Friday, July 29, 2011

Moving Update

So for everyone out there dying to hear an update on my new apartment here it is:

Erica and I are still subleasing in the Financial District with our friend Heather and she is moving to the Upper East as well (heck yes). Since we currently live in a building with an elevator she is only allowed to move out on the weekdays, therefore she is moving out TODAY.

This means that she is moving ALL of her furniture to her new apartment this afternoon. So since Erica and I can't move in today, we are sleeping on a blowup mattress on the floor for the next two nights. Let me tell you how excited I am about that...

After three wrong phone numbers to the current tenants to my new apartment, a broker who doesn't do anything and a landlord who talks so fast I can't ever understand what he is telling me, I got a hold of someone so they could tell me when we could move in.

We are not only being able to move in on Sunday (good thing because otherwise we would be homeless Sunday night), but we will also be able to do it first thing in the morning so we can set up our new place all day! Also after talking with the current tenant, she is willing to sell us their A/C unit for only $40 and their microwave and shelf for $30. We are SO excited!

So bright and early at 8:00am on July 31st we will finally be able to move to our new apartment. We are so excited to finally be able to unpack and have a home it's ridiculous. Oh and don't worry once we move in, I will be posting lots of pictures once everything's set up.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Books

With our lives being so busy these days we don't always take time to sit down and read a good book. Well with Borders going out of business, it kinda made me sad and think about recent books I have read.

I enjoy reading, but I guess you could say I do it in phases. I will read like four books in one month and then won't read again for three months. I know there are a lot of people like that, others who hate reading and those who (like my mom) can read a whole book in a day.

Everyday I see tons of people on the subways with Nooks and it makes me want one. While eReader's are great, there is still something about a book in your hand that makes me feel good (cheesy I know). For those of you who don't ever enjoy reading, think of someone else who enjoys it while you read my post.

Remember my post the other day about the good old fashion postal service/mail? Well, you can use books to spread love and kindness too. Think of a friend you could buy a book for whether it is their birthday, anniversary or just to show them you were thinking about them. I'll give you a few recommendations of books I have recently read and other ones I read a while ago, but still love.

I just finished "Then She Found Me" by Elinor Lipman. While it was a good book, it wasn't extremely captivating. Some of the reviews said once you started reading it you wouldn't put it down. I hate to break it to you, but that's not exactly true. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad book at all, it's just not the most amazing book I have ever read either. I do recommend it though if you are looking for an easy read.

The book is about April, a school teacher in her late 30s, who was adopted at birth. After her parents death, her birth mother Bernice tracks her down. Her mother is an eccentric local talk show host and very different from April. Throughout the book April learns to let her mother in her life and falls in love along the way. In 2007 they made a movie about it starring Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick and Colin Firth. After watching the trailer I can tell you right now that the book and the movie are not the same story line, but I still want to see it eventually.

Another AMAZING book is "The Help" by Kathryn Sockett. I read it last summer when my friend Cami highly recommended it. It is one of my favorite books now. If you haven't heard of it, I recommend you buy it right now. Once you start reading it, you don't want to set down. I read the whole book in just a few days.

It is set during the '60s in Jackson, Mississippi while the Civil Rights movement was taking place. You hear the viewpoints of three different women who form an uncommon friendship in those days around their socially risky secret writing project. It is a #1 New York Times Bestsellers and has a movie being released August 10th.  Emma Stone is playing the Main character Skeeter. I can't wait to see it!

An amazing author is Jodi Picoult. She has written about a dozen books and they are all amazing. Recently I read "Plain Truth" and "Salem Falls." They were both amazing. Her books are longer in length, but are worth every page and minute you spend reading them. When I start one of her books, it's hard for me to put it down. I highly recommend anything she has written.

One book that encouraged me to move to New York is If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You by Kelly Cutrone. She owns her own Public Relations Firm called People's Revolution and has the show "Kell On Earth" on Bravo.

While there were a few parts of her book that discuss spiritual beliefs I don't agree with, the rest of the book is amazing. I felt as if her and I were the same person at times.  She just released a new book called "Normal Gets You Nowhere" that I have been dying to buy!

Of course I love cookbooks so I will let you in on some of my favorites. I absolutely LOVE Ina Garten. Any cookbook by her is amazing. Here are a few I love: "Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?," "Barefoot Contessa Family Style," and "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics."

