So You Want to Learn to Cook: The Basics, Onions & Garlic

So you want to learn to cook, do you? That’s great because I really really really love making food happen!

finished_onions Continue reading “So You Want to Learn to Cook: The Basics, Onions & Garlic”

Week 43: Russian Pop Songs from Hell, Escargot, & Abigail.


 Just another Monday ride to work:

A Russian pop song starts to play at the opposite end of the train car. The old Russian man rolls a shitty speaker sitting in a mini-bed on wheels. At first, it’s just loud instruments, but wait… there’s more. The old Russian man starts to sing into a muffled microphone with little idea of the key. Every now and then on the belty parts, you can hear the song’s original singer lightly edited out. He walks back and forth with the music and mic blasting through the entire train car, which as if on purpose continues to stall in between stations. Sweet victory comes after the ending of the 2nd song… he quits his musical endeavor and peace has returned.

Just another Friday night:

The echo of the saxophone vibrates through the station as I sit reminiscing on my life. The dude sitting next to me licks his fingers as he eats from his whole foods paper bag. There’s chatter everywhere… it’s only 10pm on a Friday. I’m cold… I feel a chill to the bone. A stylish duo pass by wearing floor length leather jackets and matching Jimmy Chu booties. The sax is still roaring. I can feel it’s soul passing through the vibrations of my purse. I’ve had too much pork. And gin. Thank goodness the F is finally here.

Let’s take a step back right quick… to Thursday. My roomies and I went out for drinks and dinner in the west village to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Mary Alice chose the spot. Amelie wine bar. The place was packed solid. The host must have recognized MA and sat us at the bar without a reservation. BOOM. Every single staff member from the bar tender to the host and runners had French accents… the wine had to be good, right? We got a bottle of champagne instead. Cheese, duck pate, and beef tartare, and escargot was had… it was a first of many new foods for me. All incredibly delicious.



That’s a Martini Francais behind the gooey Maringe (sp?). To avoid sounding too douche… I’d like to add I have zero clue what’s in it, but it was YUMMY.

So grateful to have these lovely ladies as my roommates.

I ended my beautiful week with a brief photo shoot with one of my incredibly talented friends Abigail. She sculpts for a living and a passion and although we only had 30 minutes together on Sunday I left so incredibly inspired. I’m going to make a full post with all the photos, but for now here are just a few.

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Week 26: Fall Selfies & Nostalgia.

It’s weird. Fall has been here for a couple of months now, but I’m just now starting to notice just how beautiful it is. Both our living room and kitchen windows face trees that were once lush with greenery… now, they’re even more vibrant! Up until now fall colors have been just an extension of summer. Sure some leaves in Orlando changed colors, but not to this extent.

I haven’t really noticed that many changes in the energy since fall has crept in… I still see a bajillion people every day going about their crazy busy lives. I’ve heard that winter time silences the city a little. We’ll see.

11.14. I was on the train this morning and for once I wasn’t smushed against the doors. I had enough room to actually pull out my book and do some reading. It was also the first morning in weeks that I was able to actually see out the windows as we passed over the Manhattan bridge. The view, as always, was breathtaking. I did notice, though, how normal it all felt. Just a month or so ago, every day I passed over the bridge, a deep sense of disbelief filled me. So much so that I questioned if any of it were real. Today, the questioning ceased to take hold. It felt very real.

It’s also finally getting cold. Not chilly. [Cold.] The sunnier side of the street is not that bad, but the second you turn a corner where the sun can’t sneak through the tall buildings, the chill hits your bones immediately. Winter is going to be rough.


Friday night I attended a dance party DJ’d by Questlove at the Natural History Museum with Jess. It all felt very ‘New York-ish’… not exactly something that I’m used to attending back in Otown. The event was sold out and Jess was on the guest list. It was all very exciting. I was a bit bummed that the event took place nowhere near the actual exhibits (I would LOVE to boogie with my main Dino, T), but I’m fairly certain this was for the best.

Before going to the museum we had dinner at Kefi, a Greek restaurant on the UWS. I spent about an hour drinking through their wine list and people watching from the bar downstairs before Jess met up with me. The crowd there wasn’t quite as entertaining as I had hoped. Although at about the 3rd glass I had come up with the most epic storyline for the couple sitting on the other side of the bar. I couldn’t hear what they were chatting about, but both of them were incredibly animated and appeared to really continuously compliment each other’s scarves. I imagined they were foreign scarf designers from Iceland visiting for a scarf convention. Perhaps they met on the air plane and decided to trade scarf notes over a glass of wine.

Now that it’s finally coat season, I’m having to discover a whole new layer of inconvenience. It’s cold as hell (my version of hell is much like antarctica) outside, but indoors it might as well be summertime. Dealing with your coat once indoors becomes incredibly annoying. For now, at the very least most of my coats are not too chunky. Come winter, it’s going to get even more challenging. Luckily, there’s coat checks. [I know, my inner struggle is real.] #Firstworldproblem.

