May 5, 20211 Comment

our friendship stories: making friends as an adult

11 minute read

The other day, as I was waiting outside the vet clinic to pick up Elvis, a woman caught my eye. She was standing nearby, impeccably dressed and presumably waiting for her fur bundle as well, at the same clinic. And something struck me. You ever get the feeling that someone is looking at you well before they realize you know that they're looking at you? A moment of serendipitous stolen glances? Obviously, in New York, sometimes these moments can be far less than ideal (and come with their own fair share of inappropriate comments, but that's another story, for another day), but other times, they're just glorious! Like kismet in the making. Of friends and lovers, alike.

Back to this woman though. I noticed a look in her eyes as she glanced over my dress. "Tell me everything about your outfit!" she said. I smiled and replied with the universal olive branch response: "Thank you! It has pockets!"

We eventually got to chatting about the dress, about the city, about why our dogs were at the clinic that day and before I knew it, I was 30 minutes into a lovely conversation with a woman whose name I didn't know! (I know, I know, where were my manners?!).

Her dog was discharged first, so our neighborly chat ended there, but before leaving with her pooch, she turned to me and said, "I know this is going to sound strange, but would you want to grab a drink sometime? It's been so hard making new friends in the city lately."

In that moment, it dawned on me how often we put ourselves out there for dating, but we don't offer ourselves in the same way when it comes to forging new friendships, especially as we get older, busier and perhaps more set in our ways. 

All of this is to say, I think you'll love the friendship stories compiled here — all of them a beautiful reminder to not fear vulnerability when it comes to nurturing those nearest and dearest to us — the family of our own choosing. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to text my new friend back and arrange happy hour drinks. 

1. "My cousin, who's more like a sister as I'm only eight days older, and I had dwindled in connection. It'd be over a year and a half since communication and visits ceased, and for no specific reason.

After losing relatives in 2020, I wrote a letter (because, letter writing) about reconnecting.

A dinner in February, which we both admittedly felt oddly like a job interview, allowed us to repair an unoriginal case of miscommunication. Now, we're thick as thieves once again and she'll be my Maid of Honor next October.

Pushing pride, or whatever, aside was well worth it!"

2. "I have a group of girlfriends (four of them) that I met through work. We no longer work together or at the company, but our connection stayed intact.

We immediately clicked and had so much in common...from personality similarities, to fashion, beauty, politics, likes, dislikes and more. They're definitely sisters and a squad for sure. We have a group chat on Messenger and communicate daily about anything and everything. We lean on one another and are there for one another. They inspire and motivate me daily and are positive energy and light in my life.

When I lost my dad at the end of 2019 and my best friend at the beginning of 2020, they were there for me and still are.

I'm so thankful for these humans and the sisterhood we have."

3. "For strengthening current friendships: My husband and I are 10 years apart. Incidentally, he was the last of his friends to get married and have a kid while I was the first of my friends to get married and have a kid. We both found it important to always be excited for our friends no matter what life stages they're in — single, dating, married with kids, married without kids — and to always create an inclusive space so that our friends don't ever feel like outsiders. It's awesome having friends in so many different life stages and getting to celebrate where they are in life."

4. "The old saying of "quality over quantity" is so on point the older you get. After your 20s, everyone's schedule gets busier and busier. I cherish my quality time with my quality friends that push me to grow, be better and take risks, support me when I fall, make me belly laugh and make me feel so whole. They're limited, but the few I have are so golden."

5. "Five months before Covid hit, I moved from NYC to LA. I had amazing friendships in NYC. And I never felt like I had a problem connecting with folks or meeting them. Alas, I got offered a dream gig and moved to LA where I frequented but only would call one or two people, friends that live here. The thought of making new friends was daunting. And LA is very different from NYC. My normal way of making friends just was plausible in this work and car environment. People started introducing me to their friends that they knew lived here. And while in person meet ups were nonexistent this year, we started to connect via email, text and Zoom. And now I have a little crew that I connect with so well. I would have never leaned into tech if it weren't for the pandemic as a way to meet folks. But alas, I'm coming out of this with some solid friendships!"

