February did some major calendar creeping this year, kind of like the feeling you’d get when you wake up an hour before your alarm, fall back asleep, only to be woken up a short while later, seemingly too soon (clearly we can see where my priorities are these days). I was so fortunate to have some my closest friends around me to celebrate my 23rd birthday in straight-up college fashion: pregame in a hotel room, post-game at Lucky’s Lounge on the Waterfront. Thank you everyone who makes this day a special one. I’m thankful for every year I have, and this year is no exception. xx
Yesterday, I got out of work early enough to see the last bits of daylight and the beautiful tailend of another winter storm from the hotel. Woke up this morning to sunshine and 48 degrees (heat wave!)….only to hear of more snow?? (?!?!???)
This winter has run me ragged. One more month and all I can think about is sunshine and shorter workdays. Any cures out there for the seasonal blues?
I’ve always had a fond appreciation for companies who incorporate passion and giving in their business models, and past the awkwardness of middle school, I’ve grown to love the look of glasses. Both roads intersected when (very) shortly after joining an accounting firm, I developed a need for a new pair of glasses. And there was only one place that came to mind to find the new specs: Warby Parker.
Warby Parker has been progressively featured in more and more top magazines, blogs, and newspapers as word tends to spread quickly about a hot, new, rapidly growing company. The concept is pretty similar to another one of my favorite brands, in that for each pair of glasses sold, WP gives a pair of glasses to someone in need. By multiplier factor alone, it’s the simplest way to give back, and clearly successful. The designs are sleek and simple, and the stores (if you have to chance to stop into one) are so friendly and open. After some deliberating and the helpful advice of one patient girlfriend, I decided on the Crane (in the ‘mallard green’ color above), which has gotten many compliments by itself.
Warby Parker has a location in Boston at 83 Newbury St.!
To those who do not know me well, I appear more calm about stresses than I let on. It’s definitely a coping mechanism of sorts—the “fake it ‘til you make it” mantra. When I traveled to Capri during my semester abroad a few years ago, we went cliff jumping. It was easily the most anticipated event of the day, and I’d talked my travel buddy’s ear off with how excited I was. Climbing up the actual cliff, though…that was a whole different story. Little flashes of my life fluttered across my conscience along with all worst-case-scenarios (landing on the jagged rocks, falling backwards off the cliff, drowning, landing in shallow water, claustrophobia, etc). I was so terrified on the way up and that was hardly alleviated by the fact that: 1) the cliff was only 50 feet high, and 2) the excitement of other cliff-jumpers, some of whom had so much fun the first time around, they came back for a second round. “You just have to go for it" had to be said several times before I actually gathered the courage to jump. But once I jumped and plopped into the water safely, I felt like God. So much fun! So free! “You just have to go for it!”
Yesterday, I moved into my first apartment. And while there is no real life-threatening scenarios applicable to that, it was a major life change that stressed me out no less than cliff-jumping in Capri. Little things like getting my couch up the stairs in the apartment kept me up at night. An impending trip to the RMV (to switch car registration) occupied much more space in my mind than it really deserved. Street parking gave me heart palpitations. I had contacted every friend I knew in the North End on moving tips. In retrospect, that was all wasted energy because the move went so smoothly, it could not have panned out better. With the help of my parents and some truly wonderful friends, I was moved in and settled in a handful of hours. The early afternoon also provided for some sunny and balmy winter weather, so beautiful we were able to make a trip to the rooftop patio for a break to enjoy the view.
I spent all day yesterday in the new place and any regrets I had about moving out of home home flitted away. With each passing hour, I began to see more and more of little flashes of the great memories that could be made in this apartment than of annoyances. It’s really just a leap of faith.
If you think of the great love stories—Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Gatsby—none of them end with the boy and girl kissing and riding off into the sunset. They all share a fundamental impossibility. It can never be, but wasn’t it grand to experience? Because the one thing about intense romantic love is, good or bad, you feel very, very alive.
--Baz Luhrmann, WSJ Magazine February 2014 columnist, on love.
Ode to Harmless Harvest.
Confession: if I’m not sick with the cold or flu, it’s pretty difficult for me to drink the daily recommended amount of water. You would think that, knowing H2O’s many benefits I’d gulp it down, but I’m picky with this kind of stuff: I like flavors. I like ice-cold, I like refreshing.
My sister has recently become obsessed with coconut water, but specifically the Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water that, according to her, flies off the shelf at the Whole Foods in Union Square, even at it’s steep $5 per bottle price. I visited her a couple times the past summer in New York and this was all she had stocked in her fridge. Recently, I took to the habit and became hooked. It’s fresh (since its 100% raw coconut water and thus highly perishable), it’s cooling, and best of all: it’s thirst quenching. Last weekend, I came out of an intense 45-minute spin class at Sweat & Soul in Brookline dripping with sweat and basically dry heaving, chugged a bottle of this, and instantly felt 90% better. In the middle of drafting this post, my sister (ever the resourceful one) announced to me that Whole Foods is currently having a 2 for $5 sale on the Harmless Harvest coconut waters, so if there is ever a time to try this new phenomenon, it is now.