Anyway, last night was fun. I’m always going to choose a live band over a DJ, but Questlove was pretty groovy. Getting to boogie under the planetarium was also pretty sweet.

11.15: Took a stroll this morning around my hood with my neighbor & friend, Chelsea. I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I miss nature living in the city. Honestly, no. I live a short stroll away from a huge park in Brooklyn… I get more ‘nature’ walking around the park than I did on most days in Orlando. Also, colorful fall colors are WAY better than palm trees. No contest. (Let’s not pretend I didn’t LOVE going to the springs and walking through the Econ forest, but the parks here are pretty awesome.)

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I decided to google myself today. I stumbled on this flick from maybe… 2007 at an open mic/cabaret?


I feel like this entry has been over self-involved. Kind of ironic for a personal blog about myself. I know. Either way, I decided it was time for some self-portraits. I think everyone should have portraits done of themselves periodically throughout their life. My life is my future’s history, it’s nice to be able to document it.

Here is a self-portrait from November 2012 (2 years ago). I was living in a small duplex in Orlando. This picture was taken on my compact couch that I loved more than anything at the time. I was in my 3rd year at UCF. That semester I fell in love with organic chemistry and spent all of my time studying on that couch. I lived alone with the exception of the roaches that came to visit at 3am, like clockwork. They stayed on their end of the house (near the kitchen) and let me be while I studied on my end (living room with the couch). They were more like foes than friends, but I recall those long nights with fondness nevertheless. That living room was my sanctuary.


Fast forward 2 years. These photos were taken in our developing reading nook. It’s coming along and will surely be one of my favorite spots in the new home. I didn’t even imagine living in NYC 2 years ago yet here I am. I don’t spend time studying anymore. I thought this was a gift, but I’m beginning to feel like my brain needs feeding again.



Today I strolled around the West village and stopped in at the Chess Forum (one of my favorite spots in the area). You can’t go wrong with a game of chess surrounded by a bunch of handmade chess pieces and Bach playing somewhere in the background.

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This about sums up my week. I hope next week will have more pictures of NY. Ciao!

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This Stoop Photo Cred to Miss Chelsea.

Unless my WordPress stats are WAY off I’ve noticed several international folks coming through here… if you happen to stumble on this blog and don’t know me. Drop me a line, I’d love to know how you found this!

Week 19: Intellectual Hiatus, Brooklyn Bridge, & a Suana.

It’s mid-late September. The summer has come and gone. I can’t believe I’ve lived in NYC for over 4 months. WHAT?! Every day (I really mean this) I find myself shocked with where my life has brought me. I cannot explain how happy I am that I made an impulse decision to move here. I’m not where I thought I would be by 24. I’m not working my dream job. What the hell is my dream job? I’m not making the big bucks. I don’t get to vacation every day and I’m fairly certain I’m going to have to stick to a diet of quinoa with beans for the next couple of weeks. I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be quite as happy if I had made any other decision. All of my impulses and rash decisions (these make up the majority of my decisions) were based on my gut. My gut knows whats up.

9.25: It’s getting cold outside. I don’t think it’s gotten below 55 F quite yet, but I’m already terrified. I’ve been prepping myself mentally and physically (do you think I’ve subconsciously been putting on weight to prepare for the winter?). I’m not feeling great and the nights of hot tea and 30 Rock re-runs have already begun. I haven’t gone out in over two weeks (whaaa??), but at least I’ve gone back to the gym. Today was dreary and wet outside. And chilly.

I’ve got to start taking better care of myself.

9.27: It’s Saturday. This week was as smooth as my right cheek (I’ve got very soft skin). The last few weeks have been a true test on my patience and I’ve made it out alive and sane. And not sick (mostly). I have recently abandoned my intellectual hiatus from real-world current events by starting to read the news a bit here and there on weekend mornings. Every now and again I’ll sneak in a soul-crushing article on a break, but c’mon… baby steps. I’m still not even close to caught up on most important issues. I’m also not, by any stretch of the imagination, implying that by reading the news I’m stopping capitalism from swallowing up our natural resources while finding the cure for a virus that turns people into viral human fluid fountains and simultaneously preventing grumpy old men from having authority over my body . I’m just saying, I’m excited to find out how much the human race has shit on the world since I stopped reading the news (about 8 months ago ).

On another note. I got a library card! FINALLY! I had [get library card] on my checklist of things to do for MY FIRST WEEK here. Almost 5 months later… I did it! I needed proof of residence — I ordered a fan, what more proof does one need, really? I discovered a market on my walk to the library – did I mention its like a 7 in walk?! – thats just outside the front steps.


My first two books: 1. The Bowery A History of Grit, Graft, and Grandeur 2.Pushkin

I’m already not a fan of The Bowery book… not very well written. I am enjoying the Pushkin biography quite a bit! For those of you not of Russian descent, Pushkin is a huge literary figure from the 1800’s. He was a poet. A darn good one. So I am told. That is all I know so far… also that he is a household name in Russia. Dare I say kind of like Shakespeare?

