Wednesday, August 26, 2015


** Hi all, just a quick note: these will usually go up Wednesday nights! I know they used to be in the morning, but now instead of a lunch-break read, it can be your bedtime read :) **

I came home from work on Wednesday crumpled and exhausted. The absolute chaos that came with September launch had required me to spend the better part of my day putting out fires instead of getting actual work done for the last three weeks. But today, instead of staying at the office until my usual departure of 9 p.m., I unplugged at 5 o'clock on the dot and took my laptop home so that I could at least work late with my good friends wine and pizza.

The apartment was hot and quiet when I walked in; Ashley didn't usually get home until 7. I was going to allow myself exactly 30 minutes of sprawling out on the couch before taking a peek at what I knew had to be at least 15 emails waiting for my attention just since leaving the office.

As soon as I turned on the TV, I heard his voice even before the screen could catch up to the audio. As the blackness started to register colors, I fumbled with the remote, desperate to turn the channel before I had to endure the inevitable pain. I was too late—and his face filled the screen.

"God dammit Ash," I grumbled aloud. We had a rule in this house and it was absolutely no turning on E! at any time. Ashley must have been watching it when I wasn't home last night, and the TV was still tuned into the gossip channel.

I watched—against the wishes of my brain, which was screaming at me to change the channel—as Nick laughed charmingly alongside Maria Menounos in studio. It was a teaser commercial, highlighting the "exclusive interview" with Nick Murray they were airing that night at 7.

Aside from the odd internet image, which I had trained myself to speedily scroll past, I had managed to avoid seeing that face for nearly three months.

Nick and I had remained hot and heavy through the winter—and as the last snow melted in March I was beginning to think it was the real thing. We still weren't official, which I had told myself was due to his uncertain future with the show. We didn't know what was going to happen, and I was hesitant to jump head first into anything knowing that everything could change in an instant. It was idiotic of me to think that just bypassing the title "boyfriend and girlfriend" would, in any way, protect my heart.

He got a call in April that the show was on, but they wanted to add more aspects to it, open it up a little further. I had no idea what that meant as he sat down to tell me one Thursday night that is forever seared into my memory.

"What does 'open it up a little further' mean?" I had asked, sitting on his couch for what I didn't know at the time, would be the last time.

He took a deep breath, like what he was about to tell me would rob him of air for a while.

"They... they want me to move to LA."

I blinked. "But the whole show is centered around New York," I said, confused.

"Yeah," he replied, running his hands through his sandy locks. He needs a haircut, I remember thinking, as if my brain was refusing to register what he had just told me. "They want to eventually add a spin-off, that takes place in LA. It's hard to shoot here," he gestured with his arms, as if this room was the sprawling city itself, "with the streets being so crowded and the unpredictable weather. Plus the studio is based in LA, and it's cheaper for them to film out there. So they want to send a few of us out there under the pretense that work relocated us."

"So, when do you have to tell them your answer?" I asked, naively.

His gaze fell to the floor, and I knew he already had given them his answer.

So that is how, one month later, just as New York was finally shaking off the last of the bitter cold and giving way to long-awaited spring, Nick had moved across the country. We talked at first, and I made empty promises about visiting him, but I knew in my heart of hearts that I had to let him go. He was moving to Hollywood for christ's sake, to be on reality TV. Clinging to him would inevitably hurt me more than just letting him go.

And now, as his face faded off of the TV, I was overcome with the most outstanding feeling of loss. My stomach dropped to my feet and—even after months of hardly speaking—I wanted nothing more than to cry about it. Instead, I immediately turned off the TV and walked into the kitchen, flinging open my laptop to bury myself in work.

By 7 o'clock, I had created an entire Instagram strategy for holiday, pre-written social media copy through the next week and answered more than 20 emails. I stared at my task list in outlook which was reminding me, in an unnecessarily loud red, that I still had four more things to check off of my to-do list before I could turn my brain off. I leaned back in the rickety (only rickety on account of Ash and I assembled the Ikea chairs with the skill of a drunk 5-year-old) kitchen chair and stretched my arms over my head.

