On a Deadline

I'm a list maker. Groceries, Halloween costume ideas, plays I want to see, what I might want for dinner that night, you name it, I probably have a list for it. "To do" lists are, therefore, part of my everyday routine which involves versions of asking myself the following: What's on the list for today? What order should I go in? What goes on the list for tomorrow? The thing about to do lists, is that unlike the other lists, they only work if you have a "by" aka a DEADLINE. I will do X by Y. 

One of the most helpful and frightening things I've done over the past year, is set deadlines for myself. Take this blog for example. It was something I had long wanted to do and I found myself out of excuses or reasons not to do it. Is it perfect? Not at all. I have adjusted everything from physical look to posting schedule along the way and will continue to do so as time goes on. I can't even begin to imagine what a "perfect blog" would entail nor do I think it's possible to ever have one. This past Monday, I attended an event with Six Degrees Society (awesome events and networking company for young professions- highly recommend checking it out!) which was focused on starting a business. During the formal presentation, I was reminded of a phrase one of my college professors often used. I forget the exact wording but it was along the lines of, don't let the perfect ruin the good. In other words, perfection is not the goal and if you try to make it such, you will probably ruin or even miss out on some really great things.

It's not going to happen. [Source - with some adjustments by yours truly]

It's not going to happen. [Source - with some adjustments by yours truly]

It takes a lot of work to adjust to a "I don't need perfect" mindset, especially for those of us who are Type A, but once you start, it is really liberating. (Am I getting too woo-woo?) Perfection, and the pursuit of it, can be paralyzing. For me, taking no action is a much bigger failure than doing something and later adjusting course. In fact, I view failure as inaction and believe that everything else is just a different outcome than the one you anticipated. Think of it this way, imagine you are going on a road trip and you have the following two options:

  1. You can take the correct route, but you will start out in standstill traffic for 2 hours OR
  2. You take a wrong turn and have to turnaround without any major delays to your trip

It seems like a no-brainer right? 

Do you set deadlines? What's the worst traffic jam you've ever been in?


Back to School... Again

You may have noticed things have been extra quiet around here recently. It's not you, it's me, or rather, it's that I went back to school

I'm averaging 8 pages of notes per session which seems to be way more than anyone else. #SorryNotSorry [Source]

I'm averaging 8 pages of notes per session which seems to be way more than anyone else. #SorryNotSorry [Source]

Why hit the books? Simple. Having transitioned from formally practicing law to my current work, much of which is social media based, I wanted to get a firm handle on the analytics side of things, make sure there aren't any huge gaps in what I know and have learned on the job, and earn a credential that speaks directly to my work. For better or worse, there are many people who want to see X degree or studies on your resume, regardless of your real world experience and abilities. 

I'm now halfway through an accelerated Certificate Program in Online & Social Media Marketing. Rather than meeting over the course of many weeks, class is all day on Saturdays for a month. Being in a classroom all day and only having one-day weekends has not been the most fun BUT I am really enjoying the program. Everything we learn is directly applicable to everyday situations. Rather than just focusing on theory, the professor wants to make sure that we come away knowing exactly how to implement what we learn. I lucked out with the instructor; he has a lot of experience in the industry and is a great lecturer who's open to questions and loves to be challenged. For example, he is still not convinced that Instagram can be used as an effective marketing tool. From my own experience, I know this is not the case. He loves hearing about my work and we have great discussions on how different tools suit different industries.  

I love learning and sitting in class taking notes feels so natural. #NerdAlert For the most part the hours fly by, though 2pm-4pm is a rough stretch. Full disclosure, I had a lot of concerns when it came time to decide if I would enroll or not, some of which were pretty silly.

  • How would having a one-day weekend be?
  • Was I going to lose the not relationship/relationship thing that I was newly in? [No, although it is over
  • Fall apple picking is probably for sure out. 
  • No Saturday mornings with Kate and Kara at Flywheel :(
  • Am I going to be totally burnt out when the program ends?
  • What if the class is bad?  

I'm happy to report that now these all seem pretty trivial. My sleeping patterns have taken a hit, hello post-class naps from 7pm-9pm and a 2am bedtime (oops), but I'm already half-way done. Although each week I do pump myself up by saying, "Only X more to go!" I am so glad I decided to enroll.

Anyone out there also in school? Any tips on how to make the most of Sundays? 

ThredUP Review

As I wrote about in this post, I recently did a big closet clean out. Where did my cast off garments go? Some went to family friends but a decent portion went to ThredUP. What up? Let me explain. ThredUP is an online second hand shop where you can be both a buyer and a seller. Thus far, I have only used it to sell, so I won't be reviewing the purchasing side.

Not me but more or less what I look like carrying a big 'ole bag of my old clothes.                      IG: @moddyapple

Not me but more or less what I look like carrying a big 'ole bag of my old clothes.                      IG: @moddyapple

Overview: The process is super simple. To sell, you create an account on ThreadUP's site and then request a clean-out bag. Once the HUGE bag (seriously you can fit shoes and lots of clothes in there) arrives, you fill it up and then drop it at the post office. There are no shipping fees, and the label is pre-printed for you. Once your bag is received, you get a confirmation email with an approximate date of when everything will be processed. When your time comes, you get another email telling you what your bag has been valued at. If you have items valued under $60, you get paid as soon as they are processed (two weeks). For items valued over $60, you get a percentage once the items have sold. Overall, I've had a really good experience with ThredUP and have now used it twice. Here's a breakdown of the Pros and Cons. 


