on being an exhibitionist and leaving your window open

Uncategorized

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Warning: This post is really sad. Animal-lovers beware. I’m not really sure where this is going, but this is one of those stories I couldn’t get out of my head until it was written down. I promise not to be as morbid next time. Actually I don’t promise, morbid stories are probably my favorite kind to read. 

***

I moved to Brooklyn two weeks ago and it is wonderful. I am so glad I spent my first year in Manhattan, right in the middle of all the action. But I’ve always seen myself as a Brooklyn-gal. I remember venturing over the bridge for the first time on my second or third visit to the city and suddenly seeing myself here. The people seemed relatable, the apartments a bit more spacious, and everything just a tad less stressful. But I will certainly miss the tiniest room I ever hope to inhabit, and the the quirky neighbors that truly appreciated my kitty, and the window that looked out over a garden patio, orange tree and all.

I kept my window open year-round. I loved to listen. Ambulances wailing, kids playing, dogs barking, arguments ranting, music playing. It reminded me where I am, that I’m not alone, that me and my window were part of a community of others, even if I didn’t know who they were.

My window was decorated with succulents in the fall, books and a spruce-scented candle in the winter, and an air conditioning unit in the summer. Each object a necessity for the season. Sunlight spilled through the panes, unhindered by curtains. I never valued natural light until now. When buildings are pressed together, neither light nor air is a given, and I did not want to suffocate my allowance with curtains or blinds. Also, I tried curtains but the rod kept falling down.

We’re all exhibitionists here in the is city. It certainly does take all types, but a lot of the types here are the theater majors and changers, the dancers and artists, the stylists and the journalists, and all those other ‘ists showboating their names about town.The fashions can be likened to peacocks, displaying their personalities on their literal sleeves. Private conversations are paraded through crowded streets. And windows are kept open unabashedly allowing others to be a part of your space. With only a screen between you and the outside, you hear and see everything. The good, the bad, and the really bad. But all of us are probably just leaving our windows open to give others a peak.

My little window reminded me of bigger things outside, kept me cool, and added essential accouterments to my otherwise lacking aesthetic. But this window also let me hear the good and extremely bad things that happen in big cities. 

The good.

I saw the snow fall and build up on the sill and stay long enough for a photo, just like in the movies. During the spring and summer I could hear Spanish music playing in the community garden two buildings over. I’m sure neighbors were equally as entertained by my open window as I was them. With no curtain they heard my get ready tunes in the morning, giggly roommate conversations, and probably saw more of me than they wanted…. exhibitionist.

The bad. 

I still have not found a metaphor to explain this tragic story of my open window one winter night. But it still haunts me to this day. I don’t think this story has much of a place on a fashion blog, but we all know this little piece of internet has started to head in a different more personal direction anyways.

An open window is a gamble. An unexpected rainstorm may ruin your down pillows. A loud argument between a quarreling couple may interrupt a deep sleep. And it involves you in outside happenings you may not intend to be a part of. And vice versa

I’m used to unexplainable noises waking me up at night. Police sirens don’t startle me anymore. I don’t jump at loud creaks or unexpected “booms.” It comes with the big-city territory. But one night I woke up to a dog screeching and growling from what seemed to be just below my window. I jolted awake, but it stopped as abruptly as it started. It was way too cold to go outside and check it out anyways.

As I was just settling back down, a long, loud wail followed.

“Rick! Oh no, Rick!”

I’ve never in my life heard a wail like that night. It was almost inhuman. Who was Rick and what happened to him? I thought someone may have jumped.

The screaming continued. But the neighborhood was quiet. It took three minutes of the wailing until someone asked through their window if the man screaming was ok, if Rick was ok. I imagine that sort of scream is reserved for two or three times in a person’s life. We hear it on TV and in movies, but in person, that scream, it penetrates your bones and wraps it’s way around your lungs, tighter and tighter. I don’t think I could have physically said any comforting words even if I wanted to.

“Is everything OK?” a man asked from above.

“Shut upppp.” an older man farther away shouted.

“What’s wrong?” another chimed in from the window of a building next door.

“My dog fell. My dog Rick fell out the window.”

Rick didn’t make it.

A police officer came. Rick’s owner calmed down. Silence.

I never got the courage to go outside to see or talk to the man, but I can image this was one of the worst days of that man’s life. And I was there, just listening.

***

Here’s a photo of me in a dress for the sake of this being a personal fashion blog and because I’m an exhibitionist.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

hey good-lookin’

Uncategorized

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

New York is sexy. Women hint at their form with loose, gauzy T-shirts and unbinding bralettes, not suffocating tanks and pushup lingerie. Sundresses graze calves instead of thighs and slips are forsaken in exchange for comfort. When commuting comfortably is a priority and workwear often becomes nightwear style can not be a burden. It’s an effortless sexy,  a too cool for the male gaze sexy—something I can get behind. When you put down another person’s definition of sexy, clothing options expand and things get interesting.

