How To Volunteer – As An Introvert

Standing on the front lines, hearts pounding, ready to fight for injustice. 

That's how a good and wise friend of mine described the way many of us are feeling these days. Because of the events of the last few weeks, a lot of us feel the call to fight more than ever before.

That means starting conversations and donating time and money. Great and grand and important, sure, but for the quieter ones in the crowd – (introverts, that is) – the volunteering bit can be easier said than done. You want to give back and donate your time, but you may not be ready to stand on a street corner and recruit strangers to join you in the battle for what's right. I totally get it.

Rest assured, your help is still needed. Introverts, ever-powerful in the workplace, can be just as impactful on the front lines in the fight for social justice. Here's how:

Assist with administrative work

Organizations like Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, and others need help in their local offices doing things like assisting with communications, stuffing envelopes, working in Excel. This is just as important as the more visible positions, and will allow you to work hard for something you care about in a way that jives with who you are. After all, someone has to keep the trains running on time. (Not sure about the administrative volunteer opportunities available at these organizations, but it's still certainly worth checking out Black Lives Matter, Emily's List, Girl Up, Girls Inc.Defy Ventures, Inc., and local non-profits to see if they need help with behind the scenes tasks.)


Be a Big Brother or Big Sister

Join the local chapter of your Boys & Girls Club and become a Big Brother or Big Sister to a child who could use a little extra help. Introverts are much more comfortable in small groups and with one-on-one relationships – trust – so this is a perfect fit for those of us who might shy away from the megaphone.


Use Your Platform for Advocacy

You don't have to turn your social media accounts into all-or-nothing social justice micro-platforms, but consider informing your followers about ways they might be able to get involved with a certain project or program you believe in. As much as we love seeing what your shoes look like on some fall leaves (no sarcasm – we really do!) we also might want to know more about the things your believed in and involved in.


Speak Out

Thanks, MTA, for providing us with a phrase that extends far beyond what we ever thought. If you come across an act of injustice in your daily life, say something about it. By staying silent, you're being complacent. At the very least, let the person who was wronged know that they're not alone, and that you're on their side. Basically, if you see something, say something. (Thanks, MTA!)


More thoughts, ideas, recommendations for ways to help as an introvert (or otherwise) always welcome! Leave a comment below or reach out directly.

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood

After the last few weeks, I've been craving a bit of a mood change. Call me crazy, but with everything going on lately I've wanted – needed – a wee bit of an escape. 

(Can you blame me?)

After reading "My Name Is Lucy Barton", I couldn't stop thinking about what it was that made the book so special. The writing was nice, the story was beautiful – heartbreaking, even – but all of these elements together took me to another place. Temporarily, of course, but another place still the same. 

And really, isn't that what we're all looking for with reading? A temporary journey to another place. An escape of sorts.

"Lucy Barton" is a beautiful story and a book that I consumed quickly and enjoyed reading. Thankfully, it's not the only book that I've loved for reasons I cannot name – these are books that transported me or made me feel just plain different, and I love them for that. Here are a few:

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood | Second Floor Flat

1. "The Girls" by Emma Cline

No doubt you've heard of this book. Actually, you may even be reading it right now. Or perhaps, like me, you read about it on Cup of Jo (or another favorite site of your choice), pre-ordered it, and consumed it as soon as it arrived. If you have, I salute you. If you haven't, let me fill you in: "The Girls" follows Evie Boyd as she gets through life as a 14-year-old (officially the worst) and fumbles in and out of a cult-like Northern California group. It's glorious and seedy and Manson Family-esque, but the most important thing about the story is the girls it surrounds – their obsessions with each other and themselves; their desire to belong.  I can't wait to read this again  and rejoin 14-year-old Evie's fantastically strange world.


2. "My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton quietly takes you and holds you close. The story takes place almost entirely in a hospital room and in this case, that's plenty. This is a subtly powerful read that will stay with you and make you want to cry for reasons you can't quite figure out. 


