The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

New York City

TGIF-21/10/16

New York City, TGIFAlexandra kingComment


TGIF! I'm back, and so sorry for my absence, darling readers. In the last three months I turned 30, started a new job, worked hard behind the scenes for this art gallery of ours (we got our first New Yorker review last week!) and neglected this space in the process. When I say neglected, I mean more that I needed to let the blog sit fallow for a little while, as I came to terms with a brand new set of daily minutiae. But now I'm back, and hopefully my brief hiatus has made this space a little more fertile as a result, ready for some Fall-flowering bulbs of thoughts to raise their heavy heads in this oh-so-October sunlight. I've missed you. My best of the net this week below. 

P.S. #yaskween

I cannot wait to read this book.

Dream (though oh-so-spendy) PJs

2 sisters, 1 murder, 500 songs

Mum jeans I can get down with

These fabulous boys

And you can get your own version of their shirt here 

This isn't a new piece, but I think it's so good I'm putting it here again. How to talk yourself down from a Self Esteem Spiral

Music and magic (I used to take this train every day) 

Behold, the perfect jumper 

 67 curses of the open plan office (number 2 made me laugh out loud)

Dreamy earrings from a designer I adore

A classic treat to make for dessert on cold nights
 

TSWIL On Cup Of Jo

Careers and Working, Home and Design, New York City, Books & Words, BooksAlexandra king4 Comments
Alexandra King-Lyles and Isaac Lyles

Delighted to share with you that the wonderful blog Cup of Jo, has featured our apartment today. Head on over to see me and Isaac being awk on camera and hear me waffle on about handymen, my love of black cats and why there's a painting of a penis above our dining table.

So many thanks to Cup of Jo and especially my wonderful new friend Caroline Donofrio for interviewing me. And oh hey Cup of Jo readers!  It's so lovely to meet you.

Snow Day

New York City, Love and Marriage, Living For The WeekendAlexandra kingComment
mid-storm, Jonas

Well, despite my cynicism, Jonas turned out to be a whole lot more than the little storm in a teacup I had witheringly predicted. Saturday was a record breaker- the second highest snowfall in New York City history; and as Brooklynites slept soundly in their beds on Friday night, naughty Jonas whipped himself into a rage. Two and a half feet of snow was dumped onto the streets of Brooklyn, flung onto windows, slopped onto stoops. The city issued emergency measures- banning cars, shutting down transport and urging people not to go outside. We dutifully obeyed, but by 4pm, cabin fever had set in, and, with literally every jumper I own on my body, I persuaded Isaac to take a walk outside with me.

Isaac Jonas
two snow bunnies
Brooklyn Jonas

It truly felt other-worldly. Frightening. Lovely. Visibility at times was only about ten feet or so, busy intersections were totally empty and the only traffic in sight were other stir crazy (emphasis on crazy) civilians, wrapped in every layer they own, desperate for fresh air, and curious about such a new white world.

Alexandra kIng-Lyles TSWIL
jonas, brooklyn apre ski

Despite the wind and snow, we ventured a very long ten blocks to one of our standard haunts, The Double Windsor, which (god love you Double Windsor) was one of the few places open. Inside, it was pumping, with skis and sledges propped against the walls.  Apres-ski in Brooklyn! We dutifully drank hot toddies and ate too many french fries. Then began the truly punishing walk home (into rather than away from the blizzard). The snow smacked us hard on our cheeks and filled our eyes with water. Cue multiple groans of "who's idea was this?" (mine) and epic falls over walls of ice. A couple of times we stopped into the few open places on 7th Avenue for warmth. It took us about an hour to walk ten blocks.

kitty girls

FYI,  these girls know how to deal with a blizzard (cuddle, chill, stay the hell inside). I swear they are giving serious side-eye in this photo.

tswil chateau king lyles

Once home, we thawed out (courtesy of our battered old bathtub) made spaghetti and binge watched the new Netflix Chelsea Handler show (hilair and well done. Highly recommend). I had learned I have bad survival skills. But all was well.

Brooklyn in Jonas
isaac shovelling snow

The next day, after what had truly seemed like an interminable 24 hours (this girl is truly not made for staying inside- there's only so much hand stand practice I can do on the rug before the neighbors protest) the blizzard was over. Isaac cleared the steps and had a great time bonding with all our friends on our block, digging out cars and clearing the pavements.

brownstone under snow
street light and ice, TSWIL
thawing out Brooklyn

And now, on Monday, business as usual. The thaw begins. Oh Jonas, you were naughty as hell, but so pretty.

Getting Married? Ten Things I Wish I'd Known.

