Springtime in the City

WELL. When I said I might be cutting back on blogging, I did not expect to take an 11-month hiatus. But here we are. I’m not sure if anyone’s still reading; regardless, I thought I’d give a little life update.

We live in Brooklyn now! We have the cutest little apartment in Carroll Gardens, which is the dreamiest of neighborhoods. Here’s the view of our street from our front door (taken in the summertime, obviously):

Carroll Gardens Brooklyn

Around when the neighborhood was founded, back in the 1800s, a law was passed that required all lots to leave 33 feet between the building and the street. Most of these spaces are used for gardens and courtyards, and the sidewalks are lovely and wide – very helpful for our skittish dog.

Carroll Gardens Brooklyn

It’s a heavily Italian area, which is just fine by us. (I have never eaten so much cheese in my life.) The neighborhood is almost perfect, except it’s almost an hour from both of our midtown offices. The commute will probably get old at some point, but for now, it’s worth it.

Brad got a job working for Marketplace (a company that produces shows and podcasts for public radio), where he started as an audio engineer and then got promoted to technical director. Around the same time as his promotion, I got hired as the social media editor for House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping.

House Beautiful masthead

I don’t want to get too deep into the schmaltzy dream-come-true aspect of it all, so suffice it to say, Brad and I are feeling pretty lucky right about now.

Let’s see, what else has happened since last May?

  • Brad singlehandedly sold and packed our house while I was up in New York, because he’s a BOSS.
  • I learned how to waterski.
  • I officially ended my 16-year stint as a redhead and chopped off all my hair. It was short and sort of blonde for a while; it’s now a bit longer and purple.

    Short textured bob
    Before and after - purple ombre hair

  • I tried 21 Day Fix for about 14 days and failed miserably.
  • I saw Hedwig & the Angry Inch with Taye Diggs and drooled all over myself. That man is gorgeous. Even as a woman. Especially as a woman.
  • We binged all of Gilmore Girls and fell hopelessly in love. Can you believe neither of us had seen it before?!
  • I flew to Texas to see my very wonderful cousin get married to a very wonderful man.
  • I nearly got my arm snapped off by a cranky sheep at the Prospect Park Zoo.
  • We tried Blue Apron and failed miserably.
  • We got really hyped up for our first northern winter, and then El Niño took it away from us. But at least this happened, and it was the happiest I’d been in a very long time:

    Winter Storm Jonas
    (Yes, that’s me lying in the snowbank, pondering the winter stars and wondering why I waited so long to get back up north.)

  • We saw Hamilton. Yes, it really is that good.
  • We went skiing/snowboarding, and I learned the true meaning of terror while careening down a very steep trail in the Catskills.

I think that covers it? I’d love to give a virtual tour of our apartment, but I’m a perfectionist and can’t bear the thought of sharing it before it’s “done.” (I may need to get over this. It’s a rental. It will never be done.) I have, however, compiled a few photos of areas that I don’t currently hate:

Pastel bedding with abstract art and tufted blue velvet headboard

Mid-century Asian-inspired dresser and round antique mirror

Apartment in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn

I’m hoping to be back around here more often from now on, and maybe some day, we’ll actually finish unpacking so I can show you the rest of our home. Fingers crossed.

So, what’s new with you guys?

*crickets crickets crickets*

P.S. Let’s be friends on Snapchat! I’m @stephsfisher.

The Big Move

OK! So! Six months after I first posted that Brad and I were dreaming of moving to New York, I’m so happy that the time to write this post has finally come. This is the post where I can announce: it’s happening! And it’s happening FAST.

Last week, I accepted a job at DecoratorsBest, an e-commerce company that sells designer fabrics and wallpapers direct to consumers (none of that “to the trade only” nonsense!). I’ll be the Digital Content Manager, which means I’m managing the content on the site, the blog, the bi-weekly newsletters and all social media platforms.

Decorators Best Logo

A few months ago, a friend asked me, “So, if you could find any job in New York, what would you be doing?” I essentially described this job – writing about home decor and design for web, social media and/or blogs – and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s actually going to happen. Of course, I hope you’ll all go sign up for the newsletter, subscribe to the blog, and follow DecoratorsBest on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. THANKS!

I put in my two weeks notice at my current job this past Friday, and I start at DecoratorsBest on Tuesday, May 5. Eek!

While Brad stays here in Atlanta to finish up some of his work projects and get the house on the market, I’m subletting a room in an amazing loft in Greenpoint.

Greenpoint Mural
(Photo via GreenpointBrooklyn.com)

I’d always assumed Brad and I would live somewhere near Prospect Park, but my new job is in Midtown, so my South Slope dreams would mean a damn long commute. Nerp. Greenpoint is further north, pretty affordable, has great bars and restaurants, and has two dog parks. The only downside is that only one train goes there, and it happens to be the one train that doesn’t go into Manhattan. So, the sublet – which goes until June 21 – will help me figure out whether it’s a viable long-term option. I hope it is! I think I’m really going to love it.

