The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.


How To Connect With Anyone (In Just 4 Minutes)

Love and MarriageAlexandra king1 Comment

I know it's been doing the rounds, but I watched this beautifully done film over the weekend, which asks six couples, from complete strangers to a couple on their fourth date to a darling husband and wife who have been married for over half a century to simply stare into each other's eyes for four minutes. Watch it if you haven't already.

Anyway, I was so moved by the character's reactions to this experiment that I immediately asked Isaac to do it with me. So last night, for four minutes, we stared at each other from opposite ends of the sofa, was INSANE! At first, we were nervous, trying not to laugh, but by the end we both had tears in our eyes (I actually cried like a baby). Half way through, I suddenly had this weird sensation where I felt a whole body connection to him, as if the world had stopped turning, and all that was there us. I just saw his gorgeous, smart, funny face and couldn't believe I hadn't spent more time looking at it. It was this incredible feeling of deep connection. Isaac was impressed. In his own words "it was so interesting how it evolved. At first it felt funny, and we were both smiling, but then there was this feeling of intense comfort in looking into your eyes. I loved it". It's so true! Four minutes felt like a lifetime, and there were all these different phases from shyness to laughter to really intense affection and intimacy. Afterwards I felt so close to him, and, weirdly, more relaxed and compassionate generally. You've got to try it guys! (I now want to do it with everyone I love). So simple but so intense (I suppose it's a lot like this in many ways).

Will you guys try it too and report back? I would love to hear your stories!

The TSWIL Anti Valentine's Night In

Love and MarriageAlexandra king2 Comments
The TSWIL Anti Valentines night in

Oh Valentine's Day, you big bloody tease slash actual nightmare. Your heart's in the right place, but you're so commercial, so non-inclusive. What if you're happily single after ditching that A-hole you stayed with for way too long? What if you're beyond fatigued and depressed and a little heart sore after a year of mediocre dates? What if you're in a long-distance relationship because your beloved's job is in a different city or country? What if you're working because your pesky husband decided to open an art gallery last year? All theoretical, natch (hehe). But the answer to all of these quandaries, say I, is the same. Avoid the ambush of restaurant tables for two and weird club nights and sad red roses looking really embarrassed about the baby's breath. Stay home. If you're happily shacked up with your one and only, fabulous-every day is Valentines Day, write each other a beautiful love letter and make out. But if, for all the above reasons, you are dateless on Sunday, WHATEVER. Take a beautiful night for yourself, either solo or with a loving bestie. My recommendations for the perfect anti Valentines night in, going from left to right, below.

1) I'll Stand By You- The Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, because these girls knew how to do romance 2) Cashmere legwarmers for off-duty baller-ina chic 3) Kneipp Pure Bliss Bath Salts for the most uplifting aromatherapy soak 4) This candle, to burn away any bad penis karma 5) Heavenly smelling Aesop Resolute body lotion for post bath moisturizing 5) When Harry Met Sally (plus anything and everything by Nora Ephron) This scene gets me every time 6) A sexy, comfy set, because one doesn't need to negate the other 7) A sage stick for smudging your home and readying it for new love 7) A nice bottle of Vino. You can't go wrong with Oyster Bay SV 8) Take out, obviously.

How to Stay in Love

Love and MarriageAlexandra king1 Comment
jane and serge

...according to science.

Full disclosure: Isaac and I have been driving each other a little crazy recently. In the last year alone, we got married, opened a business and moved house, a beautiful trifecta of very good things that nevertheless has been a lot to deal with. Don't get me wrong, I'm still obsessed with my husband, but, needless to say, there have been some quarrels along the way. Why is he physically incapable of finding things that are directly in front of him? Are we out of milk again? Dude, let's talk about that wet towel on the floor. Etc and so forth.

Anyway, at times when the going gets tough and the pesky covenant of marriage/real-deal-true-crazy-love denies the tough from getting going, I often remember this article from The Atlantic. It's about a study where psychologists John and Julie Gottman studied hundreds of newly married couples and monitored them over the years to discover who stayed together. By the end, armed with their data, the Gottman's claimed they could predict whether or not a couple would stay married with (gulp) 94 per cent accuracy. They termed the couples that had good marriages as "masters" and the ones who didn't as "disasters":

Much of it comes down to the spirit couples bring to the relationship. Do they bring kindness and generosity; or contempt, criticism, and hostility?

“There’s a habit of mind that the masters have,” Gottman explained in an interview, “which is this: they are scanning social environment for things they can appreciate and say thank you for. They are building this culture of respect and appreciation very purposefully. Disasters are scanning the social environment for partners’ mistakes.”

Yep-the secret to a long-lasting marriage? Just plain old kindness, says science. Of particular note for crotchety me:

"The hardest time to practice kindness is, of course, during a fight—but this is also the most important time to be kind. Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage on a relationship.

"Kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t express our anger,” Julie Gottman explained, “but the kindness informs how we choose to express the anger. You can throw spears at your partner. Or you can explain why you’re hurt and angry, and that’s the kinder path.”

John Gottman elaborated on those spears: “Disasters will say things differently in a fight. Disasters will say ‘You’re late. What’s wrong with you? You’re just like your mom.’ Masters will say ‘I feel bad for picking on you about your lateness, and I know it’s not your fault, but it’s really annoying that you’re late again.’”

And finally, I loved this part.

"There are two ways to think about kindness. You can think about it as a fixed trait: either you have it or you don’t. Or you could think of kindness as a muscle. In some people, that muscle is naturally stronger than in others, but it can grow stronger in everyone with exercise. Masters tend to think about kindness as a muscle. They know that they have to exercise it to keep it in shape. They know, in other words, that a good relationship requires sustained hard work."

A good reminder. Find the full article here. Super worth reading.

P.S The quote that changed my life and three game changer words at work

An Incredible Story

Books & WordsAlexandra king1 Comment

I listened to this story, 'Voyeur' from the Love & Radio podcast yesterday, and it moved me to tears. It's a piece about a city, about love, about strangers, about intimacy. Without giving too much away, it tells the story of writer and filmmaker Diane Weibert, who became obsessed by a young couple whose curtain-less bedroom directly faced her apartment. Her journey with these sometime-strangers led her on a strange path, from annoyance to voyeurism to obsession to compassion, and a conclusive ending that you would never expect. I have never heard a story quite like it, and haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.

In fact, I think I'll join you all and listen to it again, right now. Trust me on this.