The Future of Quarterlette.com

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We want to paint a picture for you. It’s the winter of 2013. It’s a snowy Saturday morning in February and while some people are frolicking around town or staying under the covers until noon, the two us are in our usual weekend spot: a coffee shop with our laptops in tow, chugging away at building Quarterlette. That visual was our reality for most weekends between 2011 and 2014 while we spent all week at our demanding day jobs.

People often said things to us like: “It’s just a website…how hard could it be? What takes so long? Why does it require so much work?” Ask anyone with a business – it’s the minutiae that occupies most of your time. For us, it was updating writer contact information, editing stories, ensuring our copyright agreements were up-to-date, monitoring our analytics, and so on.

The process is slow and gradual, but it’s worth it. The feeling that comes from building something from nothing is pretty special. The little milestones along the way, such as emails from women around the world sharing their love for Quarterlette, fueled us. That’s what kept us in the coffee shops on snowy…and sunny…weekends year-round, networking with writers, fixing lines of code, planning events, working with our brand partners, and thinking up new ways to support women navigating their quarter-lives.

Fast forward to February of 2016.

Our lives are little different. Our schedules a little busier….ok, and our age is a little older. Time typically spent in those coffee shops working on Quarterlette is spent elsewhere and it breaks our hearts a little realizing that we don’t have the time to give Quarterlette what it needs right now to grow. It deserves more love and care.

We didn’t want to just disappear, so instead we decided to write you all a letter letting you know that we’re going to take a short hiatus while we think through the future of Quarterlette. We’re not saying goodbye for good, but we need to regroup before moving forward and we want to be honest with our readers about that.

We’re so proud of the community that we + you created: our SQUAD!  And we still want to see that community thrive. This short break will help us do that.

In the spirit of the new year (you can still make new year’s resolutions in February, right?), we’re giving ourselves grace and recognizing that we’re not superhuman…we can’t do it all. Nobody can. Sometimes you need to take time off to pause and recharge before beginning again. And often when you begin again, you’re capable of even greater things.

With Love,

Rachel & Emily

A VERY IMPORTANT P.S. – As we regroup, we’re looking to bring on 3-4 powerhouse ladies to take the reins in the following roles: Editor-in-Chief, Director of Business Development, Managing Director, and a TBD role. These opportunities are for people who have day jobs but are looking to throw themselves into a passion project on the side. Compensation will be in the form of equity.  If you or someone you know is interested, please write to rachel@quarterlette.com and emily@quarterlette.com with the subject line: Quarterlette Team Opportunities 

 

 

My Uncurated Self: Emily

Emily’s photo, originally posted on Quarterlette’s Instagram account

Way back in July I moved out of New York City. My boyfriend and I had been moving my life down to Washington, DC since February after my roommates and I had decided against re-signing our lease and turned in the keys to our apartment of four years. However, July was the final Band-Aid pull. My last set of keys to a NYC apartment were left on my friend’s counter. The friend that had let me crash in her spare bedroom for the 5 months it took me to sort out my leap to DC. Matt and I were finally closing the distance gap on our two-and-a-half-year relationship, my new apartment now being 100 feet from his back door. Sounded perfect.

On our Quarterlette Instagram account, I help us post photos of myself (#E) doing exciting activities and the things that make life peachy. For the most part it is just so. Kayaking in the Potomac is a regular part of my workout routine; we go hiking all the time now, eat at fabulous restaurants, go to concerts, are still enjoying warmish weather (perk of moving further south), and rather than saying goodbye to Matt at the end of the weekend, we’re grocery shopping and making dinner. I work from home (living the dream, right?), which people perceive as my having the freedom to stay in my PJs all day and roam around as I please. Yup, perfect.

But it’s not. I have never been so lonely.

What I failed to realize is how difficult it is to pick up your life. I had moved to New York City with a “this is temporary” attitude and ended up staying eight years. Year after year, lease signing after lease signing, New York burrowed deeper into my heart. Despite the many tourists (I’m often convinced no one speaks English in this city, btw) blocking my path in midtown, people breathing on me during my subway commute and the lack of outdoor space, I fell hard for that place. I love its busy, fast pace, the fact that every band I ever wanted to see came through, the reliably yummy food, a Duane Reade on every other corner, my Metrocard that let me go everywhere, its grit. All of it. So while many people leave NYC hating its guts, I was still madly in love.

