Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Weekend!

my new go-to neon pink!
"Collide", by Illamasqua

 a stack of shower invitations for a special bride-to-be!
i love weddings.
some people say that and don't really mean it, but i really, really do.
in fact - if i could be a wedding fairy, i would. :)

my friend texted me this one morning.
who needs a yoga studio if you have Times Square?!

well these are the perfect little sticky-notes, now aren't they?
(my whole family calls me Gin.)

i hardly ever drink anything other than water, milk, tea, bourbon, and coffee - 
but recently i've added this little magic water to my repertoire.
i drink it in lieu of sports drinks or even as a way to, ahem, get over a late night.
one thing i will say is that i only like it if it's really cold (great in smoothies!) 
and half of a bottle is a sufficient boost.
it's 95% water, all natural, gluten free, packed with potassium, electrolytes, & antioxidants. and did you know that in developing countries, coconut water has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid when medical saline was unavailable? crazy. here's someone else's opinion on it who sounds a lot more health conscious than the little lady. ;)

i heart new york.
goodness, i have been loving the summer sunsets lately.

came home last night to discover a freshly paved street!
(i can't get over how clean it looks...)

i'm a huge fan of Joanna Goddard
 so getting this notification made me squeal!


i'm gearing up for lots of fun projects and to-dos to tackle this weekend. not to mention, it's my last weekend in my humble abode alone for who-knows-how-long. and as excited as i am to be welcoming the boy to NYC, i will admit that previous statement makes me a little sad. maybe you think that makes me crazy or mean or weird, but i'm just being honest. i have no idea what the future chapters hold, but this one? the one that i feel like i might be closing the door on? the one where i open my apartment door every night for three years to a home that's silent except for my thoughts?  the one where i've learned how to use a power drill on a step ladder with my handy dandy tool belt? the one that's taught me just how fun it can be to go to a movie alone?  it's been the most important chapter thus far and i wouldn't trade it for the world. in an effort to soak it all up, i plan on watching a Nora Ephron romantic comedy and doing a face mask while i don't have to worry about frightening anybody. :) i'm going to hunker down and just hang out with lil ol' me. while also somehow preparing the apartment for the storm that's about to hit. ;) wishing you all a wonderful weekend. get some you-time, okay?

p.s. some things i want you to see ::

this made me squeal.

wouldn't these be fun for your 4th of July? 

the cutest little stop motion pregnancy video.

speaking of kiddies, can you imagine having this in your house? amazing!

do this, this weekend.

my niece posted this song below & i had to share.

until next time,


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter, filmmaker, director, producer, novelist, playwright, journalist, author, blogger, and one of my biggest inspirations, died yesterday at age 71 after a battle with leukemia.

You probably know Ephron from her movies: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seatle, Michael, You've Got Mail, Julie & Julia, etc.

What you might not know:

  • After graduating from Wellesley, she interned in the White House of the President John F. Kennedy.
  • Her first job in NYC was a mail girl for Newsweek.
  • She & her sister wrote the incredible play, Love, Loss, & What I Wore. It has a rotating cast and I've maybe seen it three times. :)
  • She wrote books: I Feel Bad About My Neck, Wallflower at the Orgy, I Remember Nothing (in which she hints about her illness), and more.
  • Tom Hanks is due to make his Broadway debut in January in Ephron's Lucky Guy. (Let's all go!)

In an effort to celebrate such a beloved writer and person, 
let's take a look at some of my favorite Nora Ephron quotes. ::

“Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it's your last, or do you save your money on the chance you'll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”

