Music & Love. Love & Music.

Okay sorry.

I’m apologizing because I wrote a similar post about this, but I think the topic is worth revisiting.

I am someone for whom music infiltrates my inner being. I listen to music on the way to work & on the way home. I listen to music at my desk at work, when I’m perusing the aisles of Target on the weekends. I listen to music as I’m falling asleep, or on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I scrub the bathtub. Music is me. And that’s why I love it.

So I think it goes without saying that music plays a huge role in my relationships. I bring my tastes to the table and I am eager to welcome my man’s as well. I think music says so much about a person, especially if they can switch from rock to blues to neo-soul in a playlist and not skip a beat.

It’s perhaps also something that makes me feel entitled (sorry not sorry). I went on a date with a man who claimed he was in to abstract artists and that my claim of the same relating to music really piqued his interest. When he asked me to rattle off a few names (Fleet Foxes, Erykah Badu, Arcade Fire, Quadron, Vampire Weekend, Sixto, & Beyonce for a start) he blinked at me with extreme confusion and admitted to only really being familiar with Queen Bey and her sister (“what’s that girl’s name? The one with the kid?” Man, bye.)

It’s also something that can be painful. After Asif* I simply could not listen to Thievery Corporation. If I heard the familiar start of The Cosmic Game I would immediately change the song, exit the room, or start up raucous conversation to drown out the music that tied so closely to the memory of him. After Julian* I couldn’t listen to Drake for a full year. The man was obsessed with Drake – it was the only thing he brought to our (turn)table of love (I should have known we were doomed from the start of Houstatlantavegas). Shortly after the second (or third?) time we ended it, I found myself out to drinks with friends, there the bar played the full So Far Gone album from start to finish. I was instantly thankful for my girl Lauren, who encouraged us all to talk LOUDLY over the album until we had managed to raise the general volume of the bar to a level that was likely intolerable for the bartender, but just perfect for my heartbroken ears.

Most recently, with my last great love, Kev*, I really embraced my love for more “alternative” music. Why listen to Drake when there’s so much of The Black Keys to be had? When he departed from my life in the most painful of ways, he unfortunately took some of those great artists with him because my heart just couldn’t bear to hear the music we listened to while tangled in bed watching the rain pour down my window on one of those particularly lazy Sunday afternoons.

Something different happened this time around. While our ending may have been catastrophic, Kev and I had forged one of the healthiest, happiest, most amazing relationships I’d ever been in. Perhaps it’s with that knowledge that my heart is starting to heal a bit faster, and my ears are able to better tolerate the sounds of the songs we used to listen to into the wee hours of the night.

Am I the only one for which music plays such a huge role for in relationships and life? I’d love to hear thoughts too.

 

*Names have been changed to protect those that have exhausted the lengths to which my heart could deal with their foolishness.

Chicken soup for the polar vortex (or soul, whichever)

It’s straight up winter, y’all. That means it’s going to snow, you’re going to hear the term “polar vortex” way more than you’d like, you’re going to get the sniffles and a sore throat, and you’re going to want something cozy and comforting to gobble up.

The cozy and comforting thing is most important, and is also what I loved most about this homemade chicken soup recipe. Adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s website, I made this to help ease a cold. Plus, I’d just come back from visiting family and wanted something that tasted like home too. This definitely fit the bill.

I have to admit, I haven’t always been a fan of chicken soup. It has a lot to do with hating those hopeless middle school bowls of the soup with the awful goopy noodles that never keep their shape growing up (who knew that middle school cafeteria lunch would help me become the food snob I am today). But this homemade version (with no noodles!) is just the cat’s pajamas.

Chicken soup, soup, chicken and rice soup, polar vortex, cold, storm, chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 chicken thighs & 3 chicken drumsticks (love me some dark meat), bone in
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • Equal parts all natural, unsalted chicken broth (I used Kitchen Basics) & water. I used approximately 1/2 cup of each
  • 1 large whole onion
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 6 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • Salt, pepper & parsley to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Place all ingredients except for the rice into a pot (like my beloved Le Creuset). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low & let simmer. Cover & let those amazing flavors come together for 1 1/2 – 2 hours (extra low & extra slow). When chicken is done, set aside, remove all bones, pull apart meat, & then add back into soup. Add rice & cook until done. Serve in your favorite bowl (mine is from Anthropologie).

