lists (incomplete)

Coolest things I’ve ever done:

  • Be at the pope’s blessing on Christmas day. Seriously, I’m not even Catholic, but I do love Christmas, and it was a giant multilingual party in St. Peter’s Square.
  • See a Barcelona/Atletico Madrid soccer game in Madrid. Sports bring us together, people, all over the world.
  • I rang a bell that Paul Revere made in an old church in New England. I stood on the top steps, grabbed the rope to ring the bell, and swung.

Lamest things I’ve ever done:

  • One time I saw a bug in my kitchen and started crying. It was a rough day, but I really have no excuse.
  • My parents had this rule where I wasn’t supposed to do flips on our trampoline and at my neighbor’s house I did some flips. I then went home and confessed in tears to my parents. Apparently I cry a lot.
  • Do you guys remember the weekend the hurricane came to New York so we all went crazy in our apartments alone? That was pretty lame. I ate so much that weekend.

Earliest memories:

  • Me and my sister getting ready for bed one night in our house in Washington State
  • My mom getting excited I was reading a page in a book. Me being confused as to why this was exciting. (It was either a Bernstein Bears book or the one about it raining meatballs. Or neither and I can’t remember.)
  • I set paper on fire once when i was little because I wanted to see if it would melt. It didn’t. We had lit candles because our electricity was out.

Things I’ve done this weekend:

  • Watch the Olympic opening ceremonies and turn into a big pile of mush because I love America and sports and people and Hey Jude
  • Watched the Newsroom and turned into another big pile of mush when Will defended his staff and they all risked their lives for journalism.
  • Stressed out about work changes and life changes and apartment changes.
  • Took a walk and called my dad who said everything was going to work out

snapshots

The past week has been crazy you guys, just crazy. I’ll fill errybody in as soon as I can catch my breath, but in the meantime check out a few things I’ve been up to (in no particular order).

Sometimes water is cool. I also got to see the amazing Fug Girls talk about their new book. This is their first book, with matching nail polish (Essie’s Pink Flamenco). I went to the beach and walked through Coney Island, where rollercoasters are a-plenty. There was also a jetty in the water and magazine beach reading. I read On Writing and loved it–I’ll try to talk about it on here soon. I played with wavy hair, and I played with #fatcat who looks none too pleased with me here. I got some delicious cookies from Oven Lovin! And I got to see a really fun minor league baseball game on Staten Island.

(find me on instagram at raenudson)

my promise to women

I like talking about lipstick. And nail polish, and who wore what to the Oscars. I dye my hair and can tell you my top 3 shoe designers (Kirkwood, Olympia, Atwood). I have a solid network of friends to talk about Beyoncé alone.

I’m also a capable, smart, single woman who pays my own bills and works full-time and solves my own problems (with a little help from my friends, of course).

After the recent rants on the Newsroom that hated on reality TV and condemned a woman for being a gossip columnist, and the never-ending portrayals of ditzy women who have nothing in their heads but the latest sale at Bloomingdale’s, and the conversations that go in circles about women having it all, I am defending frivolity.

A woman (or a man) can be smart and like high heels. And be capable and still be sad she chipped her nail. Reading trashy magazines does not mean you can’t also read David Foster Wallace. (I’m also on Team Reading Never Makes You Stupid, even if the thing you are reading is stupid, but that’s another story.)

That I feel the need to explain this should be devastating. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing this behavior to continue. I never want my future daughter to believe she can’t enjoy dressing up and also be a brain surgeon. I also never want her to think she’s less of a woman if she doesn’t like playing with her hair.

Women already know we are capable. We know we are smart. We shouldn’t need to prove it to everyone else–including other women–by hiding that we sometimes focus on things that aren’t as serious as our families or our jobs or if it’s possible to have a family and a job. (SPOILER: It is, if you want, but no one said it was easy.)

I’m also taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure. I don’t feel bad that I like getting my hair done. I earned the money to pay for it, so why shouldn’t I? And if I want to spend a few hours browsing celebrity gossip, what’s it to you? Is the way I spend my time and money so offensive? Or is it that I’m a woman who has time and money to spend?

I am only 25 years old and I am exhausted defending my youth and my girliness. I know I have a lot to learn, but I also know I’ve learned a lot. I know there are more important things than the color of my nails–that’s why I enjoy the simple, silly pleasure of a manicure. I know the most important thing is what’s in my head and heart and not the clothes on my body. Shouldn’t we be teaching our girls the same thing?

