MARCH LINKS & INSPIRATION

As I sit down to write this reflection there is a lot on my mind. Throughout February I experienced a whole spectrum of emotions and states of being. I began the month full of inspiration; I was excited to get back into my school routine and excited to be back in New York after spending most of January at home in Atlanta. I visited my sister in Boston (which was wonderful), I got to catch up with old friends, and I had a lot of realizations about relationships and the people I surround myself with.

I was listening to Jess Lively’s podcast this afternoon (which I’ll talk more about in the list to come), and one thing really stuck out to me about the episode I heard today. She said:

“procrastination is a sign that we’re not in alignment about what we have to do.”

I spent a lot of time last month procrastinating. Starting and stopping projects. Coming up with ideas and then scratching them entirely. I was feeling incredibly frustrated not only about work and school, but about my personal relationships. I’ve been putting off conversations I’ve wanted to have and decisions I’ve needed to make. Jess explains that alignment is everything. It is our attitude, our mental location, the place we’re at when we approach things. If we are out of alignment, it can be very difficult to get things done. It’s like baking a cake with all of the ingredients but no tools. You know what you want the end result to be, but you don’t have the means to get there.

Recently, I’ve been remembering the mantra that my best friend Gaby always repeats: “if it doesn’t serve you let it go.” I used to see letting things go as a weakness, as giving up. Part of this I attribute to my extensively empathetic nature – letting people go makes me feel bad because I imagine that I am hurting them by doing so. However, I think as we get older, the things that are truly important and good for us come into focus. I’ve been spending my energy nurturing relationships that are going nowhere – that drain me more than they fill me up. Friendships should be fulfilling. They should mutually serve each individual. I realized that some of the friendships I’ve been nurturing are not serving me at all. They have a negative effect on my energy and my outlook on life.

My friend Dylan Owen, an artist who I admire greatly, recently tweeted:

He’s right. Moving on is difficult, even impossible. It is a skill which cannot be mastered or perfected. It isn’t easy to forget the past, to forget when a relationship or a project was at its best. You don’t always have to forget to move on. Sometimes you do.

This past weekend was the new moon eclipse. I think I’ve written before about the effect that the moon cycles have on me – but whether you believe in the “woo-woo” or not, I think it’s safe to say that we all experience cycles of emotion that correlate with certain time periods or seasons. I had a few creative breakthroughs during the new moon, as well as a few emotional ones. On the first day of March, out of the blue, I asked myself “why do I care about this thing that only drags me down?” That was a breakthrough for me. I have been carrying the emotional burdens of people and relationships that do not lift me up. I have been worrying about the things that drag me down.

Friendships are one of the few sacred things we have. Friends are there to help take the weight off when life is too heavy for one person. Friends are there to give each other the gifts we cannot give ourselves. Friendship is about working together, growing together, supplementing. Sometimes we go through things that cause us to take more than we can give. Friends are there to help when those things happen. I value trust and loyalty more than anything. I would die for my friends. I place extreme value in friendship and I do not take it for granted.

Because of this, it’s incredibly difficult for me to let go of friendships. The give and take becomes one sided. I blind myself to the constant taking because I am so used to giving. I drain my own creativity- my own happiness- to help my friends. That isn’t friendship. Friendship shouldn’t make you feel emptier. It shouldn’t drag you down. It should lift you up.

I have decided that want to dedicate my energy to the people that take me higher and the things that allow me to bring my positive energy into the world. Rather than focusing on people who drag me down into places where I feel trapped, I want to focus on the people who give me room to be my best self. I want to have the energy to help the people I love when they ask for it. Allowing myself to leave the situations that do not serve me, that do not make me better, is the best gift I can give myself as I move into spring, and out of winter. Not to throw in a floral metaphor, but spring is the season of growth, blossoming, and transformation. I want to be charged enough to do all three.

I want to end this by saying that it’s hard. It’s hard to let go of things that don’t make you feel good when you’re used to them. Change is always difficult. It’s one of the hardest, but most fulfilling experiences we can have as humans. I’m going to embrace it, and I hope you do as well. As I embark on this experience of surrounding myself with the things and people who allow me to be myself, here are some of the things I’m taking with me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

LISTEN

As I mentioned, recently I’ve been listening endlessly to Jess Lively’s podcast, The Lively ShowShe has an absolutely beautiful, practical, and game-changing outlook on the world, and on the way we can either choose to shape our reality or not. Her podcast discusses a wide variety of topics, from love and relationships to careers to spirituality and the varying frameworks we can apply to our understanding of the world around us. The episode I referenced above was her February Q&A and you can listen to all of the episodes on iTunes as well as on her website.

