Big Apple Cider

This week we’re in a cold snap, but until Monday we were still frolicking around in 50 and 60* weather. Leaves were turning and holding hot coffee in my hands became a new hobby. I’ve taken a billion pictures, with a good amount posted on Instagram, so if you follow me there you might want to skip this post. There will be a lot of repeats. Gorgeous repeats though :) 

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I’ll never get enough of Washington Square Park

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Jessica is a teacher and had Veteran’s Day off so we took a ferry to Ikea. I wrote about it earlier, but here are some pictures

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I remember when Ikea came to Minneapolis. It was a huge deal, this foreign, Scandinavian behemoth setting up shop. We explored each little nook of the “apartments” and marveled at the Scandinavian ingenuity of installing shelves upon shelves and hidden shoe holders. It all seemed so foreign, so exotic to live in small spaces.

Then I moved to Manhattan.

Suddenly the square footage signs hit very close to home and the whole experience of Ikea shifted from a museum-like exhibit of far-away habitats to a very real exercise in how to live. Another transition for the books.

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The return trip to Manhattan

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Jess and I asked some strangers to take our picture. It was a perfect fall night. 
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I’ve been very slowly easing back into running. Very slow and steady. This means I get to take more pictures in pretty morning light.

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Aren’t these trees lined up like pretty ladies all dressed up in their fall colors? Looking good, girls

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The picture above is from “The Hive”, which is a brunch get-together organized by Feminist Dialogues. Basically, I spent a Saturday morning in a strangers apartment with a bunch of strangers talking about Masculinity, the topic of the month. It was sometimes awkward but mostly really great. I spend a lot of time meeting strangers from the internet, which is also known as “making friends” and “building community”. It always starts with a bit of trepidation but I leave feeling better, exhilarated, and a little more loved.

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Do you guys know how we do parking lots in NYC?

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Sunday morning walks. Selemon always sleeps in so I walk over to the coffee shop hoping they’ll have a discarded issue of the NYTimes, because those suckers are expensive. Last weekend was a bust on the newspaper front, but I brought my Kindle along and got a seat, so I considered it a success.

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Ugh this park breaks my heart with gorgeous

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Morning run part 2

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The carpet of yellow leaves gave me flashbacks to the Wizard of Oz.

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And now, in the span of a week, some leaves have left. If it means more light bouncing off these buildings, I’m a-ok with it.



There is a man that spends countless hours in Washington Square Park with his shirt off. He determinedly boxes imaginary opponents, pretends light posts are punching bags (stopping just before contact is made), and spin kicks the air. He seems to be around 40 or so, older but still with dark hair. Shirt always off. Pretty good shape, if I’m being honest.

The first time I saw the display I sat and watched for a bit waiting for some NYU theater production to appear. (I generally attribute all weird shit happening in Washington Square Park to NYU theater kids) But as I stood there, staring, it became clear that no one else was joining this exercise. It was him, battling opponents and pretty damn happy with himself.

A few weeks ago I was walking through the park and noticed everyone pointing and staring at something, that according to their faces, was quite alarming/weird/hilarious. Two tourists made the sort of eye contact that clearly conveys “look at that crazy shit” so I turned around and there was shirtless punching man. I had just walked right past him and it didn’t even register as something unusual.

There is also a homeless woman that sits under the CVS vents that propel warm air onto the sidewalk. You see her around the neighborhood, but that’s definitely her spot. Once September arrived and NYU students flooded the neighborhood, I would walk by and see students attempting to engage her in conversation. No doubt undertaking that admittedly self-gratifying task of attempting to save and help those who don’t want the help or saving you have determined they do need. And I wanted to tell this male, freshman student to back off. Leave this lady alone. You’re clearly making her nervous. She doesn’t want to talk to you. Then of course, I walked right past, as I had a million times before, knowing that soon he’ll learn to walk right past too. Until then, he will probably be alarmed at what assholes we all were.

And it started to sink in. That coldness that New Yorkers are known for (and let me be incredibly clear here, I do not, nor will I ever, consider myself a New Yorker. I’m not delusional) maybe isn’t coldness at all. Maybe its just that all those half-clothed freaks endlessly air boxing, or that homeless woman under the vent aren’t noteworthy for the simple reason that they too are part of the neighborhood. But in this ridiculous city of 8.4 Million people, we don’t have neighbors that don’t mow their lawn, or drive ugly cars; we have a different sort of different. 


Listening to lately

Life is plugging along here in Manhattan. I wake up everyday hoping today is the day that I hear back about a job, and inevitably the day passes without a word.

I guess I’m getting a bit more used to that.

