The week in review

April 26, 2015

This week was a good one and it went by so quickly!

Mexicue cocktail

A couple weeks ago, my friend Carly, who works for Mexicue corporate, asked me if I could bring people to fill chairs at the “friends and family night” for their new location on 5th Avenue. Um, enjoying free food and booze while helping their servers get the hang of things? NO PROB. I showed up with Eric and 15 or so of my coworkers. The drinks and appetizers were great (though the entrees were all really spicy) and the new location is really nice inside. It was just a fun night out with people I like!

Other highlights from the week…

Writing

35 Amazing Six-Word Love Stories

Christian Louboutin Is Adding New Shades Of “Nude”

I also got to play with an Apple watch (!!) when I lent my wrist to this post!

Entertained by

How To Pleasure Your Man In 11 Easy Steps, BuzzFeed. This is amazing.

The Secret To Perfect Weed Butter, Adequate Man // Deadspin. Just in case you weren’t sure what to do with that mini Crock Pot of yours. 

An Oral History Of ‘Mad Men’, Clickhole. Discovered this gem in our office chat channel that’s called “Why I’m LOLing.”

The Secret to Staying Friends in Your 30s, New York Magazine. I’m alllll about “errand friends.”

Amy Schumer Flawlessly Parodies Friday Night Lights to Skewer Rape Culture, Vulture. Nailed it.

How to seem smart in meetings without really trying, The Washington Post. So good.

Till Death Do Us Part, The Post and Courier. A Pulitzer-prize winning piece on domestic violence in South Carolina.

Outlander’s Ron Moore & Terry Dresbach on Tartans, Redcoats and KNITS, Jezebel. A fun read for fans of the show.

In the midst of everyone freaking the fuck out about Lilly Pulitzer, I really enjoyed this 2003 Vanity Fair profile on her, as well as this essay by Lisa Birnbach about why, exactly, everyone is freaking the fuck out.

Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe, Dallas Mom Blog. Saw this all over Facebook last week; I love how confident she is now!

How To Get Rid Of Clutter And Live Abundantly, The Toast. “If you have ever used a lotion, even once, get rid of it. Messy applicator tips are preventing you from practicing forgiveness. From now on, the only lotion you need is total acceptance of life on life’s terms, and also a bottle of argan oil you have made yourself (you can produce argan oil by letting go of anger).”

How Living With and Loving Bruce Jenner Changed My Life Forever, The Huffington Post. Linda Thompson writes about her marriage to Bruce Jenner and living with his secret with so much grace and honesty. (Using “his” per GLAAD’s recommendations.)

An Article About Black Women Shouldn’t Have To Come With A Warning Label, BuzzFeed. Right in the feels, over and over again.

Obama’s Anger Translator at the 2015 Correspondents’ Dinner. Hilarious.

19 Faces Everyone Who Has Had Sex With A Penis Will Recognize, BuzzFeed. I feel totally comfortable calling this a “must-read.”

This list of bird group names is maybe the most fascinating thing I read this week.

I also started reading Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids; I’m about 70 percent done and it’s good! Some essays feel a little repetitive, but it’s good.

The week ahead…

The usual! Work, working out, trying to eat healthy, and trying to keep my plants alive.

My spring uniform

April 22, 2015

I’ve been having a bunch of conversations with different friends and coworkers about creating a uniform (plus a recent Harper’s Bazaar article on the topic has been all over my social feeds), so I wanted to share my current uniform. On pretty much any given day, you can find me wearing some combination of these items:

Spring uniform

Though I had my winter uniform down, a couple of weeks ago, I realized that my spring uniform needed some help. (We’ve been having some very strange days lately, both weather-wise [cool in the morning, warmish in the afternoon] and office-temperature-wise [ALWAYS FUCKING FREEZING].) I was also coming up short on shoes. So I did some shopping and now I’m in good shape for spring, plus I got a bunch of items that I’ll wear for the rest of the year.

Below is a list of everything in my wardrobe that makes up my current uniform. The items I bought this month are marked with an asterisk and I included the rough purchase dates for everything else. I also included the price when I got an item at a significant discount.

Bottoms

One ankle-length pair of white skinny high-waist jeans* to wear with flats & sneakers ($9.99 on sale at H & M)

One pair of white straight-leg jeans to wear with heels (from Joe’s via Saks Off Fifth, 2013)

One ankle-length pair of dark blue jeans (~$25 on sale, J. Crew outlet, fall 2014)

One pair of straight-leg dark blue jeans* from Uniqlo

Three pairs of black Lululemon leggings (all gifts/gift card purchases between 2012 and 2014)

(I also have a white midi skirt, a radiant orchid midi skirt, and some dresses, but it hasn’t been warm enough to wear them yet so they really aren’t part of my spring uniform.)

