Closet Sale Now Live

Friday, July 31, 2015

Just popping in to link up with my closet sale, now live on eBay (because I am just old-fashioned enough to have a closet sale on eBay rather than Instagram).  I’ve set every item’s starting price under $5.00, as this is more or less a  “Pay me to clean out my closet” kind of sale, so here are 10 items you may want to check out, most only available for the next 15 hours or so:

nike tempo running shorts in peach and in blue,

these minnetonka moccasins that I love but are a half-size too big (size 9 1/2, never worn)

this strapless black swimsuit from venus, never worn (the bottoms are a little too high-cut to be flattering on my frame)

these green skinny jeans that I only wore twice (I wanted to wear them more, but my wardrobe is just too black/gray/neutral)

And some non-closet items:

my favorite set of sheets that get softer with every wash (brand new in box, because I accidentally bought more sets than I needed)

a brand new macbook charger (MagSafe2; my computer requires a MagSafe, which I didn't realize until after I bought this and it was too late to return)

the anastasia contour kit in powder (used only 3 times before I switched to cream; still in like new condition)

lancome 'doll lashes' mascara in black (used several times before I switched back to Clinique, but Mario Dedivanovic swears by this kind, so....)

this dakine duffel bag that I've had for years and loved (bonus: I got it in Salzburg)


Thanks!  Will be back Monday morning with new posts every day featuring photos and stories from our trip to DC. 

How to ride the Boltbus from NYC to DC (and find your new best friend while you’re at it).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

On Wednesday morning, we packed up at our things at Hotel Lindsay, ate breakfast with the groceries she had so generously provided us (boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, granola -- a Bavarian breakfast if I ever saw one, minus the Semmeln and meat and cheese, of course) and prepared to Uber out of Harlem and on toward our departure point.  I had booked us bus tickets with Boltbus; it was, by far, the cheapest way to get from NYC to DC (our next destination).  

I was very much looking forward to a day of (mostly) rest and relaxation; the bus ride was 4-5 hours long and, as Joe and I had spent the past few days walking around the city for hours on end, my body was experiencing a soreness reminiscent of the time I went skiing in the Alps and fell so hard my pants came off (those next SEVERAL post-skiing days were, hands down, the sorest I've ever been in my life).

When I opened the Uber app to call our ride, it crashed.  When Joe tried from his phone, the same thing happened.  We had a free ride that we really wanted to use, so we both deleted the app from our phones and tried again, to no avail.  Having wasted several minutes in the process on the free ride that was no longer free, we hastily said goodbye to Lindsay, rushing to catch a cab instead.   On the cab ride over, I angrily tweeted at Uber (they later resolved the issue but only after we officially switched to Lyft and did not regret it) (more about that next week) while lamenting with Joe that we were leaving NYC without having been interviewed/photographed by Humans of New York.  We pulled up to our stop just in time, grabbed our luggage, paid our driver, and stood in line with the crowd of Boltbus travelers that had formed along the sidewalk.

That cab ride was unexpected expense number one.  Unexpected expense number two came to our attention when we realized, waiting to board the bus, that Joe had left his suit bag hanging on the back of Lindsay’s door (a suit we had brought from home – not from Suit Supply, don’t worry).  We didn’t have time to go back and get it, and she was catching a flight to Florida later that day, so I was hesitant to burden her since I knew her time was short.  After discussing our options, though, we decided that the most efficient solution was for Lindsay to express mail the suit to our temporary D.C. address, to which she happily agreed (bless her soul).

Once aboard the bus and out of New York City, we, true to form, fell fast asleep (Joe first, though – always Joe first).  We sat “shotgun” (in the two seats to the right of the bus driver and just slightly behind where normal ‘shotgun’ seats would be in a vehicle), as I have found it’s always best to sit as close to the driver and as far away from the back as possible.... just trust me on this one.