6. "I went on a year long solo travel trip after college graduation. The European leg of my trip had to be delayed so I headed over to Canada instead even though it wasn't on my list. Did a one-month workaway in Toronto. The dude who I helped renovate his Victorian had a stepdaughter who was visiting him my first day. You know how in movies people make eye contact and you just swoon? That's how I felt with her. We made eye contact in this gorgeous kitchen and I knew immediately she was going to be in my life forever. And the rest is history. She has consistently celebrated me and been there and we show up for each other. We had plans to see each other at her graduation but Covid changed that. As for how to strengthen your friendships — show up. That's really it — be willing to learn your friend and show the heck up for the good and the bad in the best way you can. It's so freaking easy to get lazy or get distracted but friends are such blessings. Don't sleep on them. One of my college buddies and I exchange videos from the camera in the iPhone and just message them to each other. A bootleg Marco Polo but we have gotten closer. Another — we have foodie adventures where we eat one thing at five different places in one day (each adventure has a theme)."

7. "As an adult, most of my friendships began at a workplace. They either grew from there or were just casual grab a drink after the end of the day. A lasting friendship is one with my former grade partner. From the first day she knew I was interested in being the 'other kindergarten teacher' she hand wrote a name sign and placed it on my door before the principal made the decision. Through 13 years of teaching together, we led the Halloween parade in matching costumes. We were clowns, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Dorothy and the Scarecrow, Thing 1 and Thing 2 and very convincing witches. So convincing that when we made our playground entrance, children ran away! One year from Christmas, she gave me a Christmas cactus for a gift. I still have it. It's 18 years old. Even though we see each other often, we send cards to each other. We sign them YFP. Meaning Your Forever Partner. We are both great Phillies baseball fans. Our dream has been to be on the Jumbotron at a game. One September Sunday afternoon game, we did it. We made it three times that Sunday afternoon. And when the game was over and we were walking out, people said hello and were remarking about our Jumbotron success!"

8. "My childhood best friend and I have never gone to school together (we met running track) so we've always been pretty good at making time for each other — it was never a friendship of convenience. As kids, we would talk on the phone for hours and write six page letters to each other. Fast forward several years, she went away to a military college and I went to a small liberal school four hours away. Our letter writing skills really came in handy when she was going through the school's version of basic (break you) training! Ten years later, I moved to New York and she stayed in Charleston. A couple years after that, the pandemic hit. We started working out together every day over Zoom. Then it evolved to working out and cooking dinner and eating together. We definitely wouldn't have gotten through the lockdown as easily as we did without each other."

"I think it's a great lesson in holding onto those relationships and chasing them, helping one another find a way back to the people who matter most in your life. We normalize doing so for significant others or family; why not our closest friends, too?"

9. "New York City has been the place to reconnect with old friends and I'm so thankful for that. During my first week in NYC, I realized some old friends were also in the city. On my second week, I was on a rooftop looking at Brooklyn Bridge and sharing an amazing night with old friends from two different stages in my life. They made NYC feel like home right away. And without even asking, one of them became my guarantor (when he found out I was about to pay six months deposit up front because I was moving to the US with no credit history) and the other friend added me to her family phone plan! I mean, who does that?! Friends that become family.

Three weeks later, I was moving in to my apartment in the Upper East Side and I ran into a friend (at Starbucks). Last time I saw her, we were 17. Turns out, she was also moving to the UES and we were neighbors. We are best friends now and became each other's support system during the pandemic.

Last one: Summer of 2019 — on my way to be reunited with my Torino (Italy) roommates, American Airlines canceled my flight. Little did I know, but thanks to that, I ended up meeting one of my future good friends in New York City. We were both stuck and frustrated at LaGuardia — ended up sharing an Uber back to the city and having paella at Boqueria. We connected immediately and we started making plans for concerts, dinners, hikes. Thanks to American Airlines, I was late to my reunion but I also gained a great friendship that I'm sure will last forever."

10. "When I started my last job, I was nervous to meet the other manager. She and I would be working closely together, and we were about the same age. I was nervous because I'd worked with other women who were competitive and would throw me under a bus if it could advance their career. To make matters worse, Kristi was this gorgeous blonde girl who just seemed so cool. Great style, a great sense of humor and steely eyes that made me think right away that she'd seen some shit.

Our friendship started slowly. It was founded on a mutual respect for one another's work. I was in awe of her pragmatic approach to tackling big projects. She was a whiz at creating strategic plans and seeing the big picture. She admired my ability to connect with clients and our employees on a personal level. She came to me for writing advice and editing. We complemented one another on the working level and soon began hanging out socially.

First it was working lunches where the conversation veered into our married lives. Then it was walks at the dog park with our doggos. We began texting about anything and everything — to the point where my partner Todd assumes that if I'm texting, it's to Kristi.

She and I joke that if our husbands both die before we do, we are going to become Golden Girls in a villa in Italy somewhere. Kristi may have entered my life when I was 39 years old but I have no doubt that she will be an important person in my story for the rest of my life. I never thought I would find a kindred spirit so far into my life, but I'm grateful that I was open to that possibility."

