When quarantine hit in March, I had to recognize that everything that I was procrastinating about was related to transportation. I had put off renewing my passport, learning to swim, learning to drive and buying a bike. The cold reality of my situation as that I could not outrun a zombie with my little fat self and I had no wheels to ride on and if someone said swim to the vaccine I was gonna be assed out.
That’s some harsh shit to realize.
I sent off a passport application (finally) but the DMV is closed so I can’t get the permit to drive yet. The place where I want to take swimming lessons is closed until September. So… I bought a bike. It took two months to arrive, but I bought a bike.
I got ripped off on the first bike I chose, then I found this beauty. The Adventurer 6 speed folding bike, $169.99 on the Camping World website. I thought that a folding bike would be better for someone living in a studio apartment, but I found out that that bike was heavy for me to carry folded, so it’s been set up like this since I got it. I did some group bike lessons with Bike New York, but I didn’t take the street riding class because the lady who ran it was nasty. Yes, I will avoid using a free service if I’m treated badly. Surprise. So technically I could ride, but I was very nervous about going out in the street on my own. It took some googling but I finally found someone who would trade money for bike riding lessons.
I stalked their website until they finally posted lessons were available and I pounced. By the power of my enhanced unemployment check I paid $150 to have another human being coach me on how to ride in the street. One misty early summer morning I met my teacher in Prospect Park and for an hour and a half I got tutored on how to feel like I wasn’t going to die the minute I wheeled my bike into the street. I’m not being sarcastic or dramatic. This was the only thing keeping me from riding the bike I had sitting in my apartment, and it was worth every penny to have someone professional to ride with that first time.
I don’t ride every day (yet), but I can go riding with confidence now. My arms are starting to relax and when I go I stay out longer. I went from doing one loop around my block to turning up and down unfamiliar territory, albeit within six blocks of my building. I fell down one morning and got back on the bike. I have to stop and rest because this quarantine weight is kicking my ass. But I love the joy of coasting down the road on two wheels, with the breeze on my face. I love having the choice of walking or riding. It’s a process, but I have wheels and I can finally be out there using them.
PS, don’t forget to wear you’re helmet. This is the free one that I got at a street fair from the D.O.T. a few years ago. If you need a helmet look here.
Hope you guys are getting through quarantine, phased openings and re-lockdowns ok. It’s a wild situation, so do your best.
It has been a wild week, to be sure. I think we all know what I mean. EVERYTHING is different.
And maybe that needed to happen.
So the corona virus has rolled across the world and in addition to the possibility of sickness and death, you have the choice of going broke if things don’t get back to normal. I started a Roth IRA 7 years ago and it’s only in the last few years that I could make regular contributions. I’m watching that progress melt away second by second, which is both frightening and exciting. I never had money to lose before, so I’m kind of winning. I also read a book called Depression Era Economics by Paul Krugman and it’s keeping me calm to know that if you just wait, the market will regenerate itself. If people are selling and selling, someone is sitting around waiting for the prices to drop low enough and then it will be buy, buy, buy.
If things work out ok. Which they will.
Here in New York it’s like this:
Normally, you can’t shoot a train platform without a few people messing up your photo, but not so much now. It is not as much of a problem getting a seat on the train, and nobody pushes right up next to you. Part of that is that people are biking or uber pooling, and the other part is that businesses are slowly shutting down, so there’s not as much reason to go out. I just got told that the rest of my gigs for March are cancelled since department store shopping is considered nonessential. You can get restaurant delivery or shop online, though.
One thing that fell by the wayside was my styling class at Fashion Institute of Technology. I had signed up for a visual merchandising class where I would learn to build sets and style photoshoots (yeah, I was a photographer and did branch out into styling but that was ages ago). I really wanted to brush up my skills, work on updating my portfolio, maybe style on the side, and definitely try to get more visual merchandising jobs. But corona happened.
It threw the school into a tizzy about a month in. My class was very hands on, and all about group projects and suddenly they were like, all classes are online. I thought about it and decided not to continue because worrying about my economic survival is not good for my creative process. Guess what? Can’t get a refund. You either take the online class or die. So the photo above and one lecture just cost me $600.
At least I can write it off on my taxes.
I just got a Target Red Card, so just in time I had a large amount of money for emergency food shopping. I also shopped at Jacks and Dollar Tree. I got yogurt, fresh berries and fruit and as late as Thursday night Target was still stocked up. The Key Food near my place was completely out of toilet paper, but I got a few rolls at Dollar Tree. I usually stock up, because a grownup should know when they’re almost out, but I was down to my last five rolls and I started reading about how people were stockpiling. I also have napkins and paper towels, but still.