IMG_9110

jump around

Uncategorized

I’ve decided overalls and jumpers are the winning-est trend to happen this season. Swathed in denim from ankle to shoulder by day and a stretch v-neck number by night, I’ve decided there is no reason to pick coordinating pants and tops ever again. I will gladly sit all naked and vulnerable in a public restroom for the comfort and convenience of a one-piece.

Cover me up and zip me in. I will be living in this Free People jumpsuit this summer. This cropped, army-green denim number is my favorite tax-return purchase. It’s the perfect flea-market perusing (with my trusty Birkenstocks) and cocktail-sipping (with strappy heels) number and I will never take it off. Except to pee. And then I will have to completely remove it and have someone else zip me back in. Volunteers?

IMG_9091 IMG_9099 IMG_9101 IMG_9108 IMG_9109 IMG_9110

[jumper-free people, shoes-birkenstock, necklace-anthropologie, sunnies-madewell]

Thanks, Sarah for the photos.

ponyboy/girl

Uncategorized

IMG_0690

Confession. I am not keeping up with runway shows and designer duds anymore. Not forever, but that sure explains my mostly neutral closet and drawers full of boring basics. Sure I still appreciate the artistic process behind each collection and their gowns still appear in my Instagram feed, but it’s kind of just not on my radar these days.

These days I’m really into dressing “trend-free.” I can honestly say everything I put on my body is a conscious blend of comfort and function. Does this mean I’m an adult? Probably not. Probably just lazy.  I’ve ditched all my high heels for sleek tennies and strappy flats because blisters are not friends of my city-stomping feet. I wear most tops buttoned up to my neck because cleavage makes me feel too self-aware. And I haven’t washed my black skinnies in a month or so because they’re the closest thing to black leggings I can wear to work.

With comfort at the top of my sartorial priorities, I’ve slowly sunk into a sort of boyish look that’s kind of fun and new for me. Shapeless jumpsuits, crew-neck T-shirts, sloppy shoes and maybe a kimono for a splash of drama. I like it. New York has stripped me of my love of A-line dresses because you can’t sit Indian-style at your dresk in those. My beautiful strappy black heels are in my “can’t fit in my closet” suitcase under my bed. But it’s OK. My style’s never been one to sit in one place for too long. I’m excited for what spring will bring. Maybe I’ll be inspired by one of Oscar’s polka-dot numbers and dress like a ’50s housewife for the month of May. But for now it’s all curb-stomping street-wear.

In the 7th grade my English teacher made the class read the Outsiders. It was probably the first book in school I enjoyed and we celebrated the end of the lesson by watching the ’80s flick with Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, etc. I fell head over heels for Ralph Macchio’s portrayal of Johnny and every now and again feel a shared bond between the character’s kind, meek side—but even more so his dark locks, Converse sneakers, and muscle shirts. Many days I find myself subconsciously likening my outfit to the Greasers, but of course adding a bold lip for girlish flair. Ponyboy, Johnny, Sodapop…. you are my sartorial sprit animal. But my wardrobe is a lot like Robert Frost’s poem and the last line of The Outsiders “Nothing gold can stay.” Next season it will be on to the next character Abbey wants to play. Cheers, Pony.

Side note: This was the longest winter I’ve experienced to date. My dream city made me long for sweltering Southern summers. And seasonal depression is real friends. A girl can only take so many grey sweater, grey weather days in a row. Thank goodness the sun has decided to show his elusive self these past couple of weekends. New York spring is beautiful.

IMG_0694 IMG_0699 IMG_0703

[shirt, jeans-UO, sunnies-madewell, backpack-rebecca minkoff]

doc1

snowbank sweaters

Uncategorized

doc1

Winter clothes are my favorite, but only a select few (roommates, co-workers, since I am a full-time employee now!) have seen my elusive winter wardrobe as I am normally bundled up to my nose with scarves, masked with a long down coat and another scarf just to be safe. It took a while, but the romanticized dreams of a city dancing in snow has faded, and I’m pretty much ready for some warmer weather. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful. But all good things must come to an end. Within 30 minutes of snowfall, blanketed sidewalks become slushy and grey, sprinkled with toxic chemicals to hasten melt time. While I wait for spring, I’m sticking to neutral-toned sweaters that match the blackened, road-stained snow banks that form on the sidewalks.

I haven’t strayed much from the grey and black sweater, black jeans combo. It’s just too damn cold to wear anything but pants and boots. I’ve made a uniform of sorts, and it cuts my getting-ready time in half.

