It’s starting to feel like home

The simple things that make a place feel like home. When I move, I generally first make the bed because it’s just nice to know it’s there and waiting when I’m ready.

I was so pleased to pick up some boxes from Chris and Betsy’s basement and find some coasters my niece and sister made for me, a superhero cape I made one Halloween, my grandmother’s wine glasses and photo albums.

Yesterday, Pam and Cluff helped me pick up the coffee table and wine cabinet I left in Chad and Lora’s house. My apartment has been nearly empty for seven weeks now! While I enjoyed practicing my headstands and cartwheels (oh, yes I did) in the empty space, it already feels cozy and less cavernous. The sofa arrives a week from today, and I cannot wait to cuddle up on it.

You can all come visit now.

The dining chair is filling in for the turquoise chair, which is standing in for the sofa.
I don’t love the TV in front of the windows, but things like baseboard heaters and outlets make it a tricky space to work around.


What’s your secret passion?

In my last post, I asked what you would keep doing if no one was watching.

Today I have another question. What would you try, if no one was watching? Don’t be shy, it’s OK to tell us in the comments. There’s no judgment. We’re all friends here on the internet.

Writing, Hemingway-style.
Writing, Hemingway-style.

I’ll start us off. I’d

  1. Sing. Despite a couple years of middle school choir, I can’t sing, but that doesn’t stop me when I’m alone.
  2. Headstands. I was always anti-headstands in yoga class. I usually go out of my way to protect my head, so balancing my body weight on it doesn’t sound like the smartest idea to me. But recently I did one with the help of a private yoga teacher. Know what? I didn’t hate it. I’d do it again.
  3. Write a book. My friend Navani and I decided just to go for it. We came up with an outline at a strategy session. Now we’re filling it in. Best-case scenario is we get a book deal and a tour. That turns into a hit TV series, more books and luxury apartments in Chelsea and Fort Greene with washers and dryers, room for dogs and separate bedrooms with doors that close.

OK your turn (REALLY!) tell me what you’d do if no one was watching. Come on, I told you about my singing thing. I’m going to go practice the “Frozen” song now.

What would you do in a world of no selfies?

If you were the last person on Earth, no one was left to impress, would you still do the things you do today?

This is the question Steven Pressfield asks in the book “The War of Art.”

I'd definitely keep wearing this dress.
I’d definitely keep wearing this dress.

I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read the last paragraph on the train yesterday. Would I still go to the gym a few times a week if I had no one to admire my hot ass, sculpted obliques and toned legs? Strength would still be an asset, but part of the reason I like my gym is the people in the classes and having a leader to follow rather than winging it on my own (and not pushing myself hard enough).

I’d have no reason to be a journalist, if I had no one to report the news to. But I think I would still like storytelling. I make up stories for my own entertainment all the time. I can’t imagine I’d stop doing that. In fact, I’d probably do more of it.

I also think it would be super fun to break into West Elm and Anthropologie and find beautiful things for my home and to wear. I wouldn’t have anyone to like my selfies, but that doesn’t mean I’d have to look a mess – especially if I keep working on my abs and arms.

Spoiler alert: If you would keep doing your thing if no one could admire you for it, you’ve found your passion. So, would you keep being a painter, writer, baker, candlestick maker?


Get cultured

Not true, Manhattan Mini Storage ad, not true.
Not true, Manhattan Mini Storage ad, not true.

When I first arrived in New York City, I took full advantage of all the culture around me. I was a regular in the Broadway ticket lines. I visited as many museums as would have me. I was all about flashing my NYU student ID . In fact, one Saturday, I hit three museums!

I went to MoMA, The Met, Guggenheim. I toured Irish immigrants’ housing at the Tenement Museum. I tried to touch the space shuttle at the Enterprise Sea, Air and Space Museum. I even went to a smell exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design.

Then that stopped.

In fact, I mentioned to a friend recently that the last museum I went to was the Chocolate Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. And that featured a cartoon, starring candy bar characters. Not exactly the height of sophistication (but free candy!).

I’ve since been to the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadow and the Ellis Island Museum.

IMG_6784My heart is telling me that my New York story is nearing its epic conclusion, so my head is telling me, “hurry up and visit more museums and see more shows!”

I was thrilled that my friend Jen asked if I wanted to see Much Ado at Shakespeare in the Park today. Um, yes!

Tickets are free, but you have to wait in line. It was the most sophisticated line wait I’ve ever done. People were reading from actual books – even while walking. I shared my blanket with strangers-turned-friends on either side of me in line. I enjoyed a nice Central Park breeze on a gorgeous day. And all that before show time!

Now to see which museums are open on my day off – Monday.

We’re moving!

