Things you can Google if you want to find my blog.

“Painting metal file cabinet.”

“Skip washing your hair.”

“What to wear to a concert.” (Irony.)

“Bachelorette party in Chicago.”

“Inside out stuffed shells.”

And my personal favorite: “Make princess curls.”

This is what I corner the market on, you guys.

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How to: Memorial Day in New York

The unofficial theme of my Memorial Day weekend was “the time we ate and drank our way through New York City.” And I have no regrets about that.

Two of my oldest friends visited Joey and I with their significant others, and we spent our time strolling (a fairly rainy) Manhattan and exploring my favorite places (so far) in Queens. These are those stories.

Thursday: Erik and Alison arrived around noon on Thursday. I had to work from home that afternoon, so I sent them off to a nearby bar to unwind until six. When Joey got home, we headed off to the city for dinner at Bocca di Bacco, which my super hip-and-in-the-know co-worker Lauryn had recommended. If you like traditional Italian (I had the Ravolini di Pesce) and extensive wine lists, you will like this place.

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Then we sent E+A off to see Once, which, as you may recall, I adore. They ended up getting drinks in the city and then heading back to our apartment.

Friday: The next day, Joey and I had both taken off from work, so we started the morning with brunch at my favorite breakfast spot in Astoria, Queens Comfort. It was predictably delicious. (Word to the wise: Get the tater tots. If you’re feeling especially crazy, get the Disco Tots. You will thank me.)

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Next, we headed into the city for a few touristy things (it was Allison’s first time to New York), including a peek at the park, a stop in Grand Central, and some serious window-shopping on 5th avenue. We tried to get into the MOMA during the free hours, but a line around the block combined with seriously unpleasant weather deterred us.

Then it was time to head back to Queens. We grabbed a quick snack at Martha’s Country Bakery (AMAZING…I usually get a chocolate chip cookie or cannoli, but Joey swears by every flavor of their cheesecake) to revive us before we went to pick up Annie and Al from the airport.

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Once we had acquired an Annie and Al, it was time for dinner! We took everyone to one of our favorite Astoria restaurants, the newly liquor-licensed The Thirsty Koala. (I highly recommend clicking that link if you enjoy photos of adorable things.)

We ordered kangaroo sliders, lamb chops, prawn and steak tacos, crostinis, and a host of other things. Plus, of course, a few drinks to celebrate our reunion.

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Saturday: After a few bagels from the Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company on our street, we headed back into the city Saturday morning. We visited the 9/11 Memorial (which I had never done) before grabbing some coffee and strolling The High Line. The weather wasn’t great, but the views were still pretty nice.

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After a quick dash home to freshen (and warm) up, we returned to the city for dinner at A Voce, another delicious Italian recommendation by Lauryn. I had the pea-stuffed mezzaluna pasta and a Kir Italiano – delish.

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After some low-key drinks at The Guilty Goose nearby, we were ready to head home to bed. (Oh, right, we’re kind of old.)

Sunday: For everyone’s last full day in New York, we decided to hit a few more of our favorite Queens spots. We started with an incredible brunch at MexiBBQ (unlimited drinks from noon to three-ish). I had the Eggs Benedict and a mimosa, Joey got the Challah French Toast and a mimosa. No. Regrets.

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Next, because the weather was actually nice for once, we were off to the Astoria Beer Garden. There was some kind of celebration going on, so we joined the party with a few pitchers and some flower crowns. As one does.

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Afterward, we took a quick group nap before heading to dinner at Watawa, my favorite sushi place near our apartment. (Everything is good.)

Monday: The gang had to roll out around noon, so we grabbed a quick breakfast at Martha’s before heading home to pack. (Total disclosure: Alison and Erik ate at Martha’s no less than three times during their visit. It’s THAT good.)

After dropping everyone off for their flights, Joey and I headed to Astoria Park for a few hours of sunshine (I’m sufficiently pink now) before joining our local friends for a backyard barbecue.

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Basically, I got everything I wanted out of the weekend, including time with my oldest friends, a little color, and some really great memories. Can’t wait for our next reunion!

 

Get your StitchFix

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my “resolutions” for 2013. I feel like I didn’t describe it very eloquently, but my friend Annie ended up making the same resolution, and she put it perfectly:

 

This year, we both are striving to make our lives a bit more polished.

 

For me, that involved creating an apartment that truly reflects who Joey and I are and that I love to be in (we’re getting there!), finding a career that challenges me and teaches me new skills, being myself more (and who other people want me to be less), and sorting out my personal style. (I’m not entirely selfless, you guys.)