11. "I moved to Geneva temporarily in the middle of the pandemic and found it really difficult. I didn't know anyone and making friends was difficult (because of the pandemic). Had never used Bumble BFF before but I used it for the first time and met a few girls who were in a similar situation. Truly made a huge difference in my mental health and even though I left, we're still in touch today!"

12. "My closest friend is 73 and I'm 41. She's young at heart and I have a bit of an old soul. It just works."

13. "Just be yourself."

14. "My now husband and I moved to a new area nine months pre-pandemic, and I've struggled to find a space where I fit in. We're in a midwestern university town, but I feel like, in our late 20s, we're in an anti-sweet spot between nowhere ready to join the 'parent crowd' but well beyond the 'young party crowd' that seems to surround us. I'd cultivated deep friendships at university and then law school, where I (a fellow old soul) connected with ambitious, fun, intellectual, well-rounded peers. While I've been keeping up these long distance friendships, I've spent the last few years mourning the day-to-day of the way things were — apero-dinners, drop-ins, our casually ritualistic nights together. One upside of the new ways of working coming through the pandemic has been so much more freedom in where to live and work. Now, as it happens, a close friend and another mutual-friend couple, through a series of perfect opportunities, are moving here this summer. I'm eternally grateful. I think it's a great lesson in holding onto those relationships and chasing them, helping one another find a way back to the people who matter most in your life. We normalize doing so for significant others or family; why not our closest friends, too?"

15. "I made good meaningful friendships through TikTok, Discord and Instagram. Finding ways in Covid is rough but can be done if you are open to it.

Regarding tips, I guess just making sure you are genuine when engaging in a conversation. Not just spamming the comments with meaningless word blobs.

There are definitely different levels of online friendship. I don't know how to describe it, it's just a vibe. But you'll know, if you really know yourself. You'll know when you've made a friend online.

And yeah, it's scary, you'll think of all the people who catfish and scam online but I've been lucky to have met great friends who won't stop FaceTiming just for quality time. Some just want to hang out while drawing/reading/cleaning/whatever mundane tasks that needs to be done. Which has created a strong bond where we've shared intimate stories about our lives and plan on meeting up once it's safe to travel between countries.

We're all somewhat deprived of human interactions due to lockdown and Covid around the world, but because of how humans are quite the social beings, life finds a way. We. just need to be open to the possibility."

16. "Leading with heart and not being afraid to be vulnerable has expanded my capacity to be a friend."

17. "I had just relocated to Wilmington, DE from LA for work and I was seeing a man who also worked for the same company. I didn't know anyone really; I'm friendly and I would go out after work for drinks or happy hours or activities, what have you. Then, one evening, about maybe 6-7 months in, I was working late and so was another coworker who I really liked, but we hadn't really hung out ourselves. We were friendly, you know? Got along real well, but never took that "next step." I swear, it's like I'm writing a romance story. But a 'frie-mance!' So we're both closing that evening and I pinged her via Office Communicator and just asked, 'Do you want to have dinner/drinks one night?' And she responded immediately with 'YES.' So a few nights later, we had sushi together and she brought me Dunkin Donuts that snowy Saturday morning when I had an opening shift.

Up until September last year when I moved back west for family, we were almost inseparable. Eight plus years and counting. It was part of my wedding thank you speech: 'Jesse — oh my god, Jess, who knew a sushi date and a Dunkin' Donuts Saturday delivery would turn into this? The ying to my yang, as the Great Hair Debacle of Mexico unfolded showed. Thank you for your support, because without you, I would've had half the vision.'

Just like dating — I took a chance and put myself out there to her for her to accept or decline my invite. And here we are!"

Agolde tank top // Misha Nonoo button up // Levis jeans

Photography by Arnaud Montagard, featuring my dear friend Igee Okafor

April 6, 2021No Comments

a time capsule for 2020

2 minute read

Our old handbags are such time capsules, aren't they? Gateways to our past, messengers bearing the odds and ends once upon a time we deemed important enough to carry with us for the day, month, or perhaps, in certain instances, even years. In them, you might find old credit cards you assumed were lost, lipstick shades you once loved, a stray bobby pin or two or, if you're lucky, little hand written notes, reminders for a rainy day that never came (or that guy you never called!). I love cleaning out old bags of mine — they're treasure troves of insights to a yesterday out of reach. 

