Friday, December 24, 2010

He's Making A List...

Yesterday, I worked with a group of three students. Two were very excited for the Christmas holiday while one was not. The unhappy student had gotten in trouble earlier in the day, and that negatively affected his feelings toward the holidays for the rest of the afternoon.

Every time the first two students exuberantly declared their love for Christmas, the third student attempted to thwart their enthusiasm. I intervened, of course, but it didn’t really change his attitude. I thought nothing would change his mindset until one of the other students offered his opinion.

“You know, maybe Santa checked his list twice and you weren’t on it. Maybe when he checked his list he found out you’re naughty, not nice,” he said in a matter-of-a-fact tone. “You should be better next year.”

Then he paused to let the unhappy student digest this information.

“Yup, I think I’m right. You’ve been naughty,” he concluded.

Here’s to hoping everyone has been nice, not naughty, this year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bad Timing

Apparently, having weird experiences on public transportation is a reoccurring theme for me this month.

On Thursday night, I took the train to Queens to meet Ben and friends.  I luckily found a spot to sit on the crowded train.  I wedged myself between two people and started to relax until I noticed the girl sitting across the aisle looked pretty woozy and pale.  Uh oh.

I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable about not feeling well, but I decided to “monitor” her.  I needed to know when to bolt if she was going to get sick and possibly projectile vomit across the car. 
I turned my head for two minutes, and when I looked back my eyes almost popped out of my head.  The girl sat with her eyes closed and a hand over her mouth as vomit dribbled through her fingers!


As soon as I saw her I almost got sick.  

Unfortunately, she threw up just as the subway doors closed.  She had to sit like that until we reached the next subway stop, which was about three to four minutes away.  She stood and stumbled across the car as soon as we the train began to slow down and we neared the stop.  She stepped over a man’s legs and when the doors opened she leaned outside and released everything.


I was weirdly grossed out and fascinated by the whole experience for two reasons.  One, she experienced one of my worst fears – to get sick while on public transportation.  And, two, not a single person (with the exception of me) even blinked.  Everyone acted normal.  No one seemed phased by the situation at all. 

New Yorkers really are immune to everything (err… except the flu).  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bus Ride

On Thursday afternoon, I proved to myself once again how tough I’ve become since moving New York.  I sat on the bus and read a magazine while listening to music.  I felt a bodily presence beside me, but paid it no mind.  A minute later, I realized that that the body was also speaking to me.  I looked up to see a disheveled and very inebriated man with a cigarette wedged between his lips.  He repeatedly mumbled incoherent sentences and one understandable one, “Miss, will you zip my jacket?”  I replied, “No, thanks.”  He asked again and shoved his zipper toward me.  I replied again, “No, thanks.”
After several requests he became frustrated and yelled in clear, perfect English, “Thanks a lot you worthless $*%& $*%&#.”  The front of the bus turned my way and heads rolled to watch the scene unfold.  I sat motionless for a few seconds.  I then slowly replaced my headphones and returned to my magazine, mostly annoyed to have been interrupted for no reason.

The man couldn’t speak to me in complete sentences at a normal voice volume without an audience, but he had NO difficulty yelling profanities at me in front of a crowd.  Interesting.

The old me, the freshly scrubbed straight-off-the-plane me, would have taken his insult to heart.  I would have fought back tears and harbored hurt feelings.  I would have wondered what I did to deserve such treatment. 

But, the new me?  Oh, no, no, no.  I barely blinked, didn’t even flinch.  I chuckle at the new me and just how New York street tough I’ve become.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Coat

I broke down and bought a long winter coat.  Long like it hangs down to my calves and has big furry trim around the hood.  It’s my Christmas present.

NYC gets so cold in the winter.  The temperature drops, and I still spend the same amount of time outside.  I am always walking a couple of blocks here, a couple of blocks there.  Waiting for the bus here, catching a taxi there.  I spend quite a bit of time in the blustery outdoors.

That’s why I got a long coat.  Of course, I opted for the version that is stylish as well as warm.  It fits like a shapely sleeping bag that's been upgraded with a fur trimmed hood.

