Three Short Things

little essays about nothing and everything.

Hold the Elevator

The “door-close” button has been out in one of the elevators in our building, and I’m fairly certain my fellow residents now dread the gamble they make each time they approach the landing—ready, waiting, eager to be whisked to floors above and below; then, when the ping of the sad, defunct car on the right announces itself, they shuffle in, deflated.

We all knew this was coming. For weeks the top edge of the button had slowly become more and more wedged into the panel behind it, daring everyone to push it harder. One day (though, conceivably many different days for each of us), we all walked into the car, jammed the door-close button to expedite our journeys up and down, and…nada. No orange light, no reassuring ding. Just a button that didn’t depress—except, what it depressed metaphorically within each of us—and elevator doors which remained open for seven long, excruciating seconds.

Over the last month, as I’ve stood in the right side elevator, carrying boxes from the package room, or wrangling Lucy, or simply shifting from foot to foot in awkward silence with neighbors I swear I’ve never seen before, I’ve thought an embarrassing amount about those seven seconds.

City living is so funny. I dwell in far closer proximity to my neighbors than I ever did when I was growing up in a single family home in Texas, and I notice all types of silly things about the people who live around us, without ever knowing them at all. Urban neighbors set a particular rhythm and write the song of how the building looks and feels and sounds. Because of the way our building is laid out, I can see across a courtyard into neighbors’ homes; I know how they decorate, who works from home like me, who stays up late, who’s never there, who works out all the time. I’m sure they know the same about us.

The patterns of the people in the building are a reassuring constant, like daily visits from friends who actually aren’t. The door-close button is really the thing holding this all together, I realized one day, standing in the elevator whilst leaning grocery sacks and a pack of toilet paper against the handrail, waiting, praying for the doors to close. We tap tap tap it to quickly enclose ourselves in the car, fantasies of our neighbors in tact, small talk only required in the most dire of circumstances. The guy across the way who rides his Peloton at 11:30 at night and does squats while watching reality TV can remain just that—the door-close button prevents ever having to change the narrative of these observations and imaginings. And yet, catch a ride with someone who strikes up a good conversation, and you realize how much you’ve missed. Or not.

This is high density living in a nutshell.

I’d stopped any attempt at using the button until last weekend, when Joe and I wandered into the elevator and out of habit, I reached around and jabbed at the button so we could descend two floors seven seconds faster than we would otherwise (a discussion about taking the stairs can be had another day). And then—magic! The button worked! I turned around and marveled to Joe.

“The door-close button! It’s finally back!”

“Yep,” he replied, looking at me like I was a little crazy. It might be the same look you’re giving your screen now.

“It’s been out forever. It’s basically thrown the entire building into an uproar.”

I know this because one morning about two weeks ago, a sign appeared on the right side elevator announcing work was being done on it that very day. I saw it when I walked into the building lobby, at the same time as a neighbor. We both noted the sign, and a beat passed.

“Maybe they’re fixing the buttons!” I commented. He mumbled his agreement, then walked away to take the stairs. In almost three and a half years of living here, I swear I’d never seen him before in my life.

Two more essays, below… View more

VMS Digest: Vol XIII

Yay links! For your weekend reading pleasure, a round up of articles, posts, random videos, and other things I’ve been saving for this edition of VMS Digest:


CREATE FOR YOURSELF FIRST // Definitely my favorite link of the week. This post was such a good reminder to create with no one in mind but yourself. The rest will happen naturally. (Subsequently, I’m interested in the author’s new book, An Audience of One)

I’M SO EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE // Yes, yes, here’s your plug for Crazy Rich Asians. Joe and I are going on a dinner and movie date tonight to see it and I’m really looking forward to it! I’ve actually never read the book and had no idea what the story was about until seeing all the press for the movie. Have you read it? Assuming yes, because pretty sure millions of copies have been sold and I’ve been living under a rock. I enjoyed this analysis of what it’s like seeing the movie as an Asian American, and this piece on how the Asian American community is trying to ensure the movie has a “gold open.”

THE ESSENCE // Remember how I talked about Missha’s Time Revolution Essence back in this post? Well, a) it’s amazing and you should definitely get it, but b) you should also know that essences are the thing now. Here’s why.

I KID // Jess’s post about “The Kid Question” was real, raw, and totally spot on.

SPEAKING OF MOTHERHOOD // Did you catch this article about what motherhood is like these days? I’ll admit, this freaked me out a bit (and it sounds like it’s spot on). Do I sound like an old lady if I take this moment to lament: “What is this world coming to?”