Restlessly, I got up and poured a glass of wine. I should have carried it back to my productive perch at the kitchen counter but instead I found myself in front of the dark TV. I picked up the remote and pointed it at the TV, ashamed at myself for what I was doing. The screen flooded with his voice for the second time that day.

He was wearing a casual white button down, with the top few buttons undone exposing a sliver of golden skin. His strong jaw was dotted with the perfect amount of stubble, which lead my gaze seamlessly to his perfect blue eyes.

"'s been amazing," Nick said, in response to a question I hadn't heard.

"Well, it certainly seems amazing if you take a look at any magazine cover!" Maria said with a laugh. I had cancelled our US Weekly subscription the first time one had arrived with Nick, shirtless, emerging from the ocean on the cover. Somehow, season 2 had catapulted him into a near Kardashian-level of fame that none of us had anticipated. "So Nick, there have been rumblings of a spin-off for you, anything you want to share?"

Nick gave his signature half-smile, "A spin-off? Who would be interested in watching only me?"

"Humble," I muttered sarcastically.

Maria laughed, tossing her head back for effect. "Well, if not you then they're definitely interested in watching Lacey."

A subtle blush crept up Nick's face, imperceptible, perhaps, to anyone but the people who really know him. I felt a wave of nausea wash over me. Lacey Barnes had been linked to Nick in the small snippets of him that had weaseled their way into my Twitter feed. She was the daughter of a famous actor and from my google searches, her career was comprised mainly of bar hopping and maxing out credit cards.

Nick laughed the question off, and countered by asking Maria which character she watched the show for. They delved into a discussion about the latest newcomer, Nick exuding so much charm that even I was starting to swoon again. It was the sickest form of self-inflicted pain, not moving from this couch.

I finally turned it off around 7:20, realizing I was already in way too deep. I had put up so many walls since April trying to keep Nick out, and now I was binging on him. I turned my back on the TV and poured myself another glass of wine. I sat back down in front of my computer, staring at the red flags and unread emails begging for my attention.

Instead, I picked up my phone. I had deleted Nick's number months ago but the iPhone, ever the bad-decision enabler, allowed his number to freely pop up every time I typed in his name (seriously, WTF is this feature apple?).

I miss you

I hit send.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This smells like trouble

“Holy. Balls,” Ash said, placing  her face directly in front of our window AC.

“Uggggh,” I groaned from my perch on the couch, fanning myself with the latest copy of US Weekly, emblazoned with the recent scoop on the Scott/Kourt break up. It was, arguably, the hottest day of the year and our ancient window unit stood no chance against the oppressive 101 degree heat. Has anyone ever noticed that movies romanticizing NYC always seem to take place in the fall or spring, when the city is bathed in perfect weather and gorgeous foliage? Never do they show the August New York—the gritty, humid, sweltering glam that comes with living in a place where every street is lined with trash, and central air is the rarest of commodities.

“We should flee,” I offer meekly, knowing that leaving means facing the heat head-on.

Ash gives me a stern look, as if I had suggested we go dumpster diving.

“We need food!” I add as a follow-up, “Our cabinets consist of ramen, wine and dried pea crisps.”

“We can survive on that,” Ash reasoned, turning her face back to the stream of cool air.

After a few minutes, I try again. “I’m restless,” I push.

“Fineee,” she caved, drawing out the ‘e’ to let me know she was really going against her will here. But let’s be honest, we were both ready to escape this tiny apartment. It was Saturday afternoon and we’d been holed up for nearly 24 hours. The lack of relationships in each of our lives had driven us both into a single-girl rut, and not the kind where you’re out drinking and partying every night. Sadly, it was the kind that whispered to us encouraging words about Netflix, HBO Go and way too much Seamless.