East River, you're not invited.
East River, you’re not invited.

Welcome to Newest York City! Population: 8 million.

Bougie James had a brilliant idea. We ditch the island of Manhattan and surrounding boroughs and create a new New York somewhere with better weather and perhaps fewer superstorms. We will bring all the good of the Big Apple and leave behind the rats.

I’ve started a packing list, but you can add.


  • Bagel carts
  • Broadway
  • Wafels and Dinges truck
  • The Brooklyn Nets
  • Crunch Gym
  • Water
  • Accents
  • Bronx Ale House
  • CPZ penguins
  • The Met
  • Park Avenue Armory
  • Chelsea Piers
  • Upright Citizens Brigade
  • The Meatball Shop
  • Zog Sports
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Bodegas
  • Produce stands
  • Grand Central Station
  • SoHo
  • West Vibe Salon
  • Westside Opticians
  • Cronuts
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • John’s on Bleecker
  • The subway (but wash it first)
  • New York Rangers
  • WNYU
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • International Center for Photography
  • MoMA
  • Chelsea Market
  • Sidewalk sunglasses sales
  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • No pants subway day
  • Bike lanes
  • CitiBike
  • Sample sales
  • Katz’s Deli


  • Rats
  • Times Square
  • Staten Island
  • Pedicabs
  • The Knicks
  • Wall Street
  • Mid-City Gym
  • East River
  • Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
  • Yankees
  • Horses
  • Guys in finance
  • Princesses
  • Radiators with two settings: Off or 1,000 degrees
  • Corner markets
  • Penn Station
  • Crabby post office staff
  • Slow walkers
  • Jay-Z
  • The Today show
  • Film production
  • Sidewalk umbrella sales
  • Blue Man Crew
  • Show time subway dancers
  • Cockroaches
  • Dunkin Donuts

My favorite book

I have a book I’ve read dozens of times. I’ve purchased several copies as gifts (spoiler alert to my journalist friend Magdalene Perez). I even improv my own words from time to time.

My niece loved the book when she was little(r). She called it “top side, bottom side” because it went like this:

I love your top side and your bottom side.

I love your inside and your outside.

I love you walking and talking.

 I Love You Through And Through Board book by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak (Author), Caroline Jayne Church (Illustrator)

I Love You Through And Through Board book
by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak (Author), Caroline Jayne Church (Illustrator)

See how I can make up my own lines? And you thought I was a genius. I still like to read this one to my littles at night, you know, after the pony and superhero books they pick as bedtime stories. “I Love You Through and Through” is clearly a baby book. It’s durable hardback that little kids can crawl over, chew on and maybe even drop in the tub. My littles are a little too big for it, but that doesn’t stop me.

I love you swinging and climbing.

I love you baking and snacking.

I love you crabby and whiney.

But the last line is always the same:

I love you through and through, yesterday, today and tomorrow, too.

Yogurt goodness

Would you mix Greek yogurt with hummus?

Me neither until Quyn introduced me to the Chobani SoHo Cafe last summer. The cute cafe in the fashionable neighborhood does crazy things serve mango and avocado in yogurt.

My homemade version

But it’s delicious! My favorite is the Hummus +Za’atar (hummus, yogurt, whole chickpeas, olive oil an sea salt, served with pita chips).

I’ve decided to copy the recipe at home. I do a little more hummus than yogurt, so it looks like hummus. I added cucumber slices and carrots. Then I swapped the pita chips for gluten-free tortilla chips. It’s the perfect lunch or snack for warm days when I don’t want to cook. That pretty much means I’ve upgraded last summer’s go-to dinner of carrots and hummus to this.

Do you have your own yogurt creations? I’d love to hear. I’ve long been a fruit-and-granola-with-yogurt girl.

My identity

Empty space to be filled.
Empty space to be filled.

It’s ironic that while (very slowly) sorting out an identity theft situation, I’m taking a close look at who I am.

I’m taking a brand writing class, which is all about creating a brand’s image.

I’ve had a couple very eye-opening life coaching sessions. In the first one, I realized that my career isn’t top priority in my life. Yes, I want a fulfilling, challenging job, but more important is being close to people I love. And that closeness doesn’t necessarily have to mean geographically.

The second thing I learned is that my life doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. I thought marriage and kids meant living somewhere boring, watching a lot of TV, eating at chain restaurants and never doing anything adventurous or traveling. Meh, no thanks!

Turns out life doesn’t have to look like that!

It got me thinking about things I do want my Candace brand to be. I started the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis

I thought about how people have described me:

  1. Gets things done.
  2. Always brings dessert.
  3. Is serious.
  4. Is athletic.
  5. Is reliable.
  6. Is independent.
  7. Is always up for anything.
  8. Sells herself short.
  9. Is quiet.