I never understand Ben.  He wears a flimsy, waist length wool coat all winter.  If it’s really cold, he’ll add a scarf, hat, and gloves.  Otherwise, a wool coat is it.  I wear a wool coat in October and then switch to a thigh length down parka in November, which I will now exchange for a calf length down parka for the rest of the winter.  (This is in addition to the long johns I wear under my jeans.)

Somewhere I lack the same internal heat source that keeps Ben warm.  But, we’ll see this winter.  Maybe my comfy, wearable sleeping bag will persuade him to the warmer side.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shine On

I got my boots shined the other week at The Sole Man in Penn Station, the same place businessman go during the workweek. Usually, Ben said, businessmen fill the chairs and a line snakes out the door. And, he would know since he frequents The Sole Man himself.

Ben had noticed that my boots looked a little ragged and worn, so he suggested this as a solution. And, man, did it work! The guys there are like magic. My boots now look brand new.

The guy literally put seven coats of polish on my boots. He massaged them, whipped them, and sprayed them. At one point, he wrapped his rag around the heel of my boot and pulled really hard on both sides, rubbing the rag against the leather. I grabbed onto the arms of the chair and dug my bottom into the pleather to keep from sliding right out of the chair. He was pretty strong.

I read the NY Post and watched a football game on an old, snowy TV set while my boots slowly came back to life. The whole experience left me feeling very manly and very Mad Men. I periodically checked the entrance, fully expecting Don Draper to walk in and take a seat. Although Don never showed, I still feel that he would have appreciated my being there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life Changer

Trader Joe’s opened in September in our neighborhood.  Life got better overnight.  Seriously.

The awesomeness of this grocery store has completely changed my perspective of grocery shopping.  The place is a godsend.  It's unlike any other grocery store, and I am now a new woman because of it. 

The selection of food is limited, which makes shopping easier.  For example, they may offer four kinds of peanut butter as opposed to ten or three types of oatmeal instead of eight. They choose items because of quality, not quantity.

I like the limited selection.  I don’t comb through twenty brands to figure out which one tastes best.  I don’t try to recall the one good brand I luckily found on sale last week.  I don’t compare prices.  I don’t pay attention to “price cuts” or “deals of the week”.  They already sell everything at the cheapest price because almost everything they sell is their brand.  No middleman increases prices. 

Milk, fruit, cheese, guacamole, burritos, and vitamins –cheaper!  Cereal, apple cider, dark chocolate covered caramels, olive oil – cheaper again!  My shopping budget grows every time I shop at Trader Joe’s.  I love it.

They offer cool meal combos that save me time.  I make a dinner with the frozen vegetable fried rice, frozen stir-fry vegetables with sauce, and steamed pork buns.  I don’t hunt down a bunch of spices or sauces that I only use once every three months.  I don’t waste time cutting five different vegetables on our teeny countertop. I just rip open bags and throw stuff in a skillet.  I look like a world-class chef… until Ben finds the discarded packages in the trashcan.

The best and perhaps most well known thing about Trader Joe’s is their cheap wine.  It’s “wine on a dime.”  I should probably coin that phrase.  Trader Joe’s “Charles Shaw” wine, aka Two Buck Chuck, goes for $2.99 a bottle… a bottle!  The Heavens just parted.

You may read this post and think I’m plugging Trader Joe’s to get some sort of kickback.  I wish Itty Bitty held that kind of clout.  No, no.  I just love Trader Joe’s this much.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elevator Woes

No one will murder me.  No one will kidnap me.  A taxi will not run over me.  But, the likelihood is pretty good that our elevator will end me.

Say your goodbyes now.

Our apartment building is old and not everything functions properly.  The elevator is a prime example.  It’s the one thing that I do want to work right in our building since it’s what could also kill me.

Several months ago, the elevator randomly stopped working, prompting everyone to climb and haul belongings up five flights of stairs.  Ben viewed the situation as a great way to get exercise, but I saw it as a form of torture and feared it would never be fixed secondary to some tiny clause in our lease that I overlooked. 

Fortunately, maintenance fixed it.  But, then it broke again.  So, they fixed it again.  This broken-fixed-broken-fixed relationship continued for weeks.

It annoyed me, but didn’t scare me.  Until the day we walked into the building and pushed the button to go up.  We heard no murmur of the elevator moving.  Instead, we heard voices crying, “help us.”  We bolted to the fourth floor where the voices were the loudest. 