Dear Evan Hansen is my second listening recommendation for you. The music and lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, whose names you might recognize from their recent Oscar win for La La Land. The show centers around Evan Hansen (played by Ben Platt of Pitch Perfect), an awkward kid who gets himself into an interesting situation after lying about his friendship with a student who has recently committed suicide. The musical is about love, friendship, and the power of knowing you aren’t alone. It’s a good-un.

My March Playlist

Lorde – “Green Light”

Little Dragon – “Twice”

The 1975 – “UGH!”

Calvin Harris – “Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos)

Future – “Selfish (feat. Rihanna)”

Barcelona – “Come Back When You Can”

The 1975 – “By Your Side”

Man Overboard – “Love Your Friends, Die Laughing”

As you guys may or may not know, I keep a playlist of all of my songs currently in rotation updated on Spotify.

WORDS

I’m only including one online reading this month, because this one was so powerful it needs to stand alone.

“You May Want To Marry My Husband” for The New York Times by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is a heartbreaking letter from a dying woman to the woman she hopes be with her husband when she’s gone. “He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day.”

Books I Read Last Month

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan. This is a monthly comic series (bound up into two graphic novels) about four paper delivery girls in suburban America. They encounter a monstrous mystery, Stranger Things style, and hilarity ensues. The art style is gorgeous, and done by Cliff Chiang (of the Wonder Woman series), and words are by Brian K. Vaughan (of the Saga series).

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. This was the first book i read in February – and it was AMAZING. This is such a fast-paced, intricate crime thriller, and I completely loved reading it. I also re-watched the film after I finished reading, and it’s such a well-done adaptation. If you like mysteries, and aren’t afraid of a little darkness, you’ll love this. It really paired well with my gloomy mood.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I read this book with my lovely friend, Catherine, who I met through the Bookstagram community! I thought this was a beautiful book, though it was a very simply written story. It centers around a young boy experiencing a hard time at home, who is visited by a magical and magnificent monster. The book is heart-wrenching, and a quick read.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I did a full review of that here, and it was wonderful. It’s a love story and an immigrant story that reminds us about fate and the way in which good things can blossom under unlikely circumstances.

Stephen King’s On WritingIt’s a New York Times best-selling book on the craft of writing, and the book that sparked my most recent top-secret writing project. A must-read for anyone who likes to write.

VIEWINGS

In terms of traditional things, I’ve recently started watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix. It’s definitely a cheesy teen drama, but it’s actually so good. It’s exactly the kind of show I need to unwind at the end of a long day (plus, Paul Wesley is so cute). I’ve also been watching the new episodes of Bates Motel, one of my favorite shows on TV right now.

PEOPLE

Grace Bonney is the founder of the online lifestyle blog Design*Sponge and author of the NYT-bestselling book, In The Company Of Women, about badass women doing badass things. I recently rediscovered Design*Sponge (I used to read it ALL the time) and it has been a great place to go when I need a little visual refresh. I am a highly visual thinker and I thrive in beautiful environments, so I love to look at this site when I need a little aesthetic recharge. Seeing someone’s DIY before and after, or a list of twelve beautiful handmade rugs can totally redirect my creative process.

Jess Lively is the creator of The Lively Show, which I mentioned above. Jess is someone who I can always count on when I need to approach something with a new perspective. I find her podcast to be insanely useful when it comes to tackling creativity blocks or issues that arise in my day to day life. Her ideas always come to me at exactly the right moment, and her podcast is wonderful if you’re in need of a little bit of grounding. She also brings on interesting guests occasionally, if you like to nose around in other people’s routines (I do).

TREATS FOR YOU

This is a beautiful desktop wallpaper by Barbara Ignatiev, via Design*Sponge. I really love to change my desktop wallpaper and phone backgrounds at the beginning of each month. It sounds silly, but it really helps to redirect my mind and start fresh. It’s kind of the same feeling you get when you start a new month in your calendar or planner – just that clean fresh feeling. Like clean sheets.

MARCH MOODBOARD

I’m constantly updating this on Pinterest, but here are some of the images that have been inspiring me this month. Click to enlarge & for sources. I’m feeling the colors blue and green – not sure why. They’re calling me this month.

