Nanny, Observations, Self, Writing

moving sucks.

You may remember that I mentioned I was moving a while back. In fact, if you’ve been reading for more than a few months, you may remember that I’ve mentioned it twice, separately, in two different contexts. That’s cause I’ve moved twice in the past year. I’ve moved at least once a year, actually, since I graduated college.

In this new place, which is just slightly too expensive, and just slightly too inconvenient, but damn if it isn’t beautiful, I’m trying to forge a home more than I have in the other places I’ve lived. As an experiment, kind of; I don’t plan on living in the city for more than another year/ 1.5 years. I feel strongly that my time here is limited. Which makes investing in furnishings feel frivolous. But I’ve gotten tired of living in other people’s spaces, of feeling like I don’t have control over my home. I want to see how it feels to live in a place I got to decorate, where I get to set the rules.

That feeling of ease/ownership is complicated, in a way, by the fact that I’m now living with one of my best friends. I care about how my actions affect her more than I did about previous roommates. Which means I’m trying to be especially careful about, say, making noise early in the morning, or leaving messes in the kitchen. I’m not tiptoeing exactly, but I haven’t yet figured out a good balance between being conscientious and being comfortable.

My new housing situation is soon to be matched with a new employment situation, too. The families I’ve been working with nannying are moving on. The little girls are going to school! I haven’t quite let myself feel the full—honestly—grief that I know should/will accompany this transition. Hannah, one of the moms, told me the other day that I’ve been a third parent to her daughter. While I might debate that, it’s true I’ve been working with her daughter for two years and have had a big role in shaping the small person she is. But my brain has been so caught up in anxiety about moving and finding new employment, in grasping at the fragments of newness and hints of what’s to come in order to establish some semblance of security that I haven’t allowed myself to mourn the shift/ loss of that precious relationship. My temporary situation is such that I am going to be working with another family for at least a month until I find out whether my office job can offer me a full time position beginning in April.

With all the transitions, too, finances are a concern. I was just offered a position at an Arts and Social Justice Jam in San Diego in April—with a significant scholarship and travel discount. The total cost is still over a week’s pay for me at this point, though. A friend of mine is facilitating the conference and attended it herself year; she called it life-changing and credits it with setting her on a path to healing after several years of trauma and trauma-fallout. I could use a creative kick-in-the-pants, but as always, money hounds me.

I’m going to accept the position and pray for the wisdom to make the best decision. If you’ve got it in you, would you mind joining me?

Design, Nanny, Observations

odds and ends (and a plea for advice?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

GOOD MORNING darlings and dearests! I am trying to get my finances in order but can’t seem to find a way to keep track of my spending and budgeting that’s convenient, comprehensive, and can easily accommodate cash flows. Mint is popular, I know, but it constantly miscategorizes things and entering my cash expenditures has felt like a hassle. Are there any other options out there that you guys like?

As always (lolz because I’ve been inconsistent– I’m working on it!) here are some links to get your weekend started right.

A thought-provoking (and simultaneously kind of “duh”) article about the way we should be disciplining kids in school. 

Why, WHYYYYY is SNL still going to have Donald Trump host??

Can worrying be good for you? 

A spare, natural, exquisite apartment.

The skincare routines of beauty editors (or, I should have known I could never afford to become a beauty editor.) (Or, WHAT THE HOLY HELL, $200 FOR FACE CREAM THAT STILL REQUIRES A WHOLE OTHER FACE CREAM?!?!?!?)

An incredible blog about creating content, branding, and marketing. 

A very biased, but very absorbing, but very cerebral look at American nationalism by Anatol Lievin.

That’s all folks! Have a creative and gorgeous weekend.

xoxo, mel.

Design, Self, Social Justice

odds and ends.

What are you all up to this weekend? I have to work, but I’m also looking forward to finishing The Spiral Staircase and doing some writing. Hope these links will see you off to a great start 🙂


Stunning paintings and prints by my dear friend Kait Stockwell at Larkspur and Laurel.