Apparently, the elevator broke mid-ride and between the third and fourth floors with two tenants inside!  Their roommate stood outside the elevator on the phone negotiating their release with the building superintendent.  By the time we arrived the girls had been waiting in the elevator for an hour and a half.  By then their hysteria had faded into a calm delirium.

After the girl’ rescue, and as much as that single incident should have persuaded me to never set foot in the elevator again, I rode it the next morning. 

Luckily, I have managed to avoid a situation that extreme, but I have panicked a few times.  Like the two times the doors opened to a concrete and brick wall of pipes.  Or the countless times the doors opened six inches below the level of the floor.  Ben once climbed up and crawled out of the elevator when it similarly stopped several feet below the floor.

It’s hard to believe we haven’t called and complained yet.

I guess the point of this story is to alert readers to the realization that if posts suddenly cease to appear… I have probably departed this sweet Earth.  It wasn’t a crazy driver.  It wasn’t an axe murderer.  It was a defunct elevator.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Courtney seems like a celebrity in these photos.  I mean, yes, the photographer is good.  The lighting in the pictures is good.  But, honestly, she just always looks this fabulous. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Again

Bret Michaels is back in NYC.  And, I am very happy about it.  My long lost friend has finally returned.

We last saw each other three years ago when I was unemployed with a lot of time on my hands.  We spent hours together each week and really connected on many levels.  At the time, I counted his show, "Rock of Love", as one of the few quality television programs in the afternoon lineup.

I understood why he liked crazy women and slept in his bandana. I had no qualms with his pink lips, tattooed eyeliner, and Ed Hardy getup.  I got it.  It worked for him.

Yesterday, after years of no Bret, I got an unexpected surprise as I walked past the bus stop on 96th street.  A larger-than-life (and incredibly photoshopped) picture of Bret graced the side of the crosstown bus! I contemplated a brief hug, but settled on this post instead.

Apparently, Bret is in a happy place now and doing well.  As am I.  I like to think that we met at a time in our lives when we both needed each other most.  Together, we embarked on a new, exciting, yet nerve-wracking adventure. We needed each other then, but not now. We both made it.

Life definitely rocks.

* I attribute the over-the-top cheesiness of this post's ending to the overwhelming influence that Bret often exerts on me when left alone for too long in his presence.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wine Tasting

This past weekend, Ben and I hopped into a car with Craig and Courtney to visit Chris and Melissa in Ithaca, New York. Chris and Melissa moved from NYC to Ithaca several months ago.

We wanted to visit good friends. We wanted to see their new spacious apartment (and not visibly seethe with jealousy). And, we really wanted to relax in a suburb void of noise and crowds.

We left of Friday evening. MapQuest said that the drive to Ithaca would take four hours. But, thanks to a host of inconveniences (weekend traffic, bad weather, and roadwork) it only took us seven hours. Fortunately, the endless rows of chain restaurants eased the pain.

On Saturday, we supported local businesses by visiting several wineries. Ithaca boasts quite a few and, as visitors, we thought it best to partake in as many wine tastings as possible in order to get a real taste for the area.

I took my camera and hoped to capture a few pictures of the weekend. That wasn't hard to do once our group loosened up after a few tastings. At first, everyone hesitated to pose or smile for the camera, but after a couple of wineries I couldn't keep them away. Suddenly, everyone was a supermodel.

At one of the wineries, we found an awesome spot to take portraits. The lighting was perfect and made us look good, real good. Although we got a nice shot of each group member, I'm sure we annoyed the other patrons. We repeatedly scooted them to the side so that we could capture our best selves.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Location, Location, Location

Ben asked where we keep the scotch tape.  He needed help finding the camera cord.  We last saw his passport somewhere in the living room. 

Ben not knowing where commonly used objects are kept is one of his quirks that I have gotten used to over the years.  I accept it.  I embrace it as one of his unique qualities.

But, last week, he definitely surprised me when he had no trouble locating one item. He immediately knew where to look and didn’t even hesitate when I questioned its very existence. 

The one, single, lone item that Ben knew the exact location of was… the chip ‘n’ dip tray. 

I say no more.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Caviar and The Carlyle

A couple of Fridays ago, a girlfriend and I enjoyed happy hour on the East Side.  She proposed the idea of going to Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel.  “It’s famous and expensive,” she said. 