  • Ease of Use - From sign up to receiving your payment, everything is very straightforward and simple. Sometimes technology and buying/selling online can get unnecessarily complicated, not so here. [Note: I've only done the cash-out with a Visa pre-paid option so I'm not sure if the PayPal, converting $ to credits, or donating - still not so sure how this works, options are more complex.]
  • Transparency - ThredUP has a very comprehensive FAQ page and tells you what they accept and provides a payout estimator.  Once your bag has been valued, you see an itemized listing of how everything has been valued.
  • Convenience - Very little is required on your part. Shipping is pretty much all handled for you, you just have to get the bag and then return it (filled) to the post office and the same goes for receiving payment. As noted above, I choose to cash-out via Visa pre-paid card, basically a use anywhere gift card, and when the time to cash-out comes, I just select that option and the card is mailed to me. 
  • Responsible Recycling - Like any second hand store, ThredUP will not accept all items, for anything that isn't accepted you can choose to have them returned to you (you will pay shipping for this) or for them to be responsibly recycled, i.e. donated which may mean that the items themselves are donated or that they go somewhere that will break them down and use the materials to make new products. I have opted for this both times because the whole point is to get these items out of my house and if they can go do some good in the world in whatever form, then I'd like them to do that (and also not to come back and clutter up my NYC apartment).
  • Not Just Clothes - Have extra shoes or bags sitting around? ThredUP takes those too! With the shoes, I did put mine in a plastic bag inside the clean out bag as I was worried they might mess up some of the clothing (get things dirty, heels catch on fabric, etc.). [Not really "Con" worthy, but if ThredUP enclosed an additional bag for shoes/bags to keep them separate, I think it would be really helpful.]
  • Communication - This will also show up in the cons but for now, I like that you get emails along the way so that you know where in the process your things are and can guesstimate the time frame.


  • Valuation - I feel like items are a bit under-valued. That said, I am not the expert on this or what shoppers are willing to pay so take this with a grain of salt. You can adjust the price of something listed for consignment (that's the value over $60 category) and I just recently did so; I'm curious to see how it sells.
  • Communication & Timing - As I said, you get emails along the way BUT they do not always keep to the timeline. In both of my ThredUP experiences, I've been told that my bag would be processed much sooner than it was and/or that they were experiencing delays. Notification of delays is not always relayed and on the one hand I felt like "well I didn't want the stuff anyway so even if it's lost who cares," I was also very much (and more so) in the camp of "I could have sold/donated my things somewhere else so do you have it or not and what is going on?"
  • Donating - ThredUP's site says you can use your payout to donate but I have no idea how that works and can't figure it out. To be honest, I will probably not take that option as I do support many organizations and really use this as a way to rationalize my matcha lattes. Still, it would be nice to know how it works should I want to and I imagine there are sellers who would like to utilize this option.

BOTTOM LINE: I definitely see myself continuing to use ThredUP. It makes getting rid of unwanted-but-still-in-great-condition clothing so easy and you get some money back. Wins all around.

Have you used ThredUP or anything similar? Anything in your closet that you'd NEVER part with?

Bagels & Sins

It felt wrong to write about food yesterday (for those not in the know, yesterday was Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, and part of the tradition is fasting). However, I'm pretty sure that most people spent a big part of their day thinking about food, specifically bagels, the traditional break fast meal. Or if you're me, you think about food and bagels most days anyway and just thought about them a little more yesterday.

Be still my heart. IG: @acgraham_

Be still my heart. IG: @acgraham_

In honor of the beloved bagel, I thought I would do a roundup of my favorite bagel places in the NY-area.

  1. H&H* Although H&H closed its doors in 2011, it will forever be my favorite bagel store. They didn't toast, they didn't spread. It was no frills. You walk in, order the dry bagels of your choosing (which more often than not had just come out of the oven), pick a drink and tub of cream cheese from the wall of refrigerators and then get as many napkins and plastic knives as you need. If these made it home it was a miracle. Late night coming home, stop at H&H, mid-day stop at H&H, weekend morning what do we have left from H&H. Gone but never forgotten. #RIP
  2. Murray's Bagels - Like H&H, Murray's also doesn't toast, a fact which they proudly display on their shirts. Murray's has two locations, one in Greenwich Village and the other in Chelsea. Despite living closer to their Chelsea location, I find the service much better at their Greenwich Village shop and 99% of the time am there. They have the full roster of spreads, meats, cheeses, lox, you name it. They also make salads. If you go to Murray's and get a salad, I don't want to know you (but also I do because who does that?!).
  3.  H&H Midtown East - This tricky minx is neither my late H&H (though apparently it is owned by a distant cousin) nor in Midtown (it's on the UES). Super confusing, I know. It's not often that I'm on the UES and given how good Murray's is, there's no need to trek, but H&H ME makes a damn good bagel and they toast (and will make any other bagel concoction your heart desires). The staff has always been super nice and I've never had a bagel from them that didn't leave me happy and full.
  4. Goldberg's - Goldberg's Famous Bagels have been my summer bagels for many a year as they are a small family chain on long island. Their bagels can run a bit on the big and chewy side but not offensively so. My biggest gripe with Goldberg's is that their inventory doesn't last long and they don't produce all day. (Spoiled Manhattanite I know.) If you get there too late in the day, it will be slim pickings. If you do manage to snag your top pick, you won't be disappointed.
  5. Hand Rolled Bagels - HRB may not have the catchiest name or even a website, FB Page, or other social presence beyond Yelp reviews, but this little gem in Rye, NY makes some of the best bagels in Westchester County (if you know of others let me know!). Their hours aren't super long and they don't take credit cards but it's worth forking over the dough for their dough.
Without a green bagel, is it still St. Patrick's Day?

Without a green bagel, is it still St. Patrick's Day?

I imagine some of you are gasping that certain locales are not on here, namely Black Seed, Russ & Daughters, Sadelle's, Brooklyn Bagel, and Absolute Bagels. What can I say, these 5 are my favs.

What are your favorite bagels? Is there somewhere that I need to know about?!  

Class Review: Swerve Fitness

Happy Monday! My thought of the day: Did watching the debate count as cardio? My heart was definitely up. But enough of that, let's talk about actual fitness. This past weekend I mixed things up and took my first class at SWERVE. What prompted this? Two things: 1) I've been curious to try Swerve and its team take on cycling since the first studio opened in Flatiron in 2013 (there is now a second Midtown location which opened in 2015) and 2) The lovely Erin Nelson who is part of my extended #fitfam is an instructor there.

Booking: You book directly through Swerve's website (i.e. not MindBody); it's very easy to use. After buying a class/package, you select your class and bike which in this case also entails picking your team (red, blue, or green). Erin assured me that riders are re-distributed in case the teams are really uneven. I booked a bike on the red team (*Spoiler*: We came in second.)

