Monday, June 10, 2013

You Better Work: Week Eleven

Week Eleven could also be referred to as Week Where-I-Was-Trying-Not-to-Lose-It-and-OMG-We're-Homeless-and-How-the-Hell-Can-I-Think-About-What-to-Wear-Right-Now?! I was also running out of ways to figure out how to take my daily mirror shots in a dark old house, resulting is some barely visible #OOTD pics. 


No outfit today, as it was Memorial Day and I was not at the office! Take that, former retail career! But for real, I actually was working that day. With Steve! We got the opportunity to work at one of the historic sites, and although it was one of our first Monday holidays off together, I couldn't let Steve miss the opportunity to do something historical and get paid for it. So we got to make a little extra money, hang out together, and it was the first time all weekend that it was actually beautiful weather! So everyone wins. Except my outfit, because I was dressed like a Best Buy sales person. 


j.crew blazer & striped shirt/banana republic skirt/target shoes/ebay necklace/vintage ring

I bought this necklace on eBay for a steal of $13. However, in one of my many recent moves, one of the stones popped out, as $13 necklaces tend to do. I finally got around to supergluing it back together and celebrated by wearing it with many other colors all in one outfit. This is a case of one of those times that I get an outfit idea stuck in my head the night before, and often I am crushed when it doesn't come out as I hoped the next day, but I'm happy with the results of this one. 


old navy wrap dress/vintage necklace/forever 21 ring & socks/ll bean wellies

Wednesday I was not having a good day. I don't remember the particular reason (probably didn't help that it was raining), but I just remember thinking to myself early on, "if this day gets any better, by the end of it I'll be ROLLING IN GLASS" (one of my most favorite Will & Grace quotes ever). But then a miraculous thing happened. In the breakroom at work, while furiously refilling my water glass, a coworker asked me if my Old Navy dress was from Diane von Furstenburg. As in DV mother effin-F. Instantly, I felt like my day had improved. Sure, she was probably just being friendly or maybe assumed that the lovely Ms. von Furstenberg owns the right to all wrap dresses (as she should), but talk about a simple statement that can suddenly make you feel so much better. It's like, "have you lost weight?!" or "did you just get your hair colored?" when actually it's been months since you've been to a hairdresser. Sometimes it's just the little things, you know?


h&m denim jacket/banana republic top/target dress/ny & co flats/j.crew bag/forever 21 necklace

You may recognize this super old Isaac Mizrahi dress from about a million events over the last five years. I'm obsessed with it, and most recently wore it on Easter with a pink fascinator, because you know, I'm fancy. But it wasn't until this day that I thought to wear it as a skirt. I remember it was really beautiful out that day, and as I was walking around downtown in the gorgeous weather and my flowy skirt, I was thinking about how great I felt (obviously a 180 from the day before). That was, until I had about four almost-Marilyn moments in the strong Nantucket breeze. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to hold my skirt in between my legs as I walked. I guess we really can't have it all, huh?


h&m top & denim jacket/tj maxx pants/old navy flats/forever 21 collar necklace

My apologies for the worst #OOTD wrap up photo. In this particular house I was residing in at the time, my room was a horrible place to take photos. So I used to take my mirror downstairs to this little sunroom thing because it was nice and bright. However, other people occasionally stay at this house, and on any given days there are landscapers working outside, electricians coming in, and things of the sort. At this time, there were people downstairs and I was embarrassed at the thought of walking around, clutching my $5 Walmart mirror as I shamelessly attempted to take my own photo. I just couldn't do it. So I quickly snapped this in my room where the lighting was terrible and all of my earthly possessions had started to take over every inch, making it difficult to not look like someone from Hoarders.

Unfortunately, we're going to have to take a week off from #OOTD pics, as Week Twelve is nonexistent in the land of selfies. Things were just too crazy and it wouldn't have been anything worth blogging about anyway. Plus this whole thing is kind of superficial (I admit it) and when you have like actual serious stuff on your mind, the last thing you want to do is fake a smile in the mirror for yourself. 

Hope to see you again for Week Thirteen! 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

You Better Work: Week Ten

I mentioned in my last post that this week (which I want to say in real time is Week Twelve?) I didn't take a single outfit photo. Due to the Great Nantucket Housing Crisis, taking a picture of my outfit at the end of each day was next to impossible. Since we moved around so much, I really couldn't find a location in the places we were staying in that had proper lighting for mirror selfie shots. And at the moment, I am literally pulling items out of randomly strewn about suitcases and hoping they match. I'm sorry, my head just wasn't in it this week. 

