Friday, August 29, 2014

On My Radar

Another great week for the record books. Actually, my last full week as a 24 year old! Some notable moments: brunch with friends from college, meeting new friends (Buggy!), puppy playdates, catching up with Alex from Persifor and meeting her beautiful new baby girl, lobster rolls with Julia before she moves, interviewing a seriously awesome high school senior, and celebrating Jessica's birthday! Yep, I'd say that's a my-cup-runneth-over kind of week.

Today I'm getting a week-long loaner car from GM and I can't tell you how excited I am to have a set of wheels. The first stop on my list may or may not be Target to shop like a regular person for once. And! I also can't wait to visit Howie and Jana (and Lilly!). Garrett and I just love them. I can't think of a better way to spend Labor Day.

On my radar this week...

ONE // "Why Hello" Print

I saw this print on Pinterest and fell in love. How incredible is that?! I love the oversized frame, but you can get it in smaller versions as well. The "Why Hello" is one of my favorites from the Etsy shop, but there are so many other cute ones. No really, everything is too cute. (Love this one too!)

TWO // The Flying Squirrel

This little girl is cool. You have to watch the video. I was in complete awe of her natural ability on that surfboard (and skateboard). She's only six!!! It's abundantly clear while watching that this is one special girl with an incredible gift. Oh, and she's on Instagram.

THREE // The Brownstone Babe

Okay, so this is a followup from last week's On My Radar. You may recall that I featured Taylor's gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone apartment. Well... I find the before and after photos. Guys. It's unreal what she accomplished. I mean, her apartment is gorgeous... but you have to see how it started. I'm really jealous that Taylor has that kind of vision. Full disclosure: I would have run away as fast as I could. Seeing what she was able to do inspired me to consider doing some tiny upgrades!

FOUR // Burning Man

Have you heard of Burning Man? It's a week-long experience in the middle of the desert. You bring everything you want/need for a week and leave nothing behind. It's high on culture (think: modern day Woodstock), but it's been experiencing some major changes over the past few years. Some of my friends have gone in the past and the pictures always look... different. (Furry boots, skimpy outfits, fairy wings, interesting stuff.) Garrett and I recently watched Spark: A Burning Man Story on Netflix. The documentary doesn't have a totally tied-together story, but it's an interesting watch. It's also interesting to following up the documentary with the recent press Burning Man has been receiving... Like this NY Times article. Times are a-changing!

FIVE // The Office

Can you believe that I've never seen The Office? In high school, my government teacher would let us watch a few episodes after we took the AP exam, but other than that, I was totally in the dark. I think you can totally watch random episodes and find it hilarious, however, watching the entire series really is the way to go. The show is nothing short of genius. The whole time I watch... I can't help but wonder how they get through scenes without cracking up. The blooper reels are just as great as the episodes themselves!!! Anyone else a fan of the show?

What's been on your radar this week? Any fun Labor Day weekend plans?

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Find an Apartment in NYC

So I've lived in NYC for two years, but I've been in the same apartment and resigned my lease. Finding the best apartment for you in the neighborhood you want for the price you can afford can be a challenge! I cried a few times while apartment hunting with my dad because it was just stressful and overwhelming. When people email me about tips for apartment hunting in NYC... I don't have the best answers. I can say what I did personally, but I pretty much followed the lead from my dad and my broker!

I found Suitey through Twitter and I spent a lot of time on there this summer when I was debating on whether or not I was going to move to a new apartment. In a weird turn of events, I ended up meeting with the co-founders and it turns out they were rowers in college. The rowing community is so small and we had too many friends in common to count. (I even raced against one of their boats at nationals one year!)

Although I decided to stay in my apartment (my rent barely went up!), I loved Suitey and the expertise that they provide. I asked them to put together some helpful tips for anyone looking for an apartment in NYC!

Ask the Experts: The 9 Things Every NYC Renter Needs to Know
by Suitey

If you have spent even one day of your life in the market for a New York City apartment, you may have experienced the angsty discomfort that is forever paired with the process. You might have dealt with: A. skeezy agents  B. fake ads  C. frightening apartments or  D. all of the above. There is also a possibility that you were one of the lucky few who had a seamless transition into your new city life. To those few, we envy you. To everyone else, we asked our team here at Suitey to answer the most commonly asked questions in the field. Knowledge is power, people. Soak it up. 

What's the deal with no fee apartments?

It sounds counter-intuitive but many no fee apartments you find online or in a newspaper are actually provided by a broker. This does not mean that brokers are going to work for free. This means that the landlord has a ton of apartments available and as an incentive to rent them, they pay the broker’s fee. You mostly find these “no fee” apartments in new construction luxury buildings. -  Agent Taylor Travaglione

How quickly do apartments get rented? 

By the time you read this sentence, it will be rented :) An apartment that is considered a “good deal” is rented within 2-3 days of being listed on the market - sometimes even sooner during the busy summer months. The most in-demand apartments are those with multiple bedrooms because it is generally less expensive to live with roommates vs living alone. - Agent Jennifer Lee

Why are neighborhoods priced differently? 