New York City, Love and MarriageAlexandra king4 Comments
Alexandra King-Lyles wedding




Between roughly the ages of 26 and 36, google calendars light up all speckled like the 4th of July fireworks. Invitations arrive wrapped neatly in twine. Dresses are purchased. Hitchcock-esque Holiday Inns are located. Tears are shed. Confetti is thrown. As we enter our collective salad years (not to be taken literally, obviously, you want that cake) the decade of weddings begins. At the start of this summer, I had lunch with a group of friends, who in the course of conversation, all tried to outdo each other with how many weddings they were going to between June and September. I think the winner had twelve (for the record I had two this summer and they were both absolutely lovely thank you very much). Anyway, I think I do love weddings so much more now that I had one of my own. I appreciate the effort that goes into them, all the ridiculous and beautiful minutia. When I see the bride or groom walking towards their bride or groom, I remember standing outside a door over a year ago, hearing this song start up, holding my dads arm. It takes me back and fills me with wonder that we still all want to do this mad and crazy and totally boots to the wind thing. True love, bbs. It's still where it's at.

Anyway, another beautiful summer of weddings got me thinking about what I wish I'd known when planning mine, so I decided to write ten unsolicited but very much heartfelt pieces of advice for prospective brides and those who love them. Veni, vidi, vici.


1) Brace yourself. I'm going straight to the hard part. At least one close friend or family member, perhaps both, perhaps just one, perhaps several, will completely lose their minds and behave strangely or badly before, during or after your nuptials. It may be as minor as a family tiff over dinner, it may be as serious as losing a friend. This is all part of the process I'm afraid, darlings. You see, weddings aren't just milestones in the lives of the bride and groom, but for your close friends and family too (that commonly heard platitude- "it's your day", nope, not true, more on this to come). With our modern lives no longer mapped out by social seasons- trips to the races or the proms or a weekly unloading of alms, weddings, with their "Save the Dates" and dress codes and gift registries are among what remain. Whether it's a too-small outfit someone bought especially to fit into by that date, an estranged spouse he/she wants to impress or a friend who is suddenly overcome by the fact that they absolutely hate your future husband/wife or just life generally, for a few of your guests, walking through that door, there is something hinging on that wedding that isn't at all to do with you, but is terribly meaningful to them. This is what makes weddings so incredibly beautiful (all that emotional energy! all that expectation! all this freshness and newness and love! weeps!) but also what can make certain people become irrationally emotional and demanding. Also, on a side note, don't expect divorced parents, broken up couples or perennially nutty people to suddenly be on their best behavior. Accommodate them accordingly, it's part of the process. And when someone does become tedious, and someone will, at least one, try not to sweat it. Also cry and drink wine.

2) You will be told as a bride to be variants of two sides of the coin, and they are both wrong. They go like this:


 a) The first rule of thought is that your wedding should be filled with 'musts''. You must have a bouquet 'toss'. You must have the rabbi/pastor/Wiccan druid that has married all of your other family members. You must spend 2000 dollars on 'favour' pencils in Pantone colors stamped with your initials (soon to be trodden on during a serious throw down to the Beastie Boys). This is all mental and i encourage you strongly to ignore any pressure. There are no musts. UNLESS, CAVEAT, they are ultimately minor and coming from a person contributing a substantial amount of money to your wedding. You shouldn't be bullied by anyone, but if it's something small, just let it go and do it. Even Mariah Carey has to be told no sometimes.


b)The second thing you're told is that you should just do it your way. Do what you want. IT'S YOUR DAY. This sounds lovely, but the immutable fact is, it's just not your day unless a) you paid for it in it's entirety (go you!) or b) no one else is there- therein lies the joy of eloping. If an elopement isn't for you, you've got to actually think about your guests and tailor your plans to them, and, truly, that doesn't have to be too much of a drag. The reason why they're there is to share in your love and happiness, and that's a beautiful thing, so give them special love and enjoy that planning process. Will all 100 of your wedding guests enjoy a bar that only serves Brooklyn IPA and/or red wine? Does everyone enjoy a mariachi band or techno DJ? Will everyone be keen on camping? If the answer is no, and in these examples it is, it really is, reconsider. Make sure you've got the gin and tonics for your Grandpa, the dependable hip hop classics for the girls to grind to, soft drinks for non-drinkers, a roof over the head and hairdryer to hand for your very indoorsy mother. It's really easy to make everyone happy, whatever your budget- lots to drink, good music, tasty food, a back up in case of rain. If you've planned a birthday party, you can plan a wedding. But think about it like this- if you had a color-themed birthday party four hours away by car with not enough beers, an hour long speech in full sun and only a string quartet, everyone, even if they loved you dearly, would assume you were losing it or just being a bit of a tosser. See what I mean?