And in between I do manage to have lovely moments.

This past weekend Selemon and I were in Hanover, New Hampshire to visit Tuck for Diversity Conference. Selemon was invited back to share a speech with the prospective students. He did an amazing job.

The air felt cleaner, the people were nicer, and our hotel room was the size of our entire Manhattan apartment.

We both returned to the city feeling a bit grumbly about being back. We held hands in bed and had a heart to heart about where we’re headed career-wise and geography-wise and we don’t have clear answers.

Yesterday Jess asked if I wanted to go to IKEA. The IKEA is located along the water in Brooklyn, allowing for an IKEA-dedicated ferry ride. And the views were stunning and I sat there totally exhilarated and absolutely thrilled and energized that I lived here. That the gorgeous sparkling buildings all along that water were my home. I took a few pictures, realized it couldn’t capture all that unspoken energy and focused on just taking it in for me. Because I know we won’t live here forever and one day when I’m sitting in the middle of a snowstorm in Minnesota I will miss all this.

There’s a song that I love for one line in particular, “I can’t really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else”. And I’ve been focusing on that line so much. When I was in Fargo I yearned to escape, when I was in  Minnesota I wanted so badly to be in a beautiful, historic East Coast city. I got to Boston and wished I was in NH with Selemon, and then pined for New York City. And here I am, wishing for a backyard for a dog, or less neighbors, or more familiar faces. Maybe you never feel settled? Maybe the world is just too big, with too many options and the grass will always be greener.

But I’m here now. And sometimes its exhausting and discouraging but it is also the most electric, thrilling place I will ever live so I will do my best to never wish that away.


Taking a Break in Brookyn, or, how I found the familiar in Ditmas Park

I grew up with wide, manicured lawns, fenced back yards, and expansive roads, and while I don’t ever plan on returning to Fargo, I do find myself occasionally craving that suburban space. It’s an itch that I’ve learned I must scratch, otherwise I begin loathing my city spaces.

I don’t have the budget to rent a car to flee the city, so I had been researching communities to visit in Long Island, or anywhere close via rail, for just a day to refresh.

A New York blogger I follow, way back in May, had mentioned a spot in the middle of Brooklyn that felt like a neighborhood. I distinctly remember her posting a picture of a front lawn. A front lawn, you guys. This is huge. So I stalked her old instagram pictures and scoured the comments for a hint as to where she was. Someone said Ditmas Park, which began my odyssey for blissful sliver of suburbia.

Ditmas Park is a neighborhood right in the middle of Brooklyn. A bit South of Prospect Park. Its surrounded by the usual Brooklyn stuff; bodegas, coffee shops, and laundromats. But this neighborhood is filled with old Victorian Mansions and have stayed that way as Brooklyn has shape-shifted throughout the years.

I took the B train about 30 minutes over the river and off of the island, landing, finally, in this strange place.

It’s a weird thing to get off a train in a totally new place with no objective but to explore until you find the thing that can calm the yearning you feel for home. Until you find it, you get a big dose of uneasy. So I wandered up and down a few streets, searching in the unknown for something that felt familiar. I worried briefly if I was crazy.

Thankfully I have a phone with Google on it, so I was able to search for the “prettiest block in Ditmas Park”, and after typing some cross streets into Google Maps, I turned a corner and found “home”. What follows is an exhaustive collection of photos. I’m not even going to edit them down very much because each tree line street filled with cars and lawn mowers was thrilling in such a reassuring, familiar way its impossible to describe.

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This a wide road with cars parked along it. This does not exist in Manhattan. It just doesn’t.

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Homes with Halloween decorations!

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You guys, I became really, really close to bending over and sniffing this lawn mower. Because even at “standing level” the smell of fresh cut grass was intoxicating.

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I sent this picture to Selemon with the caption “Guess where I am?!?” I just could not believe this view as a short subway ride from our 6th floor apartment in the village. It felt like the Lake of the Isles neighborhood in Minneapolis.

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I wore a lovely fall hat that Ashley Thomas gave me and felt quite fancy

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That was quite a pretty stroll, huh?

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I ended the stroll with a cup of tea at the neighborhood spot, which had a wall of herbs.

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I really did leave feeling better. I hope you all have lovley, cozy, fall weekends too!


The tangled, complicated problem of unemployment

You know what the worse part about unemployment is? Everyone asking about your unemployment

And I feel rude even typing that, because I know people ask because they care. To show they are interested, to show that they are thinking of me and this state in which no one wants to hire me.

Which is considerate. It really is. I recognize that, and I appreciate everyone’s good thoughts. I say all of this to cushion what I’m about to type next; asking me about my continued lack of a job is not helpful.