Famous, sounded good.  Expensive, didn’t sound so good.  But then I thought about it a little more…

“If we go,” I replied, “we will always be able to offhandedly say in conversations, “Oh, the Carlyle?  Yes, yes, I’ve been there.” 

“And,” she continued, “we might see Barbara Walters since it’s one of her favorite spots.”

I immediately saw images of myself nudged on the couch between the women from The View debating ‘hot topics’ and pop culture. Barbara would quickly recognize my raw talent and put my journalistic skills to use on 20/20 to grill celebrities, politicians, and world leaders.

“The Carlyle sounds great,” I said.

We weren’t even sure that we would get into The Carlyle because of our casual attire. We arrived in an air of we’re-supposed-to-be-here-don’t-you-recognize-us-fingers-crossed and hopeful looks.  To our delight, the doorman ushered us in without question and a hotel employee escorted us to the restaurant.  We knew we were in the right place with service like that.

The host first sat us outside the restaurant at a little table.  I ordered the cheapest drink on the menu – a $14 glass of wine.  Quite a steep price when compared to the $2.99 bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s grocery store that sat on our countertop.

The host then scooted us inside the restaurant and sat us next to three men in their mid-forties who proclaimed to be self-made CEOs.  Each claimed to have a net worth of several million dollars, and they were celebrating a deal they cinched earlier that day.  Would we like to join?  “Everything,” they added, “is on us.”

Free drinks and free food?  Oh, yeah! Barbara would just have to wait.

They bought drinks and food for everyone to share. They ordered steaks, three platters of oysters (at $4 an oyster), crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, mini burgers, and a silver bowl of $325 caviar.  We had entered a world of no limits and it was pretty, pretty fun. 

I stuffed my mouth with caviar and mused about the New York moment we were having.  Legendary hotel, fancy restaurant, random people, free food… only here, I thought.  Nowhere else in the world would this happen to me.  My girlfriend and I partook happily for about two hours and then hopped into cabs, stuffed and excited to have shared another awesome New York experience.

Monday, September 27, 2010

City Dwelling

Recently, an old college friend moved to the city.  She scoped out potential apartments before her arrival and signed the lease for an apartment in Brooklyn.  This apartment was so much better than the other ones she looked at, she said.

Her apartment had just been renovated.  Everything was going to be brand new.  The other apartments the broker showed her were nice too, but in less desirable neighborhoods or a farther walk from the subway.

The apartment she liked boasted a kitchen with full size appliances whereas the other places did not.  One apartment only had two college-sized mini fridges in lieu of one normal sized fridge.  So, in comparison, the apartment she chose pretty much sounded like a luxurious urban oasis. 

She felt pretty lucky about her decision… until she actually moved into her newly – not totally – rehabbed apartment.  Half of the apartment was either missing or not working. 

She lived for THREE WEEKS with NO:

1) Hot water
2) Kitchen sink
3) Gas
4) Working stove

Ben and I laughed and shook our heads with pity when she told us the story.  Nowhere, NOWHERE else in America would a person be expected to live in such conditions and pay rent.  But, in New York City, we are.

We do it with a smile on our face because it’s New York.  New York!  We know that surviving in this city will make us stronger (we hope).  We know that if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I don’t know when, exactly, or what triggered the evolution of my feelings and perspective over the past four months.  I just know that it happened.  It’s something that I’ve waited 2.5 years for and finally decided wasn’t going to happen.  But, then it did…

I have fallen in LOVE with New York.  I have fallen in love in a big kind of way, head over heels.  I now love New York so much that I often think about how much I love it, which somehow must equal even more love.

For a long time, I wondered if I would ever feel this way.  I really worried about it after my first year of rocky starts.  Everyone I had met loved New York (or at least said they did), so naturally I had to love it too.  For a long time, I tried to force myself to love a place that I didn’t feel 100% a part of. 

Then, everything changed and evolved around April or May of this year.  And, by June, I cemented my love for this great city.  I finally felt truly happy and at peace both in my heart and at a conscious level.

It hit me when I was flying home from a wedding in June.  As I walked onto the plane I got an overwhelming yearn to go home.  That’s right… home. 