When we woke up from our nap, the bus driver, in a Scorcese character accent that sounded much like my Italian-American friend’s dad who goes by the name of ‘Big Mike’, turned to us and said, “We just passed the most beautiful little scene – a family of deer drinking out of a river.  I looked over to show ya and ya were both passed out!”  I smiled politely while re-adjusting my bag in my seat, preparing to go back to sleep.  Joe, on the other hand, took this man’s lone comment as an invitation to divulge to him every detail of our lives; they talked for the remainder of the bus ride, suddenly the closest of friends.  This man now knows (1) what type of law we want to practice, (2) what type of law we don’t want to practice, (3) that I have dog and cat allergies, among others, (4) Joe’s preferred methods for training bird dogs, (5) all about our future home renovation plans and (6) various other details about our hopes and dreams as a family. 

And we learned a lot about ‘Big Mike #2’ as well, namely (1) that his wife sold his Mustang to pay for their home (2) his favorite type of flooring to install in a home (answer: heated), (3) what types of flooring he recommends for my allergies (answer: also heated), (4) why he thinks we should practice family law (“People’ll never stop gettin’ divorced!  And now the gays can get divorced too!”), (5) that he is 3-5 years away from paying off his mortgage, and (6) that his kids are way better at texting than he is (he just can’t figure his phone out).

Although we were both a little sad to say goodbye to Joe’s newfound friend and apparent soulmate, we quickly made our way out through Union Station, but not before Big Mike #2 could give me a friendly slap on the shoulder and say, “Good luck bein’ a lawyer, kid.” (pronounced ‘loy-ya’). 

While waiting in line for the taxis, Joe and I commented on how surprisingly pleasant our bus ride experience had been (and I am hardly a stranger to unpleasant bus rides).  With Boltbus, you show up at the departure point as indicated on your ticket, get in line and wait for further instruction (in our case, our driver simply called out to the line that had formed along the sidewalk, “Anyone going to DC, form a line by the curb.  Anyone not going to DC, form a line by the fence.”), and then you’ll load your luggage underneath your designated bus and board.  As you step aboard, your driver will check your ticket and you won’t need to show it again.  When you arrive at your destination, you simply step off the bus, grab your luggage, and you’re done.  The good part about traveling this way (versus flying) is that when you arrive in your destination city, you’re there.  There’s no half-hour drive into the city from the airport, and you don’t have to stand around waiting at baggage claim, nor do you have to worry about luggage getting lost or misplaced.  Likewise, you don’t have to show up that early for check-in; we showed up, like, 15 minutes before and had more than enough time.  

Thus, the next time I make the NYC-DC commute, I will likely use Boltbus. And hopefully Big Mike #2 will be my driver again, and I can find out how much further along he is on his mortgage.

A day in Central Park + Celebrity Sightings in Midtown

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We did a lot of cool things in NYC, most of which had to do with seeing friends, some old and some new.  Reuniting with Lindsay, Chris, and JC was predictably entertaining and memorable, Blanton was hilarious as always, and spending the evening with Meg was just as fun as I'd hoped.  But I still think my favorite part of our time in New York City was the entire day Joe and I spent in Central Park, just the two of us, wandering around.

Joe had been to NYC a few times before, but never to Central Park.  And I had seen You’ve Got Mail a few thousand times before, but had never been to Central Park, either.  So this was exciting for both of us.

We started out in Harlem, walking from Lindsay’s apartment to the northern end of the park.  We worked our way from the north end to the south, crisscrossing east and west throughout the day, so as not to miss a single square inch of green.

My first impression of the park was: “Joe!  I think this is where Kevin McCallister threw the birdseed at the Wet Bandits!” but then I realized how stupid that must have sounded, because the bird lady threw the birdseed at the Wet Bandits – not Kevin – and by that time, they were the Sticky Bandits.  I’m an idiot.

Later on, we ran into those street vendors who paint caricatures of your face, and one of the ‘example’ pieces was a caricature of Amanda Bynes.  It dawned on me: doesn’t Amanda Bynes live in NYC?  I freaked.  “Joe!  What if we see Amanda Bynes while we’re here?”  In that moment, I was sure our paths would cross with hers, just as I was sure that Kaitlyn and I would see Jason Schwartzman that time we were in London and googled “Where does Jason Schwartzman like to go in London.”  Without missing a beat, Joe calmly responded, “We would talk to her and befriend and help her get back on her feet.”