Transmitter Park in Greenpoint Brooklyn
(Photo via Perfect Strangers of NYC)

We have a lot of home projects and cleaning to do before the house can go on the market, so between that and packing, the next week and a half are going to be insane. Oh, and Brad’s 30th birthday is next weekend and we have family visiting and several birthday outings planned. I’m a wee bit stressed. But all this craziness is for a very good reason, and overall, we’re really, really happy. Personally, I’m not letting myself think about leaving my wonderful friends and wonderful neighbors and wonderful house right now. I don’t have time to be devastated, you know?

With everything going on, it might be tough to find time for blogging – especially since I intend to put all my creativity energy into DecoratorsBest – but I’m sure I won’t be able to resist sharing updates about the apartment hunt and our new city. We also just finished refreshing our deck for The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge: Redux, so I’ll have that to share soon, too!

It might get a little quiet around here for a while, but I hope you’ll all still follow along.

So, got any tips for our big move? I’d LOVE to hear them!

Prewar in NYC: The Dream & the Design

When I dream of our possible future in Brooklyn, my dreams have a very specific aesthetic. Our home is a classic prewar brownstone, chock full of original details. The ceilings are high and the floorboards are wide. Light streams in through huge and plentiful windows. (Every room has a southern exposure, of course.) And our decor is an eclectic mix of mid-century lines, vintage accents and bold textiles.

You know – kind of like this.

The living room of Mike D's eclectic Brooklyn townhouse as featured in the New York Times
(Mike D’s Cobble Hill townhome via The New York Times)

I’m no fool. I know the hefty price tag a prewar brownstone commands, and I’m well aware that we’re more likely to end up in a dark, dank basement apartment. But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t dream.

Prewar, generally speaking, refers to apartment buildings built before World War II. If we’re being specific, anything built before World War I is pre-prewar, and buildings from before the Spanish-American war in 1898 are pre-pre-prewar. But when you take an overarching look at the architecture of New York living spaces from the 1850s to the 1940s, most of them share a few key characteristics.

The ornate, hand-carved moldings …

Kerri Russell 1860s Brooklyn townhome via Elle Decor
(Kerri Russell’s 1860s Brooklyn townhome via Elle Decor)

Bedroom in Hilary Robertson Brooklyn townhome
(Hilary Robertson’s Fort Greene townhome via The New York Times)

The sky-high ceilings …

Brooklyn Heights townhouse from Rum magazine via Dintelo
(A Brooklyn Heights townhome from RUM magazine, via Dintelo)

Michelle James 1890s Brooklyn brownstone via Remodelista
(Michelle James’ 1890s Brooklyn brownstone via Remodelista)

Manhattan brownstone by Jan Eleni Interiors
(A Manhattan brownstone by Jan Eleni Interiors)

Lena Corwin and Josh Dreier Fort Greene Italianate brownstone via Remodelista
(Lena Corwin and Josh Dreier’s late-1800s Fort Greene brownstone via Remodelista)

The massive windows …

Cobble Hill townhouse by Blair Harris Interior Design
(A Cobble Hill townhouse by Blair Harris Interior Design)

Hilary Robertson Brooklyn townhome
(Hilary Robertson‘s Brooklyn townhome again)

Christina and Simon Anderson 1890s Park Slope Victorian via The New York Times
(Christina and Simon Anderson’s 1890s Park Slope Victorian via The New York Times)

A marble mantelpiece with an arched antique mirror over it is basically my dream.

Ali Cayne Greenwich Village townhouse via Domino
(Ali Cayne’s Greenwich Village townhouse via Domino)

Throw in a crystal chandelier, and I’m in heaven.

Ali Cayne Greenwich Village townhouse with chandelier via Domino
(Ali Cayne’s townhouse via Domino again)

19th-century Park Slope brownstone by Roman and Williams via 6sqft
(19th-century Park Slope townhouse by Roman and Williams / photo via 6sqft)

In the absence of a massive mirror, a single piece of large-scale art can work, too.

Francesa Connolly 1890s Brooklyn brownstone via Elle Decor
(Remodelista‘s Francesca Connolly’s 1890s Brooklyn brownstone via Elle Decor)

Elspeth Benoit and David Bevan 1870s Cobble Hill townhouse
(Elspeth Benoit and David Bevan’s 1870s Cobble Hill townhouse via The New York Times

And don’t forget those solid wood floors.

Mike D Cobble Hill townhouse via The New York TImes
(Mike D’s townhouse again)

Fine. I’ll settle for parquet.

Boerum Hill apartment via Airbnb
(Daniel Kanter‘s 1890 Boerum Hill apartment – you can stay in this one!)

Brooklyn Heights townhouse dining room from Rum magazine via Dintelo
(Brooklyn Heights townhouse via Dintelo again)

Photo overload, I know. I’m sorry. I just can’t get enough. If you can’t either, you should check out my prewar Pinterest board.

So, what do you think? I’m betting you wouldn’t kick one of these brownstones out of bed, either. Anyone want to lend me a few million dollars?

The New York Trip

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, everyone! Brad and I aren’t traveling this year, because a) Brad is working The Stuffing tonight, and b) we just got back from New York on Sunday night.

We had SO much fun staying in Brooklyn. The apartment we rented was right across from Fort Greene Park, which is very pretty and full of dogs and white birches.

Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn via Glitter and Goat Cheese

The neighborhood of Fort Greene is pretty great, too. We stayed right on the border by Downtown Brooklyn, so at first, we were like, “This is the charming little hood that we keep hearing about?” Then we walked a bit further east and got the attraction. Adorable.

Fort Greene neighborhood via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Fort Greene street via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Our first day there, we walked from Fort Greene to Prospect Heights to Park Slope, saw Prospect Park briefly and got sushi at a place called Yamato. We both ordered a lunch special that included two sets of eight-piece rolls, soup and salad for $10. We literally could not stop talking about it. Who says New York is expensive?! OK, I’m kidding, but seriously, there are deals to be had.

Other highlights included amazing Italian meals at Broccolino (ORDER THE BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD), visiting friends in Carroll Gardens and Greenpoint, lattes in Park Slope, dinners in Cobble Hill and Bushwick, a show in Gowanus and a visit to the Winter Flea in Crown Heights, during which I ate a magical burger with a bun made of ramen noodles.

This is my ramen burger. It's a lot more appetizing in person than it looks in this photo.

A post shared by Stephanie Shore Fisher (@stephsfisher) on



We packed in a lot. I haven’t walked so much since … well, I’m actually not sure. My legs have felt like rubber since we got back. Despite the exhaustion, though, it was just really refreshing to see old friends and feel the cold on our faces.

Donuts with a view.

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The point of our trip, I guess, was to answer the question, “Could we live here?” And generally speaking, the answer is yes. Getting around is fine – I wouldn’t say I’m a huge subway fan, but I’m not a huge driving fan, either, and at least you can ride the subway drunk. (Priorities.) The prices are frightening, but we could adjust. The cold is frigging fantastic. I was a little worried about feeling trapped without a car, but obviously, that was a silly concern, considering how much is available on every block.

Still, though, I worry about the apartment situation. What we learned is that we don’t really want to live in an up-and-coming/was-dangerous-a-couple-years-ago-but-isn’t-so-bad-now neighborhood. We walked around a couple, and our suburban sensibilities just weren’t prepared. Baby steps, people. So, that’s fine – there are tons of quieter, safer neighborhoods – but unless we want to commute for 45+ minutes, that probably means sacrificing space, which is terrifying. Our house has three bedrooms and eight closets. And they’re all FULL. Adjustments will have to be made. I think it’s probably worth it, though, just for the $10 sushi specials alone. And the bagels.

So, that’s the trip recap. Now, Thanksgiving time. This year, I’m thankful for options. If I find an amazing job in New York, we can get up and go, and that alone is something to appreciate, I think.

Dreaming of Brooklyn

I first realized I wanted to move to New York at book club, after at least five glasses of wine.

We’d read what I thought was a mediocre book called “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.” about an obnoxious young man living near Prospect Park, and though the book didn’t even portray Brooklyn that favorably, my interest was inexplicably piqued. Our book discussions don’t usually last very long, though, and this evening was no different. Soon, we’d moved onto the hot topic du jour: the upcoming layoffs at our company.

A fellow transplant from the tri-state area mentioned that she thought being laid off could be the push she needed to move back up north. I remember asking her, “Didn’t you think you’d be home by now? I did.”

I’d never said those words out loud before, and to be honest, I hadn’t even realized I felt that way until that very moment. But as soon as they came out of my mouth, something clicked in my head, and I knew I wanted to go. In vino veritas, and all that.

That night, for once, I’d made the responsible decision to ask my husband to pick me up, and as soon as I got in the car, I said, “Brad, do you think we should move to Brooklyn?”

Bless that boy – instead of asking me how many drinks I’d had or whether I’d lost my mind, he just said, “Yeah, maybe.”

And from there, we were off and running. That was Thursday, August 14.

Brooklyn Brownstone - via BK Reader
Via The Brooklyn Reader

Now, I have to be honest: We had never even considered moving to Brooklyn before. We had discussed potentially moving to New York when we were older, when Brad had made a name for himself in the music business and could attract his own production clients, and when I could find something in Turner’s New York office. It was a long-term potential dream, nothing more. So when I tell you this came out of nowhere, I mean it. And that’s why it’s freaking people out.

I realize that this seems arbitrary and impulsive, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized how much sense it made. I’ll explain our reasoning in another post, before this gets too long, but I just wanted to put this out into the universe: Brad and I are considering leaving Atlanta and moving to New York.

So, if you don’t see many new home decor purchases or projects in the near future, it’s because we’re maybe preparing to sell our home and downsize in a very major way. This both terrifies and saddens me, because we absolutely love our house (not to mention our friends, and our neighborhood, and so many other things about Atlanta). But at the moment, this psuedo-decision feels right. We’ll see what happens and how things fall into place (or don’t). I’ll certainly keep you all updated.

xoxo,
Gossip Girl (because that’s what I’m going to become if I move to NYC, obviously)

PS: Did you know that October is National Pasta Month? I have a LOT of pasta recipes – I daresay it’s my specialty – so I’m hoping to share some over the next few weeks. Anyone have any tips on food photography? That is NOT my specialty.