The Amber Show

blah blah blah pieces of my memoir


Currently mulling on the particular challenge of wrapping your arms around an enormous pain. Everything is foggy.

My therapist told me to accept the fog, and do something creative.

“Maybe you can cross stitch, or knit.” (My therapist is an older white lady, and she’s wonderful, but I’m not cross stitching shit.)

I started off small and got a hilarious audio book, then cleaned out our kitchen cabinets, storage areas, closets, medicine drawers, and coffee table. Creative, productive. Given my line of work, they’re often the same thing. Does it count as creative that I just brought four huge bags to Housing Works? No, right? Whatever. I’ll try again next week.

I drew a breath.

Friends sent flowers, and fun crafts, take out gift certificates, a gift certificate for a massage at the spa around the corner, snacks, and, hilariously, two dozen balloons that bounced around our ceiling, I imagine because one time during a particularly grueling season, Marley bought me balloons, and they remembered.

In August of 2016, I started a group of wedding professionals that have the same progressive morals; it’s grown to a group of 150. They pooled their money and sent over some well wishes, and a check, which is probably going to the criminally expensive genetic testing we are having done.

I’ve stowed in my heart tiny texts, heartfelt emails, phone calls, and a dozen stories texted and emailed from other women, of “I lost babies, too” ranging from a few weeks to thirty years ago. I’ve been warmed with love, and all of the ways sharing our story has made us, and others, feel less alone, which is the only good thing I can do with it.

I feel seen.


My friend is seven months pregnant. I asked if she’d taken any photos yet, and she said not really. “Please let me photograph you. You need photos. Trust this heartbroken photographer.”

I photographed her on the streets of Brooklyn, and in my apartment, and pressed my palm down in the middle of her to feel her son squirming inside of her.

“Does this make you sad?” she asked.

“No, it gives me hope.”

I drew another breath.

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blah blah blah pieces of my memoir

I Had Three Hearts

CW: Story of a missed miscarriage of mo-di twins.

Two days after Christmas, we get another gift: a second tiny bean, previously undiscovered. I think of Beyonce, and the poet Warsan Shire.

“I’m beside myself with dreams. I have three hearts.”

They’re identical, the result of overly enthusiastic mitosis. No one knows why. I feel like I’ve won the lotto.

I’m sent for a more detailed sonogram – they’re really close together so they might be in the same sac, which is scary – but for the following week. We make it through New Years Eve nervous, but happy.


Two wiggly gummy bear-shaped shadows are floating inside me, patting each other gently in the face. They are separated by their own sacs, which is good, but share a placenta, which is concerning, but usually fine.

The tech turns up the sound, and we hear one heartbeat, and then the other. It would be the only time we ever heard heartbeats, but of course we don’t know this yet.

Waiting for our cab, Marley asks if I’m okay. “No,” I said, laughing and crying. “I will literally never be okay again. I have TWO people to worry about for the rest of my life.”

Lying in bed weeks later, suddenly empty, my tee shirt drenched in milk for nobody, I looked back over the previous weeks trying to figure out when it was that I fell in love, and pinpoint that it was then, when I saw them, and heard them, and they looked like gummy bears.


At thirteen weeks, I went back without Marley for a diagnostic scan.

I will never go to another scan without him again.

“They’re straight up chillin’ in there!” said the tech. And they were were. They had flipped back to back, one leaning against the other, sucking their thumbs like tiny beach bums in hammocks chugging Coronas. They were also completely still.

The doppler lines went across their hearts without moving. My brain shut down this information, and I think nothing of it. I’m quiet, watching their shapes. So is she. The doctor comes in and leans over me to deliver the news.

I am naked, covered in jelly, and sobbing. This is the worst. It was the second trimester. We were supposed to be safe. Intellectually I knew anything could happen – I’ve experienced “anything can happen” with girlfriends – but still. Still.

Gulping, I ask for a photo of each of them, which I will keep forever. It’s technically too early to tell, but also really obvious they are boys. I was going to have sons.

I find comfort in this: if you’ve only existed for three months and a week, and your arm has just grown long enough to reach your hand to your mouth, and you’ve also just grown a thumb, sucking it is, in your incredibly limited amount of experiences, the best thing ever. They died happy.