Still from ATONEMENT

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I’ve been toying with the idea of turning this series into a monthly newsletter. Would that be of interest to anyone?

featured image art by Yelena Bryksenkova

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR BY NICOLA YOON | REVIEW

The Sun is Also A Star is the latest novel by NYT Bestselling Author Nicola Yoon. It is the first of her novels that I’ve read, and it’s one of the most exciting ones I’ve read recently. The story centers on two characters whose lives converge for one interesting day in New York City.

There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you know you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away but it’s inevitable that you will.

The story is similar to Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in many ways. It is an unexpected and vibrant love story about unlikely lovers amid a bustling city. The story centers on Natasha, a young Jamaican American whose undocumented family is being deported. It deals with themes of love, friendship, and fate, and is one of the most sparkling contemporary romances I’ve read in years. The characters are three-dimensional and realistic portrayals of what it’s like to be at a turning point in life at a young age.

I highly recommend this novel, and am looking forward to reading Yoon’s debut, Everything Everything soon. Have you read this novel? I absolutely loved it.

Remember to visit Instagram at @bookblessings to get all of my book-related musings.

10 WREATHS THAT WILL ENHANCE ANY SPACE

I’ve decided that it’s about time for me to start a home decor series. I’ve been super into interior design & decoration lately, and I wanted to share some of the elements I’ve been researching. I have always loved wreaths and I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

Wreaths have a long and interesting history – some of the earliest wreaths were recorded in Ancient Greek and Roman societies. Laurel wreaths were popularized by the myth of Apollo – who essentially got a woman turned into a laurel tree as an escape from his aggressive come-ons. That’s Greek mythology for you. Many wreaths are associated with spiritual beliefs, celebrations, and festivals, and I think they add a beautiful, natural look to any space.

Boxwood Wreath by Smith & Hawken for Target

This wreath is made from preserved boxwood leaves. It’s a gorgeous pop of green that would look beautiful on any wall. This is the wreath that I have in my bedroom!

$17.99 at Target

Fresh Olive & Eucalyptus Wreath by Club Botanic

This is more of a full sized wreath, but I love how it’s made of fresh leaves. It would be a great seasonal piece, or party centerpiece. It’s not the most practical for people on a budget, but it’s a beautiful splurge piece.

$71.00 at Club Botanic

Berry Wreath by AllModern

Berry wreaths add a really nice touch to any festive holiday spread. These would be beautiful for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but would also make beautiful kitchen or hall decor.

$44.99 at AllModern

Fresh Leucadendron & Tallowberry Wreath By Club Botanic

This is another fresh wreath from Club Botanic. This is a beautiful fresh wreath for anyone who loves a little bit of color but still wants to keep things subtle. This would be a beautiful door wreath.

$89.00 at Club Botanic

Pink Peony & Lily Wreath By Pier1 Imports

This is a beautiful wreath for anyone who loves bright florals. It’s classic and natural and would look beautiful in a kitchen or even a bathroom. I love the idea of hanging wreaths near the bathtub, and this one would make a beautiful bath time centerpiece.

$55.95 at Pier1 Imports

Fresh Bay Leaf Wreath By McFadden Farm

I love the way the muted shades of green in this wreath would complement any color scheme. This wreath would look beautiful in a kitchen or on a window, and the wreath is actually edible! You could use the bay leaves in a recipe straight from the wreath.

$28.50 at McFadden Farm

Crackle LED Wreath By West Elm

This is a beautiful branch wreath with LED lights scattered throughout. It’s a very warm wreath and would beautifully accent spaces with dark browns, reds, golds and greens.

$39.00 at West Elm

Fresh Magnolia & Cedar Wreath By West Elm

This freshly made wreath from West Elm is a beautiful woodsy element that would accent any space. It’s a larger wreath so it would best accent open or larger spaces that need a little cozying up.

$79.00 at West Elm

Cotton Wreath By Magnolia Market

This wreath adds a beautiful light element to any room, and is an interesting alternative to a wreath of greenery. It would make a cozy addition to a laundry room or bedroom, and will definitely add texture to the space.

$54.00 at Magnolia Market

Boxwood Leaf Wreath By Ikea

This is a simple, affordable green wreath. It’s similar to the Target boxwood wreath but not as densely packed. It would give an airy and natural feel to any room, and the classic and simple green would match most decor.