 

Part of that goal involved realizing (and accepting) that I should just always be blonde. But I’ve also been trying to pin down my clothing style.

 

Truth talk: I know that the silly, superficial things do not really matter. I know that. What I also know? I’m a happier person if my hair looks decent (hair has a psychological affect on a person. It just does.) and if I like my outfit.

 

Which is a really long way of saying that lately I’ve been toying with the idea of enlisting the help of a personal shopper. There’s a woman I work with who has used one at J. Crew for years, and the idea of just letting someone else tell me “this is right and that is wrong” when I’m picking out a dress is just oh-so-appealing. Then again, I’m not sure I could work up the guts to actually enlist a personal shopper, and I think I’d feel too much pressure to buy whatever they presented me with.

 

That’s why when my lovely (and super stylish) friend Madison blogged about her experience with StitchFix, I was mightily intrigued.

 

StitchFix is an online personal styling service. You fill out a personality style profile, and a personal shopper sends you a box of about six items that match your style and price requests. Like what she sends? They’ll charge the card on your account and you can wear the items in good health. Don’t like ’em? Pop them in the pre-addressed envelope and mail the items back. No harm, no foul. No salesperson with hard feelings.

 

What I really liked is that they even ask to see if you have a Pinterest board of clothes you like — how brilliant is that? Obviously, I sent them this one.

 

Long story short, my first Fix was pretty awesome. I got a super adorable skirt:

 

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A cool blazer with lace trim:

 

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A black tunic-tank:

 

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And let’s get a closer look at that new necklace:

 

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I also got a sweater that is not pictured. The best part, though, is that your stylist (mine’s name is Brittany…I choose to believe, yes, she’s a real person) also includes tips on how to style each item, taking the guess work out for me!

 

You can schedule your fixes for whenever you want. My next one will arrive in about a month and a half, but you can also set up regularly monthly deliveries.

 

Want to sign up? Click here. (Total disclosure: I get a referral fee if you click that link.)

 

So basically, I owe a big thank-you to Madison. Can’t wait to see what I get next!

My happy place.

The other day, I was walking home to my new apartment and couldn’t help but think that I am so much happier with my life right now than I was a few months ago.

It’s not that I hated living in Long Island. I definitely made good friends that I will cherish forever and continue to keep in touch with. And, yeah, living 15 minutes from the beach didn’t suck in the summer. But…

You know how in movies, there will be a character who just doesn’t fit in and doesn’t fit in and doesn’t fit in no matter how much she tries? And then, one magic day, she finds out — surprise! — she’s an alien. And then it makes so much sense and the audience is like, “Oh duh! Of course you couldn’t fit in — you weren’t meant to!”

I sort of felt like I spent the last three years waiting for that moment.

Except, instead of finding out I was an alien, I just kept being reminded (over and over and over again) that I just was not a Long Islander. In three years, I found only a handful of people who thought about things the way I did, who had the priorities I did, and who cared about the things I did. I felt like I spent a lot of my day trying to react to things accordingly, because if I didn’t — and if the other person didn’t like my reaction — I would feel the wrath. Or, rather, the cold, cold chill of being iced out for not being exactly how other people wanted you to be.

And so, after one-too-many nights of breaking down sobbing in our car to Joey because I just couldn’t figure out how to be or act to fit in, the decision to leave had basically made itself.

But wait! This isn’t a sad story! Please push the image of me teary-eyed in a Civic out of your minds.

The point is, while I’m sure Long Island is a great place for some people, it just wasn’t my jam. And now that I’m living in the city, I actually enjoy the city again. You know, instead of spending just enough time there to hate it.

Now, I’m actually doing fun things. I’m eating and drinking at cool places. I’m living in New York instead of just working there.

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Which leads me to the point of this post: Even though lately I feel like I’m doing more fun things and experiencing more than I have in a while, my blogging has really fallen by the wayside. And since the “point” of this blog is to serve as a pseudo diary of my life, those seem like the types of experiences I should be recording for posterity.

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That’s why I’ve decided to share more. More reviews of things, more photos, more snapshots of my life now, in this moment.

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Plus, some of my oldest friends are coming to visit this weekend! Which makes the next few days rife with possibilities for photo opps. And I shall take all those opps, thank you very much.

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Because things are going pretty great. And that’s how I want to remember everything.

Living Room Update

Whaaat? I real-live apartment update? On this blog?

You betcha.

