Hiya Hart Beat. How are you? Not much new here, just twiddling my thumbs in the studio instead of editing the pages I need to get done today to hit by my next deadline. IN OTHER NEWS here are a few things I’ve been loving aka have been distracting me from the editing I need to be doing. I would type to you more but my coffee is getting cold and I need to grab another cup from the house. Talk soon, Hart Beat. I do miss you.
The new Goop podcast. Yes, it’s typical Goop, yes, Gwyneth is Gwyneth and you can feel however you feel about her still, yes, I realize that I may have only listened to the first episode because Oprah was the guest BUT it’s really good! I’ve loved BOTH episodes and genuinely can’t wait for the third episode next week.
The new album, I’ll Be Your Girl, from The Decemberists. Especially the first song, “Once in My Life.” The entire album has me going back and listening to their older albums too.
#cloglife. Not sure how I found this Instagram feed but I have spent way too long scrolling through the clog inspired lifestyle pics. Saw one was geotagged at Bates College library. Person running the account, do you go to Bates? Are you me six years ago? Is this a glitch in the matrix?
Trying to make my way through this year’s Austin 100. Stephen Thompson, you impress me every year, this year is now different. I can’t even list all the artists that this yearly mix has introduced me to; hello Heartless Bastards, Laura Gibson, HAIM, Alabama Shakes, Daughter, Big Deal, to name a few. If you have the time and inclination I highly recommend listening to the playlist on Spotify, even if you weren’t lucky enough to go to SXSW.
The portfolio of artist Etel Adnan in this seasons Paris Review “The Shape of the Mountain”. I wasn’t familiar with Etel’s work before the collection and now I’ve been trying to find out everything I can about her.
Etel Adnan, Pink Whale, 2017, Colored Print on Paper, 19″ X 15 2/5 “.
I lost my yoga mat last week. My mom and I had just arrived at Grand Central Station after riding Metro North from Southeast station. It was raining and snowing at the same time and we stood on 42nd street without umbrellas for ten minutes trying desperately to hail a taxi. When we finally ducked into a free cab we were soaking wet and I remembered all the reasons I hated living in New York. When we arrived at the hotel where we would be spending the night before our five am flight the next morning I cursed the city again when our cab driver didn’t get out of the car to help me wrestle our suitcases from the trunk of his cab.
In my frenzy to get to shelter I left my mat there, laying in the trunk of the rusted, piss smelling cab and it wasn’t until the next morning that I realized my mistake. I cursed the city(again), the cab driver, the rain, my forgetfulness, and the universe in general. I’ve had that mat for five years. When I moved to Brooklyn I borrowed my mothers mat and when I started going to a few Yoga to the People classes in Williamsburg I left the mat there so I didn’t have to cart it back and forth on my bike (#classicbrooklyn). I’m almost one hundred percent sure that my mother’s mat that I originally left there was eventually switched out for another mat. They were both purple okay, Hart Beat! I just grabbed the closest purple mat! Regardless I’ve had that purple mat for a while and I loved it. I don’t even know what brand it was but I do know that it was extra long and squishy and forgiving on my inflexible muscles and bones.
Flash to 2018 the mat has followed me in a semi yoga revolution. over the summer I started a daily yoga practice. Four-year-ago Hannah is cringing at that sentence but it’s true. In true me form something that I swore countless times I hated viscerally has become one of the best things to come out of leaving the city last year. Since I moved back home to the Berkshires to commit to writing this G.D. book I’ve found that this area is a mecca for yoga. The Kripalu Center is less than three miles from where I live and some of the best yoga instructors in the world are only five minutes away. I’m addicted. I go to yoga every day and when I miss a class I feel genuinely sad, like part of me is missing.
Enter my frustration at losing that purple mat. The next morning while waiting in the Delta check-in line I took the only shot I had and sent the NYC TLC an email claiming a lost item, pleading them to send it back to me if they found it. They didn’t find it. Undeterred I practiced yoga the entire week on vacation on a pile of towels and extra hotel blankets. It wasn’t horrible but it’s not something I’d recommend when you’re trying to perch in crow.