$12.99 at Ikea

Have I gotten you aboard the wreath train yet? I’m absolutely loving the way my space looks with a wreath hanging. You could also semi-easily DIY your own wreaths using foam loops and craft store supplies.

JANUARY LINKS & INSPIRATION

Happy new year from little old me!

Against all odds, I’ve been very pleased with the first few weeks of 2017 – I think this new year will be full of surprises and exciting changes for all of us. Our political climate is shifting immensely, and there is a lot of energy moving through the world. It can be really difficult to feel happy when so many horrible things are happening around us, but striking a balance between staying positive and not forgetting about helping other people is really important – and difficult. There are so many things I wish I could change or make disappear, but they’re not things one person can do.

Life moves fast – and if we aren’t paying attention we can get left behind, but I know that I’m going to try to make more time for others this year. That is my one and only resolution for the new year. I want to talk less and hear more. Making things about me doesn’t help anyone – I want to listen to others eagerly and honestly. I think especially with politics being the way they are, listening is really important. There are so many people whose voices are unheard, and rather than always sharing my own, I want to find those voices and really listen to what’s being said.

That said, as usual, I have some awesome bits of the world to bring to you today. Enjoy my January links & inspiration, and please share your favorite things with me. Always looking to expand my horizons. (PS: Did anyone else lose it over the huge puzzle supplement in the Times last month – because I did.)

LISTEN

As you guys may or may not know, I keep a playlist of all of my songs currently in rotation updated on Spotify.

WORDS

My favorite readings from the past month, and a couple things on my to-be-read list.

VIEWINGS

  • One of my favorite movies of all time – Drake Doremus’ Like CrazyThe expertly told story of a complicated young relationship that unexpectedly becomes a long-distance commitment.
  • Lewis Watson’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle On The Hill” English songwriter Lewis Watson takes Ed’s new track in a beautiful unplugged direction. Just beautiful.
  • Fences and La La Land. My two favorite films of Oscar season so far. Both are incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking. Absolutely essential viewing for the film and theater lover.
  • The WikiArt collection of Rene Magritte’s work. I am a huge fan of Magritte – I would say he might just be my favorite artist. His playful paintings conjure up some of my favorite surrealist imagery.

STUFF

PEOPLE

  • mvb on Instagram. Marie von Behrens is a new discovery of mine, but she is a must follow if you’re looking for style inspiration. She has impeccable taste and style and totally masters the “lived in” look.

JANUARY MOODBOARD

I’m constantly updating this on Pinterest, but here are some of the images that have been inspiring me this month. Click to enlarge & for sources.

Enjoy my little roundup of things I’ve been loving this January. Have a great month!

HOW I STAY ORGANIZED

Astrologically speaking, I have an absolutely disastrous combination of signs when it comes to organization. I have signs pointing in all different directions telling me to start projects but not finish them, and procrastinate when I should really be working. Though my inner self is not naturally talented at managing productivity and order, there must be a little Virgo fighting within me because man do I love to get organized. I thought I’d share my planning system with you all, because I’ve finally found something that really works for me.

I use the Erin Condren Vertical Life Planner to plan out my days. I had the horizontal edition last year, which I also loved, but I thought I’d try out the vertical one this year. I’ve also used and loved the Passion Planner, which is great if you have a super scheduled day with lots of meetings.

The main reason why I love this planner is that it’s SO customizable. You can choose everything from the coil color, to the color scheme of the inside pages, to the covers themselves (which snap on and off). I have the “in bloom rose gold metallic” cover with the rose gold coil and I love it. I found this one at Staples, though you can fully customize them when you order online.

Each month starts out with these gorgeous inspirational pages.
I chose to get the grayscale pages since I usually don’t like things to be too bright. You can see how much room you have to write here on the monthly spread. Long live big handwriting!

I have always been a planner-holic, and I think I’ve finally met my perfect match. The planner also has a ton of handy features like a back pocket and laminated tabs. Overall, I love this guy.

As far as my planning process goes, I like to sit down once at the beginning of each month, and once at the beginning of each week. I generally write important dates on both the weekly and monthly spreads, like birthdays, travel, and school dates. When I remember, I like to set goals for my month, but let’s be honest that happens like once every two months.

In terms of my week, I fill in my appointments, work, meetings, and class schedule so that I can see where my free time is. I usually write my homework in my planner, and my general to-do list of errands for the week.