Tops

Three white Oxfords* (Two were $15 on sale, one was full-price)

One blue Oxford* ($15 on sale)

Ivory cable-knit crew-neck sweater (Polo outlet, summer 2013)

Chambray button-front shirt (Polo outlet, summer 2012)

Two white sweatshirts* ($15 each on sale)

One navy blue sweatshirt* ($15 on sale)

One pink H&M sweatshirt* ($9.95 find)

Gray sweatshirt ($14 clearance find at Gap, fall 2014)

Ivory sweatshirt* from Muji

Ivory track jacket (Lululemon gift card purchase, early 2013)

Mint green track jacket (Lululemon gift card purchase, early 2014)

A few built-in bra tanks to wear under the track jackets

Looking at this list, it seems like I have way more clothes than I’ve had in the past few years, but I guess that’s what happens when you no longer work from home or can do laundry at home! This is also the first time I’ve bought the things I really like in multiples.

Shoes

Black and leopard New Balances

Mint green Coach loafers* ($60 with in-store markdowns)

Gray BCBGgeneration snakeskin pumps* (After I tried to wear my wedding heels last week and was just like, What fresh hell is this? Seriously, I’m not sure how I ever walked in those which is a major bummer because they are so beautiful, and also because I intended to wear them to death.)

Gray wedge sneakers from ASH via Saks Off Fifth (I never thought I’d love these shoes as much as I do, but I LOVE them. I wore them a ton this winter.)

Accessories & outerwear

Black fanny pack ($20 at C. Wonder going-out-of-business sale, winter 2014)

Black Longchamp tote bag (2008)

Neon yellow Kate Spade tote/beach bag ($20 at the Kate Spade outlet, summer 2013)

Khaki trench coat (Express, 2008ish)

Black sporty rain coat (Target, 2012)

I can’t say that either of the jackets spark joy but they function so I decided not to spend the money to replace them this year.

Jewelry

Engagement ring

Gold Sydney Evan “love” ring (pre-wedding gift from my Lover.ly coworkers)

Gold midi ring* ($20, Chelsea Market)

Gold flower earrings (belonged to my great-grandmother) or similar small gold earrings

Gold “Best Bitch” heart necklace* from In God We Trust (received in an event gift bag last month)

Things I still need…

Something to replace the gray snakeskin flats I’ve been wearing for nearly seven years. Props to Tory Burch, because I’ve been wearing these shoes since my mom bought them for me when I got my first post-college job in the summer of 2008. They’ve served me well but the soles are a little too worn down to be comfortable anymore and holes are beginning to appear in the toes. I’m trying to find something as versatile and comfortable without buying the exact same shoe. (I’m ready for something a little different in terms of silhouette, and I’m not crazy about the gold logo on the new version.)

Black rain boots. I have a pair of red J. Crew rain boots that I’ve had since 2006 and just never really loved. While I love the look of Hunters, I’m planning to get this $45 pair from DSW. I’ve just been putting off buying them because I don’t feel like lugging them home on the train, which is kind of silly.

So! I’m pretty much always wearing one of the following outfits:

Ivory top + white jeans + wedges, pumps, or loafers
Light blue Oxford or chambray shirt + white jeans or blue jeans + wedges or pumps
Navy or gray sweatshirt + white jeans + wedges
White or ivory top + blue jeans + gray wedge sneakers, snakeskin pumps, mint loafers, or black sneakers
Track jacket + black leggings + black sneakers

Plus all the jewelry mentioned above, my fanny pack, a jacket, and (a couple days a week) a tote bag.

(My winter uniform was really similar, but included navy blue corduroy pants and medium blue jeans instead of dark blue jeans, pastel and ivory sweaters instead of the sweatshirts, snow boots instead of sneakers, a faux-fur vest, a couple plaid blanket scarves, and no button-front shirts.)

Wearing a uniform was borne out of necessity (a few years ago, I realized I needed to stop spending money on things I didn’t really need and that included new clothes, especially new clothes I didn’t really love) and also getting older and wanting to buy nicer clothes that I would take good care of and wear for a while. (In my case this just meant like, nicer than Forever 21 and Target.) The uniform approach makes shopping much easier because I always know what I’m looking for and what I’m definitely not looking for. It simplifies getting dressed in the morning and makes doing laundry easier.

I feel like taking the uniform approach is similar to when I went from fucking around with a bunch of meh dudes to realizing I’d rather be with someone awesome (or just be alone and awesome). I no longer fuck around with meh clothes. The best part of taking this approach is how good it makes me feel to be wearing something I really love every single day. We all have our “power outfits” (or accessories) that make us feel great. Why not just make that the thing you wear every day?

