Thursday, April 26, 2012

By The Numbers

So much has happened since we last talked! I shopped in SoHo, saw a few celebrities, and mingled with New York socialites at an art auction.

Here's a recap of it all ... by the numbers.

3: The number of miles I ran along the Hudson River path last Thursday as I watched the sun set.

Not a bad backdrop for a workout

1: The number of celebrities I saw while running. The celebrity? Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live.

Funny, funny man

I also saw Seth perform his live stand-up act at Ohio University this winter. We clearly have a connection. I was very, very close to running directly at him and introducing myself. His girlfriend, however, was with him, and I didn't want her to feel intimidated. Obviously, Seth could have easily been swept away by this overzealous and extremely sweaty girl. He also had an attack dog (read: small terrier or chihuahua).

7: The number of hours Sarah and I spent walking around SoHo on Saturday.

Betsey Johnson in SoHo

While in SoHo, we met up with Sam and Jen. Sam and Jen are also from Ohio University and are also interning in the city and living in The Webster. We're a big Bobcat clan. We walked around aimlessly for most of the day, which was wonderful because "aimlessly" happens to be one of my favorite ways to walk.

1: The number of celebrities we saw in SoHo. The celebrity was Ty Pennington. He was not doing an extreme home makeover, as far as I could tell.

... He also didn't have a megaphone

5: The number of items I bought in SoHo.

I guess I was feeling very "neon"

Don't worry, these were from a moderately-priced boutique. Gucci and Prada don't mesh well with an intern salary.

6: The number of vegetarian sliders I ate while out to dinner at Hudson Station Bar & Grill with the OU crew.

This is the closest I will ever come to having a "White Castle experience"


Sarah & me

In between the bun was portabella mushroom, red pepper, zucchini and bleu cheese.

Delicious

0: The number of places I went besides The Webster on Sunday. It rained, rained and rained more. I left my rain boots in Ohio (and I don't necessarily enjoy feeling soggy), so I didn't leave the building at all during the torrential downpour. Instead, I watched Look Who's Talking.


I love John Travolta circa 1989. Don't judge me.

I also did a cardio circuit and strength-buidling workout in my room. Then, I did a "Candlelight Yoga" video, also alone in my room. Again, don't judge me.


2: The number of Gossip Girl stars I saw at the 13th Annual Free Arts NYC Art Auction on Monday.

Lily Humphrey, formerly Lily van der Woodsen

The Chuck Bass

My supervisor asked me to attend this event to get travel managing experience. I, of course, said that I would go. I wanted to scream, "YES!" and jump up and down, but I controlled myself and saved the excessive giddiness for when I was alone in my room studying the guest list.

More impressive than the star-studded guest list, however, was the cause behind this event. (Nice segue, eh?) Free Arts NYC under-served children and families with educational arts and mentoring programs that help them foster creativity and self-confidence.


The event was phenomenal. I sipped on champagne, browsed beautiful art, "star" gazed, and ate mini grilled cheese sandwiches.

Striking a pose with Miss USA

Finish the sentence

The lips would be my pick ... If I had around $80,000

DJ Chelsea Leyland

 I also let the "paparazzi" take my photo.

Say Cheese!

The "paparazzi" that night were actually students in the Free Arts program. They snapped polaroid photos of celebrities and then gave the stars their pictures to take as mementos.

A few asked to take my picture because they thought I was Blake Lively a.k.a. Serena van der Woodsen, another Gossip Girl cast member.

Side note: I actually have no proof they thought that.

My pretend doppleganger

Basically, this is what I have learned in my 38 days in New York:

Infinity: Number of things to do in this city

And this is what I have left:

Infinity minus something in the 50-100 range

... At least I'm chipping away at it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday With An S

Yesterday, I had a major case of the Mondays. I was hot and bothered all day, with an emphasis on hot. The air conditioning in our building wasn't working, and Mother Nature decided to bless New York with unseasonably warm weather. I'm always cold, so it means a lot when I say that I was hot. If you can imagine writing, editing, and brainstorming in a sauna for 8 hours, then you can imagine my Monday.

Today, I woke up feeling infinitely happier and more optimistic. To make things better, my day was filled with alliteration

Alliteration happens to be one of my favorite literary elements (I am a shameless writing nerd), and I love injecting it into my prose whenever possible. So, I was incredibly happy when my life alliterated itself. Well, I probably helped a little ...

Anyway, this is my day in "S" sounds:

Sweaty circuit workout (Thanks, Julie!)




