Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby it's cold outside.

So I now know what 17 degrees feels like. Another discovery of note: Tights fit under leggings, which then fit under jeans. Maybe not the best look my J. Brand's have offered, but I'm warm. In the spirit of staying on the plus side of freezing, I'd like to send a huge thank you to my sister, who actually lugged an ushanka all the way back to the United States FROM RUSSIA for me. That thing, which is both impossibly glamorous and warm, has never worked so hard. It's winter's work is hardly over, and that's worth mentioning.

Now, off to visit my coffee man who has yet to forget me despite one week of Theraflu, apartment-made press pots and a morning coffee uptown. Nonplussed, he set my coffee with cream down on the counter with a smile. Life is good.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'll be home for Christmas.

Today during the morning rush that is 7:45 - 8:30 at 168 Henry, Jack and I readied ourselves for the day with a medley of Christmas tunes."Let it snow," "Wonderful Christmastime" and "Happy Xmas (The war is over)" were some of the few we heard courtesy of Jack's clock radio. He remarked that because of now living in New York the meanings of some of these songs have changed for him - for us. While he spoke of the fact that we are more likely to get snow - in fact we're slated for some precipitation this weekend - I began to think about how these songs I know by heart and sing in my heart each year might mean something different - something more to me this year.
"I'll Be Home For Christmas." That never was a question for me. In all my 30 (almost 31 + yes, I still have many (half) of my list to check off) years was I expected or expecting to be anywhere else but North Carolina. That is still very much the case, but an almost-$400 plane ticket has a way of giving pause. At the same time, the very minute I purchased that ticket (Merry Christmas to the fam, by the way) I had the biggest (to date) surge of homesickness wanting to be there in my parents house, in the kitchen laughing and cooking immediately.

When I was a little girl, I remember being seized with panic that one day I wouldn't get to come home for Christmas after hearing this song. Why, "if only in my dreams" I asked my Mother. She quickly assured by I could ALWAYS come home for Christmas. She then set about showing me, and my sister that "home" is truly where the heart is, where the love is and wherever family is. More than a framed piece of art that hung on our kitchen wall for years, my Mother made that idiom a way of life.

So, "Christmas Eve will find me, where the lovelight gleams." And on my first return visit to my childhood home since moving to my newest adult home. And. I. Can't. Wait.

A portrait of how Christmas looks in my mind, and in my heart.

Grandma + Papa, December 24th, 1963. Their 25th wedding anniversary. (My sister would be born 19 years later.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

When Coco Chanel + Jay-Z come together.

I went to Paris last week. Paris Theatre, that is. My friend (and urban family member) Jen and I went to see "Coco Before Chanel", something we've had on the calendar since we arrived in New York. It. Was. Amazing. I have to admit, I'm STILL moved by her inspiring and intriguing life. Her will to move forward (as progress does) and her fierce sense of self and self-determination. And am in total (renewed) awe of her simple, elegant style marked by confidence.

After our film, which was celebrated by champagne POPS, we stopped into the Plaza Hotel for a cocktail. Being in Midtown, we decided to make it a "classic" New York night. Entering the hotel, is like walking back in time to a more gilded, gorgeous era and I was struck by the beauty of its grand interior.

Warmed by a delicious Manhattan and good conversation I headed to the train; iPod in and on shuffle. That's when Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" filled my ears. "Concrete jungle, where dreams are made of. . ." Maybe only Sinatra could have said it better, but I think in 2009, Jay-Z nailed it. For Coco it was Paris. That's where she always longed to be, where she felt called to, where her dream would come true. For me, it is (and always was) New York. For the energy, the excitement, the reinvention. For the dream.

There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York.
These streets will make you feel brand new, Big lights will inspire you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Commuter train.

Since I work out of my very large (even by outside-NY standards) apartment, I don't often - as in never - take the train to work. In the spirit of trying something new, I took the uptown 6 with my roommate (and talented architect) jmh this morning. We got off at 68th + Lex, got coffee from a cart and he walked into his office. I walked down Madison, then crossed over to Fifth, picked up "Mrs. Dalloway" (I know, it's a shame I've just now cracked it open, but her "life epiphanies" are quite juicy and relevant at this time to me) at The Strand kiosk and sat in Central Park (on a bench) reading.

It's certainly Fall in New York, and every tree that wasn't yet bare had brilliantly colored leaves. It was cool, brisk even and there are holiday lights and decorations being thoughtfully hung. Next week brings Thanksgiving - my first in the city. I look forward to sharing a table with new friends, and with old. I look forward to giving thanks for many, many things. The morning commute being one of them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dinner with a friend.