“Whenever you give up an apartment in New York and move to another city, New York turns into the worst version of itself. Someone I know once wisely said that the expression "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" is completely wrong where New York is concerned; the opposite is true. New York is a very livable city. But when you move away and become a vistor, the city seems to turn against you. It's much more expensive (because you need to eat all your meals out and pay for a place to sleep) and much more unfriendly. Things change in New York; things change all the time. You don't mind this when you live here; when you live here, it's part of the caffeinated romance to this city that never sleeps. But when you move away, your experience change as a betrayal. You walk up Third Avenue planning to buy a brownie at a bakery you've always been loyal to, and the bakery's gone. Your dry cleaner move to Florida; your dentist retires; the lady who made the pies on West Fourth Street vanishes; the maitre d' at P.J. Clarke's quits, and you realize you're going to have to start from scratch tipping your way into the heart of the cold, chic young woman now at the down. You've turned your back from only a moment, and suddenly everything's different. You were an insider, a native, a subway traveler, a purveyor of inside tips into the good stuff, and now you're just another frequent flyer, stuck in a taxi on Grand Central Parkway as you wing in and out of La Guardia. Meanwhile, you rad that Manhattan rents are going up, they're climbing higher, they're reached the stratosphere. It seems that the moment you left town, they put a wall around the place, and you will never manage to vault over it and get back into the city again.”

“There is something called the rapture of the deep, and it refers to what happens when a deep-sea diver spends too much time at the bottom of the ocean and can't tell which way is up. When he surfaces, he's liable to have a condition called the bends, where the body can't adapt to the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. All of this happens to me when I surface from a great book.”

“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

“I live in New York City. I could never live anywhere else. The events of September 11 forced me to confront the fact that no matter what, I live here and always will. One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived for a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.”

“I don't think any day is worth living without thinking about what you're going to eat next at all times.”

“…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

“Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”

“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”

"The best thing about a pedicure is that most of the year, from September to May to be exact, no one except your loved one knows if you have had one. The second best thing about a pedicure is that while you're having your feet done, you have the use of your hands and can easily read or even talk on a cell phone. The third best thing about a pedicure is that when it's over, your feet really do look adorable. The worst thing about pedicures is that they take way too much time and then, just when you think you're done, you have to wait for your toenails to dry. It takes almost as long for your toenails to dry as it does to have a pedicure. So there you sit, for what seems like an eternity, and finally you can't stand waiting one more minute so you gently slip on your sandals and leave and on the way home you absolutely ruin the polish on your big toe and since your big toe is really the only thing anyone notices as far as your feet are concerned, you might as well not have had a pedicure in the first place."

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”

“When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”

"I'm sorry to report that I have an Aruba. My Aruba is named after the Caribbean island of Aruba, where the winds blow so strong that all the little trees on it are blown sideways in one direction. But my Aruba is not an island. It's the thing that's happening with my hair, on the crown of my head, in the back. My cowlicks have won, and they are all blown sideways, leaving a little bare space."
“Beware of men who cry. It's true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”

“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic."

“I'll have what she's having.”

"One of my biggest regrets -- bigger even than not buying the apartment on East Seventy-fifth Street, bigger even than my worst romantic catastrophe -- is that I didn't spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck."
"I hate my purse. I absolutely hate it. If you're one of those women who think there's something great about purses, don't even bother reading this because there will be nothing here for you. This is for women who hate their purses, who are bad at purses, who understand that their purses are reflections of negligent housekeeping, hopeless disorganization, a chronic inability to throw anything away, an an ongoing failure to handle the obligations of a demanding and difficult accessory (the obligation, for example, that it should in some way match what you're wearing). This is for women whose purses are a morass of loose Tic Tacs, solitary Advils, lipsticks without tops, ChapSticks of unkown vintage, little bits of tobacco even though there has been no smoking going on for at least ten years, tampons that have come loose from their wrappings, English coins from a trip to London last October, boarding passes from long-forgotten airplane trips, hotel keys from God-knows-what hotel, leaky ballpoint pens, Kleenexes that either have or have not been used but there's no way to be sure one way or another, scratched eyeglasses, an old tea bag, several crumpled personal checks that have come loose from the checkbook and are covered with smudge marks, and an unprotected toothbrush that looks as if it has been used to polish silver. This is for women who in mid-July realize they still haven't bought a summer purse or who in midwinter are still carrying around a straw bag. This is for women who find it appalling that a purse might cost five or six hundred dollars - never mind that top-of-the-line thing called a Birkin bag that costs ten thousand dollars, not that it's relevant  because you can't even get on the waiting list for one. On the waiting list! For a purse! For a ten-thousand-dollar purse that will end up full of old Tic-Tacs!"
"People who run four miles a day and eat only nuts and berries drop dead. People who drink a quart of whiskey and smoke two packs of cigarettes a day drop dead. You are suddenly in a lottery, the ultimate game of chance, and someday your luck will run out."
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
"What I will miss
My kids
The concept of waffles
A walk in the park
The idea of a walk in the park
The park
Shakespeare in the Park
The bed
Reading in bed
The view out the window
Twinkle lights
Dinner at home just the two of us
Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
Next year in Istanbul
Pride and Prejudice
The Christmas tree
Thanksgiving dinner
One for the table
The dogwood
Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