With each passing year, I’m getting to know myself better and better. Forget “working out more” or “eating healthier”….that was seldomly effective and rarely lasted past three weeks when I was a college student, let alone a working woman heading into her first busy season. So 2014 is the year I set realistic resolutions with (I’ll be honest) pretty lax restrictions…a lot of implied “may"s, "try"s, "perhaps.” Baby steps.
- Dine out less, but better
- Opt for more tea and water over coffee
- Learn to cook, and have a few recipes down pat
- Get rest as often as possible
- Opt out of purchasing coffee at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. (in going over expenses, I calculated that I spent around $60 in a month on coffee…which is a nice dinner out in Boston that I had less money for)
- Forego a gym membership (I’ll never go) and attend barre/yoga/spin/cardio classes more often
- Plan and take a trip to an exotic international destination
- Explore one city in America I’ve never been to
- [And for all aspects of life]: quality over quantity.
What are some of your resolutions?…or better question…How are you sticking to them?
Splurge vs. Save?
The most pressing question on my mind is this: do I splurge a little on Pottery Barn’s classic 300-thread count sheets (free shipping! sale! monogram options!) or save for allegedly better* quality sheets from the Fieldcrest Luxury at Target? Splurge: because you spend at least half of your life in bed and you might as well invest in that…OR…Save: because sheets are sheets.
What do you think?
*based on thread count alone
inspirationnicole asked: :) Hello Dara. I came across your blog by chance since you recommended Nicole Franzen's beautiful blog. Just wanted to drop a note to you that I enjoy your posts and your writing. Have a great day!
What a lovely surprise to wake up to! Thank you, Nicole, for your sweet comments, and for reading! (P.S., your jewelry is beautiful).
I get easily overwhelmed with the amount of seemingly endless “perfect” apartments and houses featured on various blogs and Martha-Stewart-esque websites. Since my new apartment is a rental, I’m hesitant to splurge on major purchases, but seeing as to how I’m away for much of the upcoming auditor’s busy season, I want my apartment to really feel like home for the days I do spend there. I’ve chosen out a bed and blankets (Target makes really affordable pieces that match my tastes perfectly!), but there are still a few more finishing touches I hope to add…the West Elm Parsons desk, a decor mirror, and a nightstand that doubles as a bookshelf.
Any other decorating tips you can offer?
All images from Pinterest.
With temperatures see-sawing on a daily basis and stores running low on cold-weather items (going so far as to prematurely promote the spring season), this Boston winter is hardly inspiring in terms of fashion. Instead, I’m digging up old favorites, such as these perfect leather riding boots (now 40% off!), this newly acquired hat (which is a huge hit with my friends), and this cardigan (also on sale!). My free cash flow—to utilize some accounting terms here—is running low lately from outfitting and moving into my new apartment, but with any spare change, I plan on incorporating some of the above trends that I’ve been eyeing—a camel coat, a knitted turtleneck, and the essential cashmere sweater.
What are your favorite winter go-to items?
After a long and (at times) upsetting search, I’m so very pleased to announce that Niti and I will officially be residents of the North End come February. The apartment search has been only occasionally documented on the blog, mostly out of fear of jinxing a prospective dwelling, but in the next few weeks, I hope to share some more decorating plans and favorite resources as we now we on to the (arguably) best part of getting a new apartment (Hellooooo, Pinterest!).
Photo above taken this past weekend from the view of the North End from 60 State Street.
Between graduation and starting my career, I knew 2013 was going to be a big year, and it was. What I didn’t anticipate were the little turns, both highs and lows, that it would take me to get to these two major life points. And when people say you don’t know what a day holds, you really don’t know…still takes some getting used to. I’m so grateful for the doors that opened and closed in all aspects of life this year that have led me to my current state. I could not be more pleased with how my job, my friends, and my life turned out through the roller coaster ride of the year. I’m excited to share some big news in the next month and the 11 thereafter. Thank you, friends, for following along. Happy 2014 and happy new beginnings.
Dairly Week: a weekly roundup of my current favorites.
I hope everyone had a restful holiday season and a wonderful new year to come! Here’s what is on my radar this week…
1. Christmas Flash Mob at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston—I love to watch these, and not-so-secretly have always wanted to witness a flash mob (or participate in one). I love how coordinated this one is, especially considering it’s a flash mob (maybe they rehearsed beforehand?), and it is a chillingly beautiful reminder of the spirit of Christmas, which can get lost amidst the stresses of gift-giving and travel. Thanks to Barbara for this tip!
2. Recently signed up for Joss & Main, a Gilt City-type daily deal website for furniture and home decor items. Can you tell I’m exciting about moving into an apartment?…Hopefully good news to come soon!
3. Spotted these silver-painted kale bouquets at a flower shop in the Prudential Center—love this innovative and festive design! I’ve never seen anything like it—have you?
4. My favorite Christmas presents—a tiny and delicate necklace (designer unknown) and a beautiful little souvenir from Santorini from my sister, which I’m using to hold small jewelry.