Studio: The lobby area is gorgeous; clean, all white color scheme, with tables and a smoothie bar- similar to the Fuel Bar at Barry's you can order before class and have your drink waiting when you finish. You give your name at the front desk and they handle check-in. Shoes are available free of charge though water is $2/bottle. There are complimentary ear plugs, hair ties, and gum (I have never understood the gum thing at workouts- I think I would maybe choke?). The staff was lovely and told me to flag someone down when I got into the studio (downstairs) to help me with bike set up and explain their technology. Easy peasy.

All clean and shiny. The tables against the wall were in the middle when I was there. Back right is the smoothie bar and down the hallway you see are bathrooms, locker rooms, and the stairs down to the studio. [Source]

All clean and shiny. The tables against the wall were in the middle when I was there. Back right is the smoothie bar and down the hallway you see are bathrooms, locker rooms, and the stairs down to the studio. [Source]

Bathroom/Locker Room: It was day one post-horrible head cold and I just plain forgot to check these out. They have them though and if what I saw in the rest of the space is any indication, I imagine they have all the basics. The website shows photos with towels and L'Occitane soap so I think you'll be all set.

Bikes/Swerve Tech: The bikes were different than other cycling bikes I have recently ridden, with thicker handlebars. I wasn't necessarily bothered by this, it was just different. I'm not sure my settings were quite right but I'm also so used to the feel of a Flywheel bike that it might just be like putting on your other pair of sneakers, still fit, still work, just a different feel (maybe this is only me)? Towels were waiting for you on the bike as were weights- they have the same little under the seat basket-y things that SoulCycle uses. Note: Check your weights ahead of time and make sure you really want what you have. I had 3s and boy do I regret not swapping out for 2s, although I made it so go me! The tech pack was a mix of what I used when doing Cycle for Survival at Equinox and what Flywheel uses. You have Watts, RPMs, a wheel which displays your resistance inside (3/4 is a flat road, 5/6 is a jog, and 7+ is a hill), and your Swerve score. There was a little lag time between turning up my resistance and the display on the screen changing so sometimes I would be turning and turning and then suddenly OMFG I'm in tar. Not sure if this is true of all the bikes or just mine but either way, nbd. After class your stats are emailed to you (see photo below). I'm not sure what a "good score" is but Erin told me a new rider should aim for 300-500.

Music/Lights & Erin: (I feel that lights and music are so instructor-dependent that it's part of each instructor's style.)The music was spot on! A solid playlist, of songs that perfectly matched what we were doing on the bike. Sadly I can't tell you what any of them were, but trust, they were good. Erin made good use of the lights and board. We were mostly in the dark with the lights along the floor on, but at times she would turn up the podium light and then of course flash the light of the winning team- not totally sold on that but it didn't bother me, maybe if we were winning I would have felt differently #IHateLosing. Erin was motivational and achieved a balance of speaking/silence that really worked for me- I know some people prefer one over the other, I like a mix and I felt like she was pretty 50/50 so A+ in my book! Like Flywheel, Swerve has 2 boards at the front of class. For the most of the class they displayed each team's average Swerve Score and which bike was the leader of each team, however the instructor can also do pushes where you will see a countdown clock and the average points of each team (winning team gets 2 bonus points), put up the Swerve logo (Note: There is a green bar under it which I figured out indicates where you are in class, i.e. halfway, etc. The bar gets longer/approaches the other side of the screen as class goes on. Sorry not sorry for always needing to know "are we there yet."), and have you "Swerve to the beat" which is when the teams try to keep their average at the RPM called out (Ex: If Erin said the RPM is 77, then the board shows where each team's average is and the team that can hit it and hold for a set amount of time gets bonus points. I couldn't figure out what that time was but noticed it happening at times.)

The board in action. Go Red Team! At least we came in second. [Source]

The board in action. Go Red Team! At least we came in second. [Source]

The Workout: Overall, I really enjoyed this class! You will definitely sweat, though the temperature in the room is perfect; there are tons of fans that rotate so you never get that "omg I'm dripping, I think I've taken a detour into Satan's armpit" feeling. Your typical mix of sprints, jogs, hills, out of the saddle (third position) and seated work. There isn't a second position like at Flywheel and you won't find any tap backs or choreography (or maybe that was just this particular class). There is an arms song about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through and then 2-3 songs after. 

Team Cycling: Going in, I wasn't sure if the team aspect would feel gimmicky or not. What made me first fall in love with indoor cycling over 8 years ago (wow) was that it combined the solo, in my head aspect of running with the team, we're all in this together mentality that I missed from my days as a high school field hockey player. Would Swerve neglect the solo in favor of the team? Short answer: No, at least not for me. I actually felt more solo than part of a team but I think that is because 1) I didn't know anyone else in class the way I do at Flywheel and 2) My team was losing and I felt like come on guys, I'm killing myself here, step it up. I don't feel good about the latter, I'm sure they were all trying. I think Swerve would be really fun in a group (team building, party, client event, etc.). 

The colored lights are only on when the instructor flashes them. Green is the wings, Red and Blue are in the middle separated by the aisle... and now we've come full circle to the start of this post. [Source]

The colored lights are only on when the instructor flashes them. Green is the wings, Red and Blue are in the middle separated by the aisle... and now we've come full circle to the start of this post. [Source]

Bottom line: I'm really glad I swerved from my routine and gave this studio a spin. (I know that isn't really grammatically correct but come on, the puns.) The following day I received a kind email which had a survey link for feedback- a smart and nice touch IMO.

Considering the man next to me had on an oxygen performance tracking mask, I'll gladly take a 6/17. 

Considering the man next to me had on an oxygen performance tracking mask, I'll gladly take a 6/17. 

Have you tried Swerve? What's your favorite NYC cycling studio?

Five Favs: September

Despite what the return of PSLs and the fall equinox having come and gone say, for me, it is only now officially fall. Why? Because I have gotten my annual summer into fall head cold from hell. This one is not playing around. Before I head back to planet Mucinex (anyone else find that cold medicine really messes with you?), a roundup of my five favorite things from September.

The Hollars


"The Hollars" is a charming movie with a stellar cast. The story is nothing new, man comes home because family member is sick, all the dysfunctional elements of the family come to light, family bonds, love story mixed in on the side, you know the drill. What makes "The Hollars" stand out, is the way the performances. I am a sucker for John Krasinski who directed and stars in the film, but love for my fellow Brunonian (that's the fancy term for those of us who went to Brown University, aka the best school in the world) aside, the lines are smart, the delivery is spot on, and the chemistry amongst the cast is incredible. You get the sense that everyone had a genuinely good time making this film and that they will stay in touch forever. "The Hollars" isn't playing in many theaters and I'm not sure if it's still out, but if you have the chance it's really worth your time.