If you’re reading this and you didn’t know I was Russian, you don’t know me very well… and if you don’t know me, I’d like to know how you got to reading this? Leave a comment, won’t ya?

I also walked the Brooklyn Bridge today. The views were epic, but the crazy amount of people walking the bridge was a HUGE turn off. Here are some of the photos… I’m too lazy to edit any of them and the lighting was crazy inconvenient so deal with it.

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*That guy on the left had the most epic Brooklyn accent.*


9.28: I had joined a gym earlier this week. It has a sauna. 5 Month ago Regina would kill present Regina for the amount of money I’m spending to go… but its less than 1 minute walk away and did I mention they have a sauna? Today I cleaned up a bit, fixed my shoddy dresser (I used glue… lets see how long this lasts), finally picked up the lights from my floor and used a hammer and staples instead of duck tape to hang them… I also ran some errands which always take a million times longer on the weekends.


I’m making plans to explore my hood a bit more next week and I think I’m getting a special visitor [WHO can it be?!]. I’m also making plans to go to the Met Opera (SO excited for this). Hope you have a wonderful next week!


Week 18: Building a Home & the People’s Climate March.

My week in a nutshell: Ordering furniture never-ending-hell, IKEA still sucks and I hope it burns in a fiery hell that smells similar to freshly cleaned non-synthetic material, decorating makes my insides sing jolly songs, & the People’s Climate March was epic.  I also realized that most of my thinking is done on a train and I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again. I LOVE riding the subway.

One evening on my way home from work the train was packed pretty tight… and as the train swayed the passengers [involuntarily] followed. I realized of all the places in this city that I feel like I belong the most to the [sometimes short-fused, mal-showered, and caffeine-addicted] amazing NYC family is on the train.

Ordering furniture sucks. Although the delivery went ok this time, I had loads of fun trying (unsuccessfully) to carry the 100 lb box up 3 flights of stairs. What the hell is an elevator?! I just ended up opening the box downstairs and carrying pieces up in chunks. That, too, was loads of fun (am I using too many commas?).

Putting together a poorly constructed piece of furniture is unbelievably entertaining. Better then playing with legos! With legos everything fits, it’s WAY more fun when the pieces don’t match. So. Much. Fun.

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I took these pictures while we were still fresh with optimism. Thankfully Megan was there to help. Otherwise I’d still be dresser-less. I ordered this dresser from after reading reviews that it was well-made. The reviewers must have supplemented their sanity with quite the concoction of alcohol and carelessness. Mimosas were had, but clearly not enough for me to forget the amount of fun this was.

I’d show you the finished product, but 2 screws were missing and now I’m 1 drawer down. I’ll be fixing this issue soon. We also put my wall decal up… with some hardship… it is now in 2 pieces. DSC_5418 DSC_5424


I hung my mirror. It’s pretty heavy. I hope it doesn’t fall. I’ve also covered the seating cushion in the living room with a cloth I purchased today… the home is coming together.




Since September began I’ve had not much else on my mind except for moving. Making my new place a home has been overwhelming me and I’ve decided to take a breather. I’ve done little of anything else (except for the lovely evening I had this week at my friend’s new UWS apartment)… so next week I’m definitely going to do some exploring.

Then there was the whole gathering of some 310,000 people from around the world. It was inspiring to see so many people rallying to raise awareness to the importance of action against climate change. History was made. I was able to capture some of the experience in photos, but I also got some neat video which I’ll use in my soon-to-be-edited NYC clip.

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Week 10: Things I Hate, Sibling Reunion, & Pillows.

7.22: I was on the subway for an hour ride to the airport. I felt the urge to write, so I wrote on my phone. The following text is what follows:

Movies romanticize heartbreaks as if they’re some sorta right of passage to happily ever after. I disagree. There is nothing romantic about crying on the subway as you try your best  to blend in with the bacteria that has made itself home on the orange seats, everyone pretending not to stare at you; secretly wondering why people look so ugly when they cry.

Things I hate: (in the order they come to me, don’t judge)

#1. Dating

2. people who litter

3. bullying

4. Driving

5. Liars

6. waking up before 7am

7. Flip Flops

8. When my feet hurt

9. Being really hungry

10. Crying on the subway

11. Feeling ignorant

12. Having my nails so long that it scratches everything

13. Feeling inferior

14. Putting someone down by accident

15. Eating fastfood

16. feeling sad

17. even though I should be having the time of my life

18. wearing short skirts

19. feeling weak

20. falling for someone despite my better judgement

21. being a girl

22. No, wait I love that.


I’m not good with words. Not speaking them, anyway. I wish I could just write instead of talking in most situations. A guy I dated my freshmen year of college used that line to break things off through a Facebook message. Despite his rather un-eloquently put break-up, I have to agree.

By the time I got to the airport I realized I’ll likely survive (I’m far more sensitive than I like to admit) and move on sooner than later.

7.24: This morning went something like this: Open eyes. Put hand to forehead. Wonder what’s up with the throbbing. Wait. Feel a sudden urge to jug water.