People often say they want to go back to college and re-live those years. I loved Penn State and all, but my twenties in NYC were the best years to date. Those weren’t even perfect; they were full of heartbreak, family emergencies and tough days at work, but they were the years I grew up. It was here that I started a successful website with a close friend, created family-like bonds with my roommates, grew closer to my actual family and learned that an adventure is always right around the corner if you take it.

So there I have been since July, missing this life while slowly embracing my new one. The dark side of myself that I don’t let you see includes the weekly deep sobs I try to mute into Matt’s shoulder. I deeply miss my family and often find myself looking at photos of my newishly born nephew with tears streaming down my face. Often, by the end of a busy day, I am so terribly antsy and agitated because I have failed to leave my apartment for fresh air. I still feel like I am missing out on what everyone is doing back in NYC and want so badly to be included in what people are doing in DC. Usually motivated to take on solo explorations, I had been too disoriented to convince myself I can figure out the city on my own. I had known my way around NYC so well and with such comfort.

Let me finish by saying, I do not regret my decision to move to DC. I have no urge to pack my bags and move back to NYC. I am slowly building a life here, seeing Matt every day, spending time with friends and building relationships with new ones that I have made. I am over coming my disorientation one area of the city at a time by teaching myself how to get around. Mostly this means I’ve stopped calling Matt for directions when I get lost – relying on my own sense of direction, Google and strangers to find my way instead.

When you see the photos I post on Instagram I hope you like them. But I hope you remember that what is behind those photos is not picture-perfect. Those smiles are sometimes matched with eyes puffy with tears. I am not perfect. And you don’t need to be either.

 

My Uncurated Self: Rachel

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If you took a look at my Facebook page within the past 5 months, this is exactly what you would see:

May 3rd – Photo of me in Philadelphia with my amazing, adorable dog Colbie…playing in the park

May 11th – Picture with my brother, future sister-in-law, and cousin, having some tasty day time drinks and looking pretty darn happy

June 21st – Hanging with some of my closest friends at a baby shower, so excited for the first little munchkin to pop out

July 13th – An adorable picture with my future sister-in-law and cousins all dressed up, showing off our family love

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August 6th – Asking my friends to nominate Quarterlette for a Forbes recognition for the second year in a row

August 29th – Asking my network of Facebook friends if they know a php web developer because I need one immediately (sounding all cool and tech-savvy)

September 28th – Colorful, messy, smiley photos with Emily at the Color Run in DC – having the best time ever

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All of the above happened.  It was 100% real.  But it’s not the full story.  And you would never know that.

This is the full story:

May 3rd – Yes, I was hanging with my dog at home in Philly, but I was supposed to be in NYC that weekend because the guy I was dating was going to visit.  We ended things earlier that week, so the visit didn’t happen.  I’ve had serious relationships in the past, but dating – actually, not dating but meeting the right person – has been harder than I could have ever imagined.  I’ve had some difficult moments with that in my twenties, for sure.

May 11th – I was with my family having a drink because I was celebrating someone’s birthday, but the day prior to that, there were some changes at my full time job (the one that pays the bills) and I had to leave.  I don’t want to get into the details of what happened, but needless to say, it was a difficult day.

June 21st – I was beyond happy to be celebrating my friend at her baby shower, but I was also happy to be with friends that weekend because I was spending a few months of the summer at home in Philadelphia (with my parents) while someone sublet my apartment so that I could save up money.  And that was not the first time I had to move home to my parents’  house in my twenties.

July 13th – That photo was taken at a family celebration and I did have such a great time being with my family.  But I was also really nervous to attend the party!  I was anxious about the potential questions from extended family and friends about both my romantic life and professional life (you know the drill at family occasions…it always happens).

August 6th – Emily and I found out that the Forbes award was open for entries just days before they were closing nominations.  That award was one of the main things that contributed to our growth last year, so what the heck would happen if we didn’t get that recognition again?  I’ve sacrificed a lot personally and professionally for the sake of this website (and at times have debated whether it has been worth it).  Mini freak outs were taking place behind the scenes.

August 29th – I was asking for a PHP web developer recommendation not to sound all tech-savvy, but because we hired a random person from a freelance platform who ended up charging us hundreds of dollars while simultaneously breaking our site. The site broke for a day or so and we couldn’t get our money back.  Luckily, that post on Facebook put me in touch with someone who fixed it….but, of course, only after paying more money.

September 28th – I had the best time with Emily at that Color Run in DC.  But in addition to running the race, I was spending time in DC to see how I liked the city since I might be saying goodbye to my life in NY.

