Two things I love about jet lag

1. A half day to myself before my real day even begins: I don't mind the London-to-New-York jet lag at all—waking up at 4 a.m. the first few days I'm back in NY, I get at least five hours to myself, to think, to cook breakfast, to catch up on YouTube, to blog, before I have to go to the office and face real life. So far this week I've cooked THREE breakfasts (egg + toast + beans, egg + beans, omelette + salad) which feels like a luxury during the work week.

2. A really good excuse for turning in early: As an old, I prefer to fill my evenings with dinner parties, catchup dinners with friends, or (my favorite) nothing at all. Nothing better than a teeny tiny bit of jet lag (and that aforementioned waking-up-at-4-a.m.) to use as an excuse to beg off party plans and, instead, spending a quiet night at home (and going to bed at 9:30). Insert heart emoji here.

Some post-vacation thoughts


I always come back from the UK jet lagged (woke up at 4 a.m. today) and hooked on cooked breakfasts (made myself eggs, beans, and wholegrain toast this morning).

Earlier this May I realized I hadn't been on a plane in nearly six months—which, if you know me in real life, was a pretty clear sign that I had not been quite myself for a while. I think in between starting a new job in January that's turned out to be a completely different office culture from any place I've ever worked, getting my apartment in better working order (new furniture, built-in-shelving, an overall rethink and refresh), and other miscellaneous feelings of directionless-ness (or new direction, not sure yet), I really needed to get away. So about ten days ago I booked a last-minute trip to my hometown (where I was born, lived until I was 5-years-old and later went to grad school) Oxford to clear my head, reconnect with myself, and to take a few days of quiet time in order to figure out what I want to do with my time, my life, my career.

For more than a decade now, I've been so lucky to have a career that's been my life—in the best possible way. Working in media has been everything I've ever wanted—creatively fulfilling; working with super-fast-thinking, charismatic, driven, brilliant people; building brands from scratch, growing legacy brands; moving from print to digital and really embracing all the fun that came with working in both newspapers and online.

But it's 2016. And the more and more I talk to my friends who work in the industry (almost all my friends work in media, and if not media, then fashion), the more I realize that working in the industry is a totally different ballgame now. And while I love the internet content-for-$$$$ game—anyone who's worked with me knows "scale" is one of my favorite words—lately I've been thinking that somewhere along the lines, we've lost our way. Or I've lost my way.

Seasonal allergies + Vacation = :(


Last full day in the UK—and after a fun morning out (breakfast, walk around town, climbed to the top of Carfax Tower), I've been in my hotel room all afternoon, a prisoner to my seasonal allergies. Insert sad-face emoji here. So I thought I'd do a wee video about my mini-vacay in Oxford this week. I'm still working out the basics of filming—and, as you can tell, my on-the-street footage was shot on an iPhone and leaves lots to be desired, quality-wise. Work in progress, work in progress.

I might try to go out and get some noodles or something. Or a hot mint tea. Gonna try to stop sneezing in the meantime...

April Favorites video is live!


There are lots of reasons I'm excited for May—including warmer weather, the promise of summer, and the imminent release of the Canon G7X Mark II. But April has been a fun month of product discoveries for me. Here are some of my faves—including a weird spiked mat that helps with my computer-persons' neck and back pain.

How do you know when you're stressed?

We all know how to deal with stress—well, at least, we all know how we're supposed to deal with stress: exercise, yoga, meditation, therapy, contact sports, reckless behavior, vodka (just kidding about those last three). But one of the things I've always struggled with is figuring out how to tell when I'm stressed.

I think I've been stressed out since I was 11, and probably before that. I remember my teacher pulling me aside during lunch, right after I'd delivered a presentation on the life and times of Rasputin (did anyone else cover the Russian Revolution in sixth grade or was it just us?). She asked me if I was OK—which I wasn't, because I'd been under a lot of pressure having just sat for a junior high school entrance exam (#GrowingUpInNYC). I didn't even know what stress was at the time, but I definitely had it—and it took someone else to tell me in order for me to realize how much it had affected my behavior.

Even as an adult today, I so often internalize my stress that physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms manifest before I realize how far it's gone. From talking to friends, I don't think I'm alone. But in order to cope with stress—and take care of ourselves and our health—it's important to be able to identify its symptoms. Here are some weird things that happen to me—or that I find myself compulsively doing—when I'm stressed out and don't even know it.

Storytime: I was a Wilhelmina plus-size model

Here's something that I've never really discussed in great detail with very many people I know: how I became a plus-size model, got signed to Wilhelmina in New York, and what that was all like. Plus, photo evidence!

March Favorites video


...In which I talk about some other stuff and then spend half the video talking about Gianvito Rossi shoes.

My first Influenster box! L'Oreal's #EverPure kit


A couple of months ago I signed up for Influenster.com—a social sampling program that helps you discover new products and new brands totally free. And yesterday I received my first-ever Influenster box: an entire full-size kit from L'Oreal's new EverPure haircare collection, which included a hair mask, a leave-in treatment, shampoo, and conditioner. I can't wait to try all these items and will let you know how they are! Check out Influenster for yourself—and see what free samples fit your lifestyle. What I think is the coolest thing about the program is that the samples are selected for you based on your interests and expertise—so, like, I won't wind up with men's grooming products or pet toys, for example.