To read her commencement speech at Wellesley to the 1996 graduates - click here.

Stars remember her here.

until next time,


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy 65th, Mom!

Today, my mother turned sixty-five years old.

As many of you know, my mom is my rock and a woman I love more than I can even articulate. What you may not know, however, is just how incredible she is. She's a woman who is unwaveringly optimistic, has faced countless obstacles and difficulties in life and never once chooses to blame, and who goes out of her way to better the lives of others by giving...she's always giving. She's the woman who befriends the Vietnamese couple at her nail salon to the point of being in the delivery room when they had their first child, providing the support of a friend...and now holds the title of the adorable little girl's "other grandmother." She's the woman who got her college degree and Master's after having kids and devoted her career to early childhood development and children with special needs. She's the woman who sends out invitations for family talent shows, girls-only movie days, and group caroling in Santa hats. She's the woman with six children (including  daughter/son-in-laws) and ten grandchildren who never misses a beat. She's the woman who makes everything in her vicinity beautiful, special, funny, and extraordinarily loved.

Back in March, I emailed my sister and asked her opinion on a gift idea that I stumbled upon on Pinterest. "Could we even pull it off?", I wondered. She gave me the green light on her support, but politely told me that I would have to orchestrate. (My sister home-schools four boys - needless to say, her plate is more than full!) After also emailing my brothers, my sister-in-law, & my stepdad with what I had in mind, we got to work. The goal was to collect 65 memories from people in my mother's life and present them to her in individual envelopes with each letter acting as a trip down memory lane - and a way for her to see how the rest of us see and remember her. My stepdad reached out to her church community and my siblings collected memories amongst their individual families. And I waited until May to make my big move...remember this visit? Envision my sister on the phone with my mom in my bedroom and there I was, hiding in the bathroom snapping pictures of my mom's address book like some crazed lunatic trying to beat the clock. The day after she left, I sent out letters and emails explaining our goal. I assured everyone that even a scribbled sentence of a memory would suffice. Meanwhile, I had to get creative in other ways. For example, my mom forwarded me an email chain of her colleague's newborn twins and I casually copied down the listed emails. Sneaky, sneaky. My biggest fear was that we would fall short of 65 memories - which would have felt so half-hearted - and which would be the complete opposite of anything my mother has done & does for others.

So then the memories started trickling in... Since I didn't know how my pending living situation would turn out, I gave out my work address. I felt like I was ten again and back at camp when mail-delivery-time meant the world. I'd squeal if I saw anything with my name fall to my desk. I'd quickly open it and immediately turn into a blubbering puddle, reaching for the nearest tissue before someone saw me and assumed Excel had really done me in. Boy did those letters far exceed my expectations; she heard from family, friends all the way back from elementary school, & old and current colleagues. Letters arrived from as far as California on colorful stationery, in heartfelt emails, and messages typed on a typewriter in an assisted living home. A couple memories were even encased in old photographs. Stories flooded my desk...the time she was pregnant with me and threw a Halloween party as a way to show her friends all at once that she had gotten braces...but, lo and behold, my brother ran into her before it started and she was the host with the fat lip. Or the time when she and my stepdad had to unload the entire Bronco truck at the Canadian border that was packed to the brim for a family trip to Prince Edward Island. Or what it meant to her grandchildren to look out at their school concerts and always see her there. Or how she helped friends get through losses and difficult times with her compassion and humor. Or memories from us kids and all the little ways she made us feel like we had the best mom in the world. As my oldest brother wrote in his final sentence, "my biggest memory is love."