For the record, New York is still kicking my ass, but I’ve definitely grown stronger with it. I’d say we’re just about neck and neck. We’re kind of like a “love-struck,” dysfunctional high school relationship. I’m always running back to him because he’s the hot shot quarterback, but he won’t invite me to hang out with his friends yet because I’m just not cool enough. But he promises he loves me and buys me flowers when I think about ditching him and I take him back reluctantly only because he’s hot.

So basically New York is John Tucker, the epitome of awful high school boyfriends. But who actually wins these battles? Brittany Snow does, and you, because you’re probably not with your high school boyfriend anymore, and New York won’t. Soon he’ll drop the veil of deceit and cave to pressures of my hard-work and tears. So don’t you worry, I’ll whip him (New York, John Tucker?) into shape in due time, I’ve never been one to let someone else call the shots for long.

So I tried to talk fashion, I really did. And then my emotions invaded this precious space and I didn’t even ask them and I can’t really help it. I hope you guys don’t mind. Thanks for listening.

doc3   IMG_0497IMG_0506

[sweater-zara, boots- doc martens]

IMG_0255

new york kicked my ass

life, new york

IMG_0330

2014 brought way more self-discovery than I asked for.

I thought I’d discovered all my insecurities already, and for sure I figured out already what I wanted to do with my life. Go figure, all that changes when you’re on your own for the first time. Most of all I miss my family and feeling like I’m worth something. New York has a funny way of making you feel pretty worthless. The homeless person doesn’t thank you for the dollar on the subway; the esteemed publishing houses that invite you in don’t invite you back; and there’s always, always somebody doing/living/looking better.

I figured I was one of those “adventurous” ones who could leave her friends, family, and hopeful job connections 915 miles behind her (without crying) to pursue, ever so gracefully, a career in what she loved. It’s just too damn bad for me it doesn’t work like that.

I was sure of my decision to move to New York from the beginning. I still am. I think. I figured since I could dress the part and plaster a fake smile on my face someone would love me. But that just isn’t the case, my friends. Everyone in New York knows someone’s cousin, or went to an ivy, or looks more like an off-duty model. No pity party for me though. I get it. In time it will happen. But my life looks a lot less like Jack Karouac sipping black coffee and writing world-changing literature and a lot like Hannah Horvath, penniless, manic, not shaving her legs, etc.

I promise I value hygiene as much as the next person; it’s just much harder to maintain your self worth where you can count the number of people who could bail you out of jail on one hand, aren’t making a steady income (freelancing doesn’t count), and want everyone else to think you’re having the time of your life. It’s a tough life out there for those dumb enough to leave behind their entire support system along with perfectly-apt job opportunities.

I know, no pity party. This city is beautiful. In every nook and cranny there’s a talent waiting to be discovered and a story ready to be told. I intend to both be one of the talents and tell all those stories.

I may have to crawl in my bed to get new panties out of my dresser (mesh drawer from IKEA) and getting a new flavor frozen burrito from Trader Joes may be one of the most exciting parts of my week, but I chose this. I picked the hard route. The long windy route. The route that won’t even let you off to pee. The route that glares when I ask “are we there yet?” But it’s mine. This apartment is mine, this journey is mine, this mattress is mine, and this dream is mine.

2015 will bring good things, but I will anticipate the bad. New York may have kicked my ass, but I came up smiling and ready for more. Really. It takes borderline psychos to live here. So bring it on. I’m here and I’m staying.

*So much for a fashion blog, but this post has been on the tips of my fingers and needed to be written. Here’s me in my dream neighborhood (Williamsburg) wearing a few Christmas presents.

IMG_0223

IMG_0258 IMG_0255 IMG_0291 IMG_0264 IMG_0260 IMG_0304 IMG_0225  IMG_0209

[sweater / jeans-zara, bag– kate landry, jacket- my beautiful grandmother’s, necklace- jcrew]

new look

Uncategorized

My little piece of internet got a facelift with the new year. Maybe this will inspire me to use it a little more than last year. Let me know what you think!

