Giving It All Away

I’ve been reading my second book on de-cluttering, The Joy of Less and I was KonMari’ing again last weekend and gave a bunch of stuff away. It felt really good to give my stuff to people who would give it a new life. These are inanimate objects, but humor me. 

Although my couch was old and kind of crappy (I bought it from IKEA in 2008), it was still totally usable and I really wanted it to get a new home and not go to a landfill. After little success on Facebook and with my IRL friends, I asked the intern at my office if she could post an ad on the Columbia University Marketplace on Facebook. I live quite close to Columbia and I knew I had a pretty good chance of finding a new home for my couch if I got the ad in front of Columbia students. Minutes after she posted it, I received three emails and narrowed it down to one after revealing when I could move furniture in and out of my building (there are very strict rules – M-F only). Three roomies came for the couch the day after I got my new one and thanked me profusely via text message after. I never met them but I’m glad some students who are paying high tuition have a free couch. And I’m very happy my couch has a new home.

Next on the chopping block were two yoga bolsters. I had three in my apartment but let’s be real, how many can I use at once? Answer: One, but I actually don’t even use that one all that often. So, instead of hiding the extra two under a chair, like I had been for months, I advertised on my Facebook wall that I had these two extra hardly-used bolsters and won’t someone please come take them from me? They were gone in a day. Yay!

After that I decided to purge my shoe collection. The floor of my small walk-in closet was covered and I touched about 4 pairs of shoes regularly. I did a Marie Kondo and put all of my shoes on the floor of my living room and picked through them. At the end I kept about dozen pairs – enough to be hung in the shoe holder on the back of my bedroom door and tossed a big bag after. Well, not tossed, donated. I also donated a small bag of clothing that had been sitting on a chair in my bedroom for a while.

I tackled the contents of my coffee table and ottoman, too. I was keeping far too many magazines – Time Out New Yorks – that I would ever look at again. So I kept about 10 issues that I especially liked and recycled the rest.

My bookshelves also got swept. When I was boxing up books, I decided to get rid of a few dozen plays that I’ll never read again, and some books that I read, enjoyed, and will never read again. And let’s not forget about books that I never read and probably never will. I’m taking these over to Book Culture on Saturday.

Previously I’d cleaned out my kitchen island and my tupperware (because as long as there is takeaway, there will be plastic containers, sadly).

It’s a privilege to be able to give stuff away and I’m fully aware. 

I’m not done yet, but it’s nice to start the process of streamlining. And please don’t worry, I’m not killing myself. No, no. I just got a new couch and cleaned out some junk – more than ever, now is the time to enjoy my apartment. (That sounds ridiculous, but you get what I mean.)

The Upper West Side Wins

Of course it does. 

I feel like I keep seeing these New York Times’ and Curbed articles about people who love the Upper West Side. And then I feel extremely grateful that the prior few bidders on my apartment didn’t know how to fill out a board application and I was – or my broker was, to be clear, because that shit is complicated.

I live within a couple of blocks of the water and two massive parks. I live two blocks from the best bagels in the city (not my words, everyone else’s), I have some awesome bars, Columbia’s sprawling, green campus, an adorable independent pet store that comes complete with an adorable pet store kitten, Book Culture, The Hungarian Pastry Shop, and a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Westside Market. And lots of trains.

I love my ‘hood and I am very fortunate to be able to live here.

And if I have the means, I’m never leaving. 

The Upper West Side Wins

The Weekend

This weekend was oh-so nice. It started on Friday night when J and I went down to The Library (the bar at the Public) to celebrate his birthday with his friends, many of whom I just adore. It was super fun, though we both probably consumed far too much alcohol. 

We ordered in carb-loaded breakfasts from my local diner the next morning to fight our hangovers before going to see Avenue Q at New World Stages. It was my first time seeing it since 2005 or 2006 and it totally holds up. I’ll write about it more in depth later on but it’s still so great. J loved it SO, SO much. He couldn’t stop talking about it the entire weekend. Now he’s all, “I’m sure Hamilton’s great, but is it funnier than Avenue Q? Probably not.” 

He had to run home and I had to go home to see my cat and take a nap, but we met back up later on to go meet his friend from DC who he hadn’t seen in 3 years. We attempted to go to Flatiron Hall, but it was packed, so we went across the street to a mostly-empty bar (I can’t remember the name) and didn’t leave until probably 1am. So late. It was so exhausting but it was fun. (I nursed one beer the entire time because the thought of drinking more hurt my face.)

Sunday included a trip to Book Culture to take advantage of their 20% off sale. I hate buying books simply because they’re cheap, but I bought a Kon Mari-esque book called The Joy of LessYes Please by Amy Poehler, and Just Kids by Patti Smith. I cooked this sausage/kale/carrot noodle soup from the Inspiralized blog (it’s SO GOOD) and we watched “The Invasion” on HBOGo (it was entertaining and I’d recommend watching it if you’re bored, though it was 100% ridiculous). 

After an hour or so in the gym, I made sausage/carrot noodle/spinach/siracha rice wraps. So good. The rice wrap is kind of hard to handle but worth it not to have all the carbs of a regular wrap. 

We ended the night watching Show Business and later watching Game of Thrones (he watched, I played with my cat). I hadn’t watched Show Business in so long. It brought back so many good memories. To my shock and delight, J found it super interesting and loved seeing the progression of Avenue Q, in addition to watching Raul Esparza do theatre (currently he only knows him as DA Barba on SVU).

Overall, a solid weekend. 

Weekend Things.

Friday night: BANG! Said the Gun had their second installment. It was, again, AWESOME. I highly encourage you to check it out, last Friday of every month. It’s a slam poetry night that originated in London.

Saturday: Yoga, duh. Then I chatted with a lovely International Politics professor from Baruch in The Hungarian Pastry Shop, picked up “Street Justice” for $6 from Book Culture, and listened to the Columbia University band practice out on their quad. Saturday night I celebrated my best friend’s husband’s birthday at Subject, L.E.S. It was a cool place with $6 Abita, but it was too crowded. They also lost my credit card (which I’d just activated that day) until I looked on the floor behind the bar and was like ‘IT’S ON THE FLOOR. RIGHT THERE.’ I don’t think I’ll be heading there again. Also: the Lower East Side on a Saturday night? Shit show. We all know this, but come on. Really, it’s a shit show.

Sunday: I tried out a class at the new 104th/Broadway Yoga to the People. It’s a great place to go for experienced yogis but I wouldn’t suggest it unless you have a solid practice already. I bought the wallet (on the right) that you see above at the street fair on Broadway. It’s from a company called Big Skinny and it’s amazing and so compact. I ventured later on to Brooklyn to see Ghosts at BAM (review coming!) and went with a lovely guy to an Italian restaurant called Frankie’s 457 in Carroll Gardens. Another upside to my new purse? The middle part is the perfect size for fitting Playbills.