Feel like getting even fancier? Throw a little avocado on top (I put that shit on everything).

Enjoy!

Thoughts on moving on and getting over it

Break up, alone, cityscape, beautiful view, heartbreak, love

Break ups are horrible – they hurt and hurt until you don’t think you can hurt anymore… and then they hurt again. And what’s worse? The pressure to “get over it” – to forget someone you hoped was a forever love and to move on.

I don’t believe in any formulas that nicely tell you how long you’re allows to mourn the death of a relationship. There’s no wrapping it up nicely in a bow, as seen on Sex and the City where Charlotte York claims it takes “half the amount of time you were in a relationship to get over an ex”. In fact, I’m not sure I believe in the concept of “over it” at all. I do, however, believe in time.

Time will (amazingly) lessen the pain and with each glance in the rear view mirror, your previous love will become less and less visible until all you have left is the memory of someone who rocked you to your core. You’ll come to accept the hardships as the reason why you broke up – your own form of closure. Dating again won’t feel like shock therapy (as it does for me right now), but it’ll become exciting and fun, as often is the feeling of embarking on a new experience. You’ll also be able to embrace what you learned about yourself and the vulnerability you unearthed when learning the various ways to say, show, and accept love.

Time does that – time is a hell of a drug.

2014, y’all.

Christmas, Holiday, New Year, Christmas Cards, Target, Allen Farm, Martha's Vineyard, Stamps

I’m fully surprised that I am writing this during the second week of 2014. Somehow, Christmas and the New Year came and went very quickly…  as did I, traveling from NYC to Weston and back to NYC all before the ball dropped and we were all given a fresh start at a new calendar year. I suppose time moves that way… faster than we ever expect or are prepared for.

I learned quite a bit between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And while I’m celebrating a resolution-less year (because I refuse to put together a stressful list of unattainable goals), here are the things that are informing my 2014:

  • Listen to your body – if it’s crying for help, act on it quickly and swiftly (plus, it’ll allow you to avoid a 5-day trip to the hospital) – because YOLO.
  • Nothing heals a broken heart quicker than a broken body in the ICU. Put things in perspective and you’ll heal faster than you ever imagined.
  • Don’t settle. Not ever.
  • You are one of the lucky few to know your passion – how stupid would you be to deny yourself the happiness of working towards a life filled with that kind of joy? So, you will write, daily. Even if it only gets saved on your laptop or in a note on your iPhone. Write every damn day
  • Find a balance between life & work – because YOLO.
  • Smile. Sure, you smile a lot already but don’t stop. Smile more.
  • Reconnect with family and friends. While work is exciting and your city is fun, don’t forget that loved ones trump everything.
  • Don’t forget the small things (like getting a manicure and a massage). Pampering is worth every penny because you work really damn hard.
  • Eat clean, work out, but don’t forget to indulge once in a while – because YOLO.

Here’s to 2014: resolution-less and excited. What about you – did you set a resolution (or 5), or are you resolution free?

xo, Maiah

Thankful.

Thanksgiving (for me) in previous years was about a glutinous meal with too much wine and pie and lazing around and prepping my shopping list for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It wasn’t always about being thankful for life or family or employment and blessings. 

This year, my holiday weekend was spent eating a turkey dinner from a hospital cafeteria with my parents by my side in the ICU as I battled the scariest health trauma I’ve dealt with so far. Black Friday and Cyber Monday came and went, as did the five days I was in the hospital, praying for the “small things” I often take for granted like fresh air, or my health or the ability to remove my heart monitor so I could feel the patter of a warm shower on my chest. I was admitted on Wednesday evening and discharged on Monday evening with two prescriptions that were more than just medication but hopefully a ticket to a full recovery.

So this year, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for family and friends and warm wishes for a quick recovery. I’m thankful for amazing doctors that pulled the weekend shift (sorry about your thanksgivings, but not sorry you helped save me). I’m thankful to be alive (not just healthy). I’m thankful.

