Sunday, January 30, 2011

This life update is for Chelsea Bent, who checks my blog every day and is upset I haven't posted in a week

Please hold me accountable to blogging like Chelsea.  I really want blog as much as I can.  Just to practice writing for an audience.  I've been getting a lot of feedback from my friends and family via text and Facebook that y'all are actually reading and I LOVE that!  Chelsea brought it to my attention last night that I haven't blogged in forever.  Apparently Chels is my biggest fan; after deleting her Facebook account, my blog is her favorite way to procrastinate.

My noteworthy experiences this week:

Some people can't stand subway performers, but I happen to love them.  It's especially fun when they get on the subway and do their thing for a few stops before getting off.  When this guy first got on the train Julia and I laughed a little bit that he was getting his keyboard out.  So far, I've only seen dancers actually get on the subways, so we were interested to see what this guy had to play for us.  He surprised us when he started singing How Great is Our God.  We were both shocked.  It's extremely courageous to perform on a subway in the first place, but it's even more courageous to sing a Christian song on a subway in New York City.  This city is such a diverse place and home to so many religions, but religion is definitely not something that is talked about openly.  No one else was amused; we gave him some money just because his bravery amazed and inspired us. 

This January is the worst January New York City has ever seen.  And we're LOVING the snow!!! Julia and I were already in fantastic moods after our subway performer and the night turned out to be even more magical when we emerged from the station to "snowmageddon." I've never seen it snow so hard in my life.  Well, I've never really seen snow my whole life, but this crazy snow fall was pretty impressive.  There's nothing better than stomping around in a fresh blanket of snow.  We wrote on so many cars and stomped in all the clear patches we found from the subway station all the way home.  I didn't even care that I was soaking wet when I got back to the apartment!

The day after snowmageddon.  The picture to the left is my street.  There's one really brave person in that car... and obviously no one will be driving the cars to the right for a long while.  I can't even imagine having a car in a snowy area.  How much of a pain would it be to have to dig your car out of a mound of snow?  So happy Sheila is sitting safely in my driveway at home.  My little Jetta would freeze to death in New York.

My class took a field trip to the Museum of the Moving Image this Saturday.  The museum was highly interactive and SO FUN!  We made our own little movies using stop-action techniques and played around with movie soundtracks, etc.  They also housed many costumes and props from some of the biggest movies, like Marlon Brando's mouth piece from The Godfather.  This was by far my favorite.  There was a point in time where one of my best friends, Hayley, and I watched all three Godfather movies on a weekly basis.  We called this our "mobster phase," which all started with a documentary of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano and ended with us reading every mobster book we could get our hands on and weekly Godfather screenings.  Naturally, I was ecstatic to see The Godfather's mouth piece.  AH-MAZ-ING! 

After the museum, Julia and I ventured into Central Park to go sledding.  Central Park is so beautiful.  It's like a winter wonderland.  I'm so obsessed with Central Park!  We hopped over the snow covered bench to go play in the perfect snow.  Again, there's nothing better than messing up the most beautiful, smooth patch of snow.  It's even better when you're knee deep in snow so you can walk in it and play with it simultaneously. 

We don't have sleds and figured cardboard boxes would suffice.  Our first time down the hill Julia made it no problem, but my box had a little difficulty and started to fall apart.

Some nice man offered to let us use his garbage bag.  Julia and I hopped on together and went FLYING down the hill!  We crashed at the bottom, but we had a blast!  We're currently looking into buying pool floaties (they look like the comfiest to use) so that we can go again next weekend, but I don't know how much luck we'll have buying pool floaties in January in New York.  At least we know a plain garbage bag works!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Andy Warhol at the MoMA

I meant to post about the Andy Warhol event at the Museum of Modern Art last week, but I was trying to get ready for my cousin's wedding in Ft. Lauderdale and couldn't find the time to blog.