When I got back to the Berkshires this week I walked myself into the Kripalu store and bought a new mat—a different mat. It’s green, thin and, flexible, kind of like me now and I realize now that it’s a good thing I lost my mat. I love my new mat. And so instead of cursing that taxi driver and New York and the universe, I’m grateful. When I step onto the vaguely plastic smelling mat I smile and breath deeper into my down dog.
This is the first post in what I hope is a series on yoga and my feelings toward it. The G.D. book’s first draft is done so instead of writing new words every day I’m editing words already written. Half of the words in the manuscript are wrong but I try to remind myself that that means half are right. Talk to you soon Hart Beat, and until then, Shanti Shanti Namaste. (Excuse me while I go chill in extended child’s pose and think about how four-year-ago-Hannah just threw up a little in her mouth.)
Top picture is of my new green Jade Yoga mat. I can’t recommend them enough, Hart Beat.
It’s too snowy to drive to any coffee shop to work today (snow storm # one million) so I’m bundled up in my down jacket while the fire in my studio breaks the temperature from freezing to something bearable. Once it’s warm I’m back to the G.D. book but for now let’s distract ourselves with a few things that I’ve been on my mind. Thank Sweet Baby Yeezus in two weeks from today I’ll be surfing and sunning in Costa Rica for a week officially taking a break from the winter and writing. What’s keeping you going in the cold this week, Hart Beat?
You yearn so much
you could be a yacht.
Your mind has already
set sail. It takes a few days
at island pace,
but soon you are barefoot
on the sand,
the slim waves testing
like health professionals.
You toe shells, sea glass, and odd things
that have drifted for years
washed up here.
You drop your towel
and step out of
your togs, ungainly,
your right foot, then
in the water.
There is no discernible
You breaststroke in
the lazy blue.
A guy passing in a rowboat
says, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
And it is. Your body
afloat in salt
as if cured.
This song by Drake that I keep playing while driving around the county, imagining myself instead, running on a beach into salty, warm ocean water.
Drinking as much Six Depot Costa Rica coffee that I can get my hands on. It’s the best coffee in The Berkshires (IMO) and I can’t get enough of it this week. It is currently defrosting my fingers as we speak.
The top photo was taken by me three years ago in Costa Rica.
Hi Hart Beat! Long time no talk! How’s your February going? Did you see the news about six more weeks of winter? Woof. Although, to be completely honest I’m not that surprised. It is only February after all. I’ve been writing away the last few weeks (TBH #NoPlanJan was a FAIL) but I still got just about the entire first draft of my book done. This month it’s all about the edits baby.
Aside from the book, there’s been something else distracting me on the internet. And I need your help Hart Beat! I’m so excited because this spring I have a few events (cough weddings) I’m going to and I need suggestions on where to get a dress. Last fall I went to a wedding in Vermont and wore a great dress from Reformation but it’s black and the weddings this year are in the spring so I’m not sure black is the best. Plus, isn’t it bad luck to wear black to a wedding? Halp meeeee.
Anyway, since last summer I started doing yoga every day my body has gone through #changes and I’m not sure it’s the best dress anyway for me right now. So, send me your recommendations! Where have you gotten dresses for weddings in the past? I’m not wanting to spend Ulla Johnson money but am looking for something a little more than Asos. I’ve been hitting all my staples like Madewell and Sézane but nada at the moment. Maybe it’s too early? Comment or message me your favorite brands and I will be forever grateful 🙏🏼.
P.S. Both these dresses here are said Ulla Johnson 💸😭.
Hi Hart Beat. How’s you’re freezing January? It’s been hovering around negative four for the past few days and it’s starting to get to me. Thank god I’m going somewhere warm soon or I would be planning my escape from the Berkshires earlier rather than later. Yesterday was a Day, if you can say that as a descriptor. I read a poem that shook me and had me thinking about it all day. Then later last night Oprah gave a speech that gave me the same feeling of empowerment and overwhelming want of the universe.