I’m debating creating a space to share my health developments outside of Maiah, Unedited. Stay tuned for a link. xo

Proceed with caution. Or don’t.

I often refuse to skip or run and watch my step very closely on the sidewalk, especially when it’s cold and there’s black ice to slip on. When you fall as a child it’s easier to get back up because you don’t fall too far and Mom or Dad always have your back (or the back of your shirt to help you get up). When you fall as an adult, you must check every surface for bruising yourself because Mom or Dad are in another city. Then you go to the doctor to double-check you didn’t injure yourself in a hidden place only visible by x-ray or a doctor’s kind hands. You check for injuries in a place you can’t see, like your ribs or a hairline ankle fracture or even your heart.

Love Me, Curtis Kulig, JCrew, iPhone, Lips

To self-protect, especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to use caution around certain situations and people and places and things. Well, that is until I did everything I was scared of for love, including skipping and running and falling and getting back up. I loved. Not just loved but loved. Greatly – and it set me free and turned me inside out and upside down like a rag doll. It opened me up to lessons and changes and a whole lot of self-revelation. It also made me vulnerable to real feelings because relationships are hard and sometimes you hurt the people you love and the ones that love you hurt you back. I carry tissues in my purse just in case the wounds re-open and my tears run as freely as my love. You’re not a true New York woman until you’ve cried on the train.

But… It feels good to love with abandon and to run and skip and hop and fall and realize you can get back up and try again. And it takes practice to aggressively love after skinned knees and cracked ribs. You have to learn to stretch your muscles after a workout including your heart, the muscle that keeps us alive (love keeps us alive).

So love on, my friends. Love on.

Movies for a Good Cry

I don’t know about you but I love a good cry. Helps get things moving in the sinuses, you know? I’ve always been a little weepy – so much so that my Father stands by the line “Maiah’s a sensitive chick”. Touching moments usually lead to tears, especially when they are least expected, certain television shows end in me letting out quiet sobs at the close of each hour. While it’s quite disarming for some, (sorry roommate), others are envious (like my college friend who got drunk off shots of 99 Bananas chased with Pixie Stix in an effort to loosen up her tears).

Either way, I choose to embrace that I am, indeed, a “sensitive chick” and sometimes you just need a good cry. Here’s a list of 5 beautifully touching and sob-inducing movies or TV shows to help you “loosen up your tears”:

LOVE, ACTUALLY
I love love. So naturally I love this movie. It’s perfect for the holidays, or if you just want to enjoy a little (yup, you guessed it:) love. It’s a feel good romantic comedy that brings me to tears every time that boy holds up that damn “to me, you are perfect” sign. What’s worse? When Emma Thompson realizes her husband’s infidelities – sob.
Love Actually, To Me You Are Perfect, Tearjerker, Sob, Crying, Love

PARENTHOOD
I know I say this a lot, but Parenthood is easily one of the best shows on television right now. The acting is unparalleled and the writers set up story lines that are a bit too close to home when it comes to family and life. It’s both uncomfortable and relatable, and for me, most episodes lead to tears (of either sadness or joy).

Parenthood, Bravermans, Joy Bryant, Dax Shepard, Tearjerker, Crying, Sob, NBC

BEACHES
I saw this movie because of my friend, Allison, who also loves to cry (hey, ghurl). It’s a touching story of a lifelong friendship and of heartbreaking loss. It takes you on a journey you’re preparing for, but still aren’t quite able to cope with at the end. In fact, the only thing you really should be prepared for is to ask your friend to pass the tissues when Bette Midler starts singing “Wind Beneath My Wings”.

Bette Midler, Beaches, Tearjerker, Crying, Sob, Death

MARLEY & ME
If you have ever loved and lost a dog then this movie will rock you to your core and force you to ugly cry to a level you are personally embarrassed about. But you’ll feel great after, I promise.
Marley & Me, Dog, Tearjerker, Cry, Sob, Movies,

THE FAMILY STONE
One of my favorite holiday movies, The Family Stone builds you up to laugh and laugh and laugh, until you’re suddenly crying tears of loss about a family that became yours during the span of this film.

