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Category Archives: Lifestyle
Lately I’ve been speculatively wondering, as hopeful New Yorkers are wont to do: If I were to buy a place, where would I buy it?
West Village? Way too expensive, even for my fantasy life. Union Square? Too many crazy homeless people, though the Greenmarket is right there. Park Slope? Too many babies. Greenpoint? Ugh, the G train, save me.
But Bushwick? Don’t look horrified yet. The thing is, Bushwick is on its way. The artists are there, and if the history of SoHo is any indication, Burberry is only forty years behind. The parties are also there, and apparently, now, a sustainable fitness studio?
Green Fitness Studio, at 323 Varet Street, is the kind of gym where I would love to spend my time watching sustainable guys flex their muscles. It’s got bamboo floors; recycled rubber flooring in the workout area; remanufactured and self-powered gym equipment (a.k.a. no plugs/electricity required); CFL bulbs; heat-mirrored glass for better energy use; towels laundered with eco-friendly detergent; a local, organic, sustainable juice bar; and a living roof and infrared sauna in the works, according to its website. And it’s been there since at least 2010! How is that possible? I probably haven’t heard about it because it’s in Bushwick.
Loving this track right now. It evokes a sort of dancing-on-a-rooftop-club luxury. Don’t mind the big busty girl–I have no control over her.
So when I saw a mention in New York Mag’s Approval Matrix (oh, you wily, un-clickable, old-school matrix) saying a green fitness studio in Bushwick wants a liquor license, I was like, “Hey, these people sound cool.” So I did some Googling, and saw this:
… the venue has already begun renting it roof to promoters, such as Black Market NYC, that possess their own liquor permit.
I looked a little closer and realized, hey, I think I’ve been there! For a party anyway.
Somebody, please check this place out for the actual healthful living part, and tell me how it is. I might soon buy up one of those bombed-out townhomes in Bushwick and make it my own if this trend of Bushwick awesomeness continues.
Hahahahah. No seriously, maybe.
P.S. I brought my good friend C out to Bushwick for a party to celebrate her last Saturday night in NYC, and all she and her friend could talk about was the “Crackcident” episode of “Girls”, and even though one of them wanted to bum a smoke from a guy in front of us, she refused to out of fear that it was actually crack. “There is no crack here,” I told her. To which she replied. “That was based on a TRUE STORY!” This made me realize that my poor mother, who watches “Girls”, probably thinks I might accidentally smoke crack. I would like to point out that there is no crack at these Bushwick parties, OK? Very interesting characters who will back you into a corner talking about who-knows-what? Yes. Weed? Of course. Hipsters? Duh. But crack? No. At least, I really hope not …
I am certainly not the first to fall in love with ABC Carpet & Home. In fact, my own mother has been wandering the several floors of sumptuous rugs and carpets since she lived in New York in the 70s. I myself remember visiting during my first time in New York when I was 12. It was almost as important as my first Broadway show or brunch at the Plaza. I wandered around the giant showroom floor, fingering exotic pillows and getting caught up my mother’s excitement as she gasped and sighed over weighty embroidered fabrics and delicate furniture.
ABC has only improved since then under the direction of Paulette Cole, most notably through its graceful evolution into a conscious retailer and the addition of a restaurant that refines farm-to-table dining into an haute art. In fact, let’s start there, with the delicious part.
Dan Kluger and I at ABC Kitchen in March
If you are fortunate enough to get a reservation at ABC Kitchen (it’s only gotten harder since Obama held his $35,800-a-plate fundraiser there) you will be beguiled as soon as you walk in the door. The color scheme is a sort of shimmering, rustic white evoking a snowy wood. Once you’re seated, flip over the seasonal menu and observe the exhaustive listing of exactly where all your organic, local food comes from, and even where the furnishings, art and place settings come from too–all local artisans. (And then go buy it in the home store.)
I was lucky enough to visit twice. Once, with a large group of family and friends whose opinions were split on the merit of the chocolate bacon dessert, but unequivocally loved everything else. The second time I came in with a friend who is big on the food scene a couple days before Obama’s fundraiser in March. Head chef Dan Kluger, credited with bringing his expertise on local food to the Jean-George masthead, was nice enough to take a seat at our table after he was done in the kitchen for the night. I was starstruck. (It doesn’t take much.)