So the other day, as we drove out to Staten Island for our first COVID vaccination shot, I couldn't help but wonder how I might feel on a random Tuesday, in a distant future, when I'm cleaning out a few of the bags I toted around with me during 2020. What might the clues look like? Would I find a spare mask? Perhaps some hand sanitizer? An "I Voted" sticker? Or maybe, just maybe, tucked away as a bookmark in an old poetry book, I'll find my vaccination card — the harbinger of light at the end of a very long and dark year, in which the heroism of brave men and women answered the call to selflessly carry us all on their backs. Of course, we have a long way to go from here, as my future self likely knows all too well, but I like to think as she’s sitting there in this distant daydream future of mine with old bags all around her and 2020 well behind her, she’ll vividly remember exactly how she felt after her first shot — so terribly grateful she could burst. 

For all my fellow New Yorkers, be sure to check out the CVS website between midnight and 1am each evening, as they tend to add new appointment slots around this time. Just be patient and keep refreshing! And starting tomorrow, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible — so let's go New York, let's do this!

Mehry Mu bag (gifted) // YSL sunglasses (a gift from a friend) // Vintage Dior earrings // Vintage watch from my mother // Accessory Junkie earrings designed by my friend Hitha Palepu // Carolina Herrera shoes (gifted)

Photography by yours truly

April 5, 2021No Comments

cin cin: ginger lemon sour

2 minute read

There's an alchemy to a good book — it can change you, devour you, move you, inspire you and fully immerse you. I don't think I'm alone when I admit over the past year, I've lost myself in many good books, more so than usual. And if you pass me an equally transportive cocktail while reading — perhaps one with a single malt whisky — well, you'd be hard pressed to break me from that spell. Today, in celebration of Glenmorangie's beautifully cinematic new campaign, I've put together a vignette inspired by these everyday transportive moments, like finding yourself in a really, delicious and yes, wonderful story in a book.

Now tell me, what are you reading at the moment? And moreover, what are you sipping alongside that story?

Ginger Lemon Sour

What you'll need:

1 1/2oz Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or (or any whisky will do)
1/3oz Orange Curaçao
1/2oz lemon juice
2 bar spoons ginger jam

How to make it:

  1. Break out your cocktail shaker and pour everything in, stirring well to dissolve the jam.
  2. Then fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake well.
  3. When you’re done, strain the serve into a chilled coupe or martini glass – and set off the cocktail’s color with an orange wheel. 

Cin cin!

 

Giambattista Vali dress on loan via Nova Octo / Sergio Rossi heels // Vintage Chanel earrings (how darling are these though!?)

Photography
Allie Provost

March 29, 20211 Comment

a case for kalsarikännit

3 minute read

Just last week, as I was casually browsing through Helmut Newton photos on Pinterest for a moodboard I was working on, I stumbled across a strange looking word. Kalsarikännit. My tongue hurt at the prospect of trying to pronounce it — uncertain of what to do with that many consonants strung together. And don't get me started on the umlaut— the two dots over the a, to indicate a short "eh" sound. "Lots to unpack with this word" I thought to myself. Let's look it up.

Kalsarikännit, which I came to learn is pronounced like cal-sar-y-cuhn-eet, is the Finnish concept of drinking at home, alone, usually in as little clothes as possible, typically your underwear. Ah, this makes sense this word popped up with a Helmut Newton photo now— a beautiful black and white film shot of a woman, perhaps getting ready for an evening or maybe unwinding afterward, clad in just in black, slightly opaque tights, bra and jewelry. A bottle of wine sits next to her as she gazes at her reflection in the mirror. 

And, I guess when I really think about it, we've all been that Helmut Newton woman this year to a certain extent. Sure, we may not be able to fully take advantage of our wardrobes for events, parties and big dinners, but, and perhaps this is the homebody in me talking here, sometimes the getting ready part, is the best part. The anticipation of an evening out sometimes feels sweeter than the actual evening itself. 

 

What could a Kalsarikännit evening look like? I'd start by throwing on a great evocative playlist, pouring a cocktail or two and strutting around your apartment like you know you're going to charm the hell out of your date that evening, even if you're not seeing another living soul aside from your dog or cat. Throw on a movie, wrap yourself up in a silk robe or perhaps velvet. Read poetry in bed. Write a letter to an ex-lover, that you never intend to send. Light candles. Eat decadent takeout in bed — oysters, steak, caviar. Or if you're feeling adventurous, cook a meal in said underwear— just be aware of prying neighbor eyes! 

Don't get me wrong, I also love lounging at home in my most comfortable clothes while sipping red wine, but I think the feeling of slinking around your own home in something that makes you feel undeniably sexy is quite appealing. Whether it's just you or your now pleasantly surprised partner, I think it helps reclaim some of that "I'm going out tonight magic" without ever having to step a foot outside the door. 

