Quilted

The quilt in question. Move-in day, 2016.

I have a beautiful old flowery quilt that reminds me of my favorite decorating book of all time, with its patterns of mint green, pink roses and tiny bluebells and overall vintage appeal. It’s gotten incredibly soft and ragged over the years as the backdrop of many memories: the in-between blanket of choice for changing seasons, countless days and nights wrapped in it watching movies, reading or cuddling, in all the various homes I ever lived in. So when I tugged it up lightly last night and heard a ripping noise- my grandma got this for me in the mid-90s after all- I knew it was finally falling apart. (Plus, a guy friend recently told me, upon seeing the quilt, “I can’t decide if you’re 30-something or secretly an 85-year old lady.”)

Rather than buy a new quilt, I’ve decided to get a white or beige duvet to spruce up a comforter I already own. I love romantic, unexpected touches, so the lace trim on this Tencel Ruffel Duvet has major appeal. I would also consider the super cozy, ruched Rita Ruffle Comforter. The unique flower-looking pattern of the Savannah White Duvet is inviting enough to make me want to take a flying leap into this bed (despite the somewhat catalogy-looking stock photo).

I love the Victorian look of Pottery Barn’s Tencel Ruffle Duvet Cover.

Pearl Girl

I love how a string of pearls, especially double or triple-looped, can easily elevate an outfit: in this case, a simple white button-up for work or a walk in the park.  This Fall, I’m trying to accessorize more (on hectic mornings jewelry is often the last thing I remember to put on). This particular pearl necklace is vintage from my grandma’s jewelry box, but you can pick up a similar set here (faux) or here (real).

Memory

9-11 Memorial Lights. Taken 9/11/15 from the roof of my Bushwick Apartment.

Where were you on 9/11? Some people have asked me where I was, and here’s what I tell them:

It was around 8:30am on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and my dorm room was flooded with light. I had moved in days before to the coveted window side of the “z-room” in the cool, high-rise part of campus, and my roommate Alicia, who thankfully didn’t mind the windowless side and had even brought a small-screen TV for us to share, was up making coffee. My clock radio alarm had already gone off, and I was just laying in bed, staring outside from the fourth floor. It was a gorgeous, sunny fall morning in Amherst, Massachusetts. I had to get up and get ready for my first 9:30am Archaeology class on the other side of campus.

Alicia turned on the TV and I heard the anxious voices of news reporters. She was a shy, polite type, so when she came over and said, “come look at this right now,” I knew something was wrong.  The news was replaying an image of the first plane, which had just crashed into into the North Tower and was billowing smoke, and my stomach dropped. I opened my Startac and frantically dialed my grandmother, who lived on the Upper West Side, but I was unable to get through.  I tried my parents on Long Island, then my boyfriend in Brooklyn, then my brother in Westchester, and couldn’t get through to anyone. The lines were all busy. Panic set in.

As one of the few people in our dorm with a TV, people came to our room and sat on the floor as the news reporters, some of their voices cracking, continued trying to make sense on-air about the first plane having hit. Out of nowhere, as we all watched in real time, the second plane flew into view and hit the South Tower, creating a massive explosion. We all gasped; it looked like a terrible movie. Through it all, I reasoned I didn’t want to be late for class on the first day. For some odd reason, I thought maybe if I just go to the lecture, this whole thing will go away.

I walked north in the morning light, and it felt like I was floating across campus. I tried to focus on something else, other than the visual images, but it wasn’t working. I’d already memorized the route I would take days earlier- this was long before Google maps- so I kept my mind focused on walking.

The lecture hall had that new-school-year smell of new paint and used textbooks. I sat in the front row of the auditorium, all the way to the right. The professor got up in front of the two-hundred or so students and cleared his throat. “This is a class about Archaeology. But before we start, I want you to know that what happened in New York this morning has changed the world forever.”

I was 18, and didn’t have a lot of life experience yet, but I knew in my heart he was right.

Slip it On

For years I struggled to find shoes that both looked good for work and were comfortable enough to walk long distances without band-aids (bleeding back of ankle and blisters on toes, anyone?). Which is why I’m thrilled that slip-on sneakers came back in style this year. I love how elegant they look with a dress or a jeans/blouse combo, and in many cases pass as business-casual. I wear them with mini no-show socks for a sockless look. Walking to work has never felt better, and best of all, no band-aids needed.  Here, a couple of my favorite slip-on picks:

  1. I love the sophisticated black leather snakeskin pattern on Joie’s Huxley slip-on shoe. UPDATE: when I showed my friend a preview of this post, she was wearing these exact shoes- and they were super chic in person!
  2. I’ve been wearing Target’s Mad Love Reese Sneaker in white all summer; now they have them in this lustrous gold finish.
  3. Vince’s Perforated Blair Leather Sneaker is a simple, clean shoe of white leather and a white sole.
  4. Steve Madden’s Gills slip-on are a great way to sneak a pop of (faux) snakeskin into your outfit.
  5. The Arden Embellished Slip-On Sneaker by Karl Lagerfeld Paris feature a really pretty patent leather-look capped toe and shimmering crystal accents.

Adventure in New Hope

Morning light and fog. Picture taken January 2014 on the New Hope, PA side of the bridge (I was visiting the area for work at the time). It was freezing cold but beautiful. I can’t wait to get back this week!

If I had to pick my favorite small town off the top of my head, I’d say New Hope, Pennsylvania. I recommend it highly for the perfect fall weekend getaway. With its woodsy, serene countryside of rolling hills, farms, Victorian homes and charming Main Street set romantically on the Delaware River, New Hope is straight out of a storybook. While it’s a little early for Fall leaves and covered bridges, this week I’m excited to be heading to New Hope on a fitness-themed travel writing assignment involving hiking, biking, yoga, paddle-boarding, and even exploring a castle! I’m looking forward to seeing Bucks County from a new, adventurous perspective (floating in the river after I fall off my paddleboard?), meet other travel writers and push the limits of my nascent/dubious athleticism. I’ll share all my adventures here, along with my favorite travel recommendations.

Labor Day

Fourth of July 2017, from Greenpoint (Empire State Building at bottom right).

I woke up this morning feeling the delightful chill of cool air blowing in my apartment window and the realization that it wasn’t the AC: it was a chilly morning! Labor Day weekend has always signaled that summer is coming to an end, and the weather is cooling down, too. I’m looking forward to sunny sixty-degree days, better outfits involving sweaters and tights, autumn adventures with friends and family, crisp weather for hiking and spending time outdoors, and most of all, the smell at night beneath starry fall skies.  With the new season I’m starting my first blog, where I hope to keep in touch with you and share my adventures and favorite things.  As Rumi said, “I once had a thousand desires. But in my one desire to know you all else melted away.”

I hope you have a wonderful long Labor Day weekend with warm summer memories and some cool breezes.