But you don’t have to settle for just a chef if you’re looking for famous faces. ABC Kitchen also caters to the rich and famous set, including supermodels, artists like Adele and, of course, President Obama. The food, (ah, yes, the food, of course) takes advantage of the nearby Greenmarket. Whatever food is left over you’ll see in compost bins outside the next morning.
Even if you can’t afford a meal at ABC Kitchen, you can set the bar a little lower and dine under the panoply of chandeliers at adjoining Pipa for tapas, or even just get coffee or a quick lunch at Au Bon Pain, the affordable organic franchised cafe nestled into the side and opening straight into the store.
When you’re done enjoying a light salad and sparkling water there, walk straight back into ABC Home. Give yourself at least an hour. The first floor is artfully arranged into vignettes of pretty yet quirky place settings, organic makeup and skin care, scented candles, lots and lots of Buddhas, more chandeliers, fanciful throw pillows, stuffed children’s toys and much, much more. (Wasp nests stuffed with purple crystals anyone? Sounds ridiculous, but somehow I want it.)
It even has a jewelry counter stocked with delicate jewelry fashioned from conflict-free, rough diamonds and reclaimed metals that fit in with the rest of the store aesthetic: out of the ordinary while still tasteful. Prices on this floor range from $15 for a tiny vial necklace to hundreds for pillows and thousands for the diamond jewelry and Asian art. Overall, ABC is very expensive, yes. But you can always find something to suit your budget.
I am personally the proud owner of two handcrafted ottomans, matching throw pillows, a necklace, a ring and fair trade, organic argan oil, all from ABC Home.
Once you head up to the to the upper levels, you’re in the serious business of furniture. People always seem to describe ABC Home along the lines of wandering into a well-traveled aunt’s home. I would say, think younger. How about a young, childless couple who tends to throw chic dinner parties at their huge rustic dining room table where they discuss current policy with great minds, before repairing to the living room over organic cocktails made with local bitters. Fine. Perhaps I am projecting my dream life onto ABC, but visit and tell me if you disagree. I didn’t think so.
And the best part? Every piece of furniture is labeled with its sustainable credentials like cruelty-free, organic, goodwood, local economy and many other feel-good designations.
Other things to know and love: The original carpet and rug store across the street is worth a visit. Or sign up for the email list for events at Deepak Homebase in the back above ABC Kitchen, which hosts conversations with notables like Arianna Huffington and Mark Ruffalo about current events and culture.
If you’re more into worldly than spiritual goods, then you can also make the trek up to ABC’s outlet in the Bronx for some deals (a car may be required). I have not been, but is reviewed nicely on Yelp, if you believe what people say there.
So, ABC. You have delicious food, home goods and even an event forum for sustainable and spiritual discussions. I have only one more request:
Do a hotel next?
There’s really no better way to kick off living in a new apartment than by hiding behind a French mask.
As you might remember, I decided to move out of my precious little studio–because of the crazy-face below–into a two bedroom with a new roommate. Well, the very first weekend after I moved in, our mutual friend J threw a going away party for her friend R, who is moving to Paris. (Apparently, moving to Paris is a thing now.) The only requirement? That you wear a mask.
Gorgeousness and intrigue ensue.
My new roommate E, our friend The Good Hostess and I rang the buzzer on the Williamsburg apartment and donned our masks while we waited. The owner of this beautiful apartment appeared and let us down the entrance hall, through the apartment and to the backyard, where we came upon this scene:
The hosts provided a table full of wine, champagne, St. Germaine, bitters, soda and anything else you would need to concoct something delicious.
Yup, that is champagne in a can. Or “Champs in a can” if you prefer.
The guest of honor greets an old friend.
A, on the right, took the cake for most beautiful dress.
And J shoes took the honors for her shoes. Anything sparkly, really, wins.
As I write this, I’m trying to figure out how to position my laptop so that it doesn’t burn my already tender legs. I’m red from my hairline down my chest, around my bikini line and down the front of my legs. I’m damp all over because this cottage lacks air conditioning, even though I’m in nothing but a bikini. I’m trying to type in between chewing on a strawberry popsicle. Yes, I’m on vacation, and it feels so good.