When I finally got to settle in and self quarantine, I roasted some pork belly chunks (super cheap) and had them with rice (put the rest in the fridge for another meal) and a spoonful of black beans from the massive can I bought. I live alone, so my food will last for awhile, but I’m already telling myself not to get crazy and overeat. The first uncertain days had me binge eating, but now, since I don’t know how long this will last, I’m sticking to four meals and rationed healthy snacking. I found some empty plastic bottles that I’d been saving for no reason, so I filled those with water and they’re in the freezer.
I had a gig at Home Depot merchandising for Carhartt, and I bought myself a money plant and a new succulent baby. It’s wild, but I’ve been collecting crystals and buying candles and oils and sage, and setting intentions for the last few months so now my apartment is a nicer place to be. I have a salt lamp going and stocked upon the little bulbs that make it glow. I got the cutest little clock. It’s been months since I could just sit in here and relax, and now I have things in here that are conducive to relaxation. I can see that progress that I’ve made and it’s calming me down. I feel really grateful that I have a place to live at a time like this.
I’m also going to have time to thoroughly clean this place and really get into the feng shui method that I started with and then ran out of energy to complete. I got Feng Shui for Dummies to start with, and now I can look at creating a floor plan and budget for remedies.
And I’ve been talking to my family. I started a group chat with my brothers. We don’t talk all day, but having this conversation on my phone to look at and engage with is amazing after years of estrangement. Talking to my mom is really precious now. All it took was the threat of human extinction to make me see that.
Last but not least, the pins I designed came in and I’m a little excited! Things got backed up because of the virus, so I don’t have them listed anywhere yet and I need to stay in the house so I can’t really be worried about selling them. BUT! It’s exciting to have made something from scratch like this. I really love this image, though. I think I want to make more things out of it, including tshirts. My online stores are closed right now while I figure out what I want to do, but this image will be a big thing in the coming months.
How are you holding up? Are you remembering to wash your hands and not touch your face? Are you making sure to stay in contact with people? Have you made plans for the what ifs of the situation? Did you get some toilet paper?
I didn’t manage to make it anywhere near a beach this summer because I made six or seven different plans for myself and none of them included relaxing. One of my plans was getting into background acting but I’ve been too busy for auditions. I signed up with Central Casting and haven’t had time to go back with my wigs and glasses to update my look. And every time they text me about a job I either don’t get picked or I’m working that day.
But the universe loves me, so I usually get what I want. Not as much as I think I want, but just enough to let me know I’m on the right track. Like back in the crazy days of blogging when random emails sent me running out the door to fashion shows and product launches, I got a random email looking for paid audience members. Kinda like background acting, and it was an adventure.
We went out to the studio, got breakfast and then worked hard to be good, responsive audience members. I have never clapped so much in my life. We worked through two tapings (with a break for a catered lunch) and then they dropped us back in the city. Not a bad adventure.
The show stars Kimberley Locke, a singer -songwriter who happened to come in third on American Idol in 2003. She’s paired with co-host Dr.Steve Salvatore and together they lead the audience through topical questions, heart wrenching true stories and health, food and beauty segments. The show debuts September 9th on these channels.
This has nothing to do with Friends or that sad movie with Colin Farrell. This is real.
I had to go into Manhattan today to run an errand and decided to find some lunch afterwards. I was really looking for Sweetgreen, but then I saw this Luke’s Lobster tucked off of Fifth Avenue and I just knew. This was the place where magic lived. It also happens to be the place where I got a delish lobster roll two years ago, but at their Brooklyn Bridge Park location. I didn’t know that I was ready for another one, but there you go.
It was refreshingly cool in the rustic little space after the blinding hot sun outside. How cute is the bottlecap barrel? It also reminded me that I had planned to go to Martha’s Vineyard this summer… I currently have two jobs, so I can’t go anywhere on vacation. I guess I just needed this maritime themed timeout.
Perfection. Just chunks of fresh lobster mixed with mayo, lemon butter and Luke’s Lobster seasoning ensconced in a buttery toasted bun. I took a little taste after I photographed my lunch and decided to just sit outside and eat instead of waiting. I never, for any reason sit outside to eat. I have a whole fear of someone just snatching my food or my purse while I sit around conspicuously consuming a plate of privilege. I like to eat inside where it’s safe. But it just felt like too much to have to wait. Sometimes you just have to sit yourself down and enjoy the moment.
You ever have a friend that disappears for like, six months, then comes back and blows up your phone with texts? That’s me. Let’s get into it.
I have a fashion job (we’ll talk about that later) and last Wednesday I had to go on a field trip for work in the searing, nasty summer heat of New York City. On the way to my destination I realized that I was in the actual vicinity of Milk Bar and my day took a turn from abysmal to transcendent. I love Christina Tosi’s backstory and the fact that she put basic stuff on a pedestal with her compost cookies and crack pies. Her methods are the epitome of staying true to yourself.
