Category Archives: Just for Fun

Happy Halloween! Love, the Lobby Boy

IMG_9250_1Have you seen The Grand Budapest Hotel yet? If not, you really should. It is such a great movie. I loved it so much I am dressing up as a Lobby Boy for Halloween. I even made a (really, really) short film about how important a Lobby Boy is below:

Happy Halloween!

xoxo

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Tourist in Boston

Acorn Street, BostonMy husband and I went to beautiful Boston this week and we stumbled across Acorn Street. Fun fact, Acorn Street is the most photographed street in the country. So despite my commuter clothes I had to get some photos with this gorgeous street!

fall preppy style

fall preppy style

preppy detailsOkay, basically everything I am wearing is J. Crew. Except the sweater which is H&M

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How to take the best Instagram Photos

On Instagram, not every photo is created equally. There are great images, and there are not so great images. I want to make sure none of you ever find yourself on the not-so-great side of Instagram.

Instagram tips

Be picky: First and foremost, Instagram is a curation of your best moments. So go ahead and flaunt your best photos, girl! However, it is best to only post once or twice a day, and try to keep mirror selfies to a minimum.

essieGet Creative: Think of fun and unique ways to take pictures of every day things. Try using fun backgrounds and cool composition to really take your photos to the next level. Don’t be afraid to get inspiration from other Instagrammers. If you search #coffee on Instagram, you will find at least 1,000 unique ways to photograph coffee that you never even thought of!

nycThis might take a while: Capturing the perfect Instagram photo usually requires more than one take  (full disclosure — I take between 7-10 images before I decide on the perfect one). To accommodate all your snapping, it is best to take your picture on the camera app (in square mode) so you can snap multiple photos and choose the best one for Instagram.

Block IslandMake sure the light is right: Bad light can be detrimental to an otherwise great photo. Natural light is always best. I never use flash for Instagram photos as flash can add a forced, staged look to your images (not to mention the risk of zombie eyes *shudder*). Try taking pictures by or near a window for the best light (For a portrait, make sure the light is in front of you, not behind you).

Modifying the focus can also help you make the best use of light. To do this, tap on different places on your camera screen to focus on those areas of the image. This will also change up how much light is allowed into your lens.

photo (1)Make it pretty: Lately, I have been ditching Instagram filters entirely and using their creative tools (click on the little screwdriver on the upper right of the screen to use these.). These features allow you to straighten your image perfectly, and also tweak the brightness, saturation, contrast, shadows, highlights, etc. of the image. I am obsessed with these tools as they help to make my images look just right, and not too filtered. I highly recommend you explore Instagram’s creative tools!

kate spadeThe world is your stage: The best part of Instagram is the part when you get to arrange your stuff into something worth taking a photo of. I like to call these images, “staged photos of random things”. They are fun to do and great practice for getting light and focus right. So get to shooting your random stuff!

Screen shot 2014-08-25 at 3.47.04 PMWipe off your lens: Okay this should have come earlier, but I wanted to end with an obvious bang. You know how sometimes your pictures look like they are dusty and weird? Well it’s probably because your camera lens in dirty. Wipe off you lens before you take your pictures. You can thank me later for that tip.

 

 

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A definitive list of the books I read this summer in rank order

So I am really, really, really into reading. I usually read about two or three books a month. I would totally nerd out and read more if I didn’t limit myself to reading only when I am ‘in transit’ (i.e. on the subway or otherwise traveling). I am also, admittedly, a huge book snob. You will never catch me reading any Nicholas Sparks or some ridiculous drivel by a celebrity (except Bossypants). I also don’t really do self-help books much (Though I did like He’s Just Not That Into You). I am a novel/memoir purist to my core, peeps.

Summer is a big reading time for me because I travel a lot and I find myself waiting for the subway to come a lot. Below are the books I read this summer (so far) in order of least favorite to most favorite.

Screen shot 2014-08-11 at 9.19.44 PMNote: I didn’t read this book.

