Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh, What a Year!

The new year is quickly approaching and these days amidst the holidays, work, attempts to stay warm in chilling temperatures, and thoughts about the resolutions of 2010, I have little time to look back on 2009, but what a year it has been. Right now, I'm stuck on today's date. One year ago today, I boarded a plane from San Francisco to New York City, giddy for my New Year's kiss, armed with two overweight suitcases and a plan. As it turned out things didn't exactly go as I had imagined, but as I've learned, the best laid plans are made to be broken. So, as the months went by, I threw out my plan and went forth into the city that never sleeps, from interview to interview, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, exploring my home one borough and subway stop at a time.

Today, I feel a sense of normal comfort in New York; the city is like the little brother I never had - I love it unconditionally but not without the moments, sometimes days of frustration. I am happy to call it my home and I am proud of the person I have become in the last twelve months, the person that life in New York has called me to be.

In light of the season upon us, in which many glasses are raised and toasts are made, I would like to make a toast to this fair city. Thank you for taking care of me, for letting me fail and rise again, and for always introducing me to new and interesting things. I look forward to greeting you each morning and bidding you adieu each night. To our second year together, New York City, may it be as full.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Hallows' Eve

Happy Halloween to all! In honor of this spooky and festive day, I tried my hand at a tasty treat and came away delightfully pleased.

Real Simple's pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Pumpkin replaced the water in the mix, creating a moist, fluffy cake with a hint of spicy pumpkin zest. While the icing called for an eyebrow raising amount of confectioner's sugar, it tasted just right, and the consistency was light and perfectly spreadable. Add a candy corn garnish and voilà! Easy and delicious.



November 1st: It has been over 2 months since I wrote a blog post, but not without thought about this site. Life has been hectic and full of changes and excitement, and at the end of the day, I don't always have the energy to write. That, I would like to change. In reflecting on possible hobbies, writing is the first, sometimes the only, thing that comes to mind. I find solace in putting pen to paper, surrounded by the sound of inspiration. I strive to be creative and maintain the moments in my crazy life in which I feel collected and in control, moments in which I feel truly like me. To feel like one's true self is not to be ignored, and today, I resolve to continue to do what makes me free.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Renaissance Blogger

"What I think is that Sam Pepys wrote down all the details of his life for nine years because the very act of writing them down made them important, or at least singular." Julie Powell, Julie and Julia

This passage, about a man in 17th century England who wrote in a diary every day for nine years, resonates deep and heartily for a writer. However large or small the scale of one's writing, it is undeniably true that each of us writes because what we have to say is important, at the very least in our own minds. We believe that we have the wit, intellect, voice, or vocabulary to make our stories, fantasy or reality, come alive on a page. What Julie ponders is whether Sam Pepys was the first blogger, though he never shared his work. Would the world have tuned in online each day for nine years to read about his breakfast meal, long day at work, or the remodeling of his porch? I say it all depends on how he writes it. And while my readership is relatively unknown to me, I ask any bloggers who come across my site to dig in and find the best or favorite writer within and share with their community a post that exhibits thoughtful, creative writing. Be it breakfast cereal or last night's dream, make your every day important.


Friday, July 24, 2009

When it Rains, it Pours

Bad things come in threes. Good things come to those who wait. And sometimes, everything comes at once. This month has been a perfect example. After an extensive search, I was graced with a wonderful new job in a field that I am so eager to learn all about, to get my feet wet, my hands dirty, and my brain going. As a direct result of said job, I got to move. From the heights of New York City's most famous avenue to the sights and sounds of its most famous neighborhood, I signed my name on my first post-college lease and took another enormous transitional step. Occasions for which I have been waiting and preparing arrived, and my former state of limbo has been replaced with a sudden calm. I picture a lake on a still, summer day. Even if a pebble is thrown into the water, the calm is not disturbed, it simply morphs into tiny, rippling waves. For me, those waves have been the trials of moving, a new bed and commute, the understanding that my adult life is actually settling down for the first time. All wonderful changes, but not without the moments of total shock.
I often write blog posts for the altering experiences that take place. My moves across the country, my discovery of the need to pursue my dreams over just any job, my many realizations of the impact of love. This is yet another. Almost exactly a year after college ending and my future in New York beginning, a million things have happened. Now, I have somewhere to hang my hat and put up my feet, and a place to go everyday that fills me with a great feeling of accomplishment, enthusiasm, and pleasure. In this case, bring on the rain.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Followers and Friends