It was the first time in almost three years that I felt I was going home.  I was no longer going to an apartment in a city that served as a shell of what was supposed to be my home, but really wasn’t in my mind.  It no longer acted as a substitute for what I missed in Kentucky.  It was the real deal.

I had waited for so long for that. 

This past summer only intensified my love for New York.  The reasons of why I love New York piled up everywhere I looked or went.  I couldn’t cross a street or turn a corner without finding something that I loved.

My job, of course, is one of my number one reasons of why I’m so happy. I’ll stay in New York as long as I can to continue to work at my school.  It’s my haven.

My second number one reason (I guess that’s called a ‘tie’) is my group of friends.  New York is New York because of them.  They changed everything for me.

And, lastly (to round out a list that could go on and on and on)… correction, ironically, all of the reasons of why I like New York now were all of the reasons of why I disliked it in the beginning.    Many things that bugged me, frustrated me, and annoyed me before are now the very things that I find oddly endearing and sometimes comforting.  It’s weirdly true.

Don’t get me wrong… some of the same things still drive me crazy and always will.  I will always hate to walk home 5, 10, 15 blocks without an umbrella during an “unexpected” thunderstorm, pay a million dollars for a box of cereal, and faint during run-ins with rats and roaches.  But, overall, the good far outweighs the bad.  The good makes living here fun.  The good added together makes it feel like home.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Inhabitants

I greet fall weather with much enthusiasm. I wholeheartedly welcome the cooler temperatures.  I embrace the change of season.

Autumn means that we will no longer bake in the heat of our apartment, something that we’ve done since the loss of our AC unit. Our apartment is finally, once again, a comfortable temperature.

Our place no longer turns into a sauna when the sun beats in and we turn on the oven. We no longer feel heat from the street radiating up five floors. And, we no longer sleep with three fans pointed at us.

Temperate weather = tolerable apartment = happy inhabitants = us. 

Friday, September 10, 2010


Two friends from work had babies this summer. A group of us made a trip to visit them. We spent all afternoon oohing and ahhing over two very sweet baby girls.

Meet Avery...

 Meet Sabina...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day

Yesterday, we celebrated Labor Day in Central Park with friends at an impromptu picnic. Several thousand other New Yorkers also had the same idea thanks to the great weather. Fortunately, the Great Lawn can hold many, many people.

Getting together was the perfect way to end the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Something fishy is going on with our Netflix account.  It’s been happening for a while now.  I hope that this post will fix the “situation”.

My movies never change positions in the queue. 

I frequently check our movie queue. I see my movies at the top of the list. I anticipate their arrival. 

But, they NEVER come.  Instead, we get movies I’ve never heard of, movies that were in the middle and at the bottom of the queue. I then get confused and recheck the list.

Hmmm, my movies are still in the same spots. They’ve held the top three spots for months now. Yet, they never move. They never come. It’s inexplicable! 

Amazingly, though, Ben’s movies ALWAYS weasel their way to the top of the list and make it in our mailbox.  His movies always mysteriously move to top at just the right moment, like on the day they’re sent. I don’t understand how their positions switch at the very last second. 

It’s so weird.

There must be a phenomenon that I don’t know about that prevents movies that I choose for us to watch to actually be watched.  Maybe that same thing happens elsewhere.  I’m not sure what the formal name for such a phenomenon is though. I will continue to research until I find an answer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Speaking of AC units...

We once had two window AC units, one in the living room and one in the bedroom.  The bedroom unit broke in June.  Its absence left us with an insatiable thirst for cold air at the beginning of one of the hottest summers New York City has seen in the last seven years.

We wanted to resign our lease in August before we plunked down money for a new AC.  We decided to survive without an AC in the bedroom for the next two months. That proved to be impossible in 95-degree weather.

So, we blew up an air mattress and camped out every night in the living room under the cold air of our ONE working AC. We decided to enjoy the experience. We pretended that sleeping on an air mattress was like camping or being on vacation. 

In August, after we resigned the lease, we searched for a new AC. We no longer wanted to sleep in a bed that rested four inches off of the ground and deflated during the night. We went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and bought the very last AC unit they had left in stock. 

It was fate.