3) So many things will go wrong. So many. Flights will be missed. Guests will bail last minute. Flowers will wilt prematurely. The only thing you can intrinsically depend on is that absolutely no one will notice.


4) Tell your vendors it's a party. Only use the word "wedding" if you absolutely have to, because it immediately adds about 20 per cent to the price. I realized this was happening very early in the game and played it accordingly. The guys that strung my string lights claimed to have never seen so many flowers at a bar mitzvah. I smiled wryly and spent the 400 bucks I saved on mani pedis for my bridesmaids. Shabbat Shalom y'all!


5) Make loads of decisions really fast as soon as you get engaged. You need six months to plan a wedding, absolute max. One of my dear friends planned her beautiful wedding in six weeks. All you're doing in that time is procrastinating. We figured out a date, booked our venue and decided on a caterer within a week of being engaged, all three probably the biggest and best decisions we made. The rest was mainly just me wrenching my hair at over-ambitious Pinterest boards and being consistently paranoid I had forgotten something (I hadn't).


6) Real talk: unless you just swapped out your promise ring you are not going to be having sex on your wedding night. You will in the morning. It's FINE. It will also be pretty much the same, just better in the eyes of God, I guess, if you believe in that sort of thing. Or if you spent your formative years in some sort of very strict and austere Catholic school and then I'm guessing it's kind of kinky and awesome.


7) It's a good idea to do the posed photos. When I first got engaged, and was feeling utterly clueless about weddings (I had attended precisely four before my own) I profiled all the cool chicks I knew who were married and asked them what they felt was the best thing they had done. I also asked them, whether, if they could do it again, they might have changed something. Every single person said that either the best thing they had done was getting a great photographer or the worst thing they had done was not getting a good enough one. Guys, I know it's anathema to those who never really thought about weddings before and aren't necessarily into the pomp and ceremony of it (I definitely fell into this category) but the posed shots really matter, because a cheap venue photog/distant mate who is quite arty on Instagram and also a guest (by the way, a person should either be a guest or a vendor- never both) and has had at least four glasses of prosecco by his tenth click of the shutter doesn't know who your best friends are or why it's really important to get a shot of you with your Grandma. One friend confided in me, woefully, that most of her wedding photos consisted of a bunch of photos of her new husband's friends dancing. She'd wanted a carefree unposed vibe and had asked a friend of a friend to do photographs for cheap. That meant she ended up without a single photo that she could put in a frame on the mantelpiece. Whatever the budget, whether you've spent three grand or three hundo or three pints, just take an hour with you and your photographer and your new spouse and your families and besties. You really want those shots. Do them. Do them!


8) Accept that you will end up feeling absolutely mental in the run up to the big day (you will read on smug blogs that certain brides never panic-know that they are either straight up lying or filthy rich with ten wedding planners wearing Britney-in-concert-headsets or both). My own sporadic but terrifying mania manifested itself in obsessively checking the weather, primal screaming in the bathroom and just generally channeling Angie in "Girl, Interrupted". Make sure to apologize profusely to your loving besties who are forced to ride along with you on your one way ticket to cray-town. I'd say you've got 72 hours before it's okay for someone to give you a clout around the head (FYI I'm pretty sure I overstepped this deadline).


9) If the dance floor starts to lag at any point, immediately play "Ignition" by R. Kelly.


10) Here is the secret nobody knows. The wedding, how ever you choose to hold it, is so minor in the grand scheme of things. I crack up now when I think about how seriously and QUIZZICALLY i thought about table settings, like I was Marie bloody Curie staring into a petri dish, rather than a formally carefree but always over anxious 20-something finding herself irrationally stumped by table cloths. It's almost like that thing that I've heard so many new mums say, seemingly nonsensically, fresh from their terrifying and agonizing 72 hour labour, a-flush with love, holding their sweet babes in their arms while sitting casually on a giant bag of frozen peas- "I don't even remember the pain." Suddenly, the wedding's over, and then, duh, you get it. What matters is you got married, and being married is heaven. The joy that you get walking down the aisle? Massive. The joy that you get when your beloved first casually refers to you as his wife in the supermarket checkout line? Just as massive. And it stays that massive. No one tells you that. Except me, just now.
 

White Bedroom Love

Home and Design, New York CityAlexandra kingComment
Alexandra King-Lyles The Street Where I Live

It's been nearly a year since Isaac and I moved to our teeny but beloved apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I'll be posting an anniversary post-of-sorts soon with a home tour and some before and after photos, but here's a little sneek peek into our bedroom, and a soap box upon which I shall stand and implore you to embrace the importance of simple white sleeping quarters. Yeah, just that. White sheets. White walls. Minimal white decor. Zero clutter. No screens. Fresh, clean, serene. Reflecting the day's warm and cool light in an ever-changing aubade to the seasons. A blank canvas to dream on.

