Three days back and still a mess. I am still not properly unpacked, my bed is half made. I didn’t get it together to make a proper dinner until yesterday, and now I will be eating jollof inspired saucy rice with chicken deep into next year because guess who used three cups of rice for no reason?
Me. I made a massive pot of rice.
Anyway, I didn’t want to leave my blog empty until next Saturday, so here are some photos from my day tour to Giverny to see the home and gardens of Claude Monet.
But first, this is the first floral dress that I’ve ever liked enough to wear. Long dresses are commonplace on the stylish streets of Paris, and the floral was to honor the theme of this viator booked tour of the countryside. I loved wearing this dress. It felt very fresh and feminine.
I’m going to work on an outline for next week’s post and actually post it on Saturday. I learned a lot, every day was a revelation.
I’m in Paris right now. Paris, France. I waited through quarantine when others were jumping on planes. I went back to work and slowly became too busy to travel. I worked on improving my side hustle and had no time to plan a vacation. I denied myself until it started feeling crazy. So I booked a four day Paris vacay through Priceline (air & hotel on my Priceline Visa card), then I booked some tours through Viator (Louvres, bike tour, Versailles package) and found the Porte de Montreuil vintage market. I am having the time of my life.
Be back next week with links, tips, and info. But for now, here’s some photos of Paris being Paris.
Working on my Shopify store and trying to gain perspective on my side hustle business. Constantly thinking of how to push it into sustainable success. Doing a lot of running around, researching, taking classes and looking at long term strategies. Plotting shopping trips and new marketing strategies.
Going through my inventory, looking for ways to style my items, and just taking time to be still and look at everything and find the significance and meaning in every piece.
Also, since I lost a little weight, I’m trying things on and looking at how pieces will work on real people, how things go together, etc. I’ve been selling since 2015 and have worked pretty much nonstop since quarantine trying to build a brand, trying to find an audience, trying to sell, trying and trying to stay on top of things and stay sane. I can see the finish line, but I still have to figure out how to get there.
So the reason I didn’t post last week because I was actually out in the world doing a thing. I signed up to do my first vintage pop up here in Brooklyn and between prepping, packing, transporting, selling, packing again and getting it all back upstairs that I didn’t get a chance to blog. I meant to do it on Sunday, but I was in pain. I found out the hard way that selling vintage is a real workout.
It was wild to have so many obstacles suddenly pop up, but I managed to get there and it was a good time. After all that time in lockdown, then going back to a job where I barely see other people, I was so excited to get to the pop up, and for about half an hour I thought it wouldn’t happen. And when I got there and didn’t have a rack, I was in shock that I had forgotten something so integral to selling. I was lucky enough that I put a card in my phone pocket so that I could order racks to be delivered, but my booth looked like a hot pile of garbage. My tablecloth didn’t cover my tubs and bags, I had to hang my stuff from the tent ceiling (ghetto), and I just felt like I was making the worst impression.
But I sold.
I sold a puffer jacket that I’ve had listed for three years, I sold a pretty sundress that I’ve had for about two years. I sold an awesome blazer that I got a few months ago. I sold a 70s patchwork skirt, I sold a 90s jacket. I sold two vintage tiebleached t-shirts almost instantly, which was gratifying since I couldn’t move them online. I sold a James Beard cookbook, which I could not move on eBay. The algorithm couldn’t keep people from finding the items that were meant for them. And I could watch people try things on, and see the items come alive and that was glorious. I’ve been investing in inventory for months and it was great to see some of my hunches payoff.
I’m probably doing another pop up soon, but until then here’s a taste of The Thrill. If you want to check out the vintage and high end items I have online, visit me on ShopThrilling/SEBMarketBK.
I got my skincare routine down and I was feeling good about myself, so I decided to buy a new matte red lipstick as I was passing the MAC store in Times Square. I got the lipstick and made an appointment for an eyelash lesson, and that turned into a bit of an investment. But… I mean… ok, I did not need any of this, but I bought it anyway.
I don’t look like Beyoncé or Naomi Campbell, or an ig model, so instead of hating myself over it, I picked a feature to love and I have a passionate adoration for the curve of my eyelids. Which is lucky because we’re back wearing masks in New York and eyes are all I have. It took a lot of products, plus concentration and precision. It was kind of zen. I started realizing how comforting it must be to paint on a mask to deal with a stressful world. Staring into your own eyes and assessing your own possibilities, then becoming the self you saw in your head. Powerful.
This is how it looked when I got home. I liked the fact that I could still see myself but my good qualities were amplified. I loved how definite my brows were. I figured that I could easily replicate the look and decided to wear makeup every day during the following week.
