Saturday, January 08, 2011

So Many Things...

So much has been happening over the last few months it's been difficult to find time to write it all down because I've been too busy living it! Summer visited in October and we covered so much of the city I managed to pull a muscle in my foot (this is why proper arch support is essential, people.) We saw Times Square in all it's glow-y goodness, went to Central Park and sat with Alice and Mr. Anderson for a while, climbed to the top of a castle to view the Delacorte Theater, chatted with a saxophonist playing by the fountain, had a beautiful two hour lunch at ABC Kitchen, celebrated Ann Marie's 25th birthday in a new part of town (to me) at Stonewall, changed into flats and got hot dogs, sat indian-style on the train platform chatting for half an hour, went to Coney Island and wandered around the glass speckled shore, took a picture on a pile of rocks at the water's edge, got a group shot done by a lovely old lady who offered and spoke zero English, road the Staten Island Ferry to get a better view of the Statue of Liberty (because paying to see a building isn't for us,) drank copious amounts of coffee, went to a little sandwich shop down the street with the biggest croissant sandwiches ever, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, bought inserts for our shoes like the little old ladies we are, ordered pizza and passed out. It was the best visit

After her departure I spent a lot of time working, as per usual.  Ended up having a low key Halloween but enjoyed a lovely recovery day with Ann Marie, Mary, Lauren and Bjarni watching "The Wire" and eating Pizza. Followed by a whirlwind trip to SC where I spent just over 24 hours in Columbia catching up with friends, drinking amazing Mochas at IMMAC, having wonderful local food at Hunter-Gatherer, taking a much needed nap in the hotel with Kristina and Maggie (because we're all getting old and need afternoon naps, or perhaps we never grew up and are still kids. If that's the case I would like a snack, okaythanks.) Met up with Patrick for a birthday hello and quick catchup, went to an Alumni event with Erin and actually had news to tell (ate so many delicious things and drank so many delicious drinks, hospitality has the best parties, hands down,) visited with The Whig (introduced Kristina to New South Brown, a local brew from Myrtle Beach,) reconnected with a dear friend who drove in for the night from Charlotte, had beautiful conversation with people I wish I had been closer to while I was there, danced my pants off at ArtBar (had the bartender request the DJ played my favorite songs, because I'm loved,) danced with the girls and the "alligator hat" man, awoke to a beautiful brunch of "Hangover hash browns" (it's a real thing, I didn't name it. Hi, Mom!,) drank copious amounts of coffee at CoolBeans! (purchased some coveted "Palmetto Grog" coffee,) had a revolving door of guests join me for the next several hours (including Chris and his boyfriend who own a bed and breakfast near Asheville, NC. River Spirit,) spent two hours in the car with Mom and "B," DROVE, had dinner "out on the town" (if you know where I'm from, you get the joke,) had a delicious Sunday Dinner of roast and fixins at my Daddy's, packed the car to the brim, then drove SIXTEEN HOURS with Kristina (possibly the only time in her life she was too distracted to realize how famished she was because she also got to drive!)  The thing about some vacations.. they aren't relaxing and you come home just as tired as you left, but silver lining, you feel revived. So yeah, mission accomplished.

The latter part of November brought the first-ever Thanksgiving away from home where I cooked all day then joined the "Juice Girls" and other orphans for a giant feast!! There was turkey, stuffing, pimento cheese, wine, waldorf salad, hot toddies, freezing moments on the roof, and a lot of YouTube.

Had more visitors. Walked along Wall Street, ate delicious Indian food (that I learned delivers to my house, SCORE!) bought socks because it was freezing, went to Black Rabbit's Christmas Party (where Julia won a disposable camera) and had too many Shim-Shams!!, finally saw the Christmas Tree at Rockafeller and watched the skaters in the smallest rink known to man, went to Grimaldi's for pizza, and said goodbye.

Hosted another visitor. Went up in the Empire State Building (actually knew where and what things were this time.) Ate at Kat'z Deli next to Harry and Sally's table, Spent New Year's watching the Bowl Game and finished at Black Rabbit where I was crowned "Queen of 2011," Rang in 2011 with some new and some old friends, bought a book about the little neighborhoods in the big city, got trapped in some intense crowds (please no one visit me during high tourist times, thanks.)

2010 has been, well, a myriad of adjectives. Scary, frustrating, big and small, filled with change and moves, but has ultimately left the door wide open to 2011. So here we are and here we go, hopefully I won't keep you hanging for so long next time.  But until then, I bid you adieu. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes you should forget what Mama told you...