All of her cookbooks come with lots of pictures and easy to read recipes. While some of her dishes at first glance appear to be complicated, they are really quite simple once you read the recipe and cook it. She breaks everything down so it is simple and delicious. Buy any of these cookbooks and you will be extremely happy with your purchase.

I hope you like my requests. You'll have to let me know what you think of them once you read them. Also, let me know some of your favorite books and cookbooks so I can check them out too!

(p.s. If you want to be awesome and help me out in New York, order items I post on my blog by clicking on the links directly from my blog. When you buy items I link to Amazon, I receive a comission and these days I can take all the extra income I can get haha.) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NYC Restaurant Research

While on my lunch break I was surfing the internet for what else, but cool restaurants to eat at in New York. I pretty much do this on a daily basis, but especially at work now since I have no friends here to eat with...pathetic I know. The up side is I spend less on lunch because I choose food from to-go places.

Today I went to Neofytos and ordered a fresh salad. They have an entire bar for you to choose from and a list of how much each additional item costs. I had the guy add grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, red onions, black olives, red cabbage, croutons and a balsamic vinaigrette. He mixed it all right in front of me and was finished in just a few minutes. My salad ended up costing $7.50.

Normally I wouldn't order a salad because I don't like the pre-boxed kind, but I enjoyed this one. It was definitely a great deal for a quick fresh salad only a few minutes walking distance from work. For those of you what aren't huge salad fans, they also have sandwiches.

Anyways while I was searching the internet, I found a couple of new really cool websites. One of them is Eater: New York. It has different stories about new restaurants opening, the local hot spots, and where fun/cheap places are in your neighborhood. It also showcases reporting on celeb chefs, dining trends and reality TV. Of course I was looking at the New York restaurants, but other cities are featured on their website as well.

One of my favorite articles was "The 38 Essential New York Restaurants, July '11." You can search for restaurants by neighborhoods or just view the map of the whole island. One place I have been wanting to visit is #26 on the list: JG Melon Restaurant. I first saw it on the Food Network where Bobby Flay (my favorite) talked about how they have the best hamburgers in the city.

Doesn't that look delicious?

Hopefully since I am about to be an Upper East Sider I will be able to go here soon! If you have been to JG Melon's, let me know about your experience! 

While searching around on this new site I stumbled upon a link to the Food Network New York City Food & Wine Festival (September 29-October 2). I instantly began looking at the schedule and tickets to see if I could find an event I could afford to attend. Unfortunately, the cheapest event I found that interested me was around $100. I immediately told myself it was alright because by this time next year I will be making enough money to afford any ticket I want!

Upon further review I did find some complimentary events (they aren't necessarily the exciting ones though) and sent an e-mail to RSVP. The one that looked semi interesting was "The Feast Talks: 21 Questions for Tom Colicchio." I sent in for four people. My roommate Erica, her boyfriend Tyler and my friend Alexa. I don't know if they will all want to go, but I figured it can't hurt to do it just in case. I figure I can always drag Alexa along with me if I promises her drinks afterwards haha.

As I continued to search the internet I also found Lidia Bastianich's website. For those of you who watch Master Chef, she is Joe's (the judge) mother. For those of you who don't, google her. She is known for Italian cooking shows and cookbooks. Next time I go into Barnes & Noble I want to flip through one and see how it is. Here are a few of the cookbooks she has written.

If you have any of these or know anything about her cookbooks, PLEASE let me know what you think about them. Also, feel free to tell me which ones are your favorite and which recipes of hers you life.

She also has several different restaurants and just opened a new place with her son and Mario Batalli called Eataly. In a sense it is a supermarket with restaurants on steroids. You walk around being able to taste the ingredients the restaurants cook cook with. One weekend my roommate and I are going to go there, so I will be able to tell you more about it at a later date.

That's all the new restaurant info I have to tell you about for now. If you know of anywhere I should try, don't hesitate to tell me! I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

First Day at My New Job

After taking a 30 minute subway ride and stopping to get my usual fix at Starbucks, I arrived at my first day of work at 9:30am. I met with HR and received my very own employee id. One of it's perks is it allows me to see any of the museum's exhibits for free and receive 25% off at the bookstore.