Unfortunately for us (and for her, apparently), we did not see Amanda Bynes.  But we did see Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana.  We had just exited the park when we saw them shooting a scene for a movie on the sidewalk right there on the corner of something and something (I don’t know anything about street addresses in NYC except that Joe Fox’s apartment building was #152).  I turned to Joe as we watched the two interact between takes and squealed, “Look at Ricky Gervais; he’s just standing there smiling!” as if that were the most remarkable thing for a celebrity to be doing.  We didn’t talk to either of them, just like we didn’t talk to Lena Dunham when we were standing LITERAL INCHES away from her at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, which is one of my biggest regrets to date.  Instead, we kept on walking, right past the Scientology building, where I became very convinced that not only were they filming our every move and listening to our conversation, but that they were listening to our thoughts as well.  I’ve seen the HBO documentary; I know what I’m talking about.

If they had been listening to our thoughts, though, they would have been sorely disappointed.  Because I was still thinking about what I should have said to Lena Dunham, and Joe was thinking about what kind of fescue they use in Central Park. 

I don’t actually know if that’s what he was thinking about at that exact moment, but they likelihood is high, as that was 90% of what he talked about that day.

P.S. We tried Momofuku Milk Bar and I hated it; way too salty.  And unlike the Levain cookie I also found overrated, I couldn’t even finish the soft serve, and ended up throwing it away, so you know it must have been bad.

P.P.S. After Joe finished reading this post, he smiled to himself introspectively, staring off into space.  I asked him what he was thinking about, and when he didn't respond, I waited a few seconds before continuing, "You're not thinking about fescue again, are you?"  He smiled even wider and answered with a definitive "Maybe."  I give up.

The Wild and Wily Ways of Two (!) Brunette Bombshells (....and Other Notable NYC Moments).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Apart from Joe seeing his friends from Brown, and me seeing my Salzburg friends, I also got to spend time with my good friend Blanton, and Ms. Meg Fee herself! 

I hadn’t seen Blanton in years, so it was great to reminisce.  Topics over dinner ranged from ‘the time I wore painted-on skinny jeans to Austin City Limits and sweated through them to the point that my legs were stained purplish-blue for over a month’ to ‘mutual frenemies and what they are and are not doing with their lives right now.’  He also taught me about selfie lighting (I learned a lot, I really did) and invited me to stop by Bloomingdale’s the following day, where he spends his days doing really cool things for Ralph Lauren (basically Joe’s dream job).

After Bloomingdale’s, Joe and I shopped around at CB2, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and – the grand finale – Suit Supply, where Joe considered buying 4 suits so seriously that I began to contemplate the earning potential of selling all my organs.

Luckily for me (and my organs), Joe exercised a healthy amount of willpower and left Suit Supply empty-handed, and our finances stayed in tact.  And I didn't have to worry about budgetary matters in Restoration or PB either, because our motives for shopping at those places had less to do with furniture shopping and more to do with furniture, shall we say, appropriating; after walking all day, the thought of collapsing onto a plush leather couch in an air-conditioned environment seemed so much more appealing than a rickety old park bench, outside in the humidity.  So we did that thing where you act like you’re interested in buying the particular piece of furniture you’re occupying every time the store employees walk by.  “Joe, should we get this couch for your parents’ place in the Hamptons?  Or what about the house on Lake Como?  Wouldn’t it look so nice next to that cream-colored settee?”

No one in either of our families owns property in the Hamptons or on Lake Como (sadly), and I don’t know anything about a cream-colored settee.  I’m also not entirely sure I know what a settee is.

After it became glaringly obvious that we had claimed a certain $7,000 couch for the sole purpose of  enjoying what my friend Lindsay calls 'Lounge Time', Joe and I swiftly exited the store and parted ways for the remainder of the night to hang out separately with friends.

