My fourth and final name is officially inked as of a few weeks ago, and now it is a flurry of going to social security offices, the DMV, having a new passport made, and getting all new credit cards, billing accounts, and bank checks. Your name goes on a lot of stuff. I have to change my name on everything. It doesn’t end. Still; it’s worth it; I’m really happy and excited to be Amber Marlow. (In a game-day decision, my middle name, “Hope” is going to be non-legal for the sake of simplicity.)
There is a lot of rearranging, construction, and upheaval going on in my life that has been difficult to talk about because it’s being lived, and I am keenly aware that, currently, I can’t see see the forest for the trees. It’s overwhelming, and I haven’t quite got both hands around everything yet, but being legally Amber Marlow is one of the final shiny nails into my new, post-divorce life. The weather finally got warm, too, and it’s been helpful in getting productive.
“My life is actually pretty good,” I told my therapist. “Every day I feel lucky to be alive, well-employed and surrounded by friends. Saying this is hard sometimes feels wrong because it’s awesome, too but really, it’s hard right now.”
“Your life shattered.” she said. “You get to acknowledge that rebuilding is challenging.”
So this is me acknowledging that it’s challenging, still. It is hard, joyful work. I feel good.
Dress United is a company that prints custom tee shirts and sweatshirts; they wanted to work with me on a sponsored blog post and offered to send me a custom design.
“Cool!”, I thought. “I can get some funny saying on a tee shirt.”
Then I remembered I’m 31. Also, no one needs to read my boobs.
Since their offer coincided to the week with my legal name change, and they offer hoodies, too, I got one monogrammed with my new initials. It good for when I’m
jogging snuggling on the couch watching movies. They also offer unisex tees, women’s tees, and hoodies in darker colors that would normally be more my speed, but the green felt like the more fun choice.
I gave it a workout at Prospect Park yesterday, where I blew off half a day’s worth of work to kick a soccer ball around in the glorious weather with Tris, who snapped these photos. Now I kind of want to start a twee hipster soccer league, especially since 1. he taught me how to kick the ball properly: NOT with your toes! and 2. I already have the tee shirt company to make our uniforms.
Should we be the Organic Free-Rangers or the Craft Brewers?
“I don’t know what to do in front of a camera; behind it is where I belong. What should I do?”
“I don’t know… make a duck call?”
One of the tricky parts of my new life as a single lady is navigating all of my tech stuff by myself. Between Tracy, Gavin and Jesse I’m mostly covered (you guys are the best) but I had had to find a new host for this blog when I got separated (we had a private family hosting account that I opted out of using post-divorce.)
They are also available if I need anything answered, which is almost as good as requesting design changes over dinner, and have kindly endured no fewer than a dozen silly questions, poorly-worded requests, and minor blog-related panic attacks from me in the past few months. And I’m not even sleeping with them.
This is not a sponsored post; this is a love note to a company that I really enjoy working with. Thank you for all the little things you’ve done “on the house”, the eleventy-billion times you’ve explained FTP to me (sorry, I still only kind of get it), and for making this aspect of my mega-watt life transition a little easier.
They do beautiful design work, too, and if you are in need of a new website, send them a note.
I stand around like this all the time, don’t you?
At a clothing swap months ago, someone brought a vintage wool coat with a mink collar. It was tossed aside for most of the swap, and the woman who brought it scooped it up after a few hours and handed it to me.
“This,” she said, “will be gorgeous on you.” When I tried it on, all of the other ladies in attendance agreed it suited me well.
I hesitated, though. Fur? I’ve never worn it, and would never buy it.
There’s the decades old joke about people picking on fur more than leather only because it’s easier to pick on rich ladies than biker dudes, but the fact remains that mink raises an eyebrow where my leather purse does not, especially in hip, liberal Brooklyn. (I generally avoid leather, too, but made an exception for my rib & hull heirloom tote purse, pictured above, after three faux leather purses in a row fell apart on me.)
When I asked for opinions on Facebook, my friends – including my thoughtful, vegan, animal-skin avoiding friend Kim – said wear it, and so I am, but with some hesitation still. I will certainly avoid wearing it around clients to avoid being offensive. It’s fabulous, though, and makes me feel like I’m channeling Margot Tenebaum! In other words, there are a lot of mixed feelings.