My job is not what most people expect when you tell them you work at an art museum. The only art I saw all day was in the room I walk through to get to the the elevator to go up to my floor. My desk isn't bad though. I have a window view, a large desk and two computer screens. I spent most of my day inputting data for several events the museum is holding this fall. I also went through lists, edited them and invited many high profile people in the city to several events. It was interesting to see how all the behind the scenes work takes place.

When I got off work it was raining and of course I forgot my umbrella. I walked 4 avenues and 4 blocks in the rain getting soaking wet before I reached the subway station. I partially dried out on the subway ride home and then walked back out in the rain and became soaked all over again.

On my walk home I decided it was going to be a pj's and pint of ice cream kind of night. I bought Ben & Jerry's Banana Split ice cream. It was absolutely delicious! It was a great ending to a semi long day.

I received a few small gifts in the mail from my mom today, one of my best friends Alexa is moving to New York tomorrow and I get paid on Thursday for my job last week. This week is already looking up! I can't wait to see what else this week has to offer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Lost Art

Often times we get so caught up in our fast paced world we forget to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. Lately I have realized how meaningful hand written letters truly are. I believe that writing someone a personal letter is a lost art that our "we want it now" society unfortunately no longer practices.

While I was home last month before I moved to New York, I found all the old letters my Grandpa wrote to my Grandma while he was serving in the Navy during WWII. My Grandma had kept every single letter my Grandpa ever wrote her, from the time they first met until his tour was over. I began to read some of the letters and just sit there in awe of them.

Everyone always hears about love letters and sees them in movies, but very seldom does anyone experience them first hand. I would sit there and read about the love my Grandpa had for my Grandma and would be amazed. He would spend a whole letter telling her how beautiful she was, how he missed her and how she was the love of his life. It would almost make me tear up they were so beautiful. This is when my appreciation for hand written letters was renewed.

Taking time out of your day to sit down and hand write a letter is a very thoughtful thing to do. A text/e-mail/Facebook message doesn't have the same meaning/personal touch that goes into writing a letter. The letter doesn't have to be a love letter either. It can be telling an old friend you miss her, updating a family member about your life or whatever you want. It's not what the letter is about, it's what goes into the letter that counts.

Once I arrived in New York, I decided I want to continue my new found appreciation for letters. The first week I arrived I wrote my Grandma and my friend in Virginia a letter. Since then I have decided to start writing my niece and nephew, along with a few other people I have not talked to in years as well.

It takes at least 2-3 days for the letter to arrive once mailed, the person has to write you back and then it takes another 2-3 days for you to receive their letter. While this may seem like a long time, it's exciting in a way. It makes you look forward to something.

Also, who doesn't enjoy receiving something unexpected in the mail (besides bills/junk mail)?? Whenever I receive a letter/gift in the mail, it makes me happy to know someone else took their own personal time to do something for me. It shows the person was thinking about you even when you didn't even know.

I know your probably thinking that you don't have time to go to the Post Office and use "snail mail," but I promise you that you do. I encourage everyone to slow down and take time to write someone a letter. Whether it be a family member, friend, or someone who you haven't talked to in forever, I guarantee they will appreciate it.

I know it may sound cheesy, but I promise it will be more rewarding than sending an e-mail or text. It doesn't have to be an every day thing. The next time you think about someone in your life and want to make their day a little brighter, sit down and write them a note. You never know how badly they might need it and what an impact it can end up making in their life.

If anyone would like for me to add them to my list, just let me know and I'll go out and buy some more stationary right now. I would feel honored to write anyone and give them another opportunity to smile about life.

Somewhere In Between

So while I love having all my friends and family follow my blog, at times I wish it was only random people. I am a very private person so knowing whatever I write will be known to all my friends scares me. It's times like tonight where I wish I could write something and not worry about what people think about it.

Sometimes I feel like I can't share my doubts because I don't want it to scare my mom. I can't share some of my fun times because I don't want my dad to worry about his baby girl. I can't share some of my thoughts because I don't want my roommate to know the lonely times I feel. I can't share my fears because I don't want my friends back home to know about them either.