Hangovers are never fun. But last night was. My brother is here visiting from Russia on his way to China. Yesterday was his first full day here and it was fun. I took him to the high line and took care of some necessary shopping needs. Followed up with soup dumplings and more dumplings from Prosperity Dumplings (I forgot to take a picture). Prosperity Dumplings were SO good! I’m not sure if the price made them taste even better than they were, but holy shit. $2.75 for 10 (rather large) dumplings. My brother and I split them and still had a few left over for later that night. Too bad the place isn’t closer to me.

We spent the day walking around, grabbing coffee at the Highline, and meeting up with his friends to journey the night away. Some pictures were taken… I think I’m finally feeling up to taking photos of the city. Future posts should have more photography :]

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7.26: Today was a rough day. Tomorrow will be better.

I made a Meetup!! NYC Pillow Fight Club — Click there to join! Also, I’m still without any real future home plans. Am I destined to live without a home? What is a girl to do? For REAL though?

Crossing some major fingers that the universe aligns and I find something promising soon.


Week 6: Employment (!), City Visitors, & My Honeymoon.

Day 1 (6.23): To everyone who secretly thought “she’s never going to get a job in NYC.” : I thought the same thing. Really… I was just hoping I was wrong. Turns out, I was. Today I got a job offer and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s nice to know I have something permanent tying me here… I’m not going anywhere.

This city has a unique way of exhausting me. I spent the day celebrating life (as I do w/ most days, but today was special). I met up with a new friend who happens to be well versed in the happenings of NYC. We walked around the West Village … now I’m normally pretty good with directions here, but in the West Village the normal grid of the city streets and avenues doesn’t apply. I have no idea where I was most of the time. I love the quaint feel that the west village has (a type of city quaint). The high end designer shops on many corners are like little hints of NYC. We walked into the Meat Packing District — which I previously thought to be Chelsea — and strolled into the Chelsea Market. Sushi was had — I had to celebrate right! It was marvelous.

I’m so happy I could burst. 

Day 2 (6.24): Signed and e-mailed offer letter agreement. Bought Pelmini from a corner Russian store (!!). Helped my roommate carry a bunch of books to IKEA… not literally.

It was my first time in a car (besides a cab) since moving here. I would never survive driving here.

Redhook, Brooklyn

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Brooklyn skyline.
red hook3 redhook4On our drive today I noticed just how many bridges there are in and out of Manhattan. According to Wikipedia, there are over 2,000 bridges & tunnels in NYC.

I drove through the batman tunnel today. It was awesome. 

Day 3 (6.25): Took a stroll along the south edge of Central Park today… haven’t really been there yet. Columbus circle is the most convenient stop for me so I started there. It’s a big station and brings in a good deal of tourists to the area. There are bike rental workers trying to get you to rent their bike every two feet. Folks can be seen hanging out by the fountain and sure enough a few groups of said tourists have already signed up for said bike rentals.

walk3 walk2walk4 It’s all part of the daily routine here.

Along the south edge of the park I saw more horse carriages just chillen’ than anywhere else… perhaps this is their hangout spot? No clue. You also get some neat views of the park.

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On my way home on the subway…


I ended my day with a wine tasting on a rooftop in SoHo with the most stunning view of Manhattan accompanied by a group of very lovely ladies.

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Goodness me, I’m one lucky lady! 

Day 4 (6.26):  Lunch in the Bronx with my Aunt. A bit of Jazz in the West Village after a long stroll and more food than I should ever consume.

Today, I was glutenous.

Day 5 (6.27): My good friends, Mercedes & Travis, came to visit. I wanted to squeeze a bunch into one day and I think we did pretty well… After searching out some yummy street food and strolling around the east village just a bit, we explored the west village (making sure to get some ice cream at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop).


We then made our way into the meat packing district and right onto the Highline.

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Lunch was had at the Chelsea Market and then we made our way back into the east village (passing the Flat Iron building for viewing pleasure) for some bar hopping. We ended our night with some live music at Rockwood Music Hall and happily made our way back home.

Great friends. Great visit. 

Day 6 (6.28):  Checked out an apartment in Park Slope which turned out to be perfect (from what I understand, that doesn’t exist in NY). Don’t know if I got it.

Side note: I talk about the weather a bunch (to people here), because I can’t seem to figure it out. Nobody understands what I’m talking about.

Totally worn out = all day naps.

Day 7 (6.29): One week before I get back into the real world… I have been playing make-believe in the city since I first moved here. The life I have lead has been much too extravagant – albeit incredible – to be sustainable. I’m going to take the next week to enjoy the last bits of my honeymoon with my lover [NYC] and begin to implant some real structure into my life.