“I heard about this great tapas place in the FiDi,” I said, “We should check it out!” In spite of herself, Ash perked up at the mention of non-ramen entrees.

“I could get on board with that,” she said, folding her coltish legs beneath her and standing up. “What should we wear?”

“As little clothing as possible,” I replied, “It’s entirely too hot for anything else.”

As we got ready in our respective rooms, I heard Ashley’s voice carry over across the hallway. “Who told you about this place, anyway?”

“Just someone from work,” I heard myself fib. Not necessarily fib, he was a coworker, afterall.

I had felt the hope that he would be there growing inside of me as I had gotten ready. I knew it was a silly hope, given that the odds of seeing him here, now, at a place he had mentioned weeks ago were very slim. Yet that hope was the reason I’d chosen to wear a black razorback crop top paired with a striped asymmetrical skirt that I knew clung to me in all of the right places. I’d added sea salt spray to my already curly hair, and three coats of mascara. Arguably too much for a tapas happy hour, but justifiable at the prospect of seeing him.

Against all odds, he was the very first thing my eyes saw when we walked in. At 6’3”, he wasn’t hard to spot. The fire in my cheeks that crept like tendrils down to my stomach was insuppressible when I saw his towering frame by the bar. I clutched Ash’s arm instinctively, craving the reassurance of my best friend, forgetting she knew nothing.

“What?” she asked me, glancing from my death-like grip on her forearm to my face.

“Nothing,” I said, releasing my grasp and smoothing my skirt. “I just saw a coworker and was caught off guard.”

She gave me a look, but in that moment Jon caught my eye from across the crowded restaurant. His entire face broke into a genuine grin and I knew, not for the first time, that I was in trouble. He strode over in his easy, confident way. I ached.

“Hey Danielle,” he said, placing one strong hand on my lower back while leaning in to give me a kiss on the cheek.

“Hi!” I replied. Smooth. He looked expectantly at Ashley. “Oh, Jon this is my roommate, Ashley,” I said, gesturing to each as I spoke. “Jon works in the finance department at Arabella,” I added.

“Always great to meet a friend of Dani’s,” Jon said, shaking Ashley’s hand. I took secret pleasure at his use of Dani over Danielle.

“What are you ladies up to this afternoon?” he asked.

“Just escaping the insufferable heat of our apartment,” Ashley replied. Personally, I would have gone with something along the lines of we were extremely important and in high demand, and swung by here in between social engagements, but that’s just me.

“Well, I’m with a few friends over there,” he gestured with his head to a group of men situated at a high top by the bar. “If you’d like to join.”

“We’d love to,” Ashley replied, while I simultaneously thanked her and tried to resist the urge to throw up.

“Great,” he said, his face breaking into that ache-inducing grin. He casually slid his arm around my back and navigated me to his group of friends.

An hour later, I was engrossed in conversation with Jon and his friend from when they were in grad school, Tim. Tim was the co-founder of a start-up, and was reciting to me the many reasons Jon should leave Arabella and come work with him.

", at a start-up, we all kind of make our own schedules. Which is perfect for Jon since he and the wife will probably start popping out babies soon!" 

My eyes remained fixed on Tim, not daring to flicker in Jon's direction. I didn't want him to see the heat that crept up my cheeks whenever I was reminded of his marital status. 

Perhaps I should regress. 

Back in the spring, after I had been at Arabella for a few months, I had started to take notice of a ridiculously sexy man in the hallways. His gaze always held mine a beat too long—and I was instantly curious.

I started poking around until I found out that he was in our finance department. I ended up formally meeting him at a company happy hour, at which we spent the subsequent hour after shaking hands talking at the bar about anything and everything. From there, we started grabbing lunch once in a while, and taking strolls outside when the weather was too nice to be chained to our desks. We texted occasionally, usually innocent things about inside jokes or office gossip. Nothing had happened, and I knew with his wife it never could. But that didn't stop the unreasonable flush I felt everytime he was near me.

