Happy Weekend & Links

April 24, 2015

Brooklyn Sunset

Happy Friday, everyone! Any fun plans for the weekend? Dan’s helping our friend in her art studio Saturday morning and I’m going to check out the Borough Hall Greenmarket with a couple friends. Crossing my fingers it’ll be warmer on Saturday than it was yesterday cause, man–it was windy and chilly and even hailed for a few seconds in Red Hook! Hope you have a good one and here are some links from around the web:

 

Cute slip-on shoes for summer.

These bikes ride on water.

One of my favorite Instagrammers, Ariel Alasko, on styling jeans.

“Walking” New York City. So cool.

Washington Post’s weddings reporter, Ellen McCarthy, dishes on what makes relationships work–great read.

The Women of Don Draper.

Yesterday, I posted about this article and I think it deserve another mention. Definitely read it if you have a few minutes.

 

(Brooklyn roof deck photo by me.)

“Résumé Virtues and Eulogy Virtues”

April 23, 2015

TheMoralBucketList

Did you read this article by David Brooks from The New York Times a couple weeks ago? I’d highly recommend it! Here’s an excerpt that I particularly like:

“About once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.

But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.”

Brooks reflects on how he has achieved much professional success in his life–the résumé virtues–but is saddened by the thought that he is not a person with “generosity of spirit or that depth of character.” And after realizing he wanted to be a bit more like those people, he set out to find what it is that makes these people the way they are. “If we wanted to be gimmicky, we could say these accomplishments amounted to a moral bucket list, the experiences one should have on the way toward the richest possible inner life.”

As I read the article, I found myself thinking about people in my life who radiate goodness and have depth of character, and reflecting on where I’m at in my life…am I focusing on the résumé virtues too much? Am I moving forward with experiences to fulfill the richest possible inner life?

The article is most definitely worth a read and will make you stop and think (even if only for a minute)! Would love to hear your thoughts on it. xx

 

(Excerpt and image via NY Times.)

7 Things I’ve Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

April 22, 2015

7 Things I’ve Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

Last month, I celebrated one year of blogging on The City and Us. I learned a lot about blogging (and myself!) in that year and wanted to share a few thoughts. Here are 7 things I learned in my first year of blogging (there are so many more, but I thought I’d start with this list)…

 

1. It’s more difficult than it seems to execute an idea.

Posts like How to Feel Settled in a New Place, Tips on Running, and Feeling Sad are my favorite ones to write. They’re personal and original, and I like to think I’m adding something to the conversation that’s slightly different from other bloggers. These posts also take the longest to write. I’ll get an idea, think about it for a few days (sometimes weeks), write a complete draft, have a couple people read over the draft for clarity and edits, rewrite and edit, take/find photos, and then, finally, I’ll publish the post. It can take a couple weeks to go from idea to published post. But these more in-depth posts are why I started blogging–to spark interest and talk about engaging topics and be authentic.

(I’d love to hear your thoughts on what topics you like reading about most. I want to write about interest and thought-provoking topics and ones that you love to read and talk about! Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment if you have some ideas.)

 

2. The little details are important.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a plan for seemingly small details like tags and categories. I made up tags for each post and chose general categories that many lifestyle bloggers use on their sites (food, fashion, travel, etc.). After six months or so, I had sooo many tags–many of which were totally random like zigzags, welcome, and Wednesdays. Categories and tags are useful ways for readers to navigate sites and find content that doesn’t appear on the first or second page, so they need to be organized and straightforward. While little details are so important, I’ve also learned…

 

3. It’s easy to get bogged down by the little things.

Even now–13 months in–I’m still tweaking the categories and editing and updating tags. I’ve spent hours editing tags, and it’s tedious. Writing thought-provoking posts, interviewing interesting people, exploring new neighborhoods in NYC, experimenting with new recipes and taking original pictures are the meat of any blog. Sometimes it’s best to leave the little details for later; carve out small chunks of time here and there to edit categories or update alt tags on photos and spend the majority of your time creating interesting content for your blog.

 

4. Inspiration isn’t just on the internet!

The time I spend away from my computer and phone is when I get the most interesting ideas for my blog–on the subway, running in the park, during conversation at the bar, buying lunch with colleagues, trying on new shoes, having coffee with Dan. Aside from the obvious places online to find inspiration–blogs, online magazines, Instagram–inspiration for fresh content is all around us. Time away from the computer is necessary.