Last Thursday I started my day of becoming art by getting a spray tan.  With my cousin's wedding nearing, my ghost white complexion started to make me uncomfortable.  I've had a spray tan before, but I've had the kind where the machine sprays you.  To say that my first spray tan wasn't good is an understatement.  I had high hopes for this spray tan because I was getting airbrushed by an actual person.

I stood in this thing for about 20 minutes while some girl literally painted me tan.  Once it was all said and done I thought I looked pretty darn good.  My tan wasn't too dark or too orange and I was very happy with it.  They told me not to shower for 12 hours and to not wear any foundation.  When I got home I fell asleep on the couch for about three hours and woke up looking like a carrot.  No one told me that my tan would double in dark/orangeness in a few hours.  I was mortified because most of the kids in BCNY were planning on going to the MoMA for the Andy Warhol exhibit and I was orange. 

My roommates so kindly took to calling me Snooki :( I was SO relieved on Friday when 70% of my tan washed off in the shower and I came out looking Caucasian with a golden glow, which is what I wanted in the first place. 

Anyway, the Andy Warhol exhibit was really cool.  His motion pictures were on display upstairs.  He basically put people in front of cameras and told them they weren't allowed to smile or talk.  Sometimes he would leave the room so they felt even more uncomfortable.  Each $15 ticket allowed for a pass to the exhibit and a ticket to do your own screen test.  

The lines were really long downstairs for the screen test and, as Texans, we naturally made friends with the people standing in front of us.  One of the two guys was REALLY attractive (I'm only looking out for my roommates), but we later concluded the two guys were boyfriends.  And that under his hat, the cute one was balding, so unfortunately none of my roommates gained a boyfriend out of this random friendship.  We enjoyed talking to them nonetheless.  It's always refreshing to meet New Yorkers who will talk to us.  One of the hardest things to get used to is the fact that no one wants to talk to you.  Ever.  And I'm a talker, so I find silence awkward even between strangers.  

Apparently, every person who did a screen test was put up on one of the three screens projecting the movies, but we didn't see everyone go up in our group.   I went up though!  It was so cool!!


I can't say that I appreciate art as much as the other people in attendance, but I really did have a great time.  It just felt SO New York.  And I'm all about feeling like I belong in New York. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Serendipity was a...disappointment

Tonight's class was rough.  When your day starts at 7:30 a.m. and you go, go, go until 6 p.m. the last thing you want to do is sit in class for three and a half hours, but that's why I'm here, so I guess I have to stick it out.  Even though the classes that I'm taking, Electronic Culture and Contemporary Cinema, are interesting and thought provoking, it's just SO HARD to go to class from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.  Tonight Julia and I made class a little more bearable by reverting back to our junior high selves and passing notes.  This particular note was about how much we wanted a warm brownie with hot fudge sauce and ice cream. DDDEEEE LISH!

This led to a roommate dessert date at Serendipity, which is only one subway stop away from our stop at Queensboro Plaza.  

We all had high hopes for this famous little restaurant with the adorable decor, giant menus and large dessert portions, but ended up sorely disappointed.  

Doesn't this chocolate cake, ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream look like a dream that's too delicious to be true?  Too bad there wasn't much ice cream, the hot fudge was actually room temperature fudge and the whipped cream tasted like chalk.  On the bright side, the cake was good!  Although this sundae wasn't the best in the world, Julia and I were able to pretty much finish it off.  KA ordered the famous frozen hot chocolate, which was pretty darn good, except for the chalk whipped cream on top.  It was so interesting to taste the frozen hot chocolate.  I was expecting something like a milk shake, but it really did taste exactly like hot chocolate, but frozen.  Lauren ordered an apple pie that looked to die for, but once again we were all a little disappointed.  The filling was great, but the crust was not so great.  The most devastating part of this dessert binge was definitely the chalk-like whipped cream.  I absolutely love whipped cream and can generally eat it plain.  A mediocre dessert can be redeemed by a delicious whipped cream. 