Here’s the poem that shook me. It’s from the amazing Boneshaker by Jan Beatty which I picked up at my favorite used bookstore in the Berkshires. I had seen it around and am so grateful the universe put it in front of me right now. The poem has now become my New Year’s resolution, and maybe late twenties resolution at that. Don’t skip this poem Hart Beat, get to the last section and then we can talk.
by Jan Beatty
We were looking for kicks between
Pittsburg and L.A.—rolling down
Will Rogers Turnpike in my ’73
metallic blue Chevy Malibu—
when we heard “Kansas City” on the radio
and knew it was a sign. Bobbie and me
shot back up the 69 to Kansas City—Kansas,
not Missouri—so we could sing Goin to Kansas City… and mean it.
It was the song we wanted, not some
crazy little women, just drinking
and dancing, a way to forget
how scared we were. We ended up
at the Pink Corral with wild cowboys
who two-stepped us, swung us around
until my lucky mother-of-pearl flew
right off my finger and I knew that meant
it was time to go. Three days later
we hit Utah’s saintly boulders and
salty hard ground where I learned
the true nature of Bobbie—she begged
the universe for a rest stop—no answer—
so we stopped by huge rocks and she said: I can’t pee outside. I shot a look at her
to see if this was real, and she had no clue
about how to, where to—right then I knew
it was over—I instructed: Get up on a slant,
one foot forward, one foot back, and
let it rip—make sure you leave room
for the pee to cut a path between your feet—
how did you get this far not knowing this?
This explained the over-reliance on friends,
the long tearful phone calls—this was a woman
who hadn’t yet felt her own soul
in the foothills of a desert—and liked it.
There’s certain things you’ve got to know:
how to use jumper cables, drive a stick,
never fight with a drunk; you’ve got to speak
from your heart, walk with an attitude, know
the words to “Gimme Shelter”: change a tire on
a dark, rainy highway, say when you’re wrong,
and slam down a shot; you’ve just got to know
how to look someone dead straight in the eye
and tell them to fuck off, stride across the room
and dance hard, want hard, throw down,
wear your jeans low and tight, you’ve got to
send long hot kisses until further notice, in short—
you’ve got to deliver—and you’ve got to pee outside.
Hi Hart Beat! Happy New Year! How’s your No Plan Jan going? It may be only day three but for me, it’s been going pretty well. I’ve been in my studio the last three days and it’s more than December so, there you go. I thought about doing a big post a la 2017 but it felt like too much, and honestly, my time is better spent writing my book. You can get the juicy details when (if) it comes one.
I do want to talk about something else though. First, a disclaimer. This is not a diet blog and those of you who know me, know that I hate diets and/or talking about food in general. Eat what you eat, make sure it’s delicious, and no one wants to hear that you’re starving yourself or if you hate your body. THAT BEING SAID. Lots of people on my social timelines have been posting that they’re doing the Whole30 for the first time this month. January man, what a time to be alive. As I mentioned here on the blog, I did my first Whole30 this past October/November. I’m not sure exactly what made me want to try it but I suspect it was because in one day I had two coffees with three sugars in each and two sugar cider donuts which two days later made my face break out into the worst pimples I’ve ever had. Whomp whomp.
The Whole30 was very, very difficult at the beginning (lots of sugar withdrawal headaches) but I did end up loving it in the end and have kept up most of the diet since then. I still don’t eat dairy (most of the time), added sugar (adios ketchup), or grains. I know I had tons of questions and looks for any tip I could find when I started it so I thought I’d share a few things that really helped me. Maybe they’ll help you too, Hart Beat!
Almond butter. Almond butter. Almond butter. Nuts are not included in the Whole30 except almonds. There’s a great natural food store in the Berkshires that makes homemade 100% single ingredient almond butter and I lived off it. On apples, on bananas, on spoons, it really saved me!
Green Mountain Salsa. A friend of mine told me on about day three that she had done the Whole30 and discovered that Green Mountain Salsa, while technically not allowed on Whole30 (it comes in a jar) doesn’t contain any added sugars or anything else not Whole30 approved. I ate this almost every day as a replacement for what I would usually use ketchup on. Burgers, potatoes, eggs, carrots are all delicious with this stuff.