Since I started From A to Zoë in October, I have been so pleased and delighted to watch more of my friends join me on this site and others to share stories, interests, and updates. Some have chosen a specific path of focus, like restaurants, culinary creations, or home decor and other visual aesthetics, while others blog merely as a bridge to friends and family, a sort of online diary or life itinerary. I have friends whose blogs are really their websites, where they post news, ventures, and photographs - tools to identify who they are in a larger sense.
I wanted this blog to be an opportunity to unload my thoughts, the things I come across, and the thoughts I have. I'll admit that I try to have a theme, it's where my inner control freak comes out to play, and that I like for it to be a place to rest one's eyes and be comfortable. As more people embrace sites like this one and offer a url that I can visit to learn about the latest in their lives, I am contented. Life moves so quickly and it's important to allow transparency and disclosure to continue, even when our normal modes of communication have been replaced by Google Reader updates. I check the blogs I follow and read about travel, great eating spots, love, new technology, big steps and small victories, and think, oh the places you'll go!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Resilience, From A to Z

At a party last summer, I met two former theater majors who had moved to New York to pursue a career under the bright lights of Broadway. They had arrived just a few months before and all possibilities seemed endless. It is now almost a year later and while the world is still their oyster, in true recessionista fashion, it is important to think outside the box. Alisha Zalkin hasn't appeared on Broadway, but she is writing a documentary, appearing in an independent film and just released her first album, Finally Free. I had the pleasure of watching her perform in a cabaret and was amazed but her presence and powerhouse vocals.
It has been wonderful to watch my friends achieve dreams and reap the benefits of following their hearts. We are in a unique position, graduating from college and directly entering this economic climate, and it is an incredible feeling to conquer something that you may never have tried if things were a little easier. Hats off to anyone who has layed in bed at night, creating new dreams and reworking the old. The possibilities are still endless, and the world is still our oyster, now we just have to employ a little more creativity and a lot more faith.
And to Alisha, with her new album and the beginning of a career in the works. I can't wait to watch her shine under the bright lights. Listen to her CD here...


Friday, May 15, 2009

Little Gifts in Pretty Boxes

I have recently become somewhat obsessed with stationary. For years, I received it in Christmas stockings or as a birthday gift, but rarely thought of much use for it. In the event that I needed to send a card, I would go to the drugstore and buy one. This all changed with two happenings. One, I found a similar interest in my stepmother. She collects stationary, buying individual pieces, making surprise discoveries in tiny stores across the world. She tucks away these intricate beauties, waiting until the marriage of special recipient and specific card is realized. The second was that I began to want to buy stationary for others. It is an age of electronic everything and a rare time to receive a snail mailed message, so I started giving people material with which to send an unexpected nicety. My favorite gift is a package of simple stationary and a stamp of an animal, flower, or shape of the giftee's liking, with favorite color and style in mind.
As I grow my collection, I am constantly peeking into stores and admiring cards I receive in the mail, looking for the next best. But I have also realized that these unique cards are a reflection of what you like and who you are, making them personal and individual. Like a special person, they must find you, and as we know...that always happens when you least expect it.

My most recent discovery, from Kate's Paperie.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

TOMS Shoes for Change

On May 5, TOMS Shoes celebrated its 3rd birthday and a plan to give over 300,000 shoes to children in need in 2009. In 3 short years, TOMS has not only become a fashion statement and volunteer and donation organization of choice, but has also traveled the world and donated over 140,000 pairs of shoes to children across the globe. The best part? TOMS works with a One for One model - for every pair of shoes that you buy, TOMS will give a pair away.
What intrigues me most about TOMS Shoes is the risk. If no one bought their shoes (and later shirts, sweatshirts, hats and babywear), TOMS wouldn't be able to afford to send free shoes overseas. It seems like that's what business is all about these days - taking a risk because you have the confidence to stand behind it and know that it, or you, will succeed. People are doing this everyday as they launch new plans and strategies for how to recover in the economic climate, or become more daring in the hopes of drawing in a new audience. It is invigorating to see people, companies, and organizations prosper under this mentality, and it's inspiring to watch consumers continue to support what they believe in within their current means. I can only imagine how amazing the changes and advances that people choose to make will be when security and stability are restored.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bonded by Books

