Wednesday, February 26, 2014

All is Fare...In New York.

Oh, heyyyyyyyyy.
I'm alive.
I survived New York Fashion Week.
Well, barely.
In totally other news, though, after writing a piece about the subway system here in New York City while actually riding the subway ("Bright Spots in the Gray"), I recently visited the New York Transit Museum, located in a defunct subway station in downtown Brooklyn. They're currently running the exhibition Steel, Stone, and Backbone, which reveals the reality of undertaking such an incredibly overwhelming task such as the digging of a subway tunnel and constructing one of the world's most intricate transportation systems. It's pretty unbelievable.
My daily life, riding in a steel car millions of other passengers, was hammered and drilled by the hands of hardworking men, many immigrants, new to New York, who provided us with one of the most intricate . Despite the sheer genius of it all, it also maintains the ability to completely ruin my day, or at the very least, provide me with endless material to complain about and an earth-shattering headache. But, learning about its history...did help me to realize its magnitude and appreciate the whole transit system...even if only for a few hours before my train stopped for twenty minutes, underground, with no warning and no reasonable explanation.
That's life for you, right?

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"All is fare in love and Brooklyn"
Isn't that clever?

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Restored train cars from all decades, beginning with the early 1900s.   

    I weaved in and out of their numerous parked vintage train cars from all era, including wooden ones implemented in the late 1800s, to present day stainless steel cars, built by the three railroad companies, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the city-owned Independent Rapid Transit Railroad (IND). Entrance is only $7, and I embarked on a free guided tour on a Saturday. I walked there, actually, from my apartment in Williamsburg, and it took me about 50 minutes, door to door. I know, I know. Why are you walking? you ask. I like to see where I am going. Absorb it. So many times, we're underground here, zipping from one place to another. I don't often get to notice my surroundings or how exactly I find myself popping up in an entirely different area. Being transported beneath the ground provides a distorted understanding of time and space. That, and obviously, it feels good to walk around New York. Stretch out. Get moving. Oh, and while you're at this whole "reading thing," you absolutely must take a look at this New York Times article that explores the habits and quirks of subway riders. Who knew there was so much behind these behaviors that we engage in daily on autopilot?

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Sunset while walking back in solitude through Clinton Hill.

   And, continuing on the subject of trains, in particular (Segway, Segway!)...I also attended the Holiday Train Show up at the New York Botanical Garden  in the Bronx. I'm rapidly turning into a botanic garden groupie, after my hike (power walk!) to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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Even in the freezing temperatures, The New York Botanical Garden was magical as the evening descended upon us. I can't wait to return in the realllllllll spring time--None of this "March madness snow mess"-- to see the plants and gardens begin to bloom, stirring from their winter slumber to stretch and grow. That rebirth...that's such a profound sight. It's the natural life cycle and witnessing it-well, it makes me much more aware of my mortality. To roam the Botanic Garden for hours in April, that's on my spring to-do list.

 So, this train's not actually a big presentation of trains. The name is deceiving. The Holiday Train Show primary artist Paul Bussee and his team recreated icons and historical buildings, paying tribute to the streets of Manhattan, past and present. Yes, these streets that have been "making people feel brand new" for hundreds of years. Well, the artists constructed these New York "miniatures--many that are definitely not so mini-- with only materials found in nature. No, really. Seeds, leaves, twigs, berries, bark. The detail that goes into the bridges, stadiums, houses, buildings, etcetera is actually mind-blowing. Each one takes hours upon hours. See below. It's not quite as dorky as it may sound. Honest. Metro-North train replicas run through, in, and around all of the landmarks and streets throughout the massive display. The halls and rooms are expansive, and it's rather a cool sight to see, watching these trains speed through enormous replicas of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges overhead, then zip around the Museum of Natural History and back by a historic cottage from the 1600s.

One of my very favorite spots, and buildings in New York: The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

Looking up to my Brooklyn Bridge.

