Happy Hour No. 7

It’s been a year since I published a happy hour (shit, a year). Well, we’re back. Happy hours began in the tradition of making sure you knew that my social media is not just a what you see is what you get kind of deal. So, here’s what’s up in my real life this March.  If you’d like to know, keep reading!


GOD, WHAT A WEIRD CATEGORY THIS BEGINS WITH. Ok. Thinking about March 2020. Well, on March 1, Dylan and went to Altro Paradiso with my mom and it was delicious. We also tried Sugar Hill Creamery, Harlem’s only family-owned neighborhood ice cream shop, and would highly recommend. I also discovered this (closed) coffee shop that I cannot wait to patronize. The shop is called The Monkey Cup & this is the Adam Clayton Powell location. Gosh, I cannot wait until this is one of my favorite happy hour categories again.


Currently obsessing over The Steps by HAIM, Lilacs by Waxahatchee, & Break My Heart by Dua Lipa. Have no fear, a new playlist is in the works


Indie bookstores & Austen boys.


Hoping next month there is more to be included in this section. I’m just trying to get back into a writing rhythm.


This is a new category I just added! In the past year, I’ve learned that I don’t actually hate cooking, I just hate cooking alone. I love it as a communal activity and man have I fallen in love with Alison Roman and the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen.

February ended with a party I had been planning for months: my half-birthday-leap-day celebration complete with a theme of chips and champagne (I asked every guest to bring a bottle of champagne and Kyle, Dylan, and I made a plethora of dips, served with a variety of chips!). The dips we made were: Queso, not from a jar, Slow-Roasted Onion Dip, and Lemony Whipped Feta.

A favorite recipe of quarantine this far has been this NYT Creamy Chickpea Pasta. And am very much looking forward to trying out Alison Roman’s Crispy Potato Kugel for Passover this week!


Ok, y’all, now we’re in it. Well, the past month has been terrifying, to say the least. Three weeks ago, Dylan and I came out to his parents house in White Plains. We thought this would just be a few days – both of his brothers had just arrived home and it felt like a time where we wanted to be around family. And then our world shut down. So here we’ve stayed. Which has been amazing. I’m so grateful to the generosity of Dylan’s family for taking me in and feel really fortunate to be in a house that is comfortable and safe. My parents are currently in Massachusetts, but I talk to them every day. Cleo is safely quarantining in our apartment in NYC with Kyle.

For the avoidance of doubt, I really, really miss normal life. I miss my friends so much. I miss soulcycle like a piece of my body is missing. But I’ve been searching for control in all of this mess (futile, I know) and staying home and keeping myself away from others feels like the most I can do right now. So I’m letting that be where I find my power.

Apart from the devastation of COVID, this month began on another sad note. My family lost our pup, Blair, on the first day of the month. She lived eleven of the happiest, most active years any dog has ever had, but it was really sad to say goodbye. She developed a tumor in her neck and spine and her ability to move quickly deteriorated. She’s intensely missed by the four of us and her four-legged sister.


First and foremost, I feel so, so fortunate to have a job I can do remotely. But I am severely missing my team at Avid Reader Press. I am so lucky to work with eleven of the craziest, brightest, hardest working people in publishing (I mean, honestly, in the world) and it is killing me to be separated from them. Work feels incredibly high stakes right now, but I’m really grateful to be part of a team that is looking to serve people as best we can. From social media to books, my job feels like it’s right at the intersection of the things people are turning to. So I’m just trying to give as much as we can, from content to humor to reassurance.

And I’m completely smitten with my two April titles: the INCREDIBLY helpful, clear, and thoughtful Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer and the completely entrancing Perfect Tunes – our first novel. Even from afar, I’ve loved working on these two titles and I am so excited for everyone to finally get to hold them. This isn’t the world into which we intended to release them, but they’re so special and I know you will love them.

