Tuesday 21st September 2021
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The GOACA list: things that made my life better in 2015


We’ll start with something thoroughly predictable coming from me: a Fornasetti candle. Not just because they’re pretty to look at, but because the Otto scent in particular—with notes of thyme, lavender, cedarwood, and birch—is heaven.

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I have extolled the virtues of R13 jeans many times, but no list of items that bring me happiness would be complete without them, as theirs is the only denim I ever wear anymore. The folks at R13 have figured out the trick of how to make denim with stretch not look stretchy (which for me is the kiss of denim death), and the cut flatters those of us with actual hips. They are pricey, it is true. But because I pretty much live my life in jeans, I consider the investment to be worth it.

Russ & Daughters

Photo via NY Eater

I live on the Lower East Side, on the very street where my grandmother was born, and not far from where my great-grandfather had his glass factory. And the sense of history and connection I derive from this is a big part of how I have learned to love my scrappy, un-manicured neighborhood after leaving the idyllic West Village. Most of the businesses that existed 100 years ago are long gone, but Russ & Daughters—famous purveyors of smoked fish—prevails. Their newish cafe on Orchard Street is loyal to the spirit of the original Houston Street store without drowning in retro, and they make a mean sturgeon and scrambled eggs. I do everything in my power to have all of my lunch dates meet me there.

curling iron

You press a button on this curling iron and it automatically whirls your hair up on its own—a gimmick, perhaps, but one that actually works: I swear it makes my hair smoother than its non-whirly counterparts. And it gets hot enough to do the job, but not so hot that your hair starts to smoke.

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Historically, I have been a disaster at growing plants, but when I moved into my current apartment, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and light for days, I figured I had no option but to try. Thank God for succulents—most of which I buy at neighborhood plant store Green Fingers—because as long as you get light, they’re all but un-killable. And they remind me of Los Angeles, the place I most fantasize about living when winter in New York gets deathly.

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I have a habit of going too far between shampooing, a reality that would be altogether gross if it weren’t for this Oscar Blandi hair powder, which combats dirty hair flatness brilliantly, and has the best, just-washed lemony-fresh scent.


My friend Michelle and I met in June when I was in Massachusetts, and we discovered within the first minute of knowing each other that we lived in the same building—one floor apart.  All I have ever wanted is a building bff, and even though she is much younger than me—Michelle is 27—she is the perfect specimen of just that.  She can be goofy and kind of a spaz—in a good way—but she’s also deeply loyal and whip-smart and wise in a way one doesn’t necessarily expect somebody in their twenties to be wise.  And she makes me the best playlists on Spotify.

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Of all the bags I own—and I own (and continue to acquire) quite a few—it is my Clare Vivier Sac Bretelle that sees the most action. It fits a surprising amount, goes with everything, and wears incredibly well.

ysl eyeliner

I’m disloyal in the extreme when it comes to mascara—I routinely fall for one, then trade up once I find something I’m convinced is better—but there is only one eyeliner for me, and it’s this one from YSL. Because it goes on just thick enough to make my eyes pop, but not so thick that I look scary, and because its felt-tip-ish applicator makes it easy for even makeup clods like me to apply.


Transparent makes hating Amazon really hard: it’s so brave, smart, funny, and poignant—and just delightfully, unabashedly Jewish, which is something that you almost never see.

nespresso pixie

My Nespresso Pixie machine, tempermental as it is.

the boys

And finally, these guys: my nephews Abe, Eli and Henry (here at our family’s house in Sag Harbor last summer), who are three of the cleverest, sweetest, most hilarious and altogether fantastic creatures I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. For a variety of reasons both within and outside of my control, I’ve never become a mom. But the love I feel for these boys has an intensity unlike any love I’ve ever felt. I am grateful to my brothers and their wives for sharing them so generously with me.


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And then of course, there’s all of you, who make my life better every year: your humor, your loyalty and your smarts are a constant inspiration. You’ve made my life richer.

And with that, I leave you for the holidays. For those of you who love this time of year: go forth and enjoy. For those of you whose feelings run more toward loathing: it’ll all be over soon. I’ll be back on the 4th, so see you then.

Posted on December 23rd, 2015 28 Comments

28 Responses

  1. Dana D says:

    This is a cool list from a beautiful woman. I am touched by your words of love for the boys in your life.