Stop complaining, just drink your coffee black (and add an ice cube to it). Almond milk lattes are horrible, trust me. Coconut milk ones aren’t much better and even though it took me about two weeks to get used to it, three months later I still drink my coffee black. A coworker gave me a GREAT tip to adjusting to the drink. Add an ice cube to hot black coffee. There’s something about liquid slowly melting into the coffee that feels like milk and hot black coffee tastes horrible while semi lukewarm black coffee tastes much better. IDK why it is but there you go.
I’m doing the diet again this month strictly and it is WAY easier the second time. The hardest part this time around are avoiding the cookies left over from the holiday season. All I can say is thank god for dried apricots.
And because it is the start of a New Year here are my resolutions if you’re interested:
Recieve one rejection letter every month (from anything; submissions, grants, writing residencies, requests for mentorship…)
Hi Hart Beat. Happy end of the holiday season! For those of you working in e-commerce, bravo, for those working in hospitality, congrats, for those of us just looking to survive the parties, friends, family, travel, and events that onslaught us all this time of year WE DID IT. WE REALLY, REALLY DID IT.
I don’t know about you, Hart Beat, but between traveling, working, and seeing people I got about zero actual good work done this month. I tried to sit down and write a few days but what came out was pretty much gobbledygook and needs a major rework in the second draft I’m starting next month. So, what to do about it? Well since we can’t go back in time I decided to try something new, something I’m calling “No Plan Jan.”
What’s No Plan Jan, you may be asking? That’s so catchy, is that something real? I mean, it is now. No Plan Jan comes from me and pretty much is exactly what the name implies—all of January is plan free. For me, that means that I’m not doing one social thing the entire month. No after work drinks, no coffees, no parties, no traveling, nada. I am going to be turning promptly into a hermit at zero o’clock on January 1st until midnight on January 31st. The point is so that I can go heads down and dive into finishing the first draft of my book and get the lions share of the second draft done before February 1st. I want to have not one thing in my way of writing.
But honestly, Hart Beat, No Plan Jan can mean whatever you want. The most important part is to just take the month for yourself. I know you told everyone and their mother you’d “catch up after the holidays” but honestly, no one will mind if you push that further back into February. Next thing we know spring will be here and with it summer so take this month, hermit yourself away, finish that project you started, that scarf you were knitting, that book your reading, and we’ll all be better off when we regroup in February, I promise.
Here’s what No Plan Jan means for me,
Things that are okay:
Work at the café two days a week (girls gotta make some cash)
Yoga classes at my yoga studio
Meetings with my writing coach (don’t fret Virginia!!)
After work drinks, coffee, parties, parties, seances, whatever
Catch up lunches that I planned in November 🙄
Leaving the Berkshires
Having fun of any kind (jkjk, it’s fun to sit in a room all alone and write, right?)
Book readings, poetry readings, basically, any event of any kind
What my goal is, and yours if you choose to accept it, is to do every day the same way, getting yourself (myself) into a routine to create. If you’re not a creative, TBD if No Plan Jan will work for you but try it out! Tell me! Maybe we have something good here.
I promise at least one more post before the end of the year. I’m not sure where I land on the blog and if it should be allowed for No Plan Jan. Part of me says yes since it does involve me sitting down at my laptop and writing. Ho-hum we will see. Happy New Year, Hart Beat.
Both photos via one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @aygabrielle. Follow her!
Hiya Hart Beat. Greetings from sunny Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing lots of traveling and am happy to report that I have successfully trapped myself in a pile of knit sweaters and books to be read for the rest of the month. I will not be traveling until I can dig myself out of this cozy mess. Please don’t send help.
Not only did I visit Montreal for Thanksgiving, last week I visited New York City for the first time since leaving at the end of March this year. It had been eight months since I was back and I had avoided it for a while, getting anxiety dreams about even thinking of going back over the summer. By the time Fall rolled around though, there were so many people that I wanted to see that it was finally time. I mean, I did live there for five years.
