Alyssa J Cori

May 3, 2021

Taking a Break

I first started this blog in February of 2013. It took me a little while to get into posting consistently, but by May of 2014 I was ready to commit. Over the years I've gone from posting three times per week (including throughout college), to twice per week, and now once per week for the past four years.
Click to read now or pin to save for later. It's time for me to take a break from blogging and decide what's next!


Lately, I've been feeling uninspired. It could be because of covid and the restrictions that have kept my social butterfly self indoors, or it could be because I've been churning out content for the last 7 years, or it could be because my interests are changing and I don't have as much of a plan anymore with what I want to do with my blog. 

Whatever the reason (more reflection is required), I skipped blogging last week and realized that I need to take a break and think about what I want to do with this space. There are a couple ideas I think could reignite my excitement, but for now it's time to step away. 

I can guarantee that I'll still be posting on Goodreads whenever I finish a book and will be hoping on to Instagram sporadically as well. 

Thank you to everyone who has continued to read over the years and hello, I'll be back soon to anyone who is new. 

-Alyssa J
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April 21, 2021

Back in Time: B. Altman

If the name B. Altman sounds familiar to you, it's probably due to the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The star of the show, Midge, works in multiple roles there from makeup counter girl, to coat room attendant, to phone operator (though never as elevator operator, the role she originally applied for). Today, I want to share more about the life of B. Altman and his incredible contribution to my favorite New York City institution, the Met. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later. Learn all about the legacy of B Altman and how he contributed to the business and art scenes of New York City


Background

Benjamin Altman, or B. Altman, was born to immigrant Jews in 1840 and start out his career assisting his father at the family's dry goods store. He eventually took ownership and grew the company until it morphed into a department store. They moved locations and eventually its flagships ended up on Fifth Avenue and on 34th Street in 1906, with branches throughout the city and tristate area. For my New Jersey friends, B. Altman opened in Short Hills and while the store is no longer there, it gave way to the Short Hills mall. 


The Met

During this time, Altman was considered a "merchant prince" and by the time he died in 1913 he was worth over $1 billion in today's dollars. I realized that there was more to Altman's fame than his genius for merchandising (B. Altman was one of the first department stores to display clothing for different ages in specific sections) when I was reading about the history of the Met and started a chapter called "Princely Aspirations" (seeing a theme here?). He also lead the move to Fifth Avenue as a shopping destination, dubbed "Ladies Mile."

Upon Altman's death, his personal art collection was bequest to the Met. He has masterpieces from Rembrandt's to Chinese snuff boxes (!! if you know, you know) and his bequest put the Met "at the forefront of the world's treasure houses, with the Louvre and Madrid." Altman donated some of my favorite pieces and I love seeking them out around the museum. 
Rembrandt Self Portrait

A Girl Asleep by Johannes Vermeer
Wheat Fields by Jacob van Ruisdael

Personal Life

Not much is known about Altman's personal life. He did not have children of his own, but was active in the lives of his nieces and nephews, and worked closely with his older brother. His younger sister's husband was also a business partner, but was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan for supporting African American rights. His older brother died in his 30s from cholera, so Altman was left as a key provider for his family. 

He did not join any social clubs and more often than not elected to spend free time in his home with his art collection. His two great passions in life were business and art, and he proved himself to be an exceptional contributor in both arenas. 

Business Innovation

Aside from identifying the best locations for his stores and organizing merchandise in helpful ways, Altman was able to attract customers by keeping prices low and service exceptional. He kept as many as 500 horses next to his store so that he could provide home delivery for customers - wonder where Bezos got the idea for Amazon Prime delivery...

Altman took the approach of creating an experience that was not a necessity, but an entertainment. By having modern conveniences (like ventilation and carpeting), his store became a destination and not just a place to quickly shop. He also pioneered using windows as displays to draw shoppers in and established holiday windows as the norm on Fifth Avenue. 


