Friday, September 12, 2014

5 Things to Look Forward To

The weekend is drawing nigh, so I'm feeling a little optimistic, but hey maybe you're not. Sometimes it helps to think about all of the wonderful things in life that are coming your way. If you're struggling with that today, let me help!

1. Gilmore Girls is coming to Netflix!

You might as well put in your letter of resignation now because you're not going to have time or need for petty things like work once October rolls around. No way. You're going to be way too busy devouring EVERY SINGLE EPISODE OF GILMORE GIRLS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN NETFLIX ACCOUNT.

Man, this show, guys. It is so smart, so funny, so good, so full of cultural references and wisdom. I, like you, have every single season on DVD, but season 3 has some major scratches on it and seriously, who needs the pain of removing a DVD when you're binge-watching the greatest piece of television in history? Mark your calendars, folks. October 1st: the day Netflix will explode.

Also, #TeamJess, just saying.

2. Autumn Leaves

It may not be time to take a stroll through Central Park with your pumpkin spice whatever just yet, but it will be very soon. The leaves are still a wilted green from where I sit, but when they finally change, don't be too jaded to enjoy them. They are magic.

3. The iPhone 6 comes out or whatever

I'm not overwhelmingly excited about this, but I know it's important, and maybe it's important to you, so there you go. September 19th, getcha some new tech, SON!

4. Cat Video Festival

This is FAR more important than that last thing I mentioned. On October 5th, the Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO will be hosting the The First (and Probably Last!) Annual New York Feline Film & Video Festival for Humans! I mean, are you kidding? How are we just now organizing a festival around feline features (alliteration!)? It seems like this should have been happening biweekly ever since Grumpy Cat rose to prominence.

For non-New York dwellers, this festival is going down in other places as well (Houston, Austin, Boston to name a few), and they are also taking submissions! Your cat could be famous!

5. Get Back Up

amazing design by Tim Bauer

Oh my, would you look at that! You're not going to have too wait too long for this one, because folks, this is happening TONIGHT! If you're in or near New York, come check out this artist showcase put on to celebrate the new fall season and raise money for City Harvest. There's going to be music & storytelling as well as beer & happiness. I'm going to be telling a story, so if you've ever wondered if I'm a real person and not just a blogger robot, tonight's your chance to find out (spoiler alert: I'm a robot, but I am capable of love)!

417 W 57th Street - 8:00 PM - $10 suggested donation (again, all proceeds go to City Harvest). If you aren't blessed to be in the greatest city in the world, share this event with someone who is. Check out the event page for more details!

So these are the things I'm looking forward to. How about you?

Monday, September 8, 2014

So long, summer. You've been crazy.

That time I went to Governor's Island

Though I have been trying to deny it for a while, I guess it's time to call it. Summer is over, guys, and I for one am pretty bummed about it. Like, what the hell, summer? Why you gotta fly by like that? 

Summer has long been my favorite season by a landslide. It's got everything -- vitamin D, corn on the cob, sun-in, shrimp boils, peeling layers of skin, campfire smells, outdoor concerts, road trips, optimism, citrus. It's truly the best...or at least it WAS the best because, like I said, it's over now. Grab yourself a premature pumpkin spice latte and some fleece-lined leggings because things are about to get a bit nippy up in here.

I honestly don't know what to do with myself now that summer is no longer, so I'm just going to do what I always do in situations like these: reminisce. Below are a ton of pictures that you never asked to see but which feature defining moments from my past summer. Let's do this.

That time my hubs and I were served a heaping helping of paella at Barraca in the West Village, and Daniel made this delighted face about it...

That time I ran my first half marathon and all I got was a free bagel, a medal, and I guess my dignity...

That time I went to Alt Summit and made a bunch of bloggy fraaaaands...

That time Daniel regressed to an eight-year-old boy at Rockaway Beach...

That time OSNY threw a big ole block party for the good people of Rego Park in Queens...

That time I realized I was just as enchanted by Coney Island as this cutie on the Q Train...

That day where everything was just the living worst...

That time we saw Nickel Creek perform a free concert in our backyard at Celebrate Brooklyn...

That time I bought these sunglasses and pretty much never took them off the rest of the summer because, like, why would I...

That time this freak of nature appeared to me at a thrift store in Ohio...

That time these two freaks of nature celebrated their nuptials in Ohio...

That time this lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound was the most heavenly thing I had ever tasted...

That time key lime pie won the day...

That time he couldn't keep his eyes off of me, or I couldn't keep myself off of his eyes, whatever...

That time I discovered my favorite window in New York City at La Maison du Croque Monsieur, and I decided to make it my summer office... 

That time my cat, Frasier, couldn't have possibly looked more like Jabba the Hut if he tried...