IMG_0320

Enjoy this tiny preview of what is to come in my next post. Of course my favorite photo from the day has nothing to do with my outfit. Check back tomorrow for more.

wish list

Uncategorized
gift guide
This Christmas I can honestly say I don’t need anything gift wise… except rent money. I have so much to be thankful for that it seems selfish to ask for more. I’ll be home for the holidays soon, but have been soaking in all of the holiday cheer NYC has to offer. The Rockefeller tree was everything I hoped it’d be, the Saks and Bergdorf widow displays were downright dreamy, and strolling through Central Park bundled up with hats and scarves with a special boy on my arm has been the best gift of all.
Except this is a gift guide and I couldn’t help but mentally check off my imaginary list walking down Fifth Avenue.
1.  Bobbi Brown’s entire Holiday Collection was on point this year. I’m not a huge fan of shimmers and sparkles on my face, but this gorgeous highlighter would be the perfect touch of holiday glam to add to a party outfit, or just brighten up your complexion for everyday-wear.
2. Big, bulky sweaters are kind of my thing. Just recently I was deemed unrecognizable after arriving at a holiday party in a classic LBD and my hair down. Really? Ok, maybe I’ll wear girl clothes more often. This v-neck sweater seems like a sexy alternative to my usual bulky counterpart. I’d wear it with my number 3 pick, the black bralette, just in case the neckline sweeps too low.
4. I’ve pretty much chunked all of my heels as there’s no reason for torturing the balls of my feet walking from place to place around here. I figured these all black tennis shoes could serve as an the go-between from home to office.
5. I’ve been dying over the Volcano Capri Blue scent so often enticing shoppers in Athropologie. I’ve pretty much said no to paying full price on anything there, but this candle is so worth it.
6. Although the majority of my clothes are neutrals these days, I still feel drawn to baby pinks and blush tones now and then. I think this Henri Bendel bag would be the perfect complement to pop against my all black everything.
7. The perfect boyfriend jean is a true gem to find, and while I absolutely adore my Forever21 staples, these zara jeans are a bit tighter and more flattering when paired with my layers upon layers of sweaters and blanket scarves.
Image-1 (4)

bold

a tree grows in brooklyn, fall 2014, work wear

A1

Who am I if not bold and sometimes brash? I’ve never been the soft-spoken, mysterious girl so often coveted in the dreams of the lost hero onscreen. I usually let my mouth get the best of me. For the most part, it’s worked out. I have found most of my regrets stem from affections un-said, opinions un-voiced. I may lose at the whole perplexing-princess, ingenue trope, but I don’t think my clothes would fit in her wardrobe anyway.

One must be of the audacious variety to snag a seat on a downtown 9 a.m. train to the Financial District, or triumph over combative taxi drivers at a crosswalk, or get a job in NYC where everyone is vying for the same “American Dream,” carrying equal amounts schooling and exceeding amounts connections.

I don’t think I’d call this yellow-printed pants set brash, but audacious? The sea of morning commuters part to make way for the woman drowning in analogous yellow print, or so I imagine—maybe I just smelled bad. It takes a bold personality to carry an all-over print, since you’re certain to garner a doubletake or two.

I added a black, leather jacket and black pumps to my Zara set to streamline the color palate, but could not resist a bold lip a la Nars, Fast Ride to finish off the “don’t think about turning right on red-it’s my turn to walk-I look fierce-plus I can’t walk any faster because, these heels hurt” look.

Bold gets you a job in New York. Brash helps when your broker’s fee isn’t comparable to his services.

Image-1 (4) Image-1 (3) Image-1 (2) [pants/blouse-zara, jacket-macy’s (old), necklace-target (similar), shoes-h&m]

east village uniform

a tree grows in brooklyn, brooklyn, new york, Uncategorized

afterlight

You couldn’t rip these $20, Forever21 jeans away from me if your life depended on it. They’re perfect and comfortable and I don’t  have to unbutton the top button after a large meal. Boyfriend jeans are a way of life, one that says “I know my backside is unflatteringly flat and it looks like I have cankles, but those are the kinds of things I can forgo when I want to look slouchy-chic and don’t want seam lines embedded in my skin when I take them off.” Boyfriend jeans don’t care if you don’t have a boyfriend and you bought them at a teen wholesale store. They’re the IDGAF of jeans, they’re the pair-me-with-sexy-sandals-to-create-an-ironic-dichotomy-jeans and they’re here to stay for every season. I just decided.

Halfway through this post I realized I already wrote an ode to these jeans, but I guess I’ll keep going to show you I’m not a quitter. Here is my summer interpretation in which I add a breezy button-down and sleek sandals to up the down-town chic factor, but I also wear them with muscle tees and Birkenstocks; so don’t be fooled.

New York’s still beautiful, if you were wondering. I’ve been spending a lot of my time in the East Village with my soon-to-be roommates and I can’t help but take fashion inspiration from the silent fashionistas that seem to always have their nose in their phones. This trait helps me to look a few seconds longer without feeling intrusive. This down-town chic is a mix of neutral cropped sweaters and frayed denim, platform sandals and textures hair-dos. I’d be lying if I told you my hair wasn’t an attempt at the perfectly undone look the ladies of downtown sport.

afterlight-2 afterlight-1

 

Thanks, Mazie for the photos.