Now tell me, do you ever partake in Kalsarikännit?

Sleeping with Jacques velvet nightgown (gifted) // Vintage pearl earrings that look like grapes (similar style here) // Samsung TV with a beloved Degas ballerina painting (gifted)

Photography by yours truly

March 15, 20211 Comment

on turning 35

3 minute read

I'm not an overly fussy person when it comes to birthdays. In fact, perhaps it's the Pisces in me, but a big celebration in my honor stresses me out just to think about — let alone, plan. Which is why I'll always tend to favor small and intimate gatherings — the unavoidable theme of this past year perhaps for us all, whether we liked it or not. 

A few weeks ago, on a cold February Friday, I turned 35. It was a quiet day of heads down work and creative tasks for campaigns I had in flight, followed by dinner and a movie at home with my two favorite guys. It snowed for most of the day, which was the perfect extra excuse I needed to sit at my window as dusk settled, waiting for the glow of the apartment windows around us to pepper the palpably cold darkness outside.

You see, birthdays always bring a heavy dose of introspection for me. That might sound overly despondent, and perhaps it is, but I don't mind it much. The truth is — the further I move along into my 30s, the more comfortable I feel actually sitting with things, reflecting on them, understanding what it is about them that makes me happy and similarly, what it is about them that makes me sad. And this past year, this past trip around the sun? There was plenty to be thankful for, to celebrate, to cherish, to learn from, and yes, there was plenty to mourn as well — each one no more valuable than the other, each one deserving of headspace, especially as I closed out yet another proverbial chapter, in preparation for the next.

In the past, I might have written a pithy collection of 35 things I've learned in 35 years but I have a feeling that's been done many times before. So instead, I'd rather leave you with one particular truth I've come to underscore time and time again and that's a certain Maya Angelou quote that I think applies so beautifully to practically everything: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As for these photos? Well, let's just say, while I may turn down a big fancy, soirée in my honor, that doesn't mean I'll skip out on dressing up for any and all other occasions, formal or not.

Monique Lhuillier dress on loan via Nova Octo // Vintage Chanel earrings (similar style here) // Shot on location in the Bronx at a landmark mansion, a former retirement home turned event space.

Photography
Allie Provost

March 9, 202112 Comments

introducing a new look for this time tomorrow

4 minute read

It's a conscious and deliberate decision to wake up each day and seize the beautiful. To sing the beautiful. To craft the beautiful. To narrate, to shape, to mold, to speak truth to the beautiful. Not so much in expensive things or grand buildings or what your hair looks like on a given day, although those things are wonderful in their own right, but it's in the quiet in between moments, too. Perhaps even more so. The imperfect moments. The humbling moments. The no-one-is-looking-and-perhaps-no-one-is-noticing moments. The moments that don’t garner a social currency online. Seize those. And run with them. Run and don't look back, until your appetite for them becomes so second nature it's like breathing or reaching for your morning coffee or better yet, a Friday night glass of wine.

For the better part of the past 11 years or so of running This Time Tomorrow, I've always wanted this idea to be the forefront of my content, that being the pursuit of beauty. And certainly not in the conventional way we're trained to think of beauty. To me, beauty is so much more than how you put yourself together or how expensive your wardrobe totals out to be — and it's not a blessing only bestowed on the young and seemingly wrinkle-free. And I freely admit that as someone who has had to spend years retraining herself to see beauty through a different lens. Through a multi-faceted lens. Through a wider lens.


And that's what I hope to do for you here on This Time Tomorrow. To encourage you to see, to craft, to seek out the beautiful in your every day, no matter what it looks like. To appreciate a beautiful dress just as much as a beautiful, historic building. To appreciate the craftsmanship of an investment bag just as much as the craftsmanship of a captivating documentary, memoir or photograph. To appreciate the beautiful bodies we're all given as well the minds we have the privilege of cultivating. Both need attention and care and in my opinion, celebration. 

Simply put — beauty is in the everyday details, if we just take the time to slow down, stop scrolling and truly notice.


I've felt pretty strongly the past few years that I want this site to be about far more than just a conversion rate. Personally, I don't want my "internet legacy" to depend solely on how much I encouraged you to buy at my recommendation. In fact, to be perfectly honest, I would much prefer I played a role in encouraging you to take that disposable income and invest it wisely — stocks, real estate, education instead. It'll serve you far better and far longer, I promise.