11 Things I'm Reading Right Now


One of the biggest obstacles standing between me and all my hopes and dreams (read: making more and better YouTube videos) is that I'm actually, secretly, for the most part a very boring human—at least when I'm in New York, that is. I know it seems counterintuitive—how could being in New York ever be boring? But I grew up here, and just like any place anyone spends nearly their entire life, I see the city through a lens of everyday familiarity. It's when I travel outside of New York—to places like South Dakota, Colorado, California, Kenya, Tanzania, China—that I'm invigorated and excited by my environment. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that when I'm in New York, I'm usually working 50-60 hours weeks at my day job, and on the weekends I putz around my apartment and the neighborhood, enjoying spending time with myself or with family. I wake up every morning and imagine how fun it would be to vlog my day—but then I realize that going to the office or popping a load of laundry into the machine downstairs might not make for very interesting content.

That said, I'm not going to let my little humdrum existence stop me from practicing making YouTube videos! This morning I promised myself I'd make one—because I skipped filming last weekend—so I did this one, above, which is about a pretty boring topic, I guess: books and magazines (paper products!). Maybe I'll try that thing people do and challenge myself to vlog every day for a month, just to get into the habit. Stay tuned.

I'm obsessed with #TeamGeorge on The Voice UK

OK, let's be real, I've loved Boy George since 1983. And now he's on The Voice UK, I love him even more—especially for breaking the mold and selecting singers for #TeamGeorge who look like the teenagers we all feel like on the inside.

Cody Frost:



And, last week, duet-ing Nothing Compares 2 U (I cried)



Harry Fisher:



I will always have the deepest admiration and respect for people who aren't afraid to dress and style themselves exactly how they want to and how they feel.

Storytime


Every year at Thanksgiving, for a few years in a row sometime around the 10th anniversary of our college graduation, my friend Grace would come to New York to see her family and we'd spend the Saturday hanging out, catching up, doing a spot of shopping, and pontificating on where we were and how far we'd come since school (and over the last year).

In 2013, Grace and I repeated our tradition—and, I guess because both of us were sort of feeling the nearly-15-years-out-of-college are-we-in-a-rut blues, we made a new year's resolutions pact: that by the end of 2014 we'd each have started and finished a writing project and gotten boyfriends.

Well, as you've probably already deduced, I am terrible at follow-through and did neither. Grace, who's much better at being a grown-up than I am, did both. And this September she's marrying the love of her life and I am so happy for her. *Insert heart eyes emoji here*

The moral of this story is to always stick with your new year's resolutions.

Wannabe YouTuber


Over the past few months, outside of work and even though I'm old, I've really rededicated myself to watching videos on the Internet—specifically videos made by popular vloggers. Some of my favorites include Zoella, iJustine, Casey Neistat, and Zoe's boyfriend Alfie. I guess I love YouTube for the same reasons everyone else loves it: on-demand, bite-sized programming that doesn't feel canned or too contrived. It's high-energy (or low-energy for you fans of ASMR out there) and vloggers cover everything these days—last week I watched a lot of what-fits-in-my-handbag videos and this week I'm back to regularly scheduled daily vlog programming. I also watch a lot of YouTube from a media person's point of view—with sort of a curiosity about what makes the next generation tick, how millennials communicate, exchange ideas, and are building an entirely new medium from the ground up by sheer force of will (a mass movement).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to make YouTube videos of my own—and I have, here and there. I loved making snack videos with my old coworkers at Glamour, like this one where we taste-tested mystery chips:


But I started a new job about a month ago and I don't really have any good friends yet at work (plus I'm not sure I'm ready to show my new team my newfangled packaged-food-obsessive side yet) so I haven't done any group snack videos in a while. I miss making them! So much so I was thinking about getting my siblings involved in a jelly bean taste test video (but I'm not sure we share the same sensibilities or weird senses of humor).

Anyway, I think now that I'm in a new office environment, I might have to strike out on my own and come up with at-home talking-to-the-camera YouTube videos to make. I made a makeup one the other day, just for kicks (top), and I'm thinking of slightly more offbeat ideas I can put together. Maybe I will do something with Peeps. I also wonder all the time whether I'm too old to be doing this YouTube thing, but maybe not? Let's see.

My own little 1994 revival moment

I'm having my own little mid-90s revival all by myself this weekend. Over the past few days, I've bought Revlon's Super Lustrous Lipstick in both Toast of New York and Rum Raisin (both high school favorites), a Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, and a Louis Vuitton monogram Speedy (though I did buy the 2011 version of this bag, the bandouliere—with the strap).

I'm hoping the bag will break in and the straps will get a little bit of a patina by summer. I haven't bought a Vuitton monogram bag since the Mini Marie came out more than a decade ago, and anyone who knows me knows a monogram isn't usually my thing, but I have a premonition that this summer will be a big monogram summer, trend-wise. So I'm prepping ahead of time. Fashion: it's a marathon, not a sprint, right?