Do you or would you wear vintage fur if someone gave it to you for free? Would you buy it? Is new fur still taboo?
p.s. Aren’t my half-gloves amazing? They were a gift from Lindsey, an elopement client of mine who knit them for me. They are perfect for operating a camera in the cold.
photos by Lydia Phillips Royce
It’s an artsy-girly iPhone case that will look pretty getting reflected in the mirror of her Instagram self-portraits. (Trust me, I am not making fun of anyone with that example.)
After Valentines Day soup dumplings, head home for tea and a bourbon ginger pecan pie, baked by Brooklyn cuties Keavy Blueher and Allison Kave, collectively known as Butter & Scotch. You should skip the plates and eat it with two forks while snugged up on the couch. (Keavy and Allsion, I can’t wait until your brick-and-mortar location opens this spring!)
A Cat’s Life by Gemma Correll, $14
Quirky cartoonist Gemma Correll is beloved for her dry, off-beat humor. She understands why your hipster girlfriend ends up in empty rooms at parties, petting cats like “a drunken Snow White“. This book is delightful.
She can pack for a fun weekend getaway in this adorable, campy-and-classic backpack. Note: also include plans for a weekend getaway to somewhere woodsy.
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl
Give her this print, hand lettered by my friend and constant inspiration Lisa Congdon, as a reminder that you love her for her inner beauty, too.
Mineral Magnet Set, $36
A rad set of mineral magnets to jazz up the crummy fridge in her fourth floor walk-up apartment. Bonus points if you include a card that says, “you rock!”
I will be here all week, you guys.
Just the thing for adding a tiny bit of sparkle without a lot of fuss. Both Patrice and I wear earrings from this company; hers are teeny lighting bolts, and mine are these very ovals. I got them at Old Hollywood in the Lower East Side in Manhattan (there’s also a location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), and you can order from the website (link above) or check out the we see stars website for other styles.
Mini Wooden Speaker, $32
A pretty little wooden speaker that attaches to her iPhone easily, for gettin’ it on to the indie-artist heavy sexy playlist for Valentines Day.
p.s. More gifts for your hipster girlfriend.
There was a concern – actually, it was an assumption I’d resigned myself to – that this would be the worst Christmas ever, but it wasn’t. To tell the truth, it was probably among the best. I got to spend it with Jen and her family, and felt so loved. When it comes to dear friends, I win.
Here’s the dress that I wore on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, courtesy of Lands’ End who sent it over a few weeks ago. When they told me I could pick any color I wanted, the festive red was a no-brainer for me. (Thanks, Jen, for taking the photo!) This neckline is begging for a fabulous necklace, but I was SO TIRED by this point of the day that I decided to “style” it with bare feet and a glass of Prosecco. The “OMG it’s Christmas Eve!” doesn’t go away at age 30, apparently, and I barely slept.
Did Santa bring you anything good?
Backlit screens (like the iPad and the Kindle Fire) can be hard to read, but a normal Kindle can’t be read in the dark. This illuminated screen combines the best of both worlds, plus it increases the contrast and pixels since the last model, making this the best Kindle yet. I tried one and was instantly smitten. For everyone!
Kindle Paperwhite, $139
Vivian Maier was a nanny in Chicago and street photographer, but her photography only began receiving critical acclaim after her death in 2009. Now she is now recognized as one of the great photographers of our time. I think it’s sad she never knew what an inspiration she was! For the aspiring street photographer. photo
Bill Zeman draws pictures based on his three year old daughter Rosie’s art direction. Hilarious and adorable! For the artistic parent of a toddler.
Tiny Art Director, $12
Photos and writings from America’s coolest punk traveler reveals his time in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and other places. For the fan who is obsessed.
Great faces of dogs diving, swimming and fetching under water. For the dog lover.
Underwater Dogs, $11
Gretchen Rubin’s second book about being happy. This time, she’s talking about creating a home that makes you feel energized, content, and able to create. For the person who needs inspiration. photo
Happier at Home, $15
This party game is like Apples to Apples, but way dirtier. It says it right on the box: for horrible people. (Here are some of my horrible friends playing in my living room.)
Luisa Weiss left New York and moved to Berlin to begin a new life and a fresh start. For my dear friend, who is about to do just that. photo
It really wouldn’t be a gift guide written by The Amber Show without a Miranda July book. For your Hipster Girlfriend.
Yes to this reasonably priced luxury scarf from the middle-man eliminating online retailer Frank & Oak. It’s for gentlemen, but I would totally rock this.
Citizen Wool Scarf, $30
I can’t believe I’m old enough to have a favorite product for over a decade, but here it is. I’ve owned dozens of pairs of these since high school, washing each multiple times over several years until they get turned into charming plaid dust rags.