Sunny yellow sundress (and a semi-awkward smile)




Sparkly toes in strappy sandals





Super fruity snack




Skin art

*Just kidding, I'm still ink-free! But I did tag along with one of my friends today as she had her skin was permanently illustrated. That almost counts.


Sleep



See you at sunrise! 

... OK, I'm done now.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Food Like Love

I usually don't take pictures of my food at restaurants. I sneak photos on my BlackBerry every now and then, but I'm afraid that non-bloggers (They just don't understand!) and non-foodies (Is there such a thing?) will feel uncomfortable if I whip out my camera in the middle of a meal. And since my life is just so exciting, I don't normally dedicate entire blog posts to single meals.

Then, a meal like this comes along and compels me to change my ways.

Deliciousness via Max Brenner

On Wednesday, I went to Max Brenner with Angela, Grace and Megan. Angela and Grace are Ohio University graduates who now work at public relations firms in New York City. I knew Angela and Grace from school and made a point to reach out to them once I got to the city.

We all wanted to catch up, so we decided to meet for dinner and drinks near Union Square. We didn't have a set dining spot in mind, so Angela suggested Max Brenner. No one objected.

I started the meal with a peach lemonade and vodka concoction. It was cool, refreshing and citrusy. It was like a vacation in my mouth.

Paradise in a glass

Then, there was the salad. The salad was made of incredibly fresh lettuce and crisp vegetables. It was topped with crunchy asiago cheese bits. (Yes, I did dig through the salad to make sure I ate every one of those bits.) I don't know what type of dressing came with the salad. It tasted like happiness with a pinch of lemon.

Bliss in a bowl

Finally, I had a mozzarella, spinach and tomato panini. The panini was warm and delicious. It had the perfect balance of bread, cheese and vegetables. The chef must use a special panini equation to get his ratios just right. That's math everyone can appreciate.

Heaven on bread

Bold statement: This meal was the best I have had thus far in New York.

This meal looked and tasted so good, in fact, that I felt compelled to take various photographs of it from various angles. I basically had a photo shoot with my dinner.

Crazy, right? Right.

I guess New York food makes me do crazy things. It's a lot like love.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ups and Downs

Have you ever heard of Murphy's Law?
It's an adage that's best stated as: "If anything can go wrong, it will. "

That phrase just about sums up my weekend. Well, at least part of it.

The Downs


On Friday, I planned to go out with a few friends from The Webster. Earlier that day, we decided that we wanted to check out the East Village bar scene.

It took us longer than expected to get ready for the night (as getting ready tends to do for 20-somethings), and we didn't leave The Webster until after 1 a.m.

Sidenote: Bars in New York stay open until 4 a.m. If you want to last all night, then don't leave until the next morning.

Our subway ride to the East Village included two transfers. We maneuvered the first two trains without a problem. Then, we got to the third terminal. A puddle of vomit was on the steps, a man was urinating in the corner, and an announcer on the speaker system said that it would be 20 minutes until the next 6 train arrived.

Instead of waiting with urine man, we got out of the subway right then and there. We figured that we would easily find a bar no matter where we were. After all, it is New York.

We didn't spot anything immediately, so Megan decided to look up nearby bars on her iPhone. She found a few that sounded incredibly promising. Then, her phone ran out of battery. Our IQ dropped when the smartphone died.

We blindly walked into a couple small bars, but no bar drew us in for good. Plus, the "regulars" at those small bars intimidated us. We were back at the Webster before 3 a.m. I was not amused.

NYC nightlife - 1, Kellie - 0

On Saturday, I woke up and decided to go for a run. The weather was nice, and I felt incredibly powerful for the first 1.5 miles of my workout. At my halfway point, I decided to change direction and head back toward The Webster. I had been forgetting to do this before. Consequently, my 3 mile runs were often followed by 3 mile walks home.

Apparently, that previous "powerful" feeling was the wind, and it didn't make me feel so powerful when I was going against it. It stopped me in my tracks. If I were 10 (OK, probably more like 110) pounds lighter, then I would have blown away. I guess I should've taken those wind advisories from The Weather Channel a little more seriously.

After suffering through the last half of my run, I showered and headed to dinner with Megan. We were still feeling quite defeated from Friday night's fiasco, so we planned to stay in and relax.

We decided to get frozen yogurt before parking it in front of the TV for the night.

My mouth is watering

I won't even pretend like something went wrong with the Pinkberry. My only complaint is that the bowl didn't magically refill itself when I was done.

My mix:
Original 'gurt
Strawberries
Mochi
Yogurt chips
Coconut

On the walk back to The Webster from Pinkberry, Megan decided to pick up some wine for us to sip on while we watched Saturday Night Live.

