Monthly Archives: May 2016

Law & order SVU Spiraling Down stephanie march andre braugher treat williams 2

stephanie march interviewing a witness on SVU//how i felt last night at my co-op interview

my thinking around the co-op board application process went a little something like this. i was all, PLEASE LIKE ME. PLEASE, PLEASE LIKE ME. TELL ME I AM A GROWNUP AND THAT I CAN DO THIS AND THAT YOU THINK I’M FINANCIALLY STABLE AND EMOTIONALLY CAPABLE OF BUYING A HOME.

and they were all, sell us your soul, give us your first born child, oh and while you’re at it, can you please do a full audit of all of your financials, and tell us how much is in your 401k (you haven’t been saving enough…), show us your tax returns (geez, you lose a lot to taxes each year!), and tell us where, exactly, the money for your down payment is coming from, because it’s CERTAINLY NOT COMING FROM YOU, YOU 30 YEAR OLD FAILURE OF A HUMAN.

okay, so that’s not exactly what they said. what they actually said was nothing – not to me, at least. they communicated through my broker, a post-modern game of telephone that was NOT AT ALL FUN. through him, they told me to fill out a boatload of paperwork, and also, to get four references: two personal, two professional. i think these were to rule out that i wasn’t a) party animal, b) a lowlife with no job,  c) an axe murderer and d) a crazy cat lady who’d let her addiction to all things four legged and furry get out of control.

thankfully, i am none of the above. i gave up whatever sort of partying i used to do years ago, i am gainfully employed (#fridaynightjustgotpaid), i’m DEFINITELY not an axe murderer, and i currently only have ONE cat (key word here being currently).

despite the fact that i’m a relatively responsible, relatively normal 30-year old with a good job and a steady income, i was terrified, and i mean TERRIFIED that this part of the process would go horribly wrong. if i’m being honest, i’ve been terrified every step of the way. see, rejection is, in emo therapy terms, my button. it’s my biggest “thing”. hearing i’m not good enough – for anyone or anything – can easily send me on a downward spiral towards dejection and the sense that i am 100% meaningless on this earth and will never succeed at anything, ever.

i’m exaggerating.

sort of. the point is, at every point in this process, from the offer to the mortgage to the coop board, there has been a chance for someone older, wiser, and manlier than me (did i mention this process has been ALL MEN?!) to shut me down. to point a finger at me and laugh in my face and tell me they’re shocked that i ever thought that little old me, she of previous credit card debt and bad saving skills, would be able to buy an apartment in new york city.

incredibly, amazingly, no one has done that yet. at every milestone, i’ve held my breath until the moment my face turns blue, and then, magically, i’ve exhaled. because instead of hearing “no” at every turn, i have heard “yes.”

last night’s interview the co-op board was the last chance for someone (9 someones, actually) to reject me. to crush my dreams and my burgeoning social media stardom (HA) and tell me no. but this morning, instead, i got this text from my broker:


sure, it’s not 100% official. i’m waiting on an email. but impressing a group of people who had every reason to look at their sarah dossier and say, you know what, we can do better? that feels pretty damn good.

the next step, from here, following official official approval, is to close. i’ve been told that once i’m approved, i can close in 7-10 business days, which will put me in early/mid june. the board told me they’d love to me close as soon as possible ($$$), to which i said, GURL, ME TOO. DUH. the sooner i close, the sooner i can draw up my renovation plans, and get them approved by the board. from there, it’s on to get approval from the city. only at that point (more chances for rejection, BUT OF COURSE) can i start knocking shit down and making it new again.

to my two or three dedicated readers (hi, friends!), thanks for sticking around. i promise the good stuff is coming soon.


the awkwardest, and apparently, crankiest kid at summer camp. i’m second row, fourth from the left. I HATE CAMPING.

the first time i left home, i was eight years old, and en route from a T station outside boston to belgrade, maine, where i was to spend the next four weeks at a jewish summer camp called modin. i went on to spend 9 summers there, long enough to learn how to share a space with 15 girls, to clean a toilet and scrub a shower, to have my first kiss (and my first few other things, too – thanks, wolves hideaway), to have my heart broken by mean girls and to learn how to stand up for myself.


me and my friend hannah, the night we graduated from high school

the second time i left home, i was 18, and en route from my hometown in western mass to upstate new york, where i was to spend the next four years in saratoga springs at a college called skidmore. there, i took my camp skills and applied them to sharing a dorm room with a woman who would go on to become one of my closest friends post college. i learned how to write a short story, how to survive on a dining hall food plan, how to exist amongst people with more money and privilege than i’d ever imagined, how to roll a proper joint, how to go out on tuesdays, thursdays, fridays AND saturdays, and how to sleep in.