The week in review

April 19, 2015

This week was pretty good—there was a very fun day spent in a nail art shoot, an afternoon trip to the ice cream truck, lots of literal LOLs at my desk thanks to my funny coworkers, and some good after-work shopping.

ice cream

But this weekend was a blast! Yesterday, New York FINALLY got the weather we’ve all been waiting for. It was 70 degrees and sunny and everyone went out to play. For me, it was one of those lovely New York City days where you just basically spend your time eating and then walking to your next food destination.

nyc day

Eric and I started our day with breakfast at Brunswick (I had the avocado toast, which was fancy, yummy, and quite filling), and then took the train to High Street because we’d been wanting to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. (If you haven’t ever done it, it’s a fun little thing to do!) After we crossed into Manhattan, we walked up Broadway all the way to 19th Street (stopping here and there to browse interesting-looking shops) until we got to our next destination: Dough. After Dough, we went to Fishs Eddy, a store I had never been to before (um, WHY NOT?) and it filled my heart with so much joy.

RBG mugs

After the longest wait for the F train maybe ever, I headed to Macondo for a late brunch with a group of my black female coworkers. Everyone showed up in bright spring colors and great moods. I had the chicken chilaquiles (good, though a little spicy!) awith my bottomless mimosas, and it was just a wonderful few hours.

macondo

Later that night, Eric and I walked to the grocery store to get some soup later in the evening (because, unsurprisingly, I was kiiiind of out of appetite at this point) and then we spent the rest of the might watching Scandal. (Which: UGH. I know it’s been over-the-top since the first season, but this season is basically unwatchable. We hadn’t watched the last six episodes until this weekend because I just needed a break from it.)

I’d planned to have a lazy day today but…that’s not how it worked out at all! Eric said he wanted to go to a diner for breakfast, so we decided to try Park Plaza after seeing it in this article. It was a good choice choice; Park Plaza is pretty much the definition of unfussy, and the food was pretty good. (Eric’s challah French toast was SO delicious.) From there, we wandered around Brooklyn a bit, and then headed into the city. (On the way, I spotted Joanna Goddard‘s husband and son Toby on the train, which was kind of funny/weird.) Once in the city, we did a lot more wandering, mostly in the pursuit of new, comfortable work/commute shoes for both of us. (Apparently, yesterday we took about 20,000 steps and today we took 24,000! So yeah, we’re both thinking a lot about shoes.) It was just another really lovely day!

Here are some other highlights from the week…

Reading

Things That Scare Me, Design*Sponge. “Do you know what it feels like to have an entire forum of people devoted to hating you and your work publicly, year after year? I do. And a lot of other people do, too.” I just love when Grace Bonney writes from the heart like this.

The Perfect American Road Trip, Shareably. Fun! 

Behind the Scenes of Barbie’s Insanely Popular, Painstakingly-Produced Instagram, Racked. God, I love that Instagram.

The world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, CBS News. Nice.

Planning For A Future We Can Actually Imagine, BuzzFeed. I LOVE this essay—which was written by one of my coworkers (who I just adore)—on attending a gay wedding expo. *Cry warning*

Growing a Minimalist Wardrobe: Affordability, Reading My Tea Leaves. Good tips for anyone who is trying to build a grown-up wardrobe.

How Living in a Tiny Apartment Made Me Happier and Saner, Apartment Therapy. I’ve always preferred smaller living spaces so I appreciated this.

Here’s Why You Should Make Your Bed Every Single Day, BuzzFeed. I judge people who don’t make their bed daily tbh.

Amy Schumer Made the Perfect Send-Up of Booty Anthems, Slate. This video made me LOL and the song got stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Worth it.

How Outlander Finally Won Us Over, Tom & Lorenzo. If you’re not watching Outlander yet…maybe this will convince you! (And if you are watching, I really enjoyed this kinda relevant history lesson.)

31 Black Girls Who Slayed Prom 2015, Coloures. Will give you life.

The Eternal Return of BuzzFeed, The Atlantic. Relevant to my life, and also worth reading if you’re interested in journalism.

Dat cover.

Writing

A genius trick for fancy chalkboard writing

What’s The Most Underrated Place To Buy Bras And Underwear Online? 

17 Times Every Bride Is Thinking “CAN U NOT?”

21 Women Who Slayed In Their White Jeans 

25 Lazy Couple Wedding DIY Ideas

The week ahead…

Dinner/drinks with friends/coworkers, drinks with an old friend, and avoiding the rain!

A thoughtful housewarming gift

April 13, 2015

At our potato party a couple weeks ago, my coworker Emily brought Eric and me the nicest housewarming gift!

Housewarming gift

The card said, “This is a traditional housewarming gift I learned from my mom—’Bread so you shall never know hunger. Salt so your life shall always have flavor. Sugar so your life shall always have sweetness.'” In the cute Brooklyn tote was fancy sea salt and Maple syrup (and she’s a very experienced food editor, so I highly trust her recommendation) along with a baguette. (There was booze too, which Eric, Emily, and her boyfriend all shared before I could take a photo.)