But luckily for you all, I'm lazy and I still have leftover Week Ten pictures to blog about! So here we go.


old navy dress & flats/ll bean coat & wellies/gifted scarf/alex & ani bracelets/aldo watch/vintage ring

Hey, did you guys know it rains on Nantucket? If you haven't gathered that by now, well then... you must be new round these parts. I don't have an address yet, so I've been getting all mail sent to my office. Getting anything is really exciting when you're anywhere far away from your family and friends, and that is even more true when you're on an island. It's like literally a connection to the outside world. So you can imagine my joy when I got not just any mail, but a package! My good friend Alisa sent me a new job gift, this lovely nautical scarf that obviously matches everything I own. I'm sure this will be just the first of many appearances on the blog.


ny & co top & cardi/gap trouser jeans/payless flats/kate spade bag/rue 21 belt/forever 21 necklace

I've said before that my office is slightly casual, but I still have a personal no jeans at work policy. Okay, a no blue jeans at work policy. But this was a day where I knew I would be running around to every hotel on the island delivering brochures, so I wanted to be prepared. I bought these denim trousers forever ago and almost forgot I had them. I might save this for a future casual Friday look (not that we have ever declared that, but that may also be a personal decision one day). 


j.crew blazer, bag & necklace/gap trench/banana republic top/h&m jeans/ll bean boat shoes

If there's one item you have to bring with you to Nantucket this summer, it is WHITE JEANS. I'm not kidding. I know the official pants of Nantucket are Reds, but you can't walk five feet down Main Street without running into a gaggle of women all clad in white jeans. I decided it was time to finally break mine out (which I became obsessed with last year and found this pair for $10 at H&M). Then I kept hearing people say you're not supposed to wear white jeans until after Memorial Day. Uh, since when? I was always told that Easter was the dawn of the white shoes/dress/pants time of acceptance. Is this really a thing? How many of you actually still follow these "rules" in the year 2013?


h&m dress/forever 21 belt/nine west pumps via tj maxx/jewelry sale necklace

So on Thursday I wanted to look a little extra snazzy because we had our members celebration that evening, and it was the first time a lot of our donors would be back for the summer. We all had our roles, and of course, I was assigned to the photo op. This dress is just so universal and can be used for almost any occasion, and all you have to do is mix up your accessories so it's a different look every time. And can we talk about how Rachel wore it on an episode of Glee? Yes, yes we can. 


gap sweater/ny&co top/j.crew jeans/ll bean wellies/old navy necklace

I mean, just the fact that I have to plan at least two outfits a week around rain boots is kind of ridiculous, but CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Because of the weather, I opted to completely tie my hair back which I hate. Can we get personal for a moment? We all have things we don't like about ourselves, amirite ladies? We're supposed to be embracing ourselves, flaws and all, but I'm going to be real and say that you just have to emphasize your strong points. I have never liked wearing my hair totally pulled back because I just don't like the way my face looks without hair. I know, that's weird, right? A sock bun is one thing, because I think it's interesting enough to make you forget about any really distinct facial features. But a slicked back pony just ain't me, hence the addition of a braid. When I do feel like I look pretty, 3/4 of that prettiness seems to come from my hair. That's why I spend so much time on it and treat it nicely and buy it expensive products. But sometimes the skies open up and spending twenty minutes curling your hair to have it fall flat on your walk to work just isn't practical. 

I think we have one more week of outfits to wrap up before my selfie sabbatical. Thanks for putting up with some personal jibber jabber there in between nautical blazers and colored jeans. 


Friday, June 7, 2013

This Historical House is Not a Home

So I haven't blogged in some time now. I know, same old story. I'm so busy/tired/enjoying my new Nantucket life that I don't have time to write, right? Well, sort of.

Basically the last few weeks have been an absolute nightmare in which Steve and I have found ourselves living out of suitcases, moving from one location to another for a week at a time, and in a tug of war with landlords and one horrible tenant who doesn't mind disrupting someone else's entire life. 