All our childhood lives we are told, repetitively, "Don't talk to strangers." Everyone tells us this; Mom. Dad. Teachers. Babysitters. Television Commercials. Safety Officers. Children's Books.  Airplanes fly across the sky leaving the message in white fluff. Okay, I made that last one up but you get the idea.  

Now, for the most part this seems like sensible advice.  It's dangerous, someone may try to steal you, or maybe you'll just look like a creeper if you go around talking to everyone in the street.  But then you realize, at some point, everyone is walking around each day, minding their own business, but really we should engage each other more.  For example, I was walking down Broadway several weeks ago and had just visited The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (and!) Anyway, these girls were walking by, talking about where to get ice cream when one notices me and says, "That girl has some!! So there has to be some nearby!!" Now, normally, I would have continued on my way as if I hadn't heard but on this particular day it was bright and sunny out, I had gotten off work early, and I was in the middle of the most amazing Nutella and soft serve sugar rush.  So I stopped and promptly steered them in the direction of their own personal summer afternoon sugar-coma (You're welcome, Ladies.) How sad if they hadn't gotten to experience this blissful experience just because they were "Strangers?!"

But the most important reason you should talk to strangers, especially when you live in New York City, is because when you see someone's doppleganger, it's probably actually them. In real life.  For example, last night as I was leaving work and heading to the train I noticed this woman standing on the corner, clutching a piece of paper and talking on her cell phone.  As I was walking by I noticed her voice sounded oddly familiar and she seemed to be lost saying into the phone something like "I'm standing right there but I don't see anything..." When I turned I thought, "Wow. She looks kind of like Giada De Laurentiis" and I moved on across the street.  Then I decided to call Summer so I could stand around without being super creepy because maybe this lady was lost, and given her location and the potential that she was a celebrity of sorts, she was probably looking for my restaurant (which is very subtly labelled.) But she wandered farther away from me (in the wrong direction) so I decided to just go home. BIG STUPID MISTAKE. And this, kids, is when you ignore Mama and talk to strangers!! Because it was, in fact, her. And I could have taken her where she needed to go and, moreover, created an even more incredible customer service experience for her in the most fantastically amazing "Jean-Georges" kind of way. Ugg! Next time.... I won't let the opportunity pass me by.  So if you look sort of like a celebrity, you may want to steer clear of Union Square because I'm probably going to try and befriend you, and take you to my lair (aka ABC Kitchen.... where you will at least be fed VERY well.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rainbows and Unicorns for Everyone!!!

So basically the cosmos have all aligned to make my life the most simplistic and perfect it's ever been.  As I was looking for an apartment, and getting rather discouraged as the deadline was fast approaching and I was having zero luck at even having people contact me back... a wonderful turn of events occurred!!  Ann Marie came bounding into work about a week ago, bouncing with excitement, announcing that her roommate decided she wanted to move out!!!  Jenn (the other roommate) was a little distraught as she was telling AM about this, but AM was all, "OMG THIS IS THE BEST.NEWS.EVER!!!!! MY FRIEND CAN MOVE IN!!!! HAPPY DANCE!! WOOOOO!!!!" So yes, I will have a roof over my head. The catch?? It's not available until the 15th and I need a place the 1st, but CieCie offered to let me crash with her, and Jenn is totally cool with me crashing on the sofa until then. But then, THEN! Margaret (the girl moving out) contacted me saying she was going to be house sitting the first two weeks of September and wondered if I wanted to move in early... do I??? DO I???? YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, calming down... breathing... But seriously?! How does it get more perfect?! IT DOESN'T! (thanks for the positive thoughts and energy, Mom!!)

Now for the things I've been up to since I was last here:

1. Summer bought her ticket to come visit!!!! We are in full planning mode and I look forward to seeing her in October!!! (I may have to do a dry run getting to the airport just to make sure I can get to her...) We are going to see all the things and do all the things and eat all the things we can. I imagine there will be little sleep and lots of caffeine...

2. "The Juice Girls" went to Bryant Park for the last summer movie installation to see "Bonnie and Clyde." It made CieCie sad, apparently she was unaware of how that little love story ended...
"Juya," Kristina and Me

CieCie, Julia, Kristina (wearing all her work clothes, because it was cold...)

Surfing on the lawn...