"Well," I said, bringing myself back to the present. "It sounds like a great chance. Jon, maybe you should leave corporate America and head into the start-up world!"

"Corporate America? Dani, a dog peed on the conference table in the middle of a meeting last week, I wouldn't call Arabella the most corporate," he grinned. I melted.

"How about another round?" Tim asked. Before I could answer, he had already started navigating his way to the bar.

"So, do you live close by?" I asked. He had always said he lived in the FiDi, but the part of me that had a massive crush on him wanted to know where.

"Yeah, just down on water street," he said, downing the last of his beer. "I love this area. It's also convenient, since the wife's parents are in Jersey and we can easily take the ferry over from Wall St."

I nodded, hating that he dropped her into conversation, and hating myself even more for hating it. 

Just then, I felt Ash's clammy hand wrap around my upper arm. "Hey guys," she interjected. 

"How's Henry?" Jon asked, nodding comically toward his very drunk friend who had been monopolizing Ashley for the past hour. 

"Henry might as well be a walking bottle of Hendricks," Ash said with a slight laugh, effectively portraying that she wasn't upset over his drunken antics. "But D, I'm about ready to head out. Do you want to come?" 

I pondered this. I could stay, alone, and hang out with Jon. But then I saw a vision of myself having to take the subway home alone after he inevitably left me to go home to his wife, and the picture was too sad to imagine playing out in real life. 

"Sure," I replied, reaching for my envelope clutch. I turned to Jon. "It was great running into you," I said, biting the inside of my cheek. 

"We should make it be on purpose next time," he said, wrapping his left arm around my back in a half-hug. I pressed by body too close to his, the wine making me braver than I should be.
I said my farewells to his other friends and we headed out into the now-cooler New York evening.

"You. Little. Slut." Ashley said as we hit the sidewalk, punching me lightly in the arm. "You're totally having an affair with your married coworker!" She let out a loud squeal for effect.

I rolled my eyes dramatically. "Please, Ash. I'm the last person in the world who would have an affair."

"I saw what I saw. I can't believe you didn't tell me about him! He's gorgeous."

She didn't have to tell me twice.

"Let it go!" I said with a laugh. I hadn't told Ash before now, because I didn't want it to feel real. As long as I never said it out loud, I could pretend it was a small crush that didn't mean anything. If no one else knew, it could remain just that—a crush.

She gave me a stern look. "Hey, I'm definitely not one to talk," she said, referencing her past of cheating on the regular when she was with Steve. "But careful. This smells like trouble."

She couldn't have been more spot-on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Would it never cease?

I tried to twist my body in a way that my dangling bucket bag would swish past the scanner, praying my work ID was somewhere close to the side. I wiggled like this a little longer, juggling a Lululemon bag containing my lunch, a hot coffee and my laptop precariously before finally hearing the hushed click that informed me the door was now open. Hoisting my laptop onto the coffee-carrying arm, I pulled open the heavy door into Arabella’s offices. Even though I'd been there for two months, I still marveled every morning at the whimsical, quirky space filled wall-to-wall with clothing samples.

Navigating my way to my desk, I deposited my bounty and started up my mac, plugging my laptop into the side. While it booted up, I headed into the kitchen to put away my lunch.

“Morning Danielle,” our Director of Creative Concepts greeted me as she strode past.

“Hi Gwen!” I chirped. No matter how early I got in, she still managed to beat me to the office. I was beginning to think she and her seven-month pregnant belly slept here.

I stashed my boring salad in the fridge, gazing longingly at all of the other lunches that would be eaten later today. I spied pad thai, leftover lasagna and some sort of stir fry situation. I could feel my stomach glaring at me for my most recent diet. But hey, when you’re pursuing a new guy, you’ve gotta look your best.