Let’s see how that went.
Day one, I did a whole face using tinted moisturizer and concealer from Fenty, all of the eye stuff except lashes with lipgloss over pencil.
Day 2 I was running late but did the eye thing with a Sephora lip stain over pencil.
Day 3 I just couldn’t. I didn’t even shower that day, and I had to wear a hat.
Day four I came back a little and did my eyes but that was the day that masks got mandated again, so I just did plain lip balm. Depressing.
Day five was the same.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care or didn’t want to, but mornings are hard. Getting up, exercising and getting a bike ride in, showering, getting dressed, eating breakfast or plotting where to pick it up on the way, finding my shoes and trying not to forget my keys takes up all of my time and energy. I’m going to have to get up earlier to fit makeup into this chaos. I’m going to try actually getting up when the alarm rings next week.
Recently I decided (again, because I’m always doing this) to try (again) to take my appearance more seriously. Again. I just want to look better, less tired, more attractive. Left to my own devices I’d do nothing, but that’s just laziness. I could do better. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything because I just feel ugly and I don’t want to be seen as trying to compete with better looking people. Because the only thing worse than being seen as ugly is being seen as an ugly person who thinks they’re cute. Which is kind of twisted. 1) looks are subjective, so even if you don’t look like a model someone somewhere prob thinks you’re adorable and 2) how sad that if someone wants to build themselves up, other people will seek to deny them that happiness out of small-mindedness.
A whole issue/dilemma/situation.
So I started with skincare. No one can fault or bully you for wanting cleaner skin. I got this box of Peter Thomas Roth Made To Mask Kit ($58) at Sephora. I’ve been using sheet masks and had just run out and couldn’t decide on what to get. I saw this, snatched it and ran for the register. I love how this box runs the gamut from light Cucumber Gel Mask to hardcore Purifying Black Mask with Irish moor mud. Long baths deserve the 24K Good Mask, and I’m crazy about putting on the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask for exfoliating before jumping in the shower. Def worth every penny.
I I started feeling pretty good after using the masks for about a month, so it was time lay in a skin routine. I follow Herbivore Botanicals on instagram and one night I saw an ad for the Jewel Box ($58) and I was all in. You get their Prism exfoliating glow serum, Bakuchiol serum for lines and wrinkles, and three of their skin oils (Phoenix, Emerald and Lapis). These are incredible products and I love them. The Prism and Bakuchiol serums have a luxurious texture that doesn’t feel greasy or slimy. The oils absorb into the skin quickly leaving skin deliciously soft. I’ve been using it for about a week and it’s made me feel beautiful. My skin looks cleaner and is moisturized without generating excess oil.
I admit to keeping it in the box so that it’s a whole am/pm ritual using the products.
It’s funny how people get information. I live in New York, and I follow a few people from my city and yet no one was posting about the lemon themed oasis called Citrovia. There’s basically a whole lemon art installation on 9th Avenue and 33rd. I only found out because I randomly picked up a free newspaper.
Since I have open time in the afternoons, I decided to head over after work. It was one of those hellishly hot days where you start to question whether or not New York is a hell mouth (it is, but we hide it better in the winter), and a shady, citrusy park seemed like heaven. It’s sort of interactive, but you can’t walk on the grass or step on the huge lemon discs spread all over the front lawn, so no selfies lying on them.
It’s kind of wild. Why lemons?
I love lemons, but I’m also partial to limes and oranges, and all three colors of fruit together would have been pretty interesting. Why not strawberries? I love red. Or kiwis because they’re so weird. Ooooh! A watermelon park because it’s THE summer fruit!
So I’ve been organizing my apartment to make it more livable, more comfortable, prettier and more organized. Which means spending money. I got this bookcase from Amazon ( here’s my list of items like bookshelves, trunks and tubs) which costs $34 and put my books and sewing machine and some tubs for inventory. I got two so that I could make a bedroom wall and separate the living room into a space with its own special integrity. I got this floral fabric cube from target and I use it for pajamas, sleep socks and sleep bras (I need them). It’s next to the linens chest I got from Home Depot during lockdown, which I put together on my own and need to stain soon.
the bookshelf wall from behind
Now, instead of a big open space, the bedroom is its own environment. It has really changed my mood when I wake up because now, one one side I have the plants in the window, and if I torn around I see books, my sewing machine, my camera and more plants. Once the wall is painted it’s going to be a red jewel box with my photography on the walls. Basically the room I’ve wanted my whole adult life.
The main area where I process and store my clothes and my online shop inventory has been updated with an over the door valet that holds items that need to be researched, photographed and measured. There two big tubs are holding processed items, the two little ottomans have upcycled and summer items (they went back to the living room). It’s better than it was. And now I’m not scared of that corner.