    Have a peace-filled and deserved rest from your work…

  2. Debra says:

    Here’s wishing you a peaceful and restful season. Thanks for sharing your cool outlook on fashion, beauty, literature, art and life with us all year long!

  3. laurajeanorama says:

    Best list of the year! So glad to have discovered you. xo

  4. Heather says:

    Happy New Year! And yes, that dry shampoo is simply the best.

  5. Jess says:

    great recommendations, and i love your auntie love.
    -another auntie

  6. caroline says:

    I love Transparent for the exact same reasons.
    FYI,My Grandfather had a chandelier factory down there for a while. Maybe they haggled over the price of glass….
    Thanks for adding some extra happiness to my morning coffee.
    Have a wonderful holidays!

  7. Heather says:

    Kim, I love that you live on the street your grandmother was born on. Thank you for this list, for all the smartness you brought to your readers this year (fashion and otherwise), and to the fellow readers for their commentary. This is a great community.

  8. Anna says:

    Bravo! And thank you for being the second place I go (after the NY Times) without fail, every single morning.
    – a

  9. y.k. says:

    thank you!! i so look forward to your blog posts -it’s the perfect (&Rare!) combination of smart& fluff &kind &funny!

  10. marjorie says:

    Have a great vacay, Kim! (And I want to hear more about your family’s LES history!!) Happy New Year.

  11. Debra M says:

    Thank you for this blog! See you next year!

  12. Judy says:

    Thanks, Kim! See you next year.

  13. Pilar says:

    Wonderful list, Kim! I would love to live on the LES and be building BFFs with you and Michelle! Wishing all GOACA a happy and healthy 2016!

  14. lindanyc says:

    Thank you so much for your always-thoughtful post. Happiest of holiday seasons to you, dear Kim of GOACA. xo

  15. Raina says:

    I hope your Hanukkah was lovely and your New Year is even better.

    Thank you for doing what do you do better than anyone!

  16. gablesgirl says:

    Thanks for all your wisdom, Kim. I’ll be in NYC this weekend and R&D is at the top of my list.

  17. Mary Alice says:

    Thank you Kim, I look forward every day to your humor, wisdom and excellent taste. Enjoy your time off and hold your family close! (PS, younger daughter went to NYU and lived on Clinton Street for a couple of years. She loved the LES).

  18. Jess says:

    Happy new year and thanks for sharing yourself!

  19. Viajera says:

    Happy New Year!!!

    (You know the little not-a-robot quizzes were a smidge annoying at first, but now it is nice, they make me feel smart. Wah wah wah.)

  20. Ljchicago says:

    There are many reasons I love your blog but one of the biggest is the intelligent, respectful comments. No trolls here!

    If you haven’t already, check out the Russ and Daughters movie by my friend Julie http://thesturgeonqueens.com

  21. Andrea says:

    Hey Kim: have a restful and fun break! Thank you for the great year of fashion and other inspiration.

  22. Laura says:

    Best list of the year! But can we get a link to that spotify playlist??

  23. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    Enjoy your time-off with family, building BFF’s, and eat the best food while watching the smartest TV! Love ya’, Kim!

  24. Daisy says:

    HRF and I just read your post about the boys and we are deeply, deeply touched. In return, they are all enormously fortunate to have an aunt like you who loves them so completely; and with such genuine devotion. You are loved so completely. x

  25. Amy in CA says:

    Kimfrancisceptible – a term describing the effect you have on my fashion sense and buying habits, as in, “I am Kimfrancisceptible to buying that black cashmere sweater.”

  26. Viajera says:

    Re the R13 site: what stands out to me is their photo stylist(s). I kind of wanted all the shoes. I have never tried any of their pants on and don’t know if I could squeeze in, but someone over there knows what they’re doing photo-wise!

    And a decent portion of the other companies don’t. I try not to complain too much here (trying to cut down!!!), but some of these folks really have annoying websites. All photos with no navigation or info. Eeesh.

    • Viajera says:

      Ooh, btw, I don’t mean the other companies from *this* post. I mean that in general, when I click on links here, a non-zero number of times I feel like I land on the moon. And by complaining about it now, I have totally un-done my good karma from not complaining before. I start off giving R13 a compliment and then it devolves. Bad habit!!!