Slipping back to my desk, I was greeted with 15 new emails in the short time since I checked on my phone at 6:30 a.m. As Platform had continued to drown throughout the end of winter and early spring, I had finally accepted it was time to get serious about finding a new job. As much as I had loved working there, the nightmares about being laid off and unable to pay rent began to crepe in. The idea of having to go about finding another job and most likely accepting one I didn’t even want for the sake of an income had scared me straight into a full-on job hunt. Which is how I had ended up as a Community Manager at Arabella. I was excited when they finally made me an offer, after enduring four rounds of grueling, tiresome interviews.

Going from a fashion magazine to a fashion brand seemed like a swift transition at the time—but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first few weeks had been tough trying to erase all of my training in producing fresh content hourly and replace it with something new. At a brand, I learned, you created content months in advance, only worrying about your own label. I no longer had to write pieces on who Kendall Jenner was most recently spotted withinstead, I was crafting stories where writing style actually mattered and the focus was purely on the brand’s estheticfashion, style advice, decorating tips and everything in between. It was a whole new ballgame—but I was loving it. It didn’t hurt that Arabella’s social following was more than two million larger than Platforms, either.

“Morning!” Emma, my coworker and closest Arabella confidant, said as she swished past me looking effortlessly fabulous as usual. She was wearing high waisted flared jeans, wooden wedges and a split-back white tee. Her brunette bob had that I-woke-up-like-this ruffle and her Marc Jacobs sunglasses were perched on top of her head. For the first few weeks, I had hated her. I was intimidated by her style, experience in fashion and ease at completing every task thrown her way. But as time wore on and I forged my own path and role within our department, I realized that Em wasn’t the intimidating human I had built her up to be. Shortly, she had started turning to me for tips and we began to learn from each other, always keeping one another in the loop about projects, ideas and stories. In short, I absolutely adored her.

“Hey!” I said, returning my gaze to Hootsuite to sift through all of last night’s incoming mentions on Twitter. “Have you looked at Twitter? We got like, fifty tweets about how we’re allegedly racist for selling this tunic,” I said, swiveling my screen so she could see the image. “It’s literally not even ours.”

Em rolled her eyes, “It’s always something,” she said, draping her bag over the back of her chair.

By 9 o’clock, I had finished catching up on all overnight social media and was heading over to the couches for our standing morning meeting. Our office space was open and airy, and conference rooms were few and far between. Instead, Arabella chose to set up intimate spaces where people could gather and share ideas, usually decorated with casual hanging plants, trees and paper mache bumble bees. It sounds weird, but it worked.

“Okay Danielle, let’s keep this under five minutes I have to touch base with the dev team at 9:15,” our director said to me by way of greeting. I nodded as everyone pulled up that day’s scheduled messaging on various computers and iPads, and talked through them one by one, outlining which needed creatives, which posts needed to be sponsored and at what time I planned each to go live. I’d never been micromanaged like this at Platform, but here we shared every social post in advance save for the of-the-moment engagement that happened all day long. It made sense, considering brands like us were constantly on the homepage of Buzzfeed for some social faux pas or another.

“Let’s swap the timing of the third and fourth Instagrams, and make the second more of an engagement angle,” Gwen said, before nodding sharply. “Everything else looks good.” With that, the meeting was over. Just one minute longer than she had requested.

The rest of the morning went by in a flash, as days often did at this job. I was trying to finish up a post about how to take your denim from summer to fall when out of the corner of my eye, I saw my phone light up. I quickly glanced at it while still typing away. I saw that it was his name that was lighting up my screen with a text message, and I immediately scolded my stomach for having butterflies.

Would it never cease?

**Hey guys, so SO psyched to be back! I have a couple posts queued up so you'll be hearing from Dani every Wednesday, until I can up it back to 2x/week. As for the blog redesign, that'll be popping up shortly! xoxo

Monday, August 3, 2015

Launch Date...

Hi all!

Just wanted to give you an official date to look forward to for blog redesign + new post! 

See you back here Wednesday, August 12 :) Now go enjoy soaking up these last summer rays (don't kill me for referencing the end of summer. I'm sorry!).