Last night took me to Williamsburg for dinner with my dear friend rob! (The exclamation is his signature, and there couldn't be a better-suited description of his ever-cheerful disposition.) Amid the wine and "seafood bonanza" (rob!'s words), there was great conversation and laughter. It was how I had always imagined "dinner in the city with friends." We talked about work - successes and challenges - weekend plans, recaps, "have you been to _____ yet?" and the like. It was intimate and low-key.

You see, in New York visiting someone's apartment is kind of a big deal. They're so small and so packed that often it can be more of a frustration than fun. Not the case last night. Just when I thought the evening couldn't get any better, rob! walked me to the end of his block (N. 8th St) and showed me the most spectacular (cross-river) view of Manhattan that stretched from the East Village to the mid-50's. It took my breath away. We admired that view for 20 or 30 minutes.

Then I walked to the train and returned to my place in the view.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Small victory

The world - or at least my neighborhood - is getting smaller.

Today, as I stepped up to order my small coffee with only cream, the gentleman behind the counter had it ready for me. He nodded with a smile. I smiled so hard my face nearly cracked. I love my neighborhood.

Some delicious inspiration from my afternoon walk. Treats from the Kosher Pastry Shop up the street.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the future, fashion will be ___________.

It's no secret I'm enamored with Ashley Olsen. Though I can see this is a recent development in affection. I am not one of her "loved you since Full House" fans. My admiration stems mainly from her sartorial influence, her unabashed love for fashion, inherent personal style and just how damn cool I imagine her to be.

Last night I went to hear her and a panel that included Robin Givhan and Isaac Mizrahi, moderated by Cindi Leive Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, speak about The Future of Women's Fashion at 92nd Street Y. What an interesting, insightful evening made entertaining by a lively, fashion-centric panel. Hats off to Robin Givhan who with her witty responses stole the show. Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was Cindi Leive - the person I knew least about. "Knew" being a figurative term and concerning only things I have read in the media or opinions formed by collections, taste, etc. Cindi was clever and captivating and dressed in killer Louboutins. She epitomized everything a magazine editor (in-chief, that is) should be with a dash of approachability that was welcome.

Ashley Olsen, who second to only subject matter (and a close second it was) was the reason I got tickets, did not disappoint. Her dress (a production sample from The Row) was effortlessly chic and her. Shoes. Were. Fabulous.

On top of her outfit, her answers and commentary on fashion, her process and the road she's traveled were thoughtful and earnest and many resonated with me for personal reasons. She spoke about now being a great time for new creatives and entrepreneurs to go after their passion and dream. Couldn't we all stand a dose of optimism in the form of "go out and chase af
ter your dream"? She spoke about her boutique, deliberate process at The Row and her desire to keep it small and manageable. Refreshing! A designer (and a sought-after one) doesn't want to exponentially expand?

Ashley also cited her sister as her "no. 1 team." Ashley, the same goes with me. In life and now in work, my sister is my no. 1 team.

Thanks to 92Y for producing such an inspiring and informative event. Thanks to Cindi for rocking those sky-high stilettos and acting every inch the fashion magazine type. And thanks to a diverse and sartorially-brilliant panel.

In the future, fashion will be fashion and that's "exciting," "democratic" and uplifting.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, October 16, 2009

To the city I love.

Every Moment. . . Love Begins

Here begins my live-in love affair with New York.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Same floor number; new view

I did it. I made the move to THE city. As in New York, NY. And I love it. To the many, many tomes singing the praises (both big and small) of this city, I humbly add my Love List while enjoying the view from the second floor.

1. After each outing you return home a little more fabulous.
2. There is something new - literally - around each corner.
3. Because you don't know "neighborhood" until you live in one in NYC.
4. $.75 corner coffee from the same gentleman each morning. Yes to cream, no (still) to sugar.
5. Horns honking.
6. The sunset against skyscrapers.
7. A proper newsstand where VOGUE UK arrives on time.
8. Purchasing The New Yorker - in New York.
9. Delivery.
10. Your first victory on the subway. "No Uptown 6 here? Fine, I can still get there."
11. Prix Fixe lunches with friends in SoHo.
12. Walking, everywhere.
13. "Can I send a messenger for that."
14. Most smells.
15. It happens here first.
16. Things like jewelry shops with Banh Mi stands and dumpling walk-up windows exist here along side haute cuisine.
17. Yellow cabs.
18. The NFT guide.
19. Chrysler Building.
20. The rhyme and reason behind the Empire State Building's color scheme.
21. Emerging from the subway into the brisk night.
22. Feeling home in the city.
23. We'll see tomorrow. . .