What I’m reading next. 

This movie looks devastating but so good (and this one was sneakily riveting, too.)

Classic gray couches for every budget (even mine!)

What I’m doing for my birthday. 

An amazing organization run by and for the homeless in NYC on issues of human rights, housing, police, and others.




A surprising rule for decorating (sorry, would-be Scandinavians).

It’s impossible nowadays to browse any interior design site or magazine without coming across a room that looks something like this:

(image via apartmenttherapy)

You know: blinding light, pristine white walls, angular wooden furniture, lots of plants and tasteful textiles. Scandinavian interiors are everywhere, and they look stunning. I’ve been tempted myself to copy the look in my own apartment and have spent hours browsing shades of white paint.

(sidenote: WHY ARE THERE SO MANY SHADES OF WHITE?!?!? I know, I know, it’s because lighting can create gray or blue or burnt or yellow undertones so they have to make something for everyone, but sheesh, it’s exhausting.)

Except there’s just one problem. Emily Henderson, interior designer and my spirit animal, says: don’t fall for it.

Design Mistakes_Emily Henderson_painting a small or dark room white_Header revised 1

(image via stylebyemilyhenderson)

Hear that? It’s the sound of a million would-be Scandinavian hearts dropping.

Interiors Goddess Ms. Henderson has a point: if your space doesn’t get flooded with natural light, those white walls are going to come across as dirty, dull, and even, somehow, cheap.

To liven up a small or dark room, she suggests choosing a more versatile neutral: think pale blue-gray or greige (greyish beige).

For more pictures of how small white rooms can fall flat, head over to her site. In the meantime, I’ll be here obsessing about how many shades of greige there are…

Design, Self, Writing

odds and ends.

Hello, friends! I’m off work today and am going to see an OPERA tonight! Antigone, at BAM in enn why see.

That’s right. I’m hashtag cultured as hell. Hashtag it was a gift. Hashtag I’m actually broke. Oh yeah– and hashtag I got twitter! (@melissasakow).

I’m taking the day to update all my social media jazz for the job application process– and believe me, it’ll take a while, since it’s been several years since I updated ANYTHING– but if you have more free time than I do, check out these odd but appealing links to set yourself up for a glorious fall weekend.

  1. Find secret, niche, sometimes spooky and always obscure sites to visit or events to attend in your city with Atlas Obscura (I want to see the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters.)
  2. Get your stretch on with Adriene Mishler at YogawithAdriene! As an extra ab-tastic bonus you can hold in your laughter at her dad jokes.
  3. Practice punchy story-telling by telling six-word stories over at sixwordmemoirs— (absolutely shameless self-promotion: find me there, lisbis90.)
  4. Gape at this elaborate family apartment in Brooklyn (and wish you could afford that rug).

5. Read/ listen to Amanda Palmer on fostering creativity by collecting ideas and sharing art online.

6. Do you have a morning routine?

7. On being uncertain about your purpose.  

image via Design*Sponge.

Design, Nanny, Self, Writing

odds and ends.

Hello, lovely followers and lurkers! Here are 6 things that inspired me this week.

painting by Joan Miró: ‘Horse, Pipe and Red Flower,’ 1920; via brainpickings


is it just me?

or are studio spaces a little scary? I imagine that lying in an open bed, vulnerable, fresh, and exposed to whatever might be hiding out in the far corner of that great room, would be just a titch anxiety-inducing. I imagine that if anything attacked me, there’d be a badly-ending, terrifying, free-ranging chase scene instead of me being able to dash into a room and slam the door.

Yes: safety from hidden intruders is a major concern for me when thinking about my ideal space. (The bf’s favorite phrase is “safety third!” but I think he is just asking for a monster under his bed to bite his leg off.)

This fear applies even in a space as beautifully arranged and decorated as this (though it needs to abandon the American flag and install an overhead garden.)

via design*sponge