A group of my girlfriends and I recently came together with the brilliant idea to start a book club. Appropriately named "Cover Girls," this is not your mama's once a month coffee and gabbing with the PTA ladies kind of book club. Yes, there will be gabbing, but we're trading coffee for cocktails and PTA for NYC.
Our first meeting took place at Mary Ann's in Chelsea, land of amazing margaritas and lava rock bowls of guacamole. We were equally and overtly excited for the occasion. Though all avid readers on our own, the opportunity to come together and discuss a book? Well, it seems like the perfect recipe of sharing thoughts and giving us any excuse to hang out.
The book we chose for our premiere month, after many minutes of voting and griping, is Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. Set in the Great Depression, the novel tells the story of a man who loses his family in a car wreck and must find himself on a journey with a traveling circus. We agreed that it was appropriate in our current economic status, and look forward to regrouping to discuss differences and similarities, among other things.
I am excited to have a monthly activity such as book club. While there is never a shortage of spontaneous things to do in this great city, I am a woman of tradition, and am ready to start a few routines of my own.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Dancer

Say you came once as a dragonfly,
a one-inch serpent-twig, the suspended "I,"

its double pair of barely air-dried wings
sewing one moment to the next. Quietness

makes it clear: it's not an exact equation,
the weight of clouds and the dusty mirror

of the pond. The nymphs are always hatching.
Something is always disturbing the surface,

changing the leeway: future perfect, past
imperfect, this green ocean of air in between.

- Margaret Holley


Sunday, April 12, 2009

From My Basket to Yours

To me, Easter is a day to celebrate togetherness, full bellies, and the child within all of us. No matter how old I get, candy from an Easter basket always tastes sweeter, and I can't remember an Easter that didn't include sun beams and green grass, laughter and twirling.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Ducks in a Row

Not only the best college mascot (quack quack!), this animal also allows for quite the creative freedom. Which duck are you?


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nelly Time

No matter what the weather outside, this little rascal is always playful. And as the temperatures rise, it's almost time for her summer cut!Gotta love a girl with a buzz...


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

5 Simple Rules for Welcoming the Sun

It's been many months since our limbs were bared to the sun (with the exception of you Spring Break goers). After hiding my bod under pants, sweaters and hats, I know that I've got some work to do! Here are my top 5 prep moves to get ready for sandals, skirts, and mini dresses.

1. Exfoliate 2-3 times/week. I go with the rule "exfoliate when you shampoo." For this naturally curly mop, that means every other day. Exfoliating before shaving will make your skin silky smooth and better prepared to soak up the sun when you show off those stems.
2. Drink your 8 glasses. While this is a 365 day rule, it becomes even more important as temperatures rise. Your hair will be shinier, your face more clear, and you won't have to ditch the park tanning sesh because you're suffering from dehydration!
3. Start the tinted moisturizer. Some wear this year-round but I wait until it would be realistic for me to have a sun kissed glow. My favorite lotion is Jergens Natural Glow, available at most drug or grocery stores. And make sure to shave before you apply!
4. Prep those toes. No need to hit the nail salon, an at home pedicure is cheap and easy, once you pick your polish. While many are going for the neon tones this season, I am partial to the pastels - buttercup yellow, lavender and pale pink. In just minutes, you'll feel ready to hit the spring shoe sales and pick up a new pair of strappy sandals.
5. Lather on the SPF. The sun has been hiding behind snow and sleet but soon it will be back with a vengeance. No matter how tan you can get or how little you want to smell like sunscreen, it's a small price to pay for another decade of taught, beautiful skin. Your body is your temple, so protect it!

Next step - pulling the spring and summer wardrobes out from under the bed or the back of the closet. After this long winter, seeing those clothes again will make them seem brand new! So summon the recessionista inside you, think before you shop and check out InStyle's spring trends for inspiration.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And We're Springing!

There are a few weeks in New York between breathtaking cold and unbearable hot when the outdoor seating area has opened and chairs are filled with people, faces baking in the afternoon sun. Sweaters are shrugged off and sunglasses perch on newly bronzed noses. This sunshine and warmth seems foreign after months of sleet and snow and gives New Yorkers a nudge of exhilaration, the kick they need to duck out early, take extra long lunches to stroll around. After such a long and heavy winter, it is hard to believe that spring and then summer are almost upon us, but the tables tell it all. A day of sun is just what we need to turn our frowns upside down. It's impossible to be a pessimist with rosy cheeks and freckled shoulders, and the streets all full of smiles.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Strong, Sexy, and Sleeveless

Michelle Obama has raised a few eyebrows and many conversations over the past few months. The public can't stop discussing her bare arms and bright colors. I'm surprised that the First Lady of 2009 is garnering so much attention on her looks, seeing as she has a very big brain as well, not to mention the enormous issues that the country is facing right now. Is dress really an object? As a woman of the 21st century, proud of feminine power and intrigue, I applaud Michelle's fashion forward figure and style choices. Here, we see a mother, a wife, a fashionista, and a politico...or is it politica? But above all, we see a woman, with muscles and curves and the freedom to make her own, personal touches and choices.