Housewarming gift

I just thought it was such a thoughtful gift that I had to share! Moving to a new city can be really daunting, and reminders that you have genuinely great people in your new locale go a long way.

The week in review

April 12, 2015

This week was kind of meh. The bad weather really bummed me out, I hated my hair and all my clothes, and everything just felt kind blah. But! Things took a turn for the better on Friday evening. The BuzzFeed Life team went out for drinks and snacks at Le Pain Quotidien after work and it was just what we all needed. It was a total blast and I came home good and drunk and insisted that Eric and I eat the pizza I’d ordered on my walk home on our wedding china.

Saturday we woke up to really beautiful weather; Eric and I had breakfast at Emeline’s and then went out to play. We wandered around Union Square Market (go there for all your house plant needs, seriously), ate street corn, and stopped for gelato at Cones. And basically got high on that sweet, sweet Vitamin D. Today we’re having a pretty lazy Sunday, but we’ll be heading to my coworker’s birthday party at a bar this afternoon. It’s so nice outside and I’m feeling pretty great about everything!

Other highlights from this week…

Buying

New shirts for spring. Yesterday, Eric and I went to Uniqlo; I haven’t been there since I moved back to the city, and I had forgotten how much I like their stuff. Though I saw a lot of items that really spoke to me, I did practice some restraint. I had settled on getting a few Oxfords, but was bummed that the women’s shirts were not on sale for $15 (!!) like the men’s were. Eric suggested I just buy extra-small men’s shirts, which turned out to be a great idea. And not only did they cost less up front, they’ll cost less every time I have them dry cleaned. Win!

A basil plant. The plan is to keep it alive. Wish me luck!

Trying

Rapidbrow Eye Brow Enhancing Serum. I got a free tube of this and the reviews are pretty great, so I’m very excited to see how it works on my basically non-existent eyebrows. It says it can take three months, so we’ll see.

Reading

What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand? The New Yorker. I love this.

Inside the Police Failure to Stop Darren Sharper’s Rape Spree, ProPublica + The New Orleans Advocate. This will make you SO angry.

Grief, by Dallas Thompson on Medium. The first timed Dallas talked about managing other people’s reactions to her loss, it was like a lightbulb went off for me. I’m so glad she finally articulated all of that in this piece. (Related: Guide for Millenials with Grieving Friends on APW, which is also really good.)

This Singer Has Written Possibly The Most Touching Best Man Speech Of All Time, BuzzFeed. Just adorable.

‘White Feminism’ Perfectly Explained Through Pizza and Burgers, Jezebel. Charming and on point.

Why I Wear The Exact Same Thing To Work Every Day, Harper’s Bazaar. “Immediately, people started asking for a motive behind my new look: ‘Why do you do this? Is it a bet?’ When I get those questions I can’t help but retort, ‘Have you ever set up a bill for online auto-pay? Did it feel good to have one less thing to deal with every month?'” Preach.

17 Things You Didn’t Know Google Chrome Could Do, BuzzFeed. My coworker Nicole has just been killing it with these kinds of articles! She finds the best tips.

Uber-Affordable Danish Home Decor Brand Coming to Flatiron, Racked. Looking forward to checking out this new store!

Living the Label-less Life, Apartment Therapy. I came across this post on Pinterest yesterday, and it’s right in line with point #4 in my KonMari post. I also like how half the comments are like, “Ugh, who has TIME to do this?” People who have time to leave comments like that on Apartment Therapy, that’s who. I actually decanted body wash, soap, shampoo, and dish soap last week and it took me no more than 15 minutes, tops.

How Emoji Get Lost In Translation, The Huffington Post.

The Price of a Life, The New Yorker. (And I can’t remember if I shared this related post last month, but it’s also a really good read.)

Are you storing your 9 volt batteries properly?

Mad Men is back, which means so are Tom and Lorenzo’s recaps!

I also read the new book Read Bottom Up in a single day and it was a fun little rom-com book that reminded me so much of the conversations my friend Lauren and I have been having for the entire duration of our friendship.

Writing

21 Stunning Nontraditional Wedding Bouquets

What’s Your Six-Word Love Story?

21 Times Being A Bridesmaid Damn Near Killed You

This Sock-Folding Technique Is Basically Life-Changing

Undeniable Proof That Blue From “Blue’s Clues” Is A Total Bitch

23 Photos Of Men Doing Yoga That Will Make You Thirsty

18 Times Restoration Hardware Went Too Damn Far

The week ahead…

Same old, same old!