Some points to keep in mind:

  • Cook at home more.
  • Get a gym membership — I tried the whole running outside thing. I get crazy distracted and stop to look at something every .25 miles or at the very least every mile… I’m also more interested in getting back into shape — which is not going to happen with 2/3 mile runs… I need to do interval training and weight lifting — none of which I like doing outdoors. Once I find a permanent home, I’m getting a gym membership.
  • Read on the subway — I’ve always thought that was a great idea, but I forget to grab a book every time I leave the house. I need to make this into a habit.
  • Drink more water — I’m not even going to mention the amount of money spent on alcohol since I got here and instead focus on the fact that alcohol is not so good for me. I’m taking it down a notch, or two.
  • Take more photo series.

I have one more week of honeymooning with my lover [NYC] and I plan to enjoy it.

I’m spending this lovely Sunday enjoying the city with my friends Mercedes & Travis (they’re coming back for one more day from upstate NY). I’m taking them for some dim sum for brunch in China town and then letting the city lead the way.

I also need another set of sheets.

Another week of loving NYC.


Week 4: Rainy Days, Carnegie Hall, & Failure.

Day 1 (6.9): Oh Boy. My one month is fast approaching!

I was woken up this morning by the clacking sounds of rain droplets hitting the metal top of the cars parked outside my window (my window faces a parking lot). At least the honking from the street doesn’t reach my window! I wanted to go running this morning, but the weather clearly had other plans for me. Looks like I’ll be running tomorrow instead.

3.29pm- nervous.  (I like to pretend I don’t get nervous. I do.)

3.30pm- first job interview in NYC… on the phone.

3.53pm — Interview complete.

I find out if I move forward to a 2nd interview on Friday.

Thanks to this awesome website called Club Free Time I got a (almost) free ticket to go see a concert at Carnegie Hall tonight. It was magical. I’ve never been there before and the moment you walk into the auditorium (I was in the Stern Auditorium) history kind of slaps you in your face immediately. The first act was a bluegrass band called Monroe Crossing — they were great, but I can’t say it was my favorite bluegrass show. After several songs by Monroe Crossing they brought out a massive choir. It was a mixture of gospel choir music with bluegrass — now that was interesting! I LOVE choral music. The second act was by the New York Wind Symphony who performed two pieces — the first had a trombone soloist. I rather enjoyed the first piece, but was pleasantly surprised by the second. It was called Danzon 2 — inspired by Mexican dances. That was by far my favorite piece of the night; I couldn’t stop wiggling in my seat.


This week’s goal:  Run & workout 4 days

I’ve been eating a LOT of amazing food and although I’m not sedentary all the time, I don’t think simply walking around is going to cut it much longer.

I have big plans for some fried chicken next week. 

Day 2 (6.10): Today, I went to the American Natural History Museum. I feel a bit smarter today. Just a bit.

I’m feeling more than just a little antsy today. I’m starting to feel life-less without a purpose. Without a job. I’ve made friends and gone out, but I can’t continue on this joy ride guilt-free. Without a job.

I made a rather delicious dinner tonight… I’ve been eating out quite often… too often.



Tonight: Delicious wine, delicious food, Scotch, & wonderful company.  

Day 3 (6.11): Exploring Chelsea. It was a rather gloomy day with the possibility of rain so I left my camera at home. I’ve been at the Highline since I’ve moved, but it’s so awesome I came back today and walked around the neighborhood which has a lovely European charm with wide open cobble streets.

I continued to walk through Chelsea into what I think is midtown West — not a fan. Too many tourists, not enough real folk. I continued to walk regardless. I’ve noticed myself not noticing people here quite as often as I was when first coming here. I’m starting to get used to being constantly surrounding by people. As I was walking today through the giant groups of tourists I tried to imagine the streets without people. Entirely empty. Funny thing, I couldn’t. The city – the streets – would be completely transformed without the presence of humans to give it life. What makes NYC, NYC? People. Sure, there’s the architecture and the unique layout of the land, but when it comes down to it… it’s people that make this city unique; not the bare skeleton.

I walked for some time today. When I reached a subway station that could get me home I’d skip it and continue walking forward to the next one. I am forever in love with the ability to walk – everywhere. My feet were starting to hurt, but it didn’t matter.

I didn’t have any place to be so I just kept walking. 

 Day 4 (6.12):  Remember that goal I set at the beginning of the week? I do. I kind of put it off (as I sometimes do) towards the last 4 days of the week only to have it rain the past two days. Well, sort of. The weather forecast here is kind of useless… it said it was supposed to rain like 70% or 80% chance today. With this in mind I scratched my running plans for the day… it didn’t rain. Not until 11pm. It was rather gloomy though. It’s been like this for the past 2 days and is supposed to continue tomorrow… or so they say.

I’m hoping I’ll at least get to run this weekend when it’s supposedly going to stop being gross outside.

I took a nap today. It was chilly outside and I had my window open — it was oddly quiet and I took advantage. Nothing exciting today — just browsing the internet for jobs I would enjoy.

It’s nice not having to rush.  

Day 5 (6.13): It is so gloomy outside. Again. I don’t see myself running in this weather for the fear of rain… It’s June and I’m wearing sweatshirts outside. I’m confused.

You can’t even see Manhattan under the coat of rain.