Living lightly is never far from my mind, but it has weighed especially heavy on me while I’ve been here at Macatawa Bay in Michigan, right off of Lake Michigan. Evidence abounds of global warming. The lake is low this year because of pitiful snowfall this winter, leading to a pitiful snowpack and a pitiful amount of freshwater running down the rivers to the Great Lakes.
Crazy A, who’s hosting me and other friends here, says when she was young jeans and a sweater were standard, even in the summer. Now the sun is high and hot in the washed out sky. It feels like we’re at the Outer Banks, instead of at a latitude of 42 degrees. Yesterday it was exactly 100 degrees, excluding the humidity. That’s only near record highs, but it still doesn’t feel right.
We talk about all this and tsk tsk climate deniers, but it doesn’t stop us or the residents of Macatawa from frolicking on the waters, and I’m not talking about in canoes. On the Fourth of July we took her motor boat to watch fireworks, which is the best way to watch them. You’re on your own boat, away from the crowds, and the fireworks are practically on top of you.
And Thursday the four of us dropped Crazy A’s motorboat in the water and took it to pump $200 worth of fuel inside of it. That boat is thirsty, but $200 seemed like a lot. ”Why is it so expensive?” I asked the typically hot guy who was pumping it for us (All guys who do these summer resort jobs are tan, muscled and so great to look at). “We have to pay a lot in insurance to pump it over the water like this. Spilling it would cause a lot of environmental damage–more than spilling it on the ground. Then they can just scoop out that ground that is effected,” he told me. “But here it’s just in the water.”
So do I feel awesome about using this much gas cruising around in a small boat? No. But seriously, what am I going to do, say no? Yeah, just imagine that: “Sorry guys, I’m going to stay at the cabin since I don’t believe in using gas.” I might as well have just not come. When it’s 100 degrees outside, the best way to stay cool is to get out on the water with a breeze, only a step away from jumping in. And if my friends go, I am going.
We motored the boat slowly out the channel, past Big Red lighthouse (and also past a boat called “Moisture Missile,” seriously? You named your boat that??) and once we were into the waters of Lake Michigan, gunned it, flying over the waters along the coast until we found a spot where no one could see us but the sun, dropped anchor, stripped down to our bikini bottoms and dove into the clear, agate waters.
In between swims, we drank Summer Shandies, a local lemonade flavored beer, and lounged on the deck reading. I tried to position myself strategically, since the front of my body is so burned.
Non-Toxic Sunscreen: Effective or Just Annoying?
Before I left New York, I bought the least toxic sunscreen out there according to Good Guide: Badger Sport. A drawback is that it has the consistency of a soft clay, and leaves my skin white. So my friends have been calling it my “geisha paint” and “hippie clay.” I wouldn’t mind if it was effective–I’m now proud when it comes to protecting my skin. But despite never seeming to come off (it’s still in the crease of my elbow 24 hours after I put it on) I’ve been getting burned.
I might switch back to regular sunscreen today and see if I’m getting burned because I’m using nontoxic sunscreen, or because I’m am a super-white chick who hasn’t been in the sun for a year.
The Dune From Hell
After some time bobbing on the waves, Crazy A kicked the boat into gear again and we sidled up to an almost empty beach. It’s so far from any roads that it is almost only accessible by boat and very in shape people who are crazy enough to walk all the way down the beach. “So only rich people can get here?” I asked. “Well, even poor people have boats here, so no,” Crazy A told me. “Some people don’t even have cars in their driveways, just boats. They just tow their boats to the dock themselves.”
Our plan for this beach was to climb the dune that rises steeply up from the water. Crazy A has been doing this since she was a kid, and said it’s hard, but fun. You gotta get your exercise somehow, right? She threw four Shandies in her backpack cooler to drink at the top and we waded to the beach.
That dune was hot. Painfully hot. Our leisurely climb turned into a series of suicides, as we scampered as fast as we could until our feet couldn’t stand it anymore, then stopped and buried them in the sand to gain some measure of relief. Then, once we had caught our breath, we would scamper again. One friend gave up a third of the way up, and would show us her blisters later. But we kept going. We were going to reach the top, godamnit.