I should start out by saying that we're fine. Nothing is physically wrong with us. Emotionally and mentally, yes, we may be committed any day now. But we're on Nantucket, so any form of psychological lock up would probably be on the beach covered in gray shingles. Work has been great, Steve is working full time and doing a show on the local radio station, and *gasp* we have gotten to hang out together every weekend and explore and visit every beach we can find, taking a break occasionally to enjoy a dinner here and a Bruins game there. It's exactly what I imagined married life was supposed to be like, and can't believe that we've been doing it wrong the past two years by not being able to spend hardly any free time together and when we did, trying to shake the bad feelings from working in jobs that we despised.

The problem is we've been doing all of these things on the island while essentially being homeless. Let me explain.

When I first came to Nantucket, I was warned up and down that the year-round housing situation for normal people (i.e. not millionaires) was awful. However, I was offered temporary housing from my job in order to settle in and figure out where we would go. This is not a place where you go on Craig's List and dig through potentially sketchy listings. I was told I could stay in a particular historic property until May 15, when I would need to leave to make room for the seven interns that had already been selected. The people I work with put the word out that we needed a place to live, and I quickly saw that they only way find out anything around here is through word of mouth.

We visited countless apartments. Some of them were beautiful but totally out of our price range. I guess if you want to get technical, they were all out of our price range. The least expensive place we looked at was still $300 more than what we had been paying for our previous one bedroom apartment. Some were crazy tiny and still expensive. Of course none of this was unexpected, everyone had warned me about everything being expensive- it's an island, after all. I was choosing to focus on the fact that with my new job I would be making (slightly) more money and not spending $500 a month on gas commuting, and could accommodate having to spend a little extra on living. Did I mention that this entire time we were looking at apartments, Steve didn't have a job yet? Yeah, there was that. So it was really hard to think, "sure, I'll give you $1800 a month" when only one of you is technically employed. I had multiple people who suggested it was time to buy a house, and believe me, if I had $700,000 lying around, I would surely look into it.

So we looked and we searched and I talked to everyone about how we were trying to find a place. Finally we were in between two apartments, which is a conundrum in itself because you have to make snap decisions here or else something could be scooped out from underneath you, which totally freaks me out as an emotional over-thinker. One was a one bedroom cottage that was small but beautifully constructed. It was slightly further away from town, but the least expensive option that we had looked at. It had a backyard and a deck and a bed for a garden. And a basement, did I mention a basement? I didn't even have a linen closet in my last apartment, so any form of storage was exciting to me.

The other was a very centrally located, townhouse style two bedroom apartment that wasn't as nice but also had a large basement for storage. It was barely a mile from downtown (where I work and don't have a parking space) but about $300 more a month than the cottage. 

The biggest issue we had was that the cottage we really liked wasn't going to be available until July 1. I only had guaranteed housing until mid-May, maybe end of May if I stretched it out a bit. We went back and forth for a week trying to figure out if we could find a place to stay for a month. We communicated with the owner about our issue, and he was very understanding and even offered to take money off the first month's rent for the inconvenience. Finally, I got the okay from my job that they would let me stay in a different historical property for the duration of June so we could rent the cottage.

Elated, I called the owner immediately to tell him the good news. He didn't answer. I called him the next day. Steve called him and texted him. It had barely been days since we spoke with him before, and suddenly he was ignoring us. At the same time, we had the landlord of the two bedroom apartment demanding that we tell them whether or not we were going to rent from them, as they had many other people waiting after us. We were panicked- do we let the option we really want go for fear of ending up with nothing? After days of back and forth, we finally had to accept that he wasn't calling us back for a reason, and take the two bedroom. Sure it would be more expensive, but we would have an extra bedroom for guests and easy access to both of our jobs, bike paths, the grocery store, all the necessities. Two days later the guy from the cottage emailed me and said he rented it to someone else. No kidding. 

We had our move-in date set for our two bedroom apartment on May 15, so we could just pop out of my temporary housing and right into this. A few days before, the landlord contacted me and said the tenant had asked for an extension. I said that was fine, because in the midst of all this, we had found ourselves dog sitting for two weeks and the owners let us stay in their house. Two weeks was up, and the tenants were still in the apartment. The landlord told me they signed a letter saying they would be out in 10-14 days. I begged my job to let me stay in the property I had been in before until a few days before the interns arrived. They're nice and they don't want me to be homeless, so they agreed. 

