The One Where I Bought a New House


Marley and I bought an apartment. After seven months and nineteen days of open houses, insane bidding wars, weighing our options, compromising, staying up late in bed propped up on elbows figure how far into Brooklyn was too far and whether or not we needed to think “that hard” about good schools at this point; after getting so far as to having a home inspection on a gorgeous, three-story, so-cheap-it-hurt Queen Ann house that looked like a wedding cake in Newburgh, NY and then deciding after all of that that we just COULD NOT wrap our heads around leaving Brooklyn right now; after changing what we wanted since we only have one dog, and trying slowly to accept that we would probably have to leave our neighborhood… we found the perfect apartment in our neighborhood.

It’s not actually perfect. It’s incredibly small and there’s no backyard. But the windows are big, the ceilings are high, the layout is amazing, and it was in budget.

Then there were the delays. The co-op board changed who was in charge; the lawyers didn’t get it together. Four months after our offer was accepted, we closed.

Immediately, I got on a plane LIKE AN ASSHOLE. I had had this trip planned for ages and canceling was going to be flushing a LOT of money, so we signed papers, had champagne, went to sleep grinning at each other, and then I woke up and beelined to JFK.

Marley is at home now taking care of finishing up the packing and having the apartment painted while I am in Portland visiting a friend before the Canada Photo Convention in Vancouver. I’m swinging south to San Francisco, and then I’ll be home and we move in. And then the settling begins. And then wedding season begins. And we get married, too.

This is a big year.

p.s. Someone should go buy that house in Newburg. It’s really amazing.

April 18th, 2015 | posted in blah blah blah | tagged

Travel Snacks

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When I was little, I promised myself that I would occasionally let myself go to the toy store as an adult and just get anything I wanted. The obvious flaw in this plan is that I don’t care about toys now, but I modified it based on something my friend Elizabeth Clayton does: when I fly, I let myself buy whatever snacks I want. Price and calories don’t count at all, and it is super fun when you’re in Terminal 5 (this terminal is part of the reason I’m such a devoted JetBlue customer).

In reality, I never spend more than twenty dollars, which is a pretty great price for something completely thrilling. Even more so, because we generally don’t keep snacks in the house.

Above is what I got for my flight. (It was $30 because I got a sandwich.) It’s all vegan; I’m not even a vegetarian  but buying airport meat seems like such a fucking bad idea.

April 17th, 2015 | posted in blah blah blah | tagged

Shoes On, Shoes Off


I’m totally shoes-off in my house. Especially in NYC, I think it is so disgusting to wear your shoes in the house, because if you can think of a fluid that the human body excretes, I’ve seen it on the subway (and sometimes I’ve seen it actually in the process of being expelled or excreted.)

Yes, even that one.

A few years ago my foot missed its mark as I was getting on to the subway, and fell down into the gap between the car and the platform. My remaining leg stuck out behind me while the top half of my body was on the train floor. My main concern was NOT that I was now in a position to have my leg severed off mid-thigh (even though I TOTALLY WAS), it was that I was facedown on the subway floor where all manner of gross resides, in layers, and some was really close to my mouth. It’s just too vile out there.

Is it over the top to request shoes be left outside? Some people have thought so, but it really makes me sick to my stomach to think about what you’re otherwise bringing in to my living room. The dog and her muddy paws are bad enough.

Are you a shoes OK or shoes off house? Does it annoy you to take your shoes off at a friends house? Are you a friend who is annoyed at me for having to take your shoes off?! (I don’t actually plan on letting you wear your germ-boots into my house, but I’m curious, and I’m sorry. I mean, not so sorry you can bring human shit onto my kitchen floor, but still sorry.)

April 1st, 2015 | posted in blah blah blah | tagged

Conversations on the Subway with Other Women, Which We Have Using Only Our Eyes


“You ok…?”

“No. This guy is creeping me out. I think he is trying to touch me.”

“I’ll come over.”

“Thank you.”

March 25th, 2015 | posted in bits,only in new york | tagged

Tim Gunn and I Marvel at Our Place in the World

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On Sunday, Marley and I drove upstate and then came home in the same day, just as the sun was setting and hitting the skyline of Manhattan in rose-gold light. The deep velvet blue sky was in the back, and I got washed over with joy. Marley was driving; I poked him to look quickly while wiping tears off of my chin.

I live here. This city is my home.

Holy shit.