Thoughts on ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’

April 7, 2015

After reading a bunch of articles about the KonMari method, I decided to read Marie Kondo’s bestselling book for myself and it really resonated with me!

the life changing magic of tidying up

Photo: @lyrebirdkate

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing presents a new way of purging/de-cluttering/sorting your shit. (People call this method “KonMari” for short.) Here’s how it works: Following a very specific order, you go through your items by category, taking everything out. (So ALL your clothes out of your closets/drawers, for example, or ALL your books off ALL your bookshelves.) Once you’ve collected everything in the category in one place, you go through each item one at a time, picking it up and asking yourself if it brings you joy. Only items that truly spark joy get to stay. (And to answer the sort of obvious question, Kondo says that functional but not particularly exciting necessities spark joy in their own way, because having them there when we need them is joyful. Though if you’ve ever hated your annoying piece of shit garbage can for three years, you know that the right everyday objects can bring a certain level of joy.) Kondo says a shift takes place when you start asking yourself what you want to keep instead of asking yourself what you need to get rid of and that tidying becomes much easier in this context. She says her method is truly life-changing, and that once you sort your entire home this way, you’ll be changed for life.

I’ve actually been doing a lot of the things she recommends for the past few months, though sort of unintentionally. When I came to Brooklyn with just a couple suitcases back in December, I could only bring the essentials so I chose things I knew I’d really need, but also the seemingly silly things I knew I’d want. (I also experienced this when I moved from Michigan to Texas in 2010 and could only bring what we could fit in my Blazer.) While I found myself missing a lot of my things before we did the big move, I also got a sense of what possessions I really care about and how much stuff I really need/want to have around me. I found myself missing things that really do make me happy, and very clear on the things that I was hanging onto out of guilt or obligation.

Another one of Kondo’s main principles is that everything should have a place, which was remarkably easy to do when I had about 20 percent of my stuff and a sizable, mostly basically apartment to house it all. I found myself being way tidier than I had ever been before, and it came very naturally; it just felt right and good to put things away each evening. I don’t think of myself as a super tidy person (I’m not a slob but I’m also not anal about stuff) so this kind of surprised me. But as I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a lot of what I’d been experiencing clicked, and I was motivated to be more intentional about pursuing that feeling.

Eric and I are still in need of a dresser, which is causing a huge number of organizational/clutter hurdles in our apartment right now. (I really had no idea how much stuff we actually put in our dresser! Probably because I couldn’t SEE it all, but we’ll get to that in a second.) Until we get one, there’s really no point in doing the entire KonMari method because we don’t have a place for everything. (Though I suspect that once Eric KonMaris his clothes, we could get by without a dresser. We’ll see.) Anyway, I can’t speak to how putting all her tips into practice at once works—though I definitely will after we go all-in!—but I wanted to share some of the best tips I took away from the book.

1. You don’t need a million storage units. “Storage units do not solve the problem of how to get rid of clutter,” she writes. “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem as been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and ‘easy’ storage method becomes necessary, creating a negative spiral.” She also won’t give you permission to go buckwild at The Container Store.(Sigh.) Kondo says if you do need storage, you should just use shoe boxes or other cardboard boxes because they work well and there’s no magic storage container that will solve your problems.

2. Organizing your shit can and should be simple. “Effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first. This principle does not change.”

3. Every item in our lives serves a specific role. Kondo says you to keep this in mind when struggling to part with an item that’s still in good condition or that hasn’t been used much. “Every object has a different role to play. Not all clothes have come to you to be worn threadbare. It is the same with people. Not every person you meet in life will be a close friend or lover. Some you will find hard to get along with or impossible to like. But these people, too, teach you the important lesson of who you do like, so you will appreciate those people even more… You’ll be surprised at how many things in your life have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order.”

4. Consider how much “noise” branded products add to your space. This was a major takeaway for me, in part because I also recently read this New York Times piece about the sheer number of ads and branding we’re subjected to—without our consent—every day. Labels force information upon us and can make a place feel cluttered even when it’s very neat. Even when it’s hidden away in cupboards (like in a medicine chest), we’re still affected by all that information. “The neater the home, and the more sparse its furnishings, the louder this information feels… Tear the printed film off packages that you don’t want to see, such as deodorizers and detergents. Spaces that are out of sight are still part of your house. By eliminating excess visual information that doesn’t spark joy, you can make your space much more peaceful and comfortable.” This is one of the things I’m most looking forward to doing.

5. Clutter happens when items don’t have designated spots. “The existence of an item without a home increases the chances that your home will become cluttered again. Let’s say, for example, that you have a shelf with nothing on it. What happens if someone leaves an object that has no designated spot on the shelf? That one item will be your downfall. Within no time that space, which had maintained a sense of order, will be covered in objects, as if somebody had yelled, ‘Gather round, everybody!’ You only need to designate a spot for an item once.” She says doing this will cut back on buying more items than you actually need.

6. Store things where you will put them away. “A common mistake is to decide where to store things on the basis of where it’s easiest to take them out. This approach is a fatal trap. Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore storage should reduce the effort to put things away, not the effort to get them out. When we use something, we have a clear purpose for getting it out. Clutter has two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.”