Top left: A residence on 23rd street, 1883, and a general store on Thomas street, 1875. The Metroploitan Museum of Art, 1895. Bottom left: Inside the conservatory, trains gliding through replicas of older residences. The Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall among other iconic landmarks.

The real miracle is this detailed Macy's recreation.

Gang's all here! Some of the most recognizable, iconic landmarks in all of the world...and all handmade with natural materials.
Wandering this city--well, I'm definitely not lost.
I'm surrounded by millions of moments just waiting for me.
Wherever you are,
See and Do--
It really is that simple.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spring Training:: Black&White Staples

So, I just wrapped up New York Fashion Week...
Boy, was it a doozy. It always seems to be, though, no matter how hard I attempt to prepare.
I'm still finishing up a few reviews of some of the collections I saw--from runways, to presentations, to viewings and collaborations. Whew! I'm exhausted even reminiscing. The weather proved to be the greatest obstacle in actually showing up to a scheduled event...and an even more obnoxious obstacle in dressing for it. Snow boots were on display as the footwear of choice for many to ensure triumph over the sheets of ice, snow mountains, and plain muddy, gushy muck all over. Streetstyle photographers had their work cut out for them, considering we were all bundled up in oversized scarves, hats, and gloves.

They caught me, sitting in the front row of Houghton (ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR! by the way), looking all too much like Carmen Sandiego. I hadn't even bothered to take off all of my gear, even inside of Milk Studios. Eeeeeeek. Not my best or most sly moment. You must see the collection HERE and see alllllll of my thoughts, because...

"She’s up and done it!– she’s re-creating the elegant modern woman who can both sashay and Charleston but who can also probably twerk, or at least, breakdance better than the kids on the L train . It really was “showtime, everybody” at Milk Studios in front of a stylish and celebrity-studded crowd, no doubt.
Houghton, you’ve set the bar. Now, let’s rest our elbows on it and cheers our martinis to the future of women’s closets everywhere.
Cue Gaga: Applause, applause, applause." (courtesy, my review on StyleDefinedNYC)

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So, fashion week normally marks the moment when we can all begin to look forward, at least in terms of apparel and accessories. We gaze toward the future. What's to come? The previews begin rolling in.
It had me pondering spring, the ever-elusive, mythical creature that stalks somewhere south of New York City:

generally inflicts a combination of floral & pastel migraine on me.
A pounding, drumming, bright lights-flashing one.
Ouch, as I massage my temples.

    But, I can do some floral, I can. I realllllly can. I think it looks best with some juxtaposed patterns or prints and a touch of tough-love (leather moto jacket, anyone?). That's just me. I have emerged from the dark closet of black (everything!) despair. My closets now possess a light switch, if you will. Closets. Yes, you read that right: plural. In New York City, where you're lucky to have a two-foot-long rod with a shelf, I am one spoiled lady. Now, I have glorious, beautiful double-doored closets. In fact, in my last loft-style apartment, I didn't have a closet at all. I had clothing racks in the hallways outside of my bedroom. Guests said it looked "cool," like a fashion showroom. Thanks, guys. I'm calling BS on that one. I truly have accumulated some wonderfully bright, cheery, and printed pieces.  I tip my hat to you pretty-in-lilac ladies and gents out there.
Key word: hat.
And, it's probably going to be a leopard one, at that.
Despite the saturation of color and the appearance of color to celebrate the introduction of the spring season and the awakening from the deep winter slumber, I find it necessary to hone in on some basic pieces, black and white, that are ANYTHING BUT BASIC & BORING (Yuck!), that can simultaneously coordinate with all of those flashy and flowery ensembles you'll be donning.
When it's time to stow away your puffer coats, furs, and heavy-duty snow boots under the bed, in the guest room closet, or in some storage bin only God knows where...
Slow down there, Anxious Annie.
Hold up.
Don't go slipping on your cut-off shorts and flip-flops just yet.
You're going to need to some transitional pieces:

Spring training staples:
 Perfectly cool for rainy day humidity and cozy enough against those evening breezes,