We carried the heavy AC unit to a waiting taxi that dropped us off at the corner a half a block from our apartment building.  Ben carried it inside and up the elevator to the fifth floor.  We put it together and plugged it in wall.  We then waited for the room to fill the room with frosty air.

We enjoyed the AC unit for two, TWO, nights before we awoke to a machine gun, lawnmower explosion sound.  Our AC broke.  Broke!

I waited silently in bed and didn’t move. I hardly breathed and waited for Ben’s response. I suppressed a laugh and knew that Ben was probably about to go crazy. Luckily, he was so disoriented from sleeping that I don’t think the he grasped what happened until the next morning when we awoke to a hot and humid room.

I double-checked the AC again yesterday just to be sure. Still broken. Our one shot, our last chance for cool air that promised nights of good sleep is gone. Guess we’ll have to sweat it out until next year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keeping Cold

Most New York apartments don’t have central air conditioning. Most New York apartments use window AC units. Not what you would expect, right?  

It's certainly not what I expected when I first moved here. For some reason, I imagined EVERY apartment to be modern and cutting edge, to have the best and newest of everything. After all, it is New York. 

Newer apartments (usually pricey ones) do have central air, but most cute and charming (read between the lines... old) places don't. I guess I never considered the fact that many apartments were built before central air.  But, after living here, window AC units make sense. They're affordable and an easy fix. 

So, although Ben and I can't boast about the luxury of having central air, we can boast about having a true New York experience of living in old buildings and sweating through summers together.

Perspective, people, perspective.

The first and second pictures show what a typical window AC unit looks like.

The third and fourth pictures demonstrate the popularity of AC units in a typical apartment building in NYC.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Celebrity Sighting... Again

Amazingly, I saw yet another celebrity! Yes, another celebrity. Even I can't believe my luck these past couple of weeks.  

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I enjoyed a cup of gelato on a bench outside a little bakery on the Upper East Side. I noticed an attractive lady walking toward the bakery while we chatted.  She walked right in front of us and then into the bakery. It was Kelly Rutherford.  She plays Lily van der Woodsen on the hit TV show Gossip Girl.

I loved Gossip Girl for about two seasons, and I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit that. The show was about rich high schoolers with crazy lives from the Upper East Side. It took place in New York so I had to watch it. It was my duty as a New Yorker.

I also watched Gossip Girl for research purposes. The show taught me cool places to take visitors when they stay with us. I equated watching Gossip Girl to taking a bus tour of the city or reading Zagat books. The show helped me become a better hostess and tour guide.


Anyway, here is Kelly Rutherford...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


People always ask how and why I have seen so many celebrities in the city.  Two reasons... 1) I wander the streets during the weekday when a lot of them are filming or shopping, and 2) I have eagle eyes with which to spot them.

Celebrities go out when most people don't.  They hit the clubs and restaurants on off nights.  They shop during the week when most people are at work.  Most of them, surprising, don't really care to be noticed.  I learned all of this when unemployed with lots of free time on my hands.  I see it happening again now that I have the summer off from work.

I do pride myself on my ability to recognize someone from a distance or when dressed down as a "civilian".  One of my most impressive sightings was when I spotted John Slattery from across the street and about 1.5 blocks away.  What can I say?  I'm good.

Last week, I walked to the grocery store and passed the film set for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.  I've never watched the show, but I know many people love it.  I snapped a picture of the set with my iPhone and realized that I got a picture with one of the lead actors in it - Christopher Meloni who plays Detective Elliot Stabler.  He's the guy in the middle of the picture wearing a black sleeveless shirt and a gray tie talking on a cell phone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Parked Cars

I have written over and over about how important space is in the city. How can it not be? There are so many people and cars and buildings crammed onto one small island. Below is another example of how New Yorkers work creatively with limited space.

A number of people drive into the city for work. They have to park somewhere, but parking garages are not that common and finding a spot on the street is difficult. Instead, New York has small parking lots where they use "lifts" to stack cars on top of each other to increase the number of cars that can be parked in one space.   

Below are two pictures of two different parking lots in the city that show how many cars they can fit into a small area.   

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When The Stars Align

I just ran into the one celebrity who all girls my age wanted to be and all boys my age dreamed about when kids… Tiffani-Amber Thiessen!  She played one of the main characters on the hit TV show Saved By The Bell.  She was the one and only Kelly Kapowski. KELLY KAPOWSKI!

