July '17

Confession: I don’t know how to thrift

Ever since 2012 when Macklemore laid down truth about vintage swagger, I think everyone hopped on the bandwagon and I got left behind.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see people successfully haul vintage clothes or designer labels all I can think is ‘how?’ Whether at an antique thrift shop or Goodwill, my only luck is usually finding dusty lampshades or a headband from 2004. Worse than that is getting back in my car and feeling like I just walked through somebody’s dirty laundry.

Basically, I don’t know how people find things at thrift stores.

But I’m not ready to give up on the idea. I think I’ve just been searching for the wrong things.

Yesterday, I decided to try not shopping for that cool vintage blouse a beauty blogger wore on Instagram, and avoided anything that wouldn’t survive a laundry cycle on regular tumble. Instead, I looked for memorabilia, accessories, and decor (starting off easy).

My friend, Georgiana, and I headed to one of the few vintage stores in town. Being a rookie at this, I didn’t realize it was a cash-or-check-only kind of endeavor. BIG MISTAKE. But lucky for your eyes I snapped some photos and stacked enough pennies in my parking coin collection to afford a three dollar pin.

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Check out that Clinton pin above the remnants of my coins. pretttttty cool!

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proof that coins are still worth something

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I’ll be coming back for you, Bill

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For my first round of thrift shopping, I’d say it wasn’t too bad. I’ll definitely have to practice and develop an eye for vintage pieces, but until then I’ll just pat myself on the back for the effort and good intentions.

Do you shop vintage? Any tips?

RR

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July '17

HOW TO: New Girl Playlist

So rumor has it that everyone’s favorite show, New Girl, is coming back for its seventh season, and I could not be more excited for anything. In preparation for its return, I’m doing all that I know to: binge. watching.

I’ve probably seen every episode at least 10 times each. I know, I have a problem! Hi!

Let me just cut to the chase.

I watch a lot of New Girl and I recognize a good song when I hear one. So here are some of my recommendations for all the “Who’s that girl?” hummers and fans out there.
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  1. Take Care by Beach House
  2. I wanna Get Better by Bleachers
  3. The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  4. All Alright by FUN.
  5. Sex on the Regular by Miniature Tiger
  6. You Make My Dreams Come True by Halls and Oates
  7. Rivers and Roads by The Head and The Heart
  8. Don’t Just Sit There by Lucius
  9. Hold Me Now by Thompson Twins
  10. God Only Knows by She & Him (cough cough, Zooey Deschanel’s little musical moment)
  11. Oxford Coma by Vampire Weekend
  12. I Got the Moves by Habibi

So that’s what I have to offer to Jessica Day’s Fan Club. If someone would like to be generous and share the rules of True American with me in return that would be super cool of you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you check out some of the songs! (let me know if you do or if you have any likeminded tunes for me to listen to)

RR

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July '17

Bleachers: “Gone Now” Album

I’ve been the biggest fan girl of Bleachers’ music since I first heard I Wanna Get Better in 11th grade. From there it’s been my anthem, and the rest is history. Except history just got interesting because his newest album was released last month, and I simply cannot stop listening.

Twelve wonderful, personal, creative, and expressive hits that epitomize a feeling of outwardness and being unplugged from everything and everyone. The crazy part is that even if unconsciously, we’ve all felt this sort of introvert’s apology to the rest of humanity, and Bleachers is the first artist I’ve listened to who has represented it and all its honesty.

His lyrics are chaotic, truthful, and unmatched, but what is exceptional is the story being told within the record. A true bildungsroman of life, love, and loss.

It’s really the best.

Cheers to recognizing that brilliant creators still exist!

RR

Some personal favorites of mine:

  • Goodmorning
  • Everybody Lost Somebody
  • I Miss Those Days
  • All My Heroes
  • Foreign Girls

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July '17

1 Year, baby

Happy 1 year!

I was going to write something big and inspirational about the fact that 365 days have passed since I pressed publish on this thing, but my debit card information was stolen last night and my creativity escaped with it.

Instead, here’s a photo of me when I thought the highlight of my night would’ve been a Digiorno pizza and 500 Days of Summer.

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sweater: wildfox // shorts: honeypunch

Here’s to hoping this blog continues to age with grace, and that whoever is having a treat yo self day with my debit card will cool it.

RR

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July '17

NY, you’ve taught me well

What’s up party people?

If you weren’t aware, I’ve been subway surfing and complaining about tourists to myself for the last six weeks in the Big Apple, and I thought it would be pretty neat to tell ya some things that I learned about my experience and myself while I was there.

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1. A table for one is not depressive, but therapeutic. Back home, I would be embarrassed to eat anywhere without company, but here I found it to be the opposite. In a city with so many people, you learn to stop caring what others think of you because more likely than not they don’t.

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2. Riding a crowded subway with earbuds in and your nose in a book is not only an efficient way to get a few chapters ahead, but also it’s a bit serene. I don’t mean being that person who’s not aware of his or her surroundings and keeps their sunglasses on for a subway ride– that person is annoying. There is something kind of romantic about reading on the subway, or maybe it’s just an excuse to avoid awkward eye contact with other travelers. Ya, it’s probably just that.

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3. Dreams are not goals. Goals are usually led by a plan, and once accomplished goals change. Dreams change too, but dreams are larger than goals. You don’t check dreams off your bucket list or move onto the next dream. Dreams are the big picture. Goals get you closer. There’s a deep thought for your Tuesday morning.

