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!
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:
Break out your cocktail shaker and pour everything in, stirring well to dissolve the jam.
Then fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake well.
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.
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?
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.
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.
4minute read4minute 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.
...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.