I was lucky enough to see Adele during her six night run at Madison Square Garden. She is a perfect human. Just as I experienced at the Radio City show last November, the production was simple but elegant, complimenting the music while never distracting, Adele was her same unfiltered and honest self whenever she spoke to the crowd, and of course, her voice is something from another world. As happens at many shows, the end was marked by a rain of confetti. However, these pieces of confetti all had lines from songs or messages in Adele's handwriting printed on them. I got "Hello," "We could have had it all," and "Thanks for coming." It was such a clever detail which I have never seen before and made for a truly unique souvenir. I hope Adele continues making music and touring for decades.

Wedding in Santa Barbara

L to R: View from my room; A lotus grows in Lotusland; Cacti! or Stepping into a Dr. Seuss book

Ok left coasters, I get it, California is stunning. Although I have been to the Golden State a few times, the areas I have been in and events I went for, didn't really allow me to experience the natural beauty that is the southern coast. Wow. A dear family friend was married in Santa Barbara and the entire weekend was just lovely. From being with people I have known nearly my whole life, to the backdrop, to the food (at the wedding, hotel, and in town), to the love and warmth of the wedding itself, it was pretty much perfect. We didn't have much time to explore the area but my parents and I were able to take a tour of Lotusland, the 37-acre estate of the late Ganna Walska which is now a non-profit public garden. I'm not sure the tour really needs to be 2 hours, but the collection of flora and fauna is staggering; there is an entire succulent garden, a cacti garden, a Japanese garden, the list goes on. Taking the tour was how we spent the only free time we had all weekend and I'm not at all sorry, it's definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the Santa Barbara area.    

Serena Williams’s Snapchat

Trust me on this. Serena Williams, aka the best athlete of all time, is hilarious. She is so real, doesn't take herself seriously, and has a "series" she does about Venus not wearing pants that has made me LOL on multiple occasions. (Venus does wear pants, but she is often wearing short shorts, dresses, or skirts and Serena likes to tease her. It's gold.) Start watching her snaps, you won't be sorry. 

Yankee Game

Cheesin' with the boys. A+ evening.

Cheesin' with the boys. A+ evening.

I officially ticked off one more of the outstanding items on my End of Summer Bucket List! The Yankees' penultimate (don't you just love that word?) series of the season was against the Red Sox and there were good seats available at a reasonable price. Although it seemed like half the stadium employees didn't show up to work because the lines to get in made it look like the game was free to all, seriously, we got there at 6:55 and weren't inside until 7:45, the weather was perfect, the rivalry was in full force (but friendly), the whole stadium did the wave 4 times around, I had one of the best grilled cheeses ever, and the Yankees won. Can you ask for anything more? Ok fine, it would be great if they were in the playoffs but we still have 27.

What were your September favorites?

A New Year

Don't worry, I didn't have a total space-out moment and wake up believing today was January 1. Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. While I'm not particularly religious and don't often speak about my religion, the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) always resonate strongly with me. Reflecting and starting fresh in the fall feels more natural to me than doing so in January- I blame this on the academic calendar mindset that I think we all more or less live by no matter our age. Fall is about new beginnings and setting new goals or recommitting to those we already have. 

Mom's challah. Hers is the best. No contest.

Mom's challah. Hers is the best. No contest.

When I reflect at Rosh Hashanah, it's not so much about concrete things, but rather the intangibles; it's a time to check in with my spirit and soul. Have I been a good person? Where have I let people down? Where have I let myself down? What can I do to be better? None of these questions is easy and frankly it's impossible to fully answer them. We can never know how we are perceived by others. All we can do is be the best version of ourselves and make a conscious effort to do no harm. Beyond that, it's out of our hands. 

I hope I have been there for people. I hope I have made those I encounter feel supported, listened to, loved, valued. Yet, I know, much as I don't like to think about it, that surely I have failed at this, probably several times over. It's easy to get wrapped up in our own lives, to say things flippantly, to dismiss something that to us seems trivial but to those we are not there for, means everything in the world. 

To all those I have failed, I am truly and deeply sorry. To anyone who has failed me, please know that I forgive you, we're all only human. Now to try again. Wishing a happy, healthy, and sweet new year to all those celebrating and to those who aren't.

...and your boys, and yourself.

...and your boys, and yourself.

P.S. Don't worry, September favorites are coming!

Cleaning out my Closet

Last weekend I overheard a girl say, "I feel like I've outgrown my wardrobe." I wanted to turn around and be like "Samesies!" but I held back. Recently I've been feeling so meh on my closet. When you're a child, you are always growing and need new things simply because the old ones just don't fit anymore but once you hit high school (ok for me this was more like middle school), you stop growing and buying new clothes becomes about style and personal expression. 

When a woman says ‘I have nothing to wear,’ what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.’
— Caitlin Moran

There are many pieces in my closet that I love, but there is also a sizable chunk that is a collection of the me's I've been since the beginning of college. There is nothing physically wrong with any of these garments and *shame* some still have their tags. They aren't wildly out-dated and they fit just fine. So why can't I embrace them? At first I thought it was a Fashion Week/back to school shopping induced itch, but then I realized it's actually much bigger; they might fit physically, but they don't fit me mentally. These pieces are safe and muted, things that wouldn't make me stand out from the crowd in law school, items that would let me blend in until I was ready to shine. At 29, I know who I am and what I want, so of course the clothing I'm attracted to, and what I'm not, has changed. 

I haven't read Marie Kondo's "Spark Joy," but I decided to empty each drawer and go through my entire closet. Piece by piece I've sorted through everything and filled two extremely large bags of what no longer gives me joy. I'll admit that I did grant immunity to a few pieces that didn't deserve it but I couldn't help it, I'll get them next time. Now, for a little shopping... 

These beauties are on their way to me. Not going to lie, I click "track package" multiple times a day. [Source]

These beauties are on their way to me. Not going to lie, I click "track package" multiple times a day. [Source]

Have you ever outgrown your wardrobe? Any great sales I should know about?