Neighborhoods are priced differently due to factors like proximity to highly ranked schools, convenient subway lines, and community life such as parks, restaurants, and nightlife. A neighborhood that has all of those amenities is a hot commodity and the law of supply and demand kicks in to influence price. - Agent Russ Rosenband

Which neighborhoods give me the best bang for my buck? 

The Upper East Side, Clinton/Hells Kitchen, and the Lower East Side have more to offer when it comes to square foot for the dollar. Those three neighborhoods range from $50-$64/Sq Ft, whereas neighborhoods like the West Village demand $75-$80/Sq Ft. - Agent Jen Fierman

Is it cheaper to roommate up? 

Although the allure of that perfect studio/1 BR as a place to call home sounds both cozy and ideal, the harsh reality is that it costs significantly more to live by yourself in Manhattan. Say, for instance, that you are looking for a $1,800 studio. Your options are limited by your budget and you will exclusively be searching on the UES, LES, or Midtown West. When you add your budget with two other people who have similar budgets, you can rent a much higher quality three bedroom in a larger selection of neighborhoods. - Customer Experience Manager Maggie Regan

Why aren't there pictures and accurate addresses online for some rental properties?

Unfortunately the sites you see those listings on are not regulated. They are posting boards - similar to Craiglist - but specific to NY apartment rentals. Because of the competitive market, some brokers use a tactic called “bait-and-switch” to bring in new clients. For example, a broker will post pictures of a $3,000 1 bedroom, when in fact the pictures are from a $4,500 1 bedroom. When you inquire about that amazing deal, they say that one just rented but they would be happy to take you out looking at comparable apartments. Beware of these people.  - Agent Nick Gross

What paperwork do I need to rent an apartment?

While every landlord has different requirements, there are some documents that will be required by all.  Expect a landlord to ask you for a copy of your photo ID, a letter from your employer stating your salary, tax returns, pay stubs and a bank statement.  For new grads just starting a job, an offer letter should do.  If you will be using a guarantor for the apartment, they will also need the same supporting documents (plus an application) to submit the landlord.  - Agent Hugo Monteiro

Why would I work with a broker? 

Brokers have access to many apartments that regular New Yorkers would not otherwise have access to.  Brokers have relationships with landlords that do not post their listings on the traditional real estate websites.  More significantly, working with a broker saves you time.  You can spend several weeks making phone calls, trying to coordinate appointments and pounding the pavement to potentially save on a fee.  A good broker will condense all of that to a 2-3 hour appointment, weeding out all of the places that won’t work for you and including some only accessible through them. - Agent Chris Lee

Is it better to rent or buy? 

The answer to this question depends on your objectives, but we always recommend buying if you plan on living in the area for 5 years or longer. When you buy, you build equity in your own life, and when you rent, you build equity in your landlord's life. Manhattan real estate is a safe place to hold your money, and one of the best markets to gain substantial returns in short amounts of time. - Head of Sales Tyler Whitman

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Ways to Wear White

I've been on both sides of the wearing-white-after-Labor-Day fence. But now? I'm all for it. How could I possibly even consider tucking away one of my favorite articles of clothing for more than half the year? No thank you.

(I actually just ordered a new pair of white jeans because somehow I washed my regular pair... and they came out dirtier when they went in. How does that happen? Communal apartment washers, that's how. Gross.)

White jeans can be super casual or dressed up after Labor Day. During the fall, I think the jeans look great with very layered outfits or looser fitted tops and sweaters (like this one!). For shoes, I'd steer clear of riding boots, but a pair of little booties would be adorable and chic.

How do you plan on styling white after Labor Day?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014


My parents got me a new camera for my birthday. I've had the same Nikon camera (D40) since high school. It was totally the top of the line way back then and was an amazing tool for all the photos I took for yearbook class. I felt so fancy with that thing! It's a great camera and I've absolutely loved using it over the years, but it finally started to feel dated. (Namely, it doesn't take video and my FlipCam finally bit the dust.)

I'm not a photographer (at all), but I've had nice cameras my whole life because I always got the hand-me-downs from my dad. I had this gorgeous Nikon film camera in elementary school and to this day, there's still a layer of glitter everywhere from the one time I took it to the beach and wore sunscreen with a shimmer. I even went to a few photography camps during the summer. However, I think I only went because I had a crush on a boy who was also there and I was obsessed with mixing the chemicals in the dark room. #nerd. I found all the sheets of my negatives on time I was home and cracked up at how awful my "artistic" photos of palm trees were.

My parents got me the Nikon D3200 body (my Nikon lenses all fit!) and I splurged on the 50mm lens! When it came, I couldn't wait to open it and go outside to take photos. I recruited the cutest model I could find, that would be Garrett, and hit the streets to practice.