 

5. Find people whose opinions you trust and get their input regularly.

A couple times a month, I shoot my sister an email and ask her to look over my site. In the email, I ask her some general questions like, I rearranged the top navigation bar, what do you think? or What are your thoughts on the ‘About’ page? and a few specific questions like, What did you think of that post on coconut cake? or Should I be doing [insert something that professional bloggers do well]? She gives me honest feedback and doesn’t hold back out of fear of hurting my feelings, which is absolutely necessary since I can get stuck on an idea or frustrated when things aren’t going as planned. She reminds me to take a deep breath and come back to reality.

 

6. Blogging takes so much time.

It’s challenging to describe the time commitment of blogging to someone who doesn’t blog or hasn’t tried writing a blog before. It takes so much time! Before I started, I thought, No problem! I’ll write after my 9-5 for about 15 minutes each day and post new stuff Monday through Friday. Ha. That’s just not how it’s worked for me over the past year. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes–emails, interviews, editing written content and photos, social media. It’s amazing and surprising how much time I spend on this little piece of the internet. And I love it!

 

7. It’s surprisingly difficult to stand out.

Growing a readership is something that I’m trying to figure out; standing out in the pool of hundreds of thousands of great blogs is really hard. Fashion and beauty blogs have huge potential to grow in readership as well as becoming a full-time job. It baffles me just how big some fashion blogs are and there are important lessons to learn from those blogs. And, honestly, it’s easy to slip into the mindset of posting solely about fashion and beauty topics because that’s what a lot of readers want to read and that’s one way to grow a blog. But it’s a slippery slope because I did not start blogging to write primarily about fashion and beauty. That’s not me and not the only thing I want to write about at the end of the day. What’s most important is that I’m true to myself and write about topics that inspire me.

Don’t get me wrong–I love fashion and beauty and have written several posts about those topics and will continue to write about them, but I like reading (and writing) personal perspectives, career challenges and successes, travel inspiration, offbeat wedding themes, secret restaurants–variety and depth are key (for me)!

 

Thoughts? Do you have a blog? What’s something surprising you’ve learned from blogging? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

I love blogging and I love knowing people come here to read something each day. Thanks so much for your support over the past year. xx

Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope

April 21, 2015

Bogota Latin Bistro -- Patio

Dan and I are slowly working our way around the many great restaurants in Park Slope–there are lots! A few weeks ago, our friends recommended Colombian-inspired Bogota Latin Bistro on 5th Ave, and it’s easily one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in the neighborhood. The lively yet casual atmosphere and bright decor make this spot perfect for Friday night dinner and drinks. The empanadas are delicious–try the sampler empanadas (my three favorites are chicken, vegetable, and  goat cheese), and the spinach and mushroom quesadilla and guacamole appetizer are great choices too. They make tasty margaritas and serve plantain chips and dipping sauce before dinner. Yum. Tip: For brunch, try their Bloody Mary–the star of their brunch drink menu–and sit out on the patio for a fun afternoon outing.

Bogota Latin Bistro

Bogota Latin Bistro

Bogota Latin Bistro -- Empanadas

 If you have any restaurant recommendations in Park Slope or anyway in NYC–I’d love to hear!

 

(Bloody Mary photo by Sara, bar and empanada photos via Bogota, patio photo by me during brunch last weekend.)

Rain in NYC

April 20, 2015

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rainynyc1

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It was windy and rainy in NYC today. Everyone shlepped into the office this morning, jackets damp and umbrellas dripping. Here are a few rainy day photos of NYC. See you back here tomorrow for a more lively post. xx

Photos 12 / 3 / 4

Have a relaxing weekend

April 17, 2015

AnnStreet

Hope everyone had a great week! Any plans for the weekend? I’m looking forward to relaxing and hanging out in the park–it’s going to be in the mid 70s on Saturday! Yea, Spring! Have a good one and a few links for your weekend reading…

 

The first episode of Undisclosed: The State v. Adnan Syed is up.

This cake (made in the microwave!) looks amazing.

Looking for a new foundation but don’t know where to start? Here’s a helpful review.

Pretty gold heels that would be great to wear to weddings and for date night.

Louis C.K.’s Crabby, Epic Love Letter to NYC.

Love all these tea towels.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt on why he’s a feminist.