When we finally got there, we collapsed in the shade of a bush and pulled out our lemonade beers to drink. But A.D. had made the mistake of putting sunscreen on her face before leaving the boat. “Ow, ow, ow ow, that really hurts you guys,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “Don’t rub it,” Crazy A told her. “That will make it worse. Why don’t you pour some of the beer on your face to wash it off?” A.D. did so, and cried. “Holy shit! Worst advice ever!” and took off back down the hill to the fresh lake water with huge bounds. We watched her go. “That dune sucked,” I said to Crazy A. “Was it always this hot?”
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51058759" iframe="true" /]
“No way, man,” she said. “I’ve climbed that so many times and it’s never been like that.” We finished our beers and ran back down the dune to the lake to cool off. We climbed on the boat, made sure A.D.’s eyes were now OK, and broke into our stash of snacks from the Holland farmers market: hard goat cheeses, white fish spread on fresh bread, kettle corn, dried fruit, raspberries and cherries. (I’ve also been eating a nut butter for breakfast I got at the market called pepita. It’s got flax, pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds, plus cinnamon and allspice. It’s very sweet and yummy and includes all your omega-3s, but it is three times the price of almond butter.)
Air Conditioning Optional
As guilty as I feel about the fun I’m having on Crazy A’s motorboat, I think I might be evening out my global warming karma by staying in this cottage without air conditioning. Sounds awful, right? Except this hundred-year old cottage is so well shaded by trees and the dune behind it that it never gets over 80 inside. And when you’re at the beach and all you’re wearing is a bikini and a pair of Soffe shorts all day, it doesn’t matter if you get a little sweaty.
Fun With Alternative Energy
Yesterday we WASPed out and decided to go sailing instead. We’ve been joking that there should be a .gif of my reaction when I found out Crazy A has an account at the Macatawa Bay Yacht club. I was holding my purse at her car as everyone walked away empty handed. “How will we pay for our drinks?” I asked. “[Crazy A] has an account at the yacht club,” A.D. said. I dropped my purse in the car, slammed the door, wiped my hands and marched off toward the club. Hello free rum runners!
But drinks would be for later. This time we went straight the boat parking lot (I’m sure there’s a better name for it, but that’s what it is) and Crazy A set about getting a little sailboat ready, rigging it up, tying knots and hooking things up with the mastery of an old hand. Neither A.D., K or I knew how to sail (I went to sailing camp about 16 years ago and that’s it) so Anna basically gave us a lesson.
It was a perfect day for sailing: a light breeze, and not too many motorboats creating wakes since it was a weekday. No, you can’t lounge on a sailboat–unless it’s one of those huge pleasure cruise ones that comes with a crew–but it’s a great kind of fun. When you’re skipping over the water, leaning back to balance the boat with a rope in hand keeping the jib taught, it’s a fabulous feeling. And no gas required.
The first time you spend a summer holiday weekend in the city, you might greet its approach with disappointment and some malaise. After all, it seems like everyone has scattered to their respective beach houses, parents’ homes with backyard pools, and lake houses, while you’re stuck wandering across the concrete and asphalt jungle, fragrant with the kind of smells only 95 degree weather can provide.
But actually, holidays in the city can be an absolute joy. In fact, they are a gift. How? Let me explain:
This time last year, the Fourth of July conveniently created a three-day weekend. But I had no plans to flee. It was then I discovered the awesome fact about summer holidays in New York: Almost anyone with money and good taste has fled, leaving people like us a playground of half empty trendy restaurants, beer gardens with open benches, mini golf courses without lines and cocktail speakeasies that are all too happy to open the door and give you a seat.
So, if you’re staying in town this Fourth, I can’t guarantee it will be super empty. This is only one day off, after all, so not quite as many can get out of town. But if you are in town, I want to share with you a list of great places to go that might be more feasible than on a typical summer Saturday. (And make sure to keep your Labor Day weekend free!)
1. Any Trendy Restaurant That Doesn’t Take Reservations
You know the kind. The food (you’ve heard) is delicious. Not like you would know, since every time someone suggests going there, your group shows up and it’s an hour and a half wait. Places like The Breslin, The Meatball Shop, Frankies 457 and Diner in Brooklyn, and The Spotted Pig are infuriating for just this reason. But on summer holidays, you can show up and snag a seat for you and three friends, no problem–I’ve done it.
2. Novelty Summer Activities
It might have been easy to find a mini golf course in suburbia where you grew up. But not in NYC. That’s why when a half decent one opened–along with beach volleyball–on Pier 25, it became way too popular. Instead of waiting interminably for the group in front of you to move on to the next hole, show up early on a summer holiday and enjoy a measure of lazy solitude.