Enter Meg Fee.  I met her outside of her office so we could walk to dinner together, and my first impression was that I had never seen someone so beautiful in real life.  I’m telling you, her photos in blog and Insta form don’t quite do her justice because she is breathtakingly gorgeous, #nofilter and all.

Apart from my admiring Meg's beauty, we had some serious catching up to do!  Is it called 'catching up' when you've never met in real life but have exchanged blog comments, tweets, emails and texts intermittently for the past 5 or so years?  Either way, I had reserved no less than 6 hours of time with Meg because I knew we would use it, and use it we did.  We dined at Barrio Chino (get the guacamole!) and then headed to Hamilton's for dessert where I enjoyed a very large chocolate malt and she enjoyed something that I was too distracted by my malt to notice.  She didn’t even mind when I made loud and embarrassing slurping noises with my straw for 30 seconds so as to ensure that I’d really gotten my money’s worth on that malt, which, in my experience, has always been the true test of a good friendship.

After dessert, we couldn’t bear to part ways just yet, so we met up with Joe for a drink (fun fact: on the way there, Meg was ‘recognized’ by a fan on the subway), and plotted and schemed as to how we can go into business together, while Joe smiled and nodded politely, as all good husbands do.  She encouraged me to reactivate my blog URL -- begging me on behalf of her mother -- as I debated with her, "But I don't know....I feel like people are so mean on the internet in 2015."  And just as I'd expected, our six-hours-or-so flew by in the blink of an eye and before I knew it, it was time to bid her farewell and walk our separate ways home.

But after spending all that time with Meg, I still don’t know what I’m more flattered by: the fact that she wanted to hang out with me for six hours on end, or the fact that her mom loves my blog....?

A Night Out at Mess Hall in Harlem: a Salzburg Reunion of Sorts

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lindsay, Chris, and I all studied together in Salzburg, and saw each other frequently after we moved on from there; Lindsay and I both stuck around in Germany for a while even after our time in Salzburg was over (she was au-pairing for a German family in the little town of Rosenheim during my Fulbright years), and Chris moved to Barcelona after Salzburg, but then came back to Germany to spend my 24th birthday with me at Oktoberfest!  What’s great is that while none of us have lived in Europe in a few years, we still keep in touch pretty regularly.  I’m part of a group text with Lindsay and I feel like we talk pretty much every day.  And both Lindsay and Chris came to my wedding this past May – Lindsay was even a bridesmaid.  I guess this shouldn’t surprise me, because when you share the kind of unique experiences that we have shared, you feel like those friends just get you in a way that no one else does.  Joe and I talk a lot about shared experiences and how that can lay the foundation for a friendship that would not otherwise have formed – or one that may have formed but would not have otherwise stood the test of time but for those shared experiences.

One such shared experience – shared among Chris, Lindsay, myself, and others – was hosting a recurring visitor in Salzburg: my friend (who is now our friend) (I’m not being selfless, I just don’t really want to claim him as my own) JC.  JC and I met in the US during undergrad, and then he studied in Valencia when I was living in Salzburg.  I went to visit him in Spain, and then he came to visit me in Salzburg (he even celebrated Halloween there).... and then he just sort of kept popping back up in Salzburg.  If memory serves me, there was a fairly cheap Ryan Air flight from Barcelona to Salzburg at the time and JC had no problem booking it on a whim, and then letting me know after the fact (“Hey, I’m on my way to Salzburg, pick me up from the airport!”). 

In reality, I think this happened only once, but you will soon understand why it left the impact of a thousand visits.