1. A lightweight tweed jacket,
2. Classic loafers (that channel Elvis)
3. A timeless investment-piece handbag,
4.  A light, punky silk scarf.
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Tweed jacket: Banana Republic (Everything 40% off! Woo!))// Loafers: Michael Kors Collection (On Sale!) and HERE! // Bag: Celine (via Ebay HERE)// Skull silk scarf: Alexander Mcqueen (via Ebay HERE)
Enjoy strolling;
You'll find me around the town doing the same.
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Shop more similar black&white spring picks :

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Being Uncool with Philip Seymour Hoffman:: What We Share

So, it's New York Fashion Week.
I've been caught up in a current of fashion shows, events, meetings, and the like.
Life becomes incredibly hectic twice a year here for me and my fellow industry comrades. I won't complain, because, it's an honor to witness some of the art that's being created and shown. You 'gotta recognize. If I whine about that, then I've turned into a jaded, self-righteous snot that we all find obnoxious. I'm not that cool, and I'm sure of that fact.

In conjunction, I had planned to post a "What I Wore" post this morning. Planned. We make plans. That's what we do in life. But, life occasionally...well, it has other plans for us.

So, instead, I think I'll wear nothing. I'll stand with my words and my thoughts on display.
Today, it just doesn't ring vital for me to chat with you about my newest "fashion finds" and that totally, like super chic vest I found and how I styled it with these fantastic boots on consignment. That shit, plainly put, can wait.

Eh, I'm going to lay off of that routine and just be real and not who I think, you think, I should be.

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool. "
(Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs)

We're all chatting about, tweeting about, mourning over, and scouring the Internet for opinions and proclamations of support or disapproval in the passing of
Philip Seymour Hoffman. [EDIT: And, as of August 11, 2014, Robin Williams]
Also widely known for his often-emotional roles in Capote, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Doubt, Moneyball...Oh, just some of the most celebrated, popular, and/or respected films of this century. Just to name a few.

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I'm still in shock.
While I'm pondering which functional but stylish pair of shoes to brave the snow in to yet another runway show, I'm haunted by this.
It's more than heartbreaking to lose another fellow artist, a creative genius, to a struggle against the darkness that haunted his body, soul, and mind. I understand. I do. And, not in some incredibly elitist, "Ohhhh, we're artists. You'll never understand our torments. We're so deep, and you're all clearly not" kind-of-way. But, somewhere, deep inside of me, in the farthest crevices of my heart chamber and the furthest region of my brain, I relate to this battle between light and dark. I've wrestled with my own thoughts, myself, in the past. Although I have entered a very different phase of my life, It's painful, though, to watch a fellow artist suffer and lose someone who so clearly possesses a light, a creative disco ball in fact, and who still, behind closed doors, can't truly face themselves.

I'll cue some of my favorite lines spoken by one of my favorite actors, the epic PSH in the role of Lester Bangs again, in one of my favorite films, Almost Famous.

 "They make you feel cool. And hey, I met you. You are not cool."
We can all discuss the reasons, the background, the genetics, the lifestyle that, together, snowballed and propelled the past drug use, and unfortunately, the relapse and overdose. We can all profess our public stances on alcohol and drug abuse or mental illness. We can debate Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was "senseless" and "stupid" or "tragic" and "______" until we're all absolutely breathless.
Life doesn't always make sense.
It's fucking life.
We don't have all of the answers. We're typically full of questions.
That, I don't think, ever quite ends.
Logically, we can all see that this brilliant and unusually gifted actor and director of both theater and film, Oscar winner, reached his demise on account of an overdose of heroine. But, HOW did he die? How did this happen, and then, why?

We all, at some point in our lives, take a long gaze into that mirror that reflects our insides. What do we see? Whether you've been victorious in your own battles and now, sit in a lounge chair eating bon bons on the sidelines, or you're currently in the midst of a raging world war internally, we've been there. If you say you haven't, or you won't ever, you're a liar. We will all be there. We will all have a moment...or many moments when we're desperately attempting to achieve balance in life, and some times, it doesn't pan out. Some times, we don't emerge victorious.