To say we met our goal would be an understatement. We ended up with ninety-three amount that left me speechless. I combined some and sealed them in the 65 envelopes and mailed them in a big gold box to my stepdad. He presented them to her on our behalf this past weekend while they were on a mini vacation. Little did she know what was in store! :) My mom texted me on Friday saying she was ten letters and a box of Kleenex in, wanting to know how on earth we pulled this off. I called her - and we both just sat on the phone crying...

Happy Birthday, Mom. In case you haven't figured it out, we really, really love you.

photos taken by my stepdad

P.S. the article that inspired it all.

until next time,


Monday, June 25, 2012

A Wedding Down South

off we go!

don't you love her 'do?
(she takes two pigtail braids and wraps it around and pins it with bobbys!)

thaz right. the best sweet tea there is!

hello, sunshine. 
even with SPF 45 (imma ghost), i still managed to get a little color.

our form of transportation for the weekend.
gotta love the hat.

some amazing pina colada concoction at Coast.

met up with the girls after the rehearsal!

"AHHH! you're going to be a Mrs. tomorrow!"

headed to the ceremony.

the gorgeous reception at her house.

making their entrance as husband & wife.

first dance. (on the floor over the pool!)
isn't the bride absolutely stunning?!

"what can make me feel this way? 
my girl, my girl, my girl,
talkin' bout myyyy girl...
my girl!"

too cute for words.

the groom surprised her with their honeymoon... :)
can't wait to hear where they went!

...and now i'm back!
(taken from my cab)

not gonna lie, it was pretty tough coming home after all the fun...i'm so thankful i was able to go in the first place. there comes a time when it becomes very difficult for old friends to be together at the same time. distance, careers, relationships, children, life all inevitably become obstacles to what once felt like endless time together. and so the airport adventures, spending way too long finding the best country radio station for your road trip, makeup "how-tos" in your hotel room, honest and sincere talks, tears filling your eyes the moment you see your friend in her wedding dress, jumping to Shout on the dance floor, possibly attempting to go through a fast food drive-thru with no car... :), and extra long hugs goodbye - they're all little moments you deeply cherish. i like to think that you can spot a good, real friend by the simple fact that no matter the time lapse since your last visit, you immediately fall back right where you left off...giggling and hugging and chatting and asking and making sure that your friend is happy. and being overwhelmed with joy when you do.

cheers to an amazing weekend, one of the prettiest weddings i could imagine, one of the happiest brides i ever did see, and to old friends. 


until next time,


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Weekend!

I'm off to watch this fabulous little lady walk down the aisle in a big white dress!

Another friend from boarding school & I are flying to Charlotte bright & early
and road-tripping to Charleston, South Carolina for the weekend.
Bring on the sunshine, sweat tea, and southern love. :)

I'm so excited to see my girls I might BURST.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!
(stay cool!)

until next time,


Apartment News

Folks, my apartment decision is finally official! (hallelujah!)

As Carrie Bradshaw once said, "finding the perfect apartment in New York City is like finding the perfect mate." There are so many things to consider - what borough, brownstone versus high rise, walkup versus doorman, floor level, layout, size of rooms, age of appliances, storage space, neighborhood, the superintendent / landlord management, distance from the nearest subway, length of commute to work, proximity to life's essentials, and last but not least - price!

I saw one apartment that was nice minus the fact that it had a mini-fridge - you know the kind you had in your college dorm room your freshman year that you wouldn't mind forgetting? At least that was better than an apartment setup I saw a few years ago that required you to put your feet inside the bathtub if you were sitting on the commode...