So, here’s the thing.  Both part 1 and part 2 happened.  Both of those are the truth.  But looking at my Facebook page, you would never know part 2.

As I mentioned in my introduction letter to Quarterlette a few years ago, I really don’t like talking about my personal life.  I’m a pretty private person.  So even posting this is a bit nerve-wracking for me.  That being said, in the spirit of uncurating my social media feed for the day,  I wanted to reiterate the message that we’ve all heard so much…you can’t compare your real life to everyone else’s highlight reel.

It’s easy to browse Facebook and Instagram and think: wow her life looks great, look at her job, her husband, her nights out, her babies, her pretty photos, her travels, her home…you get the idea.  It’s easy to feel like your life doesn’t always measure up.  So, more than ever, it’s important to remind ourselves that what you see isn’t the full story.  You mostly see the glittery, magical things.  And that’s normal!  Because life’s incredible moments – relationships, careers, travels, children – should be shared and enjoyed. I will continue to share my own happy moments in the future and will relish the happiness shared by my friends and family.

But while those enviable moments make up a huge part of who we are, our flaws, embarrassing stories, and struggles make up who we are as well.  They make us human.

So what’s wrong with sharing some of those not-so-perfect moments with everyone?  Because it’s scary!  Being honest with the public about who you really are isn’t always fun…it’s hard enough being honest with yourself.  But it’s ok to show the real you on occasion.  There’s strength in vulnerability.

I hope you join us by sharing something personal on your social media feeds today.  And try not to worry what others think.  Well, actually that’s pretty hard because let’s be serious, we all worry what others will think.  But for this moment, screw them.  Our ups and downs make us a complete person and sharing that can be empowering.

#MyUncuratedSelf

 

Blog Crush: VinePair

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While making friends in the blog world we came across VinePair, a website dedicated to showing folks the ropes of enjoying (sometimes fine) wine.  Hating the pretension that often surrounds wine, they developed VinePair to empower wine enthusiasts and novices with the information they need to talk about wine and choose a delicious bottle.  In wanting to contribute to their community, Qlette’s Emily wrote them up a special guest post and we’re excited to share it here!


Moving Day, Cigars & Cigar Zin Wine

By Emily Long

Walking into the apartment, my roommate and I are hit with the stale smell of last night’s cigars and just-dried paint. Neatly piled on the floor of the empty living room is the bottle of wine and mini bottles of alcohol we consumed the previous evening – no point in moving them to the new place. Along with those remnants of our farewell drinks are some of the remaining cleaning supplies, the cans of leftover paint and other items we’ve returned to discard. The things we couldn’t bare to lug back with us the previous evening.

At 25 years old, we are moderately irresponsible adults. Rather than spending the last few weeks slowly packing up the last three years of our lives, we put it all off until the last night to do it in one final sprint before the movers showed up Friday morning. Perhaps it was our way of holding on tight to our first adult apartment, not quite ready to abandon our cozy, Upper East Side home for the much cooler and more convenient Chelsea digs (though let’s be real, we were itching to get out of the nexus of recent college grads and strollers).

It took all night, but we packed those boxes and managed to snag a few hours of sleep before the movers arrived. They swept through the apartment tossing our smaller boxes into bigger, more efficient ones, and ran them down the five flights of the walk-up like magic. So happy we weren’t the ones doing it. In what felt like a minute, the apartment that had collected so many gadgets, clutter and memories was near empty. My roommate and I scooped up our smaller and more valuable items that we couldn’t risk putting in the hands of someone else and jumped in a cab to meet the movers at our new home.

Unsurprisingly, we also hadn’t budgeted any time to paint the walls back to the bland white that would get us our much-desired security deposit back. Luckily, we had held on to our keys since the lease wasn’t up until that Monday. Regardless, we still ended up waiting until Sunday evening to get to work. Coming from drinks on the Upper West Side, we bribed a friend to pick up the paint at the local hardware store before it closed at 5pm. As one can infer, it was dark out on that January 31st evening, so we got to it with the two lights left in the apartment – one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen, neither of which was where we had to paint. Though it’s not quite how we pictured passing the first Sunday night after our move, that’s where we found ourselves. Two cans of paint and two light bulbs.

After we finished coating the green walls we had painted two years earlier on one chilly, fall Saturday night on a whim, there wasn’t much left to do but open a bottle of wine that had been left behind. It was the bottle of Cigar Zin we had picked up on a girls’ trip to Napa. A pricier bottle to us at the time, we had been saving it for a special occasion where the suitable cigar pairing would be deemed appropriate and, well, this seemed right.