The Street Where I Live Alexandra King

The painting here, an abstract portrait of Rimbaud, was a wedding present from the incredible artist Keith Mayerson. The cross-print cushions and bedside lamps are both Ikea. Aren't those bedside lamps are the best? I lusted after many a 400 dollar a piece find until chancing upon these guys. Cheap and chic in all the right ways! I bought the Long Horn skull, whom we affectionately nicknamed "Tina" as a silly present for my Texan husband a couple of years ago. I know it may seem kindof weird to sleep with a skull above our heads, but I love her and find her a strangely comforting and protective presence, not to mention the fact that she's a great visual centre piece at the end of our open plan apartment.

The Street Where I Live Alexandra King
Alexandra King-Lyles The Street Where I Live

The painting here is by amazing artist and our good friend Adrianne Rubenstein. Funny story- this leather chair belonged to Steve Buscemi. No, seriously, it did! He lives three doors down! He put it outside on the street for free (this is a super Park Slope culture thing, thanks to the well-documented hippy dippy vibe of its residents- the streets can be absolute treasure troves for keen-eyed furniture hunters) and Isaac and I happened to walk past. Though I'm as paranoid about bedbugs as the next Brooklyner, I figured this leather studded beauty, not to mention its just as rad owner, was worth it. The hanging greens are ever dependable pothos plants. I love watching them snake their way across the clean walls.

The Street Where I Live Alexandra King
The Street Where I Live Alexandra King

Our "bedside tables" are simply the window sills. I only allow the absolute essentials on there, and for me that means, at any one time, a stack of books (the only clutter I find tolerable/aesthetically pleasing) and three little pots. The little basket contains a whole bunch of those deeply unappealing orange coloured ear plugs for nights when the only alternative to them is to smother my snoring husband to death with my pillow, something I sense I'd deeply regret the next morning. The other two are art deco make up canisters I found for cheap on Etsy. One contains Aquaphor (my lips can get dry when I'm sleeping) and the other holds my daily vitamins and meds that I take at night.

And finally, I've always got time for the greatest interiors accessory one can own, and yes, we all know that that is a black cat.

The Street Where I Live Alexandra King

Do you share my love of a clean white bedroom? See more of my picks/inspo on Pinterest.

Five Great Sales Today!

Fashion & Beauty, New York CityAlexandra kingComment
The summer evening dress, by Naftul

The summer evening dress, by Naftul

It's Labour Day in the US of A, which means a day off for most (and officially the last day of summer-public pools and summer attractions all close today- weeps!). Anyway, what better way to celebrate this mixed bag of tidings than to cruise the olde interweb for some hot bargains. Below I've listed five of my favourite places to shop online, all offering some sweet deals in time for the holiday. Happy shopping!

Poketo

30 per cent off at this amazing online store, which I first discovered in the lobby of super-rad Line Hotel in LA. Their selection somehow manages to seduce minimalists into blowing their pay checks on arm loads of pretty things, and that's an achievement and a half. I'm swooning for this, this and these! Just use the code: ENDLESS

Lykke Wolf

Another cool LA-based store, selling original clothing and home wear. I LOVE these mud cloth pillows

And this feels like Stevie Nicks plus a Grecian statue. Yep that equals amazing.

Abramey

Behold! The cutest flats on the internet! And 40 per cent off at this beautiful Etsy shop where everything is made with love in Tel Aviv. I've been longing for these all summer long. Also rather partial to these guys. And these! Basically I want them all. Done.

Nasty Gal

While I can't say the overall aesthetic of NG necessarily always sings sweet to me (so fun! So tight! So colourful! I'm just a little too grumpy and like being cosy, what a bore) there are some gems to be found. Today there's an extra 30 per cent off existing sale items, and I'm coveting this sexy set and this beautiful bra and  this  wicked cute jumpsuit (so transitional! And I love the samurai bun styling). Also this (ignore the styling in this case- envision top knot, black tights, boots, a cat eye. People will think it's Helmut Lang)

Naftul

Another Etsy shop I'm crazy loyal to, also in Tel Aviv (I think I'm clearly drawn to the aesthetic of that city's style- am desperate to go). I have a couple of dresses from here and they're incredible quality and totally unique. The shop currently has a 30 per cent summer sale. My faves include this stunning evening dress, this for upcoming winter work days and this straight-to-vacation babe which also comes in black . Naftul how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Happy shopping you babes! And happy Labour Day to my Americans. Take it light and slow. Ice cream would probably be a wise move xo