Saturday, September 5, 2009

There's one line in a Tift Merritt song that I really love

"When you can light up a stranger just passing by,
Start revolutions with the glint in your eye,
Sing Hallelujah with a breath or a sigh
And still know the way home.
I know what I’m looking for now. I know what I’m looking for now."

Wow. That stops me in my tracks. And I could even say a sob catches in my throat each time I hear that stanza. I, of course, attempt to keep on singing (I'm one of those head-back-eyes-closed singers) and barely recognize the sound that escapes me.

Here's what I have to say about those words: Thank you Tift. This song, those words, are an anthem to me. They're at the very least words to live by, words that bring me back, bring me there, bring me home. So, thank you.

To the mirror: I know what I'm looking for now.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weather-appropriate dress is chic.

The opposite, however, is not. The first sign of precipitation usually results in my building an outfit surrounding my green wellies (or the platinum or Pucci styles if I'm feeling bold). This morning between tea and Twitter, I must have overlooked - i.e. ignored - the weather forecast, which, by the way, was cloudy and 90% rain. Off to the office in my MJ silk tiered dress from Spring 2005 (you never forsake your first designer purchases no matter how long ago they hit the racks) and gladiators. Enter the office soaked (will silk dry properly?) and nearly-shoeless (Thank the good Lord - and thoughtful shoe designers - for ankle straps.).

Thankful for the friends that will pick you up, take you home, let you re-dress, take you back to the office, and wish you a good day.

Right as, well, rain in my menswear-inspired ensemble part deux.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My sister still brakes for butterflies.

This one's for K. Beale. She knows about butterflies and metamorphosis and spreading your wings and flying. She knows about sugar and how a warm bakery can cure what ails you. She knows about change.

Listening to: Rise up with fists, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins.

Image from Heaven on Main Bakery.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The view today.

It's raining. No - its pouring today. The kind of sideways rain (and wind) that makes mobility especially tricky. Adding an umbrella to my usual collection of carried items (phone, coffee, iPod, handbag, lunch bag) makes for a well-rehearsed juggling act. But I love the rain; I love its smell and the coziness it instantly brings.

Today the view from the second floor is cloudy - and not just because of the rain. This view that I've looked out and over on for three and half years might be changing. I might be leaving this office. (I use the word 'might' because it's still too difficult to proclaim 'am.') So today - through the rain - I want to remember this view.

There's the Wachovia "skyscraper" across the street and just behind my tiny Chrysler Building souvenir. (I used to think I needed New York to enjoy Raleigh. I know that's not true now.) Its ever-revolving door deposits people - businessmen and women, bank customers, wedding goers, even the occasional "character" - on Hargett Street in eye shot of my office. I've watched the window cleaners countless times, seen police rush to the scene, and even watched with awe as the new Wachovia sign was lifted to the top of the building.

If I lean towards the window, I can see the Historic Masonic Temple building on the corner and gaze up to its rooftop, which offers one of the best views in Raleigh. I've only been up there once, but will remember the fireworks in the distance as the Tres Chicas began to play forever.

If I look West I can see a pizza shop, law offices and a church in the distance.

I've watched cars come and go as I worked through writer's block. I've waved at friends walking down the street or called out to those driving past on a summer's day. I've stuck my hand out the window to touch snow and feel rain. I once saw a tent blow down Hargett Street, and have the picture to prove it. I've taken notice of many outfits - good and bad - of those passing down the corridor on the way to lunch or after-work drinks. I was here when Fayetteville Street was a mall and Hargett Street was one-way. I witnessed that change. I eagerly awaited for the Raleigh Times to open and I mourned its inevitable change.

Before I moved into my apartment, I spent more time in this office than necessary - I even referred to it as my "apartment in the city." It was my oasis, and I created the exact space I desired. If I was out for the night, I usually popped into the office for a split of champagne from the midge fridge and to reapply lip gloss. I checked email constantly.

It is the home of the "gpr Hot List." If I had to guess, I would say upwards of 200 playlists had been created in the gpr office, most shared with clients, friends, significant others, but many kept just for me.