Women can’t seem to win. We are either not girly enough or we are shallow. We are a ditz or a bitch. We can’t be CEO and we can’t stay at home. We have too many babies or not enough, and never at the right time. No way is good enough, and trying to walk the middle line isn’t working either.

Here is my promise to you, fellow women. I promise to support you. If you have a job or you don’t, if you have babies or you don’t, if you like physics or football or hair dye, you have my support to help you reach your goals. And I promise to care about what’s in your head and not what’s on your TV.

Do you promise, too?

P.S.–After the shooting in Colorado last week, everything else seems frivolous. My heart is with all those involved, and all the rest of us, too.

awesomes

Do you ever have days where you are embarrassed about everything? I’m sure it’s not just me. But today is one of those days, and I can’t send an email or do my hair or pick out shoes or get a cup of coffee without cringing and wanting to crawl back under the covers. But I have the Fug Girls to see tonight and work to do and I’m pretty sure my shoes are actually just fine. So to get my mind back on track, here’s 3 things that are awesome about today.

1. Fug Girls. Enough said.
2. I have gotten emails about Breaking Bad from my friends at both 5 am and 7:30 am this morning
3. My favorite characters are still alive in this book I’m reading (Wolves of the Calla, for those who are interested)

Got any awesomes of your own? Let me know, I could definitely use more.

hot and cold

It is so hot outside I don’t want to be outside for more than two seconds at a time. Waiting for trains is highly unpleasant. What do you when you need to be presentable at work on days like this? For me, I throw on my lightest weight dress and some sandals. It can be strapless or halter–I’m going to cover it up. Then, when I get to work, I throw on a blazer. It sounds easy because it is easy. Don’t forget your office heels.

Dress from Marshalls; shoes, blazer, and watch from Target. Purse from a little leather shop in Portugal (that sounds awesome, doesn’t it?).

let’s share a cup

I remember my first cup of coffee, like any good addict. I was in high school and I was tired from homework and gymnastics practice and a pot was sitting on our kitchen counter, so I went for it. It was pretty good, or at least not bad enough for me to stop. I like everything about it. The smell, holding a hot liquid in your hands on a cold day, how the familiar taste of something delicious can ground you on a crazy day–it’s all good to me.

I like the sense of community that surrounds coffee. You wake up with coffee, and you share it with loved ones and with strangers who don’t stay strangers for long. You can go just about anywhere and people understand coffee. In Roland and his friends’ case, it even transcends worlds. (mild spoilers ahead)

In The Wolves of the Calla, Roland, Eddie, Jake, Susannah and Oy are trying to make their way to the dark tower. They get sidelined by a town looking for the gunslingers’ help. As gunslingers, it’s their duty to help others who can’t help themselves, so the group stays to rid Calla Bryn Sturgis of a group of wolves who come to steal the town’s children. There’s deadly throwing plates, an army dressed to look like wolves, split personalities and a possible demon pregnancy.

But amid all of this is coffee.

When Roland’s ka-tet meets a few good people from Calla Bryn Sturgis, they speak of business over coffee. “Eddie guessed that, among the four of them, they must have put away at least a gallon. Even Oy had a little. Jake put down a saucer of the dark, strong brew. Oy sniffed, said “Coff!” and then lapped it up quickly and efficiently.” Roland of Gilead, Jake of New York in 1977, Eddie of New York in 1987, Susannah of New York in 1964, Oy the Billybumbler of Mid-World, and Tian and Zalia of Calla Bryn Sturgis, in who knows when, all drink coffee.So this weekend, I took my sharpies and A Beautiful Mess’ tutorial, and made this.

Take a porcelain dish, write on it with a sharpie, and bake it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I took two of my favorite quotes from this series, “If you love me, then love me,” which Susan pleads to Roland during their great love story, and “Go then, there are other worlds than these,” which Jake says to Roland as he’s falling to his death. They are beautiful and simple but convey so much meaning to me and to the characters. And now they can keep me company as I curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book.

I think this would be fun for any quote you like, from a book or otherwise. If you don’t like how it comes out, just take a damp rag, wash away the sharpie before you bake it, and start again. After you bake it, avoid the dishwasher and don’t scrub the writing. I had some smudge away as I was washing mine. But the worst that could happen is that you end up with a fresh slate. And that’s not so bad after all.

I also made this one, just for me.

For my favorite new coffee recipe, see here. And don’t forget you can see what I’m reading and follow along on Goodreads.

on new york

Because I live here and because my oldest and dearest friend is moving here soon. And because some of my friends are leaving it:

My feelings on New York.

