And as luminous.

Have you ever read the very funny, very wise Caitlin Moran? I read her book How to Build a Girl this winter and was bowled over by it's frankness and humor. The book follows an English girl named Johanna, who's 14 in 1990. Already uncomfortable in her skin, she embarrasses herself so tremendously on national TV that she decides to become Dolly Wilde, someone who is everything Johanna is not: a fast-talking, cigarette-smoking, gin-drinking, sex-having, snarky music reviewer. Of course, when you've built your whole being on what you're not-quite, the whole thing tends to fall to pieces.

This excerpt below I love: I read it to my little sister when she was having a hard day; I've sent it to friends who were struggling; I've read it to myself over and over like some passage from a holy book. It's a good reminder.

So what do you do when you build yourself—only to realized you built yourself with the wrong things?

You rip it up and start again. That is the work of your teenage years—to build up and tear down and build up again, over and over, endlessly, like speeded-up film of cities during boom times and wars. To be fearless, and endless, in your reinventions—to keep twisting on nineteen, going bust, and dealing in again, and again. Invent, invent, invent.

They do not tell you this when you are fourteen, because the people who would tell you—your parents—are the very ones who built the thing you're so dissatisfied with. They made you how they want you. They made you how they need you. They built you with all they know, and love—and so they can't see what you're not: all the gaps you feel leave you vulnerable. All the new possibilities only imagined by your generation, and nonexistent to theirs. They have done their best, with the technology they had to hand at the time—but now it's up to you, small, brave future, to do your best with what you have. As Rabindranath Tagore advised parents, "Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time."

And so you go out into your wold, and try and find the things that will be useful to you. Your weapons. Your tools. Your charms. You find a record, or a poem, or a picture of a girl that you pin to the wall and go, "Her. I'll try and be her. I'll try and be her—but here." You observe the way other walk, and talk, and you steal little bits of them—you collage yourself out of whatever you can get your hands on. You are like the robot Johnny 5 in Short Circuit, crying, "More input! More input for Johnny 5!" as you rifle through books and watch films and sit in front of the television, trying to guess which of these things that you are watching—Alexis Carrington Colby walking down a marble staircase; Anne of Green Gables holding her shoddy suitcase; Cathy wailing on the moors; Courtney Love wailing in her petticoat; Dorothy Parker gunning people down; Grace Jones singing "Slave to the Rhythm"—you will need when you get out there. What will be useful. What will be, eventually, you?

And you will be quite on your own when you do all this. There is no academy where you can learn to be yourself; there is no line manager slowly urging you toward the correct answer. You are midwife to yourself, and will give birth to yourself, over and over, in dark rooms, alone. 

And some versions of you will end in dismal failure—many prototypes won't even get out of the front door, as you suddenly realize that no, you can't style-out an all-in-one gold bodysuit and a massive attitude problem in Wolverhampton. Others will achieve temporary success—hitting new land-speed records, and mazing all around you, and then, suddenly, unexpectedly exploding, like the Bluebird on Coniston Water.

But one day you'll find a version of yourself that will get you kissed, or befriended, or inspired, and you will make your notes accordingly, staying up all night to hone and improvise upon a tiny snatch of melody that worked. 

Until—slowly, slowly—you make a viable version of you, one you can hum every day. You'll find the tiny, right piece of grit you can pearl around, until nature kicks in, and your shell will just quietly fill with magic, even while you're busy doing other things. What your nurture began, nature will take over, and start completing, until you stop having to think about who you'll be entirely—as you're too busy doing, now. And ten years will pass without you even noticing. 

And later, over a glass of wine—because you drink wine now, because you are grown—you will marvel over what you did. Marvel that, at the time, you kept so many secrets. Tried to keep the secret of yourself. Tried to metamorphose in the dark. The loud, drunken, fucking, eyeliner-smeared, laughing, cutting, panicking, unbearably present secret of yourself. When really you were about as secret as the moon. And as luminous, under all those clothes.

Do you have books or passages like this you return to? They are some of the steadiest comforts, I think. 

Well-read.

Friday! Fridayfridayfriday.

Happy almost-weekend! The sun is out and I'm not wearing sleeves. So far so good. Tonight, I'm heading out to see a live Death, Sex & Money show as part of RadioLoveFest at BAM with my lovely roommate. Tomorrow, I'll try my luck at the Farmer's Market and get a little work done. On Sunday, I'll see one of my oldest friends and soak up some sunshine. I'd really love to sneak in a movie somewhere in there, too. Any suggestions? 