I snuck two live Frasier Firs into this office for Christmas in 2006 and 2007, and showcased a brilliant red tree in 2008.

When I first took the space in 2005, the walls were white and the carpet was green. My intern, sjc, who would later become my first employee, and I painted one wall Cut Ruby from the floor to the ceiling including outlets, the chair rail and the trim. We painted that wall while listening to The Magic Numbers, Kanye West, Ashanti, Death Cab for Cutie and Interpol. The gpr red (as we've rebranded it) still brings me joy like no other colored wall does. The only thing on that brilliant wall is the george logo painted in white. It greets you upon entering the office.

I've seen 15 season changes from this seat. I love how the streets, buildings, people look in all of them. I moved here with one computer, am working from my second while awaiting the arrival of my third.

When my sister moved to Boston, the office was the only spot that didn't feel empty. I've rejoiced in good news and weathered through bad news while seated at this white laminate desk.

This has been a home to me. It helped craft my identity, give george public relations a "place" in the business world and prompted me to take part in Raleigh and its downtown reinvention. Which brings me to that word: Reinvention. Suite 200 did just that for me. Behind that solid wood door, was more than just pristine white carpet, a bold red wall, dozens of Paddywax candles, Daisy P cards, Designroom Group luxury ducks and Bella lip glosses. Behind that door was me. My words. My thoughts. My work. My successes. My defeats. My lessons. My contacts. My lists. My fears. My joys. My laughter. My goals. Me.

This view may change, but will always remain in me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A VOGUE moment, or sixty.

VOGUE is back. Back in my mailbox. Back in my life. Back on top, as far as I'm concerned.

After a brief hiatus from my monthly magazine stack - ahem, must have been an accounting oversight - VOGUE has made a re-entry and with it become an object of my affection. I've always been a fan, if only for its obvious industry influence, appeal and storied status and lore. I've been on the 12th floor at Conde Nast, seen the glass doors behind which a cadre of uber-fashionable tastemakers live, work, breathe and cower. Also behind which are covetable clothing, accessories and, well, lifestyles. I'm not one to discount VOGUE's reach or power, or their ability to put together an amazing lookbook of style. But, it no longer was the publication I lived for. It is now.

Could have been the missed months (three to be exact - Michelle Obama was my last cover). Could have been it was the model issue. Could have been Coco Rocha's fire and ice personified. Could have been Lyn Yaeger's testimony on the difficulty of reconciling a love for buying beautiful things during an economic downturn and newly restricted budget [On the market]. That alone touched a personal nerve. Could have been that every page - EVERY PAGE - brought a gasp of delight and inspiration. And it could just be, and probably is, that VOGUE is, well, VOGUE. Indomitable, ever-chic, interesting, and always on top. You never forget your first love.

Welcome back and thank you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mmmm. . .

Today as I was reading (yes, reading) "Fabulous at Every Age" in my Harper's Bazaar it hit me that I no longer fit (age-wise) in to the 20s box. I have always browsed through every age group and make note of items I covet regardless of where I am - or they are recommended to be - on the calendar of life. So, why this morning did I suddenly want to be told to "Select a sweet palette of pinks and yellows?" (I've never been described sweet, sartorially speaking, in my life.) I'm much more in the "Get a sharp look in graphic black and white" camp that was recommended for those in their 30s.

Whatever the reason must explain for why I reached for my smashing new pair of vermillion jeans over my black skinnys.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Word to your Mother, Earth

I've got a few words for Mother Earth. In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd share them.
Giving. Rebirth. Forgiving. Breathtaking. Historical. Practical. Inspiring. One. Need. Change (forever a favorite). Constant. Wonder. Endangered.

Dear Green genies,
Take the time today to commune with the Earth and all that it does, give, feel and need. Take the long walk home, sort the recycling, ditch the plastic bag (once and for all), consume less - way less, go natural, unplug the hairdryer, TV and coffeemaker. Then, support a local farmer, eat organic, catch public transit, look up and still don't litter.

Happy Earth Day. Green's still the new black.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Red is green-er.

It's a good thing OPI is dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and toluene-free as I have three (yes, three) coats of Thrill of Brazil, or known in Suite 200 as gpr red, on my nails. Sometimes you have to take a break from the grays, violets and navys of the polish world and paint it red.

As I paint (and work) am listening to The New by Interpol.

Thanks to Sara Hathcoat of Daisy Princess Paperie for the above illustration of moi!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pink confection.

