My contribution to the #WomenSupportingWomen challenge

This will come as a shock to no one, but I’m not much of an Instagrammer. I often wonder if this clearly lazy and careless approach to social clout has a devastating effect on my friendships or potential career opportunities. I am keenly aware that my life is oh-so post-worthy. I live in Manhattan with glittering skyscraper views waiting to be snapped from the rooftop of my building. I spend ample time in New Zealand, the land of snow-peaked mountains, glacial lakes and vast horizons. I wear cute outfits, drink coffee, buy artisanal croissants, pet fluffy dogs and shop for…


Freeway, 1966, Vija Celmins. Oil on canvas.

The roadside ad flashed in front of us looming large over the six-lane freeway. The smiling young Asian man in the photo dressed in a suit and tie looked like an actor impersonating an attorney. A headline in bold red letters ask blatantly: “Car Accident?” An 800-phone number listed below. Some amalgamation of digits specifically formulated to be memorable at a glance. It slotted into my line of vision immediately followed by a thought, “Car accident? Nah, that’ll never happen.” And then we felt the impact.

The box truck had slammed into our rear right corner, sending the car spinning…


Obliviously influencing strangers with cameras. Photo by @basilbacon

It’s a sunny morning and I just read somewhere on the Internet that we should take time to celebrate happy moments in life. I suspect that’s just a genius new way to procrastinate, but I’m in and I’m walking down to Laughing Man Coffee on Duane. This unassuming hole-in-the-wall place has made the most of its limited real estate by setting up benches and evergreens and faux grass right on the street beyond the curb. The chalkboard behind the baristas greets me with an optimistic incantation — All Be Happy. Flat whites are delicious but that’s hardly the point. …


As soon as the light sneaks its way into the bedroom, shamelessly squeezing into cracks around the black-out shades, Phoebie snaps into action.

On today’s agenda: food shopping. Eating out is so unhealthy. Must get avocado. Avocado is the good fat. Also, it’s like only $3 vs the $15 avocado toast brunch. Must save money! Also must research job opportunities at ad agencies! They pay well. Do yoga! Fuck it — do hot yoga! All those cookies you eat for dinner aren’t going to burn themselves. But wait, isn’t the new arm chair getting delivered today? It’s at the same…


The aftermath: missing windows and water damage.

The day a fire started in my new apartment could not have been more picture-perfect. It was an unusually warm Friday in mid-April. Early spring sunshine gently grazed the newborn cherry blossoms in Central Park. Dog walkers and runners smiled at me on my walk to work. My boss was out, and I spent the day scouting inspiration photos of sparse Scandinavian living rooms outfitted with jute rugs, southwestern throw blankets and Eames chairs for my Pinterest board.

I was a newly minted homeowner on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The charming one-bedroom in a 19thcentury coop on a picturesque historic…


My Berghain look, complete with bitch face. Photo by Mark Zee

At first, we observe the club kids from a safe distance, venturing out to a daytime party at ://about blank, a place on the fringe of Friedrichshain that boasts a sprawling outdoor garden. Here, dirty couches and bean bag chairs are nestled under the trees and every surface is occupied by cuddle puddles of disheveled clubbers in their early 20s who look like they’ve been on the party train for the past 24 hours. They’re a blurry mess of smudged eyeliner and tangled hair enshrouded in clouds of cigarette smoke. The uniform of choice is black, white and adidas. …


My knuckles are white from clutching the handle above the car door. We are speeding down a two-lane road, narrowly avoiding dogs, tuk-tuks and an occasional cow. The cows are especially nonchalant, stepping right into traffic like they own the place. Our driver is handling the car the way stunt drivers do in action movie chase scenes — seemingly aiming to put as many vehicles between us and the imaginary pursuers as possible. We swerve past everything and everyone. The fact that the oncoming traffic is mere meters away as we make our pass seems merely a nuisance. I close…


The towel is embroidered with my last name and tied with a pink ribbon. It awaits our arrival on the bed amidst rose petals next to more towels folded into a shape of a convincing crab. The kitsch is definitely in the details.

We’re here in transit, just for a few days, but while some cities instantly make me wish I could stay longer, in Singapore I’m overcome by a desire to get away. Humidity is oppressive. It chokes the air with profound intensity that doesn’t ease even when it rains. But the shopping malls are air conditioned and this…


I finally caved and started reading “Eat Pray Love.” I had just been to the best yoga class of my life in a jungle-themed studio with rice fields views. We chanted incantations to Ganesh for 20 minutes before bending into pretzel-like poses while breathing in self-acceptance. Before class four girls to my right hugged each other hello with such intensity, for a second, I thought they might be on Molly. Each had practiced with a string of japamala (Indian prayer beads) laid on the floor in front of her mat. After class I chugged an entire coconut, had a gluten-free…

Yulia Zee

Quit my day job to travel, think and write about things.

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