So I went. I visited some of my favorite people, drank delicious coffee, walked around, and bought too many books. And you know what was the craziest thing about being back, Hart Beat? That city has not changed A BIT since I left. Seriously, it kind of felt like the last eight months hadn’t happened. The thing was though, that I felt different. It was weird to be in a place that hadn’t changed when I feel like I’m in such a different, better place. Instead of feeling like I couldn’t fit into the city, it felt like the city couldn’t fit into me.
Now that I’m back I’m so happy that I can call this studio, this town, this county, my home right now. I don’t think I’ll be here forever but I do know that I’m going to milk every hour out of the Berkshires until it’s time to move on.
In other news, happy December!! It’s one of my favorite months and so, in honor of cozy time, here are a few things on my mind lately. #hyggeedition
Waiting (not so patiently) for Call Me By Your Name to come to the Triplex. I also just ordered the book to read hopefully before seeing the movie and am ashamed at home much I paid for the non-movie cover version of the book. #iamvain
I’ve been unable to stop listening to this season’s Dissect series on My Beautiful Deep Twisted Fantasy but was BLOWN AWAY by the episodes on “Devil in a New Dress” and “Runaway.” They were always my favorites on the album and now they are probably two of my favorite songs of all time.
Loving Caroline Donofrio’s (former editor of Cup of Jo) Instagram series on different “Haiku’s From Former Lovers.” It’s hard to pick a favorite but this one really got me:
While I was working on the book, a friend said to me, “You probably know what you would teach young Claire if you could, but what does young Claire have to teach you?” What she had to teach me was in those journals: the importance of love and yearning and, yes, pretentiousness things we sometimes forget about in the daily round of grown-up life.
Hi Hart Beat. How are you? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you do anything fun? Is anyone reading this? Hello? Are you there? Jkjk, I know there are a few of you out there and you have no idea how much I appreciate you. My book is coming along and I’m so used to writing to a readerless void right now that it’s hard to imagine you, a physical, thinking being, sitting there on the subway, or drinking your coffee, or sneaking a break at work, or lying in bed with your phone hovered over your squinting eyes, reading these words that I’m typing right now. Hi.
What’s new enough with me to warrant a post instead of another thousand words to my manuscript? Other than the fact that I miss writing to you, it’s also because I’ve been thinking of things that I thought maybe others in the internet world could relate to. That sticky wicket that I know you can relate to is love. Dating, relationships, and love. As I write this now I’ve been single for over six months. Back in May, I decided that I would intentionally not date until Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. On Thanksgiving day last week, I oscillated back and forth between which date I had actually said and about if I am ready or even want to date now. I mean, I like dating. I like going out for dinner and flirting. Actually, I love flirting. Which begs the question, why not date?
Why not. If you were sitting here with me you would have just heard an earth-shatteringly deep sigh. The truth Hart Beat? I’m happy single. I like that I don’t have to have an excuse to be selfish. I like that I don’t have to text anyone goodnight. I like that I can wear whatever I want and watch whatever I want on Netflix. I like that when I got a dog I could name him whatever I wanted, even if it was a rediculous name like Mateo. I like not compromising. How long do I want to be single? I guess it depends. It depends on life and the universe and fate and reality. What I do know is that the most important thing to me in the entire universe right now is the G.D. book that begs to be poured out of me every day. That has priority. That’s the thing that keeps me up at night. Not some guy.
Is this all TMI? IDK. Probs. (My bff Jill?) If it’s too much just file it under “this is a blog I’ll never read again” and I’ll see you some other place Hart Beat. If not, see you back here in a couple of weeks.
And p.s., because I like you and I do want you to come back, here are a few other things on my mind lately:
This cover of Capital Cities song Safe and Sound in an acoustic version that makes my heart swell. I know a few of you out there in the internet world get a little aroused when listening to these kinds of covers. You’re welcome.
This 2007 essay by Zadie Smith about writing.Fail Better is just the kind of thing that I’ve needed to read this week.