Our waiter also tainted our first, and probably only, trip to Serendipity.  He was awful.  We waited 45 minutes for our check and then it took him another 20 minutes to figure out how to split the check between the four of us.  

I'm happy we went, though.  Everyone always raves about how amazing Serendipity is and that's probably why none of us were impressed.  Our expectations were just set way too high.  I'm just trying to get the tourist out of me as quickly as possible.

Please notice this ridiculous sign.  I really hope those 10-year-olds can ride safely by themselves, even while multitasking on their BlackBerrys.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm feeling so... cultured

Remember when I said I was going to start a legitimate blog?  Well, hopefully going three days without blogging still counts as legitimate.

That's besides the point.  Since my last blog post, I've been feeling cultured... or feeling like I will be cultured by the time the semester is over because of the few things I've done and have planned.

Last Friday night my roommates, the boys (the only four boys on the trip: the Kevin's (there are two of them), Logan and Anthony) and I went to the Campbell Apartment located in Grand Central Station.  For all of my Gossip Girl friends and readers out there, I'm sorry, but the Campbell Apartment has apparently been featured in Gossip Girl a million times.  I've been to Grand Central Station previously, but I don't think I really took in how beautiful it really is.

Everything is so elaborate and GRAND (go figure)!  It's moments like this that I think to myself, wow, I'm really here.  Sometimes the  mundane day-to-day tasks take away from the feeling of being in New York City, but you definitely can't feel that way while standing in the middle of Grand Central Station.  I'm hoping for many more WOW moments!

We were definitely the youngest people in the swanky Campbell Apartment crowd.  It was neat being there, but due to the fact none of us could afford anything, our time here was short lived.

Saturday my roommates and I had big aspirations to go do something touristy.  Instead, we slept and moped around until dinner time.  Want to know what we had for dinner?  French fries.  At Pommes Frites.  Pommes Frites only sells french fries and is known for it's many dipping sauces.  

As you can see, we had a lot of fries and a lot of sauces.  They were delicious, but I definitely was not feeling too great after the fact. 

Next time, one order of french fries with some real food will be plenty.  Still glad I went.  I LOVE french fries!

Sunday night we decided to venture into Astoria, which is known as the most diverse neighborhood in New York City.  More than 100 languages are spoken there and we've heard Astoria is home to some AWESOME restaurants.  We found a little Italian restaurant online that had great reviews, the Brick Cafe, and decided to try it out.  It was FABULOUS!  Dinner was amazing; we kind of went a little overboard, but when you're living off of PB&J one gorge meal a week isn't that bad.  Here are the crepes that Julia and I split.  SSOOOOOO GOOOOODDDDD!!!

Upcoming culture-y things the roomies and I are doing: 

Andy Warhol exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art on Thursday (look out for blog posting and pictures on Thursday or Friday!) and Swan Lake on February 17!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What I miss about Texas

I've officially been here for one week.  Yesterday was my first day to feel any sort of homesickness.  I'm not quite sure when it hit me, but it did, that this isn't just a vacation (which is what it's felt like).  New York is fantastic; I'm so happy to be here and I know I'll continue to have a great time with my new friends and that they'll eventually start to feel like my family just like my friends back in Waco, but I can't help but be a little sad that I'm gone.

I'm mainly missing:

Although I'm used to being away from my family, I always had way more time to talk to them while in Waco.  I'm just so busy in New York; I feel like I rarely talk to them.  We've been able to FaceTime with Bill's new iPhone, so hopefully that will turn into a weekend routine.