Another week went by and the tenants still hadn't vacated. I was told by many people that Massachusetts rental laws favor the tenant heavily and that it was almost impossible to actually evict someone, and if you do it could take months and thousands of dollars. Steve and I packed up our stuff and moved across the street to an even nicer historical property, where we slept in a room with twin beds and more fancy knick knacks than I've actually seen in museums. We would only be allowed to stay a week, as other people had already been booked to stay there after that. We lived out of our suitcases and tiptoed around for fear of breaking anything. In case you're wondering what that looks like, here's a visual:

nothing hot about this mess.

The time came that we would need to leave. But we had nowhere to go, as that damn tenant, whose lease technically ended April 30, was still essentially squatting in our apartment, halfway moving furniture out, leaving notes for the landlord saying, "any day now!" Our landlords asked another tenant in the same complex, the manager for the radio station where Steve had been doing his show, if we could stay with him in his two bedroom + loft apartment on the other side of the parking lot, within plain sight of our "future" home. He agreed, because he's nice and knows Steve and also doesn't want us to homeless. We moved for the fourth time and found ourselves once again sleeping on twin beds and living out of suitcases.

Finally, we met with the landlord in person. Months of exchange had all been through email, as they're only on island half the year. They told us they felt very bad about the situation, but essentially there was nothing they could do. We could either wait for this person to leave, or "explore other options."

Immediately, burning hot tears filled my eyes that I had to force to stay in my head. I was so angry. What other options did we have? IT'S EFFIN SUMMER ON NANTUCKET. Every week, there were less and less classifeds in the newspaper, and more and more people placing ads begging for housing. I had stopped searching over a month prior, because you figure once you have a lease signed and have handed over a small fortune for your first month, last month, and security, you have a place to live. Turn out that's not the case if you live in the Commonwealth, even on an island that often feels mighty far away from the rest of the state. 

I said we'd have to think about it. I immediately started crying in the car and cursed this tenant for being such an asshole to another person. I just didn't understand. We're pretty decent people. I mean, I always brake for animals crossing the road and Steve goes to church every Sunday. We worked very hard for many years in jobs that we didn't care about and never really made any money. We took a risk and moved here for the chance to start over and do something more with our lives and to be able to spend time together. Why was the universe so against that, and us? 

The next day, I told my boss what has happened. She immediately sprang into overdrive and made me call every listing in the paper, even ones that were out of my price range. She said you have to put things out there in the world and hope that you get something back. Less than 24 hours later, she got wind of an apartment that was available immediately for a monthly rate that I didn't believe existed on Nantucket. She called them and told them what wonderful people Steve and I are. She drove me to look at it when Steve got stuck working late and I was car-less (we currently only have my car here). She was determined to make this work.

When we turned onto a dirt road in a very residential area where you have to drive five miles an hour as not to hit a bunny, I knew we weren't in Kansas anymore, or at least, downtown Nantucket. Which is kind of an exaggeration, as we were three miles from town. We looked at a tiny one bedroom apartment over a lovely woman's garage, who- surprise!- happens to work with Steve. When she informed me that all utilities were included, I almost passed out. I have not seen one apartment where any utilities were included. Like none

The only real problem is that it was tiny. Like smaller than the place we just left on the mainland. You know, the one we grew out of two years ago? However, it did have a big beautiful backyard and did I mention all utilities included?!

So we were faced with yet another dilemma. Do we take the smaller apartment for the great price, and deal with the fact that we can only take a quarter of our belongings and that we'll be living in super close quarters with hardly any room for guests, or do we wait for a bigger apartment that could potentially never be available to us, ever? 

For 24 hours, we once again agonized over whether or not we would make the right decision. We were told that we had to decide if we wanted to smaller place by the following day, as the owner already had people basically stalking her over knowing that she had an apartment available. 

After talking to both our mothers, my boss, the manager of the apartment we were supposed to be living in, and the nice lady that owned the small apartment, we just did it. 

Welcome to our (tiny) new home.

don't worry, the stained couch isn't ours. although it is a pullout.

And we're going to be fine. The station manager we've been staying with offered to let us keep our extra stuff in his basement, so we can at least have all of our belongings on the island. I am going to read every blog about living in small spaces, and if you want to come visit, you are welcome to, but you're sleeping on our sectional sofa (it is comfortable, I will say) or on an air mattress (also, more comfortable than I expected). Or in bed with us.


P.S. In case you have figured it out, this is why I haven't posted any outfit photos this week. I'm lucky I even got out the door with clothes on. I hope to return to my favorite past time at some point, but I just need to get it together a bit at the moment. Hang tight.