Once back at The Webster, we headed straight to the TV lounge. Normally, the TV lounge is filled with other guests. Today, however, no one was there -- except for two old women discussing astrology.

The TV was off, and the two women were talking about the planets and stars as if the planets and stars had character traits and personalities. They said things like, "Oh, you know how Neptune can be," (no, I don't) and were jotting down notes from a book on horoscopes. I'm fairly certain one of them mentioned leaving her job because Venus was in retrograde.

They eventually left, and we delighted in the fact that we were, for the first time ever, in full control of the remote for the night.

We turned on the TV. Then, the TV turned off. Then, the "NO SIGNAL" message appeared. The satellite wasn't working. Awesome.

Hours later, the signal came back. Thankfully, it was in time for us to watch SNL. Finally, we could kick back and open the wine.

... Except, the wine bottle wasn't a twist-off like we thought it was. And, out of all the things I thought to pack for New York, "wine opener" never crossed my mind. Murphy's Law strikes again.

With sincere determination and persistence (and after breaking a knife), Megan opened the wine. We laughed and sipped all night long.

And since I'm generous, I'm sharing some laughter with you:

Weekend Update gets me every time.


The Ups


I woke up, and it was Easter. Normally, Easter is filled with Easter baskets, egg hunts, and family time (see below).

Easter 2011

Dominating the egg hunt

Losers

This year, it was filled with touristy sidewalks and tall buildings.

Early Sunday morning, I texted my parents and siblings to wish them a happy Easter and to tell them that I missed them. My mom texted me back and told me to hunt for my basket. Huh?

Apparently, she made and hid a basket for me while she was visiting. My mom is very sneaky, and I am very grateful for her sneakiness. Her gesture proved to be an untraditional way of keeping tradition alive. I loved it.

Then, I went running ... and the wind didn't knock me off my feet! In fact, it was beautiful outside, and I opted to lie in the grass for awhile after my run was over. I even took some time to smell (photograph) the flowers.




The Cherry on Top


We had Crumbs cupcakes at work on Monday.

Happiness in dessert form

My pick: "Good Guy"
I take indulgence seriously.

Life has done a total 180 since Friday. Saturn must be back in my 11th house.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Random Observations

I am a very observant person. I feel compelled to tune in closely to the activities going on around me, and I love people watching.

New York is the people-watching capital of the world. Since I've been here, I've observed a number of things about mankind:

1. Runners like to stare at other runners. 
I notice this whenever I run along the Hudson River path. I've come to the conclusion that they are sizing each other up and guessing how many miles the other person is putting in that day. Then, they are either complimenting themselves for running more miles, or they are silently yelling at themselves for running fewer miles.

Me? I assume that every runner I see is training for the Boston Marathon, and I voicelessly berate myself for the entirety of my meager 3 to 5 mile journey.




2. Everyone becomes invisible on the subway.
No one pays attention to anything that anyone else does in those mysterious metal trains. Subway riders  are immune to weird outfits, loud phone conversations, and unpleasant odors. They, in fact, ignore all of those things. They just want to get to where they're going without suffering mental and emotional scarring.

I rode a train with a man who freestyle-rapped loudly about exotic dancers (before 11 a.m., mind you), and no one made a single comment ... or even looked in his direction. I also witnessed a man running from car to car of the train while it was in motion. I thought it was odd and potentially dangerous. No one else noticed.

What man in a pink camoflauge body suit?


3. People go to Dave and Buster's to boost their self-esteem.
On Wednesday, I went to Dave and Buster's in Times Square with Megan, Sarit, and Sarit's boyfriend. We had a few drinks, played games, and enjoyed each other's company. At Dave and Buster's, people receive praise for tossing a ball into a hole and for pressing a button. To add to it, people can cash in the tickets they win as a result of their mastery to get incredible prizes -- like a mustache key chain or a giant banana. Nothing screams "hero" quite like facial hair-themed accessories and stuffed fruit.

I stuck around the trivia table for most of the night. Here's why: In the real world, knowing the number Barry Bonds wore in his 2003 season or where the majority of the U.S.'s pineapple supply is grown (Hawaii, by the way) simply makes you a pineapple-lover who knows the number Barry Bonds wore in 2003. In trivia, it makes you a champion. At Dave and Buster's, it makes you a champion and a beholder of 78 tickets. After a feat like that, everyone else at the trivia table looks at you with both jealousy and admiration. You are their hero.

All that random knowledge finally comes in handy


So, there are a few of the random observations I've made since I moved to the city.
... Maybe I should've majored in sociology.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Big Bite of The Big Apple

I had an amazing weekend in the city. My mom came to visit!