3. The Best Parks
While you’re at it, rent, borrow or bring out your own bike and take it all the places that are usually too crowded to enjoy. Central Park is a good place to start. Or try the bike path by the West Side Highway, ending with a cold beer at The Frying Pan on the water. If you want to get away from the air pollution and cars altogether, take the ferry out to Governors Island and take the bike path around the island, stopping for ice cream or a nap in a hammock. Or snag a deck chair on the High Line across from the water feature, where you can dip your toes when you get too hot and finish with a beer at either The Standard or the High Line’s own beer garden.
4. Rooftop Bars
During the summer everyone wants to get off the frying pan pavement and up high, where you can enjoy a breeze, a view and a fancy cocktail. Make it happen during a summer holiday. I’m partial to The Standard’s roof with its Astroturf and crepe shack, but the list of good rooftop bars is endless, like The Press Lounge at Ink 48 on the West Side, 230 Fifth, Top of the Strand, and The Delancey, just to get you started.
How many times have you shown up at a music festival, equipped with suitable-for-mud shoes, your special outfit (neon for elecronic music, hippie stuff for Coachella et al.) and your reusable water bottle, only to have the security peeps make you pour it out at the entrance.
“Where can I refill it?” you might have asked, worrying about both the planet and your thin wallet. Usually the answer is vague. Like, a couple weekends ago at the polo match, when I was told “There are water fountains, but they’re kind of hard to find … ”
Of course! Why would they provide free water for hoards of people who not only are jumping up and down in the hot sunshine, but probably drinking and eating all sorts of dehydrating substances? Then they might not be able to charge $4, $5, even $7 per precious water bottle!
Not so at the Governor’s Ball Music Festival this weekend. CamelBak will have two giant water stations (that look a lot like beer tents), each with eight spigots gushing delicious NYC water. Check out these figures:
2.52 million: The number of water bottles CamelBak estimates it will save from being purchased and thrown away this weekend.
$32-$56: A rough estimate of how much you would spend if you purchased all the water you needed to stay hydrated during the festival. (That’s eight water bottles I’m estimating you’ll drink over two days.)
$15: The projected cost of a CamelBak Eddy water bottle, which will be for sale this weekend. An embroidered backpack will also be for sale. Obviously, CamelBak knows their target market, because CamelBacks are genius for music festivals.
FREE: The cost of the CamelBak Eddy water bottle I’m giving away to one lucky reader! Just comment below with the first awesome place or event you’ll bring your new CamelBak water bottle. I’ll choose a winner Wednesday at 7pm. Make sure to put in your real email address in the email field when you comment, or else I’ll have no way to contact you!
About a year ago, the last of my friends without a smart phone finally gave in. He had been so proud (or obstinate, rather) about his flip phone. When we met up for a catch up drink, I didn’t even notice him pull out his iPhone until he asked, “Notice anything?” while waving it in front of my face.
Of course, I congratulated him joining the rest of us in 21st century New York.
The truth is, I couldn’t imagine navigating life in NYC without my smart phone. From the time I started searching for apartments, I had a Blackberry to help me travel from one tiny apartment to the next without a map.
Now I use my iPhone all day long: in the morning to meditate, check the weather, and even check my email before I get out of bed. (Yes, I’m a person who does that.) I catch up on the rest of the mail that has come in between 7 and 9am while I wait for my smoothie at Liquiteria. Then I place it by my desk where it will alert me with a lit screen if I have text messages from friends or dates.
But it’s on the weekends that I really need it. What’s the quickest way to get to my friend’s apartment situated in that “up-and-coming” neighborhood in Brooklyn? Is the train actually running? OK, it’s not, which one should I take instead? “Ah I’m running late, srry! 15 mins!” What’s the best route by bike to the South Street Seaport? Where’s a good bar nearby? Where should I stand on the subway platform for quickest exit? Which seafood on this menu is sustainable? I’m standing at the farmers market and need a recipe for squash blossoms, help, Epicurious! Just spent $15 at the farmers market, need to note it down for my budget. Me and J. are together at this amazing brunch spot, here’s a pic of our breakfast cocktails. Jealous much?