Alongside my planner I actually use a separate journal to keep track of my smaller tasks.

This Daily Journal is from Oh Deer, and it’s essentially an undated book of to-do lists. It comes in a ton of awesome colors/prints and each page has sections for notes, to-do, objectives, projects, and doodles. There’s also a small timetable that runs down the right hand side of the page so you can manage your time directly from the book.

The reason why I use this is because planners can get super crowded especially if you’re managing multiple projects or jobs (class, writing, blogging, YouTube, work, etc). Usually when I sit down to start working for the day, I’ll pull out my planner and the journal and transfer over any big to-dos for the day. Then, I’ll break those down into smaller steps (i.e. write post, take photos, edit post, schedule). This allows me to 1. have the satisfaction of checking things off and 2. make sure I get everything done. I don’t use the journal every day, but since it’s undated I can just pop in and out of it as I need to!

The final component to my whole planning setup is the digital element. I don’t use any apps for productivity but I do use and love Google Calendar. I generally use it to plug in my exact class times & locations, as well as to plan meetings with groups. I like to keep my GCal as my permanent schedule if you will – things that happen at the same time every month or week. It’s nice to be able to check your phone on the go to make sure you’re heading to the right class – you’d be surprised how much I do this.

Let me know if you guys enjoyed this peek into my planning system, and if you’d like more posts like this about productivity and managing time/projects! Stay tuned for next week’s post on my tips for getting and staying productive! I also frequently update this Pinterest board with my favorite stationery picks if you’re an avid pinner.

3 SKINCARE MINIS TO TRY

If you’re like me and love a good mini, you’ll know what a joy it is to find your favorite products in pint-size forms. I’m always picking up minis in the travel aisle of Target, and I thought I’d share a few of my new favorites.

The pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner is a toner you apply to the skin after cleansing and before moisturizer. One of my skincare icons, Caroline Hirons, has done a whole post on this stuff & all of its awesome benefits. If you are looking for an acid based toner that will brighten your skin and help to gently exfoliate, you’ll love this stuff.

The Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water is my go-to makeup remover. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a great dupe for the Bioderma micellar water. I love having the travel size because it lasts for ages and is perfect for an extended vacation or trip. You can also refill the bottle super easily which I love. It removes everything except waterproof mascara and is a gentle, scent-free cleanser for those days when you don’t want to wash your face.

Lastly, the Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial is my favorite moisturizer of all time. It’s a rose-scented cream with a whipped texture and is a super hydrating, brightening nighttime moisturizer. The travel size has lasted me for nearly a year now, and is about half the price of the full size.

Long live the minis!!!!

BEST OF BEAUTY 2016

It’s that time of year again! The round up of 2016’s best beauty products. This year, I threw it all into one compact video for your viewing pleasure.

It was the year of the highlight, contour, and brow. We saw thick, runway inspired brows of a variety of shapes and styles – both natural-looking and drawn on. Nearly every major makeup brand released some sort of highlighting and contouring product – and some of the drugstore brands seriously impressed me this year. I found my new favorite foundation in the L’Oreal Infallible Pro Glow, and even invested in a few higher-end products (truly shocking).

Beauty trends are obviously always evolving, and I generally maintain a pretty similar look each year, but I think 2016 was the year of incredible inexpensive products. My new favorite brushes – from Morphe Cosmetics (generally $25 and under), my new favorite eyeshadows and lip products – from Colourpop, and newcomer Glossier bringing mid-range minimalistic beauty products to the market. 

I’m very pleased with this year in beauty, and am happy to share a couple of new favorites with you! If you’d like to read up on favorites from New Years’ past, read on:

2015 Best In Beauty

2014 Best In Beauty

2013 Best In Beauty

What were your favorite products of the year?

THE LONDON FOG PLAYLIST

The holiday season is almost over, but you bet your bottom dollar I will be milking every last minute of it. I have been making daily vlogs over on my YouTube channel, which have been super Christmassy, but in addition I have been creating playlists like MAD. After spending four months in London last year, I’ve craved the feeling of walking down those foggy city streets, popping into coffee shops, and spending hours walking through the city’s rainy markets.

To take me back, I thought I would make a playlist of my favorite songs that give me yummy London-in-winter vibes.