Such a cute tote.

Boston Terriers and their wiggly butts are the best :)

 

(Tote bag link from Design Milk. Photo by Ann Street Studio.)

7 Stylish Short Rain Boots

April 16, 2015

Short Rain Boots by LR

Unlike rainy days back in Vermont where rain smells fresh and earthy, rainy days in New York City are kind of, well, gross–it’s one of the more unpleasant things about living here. We’ve had a few rainy days over the past couple of weeks, and I keep spotting women all over the city wearing short rain boots. Often times, I see them paired with sheer tights and a skirt or black ankle jeans, and they look effortless on dreary days. I’m seriously considering getting a pair–and I think they’d be great to wear in the park even when it isn’t raining.

Here are a few stylish short rain boots, if you’re looking for a pair…

Above: With shiny gold metal buckles and a back zipper, these Loeffler Randal’s Rain Fenton booties were made for NYC–it’s hard to tell they’re even rain boots!

Short Rain Boots by SLOOSH

SLOOSH ITALY SLOOSH makes this chic ‘Glossy’ Rain Boot. It reminds me of the J.Crew pair I see a lot that’s sold out, unfortunately. The stacked heel is so stylish.

Short Rain Boots by Jeffery Campbell

Jeffery Campbell’s Forecast Rain Boot is less than half the price of the ‘Glossy’ and just as sleek and beautiful. It’s my favorite pair.

Short Rain Boots by Hunter

The Hunter Original Chelsea Rain Boot is sporty and great for casual wear and weekends. I see women wearing the tall rain boot all the time, and this “packable” version would be perfect to bring on vacation–it folds to take up less space in your suitcase.

Short Rain Boots by Tretorn

The wedge on these Tretorn Plask Rain Boots is perfect for a little extra height. I like having more than a quarter of an inch between the bottoms of my feet and concrete, don’t you?

Short Rain Boots by Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren’s Tally Rain Boots are sleek and come in a few different colors (I like the olive pair), and the contrasting elastic side adds a pretty texture to the boot.

Short Rain Boots by chooka

Chooka is a popular, inexpensive brand of rain boots. This classic lace-up grey pair is only $65 and would be easy to slip on and go even when the skies are clear and sunny!

Which one is your favorite? I’m seriously considering those Jeffery Campbells!

 

PS. Pretty loafers.

Do you have a Mother’s Day tradition?

April 13, 2015

Do you have a Mother’s Day tradition? Each year, my sister and I take my Mom to the local greenhouse and buy flowers to fill her garden beds and hanging pots for the spring and summer. We spend the day together working in the gardens, cleaning out dead plants and branches left over from the winter, and refilling beds and pots with new flowers. It’s been a tradition for many years and one that I look forward to each spring.

Unfortunately, living in NYC–a few hours drive from my Mom’s house, makes it challenging to get home sometimes. Last year, I couldn’t make it home for Mother’s Day so I wrote this post with links from around the web that I knew she would enjoy. I loved writing the post, but I was nostalgic for our garden day.

I’ve been thinking about adopting another Mother’s Day tradition, one for when I know I can’t make it home to spend the day with her playing in the dirt. Maybe a gift card to the greenhouse or a fresh bouquet–she loves arranging flowers–or tickets to a play. Do you have a Mother’s Day tradition? How do you celebrate? A sweet card? Dinner? A long phone chat? I’d love to hear!

 

(Photo via Eclectic Trends.)

Have a fun weekend!

April 10, 2015

Any fun plans for this weekend? We’re going to a friend’s house in Williamsburg tomorrow night for a party. They have a killer roofdeck area with an incredible view of Manhattan, and I’m excited to chill out up there and have a couple glasses of wine! Have a good one–it’s going to be sunny and warm!–and here’s the weekend link roundup:

 

See what flowers are blooming where with this Bloom guide for NYC

LOL: First year of motherhood in brutally honest doodles.

Hilarious gluten-free tumblr!

Loved this open and honest post: Things That Scare Me.

Babies are geniuses at learning languages (really interesting!).

Good to remember.

These sandals with metallic straps would be so pretty with white jeans (only $12.90!).

DIY edible flower macaroons. Yum!

 

(Photo.)