Sitting there well into the night, we worked our way through the wine talking about all the memories of the last three years and all of those before that. We’ve known each other since we were three years old, so there is always much history to rehash and dissect. Eventually the bottle emptied itself and the cigars smoldered to the end. After one daring look, we finished off the airplane bottles of tequila and vodka that were in the freezer, packed up and headed to our new home.

The next morning we came back one more time to dump the trash, lug our unwanted belongings to the thrift store and say goodbye one last time. The white walls signaled that it no longer belonged to us and took the sting off of shutting the door behind us with the keys left on the counter. We trucked the last of what was there down the five flights of stairs, bequeathing our charmed, fresh-to-the-city life to the next tenants.

 

Blog Crush: What Boys May Come

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We’ve been around the Internet a few times and, often, find ourselves down a rabbit hole of new blogs and fascinating, funny or (depending on the day) heartbreaking articles.  Rather than keeping those gems to ourselves, we’re creating a destination to share our favorites.  This is where Blog Crush comes in.  A few times a month we’ll be reposting articles from sites that we think you should be reading to help navigate your quarter-life – or, in some cases ones, that give you a much needed a break from reality.

First up?  A new blog called What Boys May Come where they are inviting women to anonymously dish their best dating stories.  Below is one of our favorites.  We hope you love it too!

Article originally published by What Boys May Come on February 6th, 2014.  Addicted to dating stories?  Check out the full roster on their website and follow them on Twitter to keep up on their latest tales.  

Steamship Soulmate? by What Boys May Come

Six months after graduating college I reluctantly decided to try online dating. “Everyone’s doing it” everyone said.  Within minutes I had a message from “you_happier.” He was a 6’2” blonde film enthusiast who sent me a story about how he almost saved a woman’s life. While normally such a message would make me cringe and delete my account, my post-collegiate stress disorder (or PCSD) was in full effect, so I agreed to meet him for coffee at Grey Dog Café in Union Square.

He was already seated when I arrived, hands wrapped eagerly around a balloon-sized coffee mug. He was wearing a dark blue beanie, plaid shirt and tight jeans with one leg rolled up for easy bike access. I took a seat across from him, ordered a cappuccino, and we got to talking. Two hours later I wandered across the street to a friend’s apt, who was in the midst of redecorating. Seated in a pile of throw pillows she asked “So?” to which I replied, “We’ll see.”

One week later he invited me on a “proper date” which began at a whiskey bar on Pearl Street. We discussed music for what seemed like days over a plate of fries and multiple Manhattan’s. He (seemingly spontaneously) decided we should take a stroll by the South Street Seaport. While walking by the vast abyss of water, precariously cradling enormous vessels of all kinds, I started to feel like I could really date this guy. I was, in fact, me happier.

Suddenly he pulled me closer to the gate stopping tourists from falling into the East River and said, “Let’s go onto this ship” pointing to the oldest steamship of the lot. I hoped he was kidding, but he definitely wasn’t. He took my purse, threw it onto the ship, then one leg after another hoisted himself over as well, leaving me alone without any possessions that could get me the hell out of there. Slowly but surely I followed suit.

Without skipping a beat, he pulled out a flask from his jacket pocket and started playing jazz from his phone. “This was planned?” I asked. “Oh, absolutely” he replied with a satisfied smile. He came over to me and started slow dancing, our bodies rocking with the water.

You_happier was wonderful. I broke it off two weeks later because I wasn’t over my ex. Figures.

 

Help Us Make The List

Vote For Qlette

Hey Guys!  Forbes is putting together a feature on the 100 best websites for women and we would love your help in getting Quarterlette on that list!  All you have to do is nominate us.  Here’s How:

Step 1: To nominate the site, simply follow the link below, scroll to the bottom of the article, and leave a comment.  You can either create an account with Forbes.com (takes a minute) or you can login through your social media account.

Step 2: Once in the comment field, you can leave a comment based on your fan level:

Level 1 Fan: You’re busy, we totally get it – just write the words Quarterlette.com! and you’re good to go

Level 2 Fan: You want to vote, but you’re not one to openly share your love publicly. Just write some version of “Quarterlette.com is a fantastic destination for women navigating the quarter-life years”.