I was waiting for the light to change at 67th and Broadway when I noticed a really tall, muscular man standing with a baby stroller across the street on the opposite corner.  He was so big that I knew he wasn’t just any regular guy, but I didn’t recognize him. I immediately looked for his wife who was standing next to him.  I couldn’t tell who she was because she was too far away, but I got the weird feeling that they weren’t just any normal couple.

The light changed and I weaseled through the crowd so that I would be within an arm’s length of them when we passed.  I realized who she was before even reaching her.  My body shook with excitement and I couldn’t mask the goofy smile on my face. It took complete self-control to not shout out the most famous cheer that she often led with Zach during the show…

B-B-B-B-B, B-B-B-B-B, Go Bayside!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Fun

My life is pretty perfect.

First (and this reason alone makes everyone insanely jealous), I only work two days a week this summer. And, I hardly count it as two days because I only work two hours on one of those days.  Incredible, I know.

I knew people wouldn't like me because of my summer schedule, but I'm amazed at the number of people that really hate me.  At first, I felt bad.  I felt guilty for having so much free time.  But, I got over that and I don’t feel bad anymore.  I actually feel pretty AWESOME.

This is where I triumphantly pump my fists into the air.

People roll their eyes and scoff at my schedule, but I don't get offended.  They are just so consumed with envy that they can't help themselves. I can empathize.  I usually sigh and shake my head to show that I understand their predicament.  I offer advice and say, “Become a teacher.”  They then usually say something about not liking children.  Well, I can’t do anything about that.  So, I return to the morning paper, sip my pina colada, and enjoy my break.

I am traveling almost every weekend this summer.  I have the time to visit people that I normally would not get to see.  It also helps that they live in all of the right places- Cape Cod, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana. I plan to earn enough frequent flyer mile points to cover my trips for next summer. 

I have to give props to Ben. He is fantastic.  He encourages me to take trips to see friends even when he has to work.  He doesn't get mad when he can't get ahold of me at noon because I'm at the beach. He happily listens to stories about mid-day trips to the movies or lunch dates. He's the best. He's very supportive of my lifestyle.

Oops! It’s 11:30am.  I better get out of these pajamas and do something.  Then, I can say I did more than just write this blog post.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's Getting Hot In Here

My husband was a good sport the other day.  He let me photograph him to practice and improve my skills.  Here are some of my favorite pictures.

Sorry, ladies, this stud is taken.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


One of my girlfriends allowed me to practice my photography skills with her as my subject. I think she looks beautiful in this picture. We took about 50 pictures, but this one is my favorite.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Celebrity Sighting

I went to lunch with a group of girls several Wednesdays ago in NYC. We stopped by the Gap after lunch to peruse the sale racks.  As we chatted, Jen suddenly said, “Ooh, ooh!  I see a CELEBRITY!”

I instinctively reeled around and slipped into stalker mode.  A celebrity?  In my midst?  At the Gap? Jen described her in detail and I zoomed off to find her. 

Unfortunately (for me), I lost her in the dressing rooms.  I debated about checking under the stall doors, but thought that might be considered a felony. I don't need a rap sheet.  So, I halfheartedly retreated back to the group disappointed that I missed the celebrity.

But, don't think that I gave up quite yet. 

We hung out for a few extra minutes by the cash register and waited. We waited just long enough to catch a glimpse of her coming out of the dressing rooms.  We finally got to see her, and although I didn’t recognize her (What has happened to me?) I was happy to add another sighting to my list.

We saw Merritt Wever. She plays a character on the HBO show “Nurse Jackie.”  And, apparently, she appreciates a good sale at the Gap like the rest of us.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Next weekend, Ben will hike the mountain, Pikes Peak, in Colorado with two friends.  He’s slowly been gathering much needed items for his trip, including new top-of-the-line hiking boots.  The boots have gotten him pretty excited. 

About two weeks ago, Ben mentioned that he was beginning to feel anxious about climbing a mountain, especially since he had not done any physical activity to prepare for it.  He also had not yet broken in his new boots.  He then started to panic about possible blisters and not being shape.  He decided that he must practice for his journey IMMEDIATELY.