I get dressed and slip across the hall to the doctor’s office, who already has my OB on the phone, and my OB is already pulling information for an operation the next morning. The option to let it happen naturally was too horrible to think about, and too dangerous. I held my breath and ducked my head walking through the waiting room, determined not to traumatize anyone else pregnant and waiting for their turn. I wept in the elevator. I wailed on the street. I managed to stuff it down to gulping sniffles to get in the car I called to pick me up. The driver turned and looked at me.

“You look tired!” he said brightly.

Fuck outta here.


I sat in the marble and glass lobby of Marley’s insanely fancy Manhattan office building. Security guards eyed me, but let me be. I wept on the velvet couch. People made a wide berth. I love this City.

I count down the minutes he has left to be happy, starting at 36. They tick away: nineteen, thirteen, seven, two. He’s late, and gets bonus minutes of happiness. I’m glad for him. At 5:03, it occurs to me I should have gone home instead, that his work colleagues would be right behind him, that we were in a crowded lobby full of offices and people leaving for the day, that this news would have been better delivered at home. But it feels too late to leave. He knows I’m there waiting for him. I stand up, then sit back down.

He’s my homing beacon, and I’ve turned towards him like always, but now I regret it, although he promises later that I did the right thing.

He comes around the corner, and I watch him searching my face from yards away. He sits and looks at me expectantly as New York City streams around us.

“No more minutes.” I think to myself, and then I begin to speak.


They give me a hospital bracelet.

This was not the hospital bracelet I wanted.

They give me a sonogram.

This was not the sonogram I wanted.

I change into a gown. We wait.

I slide my hands all around my round belly for the last time, and reach low, for where I had begun to feel them wiggle. I know the science, but poke around anyway – a vain hope for a miracle. I hadn’t expected to be showing so soon, and definitely didn’t expect to feel them flipping around already, but with twins, that’s what happens.

I want to be be awake, but the doctor overrules me. I grudgingly sign consent to be put under. I am put on a bed with my calves strapped into cupped supports above me. A nurse gathers my gown to cover “my vajay”, then straps in my legs and begins an IV. “I’ve never had anesthesia before. What if it doesn’t work?”

“It’ll work,” she says. “I’ve been here for ten years, and it’s never failed.”

“What’s it like?” I ask.

“A power nap.” she answers. “If you’re behind on sleep, you’ll be caught up!”

I turn side to side as best I can, trying to figure everything out from flat on my back. The sonogram lady rolls an ultrasound machine in, and tells me they need it to keep everything as safe as possible.

The anesthesiologist walks me me through what she’s doing. “You’ll feel it going up your arm right now, and then maybe taste it?”

“Yup,” I say, “It’s in my face.”

I don’t notice I’m under. In my dream I’m walking down a long hallway, not scared, but overwhelmingly lonely, and everything is grey.


I’m awake, and uncomfortable, and we’re going to keep it real: in the process of numbing my cervix, they also numbed my colon, trapping a piece of waste in it. I’m angry that this, of all things, is making me uncomfortable. They force me to eat something. I drink a small cup of warm apple juice, and eat one Ritz cracker. I try to poop, but can’t, so I give up, get dressed, and go home. Every bump on the ride home is brutal. I curl up on Marley, furious. I want to mourn, and it’s impossible. It’s another hour at home before the local anesthetic is worn off enough for me to go.

If you’re having a D&C, get an enema first.

I notice on my left arm they have injected me. There’s no bandaid, and no one tells me. A less observant person wouldn’t have seen it.

This is upsetting. Did they not think I’d notice? Days later at a followup, I’m told it was likely an injection to cause my uterus to contract. I feel betrayed this information wasn’t told to me. I hate not knowing. I hate that I never saw them. I hate everything about this.


In the days after, we all but sew ourselves together, living on takeout, crying, sprawling across our bed. The lady downstairs asks what she can do, and I have just the task for her: next month I have a speaking engagement that I ordered a maternity dress for. I ask her to take it away for Marley to deal with later so I don’t have to see it. She brings us food, too. Nicki delivers “a package” and it’s her, standing on my stoop with cheese, and chocolates, and gin. A fruit basket arrives, and some treats from close friends.

We begin to think we will pull through, and plan a two-person memorial service for that weekend. We toast their lives after with pho, and bubble tea.

I make a therapy appointment.

We begin to dream about the future again.

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Keely and the Scarf

My friend Keely and I share a birthday, and I adore her. On Monday, we were browsing a bookstore when she spotted a scarf abandoned on a display, and, a bit later, a lady without one.