In fact it makes me feel stupid and unmotivated. Because when I tell you that, yes, things are in the pipeline and I’m interviewing and yes, it’s hard, the next thing you will inevitably do is give me lots and lots of suggestions. Of things I should do, and what I should say, and how many times I should follow up, and what I should or should not have on my resume.

And instead of your suggestions all I hear is “you’re not doing it right”.

And I know that is not what you intended! I know you’re trying so hard to be helpful.

Here is what you might not realize: You are not the first person who has asked me about my job search today. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re the fourth person I’ve explained this all to. The fourth person I’ve listed my lack of interviews to, the fourth person I’ve ticked off the interviews that happened but I’m still waiting forever to hear back. And all those suggestions? I’ve heard them all, I really have, and I find them terribly not helpful because they just further kill my already very-battered self esteem.

I want so badly for someone to interview me and say “oh my goodness, I want you to join this organization”. I crave the identity that comes with my name on a business card. Even if it’s not a dream job, even if the title means nothing, I want someone who is willing to print my name next to their logo as a stamp of approval saying “we think this person is worthwhile. We think she is smart”. I never realized how important that identity was to me until I didn’t have it.

Today I was telling Selemon that I’m in a bad mood. Falling into a funk. And that led me to type this disclosure to him; that I didn’t want suggestions of what I should do. Instead I typed “If you ever want to just reassure me that I’m smart and awesome and pretty though- that’s always welcome”

Because that’s the hardest part of job searching; the crushing blow to your self esteem. It’s not all the resumes, or follow up emails. It’s the fact that after awhile you start to doubt yourself really hard. And when people tell you all the other things you should be doing, well that just re-enforces the doubt.

My brain is wired and twisted in a way that leaves it with a very strong propensity for guilt. I’m not sure how normal or not-normal this is, but I do know I spent a good year in therapy attempting to untangle this self-shaming, guilty mess. Because feeling guilty and shameful for everything you did or did not do is not helpful. In fact, it’s quite paralyzing and harmful.  I made a ton of progress turning this mindset around and by the time I had to move away from my dear therapist I had come a long way. I had learned how to set healthy barriers, how to acknowledge this part of me, work with it, and love myself anyway. I’m really proud of the progress I made. Like super duper, fucking proud of myself. But lately I find myself slipping into that self-doubting, guilty slump again.

This propensity might make me more sensitive to everyone’s recommendations, because when they say “Did you follow up enough?” I hear “you messed up, it’s your fault, you can’t even look for a job right” I know that’s not what anyone intended. Maybe that’s the messed up nature of my brain. But you know what? If we’re all totally honest with ourselves, I don’t think it’s just me. I think a lot of us have brains filled with self doubt that would veer that direction.

So, moving forward, when I talk with friends who are going through something, anything difficult, I have decided I will stop giving suggestions.  I’ve thought back to my past reactions and I have totally spewed what they “should “ do! I “should” all over people, just the way I “should” all over myself. I did this because I really, truly wanted to be helpful, and it came from a genuine, good place. Stressed? I’ll tell you to try yoga! Or try running!” Sad? I’ll tell you to find a nice community to support you (what does that even mean?!). So I’m sorry friends that I should-ed all over.

This experience has taught me that instead of suggestions about what they should do; I will look at my friend and reassure them that they are awesome. That they are smart, and charming, and loved. I will tell them exactly why I think they are a great friend and why I appreciate them in my life. I will probably even give them a hug. And I hope that is exactly what they needed.

*I feel this post does warrant a footnote, because I love my friends and family and while I trashed the notion of “suggestions” in general, I really have gotten some good ones. I also have been told to volunteer, which I think is a great recommendation because it’s something that will give me that validation that I need; to feel helpful and valued. So thank you! Just maybe also tell me I’m smart and charming  ;)

**Also, assume no news is bad news so if I am not currently perched on our rooftop shouting to the city that I finally have a job, that’s because I don’t have one yet. You’ll hear once I do.


Scenes from this Weekend

As I was laying in bed last night I kept taking super deep breaths and loving how the chilled air stings your nose a little. Which is my way of saying that it finally got cooler here in New York. All of last week we were in the 70s, sometimes up to 78, and then last night temps plummeted and we’re suddenly hanging out in the 40s and 50s. I unabashedly love coats so I’m on board with this seasonal change.