3. Martina McBride came in with, I'm assuming, her husband.  I was talking to him about wine when I turned to include her in the conversation and realized I recognized her... I may have jumped a little.  Then I promptly went to find Lori Lynn (the other southerner) to confirm the siting...  Sure enough, it was her. And I was excited because "B," Sara and I use to dance around the living room, jumping on the furniture, singing into hairbrushes, and creating music videos (without the video) to her songs when we were little. I'm here to tell you, she's very strikingly beautiful in person. Yep.

4.  I had my first NYC Pizza experience in Brooklyn at Grimaldi's Pizzeria, located under the Brooklyn Bridge, with Julia and Heather (who's hopefully not going back to Utah in two weeks...) It was so gooood!! And really busy. Long line. Waited an hour. Learned you shouldn't talk about food when you're starving and in a long line to the food. But it was worth it. Also, it's cash only and they put you at the first place large enough to accommodate your group (often at a family table with strangers.) Also, ALSO... the whole staff is male. Odd.  But I really liked one of the guys shirts which said "Grimaldi's" on the front in "The Godfather" typeface and on the back read, "I'm gonna make you a pizza you can't refuse..." hahaha.

5. When I got on my train that evening... it smelled of mouthwash. It was weird.

6. Hoping to rope Heather into taking pictures of me (she's a photographer and I want to be made pretty.) But for now, here's a little sketch from Julia (we're going to attempt this again at a more opportune time)....

"It's as much of you as it's gonna be..."

We wait on trains a lot. Sometimes we sit. Sometimes she draws. Sometimes I take pictures. Mostly we try not to fall asleep.

p.s. I made a new friend today who told Heather and I we should start a NYCFood blog. I should eat and write, she should eat and photograph, he'd help with web design. He also told me he could just sit around and listen to me talk forever, it didn't matter what I said, so long as it was in this cute southern accent.  I think he's going to make a trip down south in search of love :) Glad I could inspire.  Also, he has some pretty awesome art projects and social media projects in the making.  It's all very interesting. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Meet the "Juice Girls"

Clockwise from top left: Julia, Me, Kristina, CieCie!

Stopping in for an Update!

I may be the world's worst blogger. Seriously.  I can't even remember what I've shared and what I haven't, so if I get a bit repetitive, please excuse it.  Here goes.

1. There has been quite the parade of celebrities in the restaurant lately (some of which I have seen, other's I have not. Sad.)  So for the roll call: Martha Stewart celebrated her 69th birthday with us.  Beyonce and Jay-z had a little date followed by the British David Beckham (all of whom I didn't have the pleasure.)  Oh, and Susan Sarandon was in as well, I made her a Waterfelon!!! Then I sang Rocky Horror tunes the remainder of the day... Oh Janet Weiss!!

2. Some lovely work folks had a Rhône wine party (which is a little region in France that makes wine, and I believe it tends to be slightly peppery?) Everyone either brought a bottle from the region or cooked something for dinner (I did both).  I brought a white wine (a Viognier, which is my favorite) because I don't like my beverages to be room temperature as a general rule, and I made broccoli slaw with a sesame tamari vinaigrette.  What started out as a tasteful and grown up wine tasting with lovely apricot glazed short-ribs and a multitude of salads, with each wine being carefully tasted and talked about, and referenced in a book soon became a room full of drunken friends dancing around to old school 90s music.  And ending with everyone hanging out on the roof, looking at the stars and watching the cars climb over the Williamsburg Bridge towards the city.

3. During said party I met a guy who competed on an episode of "24 hour Restaurant Battle," and was having a party on the following Wednesday to watch the episode air!  Kristina, Julia and I attended and it was a lot of fun.  The restaurant Justin created was called "...& Jelly," if you haven't seen the episode google it, or find it on YouTube.  It was a very interesting idea and the food looked pretty awesome, I was pleasantly surprised how the concept was expanded to be more than the traditional ideas of jelly and butter. Intrigue...

4. The "Juice Girls" have taken to Julia's favorite bar to play trivia in Greenpoint at the Black Rabbit.  It's a lot of fun with categories that are way better than what Columbia has to offer.  For example, there was a "Name that Song" portion.. the catch? all the songs were played BACKWARDS!!! And included such gems as "You Oughta Know" by Alanis when she was angrier, and some Hootie (I TOTALLY told them it was Hootie, and I would know!)  The first night it was just myself, Julia and Kristina and we won a PickleBack shot...Whiskey with a pickle brine chaser (it's surprisingly good, seriously, try it at home.)  After trivia comes the Chat Roulette portion of the evening.  Which is sort of like a one-on-one video chat room where it randomly selects a participate and you can talk to them, or click next if you don't like them.  It's kind of scary, and absurdly hilarious. (did I mention we had a video projector to shoot this on the wall at the bar?? yeah, it was awesome.)