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3. I gained a greater appreciation for the encouraging people I have in my life. These people were my team/entourage/motivators in my not so proud moments of self-pity and loneliness (we’re going to act like it only happened twice, okay?). In all seriousness, being independent in a city that has never failed to excite was so eye-opening in so many different ways, and ya I’ll admit one of those was becoming more grateful for my peeps.

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4. Lastly, I became more confident in myself. Often I put security in other people when in fact I should be discovering my values, opinions, and identity for myself. This summer I stopped looking at the people around me for reassurance in my actions and emotions and began looking to myself, maturing in greater self-assurance.

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Lucky is how I feel. Lucky for what the experiences and memories provided in these six weeks. Also lucky for that Jay Z song that has clouded my bias of the city since I was like 13.

I’m finishing the last half of summer in the heat of Arkansas, but very excited and ready to put that New York RBF to good use.

New York, you’ve taught me well

RR

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July '17

Americanah: a nation & a novel

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Today’s holiday, the fourth of July, comes in its annual deliverance at the wake of such a monumental time in our society, politics, and history. President Trump is just as controversial as ever, climate change is affecting our polar caps, and above all else violence is increasing. If I were to pick two words to describe our nation’s current standing it would be: mud slide.

Yes, it’s easy to talk negative about America. We are notorious for anything fried and sloppy from our lunch menus to our accents, but especially in this day and age it’s even easier to forget what we should carry with pride.

A few days ago, I finished Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel about the journeys of two Nigerians, Ifemelu and Obinze, their curiosities, and their attempts to join friends and family in America. Arriving in America, Ifemelu is greeted by race for the first time and discovers the trials set forth by its social construct. She documented her findings on a blog. From a foreign point of view, she made observations of the caste systems and criticized the country for its people, both black and white.

After reading, I know I can never understand what it is like to be in anyone’s skin other than my own, but I want to thank the author for her ability to create empathy and soften the mindset of readers and Americans who have never had the opportunity to see our country and its impurities through the eyes of an immigrant.

There are things to be embarrassed of, and there are things that deserve greater appreciation. I only hope that in a time like today’s we can take advantage of authors like Adichie who tell the honest story of what we so often overlook in our own home.

Happy fourth,

RR

For your convenience, here are some books and authors that may spark your interest on the topic:

  1. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
  2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  3. On Beauty by Zadie Smith

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NYU Portfolio

What New York Subway Stations Lack, Disabled Pay

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On a recent Monday afternoon, sitting in a wheelchair at the top of Carroll Street’s subway station, Justin Pines, 31, needed his brothers help to roll him backwards down the steps so he could catch the F train. He then traveled to 34th Street, the closest stop with an accessible elevator to his destination, the Ace Hotel, on 29th street.

For Pines, a former New Yorker, and other disabled people, navigating the subway system takes planning and reliance on others. Pines, visiting from Denver, had left New York after five years in 2016 when a skiing accident paralyzed him. He uprooted life to Denver where public transit provides full accessibility to wheelchair users and street layout is far more wheel chair friendly.

He still visits the city for work every six to eight weeks, and says Uber or Lyft are his preferred methods of travel. When he does take the subway, he maps out his commute by double-checking accessible stations and then MTA’s website to confirm elevators are working.

“I usually try to travel with someone in the case we need to call an audible and pull me up some stairs,” said Pines.

That lack of accessibility and unreliable elevators has resulted in two class action lawsuits that charge the MTA violates the city’s human rights law by not adding more accessibility.

In one suit, plaintiffs pointed to the lack of elevators in over 350 stations. In the other suit, plaintiffs detail unreliable elevators and lifts at stations that were supposed to be accessible, according to Rebecca Rogers, a representative and staff attorney from the Disability Rights Advocates.

Since 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act passed, New York City renovated 100 stations with elevator lifts, said Rogers. This still leaves out roughly 75 percent of the 472 stations that fail to meet the ADA’s requirements.

“The MTA may believe that 100 stations are enough but it’s not, and they have no plan to do more,” said Rogers.

To renovate and satisfy the Federal Disabilities Act would cost an upwards of $1 billion to update 25 more stations, and an additional $334 million on replacing existing elevators and escalators, MTA spokeswoman Beth Defalco told The New York Times.

The MTA is expected to answer complaints on July 7, and settlements are currently being negotiated in the cases concerning inaccessible elevators, Rogers said.

Rogers admits that to make the entire subway system accessible it would probably take decades. “Even if it does take decades, as long as there is a plan that we can work with that is the biggest concern,” said Rogers.

So for now—and likely a long time to come—the lack of accessibility leaves disabled people to work out their own methods of getting around using the subway.

“New York is definitely not welcoming to the disabled community,” said Georgiana Burnside, a friend of Pines and an Arkansas native, after a recent visit.

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Because Burnside’s spinal cord injury requires her to use leg braces and walking sticks, every subway ride involved worrying about tasks most people consider mindless. Whether carefully stepping down the stairs in fear of stalling people behind her or trying to walk through the turnstile fast enough, her every step was led by intimidation.

Although her physical abilities have steadily progressed since her 2015 skiing accident, she still finds herself at a setback when it comes to public transportation, whether having to ask someone to give up their seat on the subway or waiting in a stalled station elevator that reeks of urine.

“It’s quite troubling to be the minority that is never heard,” said Burnside.

She finds New York a paradox because although it is accepting of so many different ideas and people, the city excludes the disabled. Despite her frustration with the lack of accessibility, she said it motivates her to keep moving.

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“The handicap community is a group of overcomers,” said Burnside. “We overcome loss everyday… but our response to these setbacks is what makes the community strong and inspiring. We overcome.”

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