My friends and I used to say that the highs in New York are very high and the lows are very low. This is true literally–we have both the Empire State Building and the subway–but we meant it figuratively. The high you feel making new friends on a beautiful rooftop you didn’t know existed a few hours ago is amazing. As is the giant party the city turns into every year on every holiday. My favorite is Marathon day where my friends and I celebrate other people’s athleticism by cheering them on and getting drunk brunch. But the lows are terribly, terribly low.

Public crying and puking are kind of a joke to New Yorkers–we’ve all been there, we just won’t all tell you about it. You don’t always have a car to retreat to or an easy (or private) route home. Groceries are heavy and winter is the worst. I can’t explain the awfulness of New York winters. It’s dark and cold and dreary and your friends are hours away on a cold, dark, dreary train and your tiny apartment can only hold you for so long before you go insane but insane is better than waiting for a bus that may never come with a fever you can’t shake. We’ve all had days where going home is an epic tale of bad weather, crowded trains, pickpockets, and violence. You’ve heard these stories before. Mine aren’t new.

I find myself telling my friends not to come. “It’s too hard. It’s way harder than you think.” “It’s too cold and too expensive.” But what I can’t quite articulate is how this city has a unique way of completely kicking your ass when you’re down. How many other cities actually fight back? Actually actively try to kick you out, like you’re a virus invading its system?

And yet. My favorite thing about New York is probably what others hate the most. It really doesn’t give a fuck. So I can do what I want and wear what I want and go where I want, and, you know what, it doesn’t matter. The city doesn’t care. It’s allowed me to relax and just be what I want to be. I started knitting as a way to pass the time in a small apartment where I live alone. I love it. Other people like it, and some people don’t. I see it on the train. There is always someone worse at it than me and always someone better. The same applies to my hair or my clothes or whatever other activity I’ve picked up. So relax. Stop trying to be the best–someone else has it covered. Just do your thing. You’ll fit right in because no one fits in. It’s perfect in its carelessness.

And when the city doesn’t care, the people do. One of my favorite nights out in the city was a Sunday night where me and my friends took over a corner of a bar and just hung out. We danced and chatted and shots were poured and stories were shared. I think it was raining, but we didn’t mind. We just made some friends and passed the time and tipped our bartender. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions. People might not know, but the ones that do are eager to share the city. (I’m convinced that people like to help out to prove they know more about New York than you do. Don’t hold it against them.) I once saw an entire subway car help a tourist get directions in their own language. That sense of community and that we’re all in this together is overwhelmingly fun.

New York doesn’t define me, but it’s helped me be me. I could go somewhere else and be happy, and I miss my family a lot. I believe other places are just as valid and almost always more logical than New York. I’m not married to the city, but we’ve had a very torrid affair. Well, on my end anyway. New York probably doesn’t care.

snapshots

Snapshots from the past few weeks: Lots…and lots…of outside happy hours and good food. I got this super cool bracelet from a super cool friend. And new colorful dishes that I love. Some people left books on my street so I went perusing. And got a new Stephen King book! And doesn’t this bodega cat looks just like #fatcat? Check it out. They look so much the same.

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polka dot

Fridays in the summer mean happy hours right after work. Here’s how I took my look from work to play.

I put a light sweater over my polka dress. Both are from Express. Shoes are pink pumps from I can’t remember where. Belt–I think–is from Target. I really like this look. I like how the polka dots are just peeking out and I like the way the green belt goes with the pink. When work was over and I was ready for fun, I lost the sweater but kept the belt and threw on some sandals (from Target).

I had a really fun night. I hope you did too! Happy weekend.

patriotism

I hope you had a great Fourth of July! I’m not that into obvious theme dressing–I like to be a little subtle–but I accidentally got decked out in American blue and I wasn’t sad about it.

My shoes even got into the spirit of things. Sandals from Target, fantastic gray T-shirt with blue and yellow flecks from Uniqlo, shorts from Topshop. Bag I made myself! I’m pretty excited about it. I love the fabric. Not only is it super cute, but it’s oilcloth, which makes it easier to clean. Perfect for a clutch, no?

My favorite part is the yellow tassel. I like to test things out before I post them, and it held up perfectly today. I can’t wait to get it up on the Rae’s Days store. I’ll let you know when I do!

This outfit was great for a relaxed Fourth with a few friends. We grabbed a drink in Brooklyn, and when it got too hot I just tied my shirt around my waist to make a midriff. Sometimes I just feel the best in a T-shirt and flats, you know what I mean?

Hope you had a great holiday with friends and family. Bummer to go back to work after such a fun day, isn’t it?