Is this thing on?

I've written about my desire to get better at taking a break from tech (well really my phone and all that goes along with it) before. Suffice it to say, these attempts have all been fruitless. In the spirit of new season, new beginning, at the start of September I did something which might seem counter-intuitive but it has made a huge difference in my constant battle to untether myself from my phone. What did I do you ask? I turned the sound ON. I know what you’re thinking, wouldn’t this only make my phone more present? Hear me out…

Yes, this is my actual home screen. Good thing there's nothing embarrassing.

Yes, this is my actual home screen. Good thing there's nothing embarrassing.

When my phone was vibrate only (silent when I sleep so word to the wise, if you have an emergency in the middle of the night call 911 and then try someone else because I won’t get the memo until my eyes open in the AM), every vibration and every thing that might be a vibration would lead to me pulling out my phone. Other than phone calls, there was no way to distinguish what platform/mode of communication was trying to get my attention and by extension, when a vibration warranted immediate phone-checking and when it didn’t. Now, my phone makes different sounds depending on whether I’m getting a call, text, email, tweet response, FB message, Slack notification- you get the idea. I can easily determine what needs me ASAP and what doesn’t. There are also no more phantom vibrations and when I’m out somewhere, rather than hold my phone for fear of missing a vibration (and inevitably walking around mostly glued to the device), my phone stays in my bag. If I hear something, great and if I miss it, that’s ok too. Overall, I’m much more present and attuned to what’s around me and I feel freer.

Of course there are times when vibrate goes back on (movies, special events, etc.), but those situations aside, “nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up.” (No, not really all the way up, that would be so obnoxious and drive me crazy but that song always gets stuck in my head and here it felt appropriate.) 

What's your phone style: sound, vibrate, silent? What songs are always stuck in your head?

First Day of Fall: Checking in as we Head into a New Season

It's been a hot minute since I last posted. I have many posts that I want to get up but #lifehappens and with the state of things in the US (looking at you NC), Presidential politics, the anniversary of 9/11, and the recent terror attacks/bombs (what are we calling it?) that happened in my neighborhood, it felt hard to get those posts up... they are coming, don't worry. With the change of season, #hellofall, today felt like the right time to get back into the swing of things.  

The Peanuts always make me smile. [Source]

The Peanuts always make me smile. [Source]

I'm going to keep it short and simple and see how I did on my End of Summer Bucket List. *Spoiler Alert:* Not great. 

Governors Island: The last day of the season is Sunday so I do still have time to make this happen. Maybe... 

Finish my Book: Yes to this! I'm now reading All the Light We Cannot See. I know I'm really late to the game on this one.

Met Costume Exhibit: Checked this off as well! As I wrote about in my August favorites post, it was really well done and I had such a wonderful time seeing the incredible pieces. Fashion truly is art.

Baseball Game: Nope. Baseball season isn't technically over yet but I can say with almost complete certainty that this isn't happening. Although now I'm seeing it as a challenge and might have to make it happen, this is what happens when you tell me I can't do something.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge: I already gave myself a "maybe wait until fall" and given how brutally hot it was at the end of August/beginning of September, there's no way this was happening. I'm thinking this will make for a nice Sunday stroll with boots and a matcha latte in hand and whatever else I can include to make me #basic.

More Pool Days: I'm going to go the, "not my fault" route here. Over Labor Day Weekend I tried to make plans with my parents and then each day they would bail on me. I had some quality roof sitting though so I'll say I half did this.

For those keeping score that's 2.5 with a maybe to the 3 remaining items. Not great but not awful; ok, kind of awful.

Did you check off all of your summer to dos? Do you think I can get these last ones done?

It's the Great Pumpkin (Spice Latte) Charlie Brown

Despite fall officially starting in a few weeks and predictions for 90+ degrees this weekend, the PSL (that's Pumpkin Spice Latte in case you've been living under a rock since 2003) has arrived at Starbucks, and for its legion of fans, that means it's now fall. When the social media posts first hit my feeds, I started thinking about the PSL, and the pumpkin/pumpkin spice craze in general. Growing up it wasn't really a big deal, or at least not that I was aware of. My first memory of pumpkin as a thing is my freshman year in college. Not being a coffee drinker, I didn't opt for a latte, but did have a lovely affair with Dunkin Donuts' pumpkin spice donuts. There might even have been a time when because of said donuts, "pumpkin spice everything," was listed as an  interest of mine on Facebook. #basic #sorryimnotsorry #yesimkindofsorry 

PSL Pumpkin Spice Latte is fall

We grew and picked pumpkins, adorned the front porch with them, carved our initials into the young ones as they grew, and painted or otherwise decorated pumpkins, but eating pumpkin pie or pumpkin in any other form? Not so much. Was this just a case of expanding my horizons in college? Had everyone been on the pumpkin as food train (hay ride?) without me? Or, maybe the fad really was born in the early aughts? I had to find out. 

So what did I find? A) Corporations really do run things and B) The PSL and ensuing craze dates back to 2003. Pretty much everything I read credited pumpkin mania to Starbucks which launched the PSL in 2003. With my 2004 introduction to the world of pumpkin, I wasn't totally sheltered from the pumpkin life, just fashionably late to the pumpkin patch. The statistics are pretty staggering; between 2008 and 2015, sales of pumpkin flavored and scented food/home goods rose nearly 80%.[1] The trend has even sparked pumpkin haters, one of whom wanted to start a national anti-pumpkin day because "it's just out of hand."[2] Considering that this year there are Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, he kind of has a point. 

I don't think Mr. Anti-Pumpkin Day would like this. IG: @eb_smith4

I don't think Mr. Anti-Pumpkin Day would like this. IG: @eb_smith4

But I bet there'd be a line around the block if they were. IG: @seacaitgo

But I bet there'd be a line around the block if they were. IG: @seacaitgo

I'm no longer all about the pumpkin flavored everything, but I get the appeal. When I think of pumpkins, I think of jumping in piles of leaves, Halloween, cozy fires, snuggling under thick blankets, being with family, Thanksgiving; it's basically a Hallmark Channel movie in my head. I'm not alone in that. Cindy Ott, wrote an entire book about pumpkins, Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon, and found that it's about nostalgia and a longing for an idealized pastoral life that no longer exists for most of us[3] -- I'd question whether it ever existed, but that's a different story. Fascinating how those three letters have created millions of dollars for companies because they make people think of the simple life. 