3. "Letters To A Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In what was one of the better birthday gifts I've ever received, a friend took me out to tea and gave me a copy of this book. It's plain, simple, and perfect – a must for any young creative, or really anyone at all. I read it, underlined almost everything, and have returned to it time and time again. 


4. "Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth" by Warsan Shire

Feminist poetry,  you know? Sometimes it just really hits you. Though I'm typically not a poetry type (whatever that means) this short collection of poems from now-famous, oft-googled, Beyonce-tribe member Warshan Shire is for real. Grab a copy or for pete's sake, at least borrow mine.


5. "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I recommend this book to people almost more than anything else. Reading this while living abroad taught me about loneliness, leaving family, and what it means (it was referenced in more than a few of my expat-related posts) but more than that, it gave me a different perspective on women, race, countries, cultures; our differences, and our similarities. Just read it, k? 


Whether you're looking for an escape of sorts or just a good-old fashioned summer read, I'd recommend picking up one of these, getting a little carried away, and then letting me know what you think. I clearly love talking about books, and would love to hear what you think as the smart, intelligent, interesting gal or guy I'm (pretty sure) you are. Happy reading!

Good Reads: 3 June 2016

Not so long ago, we got a dog. And now, we are officially dog people.

"Those people", even.

I'm trying hard to not be the girl (slash woman) who forces others into scrolling through pictures of her dog on her phone, or who tells boring stories about her dog's adorable habit of wagging her tail in her sleep, etc. But it's really, really hard not to. I can't even imagine how people with kids must feel.

That being said, recommendations for training, treats, and the rest are appreciated. And we'll leave the dog talk at that...for now.

This morning, I worked on something great with the ever-inspiring Rachel of The Style Line. Check her and the entire community out when you can – she showcases a lot of inspiring, creative, all around A+ women. Tonight, I'm hoping for some wine and good food under the stars (aka an outdoor table at a local restaurant) and tomorrow, I'm meeting the new beb of one of my long-time friends. So weird and great when your friends start having kids, right? Aren't we still in high school? (No? Ok.)

Wishing you guys a lovely weekend full of ice cream trucks, summer sandals, warm breezes, welcome AC blasts, good books, and better company.

these girls and their style are way too much in the best way possible.

warm weather means that i can't get these shoes and these shoes (and these and these and these) out of my mind.

and speaking of the warmer weather, i've been wearing my tantuvi culottes like it's my job.

weekend plans: hopefully making it to this exhibit tomorrow. 

other weekend plans: catching up on this collaboration between gloria steinem and viceland

currently reading this powerful book, which pretty much everyone should read.

three words that made my week: hot-dog princess

going to beyonncee on tuesday (I KNOW). what should i wear/buy/do other than keep freaking out?


favorite independent designer/retailer finds of the week:

a.m. thorne / bliss and mischief / st. agni / cocodune / ceri hoover / fair season / luz ortiz / mother's daughter / about arianne / gravel & gold / ozma

How To Live A More Balanced Life

Any writer, painter, illustrator, fine artist, whatever will tell you about the difficulty that comes with starting a new project. The newness and possibility of something new can feel overwhelming, large, and just plain scary.

It's similar to the fear that comes with public speaking in that when given the amount of space and time we need to really express ourselves, we (or at least, I) often can't speak at all, because we don't know where to start and are overwhelmed by possibility and the potential for power.

The same thing happens when it comes to managing personal health and wellness. Try starting on a new diet or exercise regime, making a wellness practice part of your daily or weekly habits and you're meet with that same quiet, giant space. It's overwhelming and since it can be hard to know where to start, we usually just don't start at all.

For me, the only way to achieve any sort of balance is by keeping things extremely uneven – basically to "go hard or go home." All or nothing. An entire pint of ice cream or not even a bite. Regular workouts or pure relaxation.

Finding balanced in the unbalanced.

A podcast once told me it had something to do with my personality type and I'm sure that's true. Regardless, it works great for me.  And so, with this behavior in mind, I've put together a little guide to living a more balanced life – with a very important emphasis on health and wellness. 