7. Being able to see and touch the things you own is crucial. “Most people realize that clutter is caused by too much stuff. Why do we have too much stuff? Usually it is because we do not accurately grasp how much we own. And we fail to grasp how much we own because our storage methods are too complex.” I also like this point because it (like many of the tips in the book) is also really important if you’re trying not to spend all your money.

8. “Store everything similar in the same place or in close proximity.” Seems obvious but it’s crazy how often we don’t do this.

9. Don’t create piles; opt for vertical storage instead. “If you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space. Things can get stacked forever and endlessly on top, which makes it harder to notice the increasing volume.”

10. Don’t let your family see you tidying. And don’t send all your extra stuff to your parents’ home (or accept their offer to house it all) because you can’t bring yourself to get rid of it. “It’s extremely stressful for parents to see what their children discard. The sheer volume of the pile can make parents anxious about whether their children can survive on what’s left… When they see what you have chosen to discard, they may feel guilty at such blatant waste, but the items they retrieve from your pile just create unnecessary burden in their homes. And we should feel ashamed of forcing them to carry this burden.”

11. Decorate your closet with secret delights. If you have a collection of things that are purely for your own enjoyment (like memorabilia, charms, and other kinda weird items that you love) but don’t want everyone to see, display them in your closet. “Transform your closet into your own private space, one that gives you a thrill of pleasure.”

12. Don’t save clothes that don’t really spark joy with the plan to just wear around the house. “The real waste is not discarding clothes you don’t like but wearing them even though you are trying to create the ideal space for your ideal lifestyle. Precisely because no one is there to see you, it makes far more sense to reinforce a positive self-image by wearing clothes you love.”

13. Tidying using the KonMari method builds your self-esteem because you get more confident in your own tastes and interests. “Tidying means taking each item in your hand, asking yourself whether it sparks joy, and deciding on this basis whether or not to keep it. By repeating this process hundreds and thousands of times, we naturally hone our decision-making skills. People who lack confidence in their judgment lack confidence in themselves.” She also writes about how this process has played out in her own life: “When it comes to the things I own, the clothes I wear, the house I live in, and the people in my life, when it comes to my environment as a whole, although it may not seem particularly special to anyone else, I am confident and extremely grateful to be surrounded by what I love, by things and people that are, each and every one, special, precious, and extremely dear to me. The things and people that bring me joy support me. They give me the confidence that I will be all right. I want to help others who feel the way I once did, who lack self-confidence and find it hard to open their hearts to others, to see how much support they receive from the space around them and the things that surround them.”

14. Our things are important. “It is important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” I think it’s easy to dismiss her notion that things bring joy as shallow, but as someone whose love language is gifts, this makes perfect sense to me.

15. Tidying in this way can actually be extremely uncomfortable. “The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past… The things we own are real. They exist here and now as a result of choices made in the past by no one other than ourselves.” She also says that once our homes are tidy, we have less distraction and have to think about the things that are really bothering us.

16. The way she tells you to fold socks is goddamn mesmerizing. Watch!

While the idea of being told to get rid of SO MUCH STUFF or having strict rules about the way you do it can seem intimidating or stressful, I actually found the book very warm and friendly. It’s not tough love so much as a kind friend asking you why on earth you own things you don’t like. She has a lot of love for all the things you don’t need; she basically says they deserve better than to be in a home where they are tossed aside because they aren’t useful.

She also doesn’t preach a minimalist lifestyle, which I really appreciate. I find minimalism in design so intimidating and cold, and I don’t want my home to be devoid of things. I love things! KonMari is all about figuring out what amount of things you should own, and that number is based on how many things truly make you happy.

Eric and I are currently listening to the audiobook version of the book—I wanted us to be on the same page if we’re going to KonMari our lives. And for now, I’m working on emptying my bag every evening, getting rid of more non-joy-sparking stuff as I come across it, and trying to find the right dresser for our apartment ASAP.

Further reading…

Read an excerpt from the book

Will Tidying Guru Marie Kondo’s Cleaning Advice Really Change Your Life?

Marie Kondo Will Change Your Life

What Happened When I Tried KonMari On My Toddler

Marie Kondo’s Reddit AMA

Kissing Your Socks Goodbye

The week in review

April 5, 2015

This week, I was out and about more than usual! On Sunday, Dallas came up from D.C. and we did a little shopping, grabbed dinner at the new restaurant Oxido (which she described as “if Urban Outfitters made a Chipotle”), and then went to the ballet.

 Joyce Theater NYC

Thursday was filled with free food, so…the best kind of day, basically. (The warmer weather didn’t hurt either!) Everyone at BuzzFeed got hooked up with free grilled cheese from Morris Truck (the flyer announcing it said “It’s a havarti party!”) for lunch. Around 5:00, I headed to the New York Magazine weddings event. There was an array of beautiful and delicious foods, including a lot of freshly-made donuts and a pretzel cart (which I nonchalantly circled like a shark as I waited for the owner to return so I could get one). I also discovered the rad jewelry and accessories from In God We Trust and now want basically everything.