What's bigger, the pumpkin or my hair? Seriously though, the nostalgia is real.

What's bigger, the pumpkin or my hair? Seriously though, the nostalgia is real.

Are you all about the PSL? Did you know any of this?

If you want to read some more: Mental_Floss, CNBC, Smithsonian.com, CBSNews, NPR.



Five Favs: August

I've been trying to think of what to put in this post. I had a good August, but it was also a busy month, dominated by work and much of what I did I have already shared here. This will be a shorter-than-normal favorites

"Remember When" at Story



As I wrote about here, the current "story" at Story is 90s nostalgia and it's all that and a bag of chips. You'll be straight up trippin' if you miss it.    



I know it's not for everyone but I think Mr. Brainwash is a genius.

I know it's not for everyone but I think Mr. Brainwash is a genius.

In that same post, I talked about the Brainwashed, the exhibit by Mr. Brainwash at Tagliatella Galleries in Chelsea. Two floors of colorful, street art that makes you think about pop culture, our society and is also pure eye candy. Are you still sitting there reading this because you better be halfway out the door to go see the show (or you can finish my post and then go). 


Time with Friends

Despite my busy schedule this month, I did get in some solid friend time, the most special of which was with a friend who lives in San Francisco. I didn't know he would be here until about a week before his arrival.  Felt completely spoiled because I got to spend a huge chunk of his very limited time in NYC with him. I also got to have dinner with my high school bff. I wish she was in NYC but in less than a year from now she will be! Both of these people are the type of friends who just "get" me. We can talk about stupid things, serious things, whatever and they're 100% right there no matter what. I'm a lucky girl.


Dad's Recovery

Can't keep a good man down. If this is the last post I ever write, it's because I put up this pic and am now in hiding. 

Can't keep a good man down. If this is the last post I ever write, it's because I put up this pic and am now in hiding. 

A little cheesy but... The month began with my Dad's second hip surgery (second as in he's already had the other side done, not the second go-around on this particular hip). I knew he would be ok and his main concern was being in good enough shape to go to the not one but TWO Springsteen shows he and my mom have tickets for in Philly next week, but still, I was a much happier girl once we had seen him in the recovery room and mom and I were chomping down on pizza. I'm pleased to say he's doing well and will be seeing the boss x2 in a few days. 


Manus x Machina

As I wrote in my end of summer bucket list, I didn't want to miss the current Costume Institute exhibit Manus x Machina. Last week I needed a little inspiration and decided it would be the perfect time to go so off I went. The exhibit did not disappoint and though it was crowded, it wasn't too bad. The show is divided by types of details/materials so there is a section about lace, one on floral appliqués, leather, among others. It was a really interesting way to learn about each technique and see how they were put into play by the design houses. Unfortunately the show closes on Monday so there isn't much time left if you still want to see it. 

No trip to The Met is complete without going to Dendur aka my favorite place in all of NYC.

No trip to The Met is complete without going to Dendur aka my favorite place in all of NYC.

Looking forward to what September has in store!

What were your August favorites?

Yes Barry, I WILL "be seeing you": My Barry's Bootcamp Fear

Fear is a funny thing. It exists entirely in our minds, manifesting differently depending on the trigger and from person to person. What's more, triggers vary as we age, depending on where we are physically, and of course between people. A strange noise might be terrifying if you're in an alley late at night, but you might only give it half a second of thought if heard at 2pm while sitting at your desk. 

When it comes to fitness, there is one workout that I have come to fear: Barry's Bootcamp aka "The Best Workout in the World." Avoiding Barry's began innocuously. As I wrote in this post, I stopped running years ago. For those who aren't familiar with a Barry's workout it is made up of tread work (treadmill) and floor work (weights, crunches, etc. done on the floor). There are those who #doublefloor, but I know myself and I tend to get frustrated when I can't do something. Knowing I would only be able to do half of the workout filled me with a sense of defeat. Over the years, my "I don't want to do double floor," turned into "I'm scared of Barry's." I have come close to booking a spot, but before I hit reserve, I close the browser tab. After running in Croatia and seeing that my body is not only ready but completely able to handle it again, I can't let myself hit the X anymore. I am going to take a class.

You can't scare me. Ok maybe that weight can. IG: @barrysbootcamp

My Barry's fear boils down to something that is almost universal across species: Fear of the unknown. When I think about it, it's actually pretty silly. What's the worst that can happen? The "fail" scenarios consist of needing to use a lighter weight, turning down the speed and/or incline on my treadmill, taking 30 sec. to pause and reset, and being sore later. Note to self: NONE of these are bad things, let alone things you haven't done before. I quite literally ran off the side of a mountain in Wyoming with a parachute (and a guide). So yeah, I'm booking a spot. Stay tuned for the full report but probably no sweaty selfies. 

I can get down with this ^^^ IG: @barrysbootcamp

Do you have a fitness class you've been avoiding? Do you do Barry's? 

A Rose by Any Other Name

Do you remember your first email address or AIM name, myspace, friendster, etc.? Remember how much time (or maybe not) you spent putting into what your handle would be? Well, when it came to setting up my Instagram account way back when, I did it through Twitter and just decided to keep the same name. It was easy, it was already part of an online presence I had, and it was my initials/name so of course it was me. Turns out I was really wrong on this last piece. 

When in doubt, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid, but you're not stupid, no one is).

When in doubt, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid, but you're not stupid, no one is).

As much as our names/initials can be used to identify us and come to be a part of us, they don't necessarily capture who we are. Are any of my personality traits a result of me being named Leah? Definitely not. For me, Instagram (my personal Instagram that is, not the things I do for clients for work), is a mash up of a visual diary, mood board, vision board, and things that make me happy. My moniker, @lfrosenbaum, felt too staid and just didn't capture who I am. I felt a little strange acknowledging that my name didn't express my "me-ness," but then as I wrote above, I realized that our names are just that, names. They don't necessarily define us and when you come down to it, you don't even choose them for yourself, major caveat of course if you have had your name legally changed and/or chosen to change your name after marriage/divorce, but even that is somewhat from convention and society and not always 100% motivated purely by our own desires. So, I had a brainstorming session of words that spoke to what I use Instagram for and how I wanted my feed to be seen. The essence of my feed is the things that I love and so I started a hunt for available handles that could work and finally found that @whatleahloves was available. A quick gut check with a friend found me defending my decision and that's when I knew my heart was already set on it. I took a breath, made a post to let people know (anyone else always like "New phone who dis?" when you see an unfamiliar name pop up your feed?), and went for it. 