Plus, what's not to love about a lady in purple?


Sweet Surrender

Since starting my most recent job, I have been actively engaged in a sugar obsession. Each day, after a nutritious, protein-filled lunch, my coworker and partner-in-crime and I peruse the company vending machine, relishing our options. After much thought and coin counting, we indulge in one or two of the following: Snickers, Reese's PB Cups, Twix, or a rare shot in the dark, like last week's Ding Dongs. We've even gone so far as to befriend Daniel, the machine king, so that our top picks are interspersed throughout the rows to promote maximum availability. I can say with confidence that I have consumed more candy in the last month than in the last five years.
On the more stressful days, our chocolate consumption has been known to increase. For every moment when I feel like I've had my last bite of equal parts chocolate, nougat, caramel, and peanut, there is a tedious project or tiring task in which I am happy to remember that a quick fix is just 85 cents and two button presses away.
What has resulted for the sugar days surprised me immensely. As a girl with a past of body issues, diets attempts and calorie counting, had I been told a few months ago that I would be eating a candy bar a day, I would have been shocked. Instead, I am content. Eating candy and not discussing its dangers and woes, its effects and repercussions has been delightful, giddy inducing. And there is something to be said for the vending machine - a box filled with snacks, no one costing more that $1.25, available all day, everyday. It is with joy that people approach the machine, coins jingling in their palms, selections waiting on baited breathe. It may just been one of life's little pleasures.
My time in candyland has taught me a lot. One, the reality that candy is addicting, and tastes incredible. Two, eating it hasn't made me unhappy or guilty. Any opportunity for me to realize that I am free and able to indulge and satisfy myself without worry is one that I wouldn't trade. While I couldn't keep this diet up for much longer, for the time being it has been welcome. Just about as welcome as the day Daniel put Butterfingers in three different rows...sigh.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

No Bouquet Necessary

One of my favorite things, the purple orchid.

In a word...awesome.


Busy, busy, happy life

If my absence has been noticed, and means anything, it is that the life of a working New Yorker leaves little time for blogging! I have been busy on the job and reveling in my downtime, usually spent alone, attempting to carry on normalcy for the few hours between the workday ending and sleep beginning. While I have missed my little pleasures, like this site, I have realized two things. One, when I get a moment to breathe, a computer screen is not where I want to be spending it. Two, completely unrelated, being tired feels amazing. Coming home after a hard day with body aches and heavy eyelids is incomparable. I must say that I do not miss the days just a few short months ago when I started blogging because I needed something to do. Now, I look forward to the times when I have nothing to do, and they are few and far between. I have been jotting down story and note ideas, so be on the lookout! In the meantime, here's to all the busy lives out there, I'm hope they are full of excitement and exhaustion, like mine.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Glass All Full

February 2nd: Life is too short. Love, thank, be as inhumanly happy as possible. Do everything, but never forget to stop, remember, and give deep care to those around you. Hug, laugh, be petty less and passion full.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Heavy Positives

January 26th: Ever have the feeling that all of your life sections - job, friends, love, family, personal - can be going great and then one little thing goes wrong in one little area and everything falls apart? It's strange how much weight human behavior puts on the negative, making it sometimes seem impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel or remember how great everything else is going besides this tiny hiccup.
I am taking a stand against the negative. Today was a good day. Work is exhausting but extremely gratifying, I'm making new friends but keeping the old, and the parental relationship continues to grow and flourish to something of real comfort. Then came the hiccup...and there went my mood. I sat with it for an hour, allowing the feeling of disappointment to sink in a bit. Then, I remembered all the great around which my life revolves. My brilliant, driven friends and loved ones, my beautiful and powerful mother, my supportive family, this breathtaking city, a future illuminated in wonder and hope. The negative news that I received didn't hold even the tiniest of candles to the rest of my wonderful story, and here I was letting it bog me down.
So tonight, I will sleep dreaming of all of the good, all of the unknown, and none of the petty bad. I am a strong believer in things happening for worthwhile reasons and the reality that life isn't perfect. With that in mind, I will think of the imperfect, but utterly fabulous, forces that surround me. What could be bad? Certainly not this little life of mine.