So when it came down to writing a succinct manifesto for this new chapter, this new look that you now see for This Time Tomorrow, I kept coming back to this notion of substance. These days, I feel empty if there isn't an emotional substance to what I'm consuming or creating and my sincere hope is that you feel nourished in some way after visiting my site. Whether that's through an outfit you'd like to emulate with items in your own closet, a beautiful location with an equally arresting story behind it, a trip that inspires a cultural curiosity in you or perhaps, it's in the storytelling itself — getting lost in the words and visuals. Whatever the reason, I hope there's something that grabs you here, shakes you gently by the shoulders and whispers, "Let's get lost in the details together."


With that — I just want to say, welcome (or welcome back) to This Time Tomorrow — the discerning soul's destination for all things style and substance. I'm so honored to have you here. I hope you stay a while. 

Maticevski dress on loan via Nova Octo (similar more casual style here) // Vintage Chanel earrings (similar style here) // Shot on location in the Bronx at a landmark mansion, a former retirement home turned event space.

Photography
Allie Provost

February 15, 20213 Comments

my love letter to new york

3 minute read 3 minute read "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”

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February 11, 20211 Comment

what did you take for granted? / what are you looking forward to?

4 minute read 4 minute read An amalgamation of specific things -- ranging from the very big to the seemingly trivial details -- that I'm looking forward to once this pandemic ends.

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February 8, 20213 Comments

musings on astrology

4 minute read 4 minute read Is it really written in the stars?

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February 2, 20212 Comments

another round, bartender

3 minute read 3 minute read An ode to the jobs we haven't had (yet)...

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February 1, 20213 Comments

finding art/art finding you

2 minute read 2 minute read I've always been a firm believer that you can tell a lot about someone by the books, the music and the art they keep in their home.

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January 21, 2021No Comments

a reason to cheers: hot toddy season

2 minute read 2 minute read Need a celebratory drink? I think we all deserve one right about now!

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January 18, 20212 Comments

to collect, to curate

2 minute read 2 minute read An ode to the delightful things we collect for collecting's sake.

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January 11, 20212 Comments

write the truest sentence you know

2 minute read 2 minute read Taking a page out of Hemingway's book.

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December 22, 20202 Comments

holiday magic with airbnb

4 minute read 4 minute read Give the gift of holiday magic this year, with AirBnB. No shipping required!

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December 21, 20202 Comments

a drink fit for 2021

2 minute read 2 minute read Cheers to 2021!

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December 4, 20203 Comments

friday favorites: the one for the chrysler building

2 minute read 2 minute read Operation Santa, The Prince of Quarantine Comedy, The Nutcracker and more...

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December 2, 20201 Comment

creating comforts at home

4 minute read 4 minute read "Never forget, I love you madly."

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November 24, 20201 Comment

elevate your holidays at home

6 minute read 6 minute read Putting on the ritz, doesn't require going to the Ritz.

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November 23, 20204 Comments

what’s bringing you joy right now?

4 minute read 4 minute read Rainy days at home, working on my couch as Elvis snores at my feet. Old photography books (just picked up a 1980 copy of Diana Vreeland's Allure). Falling asleep to soft classical music.

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September 28, 202012 Comments

romanticizing your own life

6 minute read 6 minute read "I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."

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September 23, 20202 Comments

a new kind of muse

5 minute read 5 minute read Stop me if you've heard this one before...Kahlo and O'Keeffe walk into a bar.

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September 18, 20205 Comments

fall bucket list

5 minute read 5 minute read Sharing all the activities and projects I'm digging into for the fall months ahead.

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September 14, 20206 Comments

can we still fall in love this summer?

5 minute read 5 minute read What or who did you fall in love with this summer?

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September 8, 20207 Comments

the art of flânerie

5 minute read 5 minute read To take a walk for the simple joy of taking a walk...

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August 27, 202061 Comments

why i’ve been feeling defeated

8 minute read

About 10 years ago, in the early fall of 2010...

...I remember one particular evening walking home from the bus stop in San Francisco, after a long day at work.

At the time, as my long-time readers may recall, I had just started working at Google, after a lengthy acquisition transition from my previous role at a start up, where we spent several months prepping for said acquisition interviews. I look back at those start up months before ending up at Google as some of the hardest of my early 20s. To make a long story short, it was a toxic work environment. I was worried about meetings all the time. I didn't eat well. I was staying up all night working on presentations for meetings the following morning, usually with a Diet Coke next to me in bed. Come to think of it, my first grey hairs happened around this time frame, which to a 24-year old, that was nearly apocalyptic. In a lot of ways, it feels like a lifetime ago. In other ways, I can still feel the heat flushing my face as I got up at 6am, realizing I was about to dread every minute of work that day.