Here's what's worked for me:

Make it a lifestyle, not a one-time practice

Whatever you're trying to achieve (lower sugar intake, more workouts, more personal or meditative time, etc.) the only way you can make this new behavior part of a regular routine is by thinking of it as an entire lifestyle. You're not eating healthy today, you're changing the way you approach food and eating overall. You're not trying out a new yoga class once, then again in 2-3 months. You're practicing yoga, and making it a part of your weekly schedule. Accept your new health-focused behavior as a part of your overall lifestyle, envelope it in your existing routine, and soon (soon) it will become a natural practice.

Eliminate the idea of "good" behavior 

Don't applaud yourself for living a healthy, balanced life. Just like the idea of turning a behavior into a lifestyle, once you decide to eat healthy/exercise/get more sleep/read more/meditate, etc., know that this is now normal behavior for you – not "good" behavior. "Good" behavior is looked at as an exception to the norm that can be rewarded with bad. Make your "good" behavior the new norm and let that be the reward in itself.

Phone a friend

This is an oft-repeated piece of advice when it comes to working out or going to the gym, but the same principle of routine and accountability applies to any sort of wellness practice. If you're trying to cut down on junk food, ask a friend to join you in the practice and keep tabs on each other. Then really follow through with your plans, and continue. If you don't have a companion or would rather go it alone, write things down in a journal, find a weekly podcast that you love and with a regular publishing schedule that will inadvertently hold you accountable, and stick with it.

Embrace rituals

To really nail it home, associate your new wellness behavior with another sense – be it a scent you smell when meditating, a song you listen to while working out, or a podcast you play while cooking (healthier) food. Choose practices that will accompany your practice and before you know it, you'll be living your new, healthier life.


This (un)balanced behavior has helped me to live a much healthier, more balanced life than I did several years ago but obviously these practices are always easier said than done.

Case in point: I just finished doing yoga right now. If I'm honest, I really didn't want to practice even though I love doing yoga. But you know what? I love my Outdoor Voices yoga pants and knew I'd feel better after I was done practicing, so I lit a candle and did the damn thing. And now, I feel so much better for it.

Checkmate. But really, what works for you? 

Good Reads: 8 April 2016

As much as I hate to say it, I'm afraid that the delays between blog posts will be regular from this day forward. Having just started a new job, I just don't always have the time to update as much as I'd like – though know that you are most certainly always on my mind, you lovely blog reader you.

All of that being said, this blog is going nowhere and I'm super excited to bring you both some home decor thoughts and something from the lovely Megan Huntz in the coming days. You know Megan – she's the glorious, Atlanta-based designer who is as talented of an artist as she is charming of a gal. Yep, that's the one.

Until then, I've included a few favorite reads of late along with new submissions to the independent design directory.

Happy weekending, all! We've certainly earned it.

Empire State Building | Second Floor Flat

these clean, good-smelling, and (wait for it) effective cleaning products are rocking my apartment/world lately. (the all-purpose tea tree is a favorite.)

have you guys heard about thrive market? i might give it a try.

and speaking of good smelling things, this recently came into my life along with a palo alto bundle. both have been game-changing.

full on, crazy-person level obsessed with "the people vs. o.j. simpson" after finally giving in and watching it. who's with me?

dalmation jasper and pink pearls? you had me at "dalmation".

was so thrilled to share a #lessonimalwayslearning on girl gift gather recently. (thanks for having me, gals!)

bernie and hill will debate within half a mile of my apartment next week! currently taking tips from that charming little bird on how to attend said debate.

gorgeous handmade shoes.

on my must-read article list.

obsessed with the whole vibe of this new online shop from solange.