Another? No stove. None at all. "The little lady cooks on her stove all the time!" said no one ever. But still, I'm an "adult." For heaven's sake, I can't be the girl without a stove!

Some apartments require first month's and last month's rent for security plus up to a 15% broker fee - to which I quickly say uh-yeah-no-thanks. At the end of the day, it really comes down to $ and how much you're really willing to fork over. According to this article from earlier this month, rent in Manhattan has hit record highs; the affordable vacancies are seriously slim pickins. I kept hearing different statistics and opinions that said, "if you're happy where you are - don't move!"

I actually looked at a couple available apartments in my building, but alas, their extra space did not equal five flights of stairs and an arm & a leg more a month.

So, long story (and a long few months) short, I am staying put. I honestly couldn't find anything I loved more than where I live now. Am I disappointed? A little bit. Of course I loved the idea of starting completely fresh with a brand new place. I longed (and still do) for a living room and a coffee table and maybe even a pantry. One day, I think. On the bright side, I am honestly relieved. I don't have to deal with the headache of moving ('cause Lord knows I don't have time for that right now) and paying some ridiculous amount in order to do so. Plus! I'm still over-the-moon, hands-in-the-air excited.
Why?!! Because that's not the only news...

Not only am I staying put, but I'm getting a roommate!

I suppose it's time he have a name on here. :)
Please meet Patrick ::

After what feels like a century of doing the long distance dance, we are finally going to be able to see each other every day. I haven't even allowed myself to fully accept that this is all happening since it doesn't even seem real! Thinking back to everything we've been through to get to this point, seen in my mind like one big fast forward of page after page of highs and lows, honestly leaves me in teary disbelief. His length of stay is still TBD, depending on his injury rehab and career, but we know we should have at least the summer together. :)

I'm sorry if this is TMI on the sappy meter, but in the course of our history, we have had countless "dream dates." A dream date is when one person says "let's go to Maui" or "let's go camping" and you end your phone call by saying you'll meet the other one there in your dreams. That's all you get. A make-believe notion of spending time with that person...a statement that gives you a glimmer of something to look forward to with hopes of ending the phone call with a smile. 

Compared to the smile I have now at the thought of real-life dates, whenever I want? Lemme tell puts that old smile to shame.

I'm excited, too.

I know - you're probably like,
"Back.the.bus.up. How are you going to fit in your apartment?"
More on that soon. :)

until next time,


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer at C.Wonder

lots of fun summery finds at C.Wonder to kick off the new season!
shop here.

p.s. i think i really need this. :)

until next time,


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Snapshots from the Weekend

a postcard image from the Prada & Schiaparelli exhibit at the Met.

the presentation that depicted the striking similarities 
between the two Italian designers reminded me a great deal
 of Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty - which i honestly loved. 
I didn't particularly love this exhibit, but I definitely enjoyed it...
 ...and would definitely still recommend!

the highlight of our little Met adventure was going to the rooftop 
to check out the "Cloud City" climbable exhibit.


the view.

and then this was taken on our walk to get fro-yo at 16 Handles.  :)
(if you squint you can see my office!)


and then on Sunday, I celebrated my dad!
i think i've shared this image before (sorry), but i blew it up as part of his gift.
we were 5 & 41 there. 
and i was the flower girl of my brother's wedding.
come to think of it, i still have that headband of faux flowers!

now we're 26 & 62.
or as my dad likes to say, "if I stand on my head we're the same age!"

we had brunch, went on a walk, & i took him shoppin' for new kicks. :)

and i actually saw this the night i went to the Met...
sidenote: apparently there's a mysterious man who writes it all over the UES
which makes me think i need to become the West village / Chelsea mysterious sidewalk chalk girl.
...but it fits right in here at the end. 
it's the exact goal my dad has always pushed me to follow.
and for that alone, i am forever and always grateful.

happy belated father's day to all the father figures out there!
we appreciate all of your encouragement much, much more than you know.

until next time,

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