COOK FREE OR DIE // To be honest, I have not been able to watch any episodes of Parts Unknown from the most recent Berlin episode on, because I was extremely impacted by the loss of Tony Bourdain. He was very much a part of my culture, from the moment I decided to go to culinary school back when I was a senior in college, through more recent years where he was on my mind as I traveled. Anyway, I’m curious about (and tentatively interested in?) this documentary CNN is apparently planning. If you’ve watched any of Bourdain’s stuff from No Reservations on, Zero Point Zero is the production company he always insisted on working with (i.e., they’ve made some seriously good work), so I’m hopeful the film will do him justice.

INFJ // So the last time I ever took a Myers-Brigs test was probably ten years ago. I kind of wonder if my personality type has changed since, but back then I was steadfastly an INFJ. Based on this fun article about what you need from your friends based on your type, I suspect I haven’t changed that much.

SPAGHETTI PHYSICS // This is a Joe contribution. He sent me this super nerdy article about how physicists have finally figured out how to break a handful of dried spaghetti into two clean pieces (Praise be! The world had been waiting!). You know how broken spaghetti normally shatters into a million pieces? Apparently “no one” knew why, so researchers decided to figure it out. Like I said: super nerdy. But totally your weekend small talk factoid. In other news, I have questions about why anyone is purposefully breaking long pasta into sections anyway.

LOVE FOR SEOUL // A friend from my Korea tour posted this really cool video that perfectly encapsulates Seoul. Even if you have no interest in going or knowing anything about Seoul, the painstaking effort to make this video (those edits! the cuts!) is really, really impressive and fun to watch. The director shared a behind the scenes discussion too — he shot 2TB of footage for this 7 minute video, which is crazy!

CURCUMIN // If you’re into DIY beauty like me, you should check out Grace’s recipe for a DIY turmeric and yogurt face mask! Her version is actually very similar to a recipe my facialist gave me early this year, so even the experts agree — yogurt masks are wonderful.

WHO TOLD YOU YOU HAVE TO LOOK GOOD? // A thought-provoking, powerful essay about the pressure to “look good” all the time. Maybe my second fave read of the week!


what i’ve been shopping

+ Requisite contributions to Everlane’s bottom line: I scooped up a couple more Air tees, and their new V-mule. For the Air tees, I love these because the material is SUPER soft, and they’re perfectly oversized and slouchy, making them great for a half-tuck with denim. The V-mule is everything—probably my favorite shoe from Everlane, ever. They’re just so simple yet chic yet modern and versatile. Two thumbs up!

+ Am I a newly minted K-beauty addict? But more importantly, how had no one ever told me about Soko Glam? I just received my first order of beauty goodies from this site focused only on Korean beauty products, and I’m excited to integrate and try everything. I used this mega Vitamin C serum last night for the first time; I’ve never seen a Vitamin C product with such a high dosage! The bottle also looks great on your bathroom counter ;) I also caved and am trying one of those snail essences everyone talks about. For the price point, why not?



Recent posts from around these parts:

+ Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about therapy

+ An artist I came across in Seoul, making classic blue and white ceramics but with a (literal) twist

+ Reflecting on my trip to Korea, one month after

+ Reviewing Everlane’s latest slingbacks

+ A little moodboard for August!


studio digest

+ Launched: Sydne Style, Chronicles of Frivolity, and with two big builds debuting in the next month or two. It’s been busy!

+ Over at <em>press, we’ve been posting regularly to our company blog, about all things, well…blogging! We’re also getting ready to launch media kit templates, if you’re into that kind of thing.


Wishing you a great weekend ahead!!


After taking some time for myself in July, work has ramped back up in a big way in August. I’ll be the first to admit the early part of the month was a real doozy—nothing like answering emails, tons of meetings and calls on your calendar, and looming deadlines to give you a shock to your system after so much time away. But in the last week or so, a lot of my work has been focused around inspiration gathering, and it’s left me feeling inspired alongside my clients. I wanted to put together a simple moodboard with some images I’ve come across recently and truly loved.

A few little details: I’m working on a rebrand for an existing client, and am loving the earthy, natural, sophisticated vibe she’s after. These two pins really spoke to me as I pulled visual inspiration for her. My buddy Tristan recently shot this beautiful image of a magnolia on her iPhone. She’s working on getting this printed so if you love this image as much as I do, follow her on Instagram so you’ll know as soon as prints become available! When I saw this particular image on Instagram, it transported me back to summers in Texas: swimming in the Frio River, jumping in to Lake Travis, diving head first into my grandmother’s perfectly still, blue pool. Summer in a nutshell, isn’t it? Finally, earlier this week Meg shared an incredible project in which she took unused/unloved makeup samples and created truly stunning art with them. I loved the creativity behind this project as much as the resulting pieces!

Anyhoo, just a little something pretty I felt like putting together today. I hope it brightens your Wednesday!