After the wedding event, Eric and I went to the Putt-Putt Park party at the Hudson Hotel. On Friday evening, we wandered around Chelsea Market for a bit after work, which was fun. (He’d never been.) And yesterday we went out for breakfast and then did our taxes. Later we went to L Train Vintage, where I stumbled upon a sweatshirt with my initials monogrammed on it. If you want a thrift store for normal people who just want a $5 skirt and not a perfectly-curated collection of expensive vintage designer dresses, I’d definitely recommend checking out L Train. In exchange for the lack of fussiness, you have to be willing to dig more and there’s a lot of duds but…that’s what I expect at thrift stores, so it’s fine.

L Train Vintage

After Eric and I went to L Train Vintage on Saturday, I wanted to go to a store called Homecoming…and getting there turned into the weirdest, Brooklyniest walk through Brooklyn ever.

After taking the M to Hewes, we decided to walk the rest of the way instead of getting on the G. We had been walking for about 15 minutes when we came upon a MASSIVE wall of apartments that take up the entire block at Bayard and Union (across from McCarren Park) and our walk suddenly took a very surreal turn. Eric described the area as “going to look perfect in ruins in a dystopian future” right as I was thinking Huh, so this is what Katniss felt like when she arrived in the Capitol. Something about the late-afternoon sun, lack of leaves on the trees, lack of humans, and sheer mass of all these new hip buildings (which were unlike anything I’d ever seen before—clearly expensive but also kind of hideous and out of place) was just…eerie. Like maybe we were in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?

We continued our route along the industrial-feeling 14th Street, where we saw a bunch of model-looking dudes rocking overalls and man buns/undercuts as they worked in a vintage motorcycle restoration shop…and then saw several more lumbersexuals out painting logos/art and like bespoke fonts (idk?) on the outsides of a bunch of the buildings. (Me, every 60 seconds: “Is this real life?” Am I in an inception?” “WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?” “Where the fuck are we?!”) We also passed a building—the glass front door said “(Root)Brooklyn” and it was all minimalist chic inside so it could have been LITERALLY ANYTHING—with the most beautiful garage doors on their “delivery entrance” that I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t be mad about the amazing garage doors—like, they were totally beautiful, and why not make an ugly, everyday thing more lovely if you can?—but it was just. So. Weird. (Also, apparently Root is just a studio space. Or so they claim. Everything we saw during this outing was part of The Kinspiracy. )

Then we walked up Franklin, which Eric described as “lots of stores that have a single word and a hip symbol on their sign, and neither is related to what they actually do.” Like, there would be a tomato and the word ‘parlor’ but then it was actually a clothing store. Eventually we reached Homecoming. And like every other store in that neighborhood, it was a surreal step into a hip minimalist Pinterest board. But it was my kinda Pinterest board, so I couldn’t be mad, and I bought a couple teeny-tiny succulents.

Homecoming Brooklyn

On our way home, we stopped at a (thankfully normal) bar for a couple of not-insanely-artisanal beers and a plate potato wedges so we could feel like regular people again.

Here are some other highlights from this week!

Reading

(Shorter list this week because I made an effort to get back to my 2015 goal of reading more books!)

Dating Advice You Wish You Could Give Your Younger Self, BuzzFeed. Funny/smart/interesting/good.

On living alone, A Cup of Jo. I love pretty much everything Caroline writes.

Why Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Bradley, and Oprah Love Mellody Hobson, Vanity Fair. I had never heard of Mellody Hobson before, so I appreciated reading this.

An Easy, Do-It-Today Prescription for a Clean & Happy Home, Apartment Therapy. This was just a sweet little post!

Self-Portrait Of The Artist As Ungrateful Black Writer, BuzzFeed. Really good.

Adult Children of AIDS Victims Take Their Memories Out of the Shadows, The New York Times. Cry warning.

I Followed My Stolen iPhone Across The World, Became A Celebrity In China, And Found A Friend For Life, BuzzFeed. This story is so crazy/charming/wonderful.

Did Katie Holmes Have a Secret Entrance to Whole Foods in Chelsea? + The Update, Gawker. More weird and funny stuff.

This racist column is fucking ridiculous.

This video made me LOL.

We Heart: The Perfect Comeback to a Sexist Jab, Ms. Also made me LOL.

I spent most of my downtime reading Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer this week and it was SO FUNNY. Definitely recommend!

Watching

Going Clear, the new documentary about Scientology. (Also, if you’ve watched it, this spoof of the weird Scientology video is perfect.)

And Outlander and Mad Men are finally back!