“Did you lose your scarf?” she asked the lady. “I think think it’s just over there.”

She pointed.

The lady rushed over, then came back to where we were checking out at the register and said, “Oh my goodness. You have no idea how grateful I am! Thank you!” She left, tucking it around her neck.

I asked, “Did you see her lose the scarf? I don’t understand how you knew it was hers.” (The bookstore was a bit crowded.)

Keely said, “No, I just sensed she was missing it.” She shrugged and me and the cashier kind of just marveled at her.

Isn’t that extraordinary? I love that Keely is my friend.

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life list

Life List: Do Tequila Shots on a Beach in Mexico at Sunset – check


This was the very first thing I put on my Life List, because I read it in 1,001 Place to See Before You Die back when I was 16. My family laughed at me for dreaming of traveling “so far”, but in January of 2017, we headed to Mexico (on the 20th… ahem.) and at sunset one evening, I finally checked this OG task off my list. Marley joined me, and then we stumbled into dinner.

Naturally, I drank to my 16 year old self.

We stayed here, at the Zamas Hotel in Tulum, which I loved, and opted for a beachfront chica, meaning that we woke up, walked outside, and were immediately seaside. It was magical.

p.s. No one cares if you want to lounge around aux seins nus, so I took a photo of my bikini top flung on our porch steps!


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blah blah blah

Keep It Simple

Is it me, or is adult gift giving just… weird? After a few years of awkwardly exchanging gifts with family, we kind of “called it” this holiday season and said “no more”. I’d rather spend time and money eating together (and maybe splurging on a bottle of nicer-than-usual wine) than exchanging things that everyone can just buy themselves. It was controversial, but we’re happy to have finally made this decision.

Every year as I get older, I long for a less complicated life, filled with rich friendships and experiences.

It’s not easy. Keeping up with dear relationships is difficult. Over the summer, I realised with a start that I hadn’t seen my friend Jen in close to two years. They moved to Vermont, so when we headed up to sleep in a yurt in upstate and I saw they were only an hour’s drive from there, I texted her husband Micah to see when everyone would be home just having a normal day.

He said Saturday looked good, so I just… pulled into her driveway. It was magic (I highly recommend you turn yourself into a surprise at least once. No one before or since has ever been that happy to see me.) We got local takeout, and played nerf guns with their kids in the yard, and met their chickens, and explored the woods around their house. It’s small-but-everything moments like this that I want to remember, not the things in life on my shelves collecting dust.

I’ve “uniformed” myself to a few essential pieces of clothing that I like very much. Marley wears the same things every day, too. We have one drawer with a family collection of socks that aren’t just his or mine; we share sweatshirts, too.

We’re going deeper into our humanity, I think, and, okay *jerk off motion* but I feel so… human… these days, and I’m happy and simplifying everything has helped so much. I’ve spoken candidly before of growing up abused and then being married to A Nice Person But The Wrong Person, so everyone who loved me before was complicated and now it’s not complicated – we just Are. – and you’d think this would be the best time to throw a bit of complexity on everything but it’s not what I want.

No gifts, no clutter, no unnecessary clothes, no weird ingredients to be used once and then forgotten in the back of the cabinet – we even eat uncomplicated meals these days, too. We started saving 10% of our income in 2017, too, because if simplicity is number one, security is a close second.

Please don’t come for my skincare, though! I have more bottles of oils, moisturizers, and washes than I’m going to admit. I can only go so far.

Photo by Lacie Slezak

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life list

Life List: Sleep in a Yurt – Check!

We took Leeloo upstate with us, and rented a Yurt in Granville, NY. Leeloo has always been nervous, and in addition to car rides (she cried non-stop for the first hour of driving) she hates 1. doorways 2. corners 3. and big enclosed spaces. The yurt was her happy place.

We are not actually camping people and forgot a bunch of stuff, so we had to make a Target run, and the bathrooms were full of spiders, and it rained on our one full day there. But I’m glad we went. It was gorgeous.

You can book this exact yurt here, at Glamping Hub.

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Fun Things, Friday 1 September 2017

Johanna Siring is a photographer. She took portraits of strangers before and after kissing them. Via Creative Mornings.


These flatware sets look incredibly expensive, but they aren’t. Do I need new forks and knives? Yes…?