I was in actual shock when I found out that my menial task was taking me past the gates of heaven. It was a sign that I was on the right path, I kid you not. As SOON as I was finished, I made a trip to cookie mecca. Have you ever had their corn cookie? It’s insane. I grabbed four different kinds to nosh on (cheap at $2.75 each). I was so excited to be there, it was nuts. I kept twirling around to take photos to make sure I got every important detail. I was acting like a straight up tourist and I DID NOT CARE.
I got a cup of cereal milk soft serve which I had to photograph while walking and carrying a bag of cookies. Ice cream dripping everywhere,but I did my duty. And got the perfect, late afternoon, warm glow, magic hour lighting. Hello? I am a photo god.
The cereal milk soft serve is a sneakily delicious twist on the usual sweet but forgettable summer treat. Soft serve always has a sort of sterile taste, no depth. It’s there to cool your mouth down, not to be savored. This was a different story. Sweet, but salty, kind of nutty, ridiculously creamy and so good that you can’t stop eating it, but you want to stop eating just to enjoy the feel and flavor a little longer. It’s a love story of a dessert. But simple, clean and refreshing. Just writing thismakes mewant to get on the train and buy more.
If you’re down in Chelsea, swing by the Milk Bar at 220 8th Avenue. Make sure you check out their website, too.
But life goes on, and things keep happening so here I am again.
I follow celebrity stylist June Ambrose (if you don’t know who she is, she is the genius behind Missy Elliott’s groundbreaking looks in videos like The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)so she is actually iconic, for real with facts to back that up). She advertised her annual Closet Cleanse sale on instagram, happening at Selima Optique (she has a collab with them selling big, fabulous frames. I got excited, then looked at my credit card balance and deflated, but at the end of the day I got dressed and went.
I wore my Duryea’s t-shirt from Montauk Mainstay, DKNY super soft yoga culottes , my big ass Zeelol frames over the Polar Grey ttdeye contacts (I like making people question whether my eyes or glasses are fake. ) and the Old Navy sneakers that I made into wearable art. A very special summertime outfit- plus my new wig, which we’ll talk about later. See above collage.
I was late because I had convinced myself that it would be super crowded with awful women fighting and snatching and being fashion crazy. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom would force me to go outside. I had to be my own mom and motivate myself to leave the house and interact with other humans while possibly getting some bargains. It was real.
Once I got there, it was kind of mellow. The power shoppers had been and gone with a lull for lunch that I stepped into. The racks were scattered throughout the front of the store. Bins with $10 items were on the floor and there were piles of merch on the counters. It was heaven for thrifters.
Display cases were full of opulent accessories. Hermes, Maison Martin Margiela, and more.
The sale started at 11 am and I got there around two, so I missed a lot, but there were still great items everywhere. I saw Chanel, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and labels that I had never heard of. Between my budget and the fact that I’ve been shopping for months (both for me and for inventory) I might have gone crazy.
I got three things, and while I was standing on line June Ambrose came up, looked at my stuff and gave me an additional discount on this Margaret M. pencil skirt. I am not good at dealing with celebrities, so I don’t have a selfie with her, I didn’t take photos of her, and I didn’t want to be all up her butt so I didn’t even really start a conversation with her. I figured that everyone who came to the sale knew she was famous because how else did you know about the sale? It was nice of her to give me a discount, though. Customer service is customer service no matter who gives it to you, so 5 stars on the customer service!
I spent the money I saved at June’s daughter’s table outside. Summer Hope Chamblin, who is prominently featured on her mom’s instafeed, was out on the street in front of the boutique selling watermelon lemonade and various baked goods. She kind of made me buy this chocolate chip cookie (I’m not a fan) which I ended up liking, and I got two oatmeal raisin cookies to eat with my Dean and Deluca honey vanilla latte. Anytime I go out to Soho, especially if there’s shopping involved, I have to stop in there for a treat.
Turned out to be an ok Saturday afternoon!
Do you ever have a hard time leaving the house to do things? Does it sometimes feel too hard to face the world of people lurking outside? What is the one thing that can tip you out of bed and out the door? Talk amongst yourselves.
See you next time!
Faith/SEB Market BK
Shop the blog:
Handpainted faux suede sneakers, size 9
Hand painted SEB Market BK (originally old navy 1984) faux suede hitops. Warm avocado shade. I just felt like they needed stripes and sequins. Shoes do not match, but the same colors of paint are used on both. Rubber soles. Unisex. New-ish, only worn a few times.Inner and outer soles have been cleaned.Says 9, fits 9.5 comfortably. Men’s 7. Measures 11 inches from toe to heel. Height is 5 inches from sole to top of ankle.