This post from NYMag. I love that it’s not photoshopped, click the little arrow on the right to see how it was made.
The movie Lady Bird. Which I LOVED SO MUCH. I’m also excited to see a few other movies in the next few weeks (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, The Post). It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
The Scandinavian Spa in Montreal that my mom and I went to on Thanksgiving day. It’s silent and has three hot and cold areas. The idea is to go from one to the other. Hands down one of the best things I’ve done in a while.
Hi friends! Long time no talk. How are you? How’s your November going? Thoughts on daylight savings? Three weeks till Thanksgiving? I’ve been keeping a list of things I want to write to you about in my journal and the list has finally hit more than a dozen so I figured it was time to break down and say hi here. Hi.
In ye old Stockbridge not much new is happening. I’m still working on my book (!!), still working part-time at the café, and still trying to teach Tato how to play dead. Other than that, going to the movies every week, and walking around town, not much new to report. But here are a handful of things I’ve been thinking about that I thought you might like too. Per usual, each of these things could have its own post but because I’m #writingamotherfuckingbook a short shout-out, for now, will have to do.
P.S. As per photo above I did end up getting bangs. I love them and feel v. French.
I finally broke down and watched the second season of Master of None on Netflix. Three important things about it 1) I’m in love with Aziz Ansari (Aziz, if you’re reading this, give me a call). 2) I want to be/own everything that the female lead Alessandra Mastronardi is/has on the show. Viva Italia. 3) I’m shocked how much the second season parallels my romantic life as much as the first one did at the time I saw it. Attempt numero-two for Aziz to call me. Let’s make a third season together. #seewhatididthere
Listen to this song by Post Animal. I’m going to see the band this week with two of my sisters and I can’t wait to hear them play “When I Get Home” live. P.S. Steve from Stranger Things is in the band and I can’t get over him since seeing S2 of the show and reading this GQ article. #ivebeensingletoolong #mrharringtongivemeacallalsoplease
I’m learning to tolerate black coffee.You read that right, Hart Beat. This month, for reasons, unbeknownst to me, I started the Whole30 diet. What it is is pretty much cutting out anything delicious in your life. I can’t have sugar, dairy. grains, or legumes of any sort. I’m currently on day fourteen and it’s going pretty well. I don’t hate it but the one thing that I’m surprised to now like is black coffee. Who am I?
Deciding whether or not I want to order my favorite holiday candle even though it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. The Wassail Candle from Farmhouse Pottery in Vermont is one of my favorite things. Last year I had it in my apartment and savored every moment of the 40 hour burn time. It’s not a cheap candle but, I promise if you like the smell of pine and evergreen trees you’ll love this. An added bonus is the adorable design of the box.
Listening to a podcast about my favorite album of all time. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend I found the second season of the podcast Dissect: A Serialized Music Podcast. The entire twelve episode series is a song by song analysis of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The 2010 album is one of my favorite of all time and I love hearing each song broken down and talked about. If you like (or hate) Kanya I highly recommend.
Send me your Montreal recommendations! I’m going to the Canadian city for a quick vacation later this month and I want your suggestions! I’m so excited since the last time I went to the city was when I was ten. It’s been on my list for years and I can’t wait to explore the city. Any coffee shop, bookstores, boutiques, restaurants, bars, live music that you love would be amazing. I can’t wait to pretend I’m in Europe for a few days. (Photo via To Europe Beyond.)
A New Richard Linklater movie is coming! I heard this great interview with the director on NPR the other morning and, even though I wasn’t crazy about Boyhood, I want to see his newest. Last Flag Flying, sadly, isn’t another installment of my favorite series but it does star Brian Cranston (swoon) so at least there’s that.
I’m almost done with my sweater! I started the knitting project a year ago and I can’t believe it’s almost done. I’m thinking of holding a Drake “Hotline Bling” inspired photo shoot when I’m done. Keep an eye on Instagram later this month.
This poster from Rise + Fall. Not much more to say about it other than it’s hanging in my writing studio now and is giving me all the encouragement I need when I sit down and try to write every day.