 

11. Under Observation: Okay, I am only 75% through this book. So this might be a premature statement. If you have any interest in true, unbiased stories about mental institutions and psychology, this is a good read. This book is very clinical, though and a little dry (like reading a text book that desperately wants to be cool).

10. When The Nines Roll Over: I am a huge David Benioff fan. His books The 25th Hour and City of Thieves are two of my favorites. So I had to pick up this collection of short stories. Some stories were really, really great — some I got to the end of the story and I was like, ‘uh, what?”. I think longer novels are David’s strong suit. I will stick to those from here on.

9. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Yo, this book starts off so slooooow. It does heat up (thank ya lawd), but overall this book is a slow burn to an unsurprising end. The story telling is superb and Junot builds characters that are unforgettable. But I actually can’t get over how slow this book starts.

8. The Bell Jar (reread): I hadn’t read this book in so long. It’s a classic, very powerful but still easy to read.

7. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids: I bought this book because it won the Nobel Prize forever ago. It was intense, but what else would you expect with a title like this?! If you dare, you can read this little book in a day or two — but it will leave you thinking for days after.

6. The Yellow Wallpaper: I borrowed a friend’s Kindle and read this short story on the subway ride home. It is a powerful look at how women with mental illness were treated not so long ago. This book is a definite must-read.

5. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda: So if you haven’t noticed, my reading choices skew bleak. Not sure why, but they always have. This particular bleak book is a super in-depth look at the Rwandan Genocide. This non-fiction story is eye opening to say the least. It gives a full 360 picture of what happened in Rwanda starting with the disastrous colonization of the country all the way to the aftermath of the horrific genocide hundreds of years later. It is a fascinating and heartbreaking read.

4. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (reread): I have read all the David Sedaris there is to read, but I still have to reread at least one thing by him a season. His story telling never gets old. He is one of the few authors who can make me ‘lol’… loudly… and usually in public.

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?: This book is hilarious and sad and heartwarming and so great. I also love how it was written. This is a perfect travel book.

2. Prep (reread): OMG, I loooove this book. It is literally (no joke) like reading about my high school experience (well, the second half of it). If you are a girl and you went to high school and you ever once felt even a little bit like an outsider, you really need to read this one. It’s like the author read your diary and then published it. Fo’ serious.

1. Drown: This was my favorite book of the summer. You know how a book just reaches out and grabs you and you’re just along for the ride? No? Is that just me? Well this book is amazing and a half. I am obsessed with it, and you should really read it. Junot Diaz is just the bees knees.

 

The end.

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Crabby on Block Island

block island 11This past weekend, my husband and I went on an adventure to Block Island. Y’all it was gorgeous. Everyone should go. As you will see from the abundant photos after the jump, it was a bit cloudy. That did not take away from this place’s beauty.

Oh, and another thing happened on Block Island. Matt made me hike seven miles. Your girl was scaling cliffs and walking through overgrown grass so he could see a lighthouse. Is that the definition of love? Being covered in leaves, sand, and sweat and following your betrothed all over the wilderness so he can see a lighthouse? Oy. Here’s the photo of said lighthouse below. Worth it? Maybe.

block island

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Shoes: New Balance | Shorts: Made ‘em from old jeans | Sweater: J. Crew | Belt: It is (was?) my Dad’s from Brooks Brothers

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Outfit Post Outtakes

Get excited, another installment of everyone’s favorite post is here. Behold more outtakes for your laughing pleasure:

outfit outtakeThis photo might seem unassuming at first, but look closely. You will spot a trio of photo bombers in the background striking poses. This is why I usually avoid shooting in public places at all costs. But when the light is this good, you gotta do what you gotta do.

outfit outtake 5Sometimes taking artsy photos in nature works — other times you end up looking like you’re trapped in a picture of a rare sighting of Big Foot, where you are Big Foot.

outfit outtake 4“Let me just sit down in these flowers for a second and pick my nose.”

outfit outtake 3Bird poo? Dandruff? The world may never know.

outtake 5It wouldn’t be a proper outtakes rundown if there wasn’t a photo of me judging something harshly. I even had to remove my sunglasses for this judgement. The world needed to see the full force of the disapproval on my face.

outfit outtake 2And last but not least, a photo of me making the most horrible face in the world. LOL! I actually can’t look at this photo without laughing out loud. Also, what am I doing with my arms?!