This was how it started off. I was embarrassed because I just kept dumping things in the corner as I bought more inventory and all the boxes accumulated over six months of ordering stuff online. It seemed overwhelming but then one day I just started breaking down boxes. It took ten minutes, so I felt really silly because I had procrastinated over nothing. I have a closet full of boxes and packing materials and the rest I got rid of. I still have stuff in the living room to change but I wanted to post about my progress.
Doing this energized this area. I feel a lot better and it’s easier to get things done. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, break your task into little, achievable goals. Every time you tick a goal off your list, you will feel motivated to tackle another one. You might still procrastinate, but the little tasks add up and make your life better.
For no reason whatsoever I took myself to the Russian Tea Room. It wasn’t my birthday, I didn’t have a date, I wasn’t meeting friends. I just wanted to see what it was like. This was the middle of the night some day last week, probably prompted by an instagram photo. Idk. It was just impossible to resist, so I made a reservation for high tea. I mean, I like tea.
I got a text reminder about my reservation so I looked up the menu to prep and realized that while I like tea and sandwiches, I couldn’t imagine sitting there by myself pouring tea and eating sandwiches. So I had the business lunch, then proceeded to add a cocktail and tea. That’s my problem. Once I’m at a place, I’ll just get whatever I want because I hate to tell myself no. Also, I’ve never had a Moscow mule and I was really curious. Now I know. And I ate borscht that I hadn’t made myself.
In case you’re wondering, I wore a plain black skirt, V-neck Gap cotton tshirt, and august silk cardigan with Nike skate shoes (they look like vans, but since everyone has vans…) clean but not showing off. There’s me, just a plain Jane eating lunch in a restaurant as lushly beautiful as a boudoir. Btw, that chandelier is all red Christmas ornaments and it is stunning.
I still procrastinate and sometimes I give up on things but I’m trying to push past that into a state of immediacy. Before the troubles I would say soon, or I’ll get to it, or maybe next week. Now I’m trying to grab at things and effect change in my life by doing instead of waiting. I had lunch at the Russian Tea Room because…why not?
It’s been six months! And looking back, it was an eventful, if lonely, six months. From January first to right now I’ve been to Philadelphia, got pedicures, went to the movies and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, went to work, went to my first estate sales, went to a bunch of sample sales, went to vintage sales. Made friends with people on Clubhouse, then had that blow up in my face (reminding me that people are desperate for connections right now and I need to watch who I get comfortable talking to). I took horseback riding lessons! I can now ride a bike and a horse, so if the world goes nuts I have two new means of survival transport.
Because of course horses will be running the streets in full English saddles. But let’s go on.
I’m much better at cooking and now I’m starting to look for new recipes and ingredients because I really like cooking and posting pics to my Instagram. That satisfies me and gives me a record of how creative I am. It feeds my ego and makes me believe in myself. I’m better at my reselling business, too. I look for new ways to buy inventory and I’m going to take a sewing class for my upcycling ideas (love to start them, then get bored/discouraged halfway through and stop. This must end!), and I’m going to start looking at fashion magazines again. That keeps my eye informed, and gives me ideas to expand on. I’m reading books again! I had stopped, and back in 2019 realized that I was just going to work and coming home and just staring at screens like a zombie. Now I’m up and awake and reading and remembering to take a book with me when I go out.
I literally used to win awards in elementary school FOR READING, but about six or eight months ago couldn’t read a book without getting bored. That’s some wild shit.
Things I like:
Taking pics of my stuff and selling the stuff
Paying taxes. Yes. I am an adult making enough (barely) to be in a tax bracket.
Cooking and taking pics of my food. I’m going to make videos soon.
Making soap. Yep, taking a soap making class soon.
Taking classes. Bike riding, sashiko stitching, visual merchandising, horseback riding, soap making…taking classes is fun and even if you don’t use the info that second, it will be in your mind when you need it.
Being consistent. I blog every Saturday, because it’s good for me and it gives me something to look forward to. Being consistent is good for your mental health.
Walking, riding my bike, doing my exercises.
Being alive. I like it, it’s working for me.
Making things. I love spray painting, making soap, stitching things, making paper and taking photos.
What I hate:
I’m not dwelling on that shit anymore. Stuff happened, some good and some things that were so bad that I had to pretend they never happened. I’ve had a year and a half to think things through, and I’m just going to let all of that die and keep it moving. I’m on my own and I’m going to make the best of the life I have right now. If anyone has issues with me and they don’t say anything, then there are no issues. I refuse to dwell on or stress out about what I don’t know about. I am minding the business that pays me.