Around the interwebs this week:

Lady hormones suck sometimes. 

Before your next mani-pedi, please read this

If I told you I got distracted reading this, I think we'd call that irony. (That said, I've stayed up way too late reading Tiny Beautiful Things—finally, I know—so.)

Frida Kahlo, what a BAMF.

The smartest take on Kim Kardashian's Selfish that you'll read. (via Hannah)

A different way to talk about Teen Moms

Sad Animal Facts is everything.

Another (dorky, whimsical) reason to visit Milan.

Have a good one.

May Day.

Happy May Day, gang.

After waking up convinced it was Friday for the last three days, I'm awfully glad to be finally there. It was a hard week: One of my favorite people's dad passed away, which is something I can't quite begin to imagine. It's made me think a lot about the experience of grieving—how different it can be for everyone—and what, as someone on the outside of it, can be helpful. I'm still not sure, except for just being there. Just making yourself available and open. And sometimes saying "I'm so sorry" and sometimes saying "This sucks." So, this weekend: make sure to order your mom's Mother's Day gift and text your dad about a podcast he'd like. And this weekend, I hope you'll buy yourself some flowers. 

Around the internet this week:

Shopping at Anthropologie with Marie Kondo.

I'm Not Okay and That's Okay. So brave and so beautiful. 

Be cool.

The Poetic Life of the Lowly Eel. 

As someone who's gone from owning no sneakers to three pairs of Vans in less than six months, I loved this interview with the owners of a women's only sneaker store

Choose better words

So excited to see one of my all-time favorite bloggers become the owner of this beautiful online store

Important: how to help Nepal.

Have a good weekend.

Not-so-Evil Eyes.

When I was in third grade, we dissected cow's eyeballs. Have you done that? The insides are inky, and you can hold the dried-out lens like a small stone. But outside of that elementary school science classroom, I've been noticing eye motifs everywhere. Those Turkish evil eye pendants in shop windows, eye mosaics in the Chambers Street Subway, winks leaping from shirt collars. Right now, there's a conversation happening behind me about a coworker's striking baby blues. The pattern is a little creepy—things gazing at you isn't necessarily settling—but also kind of funny, a little bold, just pretty enough. What are you looking at?

Have your cake.

Happy weekend, pals.

What are you guys up to this weekend? I'm taking Metro North up to New Haven to see my mom and brother's regatta (oh la la). On Sunday, while we're driving back into the city, my mom and I are checking out the Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. And I'm hoping to convince her to have a negroni at my favorite Italian place in my neighborhood that night for dinner. 

Around the interwebs this week:

Will always have a soft spot for Gilbert Blythe.

The most modern, beautiful quilts

Snapped up a pair of these this week and they're wonderful. 

From Spinster author Kate Bolick: "Having an affair was the best mistake I ever made." 

And why "spinster" can't be a state of mind.

Against chill.

On the very real friendship in Frances Ha: "Don't mistake your best friend for a mirror."

And famous women on female friendship.

The etymology of poetry.

The very, very, very wonderful Iris Apfel.

Cheers xx

Quarter-life.

Have you guys heard of Quarter Life Poetry? A self-proclaimed "reluctant 25-year old" writes funny quatrains and provides illustrations about the ups-and-downs of being this weird age. 

I'll turn 25 in September, and for whatever reason—it's a quarter of a century, people can say I'm in my "mid-twenties," it just seems adult—it feels momentous, like one of those birthdays I should pay attention to, sit up a little straighter for. Of course, for all of that, it's most likely true that just like in my 24th year, and my 23rd, I'll feel mostly like I have no idea what I'm doing, and no idea about when I'll actually feel like I do. 

Quarter Life Poetry gets it. The posts are very real and very funny and make you feel a little bit like you have company in these goofy, flailing post-college years. Sometimes while reading, I'll sigh dramatically and wallow for a hot-second. But most times, I just want to invite the Quarter Life Poet over for a glass of two-buck chuck on my fire escape to say thank you. 

Well-lit.

You made it!

This has been one of those weeks where the upcoming weekend has pretty much buoyed me all the way through. (It helps that I'm not wearing sleeves for the first time in probably, oh, six months? I'm really happy about that.) My plans tomorrow include a farmer's market expedition to see my true love, The Radish Man, and pick up some flowers. I'm having some friends over for dinner tomorrow night—I'm making this delicious salmon. And I may or may not be searching for that rose I mentioned a couple weeks ago. Are you guys hitting up your farmer's market finally? Would love to hear what you find.