Level 3 Fan: If Quarterlette doesn’t make that list, you’ll be so freakin’ close to knocking down the office doors of the Editors demanding immediate answers.  You can write the website URL, elaborate on what makes Quarterlette special to you and why you think it should make the Forbes list.

In  all seriousness, we work on building Quarterlette every single day because we love having a community where women in their twenties and thirties can read and share true stories about their experiences.

By voting for Quarterlette, you’re not just voting for us – you’re voting for a group of 90+ contributors from around the world whose stories have helped to provide a little support, guidance and inspiration as we navigate this time of our lives.

All our love and appreciation – Thank You!

VOTE HERE

 

Happy Six Months

Photo: Emily Long

Six months.  If this were the start of a relationship, we might just say this is when it’s getting serious.   Those quaky days of wondering whether or not he’ll call are long gone and while you may still be wondering if he’ll soon utter “I love you” or take you home to meet his parents, you’re comfortable in calling him your steady boyfriend when introducing him to a table of friends.   You text him back without hesitation of sounding too eager and you’re confident. Yet, you know there’s still a lot of work to be done to keep the happiness alive, the feelings fresh and the relationship moving forward.

This is where we sit with Quarterlette.   Far enough down the road to know there’s no going back but not foolish enough to think we can just rest back and not put in any further effort.  Our team here is dedicated to growing the community we’ve worked to develop over the last six months (+ the 1.5 years pre-launch), anxious to see where it leads and want to thank you all for getting us here.

Happy Six Months!

xo,

The Qlette Team

 

The Launch of Qlette Style Stories


A friend of mine in the fashion industry recently told me that she thinks personal style (your clothes, your accessories, your hair, etc.) can often times say more about you than words.  In her opinion, your style, and the way in which you present yourself to the world, can provide someone with a lot more insight into who you are, how you feel, and what you’re about.

Last week, Emily and I had the opportunity to talk about this idea with someone who uses the word “Style” on a daily basis:  NYC Stylist: Liz Teich.  After taking a look at our own sense of style, I (Rachel) realized that I often fall back on my go-to comfy outfit – jeans, flat boots and a striped shirt.  As for Emily, she likes wearing dresses but finds that she wears the same type of dress all the time.  Hm I wonder what that says about us?  While we weren’t looking for a drastic change, we wanted Liz to help reinvigorate our wardrobe and open our eyes to new looks that were easy to wear and affordable while still allowing us to feel like ourselves.

When we initially discussed this project with Liz, we knew that we wanted her style tips to benefit you guys, our readers, as well.  We decided to film everything so that you could hear what Liz had to say herself.  We were also lucky enough to work with an awesome videographer, Joe Pioggia and Makeup Artist, Allison Brooke to help create the first of what (we hope!) will be many videos called, Style Stories.

The premiere video (which we’ll post on the site in a few weeks) will showcase our shopping trip with Liz to TJ Maxx where she’ll introduce us to new outfits and provide helpful tips and inspirational style ideas.   We also shot a make-up tutorial video with Allison Brooke where she’ll talk about her top make-up tricks and favorite products of the moment for easy, simple looks.

Below are some behind-the-scenes photos from our shoot.  We can’t wait for you to see the video and to hear what Liz and Allison have to say.  Stay tuned!

xo – Rach & Em

P.S. Thanks Alyssa for the photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Pink October

Photo: Emily Long

Happy Fall, everyone! We hope you’re enjoying the nice weather. Ok, we usually cringe when people talk about the weather but this is an exception because we absolutely love October. Wearing sweaters, watching the leaves change, buying pumpkins.

Another big part of October that’s much more serious, and highly important, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, you’ll notice hundreds of companies and organizations showing their support in a variety of ways from hosting events and 5Ks, to selling limited edition pink products, all designed to increase awareness of Breast Cancer, encourage women to take charge of their health and support those who have been affected by the disease.

Throughout October, we’ll be showing support in our own way by debuting our new pink ribbon logo. Like us, I’m sure you all know someone who has been affected by Breast Cancer so please take the time this month to show your support in any way that you can….even if it’s just adding a little bit of pink to your desk at work or your social media platforms.

We also welcome your stories here on Quarterlette. If you would like to share a personal experience that you went through or you would like to write a tribute to someone special who battled Breast Cancer, please let us know and we’ll be happy to get your story up on the site this month.

Have a great October…and be sure to show a little pink.

-Rachel & Emily

P.S. A BIG thank you to Lauren DeMattia for helping us with our ribbon logo!