I miss my Waco family so much it's not even funny.  It's strange to be in a new place with none of my closest friends.  I keep wishing they were here with me to experience this city and go through the transition with me.  We've all been keeping in contact mainly by texting, but it's not the same.  Not having my favorite girls in my life and knowing what's going on in their lives just because I'm always with them is so weird :(

Tyler and I are used to seeing each other pretty much every day.  And after spending a week with him between Chicago, Houston and Waco at the end of the break, coming to a hard stop like this doesn't seem real.  It's only been a week and a half, but it feels like it's been a month.  Hopefully he'll be able to come visit soon :)

Alpha Chi
This is pretty self explanatory.  We have a new pledge class.  I don't know any of them.  What the heck.

Mexican Food
For those of you who don't know me well, I could eat Mexican food all day, every day.  Right at this moment I'm craving Lupe Tortilla's fajitas AND Taco Z tacos.

I've been forced to start running.  Gross.  I wish I could afford a gym membership here so I could take spinning classes.

Wearing one layer
Bundling up gets exhausting. All my roommates and I want to go to Pommes Frites right now, which only sells FRENCH FRIES (Heaven on Earth for me!), but we all lack the motivation to dress for the cold and go out.  I do love coats and sweaters, though.  It's a terrible dilemma.

Being grungy 
New Yorkers are always dressed up.  I feel like when I'm in Manhattan I need to be within a certain dress code.  Can I puh-LEASE just go out in sweats?!

On the flip side, there are many things I don't miss.  Such as:

Public transportation is great!

At least for now, I know it'll be humid in the summers

Having nothing to do
You would have to be mentally insane to be bored in New York City

Ok.  I guess not that many.  At least for now.

These lists are subject to change!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy to be home and safe!

The cough and runny nose I've had for the past three weeks finally got the best of me today, on my day off.  I gave in and found a doctor knowing she would only offer a little sympathy and a prescription for some cough medicine.  I chose a doctor's office a little less than 20 minutes away by subway; the best I could do.

I became skeptical about the doctor when I got off the subway.  I found myself in a really rundown part of town and five NYPD officers hanging around the street corner.  Instead of setting me at ease, it only freaked me out even more.  Why does one street corner need five officers?  Anyway, I found the doctors office and the receptionist was a nice young girl, maybe my age, and the doctor called me in right away.  The exam room was so strange.  It was messy and the doctor kept all of her examine equipment in plastic drawers that would normally only be found in a dorm room.  It didn't bother me that much because all I really needed was confirmation that I'm not deathly ill and get a prescription for cough medicine with codeine to help me sleep at night so I could move on with my life.  Which is exactly what I got.

On the way home I realized I was in the wrong subway station after I already swiped my metro card.  I had to cross the street in order to head to Long Island City, but the card scanner wouldn't let me in because I recently scanned it.  The F train headed to Queenboro Plaza was already there and took off before I could buy myself another metro card to let me into the station.  Annoying.  I waited for about 5 minutes by myself which really freaked me out.  An empty subway station is much for terrifying than a full subway station.  Once someone else finally showed up my fear of being pushed into the subway tracks heightened. This deserted station would definitely be the perfect place for it to happen.  The train finally came after about twenty minutes of waiting.

I thought I would never be so happy to see my apartment complex.  This was true for a few hours.

I've been dying to go to Target and the closest one is a half hour away.  I got directions from Walgreens so I could go right after dropping off my prescription.  Well, the subway was a 15 minute walk into another sketchy part of town.  There was a guy screaming obscenities at someone right at the entrance and I prayed the whole way from the entrance until my train came that he wouldn't be taking the same subway as me because he was that scary.  Luckily, he wasn't.  Anyway, the train took me to a THIRD scary part of town.  And when I say scary, I mean scary looking people mixed with scary looking buildings when I'm used to my quaint little Long Island City or the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.  I was terrified.  I was completely and utterly lost, but tried not to show it on my face, which is probably the hardest thing for me to do.  I wear my emotions and feelings.  I almost cried when I finally walked into Target. And I was even more relieved than earlier to get back to my apartment.