That time I realized this glorious oasis in Prospect Park was a hop, skip, a jump from my apartment...

That time I attended a gorgeous creative meetup hosted by Gilit of The Bannerie, Denise of Little Market Kitchen, and Alicia of Liebeshouse, and it was even more beautiful than you could possibly imagine...

Pictured here: the lovely Cyndie and Alicia (photo courtesy of Cyndie. Thanks, girl!)

That time we escaped...

That time hot, spicy ramen became the food of my summer for some reason, and I ate it so many times I lost count...

That time I went on an artist date to the MoMA and I was moved by this painting...

That time this pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds became the answer to so many of my life's questions...

That time this unicorn, bless his heart, was trapped in a painting at The Cloisters...

 That time we realized that a view this peaceful actually exists in Manhattan...

 The time I celebrated my friend Clint's birthday with this DIY card featuring Christina Aguilera from her Dirrty days...

That time I traveled to Texas to take this not at all awkward selfie with my family...

That time these women warmed my heart at an impromptu coffee date at Austin Java...

That time Brooklyn street art seriously got it right...

Summer lovin', had me a blast. Summer lovin...happened so fast...

How about you? Was this a summer for the books, or are you kind of ready for it to be over?

Friday, August 22, 2014

My New Obsessions: Cabins & Unplugging

It's possible that I have a new addiction, one for which I have no intention of ever seeking recovery. My name is Christy, and I'm addicted to cabins. Small, quaint, beautiful cabins tucked away in unassuming villages in the mountains. 

You may remember that a few months back, Daniel and I went on a spur of the moment trip to a cottage in a town called Accord in upstate New York. Last week, we got that same familiar itch to escape for a bit, so we packed up only the essentials and drove to Camp Tremper, a quiet oasis that I had discovered on AirBnb just one day before. That's her up there with the red door. Ain't she a beaut?

Our reasons for this trip were many, but let's get to those in a bit. First take a look at our digs (apologies for the grainy picture quality):

Crates used as side tables, shelves equipped with camping essentials, a simple decorative rug, and that was basically it. I loved the sparse nature of this cabin, providing only what was needed. Minimalism is a design element that I rarely incorporate into my own home decor. My design aesthetic usually involves shelves stacked high with too many books, walls covered in trinkets from too many trips to flea markets, cat pictures, dinosaurs, unplayed guitars, paintings I started and never finished, and awkward furniture to bump my knees on.

That's the usual chaos I welcome into my home, so this empty cabin kind of felt like being pulled from the rubble of a hoarder nightmare. It was simple and splendid, as was this sweet spot where we ate breakfast every day:

We woke up naturally each morning, no alarms or roosters or anything to rouse us. I would be up first to make some coffee in a french press (a thing I don't do at home, but I really want to start) and plate some pastries that we had gotten at a local bakery the day before. When Daniel woke up, I beamed with pride as I told him that breakfast was waiting for him on the porch, as though I had slaved away refining the flour and churning the butter to make these store-bought pastries possible. 

After breakfast, we would set about either relaxing or pursuing creative endeavors. Daniel made zucchini pizzas. I wrote a story about a man who finds himself in a far away galaxy on a planet in which nearly every convention of earth is replicated except that there are giant caterpillars living on top of mountains. 

And then after all of that, we would explore.

We went to a nearby town called "Woodstock", famous for some something that happened in the 1960s. Something to do with music, peace & love, or whatever. Who even knows anymore.

At the end of each day, we would come home to our little nature haven, cook a simple dinner, drink a great deal of wine, and play a game. The first night it was Trivial Pursuit, a version from 1980 that our AirBnb hosts had provided. We knew almost none of the answers, and it was hilarious. The next night we tried to invent a game called "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" but all we could come up with was the title. Again, we'd had some wine.

So why did we take this trip? Why did we feel compelled to leave New York City suddenly, smack dab in the middle of the week, to drink wine and play Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves? Well, for one thing, we did it because we could do it. Daniel has been on summer break, and of course, freelance life is always pretty flexible on my end. A last-minute trip to a cabin in the mountains seemed totally doable for us. But the main reason for this trip, at least for me, was a bit more personal, a bit more intentional than just wanting to take a fun vacation.

Here's the deal: lately I have just been feeling a bit anxious. It's a specific kind of anxiety, though, one that is all tied up with life in the digital world. My laptop, my phone, Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, even blogging -- it's all been making me kind of sick. I'm feeling way too plugged in, too connected, too notified. 