"It is difficult to feel sympathy for these people. It is difficult to regard some bawdy drunk and see them as sick and powerless. It is difficult to suffer the selfishness of a drug addict who will lie to you and steal from you and forgive them and offer them help. Can there be any other disease that renders its victims so unappealing? What we want to do with Give It Up is popularize a compassionate perception of drunks and addicts, and provide funding for places at treatment centers where they can get clean using these principles. Without these fellowships I would take drugs. Because, even now, the condition persists. Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution."
-Russell Brand, promoting acceptance and programs to aid in fighting addiction
(I encourage you to read his full essay HERE. )

But, fellow humans with currently beating hearts, your blood is still flowing throughout your veins. You're lucky. We are.
There is no sense in this, can't you see?
There is no logic in the rotting diseases of depression, despair, and addiction.
It isn't fair. It doesn't discriminate. It watches you close in the night, stalks you like prey, and sinks its teeth into your neck when you're brushing your teeth one day or turning on your blinker.


 "The gutter will not release its prey. The gutter is within. It is frustrating to watch. It is frustrating to love someone with this disease..." (Brand, continued)

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My point is, we can never fully comprehend why some of us face particular issues, and why one outcome in life can vary from another or drastically differ from another individual's. Who are we to judge? Who are we to assume anything?

The only binding thing between every single body that is living and breathing is this humanity: pain, joy, sorrow. And every single animal and person on Earth understands pain in some capacity. 
Pain, real pain, can hardly be measured, tested, put into little lab tubes, slid under a microscope slide and compared. Nor is it something to trump like chess pieces.
 I'm not trying to get all preachy--really, I'm not-- but I think that we should all be pretty grateful, if we're sitting here at this very moment, with our health and some valuable, authentic relationships with others, whether it be family, friends, or a partner. There's a lot to be said for establishing an honest connection with another. That is, most likely, one of the most beautiful aspects of living. Shouldn't we want to choose, then, to remain empathetic and compassionate to those walking beside us on the way to lunch, bumping into us in Trader Joe's, and sitting next to us on the local trains? They may be fighting darker, far more intense demons or perhaps simply dealing with much more trivial matters. We never fully know.

But, whether someone's an Oscar-winning actor, or the barista at your neighborhood coffee shop who generally appears to be in good spirits, I don't think it would be too much to ask of ourselves to look someone else in the eye for an extra three seconds, and give him or her an encouraging grin. One day, you'll need that too. It might not necessarily save a life every day, the way it often occurs in movies, or perform some visible heroic action, but it can't hurt, right?

One day, one moment, you might be desperate for a "human moment" also. I can only pray that you're greeted with compassion and support in your "uncool" time, even if you're unaware that it is.
These are all we have. Let's revel in them--they bind us.

Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love... and let's face it, you got a big head start.
William Miller: I'm glad you were home.
Lester Bangs: I'm always home. I'm uncool.
William Miller: Me too!
Lester Bangs: The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool.

Thank you, Mr. Hoffman (and Mr. Williams).
You've bared your soul and shared your art with us. You handed us some of the most emotionally riveting portrayals of ourselves--the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I appreciate your realness and will mourn the greatness that we will miss.
I just wish it didn't end this way.
Rest now.

As of August 11, 2014, we've lost another gifted actor and comedic genius to his own inner sadness.
Robin Williams will forever remain in our memories as a man full of life who radiated joy outwardly to those who came into contact with him and also to those who felt as though he was a friend, a confidant and mentor through his talent and infectious life-force.
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Inwardly, the man had stopped laughing. The joke had run its course. Don't we all wish we could scream at the top of our lungs, shake people by the shoulders, and force them to realize how appreciated, how loved, how valued, and how important they are to our existence even when we don't seem to be listening or watching?

Tell those people. Tell everyone and mean it.
Right this second.
We clearly can't afford to keep waiting.
We're losing this battle. 
We're LOSING....losing friends, loved ones, family, mentors, and the lights in our own eyes. This MUST be addressed rather than hidden, as if some dark and repulsive flaw that should be stowed away in a storage unit. We can't pretend that it isn't staring us in the face as we walk down the street, pay the deli guy for our soda, and grab a seat at the bar.