Obviously, it’s a useful thing to have. But even when I don’t need it, I’m still pulling it out of my pocket, like a worry stone with an LCD screen. An extra minute without something to pull my attention means it’s time to check my mail and stare jealously at A.’s beautiful Instagram pics.
So imagine my horror when I landed at London Heathrow last Saturday and my iPhone’s top left corner only said “Searching…” No! Please, let it work. I need to Instagram the Eiffel Tower! I want to check in at French restaurants and have a map of the metro at my fingertips! But some quick research on my laptop at Heathrow revealed I was SOL.
I, however, am an optimist who loves to read O Magazine articles on how to connect with one’s inner life. I could do this. I could live for a week in a foreign city–in which I wasn’t totally sure I could still have a conversation or even string together sentences–take the metro, meet up at appointed times and just generally function on a basic level. I just needed a flip phone with basic calling and texting functions, and my brain (I hoped) would handle the rest.
Here’s what I discovered:
I interacted with France. As I stood on the platform Monday morning for my first solo trip, and I had nothing to occupy me. I glanced around, and accidentally caught the eye of a French guy across the platform. He smiled at me, and I looked shyly away. When I boarded the train, I looked out the window for lack of anything else to do, and I saw him again. He waved goodbye as the train left the station.
“I forgot that French men hit on you all the time,” I told D. when I met up with her for lunch, telling her what happened. “That hasn’t happened to me!” she said. My guess is that her having her nose always in a Kindle or iPhone makes her unapproachable. Perhaps I should do that same in NYC?
I exercised my brain. D. equipped me with Paris Pratique, which lists every rue in Paris in an index, with a corresponding square in a grid on a neighborhood map. Each time I wanted to get somewhere, I would look up the street, turn to the page, search the square for the street, and then find the nearest metro stations in order to plan my route.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but I quickly grew to love this little brain teaser. Sometimes I chose a longer route than I could have. But doing it this way felt so satisfying. Of course, you could brand me as a tourist as soon as I pulled the little book of maps out of my pocket, but c’est la vie.
Don’t ask me why these books are hanging from this tree by Saint Germain. I couldn’t tell you.
I got lost (but that’s OK). This requires a back story: D. and I were at a lovely little wine bar one night when we met a pair of Danish guys. (Not “Denmarkian,” as I accidentally called them. Oof.) They were in the exact same situation as us, with one living and working in Paris, and the other visiting for the week. Adam and Adam were their names. So Adam #1–as I would come to call him—and I made plans to hang out together the next day while both our friends worked.
When we met up the next day, he was all for just wandering around, getting lost. But it was drizzling on and off, and I had my sights set on the Pompidou. Using my little map, I led us confidently toward the famous modern art museum.
“Are you sure this is the right way?” Adam asked once, looking at his phone. I consulted my map. “Yup! We’re headed right down this big street,” I told him. We continued to walk, talking and folding away our umbrellas as the weather cleared. Twenty minutes later, I looked again and realized we had been heading in the exact opposite direction. “Crap!” I cried. “I totally messed up!” Adam smiled an innocent smile. “You knew the whole time, didn’t you,” I said. He just smiled some more. “Jerk!” I smacked him with my Paris Practique, but I was laughing.
We never did make it to the Pompidou, and yet I still really enjoyed our walk. I managed to lead us in the wrong direction a couple more times, but we eventually made it to the Grand Palais for an exhibition. My sense of direction is crap, but there are worse things than getting lost in Paris.
This woman’s expressions is just so French, isn’t it?
I stopped showing off. There were so many times when I had an itch to pull out my iPhone and Instagram some famous monument or Parisian thing and post it to all my social networks. I wanted to check in to every Parisian café and restaurant and museum. “I’M IN PARIS! I wanted to trumpet to every person I know. Eventually I stopped caring and just enjoyed where we were, concentrating on the food and the art and the tulips in the tuilieries.
I rediscovered pens, paper and planning. Before I could go anywhere, I had to write down the name of the street and address, phone numbers, restaurants, directions and everything else I could have looked up on the fly if I had an iPhone. I had slips of paper stuffed into my purse at all times, and what a delicious feeling that was! Making everything digital is so tidy and clean, but a piece of paper covered with evidence of where you went and where you want to go is lovely, tactile and romantic.
Lovely, tactile and romantic … sounds like Paris to me.