Here are a few pictures I took while cruising around this lovely city this weekend (and a few from the past week)

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Andrew Loo, a friend from our Minneapolis days was in New York for work! We had Korean BBQ, as they don’t have it in Minneapolis. It was his first time in New York City so after dinner we needed to stroll through Times Square…

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It is a pretty spot. If only less people were around…

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Saturday morning I strolled up my favorite street, 5th Avenue, and came upon this adorable family Halloween-fest in Madison Square Park! I tried to not look creepy strolling around as a single female without children, but I did really enjoy seeing all the families out enjoying the day!

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This is what outdoor time looks like in New York! I think kids that grow up here are super lucky and are exposed to so many great things and diversity, but I took a picture because I realize that it looks quite different than Minnesota…

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How cute is this?!? They had a green screen where kids could pose in their costumes. I don’t know what they made the background but I can guarantee it was 100% cute.

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And then back home! The fountain looked extra pretty :)

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My favorite part of the fountain is sitting along the shallow steps.

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Oh hi! Scarf and North Face weather! And this is what I look like these days :) I’m considering bangs. Thoughts?

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Jessica and I met outside the Museum of Natural History on Sunday so she could take me on a tour of the Upper West Side. We went to a flea market filled with clothes, furniture, jewelry, and food. I had a very tasty empanada. I definitely love taking a step back and realizing how many amazing, unique food options there are here.

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The Upper West is so pretty. Loved these townhouses!

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I realized a bakery I had heard about a lot, Le Vain, was nearby so we detoured over. This was the line to get into the little basement shop, but thankfully cookies move quickly!

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A nice man offered to take our photo :)

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We split a chocolate chip with walnut and it was incredible. Worth every ounce of hype. Super huge (it looked like a scone) and still steaming warm! The chocolate chunks were huge and melty. Oh lord, just talking about it is making me crave a return trip.

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And finally, I will leave you with this glorious Ostrich egg that was sitting at Whole Foods! I should have put my hand next to it to show you size- they were huge!

Here’s to an awesome new week!


Store Opening Adventures

Being unemployed has many downsides, and just a few positives. Today, we will put on our “optimisitc hats” and discuss one of the main benefits: free time during the day. While financial restraints are keeping me from transforming into a full-out lady who lunches, I do still manage to enjoy the perk.

Yesterday I was chilling at home, per usual, when I saw that a new store was opening in Soho, which is quite close to me. It’s called & Other Stories, and is a sister brand to H&M. Their clothes are made of higher quality materials such as wool and silk but they have that same fashion forward vibe of H&M. After checking the store out, they remind me a lot of Zara, and you can see their online store here.

So I headed over to a sign taped to the back door that they were opening at 12. It was pretty close to 12 so I looped around to the front of the building and saw a line and a lot of eager staff.

store opening 094Oh okay. So this is a big deal. I had nothing else going on and this suddenly seemed like quite the event so I shuffled into line. There were super enthusiastic employees going through the line and handing out expensive chocolates to “give us energy as we shopped”. Chocolate is always an incredible bonus for standing in a line and I was pretty stoked about the whole thing. Little did I know that as I walked through the door…..we would all get presents! What?!?! I really didn’t know that was a “thing” at store openings so I was THRILLED. My shopping budget for non-grocery items is zero (again, unemployment downsides) making this extra exciting. As we walked through the door all the managers and staff were gathered there looking so excited, people were taking pictures. I actually felt special just because I had enough free time in the middle of the day to stand in a line for 10 minutes and walk into a store. It was sort of bizarre, in a very good way.

I didn’t end up buying anything for obvious reasons, but the clothes really are super adorable and I plan to come back when I have some disposable income.

But I am very, very pleased to show you my free swag!

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As we walked in the door they handed us each this tote bag with these goodies inside! The tote bag is super big and sturdy. Without a car, tote bags are an everyday item to schlep your things around town, so this is fantastic. They had different colors too.

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A black leather clutch! I love that this is small but not too thin, so you can actually fit everything you need. And its leather! This clutch retails for $120, so this was a lovely surprise!

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I’m sure it will get a lot of use! And they just handed this to me. Who does that?!?

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Next up: these earrings. At first I was bummed and wondered if each tote had different ones, but now I love these. Once I tried them on, I saw how cool they looked, which is great, because I never would have picked these up otherwise. The dangly part hangs behind your ear, and the front geometric peg can be worn alone, as I did last night. These retail for $29

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These are the fancy, paleo, Brooklyn made chocolate bars they were handing out. I’ve tried both and they are delicious!

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Cute note!

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The tote again. I apparently already smudged the mint, and should have stuck with the black version as a true New Yorker.

Overall it was a super cool experience and I was so pleased to get these gifts!  I will definitely be hitting up more store openings now…