IF YOU ARE TRYING TO ORDER BOOKS RIGHT NOW, don’t do it through Amazon. It will take forever. And now (I mean, always, but now more than ever) we need to support our indies. I highly, highly recommend ordering from bookshop.org, which uses a portion of the profit to support indie bookstores. And it will ship faster! And if you’re an audiobook person, head to libro.fm to support your indies! You can use the code NYC3FOR1 to get three audiobooks for $15. Ok, hopping off my soap box now.


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thinking about this quote from Mary Oliver today

A post shared by faith & kerra (@artsyaffirmations) on

Normally, I’d go for something funny here, but this is what’s in my heart.


In case you’ve been wondering who the Dylan I’m referencing is, he is my wildly wonderful boyfriend. In the many things this month brought, it also marked our six month anniversary. To say I don’t know how I’d be making it through this without him is an understatement. He meets all of my anxiety with optimism and care. And here are some photos from our happiest week of exploration in Seattle and San Diego back in February.


Gosh, this category. Ok, well, I’m definitely able to say that this has been the worst anxiety month for me since my anxiety peaked in college. I’ve been harboring my feelings about the pandemic and our world in an extremely physical way – my anxiety is living in my body and making it impossible to escape. I’ve tried to write it off as other things (horomones, exhaustion, hunger) which truly may be a factor but I know the reality is that this is my anxiety, this is the way it manifests itself, and it’s not going away. So I have to turn my attention to trying to cope rather than trying to cure. I realized that I was setting myself up for disaster in hoping it would all change, in hoping I’d wake up one day and just start handling this “the right way.”

I’m really lucky to have the support system I have – friends to check in with, a boyfriend who is always there to hold my hand, parents and a brother I can always call, a team of colleagues I can be totally honest with. All of these things help.

In addition to my overwhelming fears about our world, I recognize little things getting under my skin. I like control and I like routine. I see myself trying to rebuild that in a foreign setting. I’m struggling with my body, having lost the happy place soulcycle held in my life, in figuring out how much to move it, how to avoid guilt on days when I don’t have time or just would rather be doing something else. I don’t actually have an abundance of free time in this new life and I am feeling it in my body. I’m working harder than I was before. And my heart goes out to everyone with young kids, who is experiencing this x 130948219.

And, ok, here comes a wave of emotion again. Everything just feels so intense right now, doesn’t it? I haven’t felt like myself in a month. So much of my power as a person comes from getting to be myself out loud, in front of others. Just looking forward to being reunited with that person.

A bright spot – I feel like the past month has really given me a chance to reconnect with myself as nycbookgirl and as a reader. I’ve been reading differently. And I’ve had more time to be online in this space I love surrounded by this community of readers. In July, nycbookgirl was slid aside in my mental list of priorities as I really dug into my work at Avid. And I don’t regret that at all. But I do feel like I’ve gotten the chance to re-embrace y’all, and I want to be here to stay.

That feels like enough for now. Thank you for reading – sending love and wishes of health and strength to you wherever you are.


6 thoughts on “Happy Hour No. 7

  1. Claudia Lombardo says:

    I just started following you on insta a few months ago. I really enjoy your feed. Thanks for all of the great book recommendations, pictures, etc. Your post here was very touching. It hit on some things I was feeling too. Wishing you peace and strength. -Claudia from Nashville

  2. Nancy R Hoit says:

    Love everything about this post.. so honest and thoughtful. And while we’re all having such weird disjointed feelings, it’s good to see someone put it into words. Things have spun out of all our control and predictions are guesswork… but around the world, we’re in this together.

  3. Ioana says:

    So glad you’re writing again. Emotions and feelings are all over the place for so many people. I like to-do lists and routine (as much as I try to fight them.. wierd), but on some morning I wake up and I just know I’m not going to be productive. Teaching online or remote teaching and all that jazz that comes with it, the fast-beating heart whenever I have to leave the house to buy groceries, the laziness I feel in my legs due to lack of proper movement – all add up. But I shall power through with grace for myself.
    Hang in there and much health to you & yours!

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