I’m back to life with an iPhone now that I’m back in New York, but at least I now know I can survive without it. I just might get a little lost …
You are about to be jealous in t-minus 3…2…1….
I’m in London!!
Yup! I hopped a flight (carbon offset at a price of $22.66, naturally) to the old continent to visit my dear friend D. in Paris–of the going away party and recycled champagne glasses—and I’m on layover in the land of bad food, class divide, mean tabloids and royalty obsession.
The first thing I saw disembarking my flight? A hunky British dude making direct eye contact. I think I like it here.
D. is living the dream in Paris. On the one hand, I don’t like that my best friend is thousand of miles away. On the other hand, now I have an excuse to go to mother f’n Paris! (She keeps trying to get me to move there, but how could I leave NYC behind?
After we tear it up in the city of lights for a week, we’ll be back in London for a weekend. I’ve spent a whole summer in Paris before, but as the Audrey Hepburn character Sabrina said, “Paris is always a good idea.” But I’ve never been to London. “We must go,” I emailed D. emphatically. “It’s a huge hole in my experience that needs filling.”
So please, if you have recommendations, comment below or tweet them my way! I’ve already gotten a short list of museums, plus un-missable street food and competing recos for the best place to get high tea. (National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, Bosphorus Kebabs, The Ritz or Dukes Hotel, respectively).
Also, what does a modern green girl pack for her adventure in world travel? It’s all revealed:
From top left: iPhone charger, compact faux crocodile wallet, John Masters Organics lip balm, Korres non-toxic lipstick in coral, Sigg water bottle (empty for security), apartment keys (stripped of superfluities), laptop charger, Clean Hippie blog business cards and card holder, ChicoBag reusable bag, birth control, handkerchiefs from the Brooklyn Flea (2), pen, sleep mask, iPhone in Anicase endangered species cover, headphones, passport (!), flight reservation, sunglasses gotten for free from advertising partner at work with logo rubbed off with soy nail polish remover (couldn’t find my Kayu sunglasses—darn!). Not pictured: Zebra striped travel pillow made with post-consumer recycled content, laptop, magazines (coming up).
What to Wear for an Overnight Flight
Clearly, the goal is to get as close as to pajamas as possible without looking like a typical American ass. I chose my Degree Six top in soft organic cotton, organic Deborah Lindquist leggings, and a stack of Green Sewn vintage sari bracelets. You can’t see them, but on my feet are fuzzy socks—a Christmas present from my dear sister.
Mags Go Green for Earth Day
I have been busy unsubscribing from catalogues left and right, but I just can’t give up on my print editions of magazines. After all, they don’t put everything on line. And many magazines I get through my work. Piles of magazines have been eating my apartment like kudzu, but flights are a fabulous time to catch up.
Check out this bundle that has probably given me permanent back problems from hauling them to work and then through the subway system to the airport. (No black car for this lady.)
I absolutely loved diving into the April editions, since magazines from inStyle to Self are doing their darndest to pay lip service to Earth day with lots and lots of toxin-free and eco-friendly products—some old friends, some new to me. I also love that InStyle is educating consumers about one of my favorite websites, Skin Deep.
On my to try list: aluminum-free Weleda citrus deodorant, Yes to Tomatoes acne spot stick, USDA-certified organic essential oils by Tsi-La, Mali Organics Koke’e organics sugar body polish, DairyFace Eye Caramba Nourishing Facial Refresher, Butter London non-toxic nail polish, Dairy Kai vegetable base skylight candle, Bracketron’s Mushroom Green Zero wall charger, (all rated high by inStyle) and NY-based Anjolie Ayurveda moisturizers and soaps (thanks Oprah mag!). I even found some goodies in the ads: non-toxic Zoya nail polish and EOS lip balm (the ones you’ve no doubt seen in those little egg-shaped containers).
Of course, when I say “To try,” I do’t mean “Run out and immediately buy everything.” I just mean it’s on my radar if I happen to find myself in need of body polish. Truly being green means being judicious about purchases, yo.
Stay tuned for lots of lovely pictures! I have my big fancy Canon D7, my little canon for nights out and of course Instagram on my iPhone. Meanwhile, enjoy one of my favorite songs about Paris. (Hopefully we will make it to club Showcase! I had to cull my going out options down from three sequined dresses to one.)