While I know that cyber sickness is not uncommon, this has just been a surprisingly difficult season of it. Instead of being amused by my Twitter feed or my notifications, I've been finding myself rather alarmed by them. It's not just that there is bad news out there right now (though seriously, these past two weeks have been a shit storm of horrific news). It's more that I've just felt this unnerving pressure associated with all of it. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the fact that I've been writing weekly culture pieces, and to prep, I scour Twitter for content to write about. I feel like a zombie in an obsessive search for one human brain in a sea of the undead. Twitter is a really weird place guys. 

Whatever the case, last week I just got really fed up with the Internet and my life's connection to it. We went to the mountains, I shut off my phone, and you know what, I could breathe again.

My mind is still pretty unprocessed about this whole thing. These days, I seem to only be able to think in caveman-like grunts: Social media BAD, mountains GOOD, phone NECESSARY, computer ALSO NECESSARY. While exploring mountain life with my hubs was an awesome refresher, it wasn't a totally realistic picture of my actual life. For me, in my line of work, in doing this thing that I am so very lucky to be able to do, having an online presence is just an inevitability. I need to strike a healthy balance.

Perhaps if you are reading this, you might be thinking that this is all kind of silly. I mean, who cares, right? Shut off your computer when it's making you stressed, and stop worrying so much, geez. 

And I wish it could be that simple, and maybe it is, but I am just not there yet. That's why, at the very least, I'm thankful for AirBnb, mountains, and Camp Tremper.

Do you ever get social media sickness? How do you handle it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

3 Years Ago Today

Three years ago today, at this very hour, I was shaking a maraca.

I had just gotten married to a man with the jawline of a Disney prince, and this man had made promises in front of all of our family and friends to love me and honor me for the rest of our lives. If ever there is an occasion in life to shake a maraca, I think that's probably it.

Three years ago today, at this exact hour, the people I loved most were dancing their faces off.

They really were. Like, their faces were actually potentially melting off. The room was a sweaty, beautiful mess of some of the most incredible human beings I've ever known just getting cray. It was seriously what I imagine Heaven will be like.

Three years ago today, at this exact hour, I was beyond thankful. Beyond humbled. I danced alongside amazing people: those who had mentored me and my new husband, those who had prayed for us, cried with us, laughed so hard it hurt with us, people who had been there the very day we met, people who had known us from birth. I felt positively wealthy with the love poured out from these individuals. Filthy stinking rich, actually. 

Three years ago today, at this exact hour, my new husband and I had no idea what the rest of our lives would bring. 

We didn't know that we would spend the next few months working a total of seven part-time jobs between the two of us. 
We didn't know that within the year, we would leave our sweet, comfortable life in Austin for the adventure of a lifetime in New York City. 
We didn't know that we would spend the first four months of that adventure living with three cats that weren't ours in a Brooklyn sublet apartment. 
We didn't know that finding our own apartment in Brooklyn would be an agonizing hellride. 
We didn't know that our favorite restaurant would be a pan asian place on Cortelyou Road called Purple Yam. 
We didn't know that our careers would be turned upside down and rightside up more times than we could count. 
We didn't know that we would join a wonderful church, let alone that we would help in planting one in Midtown, Manhattan. 
We didn't know that we would meet people so beautiful, patient, kind, hilarious, and wise -- people whose friendship would change the way we see the world. 
We didn't even know that we would adopt a cat named Frasier...and that he would be awesome (I mean, we figured as much, but we didn't know).

Three years ago today, at this exact hour, we were just a clueless husband and wife team dancing, laughing, singing hit songs from the summer of 2011 while shaking maracas.

Just look at these idiots.

Three years later, at this exact hour, we are sitting in our Brooklyn apartment after a day of exploring the city we love. Our cat, Frasier, is nowhere to be seen. He's probably hiding in a closet somewhere being awesome as per usual. 

A lot about our lives has changed since that night three years ago. Different city, new friends, new jobs, new dreams. But one thing remains: we are still utterly clueless. We have little idea what the next few years will bring, and we think that's completely fine, honestly. What we have is each other, what we have is a community of people who love us, and hey, we still have those maracas, so I think we're good.

Now, if you don't mind, I'll take a quick moment to address that husband of mine:

Husband of mine, Happy Anniversary. As a fierce lover of books and movies, you know that many stories seem to end with a wedding, and I think that's honestly a damn shame. For us, our story was put into hyperdrive the minute we said "I do," and since then, that story just keeps building and getting way more interesting. In these three years, the two of us have done the weirdest, most wonderful things that I ever could have dreamed possible. There is no one else on this earth with whom I would want to share such a story. 

Daniel, you are nice and hilarious and warm and loving and so very brave. Thank you for asking me to marry you. 

And thanks to EVERYONE, every last one of you, who has supported and loved us along the way. On a day that celebrates our relationship, all we can really talk about is how grateful we are for you. Really. Like, we can't shut up about it. We love you.


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