Since making the change, I have felt so much happier and more like myself and not just on Instagram but in general. It's made me spend a lot of time thinking about how we present ourselves and the ways in which we choose to honor, or not, our true selves. I won't get into any more self-reflection for now, it is Friday after all. Happy weekend!

Have you ever changed an online handle? While we're at it, thumbs up/down to my change? 



Born in the 80s, Bred in the 90s

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't get hit with a rush of nostalgia at the mention of "the 90s." Was it really a better time? Terrorism threats were nothing like they are today, our country did not feel so divided, and the economy was strong. On the other hand, my view is tinted with childhood. When the clock struck 12 and we began the new millennium, I was only 13, so while I know that there are many metrics that will show the 90s to be superior, there were also many things that weren't rainbows and sunshine, I was just too young to be aware of them. Still, I will always love the 90s and yesterday I unintentionally had a day-long 90s fest, it was rad.

What she said. This little guy came home with me. 

What she said. This little guy came home with me. 

My day began with class at Flywheel. While everyone was coming in and getting set up, the music playing was 90s, specifically Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5." As Bega's hit faded out, I heard those familiar guitar strums of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," (I know you know what I'm talking about, right?), and thought, "X's class always makes middle school Leah so happy." The next thing I knew, X told the room she had a 90s playlist and it felt like a good time to use it. YES, so much yes. "Spice up Your Life" was the first song up and then it was 90s jam after 90s jam and all the smiles as I dripped with sweat. After class I told X that I felt my day could only go down from here; luckily I was wrong.

I planned to meet a friend to see the Mr. Brainwash exhibit "Brainwashed" at Tagliatella Galleries. It was a great show- two full floors! Many people are intimidated by the Chelsea galleries and it's such a shame. They are free and are often full of really stellar shows. Just because you aren't going to buy anything doesn't mean you can't go in! Remember that.  

Life IS beautiful. Thanks for the reminder Mr. B.

Life IS beautiful. Thanks for the reminder Mr. B.

After indulging in some culture, the friend I was with suggested we head down to Story. Story is one of my favorite stores; it's a visual magazine with new issues -- "stories" -- every four to eight weeks. The current story is "remember when," any guesses on what that means? ...TOTAL 90s NOSTALGIA! Pretty much every item in the store had my friend and I exclaiming, "Oh my god, remember ____!"

You just see this and smile, right?!

You just see this and smile, right?!

Gak! I had so much of this weird goo way back when.

Gak! I had so much of this weird goo way back when.

After browsing and a little shopping, we just couldn't resist, it was time to head home. I needed a quiet night in and what should be on TV, the 1996 classic "Jerry Maguire." I was all, "show me the money" to that. Would I really want to go back to the 90s? Probably not, but it was a perfect Saturday.

Do you have 90s nostalgia? How did you spend your Saturday?

I'll Wear My Party Dress If I Want To

At my elementary/middle school, we had a dress code from JPK (that's Junior Pre-Kindergarten or age 3) until 2nd grade and a uniform from 3rd grade on. For my dress code years, particularly JPK - Kindergarten, I often went to school in a party dress. My mom has since explained that this wasn't the case for my first few weeks of JPK but then, upon noticing some of the other girls coming in dresses, she asked their moms about it. The rationale was more or less that we were at an age where we were growing quickly so why not make sure we actually wore these beautiful dresses our parents had paid for, wash/send them off to the cleaners, and repeat. It's kind of genius, no? So we joined the bandwagon and soon it was bows and smocking all day err day. 

Recently I've taken a similar approach to my daily wardrobe. I am not the girl who works from home in PJs. I get dressed in real clothing every day. That said, when I don't have a meeting or client-related event, my outfits typically include jeans or shorts. However, lately I've found myself wanting to wear my summer dresses and skirts. Not the super fancy ones that in my youth made their way onto the playground, but those that would fall under the "Wear to Work" and "Day to Night" or even "Date Dresses" categories on a shopping site -- More shopping sites should have a date wear category, just sayin'. The first time I did it, I felt almost awkward about it, why dress up to just be with myself? But the more I thought about it, dressing up for yourself is exactly what I should be doing every single day.

Treating yourself well is paramount to happiness and wellbeing. Sometimes I buy a fun patterned pair of workout crops or a tank with an inspirational saying to make me feel a little more badass and help me get through a tough session, wasn't dressing up a bit for work more or less the same? I decided it was and haven't questioned my outfit choices since. There's a whole portion of my wardrobe that hadn't been getting the love it was used to and I missed showing it that love. Now, I mix it up; some days it's shorts and others it's dress time, with perhaps a few swipes of mascara for good measure.

Would you dress up if you worked from home?

End of Summer Bucket List

The past two weeks have been non-stop. While I was in "go" mode, I definitely lost track of the fact that summer is coming to a close.  Le sigh. 

I feel you store window.

I feel you store window.

While I have had an incredibly full summer (travel, a room of balloons, discovering I actually do like running, seeing shows, to name a few), I've decided to make a no-pressure end of summer bucket list. I may not get them all done, but I'm going to give it the old college try.

  1. Governor's Island: Every year, I say I'm going to go and then I never do. I really want to change that. I'd also like to rent a surrey so please come join me, I need at least 3 people :)
  2. Finish my book: It's pathetic that I have not managed to make it through one book this summer. I have less than 100 pages to go. I feel absurd just writing that. New goal: Finish my book by the end of next week.
  3. Met Costume Exhibit: With the weather in NYC feeling like 100-110 over the next few days, museums and movies are really the only things you can do. But, even if I don't get this in now, the costume exhibit is usually a favorite of mine and from the pictures I have seen of the current exhibit Manus x Machina, I think it's safe to say I won't be disappointed.
  4. Baseball GameI'm not the biggest baseball fan but for as long as I can remember, I've gone to a Mets and/or Yankees game at least once a summer. This year I haven't been to either Citi Field or Yankee Stadium and I'd like to change that... Or maybe I just want ice cream in a plastic baseball hat cup.
  5. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge: Like going to Governor's Island, walking the Brooklyn Bridge is something I've been talking about for years. I am hell bent on making it happen, but it needs to get cooler first and with tourist season in full swing, I might wait on this until fall. TBD.
  6. A few more pool days: I need a few more pool days up at my parents house. There's nothing like being home except being poolside at home. 