Liebster Award

April 8, 2015

liesbster2

I was so honored to receive The Liebster Award from Hannah of the lovely blog Hannah Jane Beauty. Thank you so much, I’m so flattered! The Liebster Award is for blogs with less than 200 followers and is a great way to support and discover less-known blogs. Here’s how it works:

the-rules-liebster-award

It’s surprisingly difficult to find blogs with less than 200 followers! But every Tuesday, I participate in the #fblchat Twitter chat from the Bloglovin’ Twitter account (“km” is me!), and it’s there that I discovered lots of blogs with under 200ish followers–there are so many inspiring blogs out there! Here are my nominations: SaVonne AndersonRunning White HorsesJenny BeanedThe Polish List, A Tastier Life, Indigo Platform, Court Blanche, Dimes and DonutsSimply Sara, La Luce, and Both & Both! I’m excited to hear from you all and your questions are listed below!

 

Hannah asked me:

1. What is your favorite makeup brand and why?

I can’t say that I have a favorite makeup brand–my makeup game is pretty minimal–but my favorite product is mascara. I use CoverGirl LashBlast Length Mascara daily–the brush is one of the best I’ve ever used. I also love BADgal waterproof mascara–it really makes my lashes pop.

2. What is your favorite skin care product and why?

For over 10 years, I’ve used Olay Complete all day moisturizer for sensitive skin, and I swear by it. I use it every morning before applying foundation and every night before bed. It’s light, fragrance-free, never feels oily, and has SPF 15. Bonus: It’s inexpensive and you can find it at most any drug store.

3. Is there a celebrity that inspires you?

I have a serious girl crush on Lena Dunham. She’s candid, smart, and witty. I love how she seems to be in pursuit of figuring it out, and then she shares whatever she learns with everyone–successes and failures. She’s inspiring. And her Instagram account is hilarious.

4. What type of foundation do you use?

I use Benefit Cosmetics “Hello Flawless” powder foundation in ‘All the World’s My Stage’ Beige. It’s natural looking and I only need a quick sweep to feel ready for the day. It also lasts a long time–each container lasts me 6-7 months!

5. Tell me something about yourself.

I don’t have my ears pierced.

6. If you could be a Disney character who would you be and why?

My sister and I used to watch The Little Mermaid on repeat when we were kids. I even dressed up as Ariel once (ok, twice) for Halloween. So, I’d be Ariel!

7. What is the one item you really want to go out and buy?

I wouldn’t say this is an “item,” but I really want a dog!

8. Have you ever used Motives Cosmetics before?

Nope

9. What is your long life goal?

In general, I want to be happy, healthy, surrounded by friends and family, and proud of my decisions. Long-term goals are a work-in-progress and the details change as we change; so much has changed in my life in the last year, and I’ve found that my goals have changed with me.

10. How have you got where you are now?

A U-haul, literally. Last spring, my husband and I packed a U-haul and drove from snowy New England to bustling NYC. It was time for something new and different, and it’s been a crazy, scary, wonderful ride that I’d do all over again!

11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’m not sure I have it figured out yet! Right now, I’m focusing on making decision that I have control over–there’s so much that is out of my control, and it can be so time consuming and draining to latch on to something that I can’t change (I’m working on letting go of those things!). I hope decisions I make now lead me to a happy, healthy future.

 

11 random facts about me:

  1. I’ve never died my hair.
  2. I love Mexican food.
  3. I met my husband when I was four years old.
  4. I can’t whistle.
  5. I love plants and gardening.
  6. My favorite genre to read is fantasy.
  7. I get car sick easily (NYC cabs can be pretty brutal).
  8. I’d rather walk to work than drive, ride, or take the train.
  9. I worry…a lot.
  10. I pick fruity candy over chocolate every time.
  11. I love avocados.

 

And 11 questions for my nominees:

  1. What’s something new you’ve recently learned?
  2. Do you have a fun party trick (I’m looking for a new one)?
  3. If you could invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and what would you serve/order?
  4. What’s your favorite take-out food?
  5. Are you a planner or do you wing it?
  6. What’s the last book you read?
  7. You just found out you have an unexpected morning to yourself. How do you spend it?
  8. Where would you go if money and time weren’t an obstacle, and who would you take with you?
  9. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
  10. What’s something your parents taught you as a kid that has been invaluable as an adult?
  11. What’s your favorite way to spend a long weekend?

 

Thanks again, Hannah! And I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s responses! xx

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