Tuesday, January 15, 2013

exploring nyc: nice matin

Photo courtesy of Grub Street New York

One thing that's thrilling about New York City is the endless string of opportunities to discover new people, places, things. Like lots of freelancers, I'm drawn to cafes where I can connect to WiFi, have a cup of tea and not get dirty looks for sitting with my laptop open in front of me. As a server myself, I'm particularly cautious to not overstay my welcome. I like to sit at bars so I'm not occupying tables, and I try to order something every hour and leave a nice tip. (What goes around comes around, right?)

My newest haunt is just two blocks from my temporary home on the Upper West Side. It's Nice Matin on West 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, located below the Lucerne Hotel. It's been a great atmosphere for writing and editing— perfectly my style. Located on the corner, it has huge windows along its peninsular walls, offering wonderful perspective on the gorgeous Upper West Side. The light inside, supplied largely by naked bulbs, is bright and golden, making it feel warm and cozy, but its sweeping, curved bar, high ceilings and sprawling dining room, along with those windows, keep it from feeling stuffy or cramped. The playlist is a healthy mix of French and instrumental jazz (I love Shazaming the stuff I don't know). The clientele are chatty but not distractingly loud.

In summary, it's fabulous. I highly recommend it.

Where the guy in the black is sitting is exactly where I've been parking with my laptop this week. It's a great stool :)
Photo courtesy of Centsational Girl

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

writing in the new year

photo of me by my friend Griffin Norman, September 2012
earrings and necklace by the excellent Laine Benthall, tee by Everlane

It's now been more than a year since I graduated from Indiana University and effectively stopped blogging. They tell you that it will be, but it doesn't make graduating from college any less of a doozy of a transition.

A few months, I had the great privilege of being able to meet, in the flesh, for the first time ever, one of my greatest inspirations, Ms. Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo. I met Joanna, and also Sharon of NYC Taught Me, at the bake sale they hosted at Dwell Studio in SoHo to benefit recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy. It was a positively gorgeous day— the sun shone so warm I took off my sweater and frolicked around Lower Manhattan (which finally had electricity again, thank God) in my tshirt. As if that feeling of liberty weren't inspiring enough, Sharon and Joanna offered me encouragement to start blogging again, and, heartened by their kind words and sweet smiles, I'm back to blog.

Here's where I am:

I am 23. I surf sofas in the center of the world. I serve tables in the West Village and struggle to pay my bills. I'm a photographer without a camera, a worker without sleep, and I feel as though I have barely a friend in this massive city.

Month by month, it gets better. I find my footing more sure, even as my direction still seems vague. One of the more exciting projects of this past year has been the Stringer. the Stringer is an online literary magazine that my friends Jami and Julia and I started as our writing group faded and our mutual interests in creative careers joined forces for something bigger. In December of last year, I was in a funk, and Julia practically dragged me to join her writing group. I was reluctant. I didn't like the idea of pressure to write or sharing my writing with strangers. But somehow, one evening, I found myself parked in the Starbucks cafe in the Barnes and Noble in Evansville, Indiana, with my laptop in front of me and surrounded by four women, only one with whom I had any personal relationship whatsoever. I began, for the first time since that past summer, to really write. I began to write about my three months in New York, interning for Glamour magazine, living in the West Village. The group dwindled and swelled over the winter and spring months, but, ultimately, by June, our six was three: Jami, Julia and me. Throughout those summer months, the three of us met, sharing what we knew and what we didn't know, on paper and, often, in uproarious conversation, during which our laughter bounced off the various cafe tables under our coffee cups, ricocheted off the ceilings and filled the venues we frequented. We vented about men, jobs, futures and pasts. We laughed a lot, but we also cried.

As I return to blogging, I'm making a resolution. I resolve to live in the moment, to experience each moment, and let it be. From what I've heard, it's worth a shot.


Here's wishing you and yours a beautiful, peaceful, prosperous, loving and joyful year!

War is over (if we want it).