The Family Stone, Diane Keaton, Cancer, Family, Crying, Sob, Tearjerker, Christmas

UP
This animated Pixar film accosts your emotions right in the beginning through the love story of Carl & Ellie. It totally blindsides you, but you can’t help but watch it (and cry) again and again.
Up, Carl & Ellie, Romance, Love, Death, Tearjerker, Sob, Cry

GREY’S ANATOMY
I’m not entirely sure what it is about Grey’s Anatomy, but I imagine that my inability to NOT cry at the end of every episode has something to do with why it’s still on the air 10 seasons later. AmIright?
Grey's Anatomy, Denny, Izzie, Death, Tearjerker, Crying, Sob,

Tell me, what movies or TV shows did I miss for a good cry?

On Passion with Xpressions by ML

I’m in the living room of the one-bedroom apartment Margaret of Xpressions by ML shares with her husband, Will. We’re by our group of girlfriends, some in the kitchen making snacks for our afternoon together, others (me) on the couch pretending to “help” by eating said snacks to make room for more.

On every surface lies earringsother accessories, and all the tools needed to create something beautiful – her line is having tremendous success. It was on the floor of her cozy home that she gave me an in-depth look at her side hustle, and dropped a few incredible gems of knowledge so brilliant that I just had to share a few minutes with my friend, Margaret, the designer.

Xpressions by ML, Baubles, Jewels, Jewelry, Ear Cuffs, Accessories, Gold, Fashion, Style

On her passion project
Xpressions by ML is a fashion forward, handmade, earring and accessory line that is on trend, high quality and affordable. Xpressions by ML is accessible – the everywoman’s brand.

On staying motivated
This is what I was meant to do. I know these first few years will a lot of hard work but I am making a dream come true. It’s worth every minute.

Xpressions by ML, Baubles, Jewelry, Fall Jewelry, Style, Fashion, Earrings, Gems

On focus
I made my first piece of jewelry 6 years ago. My friends liked my work and I enjoyed the work so I decided to make it a business. I was doing too much and the quality was not as high as I wanted. It was a total failure and just horrible. I took a break, and decided to focus on making one thing the best it could be. I took classes at FIT (of Project Runway fame) and since then I can proudly say that every day I grow stronger at making earrings and hair pieces.

Xpressions by ML, Jewelry, Designer, Style, Fashion, Baubles, Earrings, Beauty

On advice to her younger self
Oh my god, I was so stupid when I was young (she says with a smile. In the photo to the left, she wears handmade earrings to her August wedding. A wedding collection would do well here). I honestly wish I would have just believed in myself more. I’m still not the most confident, but I’ve come a long way: from pretending to find jewelry on the ground to selling it successfully to multiple clients. But that’s something I had to learn – we all have to go through stuff to learn.

On success
I was so scared when the sales started to come in. I was panicked at how I could keep up with them while working a 9-5. I’m happy to say that I’ve never turned down an order, not yet. I have nearly 10 boutique clients (from NYC to Georgia) selling my items in stores and online. I’ve appeared at Brooklyn Fashion Week and most recently at Uptown Fashion Week. Earlier this year, a new & upcoming MTV artist wore my earring designs on the 2013 Grammy red carpet. Plus, I have items for individual sale on my website. I truly believe God has blessed me tremendously and I want to give him a shout out.

For more information on Xpressions by ML, follow Margaret on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or visit her website.

The Non-New Yorker’s Guide to Autumn in NYC

I am someone that declares a love for each new season passionately. Winter is cozy and comforting, springtime is hopeful and new, summer is raunchy and exciting, and autumn… well damn. Autumn’s just perfect. I’d heard New Yorkers declare “autumn in New York” as the ultimate in season/city combinations, but in experiencing it myself, I think it’s even better as a someone who isn’t a native.