I’m glad it hasn’t gotten hot yet though — I’ve yet to purchase a window unit and am concerned the bars on my windows will prevent me from putting one in anyway. Although, I’m not convinced.

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The parking lot outside my window is full today. I was greeted this 5am morning with a round of car alarms before drifting back to sleep… I’m actually getting used to the constant noise. Besides getting woken up at 5am, I’m falling ever more in love with the sounds of the city.

This morning’s sounds from my living room window (5 minutes):

Honks. Tires rushing against the wet asphalt. Distressed chatter lulled by the misting rain. More honking in the distance. A high pitched whistle slowly passing my window. A ringing telephone coming from an open window somewhere close by. The roar of a bus’s engine starting to accelerate. A string of sirens barely audible in the background. A moment of silence giving rise to the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind. The elusive sounds of a bird’s chirp! The growling engine of an idle bus right outside my window breaks the silence. Splashing puddles – someone walking by. More unrelenting honks.

I went to sleep with a wet head of hair last night…

Photo on 6-13-14 at 9.22 AM


It just started to pour. I’m going to brave the weather and go buy some groceries… besides 1/4 bag of shrimp, frozen cheese blintzes, and 15% can of sour cream I’m out of food. I’m going to buy some rice and beans. And popcorn. And continue to browse craigslist for something interesting. This is Week 2 of my job search. Oh! And I bought another concert ticket to Carnegie Hall tonight (Club Free Time).

The concert was wonderful.

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The sounds of classical music warms my heart.


I never heard back about my phone interview. Perhaps I’m not as awesome as I thought. [Just kidding] Rejection happens. It happened today. I think I’ll live.

Taking the weekend to enjoy life some more, when else am I going to get the chance to explore and adventure as I do today?

Day 6 (6.14): Today’s Adventures: Mini Bakery tour through the East Village and SoHo & a Union Square Market walk with a group of lovely ladies.

Met up with ladies from a Meetup and made some great new friends. We took a stroll through the East village starting in Washington Square Park  and although we stopped in a few spots, I settled on one delicious goodie: the Canoli.  It was magnificent. And incredibly sweet.

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Ended my day with some live tunes & Lenny’s Pizza. 

Day 7 (6.15): So maybe I’ve been a little bummed out about not having a job, but quite honestly I haven’t been as aggressive as perhaps I should be. Today, I’ve decided to enjoy my unemployment time… it won’t be long before I’m complaining about work.

The weather today was gorgeous! Brunch in the shade (grilled ham and cheese w/ kimchi) with beautiful company, a mini stroll through upper west side, and a Natural History Museum visit. I also used seamless for the first time today to order really yummy and equally disgusting Chinese food.

My tummy is both satisfied & unhappy. I’ll give my running goal a second try next week… perhaps the weather will play nice.

Can it be? The happiest month of my life is complete. 

Week 3: Unemployment, Manhattan Bridge, & Structure.

Day 1 (6.2.14): Whoa. I cannot believe I’m starting on week 3 already! The past 2 weeks were very uncertain and involved a lot of hopping around. I’m starting this next week off with a new home, new roommates, and a new sense of determination. I found a place to live – even if just temporary – now I need to find a job. The thing is, I don’t just want to settle for anything — that is why I came here with some sort of monetary cushion. I’ll keep you posted if anything awfully exciting happens.

Today I went to a Meetup at Meetup HQ in NoHo. The Meetup is called Shut Up & Write; naturally I shut up & wrote. NoHo is rather touristy for my taste, but since I was determined not to be late to this Meetup I left the house an extra hour (on top of the hour it was supposed to take me to get here) I had plenty of extra time to walk around. There’s really nothing, but shops surrounding this area that are of very little interest to me — H&M, Steve Madden, Aldo, etc. Lots of bustling folks on their way to buy more stuff they don’t need. I hope to explore some unseen territory later this week and perhaps check out a museum.

Time is flying!

Day 2 (6.3.14): I’m beginning to feel a little guilty of all the awesome time I have on my hands. Not having a job for at least 1-2 months was all part of the plan, but I’m not used to having all this free time. I started applying to more jobs when I moved in. My thinking is, however, all these resumes and cover letters are for nothing. Unless I know someone willing to help me, the likelihood of me getting hired is very little. I’ve been to Meetups and met people, but there isn’t a Meetup I’d like to attend for at least a couple of days so I decided to just hitch a post at a park and catch some friendly chit chat with strangers. Perhaps there is someone out there who will think I’m awesome enough to help me out with a job.

Today I went to Bryant Park.

I read online about a cool music event someone is hosting at Bryant Park every Tuesday so I thought I would simultaneously check that out! By the time I got there the clouds were looking gloomy as ever and the band was too hesitant to play. I did however catch some friendly chit chat with a pair of folks who were there to Tango (apparently there’s a really cool Tango community here in Manhattan). I plan on joining, for sure! I also met an adorable older couple who were running from the rain (I was comfortably sitting under  giant umbrella when the sky started to cry). The addition of awesome people into my life is always a win.