The plethora of business resources for women that leave out the voices of PoC and queer-identifying people was starting to piss me off, so I launched a digital platform for creative business owners called the Pineapple North Project.

I’m now accepting articles from smart people.

I am afraid I’m going to fall on my face and let a lot of people down.


The voices of former slaves, recorded in the 30’s, and digitized in the late 90’s. How am I just now hearing about this? It made me weep.


Flights to Europe have never been more affordable, especially from the east coast. Use both Google Flights and Momondo, and keep your dates flexible. This is round trip to Brussels over my birthday in March for $452. That’s not even the best deal.

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home makeover

Cork Tiles?

In 2015, our bedroom came carpeted in a weird, sad white carpet that we hated. It finally got the heave when Leeloo (our dog) pooped on it, ate the poop, and then threw up the poop. After three days of trying to get the stain out, I grabbed a box cutter, put on Big Little Lies, and cut a massive hole in the carpet. We finally hired someone to help us rip out the carpet, to stunningly ugly tile underneath that is slowly disintegrating.

I can just put down inexpensive cork tiles, right? They’re cute, and eco friendly, and I think I can do it myself. I would do something fancier, but I just don’t want to invest in the apartment that much when there are vacations to take, you know?

Can I self-install them? Are they good with dog nails? Dog hair? Do they need to be finished? Is it like walking on a bulletin board?

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good things

Makeovers at Sephora

If you know you need to spend $50 or more at Sephora, try to time it so that you can get the free makeover you’re entitled to. I needed new tweezers, eyeliner, and a new foundation, and also got a smokey eye, contoured, “eyebrows on fleek” SITUATION.

It was a rough week for those of us who care about social injustice, and on top of that, I’m on the brink of starting a digital platform that elevates the voices and vision of women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ community who are creative entrepreneurs. I’ve already gotten some flack for it, and I’m bracing myself for more.

My makeup artist was a black trans* woman. I’ll never say anything as twee as “the universe orchestrated this” but… oh man. Sephora feels like such a haven, doesn’t it? Especially in New York, where women from all over the world and all backgrounds are swirling around me looking for makeup with their friends, mothers, and sisters. As she created this stunning look for me, I started crying. Nothing makes me feel more powerful than having fabulous hair and makeup.

“You have NO idea,” I said “what you’re doing for me. After this week, it is so, so much more than just some pretty makeup.” and then, of course, “Oh no! I’m smudging it!” and she laughed and hugged me and blotted my tears away from her handiwork.

Anyway, all that to say: free makeovers at Sephora if you spend fifty bucks, totally worth planning your purchases around, and it’s hard out there for a lot of us so this might be some good self care.

p.s. Yes, I brought my IceLight into the bathroom to take selfies. I ain’t sorry.


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Finding My Thin Places

I’ve been thinking recently about “thin places”, a concept described by New York Times writer Eric Weiner as “…locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.”

He also addresses the disappointment pilgrims have felt reaching a designated “holy space” and finding it is NOT thin after all for any number of reasons. I myself, as a secular person, don’t have a Mecca or Jerusalem to sojourn to, so – like all of the happiness I’ve gotten in 35 years – I’ve had to uncover them unexpectedly. It was nice to read this article (now five years old) for a bit of validation.

My thin places have been floating in the middle of the lake in a row boat with two friends, sprawled on a hot beach in the shade on the backside of a remote beach in Nicaragua, and this afternoon, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but not while looking at any of the art. My friend’s baby, passed to me to hold while she put her baby carrier onto her torso to go home, pressed his head to my cheek, and I was immediately and unexpectedly in a thin space for that moment of time. She laughed kindly at the sudden “spiritual awakening” brought on by her squirmy, drooling kiddo. It was there when I was picking blueberries at a Stu!’s parent’s house in Connecticut, and during the sunset off the coast of Barcelona in Mallorca, which I watched with my chin in the crook of Marley’s arm, and which my friend Amanda took a photo of, and which I am extremely grateful to have.

I’ve been to Paris three times, and it’s not there, at least for me, but it was fun watching other people experience it being thin. It was not in Dubai- fun but not thin – or in Bali, even though I expected it to be.

(In other news, I have a lot of blogging to catch up on.)

Where is thin for you? Have you been disappointed by expecting a place to be thin that wasn’t, or found a place that was unexpectedly? I’d love to hear.



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