Hotstamped:


An incomplete list of all the things I almost always overbuy expressly to avoid running out of

— Toilet paper: Charmin
— Twinings organic peppermint tea
— Patent black pumps
— Organic whole milk
— Eames dining chairs
— Diptyque "Figuier" candles
— Decorative candy bowls
— Commemorative teapots
— Vanilla extract
— Organic free range pasture raised eggs: extra-large or jumbo
— Ham
— Butter
— Collegiate sweatpants
— Organic steel cut rolled oats
— Frederic Malle perfume
— College-ruled yellow legal pads

Full-on fashion

Background: It's been just over ten years since I finished up the MA at Saint Martins and tomorrow I'm starting the first serious fashion job of my career. Not that all the jobs I've had up to this point aren't serious jobs—they were just serious in other ways. Working at the Post was all about scooping the News, developing the paper's first market pages, and shock value; launching Racked National was creating a national shopping blog POV from scratch and securing its place in the landscape of independent fashion blogs at the time; the three times I worked at Glamour always boiled down to moving the traffic needle with a content-first strategy while covering as much ground as possible without sacrificing brand value; and my under-a-year stint at Epicurious (food, not fashion) was all about getting the website to max traffic in the shortest amount of time while overhauling a 20-year-old site's functionality, purpose, and design.

The tipping point: About three months ago, I was summoned to the office of one of the most important people in fashion publishing. We talked about my career, the internet, and millennials—and the one thing that resonated with me the most (and that I've thought about every single day since) is when she said to me, "It sounds like you're a generalist." 

I don't want to be a generalist. I didn't spend my 20s doing semi-random master's degrees (first women's studies, then fashion) to wind up a generalist. I felt lost during so many of my higher education years and through a dozen internships (liver cell research lab; corporate law firm; PR agency; college administration) before finally, after landing at CSM, I felt like everything in the world and in my little life finally made sense. I guess at some point over the last ten years, I must have lost my way. Two years ago, I became completely disillusioned with fashion—for so many reasons, but especially the way the industry functions in the United States—and I thought I wanted out. Now, after a professional break—first with a stint in the food media industry and then as a digital generalist and news and politics editor—I'm ready to go back. And I'm not going the consumer-facing service media route this time: I'm going full-on news.

Wish me luck.

Apartment facelift time

I was well-aware, at the beginning of 2015, that December 28th of last year (uh, last week) would mark my ten-year anniversary of living in this apartment. That's a long time. So I made a resolution a year ago today that before the end of the year, I would either renovate and redecorate or move. Since I love my neighborhood and Manhattan real estate is totally bananas right now—the only way I'd actually be able to significantly upgrade my living space would be if I sold my one room studio and moved off the island—I decided in the beginning of December to make a real go at redecorating. And what I realized is that by changing just a few key things superficially, I could drastically alter the look and feel of my space.

Here are five things that are coming and going:
Bed: My friend Danny, who used to have his own organic mattress collection, told me that you're meant to get a new mattress every two presidential terms. My mattress is 10 years old, so I'm changing it up—and getting a new bed frame while I'm at it.
Custom shelving: When I moved into my apartment at age 28, I designed my space to perfectly accommodate the life (and stuff) I had back then. Ten years on, my book, kitchen appliance, and shoe collection have way outgrown their allotted storage spaces. So last month I met with a designer to create a customized bookshelf that will span nearly the entirety of the eastern wall of my studio.
New window treatments: I used to be super-minimalist (well, a minimalist who's always been thwarted by my own maximalism). To that end, my apartment right now is a glossy white box with pale-to-medium-gray furnishings and textiles (rugs, towels, sheets). But now I prefer comfort over austerity in my old age, I'm more interested in neutrals and warmth. So I'm adding drapery.
Bathroom fixtures: I was never really crazy about the toilet I'd installed in my very-small bathroom when I moved in in 2005—small bathroom fixtures are pretty hard to find—so a couple of years ago, I ordered a new Toto toilet and asked my super to install it (my building's staff is awesome and it's so much easier to work with them on building projects rather than hire unknown outsiders who then need to procure paperwork, COIs, etc.). Next up, I'm thinking about switching from a vanity to a pedestal sink. I'm still grappling with what to do about bathroom storage when I lose that under-cabinet space, but I think that what I lose will be made up for in easy-to-clean-ness and the additional feeling of spaciousness in a small bath.
New rugs: This is a no-brainer (new rugs = new look), but I've always been nervous about adding too much pattern-wise to an already small space. More investigation needed, but I've already mentally committed to the idea.

Totally unrealistic new year's resolutions I make every year

— Lose weight while maintaining a nonchalant attitude towards eating what I want (nachos)
— Exercise in the morning before work, after coffee, but before breakfast 5/7 days of the week
— Renovate my apartment (which I have been living in for 10 years as of last weekend)
— Write another book, maybe two, sell it/them
— Buy a country house with above book money, spend time in the country
— Go on more ambitious vacations, possibly involving more fishing
— Invest more in skincare and wear less makeup
— Learn to explain my thought processes more patiently and in more detail
— Read more fiction
— Learn to drive (this, surprisingly, is the most unrealistic resolution of all)