Back at my apartment I read my favorite parts of the Times. Tim Gunn – one of the people I aspire to be like as I grow older; I haven’t met him, but the kindness he exudes is so obviously genuine anyway –  talked about his Sunday rituals which involve a trip to the Met. He’s been a member since 1985. (In 1985 he was my age.)

This quote from him stood out:

I’m particularly struck by it on Sundays: How lucky am I to live here, how lucky am I to be in this fantastic city filled with riches, how lucky am I to have this surreal life? I’m just blessed, and I’m very cognizant of it.

Me too, Mr. Gunn.

A Trilogy of Elevens or The Best Thing I’ve Learned in 33 Years of Living


There are Amber Hope Marlow people and not Amber Hope Marlow people, and I’ve learned to accept this. Business has taught me this, mostly, but it translates to real life, too. I don’t care about what the non-AHM people think of me, but I press the advice, support and wisdom of the Me-People into myself and try to support them in return. It’s made for a pretty good life thus far.

The Amber Hope Marlow people also get invited to have cake on my birthday.

High Dive in Brooklyn, 6pm.

March 13th, 2015 | posted in bits | tagged

Or A Lesbian Sex Move?

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Him: Dinner was awesome. You make good Mexican. You’re like… the taco whisper.

Me: …

Him: … Nope. I heard it. Sorry.

March 12th, 2015 | posted in bits | tagged



My grandmother asked me a few months ago about whether or not I planned to invite my mother to my upcoming wedding. The words came out sounding not quite like her own, and I finally asked if she had been put up to this. It seemed rehearsed, and felt unusual that she was asking a question she already knew the answer to. She admitted she’d been put up to it (worst. liar. ever.) and I felt so bad for her.

“Of course you know I’m not.” I said, and she nodded and looked sad.

It’s been over seven years since I’ve voluntarily spoken to my mother, and just short of that since I worked through it and made peace with it. I’ve been at peace for so long, in fact, that I usually forget she’s there, and that my grandmother – who is old, and sweet, and who brings out the softest part of me – still is kind of caught in the middle of it. She asked, “Don’t you worry about not having enough family there?”

I thought about all of my same-sex clients who eloped to New York City with a limo full of friends, telling me how their parents don’t support them in their love and yet supported anyway by their self-selected families. I thought about all of the friends I’ve made coming to New York, and how I like to throw myself birthday parties at home because then people flood my living room and it makes me feel like a millionaire to have that many friends swirling around me.

Katie and I had dinner the other night, and the topic of a bachelorette party came up. “No, no. No fuss.” I said, and she gave me the “you know better” look. I do know better. They love me. They are family, and they want to do this. (The line was drawn at giant inflatable blow-up penis, though.)

I’m going to have lots of family at my wedding. They’re not related by blood, but they’re family. Marley is family.

I’m so thankful.

February 20th, 2015 | posted in blah blah blah |

By the Power Vested in Me, on Valentines Day

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Aimee and Becca eloped over a year ago in Hawaii, a mere two months before the state got marriage equality. With a baby girl on the way, they decided it was time to make it legal. A small group gathered around them in a bar in Brooklyn on Valentine’s Day, and while snow swirled around outside – a far cry from a beach in Kauai - I stood up on a bar stool and legally declared them married. I hadn’t met them before, but they were friends of Jesse and Johanna, so I knew they had to be excellent, and they are.

No one is more of a grumpus about Valentine’s than I am. It makes single people sad and puts lots of pressure on couples to have the BEST DAY EVER. Not my thing, but this was absolutely perfect. I love love. I love marriage. I really love babies. I’m also a big fan of pizza and beer, and now, Aimee and Becca, too.

Congratulations, ladies. I am over the moon excited for you.

p.s. Their “wifey” tee shirts are from Forever 21, and I might need one.

February 15th, 2015 | posted in Amber's Brooklyn,blah blah blah | tagged

Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter Sandwiches

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This is my shopping bag on the bus with the box open. They were sticking out of the top of my bag, practically begging to be eaten.

I never buy packaged snacks because they turn into an Actual Problem for me, but the Trader Joe’s cookie butter sandwich cookies seemed fucking delicious – and they were. They remained sealed through checkout, but on the bus I couldn’t help crack them open.

My god.

I’m not a sugar person; my downfall is more the “butter croissants, cheese plates, and french fries” type of thing, so that these had me damn near testifying like a street preacher is about as ringing an endorsement as you can get. The entire B63 downtown bus was eyeballing me, too, and I would have shared, except that would have made me the weird lady passing out cookies on the bus, and this is still New York City.

Go get some.

February 4th, 2015 | posted in blah blah blah,good things | tagged