I know what you're thinking...dramatic much? So let's fast forward to this evening in question.

I had just gotten off the Google shuttle, walking back downhill from Alamo Square toward a studio apartment in Hayes Valley that I loved. I can't tell you the specifics about that day -- what I was wearing, what show I was perhaps excited to watch at the time or what I was about to make for dinner. But I remembered feeling overwhelmingly happy. And I don't mean in the sense "I had a good day so I'm happy," happy, although from what I can remember, I did have a good day. No, this happiness was different -- I was very acutely aware during that walk home, of how happy I was with my life at that moment. From my boyfriend at the time, to my new-found work-life balance at Google, from the creativity I was feeling in both my professional and personal spheres to living in a new city that excited me every day. All the factors combined made me realize, in an almost existential, out of body way, how happy I was with how my life was coming together at that particular moment in time. I remember smiling on the way home, hopeful that I'd be able to maintain some semblance of this inner peace for years to come.

Naturally, over the course of the 10 years that followed that day, I've been extremely fortunate to have many bouts of similar happiness, both while I worked at Google and especially after I decided to leave to commit myself full-time to this corner of the internet that so many of you have afforded me the opportunity to make a living off of. On the flip side, I've had many phases where the opposite has been true -- running a small business is extremely rewarding, but running a small business where the platforms, algorithms and business objectives of big companies change every quarter, every week, every day(!), is just downright exhausting no matter how hard I try to adapt in my own way. To compound that, throw in the storm that is 2020 and it was only inevitable that I'd find myself in a prolonged state of feeling, for lack of a better word, defeated.

Before I share why I've been feeling defeated, I just wanted to underscore that I don't share any of this lightly or without the understanding that I know I'm extremely fortunate, especially given how much 2020 has brought. By all accounts, I'm healthy. My family is healthy. At the moment, I still have work to keep me somewhat busy and afloat. And I have an extremely supportive partner, who I love and feel infinitely closer to because of this pandemic. In the grand scheme of things, I know my experience pales in comparison to what so many people, in this country and around the world, are battling day after day -- so why can't I shake this negativity? Why can't I chase away these rain clouds? And moreover, how dare I assume my situation warrants attention at all -- which is where my guilt knocks on the door to join the already crowded pity part and I just want to dive under a pile of blankets and hide.

I suppose my overall hope in sharing this post today is simple. I don't want sympathy.  Or advice. And I don't have tips to share on how I'm combatting these feelings just yet (because I'm still in the process of sorting that out). No, mainly I just want to remind whoever is reading this and feeling something similar at the moment, that you're certainly not alone. And despite what the internet might lead you to believe, we're all going through something -- big and small. My experience isn't meant to negate or diminish the importance of yours. And vice versa. That's the blessing and the curse of the human experience, right? With any luck, as I'm trying to remind myself now as I type this, the bad passes eventually. Pivot moments happen. Rain clouds clear. And we get on with it. My hope for you is that you can remember that when it gets dark and you don't know how to move forward -- light will come and your feet will move, one in front of the other. As they always find a way to do.

The world feels terribly uncertain

If ever there was an understatement for the year of 2020 it would be that it was full of uncertainty. We're practically riding wave after wave of uncertainty at this point -- which is, by itself, the only certainty this year has brought. As my boyfriend pointed out last night during dinner, I started my blog over 11 years ago, in the midst of the global financial crisis with zero idea of what the future had in store for me. Ironically enough, things feel somewhat full circle at the moment in that I'm on a career path that I'm not sure how to navigate forward during a time where the economy is volatile at best.

As a very emotionally charged Pisces, I'm empathetic to a fault. I absorb the energy around me -- the good and the bad -- taking it on sometimes, as if it were my own. Over the years, I've gotten better at filtering this and deflecting when I need to, but ever since March hit, it's gotten increasingly harder and harder every day. Especially as the news cycles churn out scary headlines left and right and the concept of time has both slowed down immensely and sped up at a frightening pace. My focus has felt jilted in a lot of ways, and while I was able to hone in creatively during much of the lockdown for work, I'm feeling a new troubling undercurrent rise up as it pertains to my career, which brings me to my next point.