I'm sick and tired of being stolen from. 
You should be too, dammit.

[MORE HERE on this issue]

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Things:: Holiday Round-Up (Part 2)

...And, the holidays continue...
Well, for This Kind of Girl, at least.
And, as of yesterday, for my furry friend Phil. 6 more weeks? Ehhh, I'm starting to feel the itch for a lightweight jacket.
I have a few more favorite things to finish off this round-up...
conveniently, just when you're beginning to make your Valentine's Day wish lists!
Even if you're only writing it for yourself. That's totally fine. Actually, it's fantastic.
That's pretty high on the favorites list.
I think we could all use a little--no, a LOT--more of that these days. I'm speaking to myself as well. Hey, it's a process. I think that we can all attest to that. We're human. I'd be bold-faced lying if I said that everyday consisted of rainbows, smiles, and skipping down the street.
But, here's some inspiration, if you're feeling a bit dry these days. Or, if you simply need to view some pretty things before you face the world today. We are visual creatures, right?   
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1. "Brooklyn" tunic sweatshirt (same top, different brand HERE)//  Cute alternative 2// Cute alternative 3// Cute alternative 4
Anything that reps my 'hood, I like. This sweatshirt is neither cheesy nor obnoxious, which "Brooklyn" apparel and accessories can generally lean toward. "Brooklyn" has become quite the trendy topic these days, but this sweatshirt is cute, cozy, and for me, it's a once-a-week basic with boots and leggings.
2. Graphic Image metallic monogrammed python planner
This is my 2014 planner's second appearance here on TKOG. Isn't it a babe? I think so. The monogramming makes it tres chic. And python? Anything-yes, anything-in python, hisses my name.
3. Lululemon black and purple running zip-up
Eggplant and black, like I mentioned previously, has become a favorite color combination in everyday attire in addition to athleticwear. Looking good while running? Or, at the very least, running errands? I'll take both, thank you.
4. Citibike membership
I'd been debating the whole "chic bicycle thing." I've been wanting one--solo bikes to read in the park, group rides around town with friends, and the like. But, I wasn't quite ready to commit. I need a trial-run, because, knowing me, I'll be swerving around like a maniac, and will end up road-kill. Considering I haven't been an avid bike-rider since childhood, the prospect of navigating the mean city-streets alongside raging traffic...well, it's a little frightening and downright daunting. I had also been, mentally, going back and forth between trying the overly-talked about Citibike. If you're unclear about this whole phenomena, it's a city-wide bike transit system. You check a bike out, like a library book, from one of the hundreds of bike stations all around Manhattan and the boroughs. You have around thirty-forty-five minutes (depending on your particular membership, or if you're renting it for a one-time use), before you must "check it back in" to another bike docking station. Essentially, it's purpose is to get its rider from point A to point B as opposed to leisure riding. It's a scenic, quick, aerobic way to get to work, home, out, whatever your destination may be without waiting to hop on a mule-packed train car or hauling buns by foot. In this snowy mess? Eh, I'll use my Metrocard and take the train, but I'm thrilled for spring. I'll be peddling my Citibike, as dorky and obnoxious at they might be, around town.
Ahhhh, I can feel the spring air whipping around me as I fly down the street. And then, as I smack a parked car! (Ha...sort of)
5. Home T-shirt--"Tennessee"
These incredibly soft t-shirts make such perfect gifts, even if you're the giver and receiver in this case. Nostalgia and pride at their best! Hey, many of us no longer live in our "home" states. Especially, in a city like New York. Or, you could one-up me, and be backpacking somewhere around Europe. Want to represent? Here you go. Choose yours! These tees force me to smile. Don't forget where you came's engrained in us. Wear it well.
6. J.Crew coral and turquoise collar necklace// similar HERE and HERE via J.Crew Factory + 40% steal.
I actually really do have a thing for J.Crew jewelry, surprisingly, I know. It adds a little color, a little prep to my style. Sometimes, I enjoy throwing in something that I wouldn't normally try. It breaks up my tendency to lean towards darker and edgier accessories. Now, mixing the two styles creates a more interesting, eccentric overall look.
7. DV by Dolce Vita leopard "Kenzie" ankle boots on sale// Also HERE
Leopard? Boots? Yes and yes. They don't break the bank, and they won't break your feet. I can walk all day in these without looking over-dressed, under-dressed, or feeling like I want to wimper and chop my feet off near Herald Square.
8. Louis Vuitton multicolor monogram s-lock bracelet// Also, try HERE from EBAY& HERE from BagBorroworSteal!
A little obnoxious, perhaps. But, it's chunky, and I do enjoy a big cuff. It's a perfect centerpiece for stacking a myriad of smaller, more delicate bracelets. I think that it makes a statement, and it might just say, "BOSS."
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Featuring:  James Jeans white skinnies// Fossil rose gold watch
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
Silver white winters that melt into springs...
These are a few of my favorite things.
Shop MORE options here:

ShopStyle, shopstyle holiday gift guide, holiday picks, Valentine's Day looks, Michael Kors bracelet, purple and black athleticwear, colorful statement necklaces, affordable gifts, leopard boots, cheetah print booties
 P.S. Even MORE Favorites?
Are you not entertained?!
I'll keep it to a minimum.

Christmas at home for the holidays, family time in Tennessee for Christmas, cozy in house shoes at home, J.Crew house shoes, fleece moccasins
Slippers and home, watching wintery films.

Reunions that feel like not a day has passed.

street art, graffiti art in New York City, city as a canvas, Be humble, wall art quotes, graffiti quotes
Truths in the night.
Shiba Inu fox, fox in the snow, Shiba mix dog, Shiba Inu puppies, Shiba breed, fox dogs, snow dogs in New York, Brooklyn fox
My fox's joy at the snow...and consuming it.
My 26th birthday, getting old, need wine for your birthday
Gifts of wine in honor of my birthday.
Christmas trees in Brooklyn
My Christmas tree and its mighty carrier home.

Too many laughs and photoshoots that ensue.

Hair whipping outside of car windows.

going home for the holidays, cozy on Christmas, Tennessee for Christmas time with family
The wrapping, and taping, and mess I make.

Vermont vacation, Vermont in the fall, fall leaves in New England, fall in CT, Connecticut wine country, Connecticut wine trail, beautiful New England outdoors
Solitary drives down quaint roads.
Free People leopard coat, Shiba Inu fox, Shiba Inu breed dog, leopard coat in New York, staying warm in New York City, fox in the snow, Brooklyn fox, two Brooklyn girls, looking stylish in the snow
Leopard coats on a fox run outside.

bachelorette party, all girls' trip to Chicago, party aftermath, too much wine
All girls' weekends in Chicago to celebrate matrimony.

New York and Tennessee state charm necklaces, cross charm gold necklace, state charms to put on a necklace, Tennessee state, New York state
New York AND Tennessee are close to my heart.

Gaultier exhibit in Brooklyn New York, John Paul Gaultier fashion exhibition New York City, designer leopard, JPG leopard museum look, influential designer Brooklyn Museum NY
John Paul Gaultier reigns, evident by the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

Parisian chic, elderly French women, Parisian in New York, conversations with the elderly, life lessons
Chatting about life and receiving wisdom by a beautiful Parisian a great hat.

his and hers hot drinks, his and hers mugs
His and Hers, keeping warm on a January evening.
Bryant Park, Bryant Park in New York City, NY parks, most beautiful parks in the world, sunset in Bryant in Manhattan, dusk in New York, BP 42nd street NYC, Fifth Avenue Public Library New York City NY
My beloved Bryant Park at dusk.
 Now, I not only don't feel soooo bad, but I'm feeling pretty.damn.good.
It's February,
and is that love in the air?
A big sarcastic "thank you" to Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow,
because besides love, it's also snow.
 See you around,
This Kind of Girl
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