So, I slipped on flip-flops and he laced up his new boots.  We walked straight to Riverside Park and began a 20-block “hike” along the Hudson River.  I walked on the paved path and Ben marched his way through a well-manicured park. 

He stomped across asphalt.  He trudged though grass. Midway through our “hike”, Ben climbed and jumped off a rock.  He proudly stood up, stretched out his arms, and asked, “What do you think?”

“I think,” I said, “you are definitely ready for a mountain.”  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nighttime in New Jersey

One night, during our stay at the farmhouse, we tried different settings on my camera in an attempt to achieve a movement effect. You can see our hair blurred a little bit in the first picture. We worked so hard (evident by the intense looks on our faces) to get it right. In the last picture, you can see Ben and Nathan walking.  

I like the background of the black tree line against the dark blue sky. I know that to get a good movement picture the shutter needs to stay open longer, but a belly full of BBQ and the dark made it hard to figure out. We did the best we could.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth of July

This past weekend a group of us rented a farmhouse in Princeton, NJ to celebrate the fourth of July and to, quite simply, get out of the city.  I know what you’re thinking… a farmhouse?  We laughed, too.  You can’t get much more city slicker than the four of us. 

But, the farmhouse offered some great perks not available to us in the city. 

One, it sat on a piece of grassy land surrounded by fields with no neighbors.  That’s a nonexistent concept in New York City.

Two, Bambi was all over the place!  There was a group of deer in the front or back yard every time we walked outside.  We’re not used to seeing such a lovely, non-disease carrying animal.  Rats and pigeons are the fauna we tend to see within our zip code. We don't "ooh" and "aah" when those cross our path.

Three, the back porch had two rocking chairs and a porch swing. Perfect for chewing on Twizzlers and watching the sun set.

Four, the farmhouse came with a huge outdoor grill where we concocted a delicious meal of hot dogs, burgers, and corn on the cob.  A grill is a rare find in the city. 

Five, we ate on an actual adult-sized kitchen table!  We liked the table so much that we spent the next three nights playing card games there. 

And, six, we got to drive a car around the town.  It’s so fun to drive when you never get the chance.

After this trip, we can think of ourselves as a pretty versatile group. We have gathered together in tiny NYC apartments, in an art-deco Miami hotel, in a cabin in the Catskills, and in a farmhouse in New Jersey.  What's next? Hmm... time will tell.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Newport, Rhode Island

One of the great things about New York is the accessibility to get places.  We can hop on a bus, subway, or train and be just about anywhere within a several hundred mile radius.  We can easily (and pretty cheaply) get to cities like Boston or Philadelphia, or to towns like Cape Cod and Princeton, or to beaches like Long Beach and those in the Hamptons.  Several weekends ago, we took the train to Newport, Rhode Island.

The main draw for tourists in Newport is the mansions.  We toured mansions built in the mid-late 1800s by various American tycoons and millionaires like, for example, the Vanderbilt family.  Walking though other people's homes was something that we knew we’d enjoy and appreciate thanks to years of watching HGTV’s shows “Flip This House” and “What’s My House Worth”.  

Checking out the mansions online still didn’t prepare us for their monstrousness.  The immense size and opulent style of the mansions were insane.  I-N-S-A-N-E. 

Houses were made entirely of marble, adorned with 24-karat gold leaf imprinted walls, decorated with bronze sculptures, and topped with artist commissioned painted ceilings and crystal chandeliers... exactly the kind of stuff you’d probably recognize in our one bedroom apartment.  Look closely to see that our miniature tub is pure porcelain and imported from Italy.  Little Italy, in NYC, that is!

After the mansions, we ate the best clam chowder at The Black Pearl and then walked downtown along the water and piers.  Check out a few of the pictures I took.  Notice how tiny the people are next to the huge Weeping Willow tree that was in the backyard of one of the mansions, and look how tiny we are next to the mansions.  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime in the City

I spent Friday evening at a picnic with friends in Central Park.  We enjoyed awesome weather, good food, and great company - not an unusual combination with this group.

At 9pm, the park patrolmen kicked us out.  I then leisurely walked 25 blocks home to soak in the sights and sounds and (often peculiar) smells of the city.  A perfect ending to a perfect evening.

Here are some pictures from the evening.  Notice the city skyline in the background.  So awesome.