Some trivia facts I learned:
-Long ago, when the Bishop of Rochester's chef poisoned people, killing two, new style of execution was legalized... what was that style?? guillotine?? Nope, Death By BOILING! Yeah... Ouch.
-The largest loss of life in the history of the US Navy occurred when the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed, horrible right? But oh wait, then there was a bought of shark attacks!! How horrid. Yeah, I survived the war, my ship sunk but I managed to escape alive, then I got eaten by a shark.  Thanks.
-And some animal facts: The Goldfish is the only animal who can see both infrared and ultraviolet light.  On average, birds live a mere six months. And, AND the mosquito has teeth!! Forty-Seven TEETH!!!!! ew.

5. I found my new favorite coffee shop, thanks to the lovely CieCie.  It's just down from work, called the Grey Dog, and reminds me a lot of CoolBeans! (which makes my whole heart happy!) The menu is written on giant chalkboards, the staff is friendly, the music is wonderful, it's a happy little haven in the middle of the bustle :)

6. I recently ate a Vietnamese sandwich, a Bánh mì, with Ann Marie and Mary. It was REALLY good, especially with Sriracha!! MMmmmm, spicy! Then we went to Duck Duck, a bar around the corner from her place, where we watched the Sunday night shenanigans occur (dancing and whatnot,) and we people watched and drank Cerveza Pacífico Clara! It was good, and served with a lime. Also, it was drizzly and wet so I got to borrow Ann Marie's rain boots!!! I LOVE rain boots!

7. And lastly, the "Juice Girls" are crossing their fingers for a trip down south (as two of them haven't been because they're from the west coast, and CieCie and I want to take them!!)  The goal is to go through Charlotte (CieCie's hometown,) make a stop in Columbia to take them to my favorite places (I'm thinking the Whig, Blue Cactus and ArtBar if it's a Friday!) then onward to Charleston.  The hope is to go through Asheville on the way back and maybe stop in at River Spirit!!  For anyone wanting to take a little trip to the mountains, check this place out!! It is the business endeavor of a dear friend of mine who I'd lost contact with the last few years until this week!! So "Yay!!" and happiness for his growing establishment! Also, it's beautiful and "I want to go to there!"

I didn't have the patience to link up any pictures, so instead I left a train of things to get lost in. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

That time someone had to teach me how to get inside the bank...

No joke, Kids.  My co-worker had to show me how to get into the bank because it's a tricky little devil.  I've always been the kind of person that goes into the bank, walks up to a teller, says, "Hey, how are you today?!" and gets a little face time.  So the idea of using the ATM to deposit money not only seemed like an alien idea to me, but I also don't trust those machines to read the check write. And what would I do if a check said 420.00 and it read 4.20... you know?! There's no security in that.  But now I'm a big girl in the big city, and not only did it take me about two weeks to even FIND my bank branch, but I also don't have time to go by during normal business hours.  So I weighed my options and decided that other friends have had success depositing money through the ATM, so maybe it wasn't really the devil trying to eat my humble dollars for lunch.

One night at about 7:30pm, I walked the nine blocks to my bank and tried to open the door to the ATM room, but it was locked.  Okay, maybe they don't let you use them off hours, I thought. Although there was a man inside but he was standing around all awkwardly so I thought maybe he had just gotten off work and was waiting for his co-workers to exit as well so they could lock up for good (seems reasonable, no?)  About a week later, I was leaving work with a co-worker (who's lived in Queens all her life) and as we made our way towards the train station she asked if it would be cool if she stopped by the bank.  "Sure!" I said.
Then proceeded to tell her how I had been trying to find the time to get to my own branch for weeks and I desperately needed to go because I had almost an entire month's worth of paychecks that needed to be deposited (so I could give it all away to the lovely people that shelter me, and put me through college.)  I also mentioned to her that it was locked last I went, so it would probably be a waste of time to try again that day, it being after five and all.  To which she replied, "Well, you have a debit card right? Did you swipe it??"
"What do you mean, 'did I swipe it?' I couldn't get through the door, it was locked!" I said.
This is about the point where she stopped and just stared at me with a look of complete shock and hysteria, "There's no way you don't have these anywhere in the South!!" she said, "You just have to swipe your debit card and it unlocks the door!!" WTF?!
Yeah, so APPARENTLY in order to cut down in crime and whatnot, you can't get to any banks ATM unless you have a card. I mean, I was stunned into silence the entire time she showed me this... seriously?! Well that's just genius!! And more over, I could have put this money away weeks ago if only I knew my debit card works much like a hotel key.  Thanks New York... Good one!
At least Melissa got a good laugh out of this....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I made it to "Shakespeare in the Park" to see A Winter's Tale with Kristina and her roommate, and although I'm sad Julia was unable to attend, I'm glad that meant I got the chance to go!! It was magical, set in Central Park at the Delacorte Theater underneath the summer starlit sky.