During his second visit, we assigned him to Chris’s room (Chris lived alone on the second floor of the building; Caroline and I shared a room on the third) and thought all would be well until the first night, when we were awoken by a knock on our door around 2 AM.  He told us that Chris had sat up in bed, pointing and yelling across the room at him (in his sleep), and that he was “scared.”  For the life of me, I cannot remember where or how we obtained a mattress – for all I know, we could have dragged it up the stairs from Chris’ room and maybe I’ve just repressed that delirious memory – but we dragged this mattress into the floor of our room and told him to sleep there until the morning when ‘the Chris situation’ could be resolved.  Cut to 10 minutes later and JC had fallen sound asleep, snoring so loudly that Caroline and I were about to pull our hair out.  So, we dragged the twin mattress (with JC atop it) into the foyer of our room, the only problem being that the length of the mattress exceeded the length of the foyer when both foyer doors were closed.  And we couldn’t leave the doors open because the snoring was so loud that it would have kept us awake.  Thus, we shut JC into the foyer, with his mattress balanced between the two foyer doors in the shape of a banana.  All was well until 5 hours later when Caroline and I awoke to JC standing over our beds speaking in a decibel much too loud for the early hours of the morning. “Hey, girls – I’m hungry and we’re all out of Choco Balls.  Can you go to the store to get me some more Choco Balls?”  Choco Balls were a Euro cereal that JC had bought upon his arrival in Salzburg (and had somehow already consumed in their entirety).  Only after Caroline sat up in her bed and shouted, “Can you be quiet for once in your life?” did I send JC waaaaaay down the street to Hofer to get some Choco Balls.  I failed to mention to him that Merkur – the grocery store directly across from our dorm – also sold them.  I figured he could use the fresh air, and Caroline could enjoy a few extra minutes to herself.

A few days later, JC was supposed to take his return flight back to Valencia.  He had decided to just continue sleeping in the foyer of our room and Caroline was at her wit’s end with him.  Part of the problem was that we had to more or less crawl over his mattress to get into our bathroom, and completely move the mattress out of the foyer to get into our closet.  Anyhow, I promised Caroline he would be gone by the time we returned from our Mozart class.  So, off we went to class – Caroline already feeling relief that we’d soon have our room back to ourselves – after saying goodbye to JC and giving him specific instructions as to how to catch the bus to the airport.  Two hours later, when we were walking back from class, we turned the corner to our building and saw several of our friends at a pool party – not uncommon, as we had the most amazing pool at our dorm – and who should we see in the center of the group but JC himself, life of the party, with a Stiegl beer in hand.  I think Caroline’s response was something to the effect of “No, no, no, no, no, no – tell me I’m not seeing what I think I’m seeing.”  JC’s reaction when he saw us was priceless: “Hey, guys!  My aunt bought me a later flight back so I could stay an extra few days, isn’t that great?”  I can’t be sure, but I want to say we moved his mattress out into the actual hallway for the rest of his visit.  But ever so reluctantly, he became somewhat of a fixture of our group in Salzburg, so much so that when we were all reunited at my wedding, Caroline, Lindsay, and Kayla were genuinely thrilled to see him.

But this is what I’m talking about – these are the kinds of shared experiences that lay the foundation for a lifelong friendship; once you survive the whirlwind that is the never-ending visit from JC, you can survive pretty much anything.  So it was par for the course when Lindsay, Chris, and myself were sitting at Mess Hall with Joe on our first night in New York, and in walks JC – a Philadelphian resident who had taken the train up for the night.  We didn’t have any Choco Balls to serve him, but he did enjoy a bowl of the cheese puffs.  And all was right with the world.

P.S. In the above photo, you may notice that JC is proudly holding a plastic Star Wars cup.  When Kaitlyn and I lived on Gray Street, we had a plastic Star Wars juice cup that JC declared his “token party cup.”  He would drink out of it any time he came over, and I brought it with me when I moved to Salzburg, knowing I would visit him and vice versa.  Sure enough, he drank out of the ‘token party cup’ during each of his visits and by the end, it was so badly stained with red wine and sangria that I ended up leaving it behind in Salzburg when I moved out.  I’ve never heard the end of it, either – he really misses that cup – so before Joe and I left for our trip, I found a similar cup at Target and bought it (for a total of 80 cents).  I figured we would see him in New York so I packed it in my purse and when I told him I had a surprise for him, he somehow instinctively knew it was a replacement Star Wars cup.  Maybe when Joe and I make it to Salzburg later this summer, I’ll find a box of Choco Balls to ship back home for him.... but I am anticipating spending all of my money on Happy Hippos, Ritter Sports, and Milka Bars, so I make ZERO promises.