Altman was one of the first to leverage catalogues to allow customers who didn't live in the area to still shop with him, and his artistic sensibility informed the design and merchandise in store and catalogue.  

B. Altman's influence in the art and business worlds was substantial, despite his private nature. It was exciting to learn more about the man who helped to put the Met on the map and who gave our friend Midge a job 😉

-Alyssa J

April 14, 2021

How To Make Fast, Effective Decisions

Back in 2017 I wrote a post about how to avoid decision fatigue and it's a great post, if I do say so myself. I highlighted how reducing the number of decisions you have to make in the first place is an important place to start and prioritizing the decisions you have to make is key to ensuring you're spending your time and energy on what matters most. I also wrote about 4 ways to make great decisions that goes into even more detail on how to come to an optimal decision.  

I love both of these posts and still use these techniques constantly in my life. A recent decision and conversation made me realize that there aren't just big choices to be analyzed and totally unimportant decisions to minimize - there are also decisions that seem big, but that don't actually require a full four step process, so today I want to talk about those!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out this post to learn how to make fast, effective decisions


Joe and I made a few decisions recently that could be considered pretty "big," but we found them easy to make. I'll share more in a future post about what those actually were, but when I was telling a friend about it she was a little surprised about how quickly and seemingly easily we made the decisions. As I talked her through our thought process, I realized that we were able to do this because we recognized that there wasn't a significant long term impact on what we were choosing to do. 

Oftentimes we look at decisions and think that they are going to alter our lives entirely. This leads to us agonizing because we want to make sure that we are doing right by our future selves. But when you look back at all of the choices you've made up to this point in your life, how many have actually changed the trajectory of your story significantly? I'm going to guess not a whole lot. 

This understanding is liberating because you can make decisions more quickly with less heartache - after all, you can always make a change in the future! 

When you are facing a scenario like this, you can consider your options and sleep on it, but realize that sometimes it's best to just go for something by putting it into perspective and moving forward. Joe and I even flipped a coin while we were deciding on something because we knew that there was no "wrong" or "bad" decision and that it would be most valuable to save our time in a debate than weighing pros and cons. 

The goal of this post is to inspire you to let go of the notion that there is a "perfect" decision that requires much contemplation and to recognizing that it can often be best to just make a decision and see where things go, course correcting along the way. 

How do you make decisions? Do you find your daily and life choices easy or hard?

-Alyssa J

April 7, 2021

Happy Easter!

I'm taking this week off from blogging because I am celebrating Easter with my family! As you probably know, I don't actually write my blog posts at 5am on Wednesdays 😂 I write my blog posts on the weekend and so this is just a quick note to say hi and let you know that I'm off. 


Easter is such a special time (not just because it's the most important holiday for Catholics), but because it comes as we are emerging from winter and celebrating the start of Spring. I hope you are all taking time to reset and enjoy time with family. 

Happy Easter!

-Alyssa J

March 31, 2021

March 2021 Monthly Recap

The weather is finally starting to turn! We've had some beautiful days in the last week and I am so ready to soak up the sun and get to visit with friends outside. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later to check out what I've been up to in NYC this month!

At the start of the month Sheetal and I went to the NY Historical Society. There was a new exhibit on Bob Hope, and we were surprised to find costumes from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel included as well! 


Another fun exhibit this month was Goya's Graphic Imagination at the Met. Mama, Papa, Joe and I all went together and it was great to wander around. 

The Mrs. Maisel theme continued when the show was filming two blocks from our apartment! You can see the "Stage Deli" storefront in this photo. The photo of Rachel Brosnahan was taken by someone else, but I was there for that moment on my morning walk!


We have a balloon company on our block and they put up a beautiful display to celebrate going to 50% indoor dining capacity. It was so festive and literally went all the way down the street!

Lots of time was spent outside reading the past few weekends. Another what I've been reading lately post will be coming at you soon. 

Just some nice neighborhood sightings.


We also have done outdoor dining out a few times this month and it has felt so good to be back out with the people! 

What have you been up to in March? 

-Alyssa J