2007′s advent of consumer touchscreens brought about the popularity of these gloves.
When I’m editing photos, Matty lays under my desk, and I like to shove my feet under him to keep them warm. It’s always so disappointing when he decides to get up.
Lodge moccasins, $40
On Robyn’s Life List is to make 10,000 hats in her lifetime. $5 of the sale of each goes to charity:water, and boy are they cute. So is Robyn!
Hadly hats, $24
Pretty stacking rings you can rock all together or individually, made by a very excellent lady.
Not to brag, but I’m something of a hoodie connoisseur. This is my favorite reasonably priced hoodie ever. (You will look happier than this model does when you are wearing it. Promise.)
Earlier this year I was at a private Ben Folds Five concert, which I totally meant to blog about and didn’t, but really all you need to know was he was all, “Hi, I’m Ben.” and shook my hand like I haven’t spent the entire second half of my existence (omg) being a huge fan, and then he played Brick while I was about six feet away from him and I looked at Katie and kind of lost it and crumpled into her arms while she patted my hair and laughed at me. ANYway, Rod Thomas was there, too, and I complimented him on his pink Chucks, and now we need a clean up on aisle five from all the names I just dropped.
low top pink Chucks, $50
New York City eats things; I lost my favorite black cardigan this year in Otto’s Shrunken Head, which is NYC’s best Tiki Bar.
Merino Crew Cardigan, $45
On ladies night out, all of my friends – from the blondes to the black gals – raid my purse because they know this lip color is in there. It looks good on all of us.
Lands’ End gave these to Camp Mighty attendees, and I love mine. It goes everywhere (except fancy dinners.) photo from JetKat
Medium Colored Open Top Tote Bag, $32.50
Made of recycled rice bags, and the money from the sale of this goes to survivors of sex-trafficking in India and Cambodia. Good if you, like me, have a teeny bathroom, and no where to hide the makeup bag.
Fruit Cosmetic Case, $25
It’s… stuff. Like clay, that you use to put on stuff to protect it… um… just watch the video, and then you will realize you do actually need this.
Sugru, $18 – $20
This is simple, functional, good looking, and will last a long time.
Continental zip wallet, $128
This is the blanket to get if you need one. Snug and cute!
Stripety flannel sheet goodness at an insanely low price. Yes.
Flannel Sheet Set, $25
Drying the dishes is a tiny bit less miserable of a chore with these cheery dishcloths. I can vouch for these; they last for-EVVVVVVER.
Williams-Sonoma Contrast Stripe Dishcloths, Set of 4, $10
I’m a life long Yankee, but these sweet tea glasses are charming!
Instead of using boring clear tape to stick your lunch bag closed or pin up a love note, you can use this happy tape instead. I love this for a stocking stuffer!
Happy Tape, $3.50 – $4.50 each
When the Talking Heads start singing, “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco…” you can point to your ceiling and go, “Fuck yes it is.”
Disco ball, $30
I really, really want this red bike.
The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs leaves these pull-over robes in their guest rooms; they are also for sale. Here I am modeling one (thanks to Nicole for the photo). I wandered around with it over my swim suit, offering fellow guests loaves and fishes and promising to walk across the pool right before turning it into a vat of merlot.
Pullover Robe, $130
It’s perfectly holiday, grown-up glittery.
My belief is that special gifts should be lavish. That means if you only have ten dollars, you buy a ten dollar chocolate bar.
Compartes chocolate bars, $10 each
I had a Liz Lemon moment recently in which I unrolled my old yoga mat after way too long and a spider crawled out.
Bacon-flavored olive oil. I am done here.
Bacon olive oil, $16
How many times have I read Matilda by Roald Dahl? I’ve lost count.
Matilda mug, £8
Simpli Stamped is a handmade jewelry company founded in Connecticut by Amber Saffo, who helped me celebrate my new middle name by making me this rad necklace. Fun story: when it came in the mail addressed to Amber Hope Marlow it was the first time I’d seen my new name in print!
She would also like to make something for a reader, so check out her website and leave a comment on this post to win an item from her store (up to $55).
I’ll pick a random winner on Friday, and heads up for ordering for gifts, it’s about a two week turn around time.
You can pick from her pre-made things or have something custom-made, like I did. Congratulations to Patrice for winning!
What word or phrase would you get on a necklace?
photo of me by Gavin – thanks friend!