(above is the alfresco theater, but a different production)
THE WINTER'S TALE Directed by Michael Greif
With Gerry Bamman, Francois Battiste, Linda Emond, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Bill Heck, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Byron Jennings, Heather Lind, Hamish Linklater, Jesse L. Martin, Nyambi Nyambi, Matthew Rauch, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Richard Topol, Max Wright

 In other exciting news, we had the shoot at the restaurant on Wednesday.  It's a reality show of sorts (from the bits of information we could piece together.) But if that's the case, it's not so real.  Not only was the entire restaurant shut down for this shoot from about 1:30-5:00pm, but they also hired an actress who trained in our restaurant for a couple of shifts to "serve" the celebrities during their meal.  That's just absurd, especially since a pretty hefty portion of our staff is aspiring actors and actresses, some with degrees in theater from TISCH and other prestigious colleges. Lunacy I tell you, particularly because our staff comes trained properly, but okay crazy movie people... waste your money and here's your twelve dollar juice.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Because Sharing is Caring

Silly Animals:

Retarded Dog- the "Paint" art is the best!

Unhappy Bird

Weird things with Babies:

In a watermelon- "epic cute"

Creepy Baby Cake


Adorable and Hopeful:

First Dates Make Everyone Nervous.- and it's a beautiful feeling.

Hello Friends.

Things have been a bit busy lately, sorry for the hiatus. I think the best way to catch everything up is a little list, so here goes!

1. I'm now at full time at work, although I've actually had overtime the last two weeks (time and a half, I'll take it!)  I also managed to get off training pay early which was a fantastic little surprise!
2. I absolutely adore the ladies I work with and particularly enjoyed going to see the late showing of Inception with them (if you haven't seen it, go! My mind is blown and I must see it again!)
3. We've had quite the parade of celebrities lately, including Henry Winkler, David Schwimmer, Tom Petty, and Lucy Liu (who I believe is doing a movie shoot this week at the Elixir Bar!! And yes I'm working!!)
4. Ann Marie and I had no luck finding a place together so she is going to sublet a place month to month and I guess I'm going to stay put for now.  We'll see what happens from there.
5. Sarah Sutton and Steven Kady dropped by to visit!! We found a nice air conditioned, underground pub (because underground bars are our thing.) Then I got on the right train heading in the wrong direction and took FOREVER to get home, then went the wrong way off the subway stop, then my phone died while I was talking to my mom and she maybe had a tiny heart attack (whoops!) It's okay Mom! I'm safe! There was a police officer standing beside me, literally, I could have reached out and touched him (but that might have been weird.)
6. I still haven't gotten around to seeing Shakespeare in the Park, and I'm doubting I will be able to given all the hours I've been blessed to have (and the overtime I seem to put in as well) but maybe there will be time for other fun events.
7. Summer is (crossing my fingers) coming to visit in the Fall!! Which makes me happy because I love her and I love fall!!!! And, AND! For Christmas Erin may be sending herself to visit me!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!
8. On a more serious note, I've also realized over the last few weeks (after a long-running thought process stemming from the last several years) that you can't control pretty much anything, and accepting that is the best way to find happiness.  All you have, all you can do, is your best.  If someone doesn't like it, at least then you've done all you can and can just walk away with ease. Yep. No more control freak over here. And also, friends are amazing gifts and really the only thing worth anything in this world. True story.

Well that's all the catching up I've got time for this evening.... Now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with my hair for the movie shoot... hmm....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'll be back...

"don't worry bout me. you know real life... it ain't like the movies. life is just a bunch of stories you go through and they all end sooner or later. but it's okay, i'm going to go find my next story."