Notorious NYCK
Earth Shattering Beauty, Style and Health News from a Neurotic New Yorker

It's the End of the World as We Know it and I Feel Fine

by Notorious NYCK September 17

Anyone who knows me even a little, will undoubtedly notice that I have pretty strong opinions and I’m not afraid to express them when asked.  OK, you don’t even have to ask. One of the phrases I am unfortunately best known for is, “I’d rather stick needles in my eyes.” This is my retort to anyone who suggests that I do something that I’m not in favor of, which can be anything from eating salmon, sushi, and asparagus, to trying an outdoor sport, learning to drive, letting my hair go grey, wearing the color brown and listening to music from this century. I know this trait of mine is just as obnoxious as it sounds, so I am trying to become a kinder, gentler, more patient, tolerant version of myself.  It is slow going. But I have further impetus to be less vociferously opinionated because recently I have found myself doing things that I swore, for the life of me, would only happen, “when hell froze over.”  Apparently, it has. I don’t know if I’ve had these astonishing changes of heart because I am now middle-aged, have moved from NYC to California, had breast cancer or have been worn-down by well-meaning friends. But Hades is felling pretty icy these days. It’s completely crazy but now, against all odds, I:

Hike: I don’t do it regularly and probably never will. But in the two years I’ve lived in the East Bay I have walked up a mountain with a group of nature lovers on several occasions. As a kid in sleep away camp in Maine, I hated hiking. It was hot, buggy, boring and my feet always hurt.  But It’s what people do here. In fact, some of my friends actually leave their gear in their cars just in case they can “sneak a hike in.” I find this practice completely and utterly baffling. To me, if you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all. 

I am what I like to call “Urban Fit”. I love the gym and go there pretty much every day for the sake of being in the gym—not to get fit for my sport, which is shopping and requires no other gear than a 0% interest, no annual-free credit card.  I have no issue with spending an hour or so “going nowhere” on the treadmill and striving to do more pull-ups just for the sake of doing more pull-ups. In fact, I love it! When I lived in NYC, there were hundreds just like me who hung out at the gym  for the greater part of the weekend. It’s easy to do since many of the fitness clubs there have DJs, bars, laundry service,  restaurants and high end boutiques. The gyms here? Not so much. Most of them are dark, dingy, poorly-equipped and don’t even have towels. It took me months to realize that this sorry state of affairs was because most people  here prefer to climb in Yosemite rather than on a StairMaster in a gym. In the East Bay, these institutions are viewed as necessary evils for staying in shape if the weather is bad, or you can’t get a lift to the nearest state park. Personally, I’d take the StairMaster. But never say never, right?

Own a fleece: It’s hard to feel cozy and warm in leather or denim.   And because it’s frequently chilly in the East Bay and the buildings aren’t particularly well-insulated or heated, some days feeling cozy seems more important than looking chic.On most cool days, I try to fight the good fight and wear cashmere; fur is not an option here—it’s way, way, way frowned upon. So sometimes you just can’t beat a fleece, though it pains me deeply to say that. And trust me, there is really no place for fine fabrics when you’re um hiking; leather, satin, brocade and chiffon are all quite constricting and not especially breathable. Meanwhile, cashmere and silk are impractical for outdoor sports, unless they’re a “base layer”,  from  a snagging  (low hanging branches, etc) stand point. Not to mention the dry cleaning involved. 

Have Entered REI More than Once: This is Bergdorf Goodman to the action adventure set. It features over-priced, high-end outdoor athletic wear. And though it is not even in the top 1000 places that I would ever choose to shop, if I am going to buy fleece or outdoor wear of any kind, it is certainly going to be from an exclusive emporium. I  have standards.

Feel “Off” when I Wear all Black: Let me just say right here, right now, that I have 7 pairs of black dress pants, 2 pairs of black corduroys, 2 pairs of black skinny cargoes, 5 black  cashmere sweaters, 7 black camisoles, 3 black cashmere cardigans and six black t-shirts. Not to mention several black belts, jackets, dresses, skirts and pairs of shoes. These items, worn in some combination, were the mainstays of my New York City beauty editor wardrobe. Most of the girls I ran with dressed similarly. But out here in the East Bay that look feels all wrong—like I’m somehow trying too hard. Undoubtedly it’s because most people, except for the hipsters (a group I do not want to be associated with) do not wear head-to-toe black.  I am not sure why. It’s impractical to hike and bike in? But perhaps more to the point is that now that I am in my forties, my skin is sallower than it used to be, so frankly, wearing all-black washes the hell out of it.

Keep My Nails Short and Clean: In my 20s and 30s I was a total slave to my nails. I wore them longish, filed in perfect squovals and obsessed about polish chips, snags and breaks. Without fail I kept my standing weekly manicure appointments and did touch-ups in between to keep my tips in tip top shape.  My waste baskets over flowed with polish-stained, acetone-soaked cotton pads and their accompanying noxious smell. But in my Forties, I decided to learn to play guitar, which is not conducive to long or painted nails. So I cut them super short and keep them lacquer-free. I can’t tell you how liberating it is to have one less thing to worry about. Exfoliation alone eats up hours of my week.

Juice for Breakfast: In NYC it’s pretty common for people to go on detoxes and cleanses with horrible-tasting shakes or juice fasts to lose weight or atone for  too many nights of drinking, smoking and over-eating. I’ve participated in a few of those programs and other than feeling weak, light-headed, crabby, lethargic and starving, and having to stay close to a bathroom at all times, I’ve found them to be mad fun. Not. But out here, fit, healthy, vegans who never smoke and drink, periodically do juice fasts or drink “green” and other vegetable juices to “feel even better.” Astounding, I know. So even though my hubby and I eat a fair amount of fruits and vegetables every day, we thought, well, why not load up on even more?   And so far so good. We pulverize carrots, beets, parsley, kale, apples and ginger for breakfast every morning and I think we are feeling more energetic and peppier as a result. Of course it would probably be even more beneficial if I didn’t chase my 16-oz. glass of “healthy” juice with three cups of coffee with cream. But there is such a thing as taking this health stuff too far.  I am, after all, an urban warrior at heart; I don’t want to lose my edge.

Ciao for now my friends. Stay happy and healthy.


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