She is the best 

When I found out I was going to New York to intern, I made my mom promise that she would visit me. I forgot I made this request, but I am so happy that I did ... and that my mom follows through on her promises.

My mom arrived Wednesday evening and left this morning. Our four(ish) days together flew by!

I greeted my mom at The Webster after work Wednesday. She stayed in my room, and The Webster supplied us with a cot. When set up, it was tightly wedged between my desk and bed. The path across my room disappeared. Thankfully, I was a master at the "Lava Game" when I was little, so maneuvering the mattress maze was no struggle for me.

After my mom settled in, we decided to walk around the block. We kept our eyes peeled for a good dinner spot and finally settled on the Houndstooth Pub. Houndstooth is my favorite print, so I figured we couldn't go wrong with this choice. 

Our dinner destination

We both ordered garden veggie sandwiches, and we shared an order of sweet potato fries. If a person can inherit taste buds, then I certainly inherited my mom's. We order the same thing just about everywhere we go.

After that, we walked around my block a little more and ended the night with tasty frozen yogurt and good conversation.

The next day, I had a hard time leaving for work. I wanted to spend all day having fun in the city with my mom. Luckily, she didn't do or see anything too exciting without me.

Times Square

... besides all of that.

After I got back from work, my mom, Megan and I decided to go to Greenwich Village. Actually, I insisted, and they didn't argue. I fell in love with Greenwich Village when I visited New York last summer. It's a little like Ohio University's campus -- a touch of artsy and a pinch of fratty. I adore it.

The Athens of NYC

We walked around and browsed for a little while, but the cold weather and gusty winds urged us to get our shopping priorities in order. We streamlined it to the one place we truly wanted to go.

Duh

I was as happy as a kid in a cupcake candy store.

"I'll take one of each"

We boxed up our goodies and headed out to find a place to eat a meal that didn't consist of sugar and frosting.

Bingo

Our dinner destiny was written in the stars.

The garbanzo grubbin' gang

We munched on six or seven different types of hummus with toasted pitas before we got our meals. 

Who's going to steer the hummus boat?

I was craving something warm and opted for the vegetable soup. It was chunky and heavenly. Hummus Place is a vegetarian holy land.

We grabbed a cab after dinner and planned on going straight back to The Webster. Then, we passed a 16 Handles, and I yelled at the taxi driver to pull over. I'm serious about my frozen yogurt.

16 Handles is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that offers tons of different mouthwatering flavors and toppings daily. If you haven't already, I recommend that you try it. Like now. Go.

I wish that bowl were endless

I was both embarrassed and amused that we walked into a frozen yogurt shop with bags of baked goods.

On Friday, my mom and I met up with my cousin, Andy, for dinner. Andy went to college in New York and has lived here ever since. That makes him the slickest city slicker in our family (besides me, of course).

Me and Andy

Me and You-Know-Who

We ate at a swanky restaurant called The Crooked Knife

Enter restaurant, become instantly more sophisticated

We chatted for hours and had a lot of fun catching up and sharing stories.

Our dinner lasted pretty late into the night, and I was exhausted from my first week of work. I was snoozing as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I woke up Saturday morning feeing refreshed and ready to go!

My mom and I headed to Chelsea Market and spent our entire afternoon shopping, sampling baked goods, and snapping photos (like good tourists should).

Caution: Entering may result in inability to leave in timely manner

I recommend the "Happy Birthday" cupcake in vanilla

Festive decor

Tick tock

Chocolate flowers: No more choosing between chocolates and flowers

Almost too cute to eat

Then, we headed back to The Webster to regroup and drop off our bags before dinner. We weren't sure where we wanted to eat. Actually, we had no idea what our options were. So, I Googled them. 

Finally, I stumbled on Stout, a nearby pub/restaurant. 

Google told us to do it

Stout provided a great atmosphere for our last night of dining together. Not to mention, the food was incredible. My mom and I both ordered veggie burgers and agreed that they were the best veggie burgers we had ever tasted. A great number of veggie burgers have been sampled between the two of us. That is a huge compliment to you, Stout.

Kid tested

Mother approved

My feet will tread this floor again soon

We got a cab back to The Webster after dinner. My mom was leaving for the airport early the next morning, but that didn't stop us from going hard.

We have sweet tooths teeth

... on desserts.

We watched a chick flick and sampled all of the sweets that we accumulated over the weekend. It was perfect. The entire weekend was perfect.

My mom left for Ohio today, and I was sad to see her go.

But, she can easily find her way back -- We left a trail of cupcake crumbs.
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