Today's takeaways:

1. Find a new doctor
2. Never go to Target ever again
3. Never go to an unknown part of town alone
4. Stay home and sleep on my days off

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A day of firsts

Today I had my first:

Day of work
I'm officially a working woman in New York City.  Today marked the beginning of my public relations career.  My whirl-wind day started at 7:30 a.m. after a sleepless night (I always have issues sleeping when I'm anxious or excited).  5W moved buildings sometime between my interview in November and now.  The new building is beautiful, and as I've already said, in the perfect location nestled between Central Park and Times Square.

Like most new jobs or internships, my morning was mainly dedicated to filling out paper work and reading the intern packet and handbook.  Everyone I met today was so nice and helpful.  I was also able to contribute a little today, which I wasn't expecting.  Usually, you just have to get all the administrative paperwork out of the way.  I'm still content with roaming around parts of the city that I have yet to encounter so  I welcomed the opportunity to run an errand out in the city.  I was also able to help with a clip book.  I headed home around 5:45.

Subway ride by myself without the help of Hop Stop
I don't know how anyone lives in NYC without an iPhone.  I use Hop Stop to get me everywhere.  It's so neat, it's like Google Maps for subways.  I never thought I'd be able to step on a subway without first double checking my Hop Stop to make sure I'm going the right way, but today I rode the subway a whole FOUR TIMES without once glancing at my phone.  Mainly because it was too cold and I couldn't bring myself to take my gloves off for a few seconds.  Now I know why most New Yorkers have BlackBerrys: you need warm finger tips in order to use the iPhone touch screen.

Encounter of a rude New Yorker
I couldn't figure out the intercom system trying to get into a building and the woman on the other end yelled at me :(

Day of class
Normally, our class meets somewhere on 28th, but today we met in the the "library apartment" on the 15th floor of our building due to the snowstorm.  We were all hoping class would be cancelled, but Dr. Kickasola doesn't seem to be (and proved not to be) a time waster.  We quickly went over the syllabus and played a get to know you game.  It was actually a lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to getting to know Dr. Kickasola more.



I can't wait to see what the city looks like tomorrow :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

The fun just keeps coming!

Man, do I have a lot to talk about today!

First of all, have y'all ever seen an escalator for a grocery cart?  I have to say, aside from Fresh Direct, this is the other best thing that has happened to grocery shopping.  KA, Julia, Mandy, and I ended up at Whole Foods in Union Square after a fairly long day window shopping near KA's internship at Focus Features, which is close to the NYU campus.  We were all fascinated by this grocery cart escalator and I will probably do half my shopping with Fresh Direct and half my shopping with Whole Foods, just because they are both so cool (and Whole Foods is a client of 5W).  I know I am way more excited about this than I should be.  Oh well.

Sadly, you are not allowed to go up the grocery cart escalator with your cart :(

While this escalator was exciting for us to experience, my roommates and I had a few other surprises tonight.  Like our apartment flooding.  We discovered a minor leak in our pipes earlier that turned into a major leak that flooded our dining room wall-to-wall.  None of us have all of our things here yet, so we were short on towels to mop up the water.  It was a hectic 20 minutes trying to clean up the water and convince the front desk that it was definitely an emergency and that we needed a solution now.  The funniest part of this whole fiasco: Julia decided she should ring out the mop we were using in the kitchen sink.  Brilliant.  We had a good laugh about it though :)

The most entertaining part of the day came last, naturally.  Lauren's mom and sister are in town visiting and are staying at the Empire Hotel, which, incidentally, is the location of the Gossip Girl set tonight.  I don't watch much TV and I've never seen Gossip Girl, but it was still so much fun to watch.  Since Lauren's family are guests of the hotel, we were all allowed inside the lobby to watch the filming.  Chase Crawford was the only full-time cast member we saw on set.  

Chase is from Texas.  During one of the breaks Julia innocently walked up to him to ask if he would take a picture with us.  She got "Hi Chase, we're from Tex..." out of her mouth before his body guard literally pushed her away from him, but since we were from Texas he was more than willing to come take a picture and chat with us for awhile.  He turned other girls down for pictures... and they definitely weren't shy about their jealousy! What can I say?  Texas girls are the best!