Good night moon.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brand New Look

A few months ago, I was having coffee with a college acquaintance turned alumni sister, having spent the summer together surviving and thriving in New York City. In a last minute turn of events, she had packed up her car and fled the city in search of palm trees and ease, landing in Los Angeles. Around the same time, I was dragged kicking and screaming to LaGuardia Airport, forced to leave NYC and return to school. When we sat down to our croissants and nonfat lattes, it was like looking in a reverse mirror. She wanted odd jobs, zero commitment and the quest for something unknown. I wanted a paycheck, a place to hang my things, I would have even taken a puppy if I'd planned on being home from my kick ass career long enough to take care of it. We laughed in the face of our differences, pleasantly surprised that it hadn't kept us from growing close and sharing our dreams and stories.
Fast forward to this week. I arrived in New York at the end of last month and have been searching the Internet desperately for the answer to my prayers - the beloved job. I wrote heartfelt cover letters, critiqued my resume to death, and crossed fingers and toes under the covers at night. I had spent the fall giving myself mini pep talks. "You are intelligent. You are worthy. I believe in you. Good come to those who deserve it." And then...nothing. After spending 12 hours feeling depressed, so confused and lacking self confidence, I woke up with a new outlook. I was applying to every job that fit in my qualifications box. If it asked for a "self starter with strong work ethic and the ability to multi task, preferably a public relations or communications major" I was all over it. What I wasn't all over was the reality on hand. Was I really prepared to take a job, just because I matched the description and qualifications? I realized that as much as I wanted a steady salary, the freedom to stand on my own two feet, and the opportunity to put these 18 years of schooling to the test, I wasn't ready to commit. Best part? I don't need to.
I start a temporary job tomorrow that will pay me in experience, networking, and of course, cold hard cash. After that, I'll be on to conquer another area of interest, an internship or another short term job. I have found fellowship and training programs in fields that I am passionate about, subjects that I yearn to learn more from. I'm excited to take life one step at a time and see where it takes me. Ironically enough, the L.A. friend called me tonight to tell me that she just got a full time job. And I couldn't be happier for both of us. How's that for a reverse mirror?


Thursday, January 8, 2009

All That Glitters...

Miu Miu pumps...the ultimate in ooh la la.


From A to Z

Anthropologie is amazing on unparalleled levels. If I could have an entire home outfitted with bedding, kitchenware, nik naks, not to mention a closet or three filled with beyond beautiful clothing, the stylish side of life would be complete. One of my favorite items in store are the alphabet mugs. From dainty tea cups to industrial sized mugs, letters A through Z are available. This 20 ounces a morning girl picks the larger size, painted with a "Z" of course. While playing around on Google today, I found a picture that encompasses this site perfectly. So much so that I should use it as the icon, but because I have a purple flower addiction, I will post it here for all to admire. And with mugs retailing at $6, everyone can go out and find their personal piece.


Definition: Recessionista

Recessionista: A person who is able to stick to a tight budget while still managing to dress stylishly.

As in...She's superstylish, always able to buy a round of drinks and still seems to be wearing a new outfit every time you see her. She's a recessionista, that New York marvel who's a magnet for a good deal. And in this economy, she's got a lot to teach us.


In times such as these, being called a "recessionista" should be taken as the best of compliments. While I'll be the first to wish to support couture, there are ways to do so without breaking the piggy bank or making it impossible to pay next month's rent. Many designers are catching on to the trend too...launching contemporary lines and designing for Target and H&M. The idea of producing great clothes in great fabrics for the consumer audience is spreading, as it means more exposure for a lesser price, without losing any caliber.

Until the economy goes on the upswing, is it environmentally and financially friendly to stick to cheap, consignment or already hanging in the closet. Because after all, if we're such fashionistas, shouldn't we be able to put together a this season look with last season's pieces? I thought so.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fresh Start, Clean Page

January 6: Stay organized. Whether you're a list maker, rely on a day planner or a Blackberry, put a precedent on keeping your head on straight. This month is not only about the resolutions we're hoping to keep, but also the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the year ahead. No matter if you're planning to volunteer at a soup kitchen bi-monthly, trying to stick to that no refined sugar diet, or penciling in some just for you time, writing things down engages the memory and gives visual proof to prevent plate overfilling...there are only so many lines in that Filofax! Being able to reflect on your schedule can also remind you of what you like to do, and what you need more time for. At least for the first month of the new year, make sure you're #1.