Work feels terribly uncertain

This "undercurrent" I mentioned isn't necessarily spurred because of the pandemic. If anything, it's been festering for quite a while before hand. For the past year or so, I've struggled with defining it. Mainly because, in a lot of ways, it's contradictory. On one hand, I feel the most fulfilled with the visual content I've been creating lately -- from a photography stand point, from a storytelling standpoint, from a styling standpoint. And yet, at the same time, I feel the most resentment toward it, too -- mainly because of the platform vehicles I rely on to disseminate that content (ahem, Instagram) feel more and more limited reach wise. I won't bore you all with my gripes about the algorithm and analytics, as a sad, tiny violin plays in the background. At the end of the day, I'm aware of all the different "tips" I could heed as it pertains to "winning" at the Instagram game. But somewhere along the way of this past year, I've realized I don't know if I'm cut out for this game anymore. I don't enjoy making TikTok style, match-cut videos. I'm not an over-sharer when it comes to a lot of the inner details of my life. And perhaps it's the onset of my mid 30s, but I feel less and less inclined to spend hours rounding up links of what to buy on Amazon or the Nordstrom sale.

I don't say any of that to demean that work. Because it is admirable work. And I respect when content creators approach it thoughtfully and with intention. It's just not me. I think I miss certain aspects of the internet circa 2009/2010 that didn't feel all-consuming, all day long. I'm the same introvert I was back in college and as much as I've tried to "showcase" my online persona in recent years, it doesn't come naturally to me. Which is why I've thrown myself into trying to create aspirational content -- beautiful imagery with what I hope have been thought-provoking captions and posts. Something to make you stop, think and in some way or another, feel inspired to carry that notion into your own life.

What I'm starting to find is perhaps I've either fallen short in that pursuit or there isn't much appetite for it in the first place. I'm fine with either answer. I'm just trying to figure out what that means for my next step, where this corner of the internet isn't my sole income source. Bottom line: I'm definitely at a crossroads. And I'm not sure I know what road I want to turn on from here.

I miss my family

Like many you, I haven't seen my family since Christmas. Admittedly, I don't make it back west multiple times throughout the year, so there's nothing terribly out of the ordinary with that statement. But ever since March, I've had this anxiety-ridden fear in my gut that I wasn't sure when and if I'd be able to see them this coming holiday season as I would normally plan to. Suddenly, I was faced with this fear of feeling helpless in the face of the pandemic, as it pertained to my parents and their health. I miss them. I miss my sister. And I hate not knowing when I can see them next. When I can hug them next. When I can tell them to their face that I love them.

Elvis has cancer

For various reasons, I've put off sharing this information, but mainly because, I was in shock for a long time. His diagnosis came rather unexpectedly during a routine checkup back at the end of May. It knocked the wind out of my lungs when our vet called me to say, "Do you have a moment to chat about Elvis?" Swollen lymph nodes led to a biopsy and eventually to a positive lymphoma diagnosis, followed by a dark and sad spiral of feeling so helpless at a time where I already felt pretty helpless. Now, in light of everything going on, I felt like I was about to lose my best friend of 7 years, my side kick who had seen me through good times and bad times, cross country moves, broken hearts and countless ugly cries, always calming me with an earnest lick on the cheek where tears had been.

I didn't share at the time, again mainly because my approach to sharing extremely personal things like this on the internet is to sit and BE with them for a moment. I had to process on my own. And with Ty and the advice of our doctors. Further compounded by the long overdue resurgence of the BLM movement that was happening at roughly the same time, my news felt terribly tone deaf. Far more important stories needed the mic and the airtime. And they still do.

Fast forward to today, and we're already several months into chemotherapy. Elvis is responding extremely well to the treatments -- and in fact, has already achieved remission! I temper that statement with a reality that I've had to accept since the end of May -- statistically speaking, most dogs with lymphoma, even after successful chemotherapy, will relapse at some point. An ideal outcome is to get 2 more years post diagnosis to fill with happy memories for them and for you. And believe me, that is what I intend to do for Elvis. For as long as I can.

Wrapping this novel up...

All of this very long-winded post is to say: if you're feeling uncertain, uncomfortable, defeated and lost right now or even just a sliver of any of those feelings combined, please know, I see you. I really do. You're not alone. And while I could go into a long list of rational tips on how to combat those feelings, I know sometimes the simple thing that makes me feel infinitely better, is knowing there's someone else who's going through it as well. That and writing it all out -- 2,000 words later and I feel like I've gotten a good weight off my chest. I sincerely hope this post doesn't come across as ungrateful and whiny -- I was merely hoping to provide a sense of camaraderie at a time when I think we could use it most.

Truthfully, I keep thinking about the girl I was 10 years ago on that early fall day in 2010, walking home from the bus stop and how painfully happy she felt! Despite the bitterness 2020 might have instilled in me thus far, I still know deep down, I'm capable of feeling that way again. I just have a bit of work to do to get back there.

 

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