One of my favorite British singer-songwriters is Lewis Watson. I could seriously just listen to his music on repeat for years – it captures emotion so well, and has that soft, comfortable feeling. Another shoutout goes to Dodie Clark, the woman behind dodie. She makes adorable music – one of my favorite songs of hers is “When,” a live track that captures the melancholy of wanting something you don’t have but feeling like you’re not living your life while you wait for it.

The playlist, of course, includes such staples as Sam Smith’s “Make It To Me” and Ed Sheeran’s “Afire Love.” I’ve also thrown in tracks by The Japanese House, an amazing band my sister turned me on to. They make super ambient music which reminds me of The 1975’s slower tracks. Years & Years, Coldplay, and Alex Turner await you on this, the most British playlist I’ve ever made.

THE BEST THRIFT STORES & COOL SHOPS IN NYC

Thrifting is something I have an intense (and possibly unhealthy) passion for. My mom used to take my sister and I to flea markets, antique stores, and thrift shops all the time in my hometown in Georgia which is where I developed my love for a good bargain, and the whole “one man’s trash” thing started to truly become my way of life. Since moving to New York, I’ve had to do a lot of searching by foot and online to find the best thrift stores the city has to offer. I thought I’d put together a list of my personal favorite places to look, so you can find yourself a gem the next time you’re here. I’ve also included my favorite stores in NYC, generally speaking, in case thrifting isn’t your scene – because NYC is home to some truly unique shops & businesses. I thought I’d take some of the guesswork out of exploration, and give you a handy syllabus of stops to make along your way.

UPPER EAST SIDE

Goodwill on 2nd Avenue between 87th and 88th

  • Super affordable
  • Good for vintage designer finds, and higher end brands (thanks to all of the rich folks who donate clothes in the Upper East Side)
  • Multiple locations around the city

Housing Works on 2nd Avenue and 90th

  • Awesome shop with reasonably priced designer and upscale clothes
  • Good place to find bags, shoes, and homewares
  • Good menswear selection
  • Multiple locations around the city

Flying Tiger on 2nd Avenue and 74th

  • Danish store dealing in affordable home goods, stationery, and trinkets.
  • Ikea’s kooky little sister.
  • Scandinavian & modern designs for a sleek, but quirky home & life.

BROOKLYN

Beacon’s Closet

  • Cool & affordable consignment shop
  • More mid-range brands, less designer finds
  • Multiple locations around the city

KITH

  • Super pricey urban menswear (I believe they have a Manhattan location as well.)
  • Cereal bar in the store
  • Sneakerheads will enjoy.

SOHO

Opening Ceremony SoHo
Opening Ceremony SoHo via @openingceremony

MUJI

  • Japanese store known for simple storage & home goods.
  • Stationery, home goods, and simple clothing.
  • They sell the best pens in the whole world.

Opening Ceremony

  • Showroom of urban, hip, designer ready to wear clothes & accessories.
  • Cool selection of shoes and shades.
  • Expensive but visually stimulating and worth a stroll.

UNION SQUARE

Namaste Bookshp
Namaste Bookshop via @namastebookshop

Strand

  • Best bookstore in NYC.
  • Huge selection of books old & new.
  • Great place to get quirky gifts, stickers, and other baubles.

Ricky’s NYC

  • Best place to find unusual makeup in the city.
  • Great selection of online brands that are hard to find in stores: Morphe, Violet Voss, Sugarpill, BH Cosmetics, Ben Nye, Palladio, NYX, LA Girl, Dose of Colors.
  • They have FX makeup, skincare, haircare, and cosmetic makeup. I can’t get enough of this place. Locations all over the city as well.

Namaste Bookshop

  • Cool new-age bookshop with a variety of genres.
  • Crystals, incense, chimes, tarot cards and other spiritual objects.

KOREATOWN

Koryo Books
Koryo Books via @harpercollinsus

Koryo Books

  • Awesome Korean bookstore with Korean titles, K-pop merch, and stationery.

CHELSEA

MUJI Chelsea
MUJI Chelsea via @mujiusa

Paper Presentation

  • The place to go in NYC if you’re into any sort of crafting at all.
  • Huge selection of paper goods & craft supplies.

MUJI

  • Yes, another MUJI. Just letting you know there’s one in Chelsea, too.

Abracadabra

  • Huge magic & costume shop, with tons of selection and cool trinkets.