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5 Years in NYC

This month marks my fifth year living in NYC, which is totally crazy to me. I always thought I would live in New York for one or two years and then head on back to VA where I would live with my parents forever and cater to them in their old age. Now I can’t imagine leaving this crazy town. I mean, where would I get my hair done?!

Fun facts: I haven’t driven a car since I got here. I will never own a home as long as I live in the city. I rarely grocery shop — mostly I order take-out because my kitchen is too small to cook anything worthwhile. I walk fast. I have to pay to do my laundry. I never have to worry about a designated driver on Saturday night. I don’t smile at strangers. I know the best froyo in town is on the 7th floor of Bloomingdale’s. I likely spend more to rent my apartment than you do on your mortgage. Living in New York is like living in whole new world. Sometimes I hate it, but mostly I love it.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 8.54.54 PM

Everyone is smarter than you: You might think you’re good at something, but you quickly find out that you’re mediocre at best when you move to the city. I think the phrase If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you, New York, New York is basically a nice way of saying that this town is crawling with people who are better than you so sit down and shut up, ya big dummy. I firmly believe that you are only as smart as the people you regularly hang out with. So if you want to be a smarter person, come work in New York City.

You will become a bonafide food snob: I may have witnessed my husband, who is probably the chillest, nicest person ever, visibly cringe at the mention of TGI Fridays. When even your sketchy local bodega makes the best sandwich you’ve ever tasted, it is nearly impossible to go back to chains. My heart was broken when I recently went to Olive Garden (an old fave) and truly hated it. I could have cried. Curse you, delicious Eataly food!

People sometimes say passive aggressive (rude) things about living in NYC:

Stranger that you just met at a cookout in your hometown: “Oh, you live in New York?! Oh I could NEVER live there! It’s too crowded and loud and dirty and horrible.”

Now these haters people do have a valid point about the dirty and horrible part. Once you nearly step in human excrement in the park, a tiny part of you is never the same. But I also know that these people aren’t talking about human excrement, they are talking about Times Square — the only place they went when they visited NYC in the 11th grade. The memory of sweaty, doughy tourists packed together in a shimmering, blinking square mile of hell traumatized them for life. Don’t worry, I have a similar aversion to Times Square. It is the worst. The rest of the city is pretty great, though, so stop hatin’.

You will be poor: I am convinced that there is a secret ‘leaving fee’ in this town. The leaving fee states that the moment you step out of your apartment $50 is deducted from your bank account. This fee must exist otherwise I truly don’t know where all the money goes.

You will think about getting a dog, but then you’ll decide against it: I can not tell you how many times I have had this conversation:

Friend: Aww, look at that dog. Ugh, I want a dog!

Me: Me too!

Friend: I should get a dog.

Me: You totally should! Then I can play with it. My building doesn’t allow dogs (insert sad face).

Friend: Yea, but I work so much and the dog will be alone all day. Plus, dog walkers are so expensive. My neighbor has to pay one to come to her apartment twice a day!

Me: Totally. I guess it wouldn’t really be fair to the dog.

Friend: No, I guess not.

*scene*

Seriously, I have this exact conversation every month. It never gets less sad.

Brunch: Brunch is a very important part of a New York dwellers life. Without brunch you would die. This is a fact. The best brunches have alcohol specials like unlimited or discounted breakfast cocktails. You will stop at nothing to get a table at this places. Then you will eat delicious yet overpriced breakfast foods and guzzle down mimosas like it is your last meal and you’re slated to be humanely executed by the state at 4pm (aka when brunch ends).

Anyway, all of this is to say that this city isn’t forever. New York isn’t exactly the best place to grow old. But if you ever get a chance to live here, do it.

 

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