Some links from the week:

Sappho, the original emo kid. 

A history of the gamine.

Sweden's new feminist foreign minister. 

Tilda and Amy forever.

God bless America's sandwiches. (I can't wait for BLT season.)

Gwynnie on food stamps.

Documentaries for your Netflix queue. (I can't wait to watch Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.)

What it's truly like to be a travel writer

Crazy beautiful flower constructions. (I would like to live in #56.) 

Have a delicious weekend.

Lady in red.

You know vermilion from that glossy Chinese lacquerware and from the pages of illuminated manuscripts from Medieval Europe. It's that vibrant orange-red that practically glows. Originally, it came from grinding up a mineral called cinnabar (which would be a great name for a candy), a side product of mining for mercury.

The use of vermilion as pigment was seen for the first time around 7000-8000 BC in a neolithic village in what is now Turkey. In 5000 BC, the Yangshao painted walls and floors with it for ritual ceremonies. Later, Spanish prisoners were forced to mine cinnabar. In Ancient Rome, triumphant soldiers covered their faces in vermilion powder. In the Byzantine Empire, decrees were written in vermilion ink. In India, Hindu women apply a dot of the pigment to their forehead or in the part of their hair to symbolize fertility and a marital bond. It symbolizes life and death, power and passion. 

Among the whites and blues and pale neutrals taking over much of spring's typical palette, the red-orange bursts have been a welcome blaze. 


Best buds.

So I'm a bit late to post these links. But since spring was a bit late to post these buds, maybe we'll call it even?

I'm writing this Saturday night, having just returned from a full day hanging out with my dad. He and I met in Brooklyn so he could see my new place and so we could have a full diner breakfast at Tom's. We headed across the Hudson to New Jersey to see my brother and his crew team race. (And, as it turns out, eat the best Mexican food I have ever had—no joke—at some random place in Elizabeth, NJ.) It was a sunny, windy day and I felt like all of a sudden there were more signs of spring than slightly warmer air and bare ankles. Thank goodness for that.

Some bits and pieces from around the internet:

Experiences not things. 

Tough and important: The Columbia Journalism Review's analysis of Rolling Stone's 'A Rape on Campus' article. 

The inimitable Toni Morrison.

Still haven't given up my ballerina dreams.

Get at me, triangular cabinet.

Trenches for everyone.

I've got my eye on these kicks.

Madewell's secret sauce.

Maps! Mapsmapsmapsmapsmaps.

Your upstairs neighbors, too? 

(Also, I got to interview Teju Cole and he was delightful.)

Enjoy your Sunday. xo

Roasted broccoli, grapes, and feta.

So let's say you live in a small apartment in Brooklyn. And let's say you get home late. Your roommate has eaten dinner hours before. And let's say there are some days that you come home and you're ravenous, but it would be a little embarrassing to show up at the taco place on the corner again. And it's you, by yourself. What do you make for dinner? 

I'm not great at this, but I've gotten a little better. In making an effort to cook more and to not waste the odds and ends in my fridge and to quit turning to Seamless (miss u, seamless), I've added a few easy, quick suppers to my arsenal. One of my favorites of late: spicy, garlicky roasted broccoli with roasted grapes and feta. 

It's spicy and pungent, bright green and creamy, sweet and tart—one of those simple dishes that manages to hit quite a few bold notes. It surprised me, actually, when I first mindlessly made it, that it was actually good. There are endless possibilities here, too—swap out the grapes for grape tomatoes, or the broccoli for cauliflower. I'd love to hear your variations.

Spicy, Garlicky Roasted Broccoli with Grapes and Feta

For the roasted grapes, via The Kitchn:

  • 1.5 lbs red seedless grapes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch thyme

Preheat oven to 425*F. In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredient, especially making sure to coat the sprigs of thyme in the oil so they don't burn. Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet. 

Transfer baking sheet to oven and roast, mixing occasionally, until grapes have burst and grape juice begins to thicken, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. The grapes will almost resemble more of a relish or a chutney

Roasted grapes will last for four days in the fridge, so feel free to make ahead—you won't need the full batch. They're also a great addition to a cheese plate—that's why I made them initially. 

For the roasted broccoli, adapted from Sarah's Cucina Bella

  • 2 cups broccoli (about two stalks)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • feta, to taste
  • lemon

Preheat oven to 400*F. (Though, if you're wanting to move more efficiently, just stick it in at 425*F with the grapes and keep an eye out.)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Spread out on large, rimmed baking sheet—covered in foil, if that's more your scene—and transfer to the oven.