In this case, I partook in a whimsical conversation about life, books, Russia, and the future unknown. 

 Day 3 (6.4) : Today’s adventures:

– Nepalese dumplings at Cafe Himalaya in East Village

– Stroll through Chinatown with Bubble Tea in hand

– Walking over the Manhattan Bridge into DUMBO

– Exploring DUMBO — we actually also met the ‘owner’ of DUMBO who was pretty adamant about us trying out his carousel on the shore.



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These photos taken by Mr. Quinlan Omahne

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Day 4 (6.5): Did I mention I’m getting quite antsy not having a job and all? Well I did now. I didn’t have any plans today — other than buying some groceries and making a new batch of food (I cook in batches so that I don’t need to make something new every day). Nothing excited much happened today… I’ve been scouring craigslist for possibilities that didn’t sound like a nightmare (traditional administrative office jobs) and sending out numerous resumes and cover letters — holy shit do I hate writing cover letters.

I made a delicious israeli couscous medley with edamame, corn, and spinach in a garlic sauce. 

I also started watching Orange is the New Black. So good. 

Day 5 (6.6): I’ve decided that since I am unemployed at the moment (this was planned btw) I should use my time towards a project. This blog is kind of a project, but doesn’t really require too much of my time. I’ve been taking pictures, but definitely not the way I’d like and not nearly as often. I’m starting several new photo series today that will be on here starting probably next week.

Today I ventured a little bit in my own hood — north Manhattan. It’s nothing like suburbia and was a little scary at first, but I’m starting to appreciate it’s charm. It’s a Dominican neighborhood so I checked out some latin food today for lunch. I actually decided on a Venezuelan place instead of Dominican — a very casual place with a big selection on Patacons (green plantain sandwiches). I went with a new friend I met through Meetup (If you’ve never checked this site out, you should. No it’s not a dating site. Not even close.).

I’m settling in my new place. My room is a tiny white box with a window facing a parking lot. It has a bed. That’s pretty much it. This place also has an awesome kitchen; which is all I really need.

Day 6 (6.7): Today I came to the realization that I haven’t gone to see any music since I’ve been here… odd. There was that time I went to listen to Bach played on an organ in a church and the Argentinean Tango band in Bryant Park, but that’s about it. I joined a website that has free things to do in NYC (an overwhelming amount) as well as provides its users with deals to concerts/theatre etc. I got a ticket for a concert at Carnegie Hall on Monday. I’m rather excited.

Nothing exciting happened today. I got a phone interview for Monday. 

Day 7 (6. 8): It’s 7:30am. I’m awake. On purpose.

Photo on 6-8-14 at 7.48 AM #2

I’ve been letting myself relax since I’ve lived here. It’s time I get some structure back into my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like routine in most of my life. But I’m a huge fan of having a morning routine. I love waking up early and starting my day reflecting on life; really helps me appreciate where I am in life. I have been sleeping in rather late lately. Every time I’d wake up at 6.30 or 7am I’ve just been falling back asleep for another couple of hours. Today, I decided to get my day going early. I also haven’t been running on any kind of regular basis since I’ve come here… no bueno. I was working out pretty intensely before I moved and now I feel really out of shape. Time to get it back.

After finishing this post, I’ll be going on a run and workout sesh in Central Park (seriously, the greatest). I’ll be spending the rest of my day preparing for my phone interview tomorrow.

I still can’t believe I actually live here. 

Week 2: Brunch, Parks, & my New Home.

Day 1: Best way to start a day? Brunch. It was always a favorite pastime of mine, but here in NYC it’s like a mini-holiday that everyone partakes in. Brunch in NYC isn’t reclusive to just the weekend; today is Monday and the brunch menu was as present as always. I was joined by a lovely lady friend who was visiting from Orlando for a couple of hours. The crowd was loud, but so were we… I’m slowly beginning to appreciate eating in small spaces.

I’ve been running around various boroughs and neighborhoods for the past week looking for a place to call home — at least temporarily. Today, I found it. WooHoo! I’ll be moving in on Sunday and I’ll be sure to post some pictures.

Job update: I don’t have one. It’s been a little over a week, it’s ok — I’ll find one.

Day 2: I haven’t left the house today… mostly because I haven’t spent much time on the Etsy shop for the past week. I’ve also been looking at potential jobs — ones that I would actually enjoy doing. I found a couple and spent the day reading all I can about the companies. My window has remained open all day and every so often I get a nice little pick-me-up with the outrageous conversations that take place right outside. “Benny! Where have you been all my life!” “I’ve been right here darling!” “AH! Benny, you’re killing me!” — All in a wonderfully thick New York accent. It made my day.

The sounds of the Bronx are almost as entertaining as that of the city’s. 

Day 3: My first week was specifically set aside for me (by me) to enjoy my time in NYC and not worry about a thing. So why not the second week too? I lied. I’ll keep chugging along and keep the worry-some attitude to a minimum for the first month. If, after one month, I am still unemployed let the worrying commence. Until then I hope my days are much like today: Old fashioned vanilla egg cream w/ coffee ice cream float in a 1920’s styled restaurant that used to be a pharmacy and is now called the Brooklyn Farmacy, a lovely stroll through Central Park, spicy pad thai in Greenwich Village and a visit to my dream job’s office. I think today was about as awesome as it gets.