This weekend was particularly productive for us on the apartment front. Joey and my father-in-law installed a hanging bar and shelf in our front closet and replaced our shower head with an adjustable one that actually builds up enough pressure to properly rinse shampoo from your hair. (I didn’t include photos because even though the closet and shower head are infinitely more functional, they still don’t look that fancy in a picture. You’ll just have to use your iMaGiNaTiOnS.)

You know what does look snazzy in a photo? Our new couch! It arrived on Wednesday, and we built it that night!! Look how pretty it is!!!photo(4)

I, for one, will not miss sitting on the floor/sharing our one upholstered chair with Joey. Plus, the couch has a bottom drawer for storing extra blankets, pillows, and sheets, and you know what extra storage does to me.

I also finished up the other side of the room:

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Cute, huh? I like how colorful everything is looking. I might switch things around on the shelves (shelf styling is one of my secret hobbies), but for now, it’s staying. Bonus points if you can identify what we were watching.

By the end of the week, I’m hoping to be able to show you the kitchen and bedroom.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Shower on the love.

And that’s how I wound up naked in a building in the middle of Manhattan.

Hmm? What’s that? You find my Tarantino-start-at-the-end-and-work-your-way-back-to-the-beginning-style of writing alarming?

Well, DEAL WITH IT. It’s called a hook. Consider yourself hooked.

Anyway. Though it ends with me in the buff, this is a story that starts with trying to get buff.

As I may have mentioned, I recently joined a gym near my office. It’s a bit pricier than any other gym I’ve ever paid for (in my life), but it’s actually moderately priced for the area thanks to an employee discount I get through work, and it’s so dang convenient that I can’t even get home without passing it. Which, as we learned from my Brooklyn Y experience, help ensure I actually go on a regular basis.

For the last couple of years, I have been a staunch evening exerciser. While I would prefer to start my day with a trip to the gym, my crazy-long commute prevented that from being a viable possibility. (Unless I wanted to get up before 5 a.m. Or die at the hands of a (possibly) homicidal homeless man.)

Thanks to our recent move, however, my commute is much, much shorter, meaning I don’t have to wake up as early unless I want to work out.

I think you can imagine where this is going.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been telling myself that it would be a good idea to wake up earlier, go to the gym before work, shower there, and then walk the four blocks to my office. I’ve been telling myself this, but had yet to actually act on it.

UNTIL THE FATEFUL MORNING I DID. Also known as…this morning.

For the record, it had always been part of the plan that I would shower at the gym. And this is not the first time I’ve showered at a gym. It had just been a really long time, and I had completely forgotten how unbelievable awkward it is.

To be perfectly honest, I rarely even change at the gym. I’ll usually change my clothes at the office, in the privacy of the spacious handicap bathroom stall, before making my merry way to work out.

I mean, on one hand, I know I’m being silly. I know pretty much everyone averts their eyes awkwardly just like I do when I see someone half- to fully naked in the locker room. But I just…I don’t know. Nakedness. In front of people. Ehh.

I’m a prude, is what I’m saying.

Today, though, it just had to be done. Lest I want to become known as the “sweaty girl” in the office. (Not a very clever nickname, but it still stings.)

So after working out, I stripped down only to discover that…

1. …GOOD LORD those towels they provide are tiny. Who are they made for? Toddlers? I normal-sized woman can barely keep her dignity in one of those.

2. …few things make you feel less like a grown-up than showering in flip-flops. Though I was grateful I remembered to pack them.

3. …those hairdryers you’ve been seeing in the locker room for weeks and telling yourself “are so convenient!” because now you don’t have to pack your own? They suck. You still have to pack your own.

4. …showering at the gym is not your favorite thing.

Plus, as we covered in the first sentence, there’s something about being naked in the middle of the city that just makes you feel more…exposed.

So! My fellow morning gym-goers. How do you survive showering at the gym? Do you skip it? Do you bring fancy shampoo to make yourself feel more human? Tell me your secrets!

 

Sometimes I get to do cool things.

It’s no secret that there are times I do not heart NY. Sometimes I down-right hate it. And sometimes it hates me back.

But then there are those beautiful moments that make me love it all over again. Like when I get to be a part of exciting things. And when I get to experience things like this:

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YES THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

I was casually perusing Twitter today when I saw that someone I followed had posted a photo of the banana stand. I gasped audibly, and when my manager saw what I was freaking out about, she looked at me and was like, “Just go! Go now!”

She actually told me to “just run there!” So I did. (JK, I got a cab. But still.)

And it was everything I hoped it would be.

So, fine, point New York.