What's on your end of summer bucket list?

Where everybody DOESN'T know your name

Recently, I've become hyper aware of the fact that I don't know my baristas' names. Since my January transition to social media and copywriting full-time, I've been working from home which means that for the past 8 months, I have gone to the same coffee shop nearly every day (it's under my building). With each visit, the baristas and I got to know each other a bit, although I know many more things about one in particular (he's very chatty but in a good way). Despite the fact that they more or less know what I want when I walk in and I know that one of them has a pet tarantula, just planted an herb garden, and wants to be a bee keeper (I told you he was chatty), I have no idea what any of their names are and because it's not a write-your-name-on-your-cup place, they don't know mine either. 

If only they had name tags. 

If only they had name tags. 

I feel terrible not knowing their names and really want to ask but I'm worried that might come off like I'm hitting on them or make them think I'm a loner with no friends. Am I over-thinking this? Probably. 

At what point do you ask the name of someone who you aren't meeting in a social context? The first time I went to "my coffee shop," I had no idea if I'd ever go back, but then I did, many times over. Don't even get me started on all the people who live in my building that I pass in the lobby or have shared an elevator with. I'm not sure what the answer is but, I've decided that tomorrow I'm asking the guys (and lone girl if she's there) what their names are. Will they think I'm a total weirdo? Maybe. But, in the name of human decency and just feeling so super awkward, I refuse to let another day go by without knowing. 

Soon walking in for matcha will be like this ^^. #squadgoals #staygolden [PC: Getty Images/NBC]

Soon walking in for matcha will be like this ^^. #squadgoals #staygolden [PC: Getty Images/NBC]

Do you know the name of your barista(s)?

Is there someone whose name you don't know despite seeing him/her daily? 

Olympic Fever

No, no, that's not the name of a disease acquired in Rio, although maybe if people start drinking the tap water... Kidding, but not really.

Sports are the Universal Language

I love the Olympics. Especially this year, it's nice to have something bigger that unites us all. The global language of sports, is one of the things I love most about sports and fitness. When I studied abroad in Stockholm and lived in London post-college, I could walk into the gym and suddenly we all spoke the same language. Everyone was there to work on themselves, be it physical or mental. I may not have been in my home gym, but in many ways I could have been.   

Sports unite us

The Olympics are also about moments that you will never forget. Those, "Did you see that?" and "Oh my God did that really just happen?!" times where you become aware of how much these athletes have trained and how incredible the human body and spirit truly are. For me, during the summer games these moments occur during gymnastics and swimming.  

The Men's 4 x 100m Freestyle

The men's 4 x 100m Freestyle (that's a relay where 4 swimmers each do 100m of freestyle) is my favorite swimming event. I may have watched it in 2004, 2000, and 1996 (and possibly 1992 and 1988 but I was a very little lady then so who knows), but it wasn't until 2008 that this race captured my heart. The US men hadn't won this event in 12 years and were ahead until the third leg when France took the lead. Everyone assumed France had all but won since their fourth swimmer was not just ahead of Team USA, but was also the world record holder. But then, our anchor (that means the final swimmer) Jason Lezak morphed into a superhuman and from somewhere deep inside, caught up and surpassed France (and minor detail, set a new world record)! It was one of the most incredible feats of athleticism I have ever seen. Since that night, whenever I find myself struggling in a workout or other physical task, I think about that race and what Lezak did. (Dear Jason Lezak, If you're reading this, you have been my extra push so many times. Thank you.)

Skip ahead to 4:06 (or watch it all). Seriously, wtf?! HOW did he do that?!

Last night Team USA brought home the gold in the 4 x 100m Freestyle again. Needless to say, I felt like all was right in the world and I took it as a good omen for the week ahead. 

What are your favorite events? Do you have a sports moment that stands out for you?


National [Insert Food Here] Day

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, yesterday was National Watermelon Day, and tomorrow is both National Mustard Day AND National Waffle Day. I don't know about you, but I've started to get National X Day exhaustion. Maybe it's the result of social media and having the food(s) of the day plastered all over every screen I have for 24 hours, rinse and repeat, but it just feels like way too much. Does everything need a day and does every day need a thing? In case you hadn't already guessed, my answers are no and no. That said, these are the nine foods (and one drink) that I think are worthy of a day of national recognition, dare I even say global recognition. Some actually already have days or close-ish days/months which I've noted thanks to  Foodimentary.


My favorite dessert. For me, every day is Brownie Day.


December 8th: National Brownie Day; February 10th: National "Have a Brownie" Day



I have always loved peas. One of my favorite utensils as a child was my pea pusher; a perhaps ridiculous, but actually quite useful piece of cutlery given to me (my parents) when I was born.


No day for these guys :(



I love pizza. My dad loves pizza. I assume I inherited my love for the cheesy, saucy goodness from him. Pizza happens about once a week in my house.


October: National Pizza Month; September 5th: National Cheese Pizza Day



Broccoli is possibly my favorite veggie. Carrots and spinach are close runners-up.


No national day for the broc either.


Chicken Kabobs

Is it just me or does everything taste better on a stick? Chicken kabobs = major win in my book.


September: National Chicken Month



You already know I'm a cup-a-day kind of girl. Favorites: green, earl grey, and matcha.


January: National Hot Tea Month


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

Creamy or crunchy, raspberry or strawberry, on a bagel, bread, or even a wrap, pb & j is bae.


Chew on this... February 12th: National PB&J Day; April 2nd: National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day; August: National Sandwich Month


Cinnamon Toast Crunch

 The ultimate cereal? Yes times a million. I totally "crave those crazy squares."


March 7th: National Cereal Day



Perfection in fruit form. Maybe it's because I loved the book Blueberries for Sal or maybe it's because they are just so damn delicious.


July 10th: National Pick Blueberries Day


What foods do you think deserve their own day?