There are a number of reasons why, five of which I’ve outlined below but all start with this: growing up in the suburbs means I have a license and can drive to some of these great destinations. Don’t have a license? No sweat, my friend Dushane got one in 2 weeks and then tore up the streets of LA. If he can do it, anyone can. Still not convinced? Then get real creative with public transportation, my friend.
storm king art center, explore, travel, ny, design, art, getaway

So, without further ado, here’s a list of amazing places to visit in and around New York when the seasons change from hot to cool and the leaves set the trees afire with color:

GANTRY STATE PARK
While it’s still tolerable to be outside, the best place to be is in a park, any park, but especially Gantry State Park in Long Island City while the sun is setting over Manhattan. It’s the home of the Pepsi Cola sign that lights up my favorite late night drive home from an event. In the summer time, it’s nearly impossible to find a place to spread out a fall blanket, but when the seasons change and people rush to get home before dark, this place is perfect.
Gantry State Park, 4-09 47th Rd, Long Island City, NY 11101

STORM KING ART CENTER
I found my way to Storm King this spring with My Honey. We totally lost our cool, getting quickly winded trying to run up close to sculptures or dodge bees. We barely scratched the surface with so much to see and only an afternoon on foot to see it. We’ve vowed to go again and fall seems the perfect time to do so. We’ll likely splurge on the trolly tour to see as much as possible, and I’ll consider sneaking a flask of something fun for a little surprise.
Storm King Art Center, 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY 12553

QUEENS COUNTY FARM
I found out about Queens County Farm in September, right when the air starts to change and you’re able to wear your boots guilt-free. We went for a classic Motorcycle show and realized this place has so much to offer. Always wanted to explore a Maize Maze? Cause I have and this place has one!
Queens County Farm, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks, NY 11004

BROOKLYN FLEA
Nothing says love like shopping, good company, and incredible food. With a myriad of vendors to choose from, you’ll find anything from jewelry to vintage records to furniture in the shops. When it comes time to eat, my booth of choice is Red Hook Lobster Pound for the best lobster roll in NYC. Sure, visiting the Brooklyn Flea year round is fun, but there’s something even more magical about it when the market moves inside to One Hanson Place.
Brooklyn Flea, visit website for locations

ATLANTIC CITY
A company retreat last year brought me to Revel in Atlantic City. This is a perfect city escape when you want to indulge yourself completely. The hotel is stunning and practically a city itself (you could never leave the grounds and hardly miss fresh air). With a casino, spa, and restaurants inside, what more could a girl ask for in a weekend getaway?
Revel Casino & Hotel, 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Twenty-Eight

Happy Birthday, Birthday, Cupcakes, 28, Celebrate

This month I turned 28.

Born on September 11th, my birthday is somewhat marred by people twisting their faces when I tell them it’s when I was born. I’ve learned to take it in stride, of course, and always give 9/11/01 the focus it deserves. I also choose to celebrate life on this day: the lives of those affected, and mine because I am lucky to have it.

This year’s birthday taught me one very important thing: I am blessed.

At 28, I have come into my own in a way I’d never expected. I am happy (stupidly). I am in love (madly). I am spoiled by friends and family (overwhelmingly).

On my actual birthday, my boyfriend took me to a favorite place of ours, which he proudly proclaimed “our spot“. We ate by candlelight in the center table in the window of this restaurant while I basked in his smile. I couldn’t have asked for more. That weekend, I enjoyed beers by the water with friends (+ our other halves). Laughter was accompanied by surprise cupcakes lit aflame with far too many candles (is that what old age looks like?) while I gasped at the spectacle. Lucky me, really.

So, in embracing routines, I am making a new list of birthday goals (because birthdays are our personal New Years – a chance to start fresh and try something new). Here’s my list for 28:

Stay Connected
This was my first goal last year as well. I think it is forever pertinent because I don’t think you can ever be too connected to old friends and family members. Be it by mail, phone, twitter, Instagram, I plan to make every effort to stay connected.

Love
Fully & with my entire being.

Plan For The Future
There is a house on my block that was for sale 3 years ago. It’s since sold, but every time I walk past this gorgeous free-standing home in Astoria, I envision a future life with a yard to groom, a car to wash in the driveway, a dog to walk, and a porch to read on with my love. I certainly won’t have reached these goals by next September, but I can at least take baby steps towards them.

Read and Write
I made my college career off of those two things. They meant the world to me then, and they still do now. This year, I want to try to complete my first manuscript. And I want to read as many books as possible for inspiration.

Xo