at once, but I just can't resist these faaaar-ouuuut 70s looks! (I may have Everybody Wants Some to thank for that...) While it's the outfit components of the 60s that intrigue me (knee-high boots, tights, mini dresses), it's really the proportions of the 70s that I love. Volume at the neck and shoulders, an itty bitty waist, and a gradual a-line pull downward -- sometimes all the way to the floor. Loving. It. 

Classic Basics

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While I love a quirky thrift store find, no wardrobe is complete without foundational basics -- and for whatever reason, mine tend to fall on the classic/preppy side of things: straight skirts, pumps, tailored coats, and v-neck sweaters. Autumn plays a siren song to my inner nerd!

Creative Top Coat Stylings

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I've long referred to this coat style as a trench, but it just now occurred to me that trench coats are typically double-breasted with a belted waist. So I guess my beloved "trench coat" is actually considered a "top coat" with military accents. Anyway, I'm loving this year's new looks for my old standby.

Skinny Bottom + Bulky Top

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For someone who once felt certain this trend would never stick around, I've become quite the skinny jean devotee. And though I'm wary of adding bulk to my abbreviated upper half, I can't help but love these stripey, city-ready looks.

Extras: Wide-Brimmed Hats, Well-Made Bags, and Wavy Locks

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Personally, I don't include accessories in my capsule count, but that doesn't mean I don't consider them in the planning process! After all, the devil's in the details.

My obsession with wide-brimmed hats is going three years strong at this point, and I'm happy to see the trend is sticking for the time being. (Sidenote: How cute is that lamb?! I would just carry that thing everywhere...) I'm currently on the hunt for a structured, quality handbag that won't break the bank -- any suggestions? And finally, I purchased a curling wand off ebay this summer, and boy has it been a game-changer! Can't wait to experiment more once a) our apartment settles back to a reasonable temperature and b) my hair stops sticking to my neck.
What's inspiring you this fall?