Roast for 10 minutes or so, and then take it out and give it a mix. Crumble as much feta as you'd like on the broccoli, and then put it back in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the broccoli has browned a little and the cheese is melty. 

To serve: fill a bowl with the broccoli and feta, top with the roasted grapes and a squeeze of lemon. Eat by the forkful, or on whole grain toast. Or both.

A glass of wine is highly recommended. You deserve it. 

A certain slant.

Happy Friday, finally!

Thank goodness it's Friday, huh? I'm heading to D.C. this weekend to see one of my friends from college, but it turns out there's going to be a bit more of a crew there. It'll be fun—there will be Easter brunch, some sunshine, and maybe even some early cherry blossoms. 

Design Sponge and Alea Toussaint teamed up to gift us some beautiful patterns this week. (The first one that caught my eye/represented my life was this one. So many bobby pins.)

Did you also find that Modern Love column... questionable? The Toast gets it. 

Ellen Pao and the sexism you can't quite prove

Really important: giving teenagers faced with terminal illness a voice. 

Cheap sunglasses, expensive lingerie. I have Feelings about this.

I've been craving Tex-Mex like crazy, so it's kind of cool that this place opened up. Dinner next week!

Please put this pie in my belly. 

Also, I'm set on entering into rosé season with this one. And also consulting this website a lot.

Raising a glass to you this weekend!

Sézane.

Like many American girls, I was introduced to Sézane by their excellent collaboration with Madewell late last fall. (That La Superbe sweatshirt you saw on every New York corner in December? That's Sézane.) Started in 2013 by Morgane Sézalory—who had gotten start in the fashion world as a successful vendor of her vintage finds—Sézane rolls out seasonal, subtly-themed collections. The clothes and accessories are beautifully made, reasonably priced, and just slightly off-beat. The bottom line? These clothes are that je ne sais quoi I always dreamed of made manifest.

The most recent collection hits a sweet spot for me—it's inspired by Marseille, a city I spent a number of days wandering while I was studying abroad. Marseille is very old and very beautiful. Very diverse and very French at once—with grit and crumble lifted up by sea air. One day I was there I had salty moules frites; the next time I was there an old man made me a gyro and I asked about his Greek hometown. One day I sailed around Chateau d'If; another day I got lost and found myself in an alley, the air suddenly thick with spices and filled with Arabic music. There is something new at every turn.

                                                                         Door in Marseille, March 2012

                                                                         Door in Marseille, March 2012

This collection, I think, captures all of Marseille's contradictions: the grit and the sea and the beauty, the inescapable French-ness that mingles—thank goodness—with a conscious and welcome worldliness. 

Charmed, I'm sure.

Happy Friday, pals.

What are you guys up to this weekend? I'm going to be rolling my eyes at some snow and using it as an excuse to capital-C cook for the first time in too long, figuring out my art and plant situation in my apartment (now that we have a couch!), and checking out this bar with some folks. 

Some good things from the internet this week:

Simon Doonan on how to be a charming conversationalist—and he would know.

Despite having only bought skivvies and PJs from the Gap in the last few years, I'm really fascinated by their new gameplan

Sappho, ever the mystery woman.

Even better than @hotdudesreading? Subway Book Review. 

Hannah alerted me to Elle's interview with Fran Leibowitz and I'm so glad she did. (Relatedly: not joking about making a Fran Leibowitz calendar. Let me know if you want one.)

J. Crew x Jean Stories = good things.

I should probably get a bike and it should probably look like this.

Totally mesmerized by this side-by-side comparison of the first and final frames of films.

Gearing up for the end of Mad Men by reading pretty much everything ever

Have a good one.

Danielle Kroll.

In the same week, I came across Brooklyn-based illustrator Danielle Kroll's work on both Buddy Editions and Anthology and was immediately charmed. Her work is playful, funny, and a little weird, but manages to avoid veering into the art version of Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory. 

Her career began in Anthropologie's art department, but only a few years in, she was able to make her own artwork her day job. She has since worked with clients like Kate Spade, Warby Parker, Chronicle Books, Real Simple, and even Google. 

Typically, Kroll uses gouache, india ink, and cut paper for her creations, which range from still lifes to punny sketches to wallpaper-worthy patterns. However, my favorite series incorporates old nature photos as a canvas for her illustrations and text. So, on a day last week that should've been spring but just wasn't, I treated myself to La Costa Delle Donne (right). Only partially in hopes I'd be able to Katie's Picture Show my way into it.