STORY

  • An editorial-style shop whose entire space & theme change every 4-8 weeks.
  • They stock their shelves each season with new wares and items based around their new theme. They collaborate with artists and architects to completely reconstruct the space. It’s awesome.
  • Their themes can be super general: love, holidays, etc, or more specific, like their recent 90s Nickelodeon throwback.

Let me know if you guys would be interested in a food + drink guide as well – there is so much incredible food and coffee here.

AN OLIVE BRANCH TO TRUMP SUPPORTERS

Last night, your candidate, Mr. Donald Trump, won the United States presidential election. Regardless of Secretary Clinton winning the popular vote, the electoral votes gave Trump the victory. That’s how this democracy works, and how it has always worked. The losing team has had their qualms about this every four years – claiming that the system is rigged, unfair, not reflective of the people. Maybe it is, but that’s what we’re working with, and according to that system your candidate won fair and square.

I think the reason why I, and the half of America who cast their votes for Clinton are feeling so upset, is we believe a Trump presidency has serious implications on the everyday lives of Americans. I am not the most left-wing Democrat out there, though I am incredibly vocal about my progressive social beliefs. I do see a lot of flaws in the Obamacare system – flaws that put a lot of Americans at a financial disadvantage. I’m one of them. I do see the mistakes Clinton has made throughout her thirty years in politics, and I do see the reasons why government programs do not always work, and that the federal government’s involvement in our lives is not always for the best. But when I look at Donald Trump, I see a manifestation all of the negative experiences I have ever had in this country. I see someone who is careless with their words, using them to hurt others and marginalize huge groups of Americans. I see someone who is okay with using rude, derogatory rhetoric that diminishes sexual assault and disrespects women. I see someone who treats minorities, people of color, and immigrants as concepts, rather than people.

I think many of you would agree that, on the social issues, Trump is out of line. What he says is usually racist, sexist, and elitist. The way he discusses these issues becomes the example for young men and women across the country, and the world. But somehow I think this is where we diverged. I couldn’t get past those things, and you could. I’ve heard from a few of you that you’re not concerned because of how difficult it would be for Trump to actually overturn Roe v. Wade, or to take back gay marriage. I hear you. I would hope those things would be difficult to undo. But the problem for me, is that Trump is spreading the message that those things are wrong. That my ability to take control over my reproductive rights is wrong. That gay marriage is wrong. That a girl in a hijab is dangerous. That stop and frisk is okay. That anyone who doesn’t look white is a threat because of their possible immigrant status, religion, or class.

I am writing this from a place of privilege – my relatively calm response is due in part to the lack of real threat I face as a white woman. I may face cat-calling and gender bias, but I’m not facing hate crimes, deportation, bullying, or the double take on the subway because of how I look. I know that my response is coming out of that privilege.

Where I think we can come together is through a discussion. I do not believe all Trump supporters are evil. I don’t think you all hate gay people and are racist. But it’s hard for me to justify voting for Trump in the same way it is for me to justify a third-party vote in a race that was this close. My friends are terrified, and they have been for a while. My friends in the LGBTQA+ community, my immigrant friends and family, the people of color in my life, the women, are all scared. I believed that a vote for anyone but Clinton was a vote against those people, and I still do.

But I do know that people choose their candidates for very real reasons. Maybe you’re facing financial threats under Obamacare, and for the safety of your family, you had to look out for yourself. Maybe your job is being threatened and Trump’s promise of jobs was what you needed to follow in order to keep your family afloat. Many democrats voted Trump. Many republicans voted Clinton. I had the privilege to vote for Clinton on the social issues and the rest of the Democratic platform, because I wasn’t experiencing a direct threat to my security. Some people don’t have that privilege and they have to look out for their family, and I understand that. But many voters had to make a harder choice between potential financial stability under Trump, and social safety under Clinton.

My olive branch to the half of America who voted for Trump is this: we need to get on the same page on these social issues. We need to discuss our backgrounds, our points of view, our families, our friends. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we need to see each other more clearly. I’m willing to open the dialogue, and I do so from a place of privilege, because I would like to hear what you have to say. The Republican party may have complete government control now, but my hope is that you’ll open your minds to my thoughts, and I’ll do the same for you. I hope that you don’t see Trump’s language as an example. I hope you remain critical of the government, just as I will. I’m mad, and maybe you’re mad about the Democratic response, but fighting fire with fire is not what this country needs. I hope we can come together and make the next president someone who won by a landslide – across class, race, and gender lines, and not just a couple hundred thousand votes.