I'm so so so slow at making adjustments for shutter speed and aperture, but I wanted to get out of the habit of relying on automatic mode as a crutch. Practice makes perfect, right? I felt more confident after just an hour of knowing when to slow down the shutter and when I need to quicken it without taking 30 test shots.

Photography is one thing that I definitely need to work on for my blog. Thank goodness I know incredible photographers in the city who work with bloggers... but I'd love to do more of the shots by myself. (I took these apartment photos with my old camera!) 

So I am not an expert and I find dense photography blogs and books IMPOSSIBLE to understand. I always feel like an idiot when I try to read through these crazy complicated things about changing dials and buttons on the camera. However, I have found a couple of great blogs that break down the basic in plain English. * insert praying hands emoji * 

– Wish Wish Wish breaks down the basics of what everything means. I love she divides the "vocab words" and then describes what it means with examples. OMG "aperture" actually makes sense now!

This little smirk... gets me every time.


"More photos? Really?"

Yesterday, Teddy and I met our friends in the park. Erin (and Leslie!) has a little puppy named Yoshi. She is four and half months old and adorable. Teddy had a crush!

Does anyone have any favorite photography blogs (or blogs with tips and/or inspiration)? I'd love to check them out :)

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Learning How to Say No

If there's one thing that is a constant struggle for me, it's striking a balance between saying yes and no. I don't know if it's that I like to say yes... or hate to say no... probably some kind of combination of the two. Part of me feels guilty about telling someone that I can't do something. Part of me wishes I were– and sometimes thinks I am– superhuman (or at least Hermione with a time turner) and had extra hours in the day. And part of me really just wants people to like me and saying yes feels like an easy solution.

I go through weeks at a time where I'm in a "YES" mode and weeks where I'm better about prioritizing my time and saying no when necessary.

The problem is that there's always guilt involved. I feel guilty for saying that I don't have time to grab coffee with someone. But I know that I could make it work if I woke up an hour earlier and cut Teddy's morning walk in half. I could give up my Saturday and Sunday afternoons to work on an extra project. I could go that event on Thursday, but that would mean going to bed late and feeling groggy Friday morning.

For a long time, I was able to say yes and make it work. The requests were small and I like being able to do something little for people. Now, I feel like it's getting harder and harder to please everyone and I forget to take care of myself and my personal priorities (spending time with Garrett, going on great walks with Teddy, reading every day, writing in the afternoon, eating and sleeping right, etc.).

A friend forwarded me this newsletter from Danielle Laporte recently. While a million things rang true for me, it was this line that really got to me: "For months, my first waking thought was, 'Who am I going to have to say no to and disappoint today?'"
I'm doing my best over here to work with growing companies (and the amazing entrepreneurs behind them) as I can... Supporting friends and their own adventures... Answering emails with questions about college or moving to NYC or what prom dress to wear... doing interviews or mini-consulting sessions and meeting with readers for coffee! But the volume is getting to a tipping point where I've had to say no more often than I'd like. And that guilt weighs heavily on me. "Who am I going to have to say no to and disappoint today?"

Saying no has not gotten easier for me (I hate it, I really do), but I've set up some rules of thumb for myself that has helped me prioritize.

I won't say no just because I'm afraid.
I won't say no if I really do have the time.
I won't say no if I've already committed. 
I won't say no, but I might modify or negotiate the ask.

It's actually that last one that has been most helpful. It works for now and I'm sure there will be a point in the not-so-distant future where it won't anymore... but for now it's golden. I might modify or negotiate the ask. My schedule might not allow me to meet someone for coffee, but I can offer to answer a couple questions over email. I might not be able to host an event, but I can suggest some of my friends who might be interested. I might not know how to help someone, but I can refer them to someone who does. Just because it's not a "yes," does not mean that it has to be a complete "no."

While it may not be a perfect solution, it's something I'm working on daily. This whole saying yes/no thing is something that I wish I had worked on more when I was younger. Even in high school, I remember overcommitting for no reason other than I wanted to please someone. I didn't want to disappoint them. I'm having to rewire some of those thoughts in my brain and, gulp, learning how to graciously say no.

Would love to know your tips and strategies for saying "no." Please share in the comments!!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vintage Seventeen Magazine Covers

I've always had a fascination with vintage magazine covers. I love that they can be timeless in a sense, but very much become a sliver of the era. The fashions, the headlines, the celebrities of the moment. I just can't get enough. (I even have old Vogue prints in my apartment!) With all of the September issues coming out, I always wonder which covers we'll look back and cringe about and which ones will be more iconic and classic.

While deep within the black hole that is Pinterest (duh), I stumbled on a handful of old Seventeen covers. Obsessed. Then I found myself in an even deeper black hole looking at old covers and old scans of articles. It's really funny how some things have (and definitely have not) changed. Seventeen was the first "teen" magazine when it went into publication in 1944.

Anyone else loving the vintage magazine covers?!

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