Although I've had so much fun as a tourist in the city, I'm ready to start my internship tomorrow, start a routine and let myself become a New Yorker.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Follow my experiences in the Big Apple

I think I'd like to legitimately start blogging.  Now that I live somewhere new and exciting it will be worthwhile to document my adventures.

For those of you who don't know, I'm in a program called Baylor Communication in New York (BCNY).  The purpose of the program is to allow Baylor students, specifically Film and Digital Media and Journalism and Media Arts students, to experience our fields outside the confines of Waco, TX.  There are 18 of us now living together in NY!  We are all taking two classes with Dr. Kickasola, doing an independent study, and working at internships in order to receive 12 credit hours.  We were all expected to find our own internships.

I'll be starting my internship with 5W Public Relations on Tuesday!  5W is a fairly new PR firm; it opened in 2003, but has already been named in the top 15 PR firms in the United States.  It was also named the fastest growing PR firm three years in a row (yeah, they mean business).  5W works within 10 different industries: consumer products, corporate communications, technology marketing, health & beauty (my industry!), travel & hospitality, food & beverage, lifestyle, entertainment & sports marketing, public affairs/government relations, and events marketing.  Some of 5W's bigger clients include: McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, Guitar Center, and Whole Foods.

5W is going to be such a great place to learn and grow professionally.  I'm so excited to start in a few days!

The Beginning:

I arrived yesterday afternoon and settled into my new apartment in Long Island City, which is about a 10 minute subway ride to Manhattan, if that.  In fact, you can see the beautiful Manhattan skyline from my window.
After unpacking my roommates, Katherine Anne, Julia, Lauren, our friend Anthony and I headed out for our first exploration of our surroundings.  We hopped on the F train and headed toward Astoria and got off two stops later.  We found a nice, cheap Thai restaurant.  After lunch, we all went home to rest up for our big night out for KA's birthday in Greenwich Village.

Today, my roommates and I slept in, hung around the apartment and ordered our groceries.  Yes, we ordered them.  Online.  I am totally loving the fact that I can get up in the morning and go "grocery shopping" on my couch in my pajamas.  Fresh Direct is probably the worlds greatest idea. 

How it works:

Once you create an account you're able to browse all the brand names you'd find in any grocery store.  You can read about what the condition of the produce, how long any fresh fruit or veggies will last, and you can even order your toilet paper to be delivered right to your doorstep!  The prices seemed reasonable, for New York, and there was only a $5 delivery charge.  Yes, I will pay $5 extra to save myself time from jumping around to different markets to find everything I need and carrying all my groceries back in the freezing cold.  It's probably the best $5 I spent all day. 

Julia and I decided to go find our offices today and tour the city.  It took us awhile to find 5W's new office on 7th Ave. (although it was right in front of us, we just weren't paying attention).  My building is right down from Times Square, how cool is that?!  We found Julia's internship (CBS) pretty quickly.  We then took a stroll through Central Park, which was covered in snow.  It was such a beautiful sight, I meant to take a picture, but Julia and I had our hands full with the delicious pretzels we bought from a street vendor.  

We had to make a stop at the Plaza Hotel on 5th Ave.  Julia is obsessed with the Eloise books, so of course we had to go to the Eloise shops in the hotel.  I never read any Eloise books as a child, but I'm sure I would have loved it.  Julia had a great time telling me about all the adventures the fictional character had while living in the Plaza Hotel.  It was so fun to see her reaction to all the merchandise in the store.  She ended up buying an Eloise mug.  It made my day seeing her so happy to relive part of her childhood. 

After such a busy day, all the roommates spent the night in.  I've had so much fun my first 24 hours and I'm so excited to see what opportunities await me in this electric city.