I have been wanting to go to Orchard Beach for the longest time. It’s just one of those things. I have a list of stuff that I’ve been meaning to do like the Statue of Liberty and City Island, but it takes forever for me to get it together to do anything. But I had the day off and it was perfect weather and I had a bikini so whatever. I go.
I feel like it took as long as going to the Hamptons. It takes about 2 and a half hours from my place in Brooklyn and involves changing trains and taking a bus. So when I got there I was prepared to lay out for at least as long as it took me to get there. I had a packed lunch and had a flask of wine and a book, so it was a party.
I’m not sure why, but I didn’t take a picture of my lunch that day. I guess since I was not really doing social media last year, just trying to live like it was just something happening not a world changing event. Or maybe it was something basic and I didn’t feel like it needed to be recorded.
This was me doing fake happy face, but in the end I was fairly satisfied. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and there was that sound of waves lapping against the beach that makes the beach so super relaxing. And I wore a string bikini so I could get all of that healthy sunlight and air on my skin. I went to Orchard Beach, I hung out and then I went home. I almost went to City Island on the way home, but that would have been too much braveley hanging out alone stuff for one day.
Do you like going places on your own? What do you do if there’s no one to hang out with? What do you think or say about people that you see hanging alone? Drop a comment if that’s something you want to talk about.
One time, last summer, I saw an ad on meetup for someone looking to go to the Hamptons. I met with the person for drinks, made a whole plan…and they bailed. Supposedly you can only go to the Hamptons when it’s sunny. Apparently I was supposed to change my plan because things weren’t perfect for her.
But I had my jitney ticket , so… I went. Welcome to my solo trip to Montauk.
This is the beach. It was basically empty because the lightest rain was falling. Not even a real rainshower, just barely a mist. So I got to finally experience the beach in Montauk without a massive crowd. Introvert paradise.
I had some food. I enjoyed not having to wait on a long line, fight for a table or wait a long time for my meal. I just sat there eating and watching boats go by with no stress.
You know what this is. You’ve watched Kid Gorgeous. You know the joke.
Then I took the LIRR home.
The thing I hate the most about people is when they just leave you hanging after gassing you up. At the end of the day, it’s not up to anyone to decide how your time is going to be spent. If someone bails on your plans, don’t stay home and sulk. Go out and do what you were planning (unless you desperately need two people, but most plans can shrink to a solo capacity if needed).
This wasn’t easy for me at all. I’ve never been to Montauk and as a black woman, it can be seriously intimidating traveling alone. But I went and I lived.
I decided to do some things that I haven’t had time to do, and one of them was re-learning how to ride a bike. I haven’t been balanced on two wheels since I was 12 years old, and that wasn’t exactly a banner day anyway. I searched ‘free bike lessons’ and tada! It appeared.
That’s the wonder of New York.
After a harum scarum search for available spots (as you can assume, the classes fill up fast) I was able to snag a lesson on Roosevelt Island with the Bike New York gang. They actually have helmets for everyone, so if you don’t have one and are not even sure how to buy one, you can feel safe showing up without one.
I think the green helmet was tres chic, don’t you?
Bike New York volunteers lined us up in size order and we were fitted to our bikes. The main thing being that your feet are flat on the ground when you’re astride it. Luckily I had this water bottle from a fashion event last year, so I was prepared for an afternoon of riding. I also had some granola and homemade banana nut bread tucked away in my knapsack, since they advise that you bring snacks.
When you start, Bike New York has you learn on a bike with no pedals. You spend about an hour learning to balance. It’s actually huge fun. Once you’ve demonstrated an ability not to kill yourself, you get the pedals- a major moment. When I got mine, I felt like a BMX racer.
When I was a kid, I was always fearful of a. getting my bike stolen (which did happen) or b. falling off/getting into an accident. The most dangerous part of doing this 2 hour class was looking out for other students sudden stops. The volunteers are there to guide and help and it’s a really friendly process. You do end up super hungry and thirsty though, so when they say bring snacks? Bring your snacks.
I was so glad I went! It was exhilarating to realize that I now held the power to fly around New York without being bound by subway snarls. well, as soon as I learn how to ride in traffic.
If you want to sign up, here are the classes that they have available:
2. Bicycling Basics: core cycling skills, like how to adjust your helmet and seat, how to make sure your bike is road ready, etc.
3. Street Skills Ride: they teach you how to stay safe while riding crazy NY streets, albeit in a no-traffic environment. *actually? you would be in street traffic. my bad- Bike NYC contacted me about that. see comments below -FB 8/6/15*
They have even more classes and events, so if you’re in New York and looking for bike lessons or looking to volunteer, you should contact them. All the info you need is at www.bike.nyc.