Gotta run! My gate just got posted for Pearee.
In fact, it had been a long weekend. A long week. A loooong month. I felt emotionally and physically … drained isn’t the right word. Because I didn’t feel empty. It was like my brain was a muddy puddle where all the silt has been kicked up, and my thoughts were swirling slowly around my brain. Ew.
I was thinking this as I lay in bed at two in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day, but I had missed 60% of it after a big night out. I decided I need a mind cleanse. So I dragged myself out of bed and formulated a plan for how I would feel better by the time I went to bed. Here’s what I did:
8 oz Organic Juice Drink
I know this is in the physical cleanse area, but it helps get you in the right frame of mind. My favorite place to get juice drinks is Liquiteria. After pulling on some yoga pants and a top in order to look somewhat productive, I walked the seven blocks south to 11th Street and 2nd Ave to get a bottle of “the killer x,” with apple, lemon, ginger and immunity booster.
42 Minutes Rooftop meditation
You could do this in the park, but I prefer my roof because it’s the closest thing I have to a backyard in that it’s quiet and private-ish. I can only imagine what Sheep’s Meadow looked and sounded like on a nice day like Sunday. Probably like a music festival.
I took up the ladder outside my apartment door to my humble little blacktop roof. I laid a big, fluffy towel out on the side that looks over the pretty gardens in the back (which, unfortunately I don’t have access to or else I would be down there), and laid on my back for a while, just looking at the blue sky above me. An unseen windchime tinged on someone’s fire escape, and birds chirped in the trees in the garden. In other words: bliss.
Then I assumed a prone position on my stomach much like Wile E. Coyote after he falls off a cliff and splats on the ground. I know you’re supposed to sit up, but that just wasn’t happening and I wanted to be gentle on myself.
I used MyMeditation Lite. This is a simple little app that will guide you through breathing exercises and then will ping you into the main meditation for three, 12 or 30 minutes. I set it to the longest setting of 12 minutes of breathing plus 30 minutes of meditation. I meditated casually. My thoughts wandered often. I would let them for a bit, and then gently shoo them away and empty my head again. When my phone chimed, I already felt a little better.
In a separate bowl mix:
1 Clean Apartment
Really, nothing refreshes like a neat and tidy apartment. I just can’t feel on top of my game when there’s crap scattered everywhere. So I did my dishes, stacked all my unread magazines and recycled the rest, swept the floor and hung up my clothing. I threw open a window to let fresh air in, and just for good measure turned on my ionizer.
Then I chose one space to reorganize–my jewelry box. It’s small and simple, but it’s such a nice feeling to see everything neatly lined up. You could do this with your denim drawer or desk drawer or bookshelf. Anything that makes you feel like you’ve tidied a corner of your life.
Something Simple for Dinner
Grab a simple vegetable, drizzle it in olive oil and shove it in the oven to roast. The act of cubing the vegetable, the simple seasonings and the fresh taste cleansed my palate of any vestiges of last night’s alcohol and set my mind at ease.
1-2 Pieces Edifying Piece of Writing
This could be almost anything: an issue of The Atlantic or The New Yorker, some non-fiction about new discoveries in psychology, modern buddhist writing, or even just a celebrated piece of literature from from the past few years. I chose Poser, by Claire Dederer, for my reading.
Saltwater has wonderful properties, or so I hear. Feng Shui consultants use it to cleanse themselves before doing an apartment energy cleanse, it’s recommended as a remedy for all sorts of maladies, and it just feels nice.
You can order delicious-smelling organic infused salts off of Etsy, but I still have salt left over from my trip to Iceland, so I liberally poured that into a warm bath and soaked, reading my book and drinking a cup of green tea.
1 Call to a Family Member
I owed my grandmother a call, so I rang her up and we discussed the nice, clean, happy things grandmothers and granddaughters discuss: my career, where I had gone out to dinner, the weather in New York versus Arizona, etc. There’s nothing like discussing what you’re making for dinner and singing a round of “You Are My Sunshine,” to feel happy and productive.
Combine and bake for at least 8 hours in:
A Nice Deep Sleep
Whew, that’s a lot of mind cleanse. By the time I was done with all these mind-health activities, it was time for bed. So I climbed into bed, feeling clarified and (almost) looking forward to Monday morning.