Writing

How To Be A Friend To Someone Getting Divorced

Here’s What Happened When We Weighed Women’s Purses (Fun fact: the first doctor I interviewed for this story kept talking about how big purses/bags are ugly and not “sexy.” He strictly referred to women as “girls,” and when I asked him if backpacks were a good alternative, he said, “Well, that depends. Do we want girls to look like girls or do we want them to look like men?” I ended up interviewing another doctor—who was fantastic—because I didn’t want to promote the first guy in any way.)

Wanting

This sweatshirt. Why is everything from Ted Baker so lovely and also at least $150? And so many of the dresses from the new ASOS bridesmaid line. (Like, hiiiiii.)

The week ahead…

Is it spring yet? I found myself missing Houston a lot this week, mainly because this time of year is the best in Houston, and last spring was just such a lovely, creative, happy time for me. All I want is a week of nice weather…and some flowers. Is that really so much to ask?

Putt-Putt Park at the Hudson Hotel

April 5, 2015

On Thursday evening, I met up with Eric and we went to the launch party for a new putt-putt pop-up park at the Hudson Hotel. Though the press release had me feeling a little salty (maybe don’t ask people if they are “ready for Augusta”—the famously racist and sexist golf club that is home to the Masters) it was actually really fun.

putt putt park

The course is pretty cute and definitely worth checking out, especially since one game is only $10. It would make for a really good date or friend outing. (Unless you’re as embarrassingly bad at putt-putt as I am…in which case, go for the mini fried chicken biscuit sandwiches, which are really delicious.)

Ms. Dahlia’s

April 5, 2015

On Saturday morning, Eric and I went to Ms. Dahlia’s Cafe (on Nostrand between Hancock and Halsey) for breakfast. We were alllllll about that biscuit bar. And the fact that they open earlier on Saturdays than the all other cafes in the area.

Miss Dahlia's Cafe Bed-Stuy

A biscuit with gravy is my favorite thing to order when I go out for breakfast, so I was pretty psyched about the menu. I ordered the Mos Definitely (biscuit, gravy, and a fried egg) and Eric got the Southern Comfort, which cost twice as much money but had bacon and a piece of fried chicken in addition to the egg.

Miss Dahlia's Cafe Bed-Stuy -- Southern Comfort

Ms. Dahlia’s doesn’t serve the classic white gravy I was expecting; this was andouille sausage gravy and was thinner, like a sauce. It had a pretty spicy kick to it, but it was very good. Next time, I’ll either order the gravy on the side or just ask them to go easy on it; all the extra gravy on the plate made it sort of difficult to eat. Eric liked his Southern Comfort but said next time he’d opt for a classic because the fried chicken and bacon didn’t add enough, taste-wise, for it to be worth $12 to him. The menu also includes gravy-less biscuits options, cucumber lemonade, a $7 grab-and-go breakfast that includes coffee, lunch options, a bunch of cakes that looked very promising (apparently the owner also runs Cake Bliss), and pastries (which we also tried).

Miss Dahlia's Cafe Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

The overall vibe at Ms. Dahlia’s was very friendly and charming; the food was good and the prices weren’t outrageous. (And it’s owned by a black woman, which I appreciate!) We’ll definitely go back again!

April goal: Empty out my bag every evening

April 1, 2015

My goal for this month is really simple: empty my bag when I get home for the day. Put the contents in their place in my home. Every day. 

I got the idea from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, which I finished last week. On this topic, Kondo writes:

“Being packed all the time, even when not in use, must feel something like going to bed on full stomach. If you treat your handbags like this, they will soon look tired and worn. If you do not make a habit of unpacking your bag, you are also quite likely to leave something inside when you decide to use another bag, and before you know it, you will have forgotten what you have in each one. Unable to find a pen or lip balm, you will end up buying a new one. The most common items found in my clients’ handbags when we tidy their rooms are tissues, coins, receipts, and used chewing gum wadded in its wrapper. There is real danger that important items like accessories, memo pads, or documents may become mixed up with these. So, empty your bag every day.”

Even though I’ve seriously reduced how much shit I carry around each day, in the past few weeks, I’ve found myself schelpping more items a few days a week thanks to errands, workouts, and photo shoots. And when that happens, things begin to fall out, pile up, and go missing. It’s frustrating and also completely preventable. So a few days ago, I started making a point to take care of it. Like Kondo says, it only takes a few minutes, and it’s actually not an unpleasant task at all!

This small goal feeds into a bigger goal for this month, which is to create a new weeknight ritual/routine with Eric. Being in a one-bedroom apartment where the bedroom was the only place where we could put the TV has made it very easy to get into a routine where we spend 90 percent of our evening in bed (far less sexy than it sounds). But now that our living room and dining room are more habitable (all hail the life-changing magic of LAMPS!) and we have speakers set up so we can easily put on music/audiobooks/podcasts, I think it will be easy enough to create a new evening routine that feels a little more intentional than what we’ve been doing.

Photo of my fanny pack by Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

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