me and my oldest friend kim, our first summer in new york city

 the third time i left home, i was 22, and en route from saratoga to new york city, where i was to spend my first year in a teeny tiny bedroom on 13th and 1st. i have the most vivid memory of this moment, of speeding down the interstate in my little toyota corolla, packed to gils with clothes and tchotchkes and 4 years of college life. i was blasting the fray’s “over my head” (#college), one foot up on the dashboard and the other on the gas, and i had this terrifying feeling that i was leaving behind perhaps the best four years of my life, that things were, from here on out, going to be totally, completely, irrevocably different.

oh, how right i was (the story of how i moved from my third to my fourth apartment, is, well, a mouthful. the story, if you’re curious, can be found here).


my current bedroom

this will be the fifth time i will leave home–but the first that i will leave a home that is mine, not my parents. a home that i have spent seven years making my own.

this week, i have my co-op board interview, also known as the second to last step in this process. if they approve me, closing will be scheduled, and the grand apartment will officially be mine. i’ll embark on the crazy process of renovation, tearing out the old and building back up with the new. and at the end of it, i’ll move into a new home – a home  i OWN – and i’ll start again, at another address, in another apartment, on another city street.

the thought is both magical and terrifying. so many people think of new york apartments as “a place to sleep” and nothing else – they do their living out in the world. but i’ve always ascribed to the belief that your home should be your sanctuary, and have worked to make mine so. and soon, i’ll be starting that process from scratch. godspeed, self.



reclaimed wood shelving (i’ll be shopping big reuse for mine) | brass breakfast bar pendants | mod flushmount lighting | white subway tile | silestone countertops | encaustic floor tile | white shaker cabinets (getting these through my contractor, yay!) | black hardware | farmhouse sink 

first things first: photoshop is HARD, you guys. i’ve been forcing my coworker to show me how to ‘cut things out’ and ‘put pictures in circles’ (can you tell i’m completely inept?) and she has been a wonderfully good sport. i know the above collage is no big deal for your average blogger, but this took me at LEAST two hours, if not longer, to put together, and i am proud of it. i’m also proud of that new watercolor-like font, which i purchased like a big girl blogger from creative market.


as you can see above, i think i’ve finally landed in a good place with my kitchen design. while making these collages is time consuming, seeing all my choices laid out together in a pretty little box helps to confirm that yes, i can mix brass with black, and yes, i can do modern light fixtures with a farmhouse sink. as you can see, my inspiration is a farmhouse kitchen, but with city style (who am i?). essentially, i want farmhouse, but i don’t want it to be so farmhouse that i’m all, “honey, here’s the eggs that our chicken just laid in our backyard.” lord knows no one will be laying any eggs in the grand apartment.


the overall scheme involves a lot of white. now, i know, white is boring, and white is blah, but as much as i wanted to go for grey cabinets, the reality is that the space is just a tad too dark and small for them. if i was going full on moody, i could make it work. but i want the kitchen to feel light and bright and perfect for cookie baking, and god, i can’t wait to place my freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on my faux-marble countertops (i’m going silestone; marble is notoriously fickle and hard to care for).

so, here’s the deal:

the back wall will feature white shaker cabinets (uppers and lowers), along with the fridge (stainless; actual model TBD, but i’m eyeing a french door with lower freezer option from samsung). white subway tile will comprise the backsplash, and the countertops will be silestone, but will (hopefully) look like marble. hardware will likely be black, though i’m also leaning towards going with classic nickel. i know it’s sacrilege to mix metals, but i really think i could dig brass with black or brass with nickel (gasp).


the front wall will feature most of my appliances, including the oven and range hood (i’m hoping to have money in the budget to “splurge” for an ikea version; range hoods are surprisingly expensive), farmhouse sink (also ikea), and dishwasher (probably bosch). there will be cabinets interspersed between these appliances/below the sink, but the wall above will be entirely dedicated to reclaimed wood shelving (a la the photo above). i haven’t yet decided if i’ll run the subway tile up this wall. it’s slightly more expensive to do so, but probably worth it, especially around the oven, where things will splash up and potentially stain my pretty white wall paint. i’m getting butterflies just thinking about all of my baking supplies sitting in pretty glass canisters like the ones above.


last but most certainly not least is the showstopper: my encaustic tile floor. i know, i know, i’ve been talking a LOT about this floor, and which tile to choose. though the one on the right looks way cooler as a single tile, i think as a full floor it’ll be a little bit overwhelming. i’ll save it for my someday bathroom (when i have, you know, a real house with actual square footage). the left, though not exciting as a single tile, comes to life as seen below. it makes a statement without slapping you in the face.


{image via wit & delight}

see? pretty, but it didn’t hit you too hard. it’s subtle, but beautiful. eeeeeek, i can’t wait. i just want to start construction NOW.

too bad i have to wait for board approval (snoozefest), and then submit to the city (boo) before i can touch anything. cross your fingers that i can start breaking down walls and ripping out ugly toilets by june 1st!