Some photos from my Central Park stroll…



This little girl was meticulously setting the table for what looked like her birthday party. There is a carousal behind her. 




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I don’t know how anyone can be bored in this city. Even if I’m too broke to do anything, there are constantly free music/theatre/dance/art events going on in the city. On top of that… there’s the subway. No, I’m not sick of it yet. It’s far too entertaining. On my way to Brooklyn earlier today, I watched a father try to teach his baby the difference between Vermont Cheddar and sharp Cheddar. The conversation went something like this:

Dad (handing his baby a small piece of cheese): “This is Vermont Cheddar, can you say V-e-r-m-o-n-t C-h-e-d-d-a-r?”

Baby (taking the cheese into his(?) mouth without much success): “hehe”

Dad (trying again): “This one is called sharp Cheddar. Can you say C-h-e-d-d-a-r?”

Baby: no response.

This went on for a couple of minutes until they reached their stop. I was completely consumed with the two of them, but I don’t think they noticed my giant smile staring at them.

I am constantly inspired by the characters that call this city home.  

Day 4: I’d like to take the money spending down a notch the next couple of days since I’ll be moving into my own space (a tiny white room) on Sunday and will have plenty of time to spend money then. I’ll be taking it easy until then. Today I took a ride down to the Midtown NYC library branch (the big one with the incredible architecture) to figure out what I need to get a library card then headed back to Central Park for a couple hours to work out. I haven’t done any heavy physical activity in a couple of weeks now, so I was uber excited to get sweaty! Running around the Jacqueline Kennedy Reservoir is by far one of my favorite things to do around here. And it’s free. In my company were several other 20 something ladies, a couple of older gentlemen and a group of high school students (who looked way too young to be in high school) participating in some sort of end-of-year running test. I’ve been saying this since I got here, but seriously… these kids are so damn lucky! They’re taking a test – in Central Park – around the most gorgeous place in NYC. Ok.

I’m hoping the universe is still in my favor and will help me land The Job.

Day 5: I’m staying in the Bronx until Sunday morning (I think I’ve mentioned that). It takes quite some time (about an hour) to get just about anywhere from here so I’ve decided instead of taking an hour to go down into the city and then spend another hour coming back I’ll just walk around here. My Aunt accompanied me and showed me around a bit. It turned out much less sketchy than I had imagined and was actually quite nice. The residential areas reminded me a lot of central florida – side walks accompanying car lined streets – only these front yards didn’t have useless lawns — they were filled with mini-gardens or colorfully blooming flowers. There was one that had a Hare Krishna statue with watermelons and oranges at it’s feet. The houses were also all a little different, although all were made of brick.

It was all rather nice. We did come up to a house that looked like it belonged in the back alleyways of Disney World. The seeming normal looking house was surrounded by hot pink figurines, sleigh bells, angel statutes… there was even a life size figurine of Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t have my camera with me, but snapped a few iPhone shots…

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We ended the walk with some ice-cream. It was quite lovely.

Day 6: Sweating. Semi-Sprinting as my camera bag galloped over my shoulder blades with every skip I made; a giant smile on my face, I couldn’t help but feel semi-at-home as I weaved in and out of tourists in order to make my brunch date.

I have been trying to get used to riding the subways for a more functional rather than for entertaining perspective. I’ve been late every single time I’ve planned to meet with someone. If you know me, this has made me anxious – every single time. I hate being late. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever really been late (maybe once or twice?) before I moved here. I was late 15 minutes for one brunch date, 20 for another… today I was late 10 minutes because I just can’t figure out the train system. I understand the subway stops — what train stops where — but I’m not sure I understand how the heck I’m supposed to know what trains are running and what trains are not. The weekends are -apparently- also quite the wildcard when it comes to public transportation. I waited 15 minutes for the C train today before finally just taking the E one stop north and walking/semi-jogging to meet up with a bunch of ladies for a Meetup. I was 15 minutes late. I wasn’t the only one, but I hate it. It didn’t take long to cool down and get friendly with the ladies I was meeting, but man am I going to need to get better acquainted with using this system. I can’t be late all the time. I’m going to start planning an extra hour for every trip until I get the hang of this thing.

Before the brunch, I went down to walk the high line for a little bit… here are some photos.

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Perhaps this is the Sangria speaking, but the amount of love I have for my life -right now- is unreal. 

Day 6: Remember that place I found? I’m moved in today and I’m exhausted — mostly from the serious lack of sleep (from the ragers next door in the Bronx) and the hauling of groceries without any help from the subway system. That is not resentment that you hear, by the way. I just made some dinner and put brand new sheets on my bed… I’m too tired to take any pictures, but I’ll be sure to include some soon!

Tired as hell and happy to finally be home.