(finally) reading some nora ephron after (finally) reading the vacationers. now that i'm back on a commute after working from home, i'm going through my books at lightning speed. any recommendations?

loving this new organic skincare line.

shopping in tokyo with david sedaris. (lolz for real)

looking for some new smoothie ideas outside of the whole "spinach-strawberry-banana" thing. anyone have a go-to recipe or pairing they'd recommend?

boarded the glove shoe train, and i'm oh-so-happy that i did.

my mom recently saw this documentary and recommended it – sounds like such a crazy story.

really, really liking all the things on the lovely waiting for saturday shop.


favorite independent design/retail finds of the week:

la ligne / one six five / article& / rugbygur / conifer / carla colour / sophie bille braehe / kowtow / all birds (wool sneakers! via cup of jo)

The Brooklyn Way

An update, of sorts, because it sort of feels overdue.

In case you missed out, Derrick and I are back in Brooklyn. 

Like so many people say, New York has always felt like our city. We met in South Slope when he was visiting a friend, dated long distance for three years here, and finally got married at Manhattan City Hall.

For two people who have lived in so many places, this kind of feels like the place where we belong the most. It's the place that's the most ours.

Brooklyn, New York | Second Floor Flat

Another reason our new life and apartment in Brooklyn is a big deal: it feels embarrassing to admit but it's the first time we've really, truly lived alone. A few years of transition left us sharing spaces and leases with family and as nice as that's been, it feels ridiculously overdue for us to have a place of our own.

So now, being back in Brooklyn, in our first place, it feels wonderful and adult and real. We're in a perfect little flat in a big building with crown moulding and large windows. I feel like I can hide in it but still be a part of it all. It's ours, and it's heaven.

I also started a new job which feels like a wonderful fit. I feel really, truly happy, settled, and satisfied. Maybe a little tired, but where would we be without a single complaint, right? 

So as I type this from our new fourth floor flat, I can (but really) hear the birds singing on the tree outside our fire escape. Thinking of what that tree will be in like in a few more weeks into spring, and about how I'll dangle my feet out the fire escape to tan them once summer arrives (but nothing more - safety first, folks). How I'll get to introduce my niece to my favorite city and see it through her eyes. It all makes me ridiculously happy and – perhaps better – satisfied at a true, deep level.


So that's the update. We're here in Brooklyn, and it's home. We're home, finally.

Good Reads: 19 February 2016

This weekend is all about logistics. We just secured the lease on a new apartment in Brooklyn, I'm starting a super duper exciting new job soon (more to come), and we're doing things like BB&B-ing (Broad City-style), couch buying, and finally, finally, finally getting settled. I even ordered that damn Glossier moisturizer I haven't tried but have wanted to forever, and a Tangle per a friend's recommendation to help me put my nervous hair twirling to better use.

Look out, world.

Logistics aside, I'm spending the weekend hanging with my niece, eating veggie BBQ (it exists, and it's amazing), and having a long overdue coffee/breakfast situation with some friends. Since the next weeks are busy, I'll probably be a little quieter on here though I'll certainly post when I can. Until then, you know the drill – Instagram for updates and maybekindasorta Snapchat. I'm obsessed with it but don't really know what the F I'm doing. Alas.

Anyway, before the hustle of moving into our new place begins, I wanted to share a few links for the week – hope you have a good one!

industry standard jeans, common good linen water, betsy & iya earrings, little arrow studio print

agree, agree, agree with this piece about judging women and their food habits. what women eat (and the way they talk) is their business. case closed. 

megan huntz sent over the most beautiful, delicate separates this week. can't wait to share these gorgeous pups.

this episode of fresh air was powerful, to say the least.

a great piece from last week on the power of "formation".

shoppers recall their first purchase at barneys (oddly captivating).

technically for teens, this witty, informative newsletter contains just enough pop culture news that i feel hip. diggin' clover.

i'd like to live in mansur gavriel's fall 2016 presentation.

me, talking coffee table books, on domino.

some street style inspiration for the win.

artist jordan grace owens shared her beautiful bungalow with me for clementine daily.

market starts this weekend. best of luck to all of my friends at capsule!


new additions to the design directory:

koja / leigh miller / marlow goods / vuela / agmes / fabric / nahanni arntzen