And how I’d like to be described:

  1. Is adventurous.
  2. Is creative.
  3. Is funny.
  4. Gets things done when it matters.
  5. Is fun to be around.
  6. Has a great sense of style.
  7. Brings out the best in you.
  8. Knows her shit.
  9. Will never let you down.
  10. Loves big.

To be continued …

I swear I lived

Hanauma Bay, you complete me.
Hanauma Bay, you complete me.

In Hawaii, my friends and I talked a lot about the awesome things we’ve done in our lives. #YOYO. James went shark diving and didn’t let Navani and me forget that we didn’t. We, however, made friends with a pair of turtles on the beach while James was out in the deep blue sea.

So we posed for a honu selfie.
So we posed for a honu selfie.

I know I don’t care for having my breathing obstructed. Wearing masks, even scarves covering my mouth and nose make me uncomfortable, so I didn’t want to snorkel. But then we looked out Hanauma Bay, home to an amazing reef. When I saw it from the cliff, I knew I wanted in that water. We found some snorkeling gear in the shed and went to the beach. I tried it, but as predicted I hated it. My breathing was panicky, I started flailing around in the water and banged up my knees on the reef and crashing into fellow snorkelers. I was certain I was going to step on one of the pretty yellow fish and kill it, so I got Candace Nelson’s ass out of the water and let Navani effortlessly follow fish around the reef on her own. Even though it gave me anxiety, I was glad I didn’t let fear stop me from having an experience. I saw some cool fish and reef before I got out of the water.

But the trip got me thinking about the cool things I have done in my life. They’re not death-defying adventures, but they’re accomplishments I’m proud of nonetheless

1. Went parasailing on the French Riviera.

2. Went away to Western Washington University for college.

3. Drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge
In case you didn’t know what it looked like.

4. Summited mountains, like Mount Ellinor.
5. Biked Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is for bikers

6. Paddleboarded with seals in Seattle.

7. Moved to New York by myself.

8. Went bobsledding.

I'm not Canadian. Just a fan.
I’m not Canadian. Just a fan.

9. Knit two blankets.

10. Wrote articles thousands of people have read.

I have a dozens of unplanned life stories that I make me smile (now): Interviewing at a bodybuilding magazine, high-fiving Stephen Colbert, getting pulled over at gunpoint in Mexico, getting three restraining orders issued (to protect me, not against me), eating cupcakes with Tara until our bellies hurt. Life offers many chances to curl up or rise up. I hope for the rest of my life, I don’t fear taking the pain and owning every second. But maybe I’ll go easy on the cupcakes next time.What are the top 10 moments in your life? Please share!

This is my theme song of the moment.

Victory is so sweet

Readers who don’t care for the Seahawks can skip this post and read Oprah magazine instead. Here’s a link.

“This is our moment.”

I said those words to my friend Brandon after the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win on Sunday. We were excitedly walking toward Carlow East, the Seahawks fans’ meeting place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Some Giants fans had just called to us, “Now you know what it’s like to be us!”

I heard the same words while streaming the Seattle FOX affiliate’s coverage of the champions parade. This is Seattle’s moment. And Seattle showed what an incredible city it is and showed up for it. Preliminary estimates say 700,000 people crowded onto downtown streets in 20 degree weather to welcome the team home. The city’s population is 634,000. Anyone who knows Seattle isn’t surprised. Seattleites love their city. They are proud of it.

The Mariners call their fans “The Best Fans in Baseball.” Seahawks fans are known collectively as the 12th Man. Forbes names Seattle the most miserable sports city nearly every year. But that never stopped the city from loving its teams. That’s why Golden Tate, my favorite Seahawk, announced he’d take a paycut to stay with the Seahawks. “Honestly, I would rather take a little less to be happy and win ballgames than to take way more and go to a crappy city where the fans don’t give a crap about the team.,” Tate said in an interview.

Ken Griffey Junior, a Seattle icon, famously returned to the Mariners to finish his career because he loved the team he grew up and started his career with. Seattleites went crazy, knowing he’ll enter the Hall of Fame a Mariner.

Sports bring people together in a way politics and religion don’t. I had so much fun representing my city in New York the last week. I instantly bonded with other folks rocking the blue and highlighter green. I don’t even like Skittles, but I couldn’t not eat a handful while watching the big game. One of my favorite moments was watching the Empire State Building light up in blue and green right after the win.Thank goodness for friends with great views!

Watching the parade on TV made me so proud of Seattle and reminded me why I love that city. I keep thinking it’s time to wash my 12 hat and put it away, but I can’t stop pulling it over my ears when I leave my apartment. Maybe tomorrow.