I'd like to think tax day would be a wee bit more tolerable if I walked to mail my taxes (and my check) in these Givenchy cut-out boots. Nothing like a [double] shot of hot pink to set you right. I guess I'll never know.

Photo courtesy of net-a-porter.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My cup runneth over, and then some.

There are things that are hard to give up: high heels, shopping, the occasional swear word. And then there are things that are haaaaaaaaaaard to give up: wine, music, coffee, the occasional swear word. (Kidding on that one, I actually have an extremely clean mouth.)

Well, for the last 40 days and nights and what seemed like a million mornings, I went without. Without coffee, that is. I figured this Lenten season, I'd go big or go back to Christmas. Coffee it was. One coffee-doesn't-do-anything-for-me (clearly under-caffeinated) person actually had the nerve to respond, "But, it's just coffee." Wrong. It's never been "just coffee" to me. It's been about the ritual, the time, the constant, if you will. Oh, it's about the taste, and aroma, and the perk as well, but it's more about the comfort in the cup.

The great coffee fast of 2009 ended Sunday and did I run (in heels) to the nearest barista - my own French press? No. I'd found a new ritual of reflection and prayer. Is it a substitute for my beloved act of making/buying/drinking coffee and other various espresso drinks? No, but it is a necessary addition. Not as an insignificant "side;" my morning of meditation is more of the cream in the coffee I learned to like black, which filled the dark liquid with a warm, comforting light. Just like that morning, afternoon, evening prayer. So, in day three of welcoming coffee - with "cream" - back in my life, I can truly say, my cup runneth over . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Common sense tip #329: Electronics and water don't mix.

Forget oil and water. The new "don't mix" saying is "iPod and water" (for those of you, like me, who fail to separate their shuffle from their running gear) or "phone and water" (for those of you who multi-task, i.e. brush and talk, wash dishes and talk, and yes, bathe and talk).

You'd think I would have that simple "don't ever do this while doing this" tip down. Nope. So, gone is the shuffle known as 1-2-step. And gone are the saved texts and pictures from the last 1.75 years. Gone is the girl who rushes about and fails to take care of electronics. Here is the new me, relaxed, rested (riiiiiiiiight) and careful.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fast forward to fall

With their neutral palette of leather, high-waisted shorts, billowing capes, black velvet and ruffled blouses Chloe, almost makes me want to skip spring and summer. Almost.

Photo courtesy of Imaxtree.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

To Russia, from Thakoon

Imagine my delight in seeing an Ushanka (not unlike mine) go down the runway at Thakoon! I've had a semi- life long love affair with these luxe hats. Possibly stemming from my belief in the romance of all things Russian (sorry Kel) and my long-standing "Doctor Zhivago"-inspired dream of speeding through Russia's snowy landscape to some forgotten, frozen ice mansion.

Good to know I can relive that dream in a pencil skirt and sheer top.

Image courtesy of

The Russian-inspired looks weren't the only spot-on designs he sent down the runway. Featuring 35 refined (yet with edge) looks that combined uber-feminine styles with playful, sexy accents and texture, Thakoon's show was filled with wearable, retail-friendly (we are in a down market after all) pieces. I'll take one of each, but first on my list are the nude frock with the after-hours untied bow and bright navy, belted satin dress. I'd even entertain his multi-colored fur cropped jackets, but only if I could accessorize with the emerald, envy-inducing gloves he showed as well. A collection well done!

Image courtesy of

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blue Monday.

It seems odd that after a weekend of red, I'd be left feeling blue on this Monday. It could be the Love Hangover playlist I created over two years ago and am currently listening to in the office. It could be the Love Hangover itself, my favorite show of all time that happens each year on the day after Valentine's, full of boy/girl duos singing break-up and make-up covers. It could be that the cold has returned and with it the layers and the freezing office. And, it just could be that blue feeling that strikes every so often when you allow it to come over you.

In any event, here's to turning the blue start to the week, into something vibrant and bold a la Lela Rose's striking azure dress shown in her F/W 2009 collection. If it's blue I'm feeling, I'd rather be donning this.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, February 2, 2009

Home of the $10 manicure.

Reason #874 why I love New York!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Celebrate Snow

Here's to Snow Days, biscuit boarding until your limbs are numb and you've changed "gear" three times, laughing until it hurts, forgetting you're freezing, chili beans in the crock pot and OBAMA in office!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The view from inside the second floor.

Amazing how the george pr red stands out.