I feel I have to keep up this tough front when sometimes all I want to do is let it all out. I'm the type of person who doesn't enjoy discussing feelings, especially with people who are going to ask me questions about it later. Also, sometimes once I express my frustration/fears/thoughts I am over them and they no longer bother me. When you share these things with other people though, they don't understand how after I express my feelings, I'm instantly over it and have no desire to discuss it. I feel that I stated it, it's over and let's move on. There is no reason to continue to talk about it because it's not going to change anything.

Nothing traumatic or even big actually happened today to make me decide to write about this, so don't worry. It was just a lazy normal day I would probably have if I had been in Waco. Today it just felt different.

When I was at school, if I wanted to go out with friends or go to happy hour with some people, all I had to do was pick up the phone and call. If I wanted to stay in all day and be lazy, I knew I could do that as well. The reason it's different here is because I don't really have two options like I did in school.

Today I wanted to go grab drinks with my friends, but I couldn't for two reasons. One because I went to a bar last night that was way overpriced and didn't realize it until after I had ordered my drinks, so I needed to save today and two because I don't have any friends to call.

Everyone keeps telling me I will make friends. While I know this is true, it doesn't really help me right now. It doesn't keep me from feeling alone at this moment. It doesn't comfort me to think in three months I'll have friends.

I want to be able to call Kathryn and Melodie and go to Ninfa's for $3 margaritas. I want to be able to go next door to Cami's and be able to have our heart to hearts that I can only have with her. I want to show up at 9th street and hang out with the guys and play Mario Kart. I want to be with my Big right now celebrating her birthday in Dallas. I want to be able to go pick up my niece and nephew and swim with them in the pool and have a sleepover afterwards.

I'm not naive in thinking that even if I hadn't moved to New York I would still be able to do all these things. I know graduating from college changes everything. When I was still in Texas though, I still had the option if I planned it. Here none of those things are an option.

Don't get me wrong, I do NOT regret moving here for one second. I know amazing things are going to happen in my life and I will make new friends soon and these feelings will no longer be as big of a deal to me. It's just hard when I see my friends Facebook status' about hanging out and talking to other friends from home and telling me who all they hung out with this past weekend.

I know it will get better. I know New York is filled with tons of amazing people and I just need to give it time. I know I will make tons of friends and these feelings will be a distant memory. I know I'm going to have some amazing experiences while I am here and learn more about myself than I would have if I had stayed in Texas. I know this is temporary. I know just like last summer in Nashville I had some of the same feelings and got through them, I will get through this a better person as well.

After writing this I already feel better. I already know God has amazing plans for my life. I can't wait to see how it will unfold and the crazy new experiences I will have. I am already excited about my job and curious to see if I meet any awesome people there. I just need to be patient and give it time. Everything that is supposed to happen will. I just have to have faith.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Have a Job....Kinda

So this all started happening yesterday, but I didn't want to tell y'all about it and jinx myself. I have a 6 week temp job at an art museum here in Manhattan. I went to the agency that I am working with yesterday just to finish up some paperwork and left knowing I was going to have income soon!

While I was there, the guy I work with told me to come back to his office to see if he could find anything better for me and to introduce me to more people. He introduced me to the Vice President of the company. After meeting me, she said she a great opening for me.

She sent all my paperwork over yesterday to the museum. She told them that if they didn't hire me, she was going to quit her job because they were crazy. She said there are no guarantees, but sometimes if they have an open position when my temp job is up, they might hire me full time.

Well she called me this morning to confirm I have the job and I start on Monday. I'll be making enough to pay my rent, utilities and have plenty to spend. I'm only doing entry level work, but maybe I will get to go to fun events they host. The commute this next week will be about an hour, but when I move it will be much much shorter.

It just amazes me how I almost talked myself out of going in the office yesterday, but for some reason I felt like I should. It just once again shows me that God always has a plan for my life. I may not understand in the beginning, but His plan always unfolds eventually.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My New Sushi Restaurant

My day started out amazing because I caught up on all my needed sleep this morning. I left my apartment around noon to meet up with my friend Melissa for lunch. When she told me it was a sushi restaurant near Times Square, I was immediately skeptical. Normally anything near there is a tourist trap and not very good. She promised me it was delicious and had excellent lunch specials.

I arrived at Aijsai around 12:30. When I saw the outside I was still leery, but I went on inside. I saw Melissa at the back of the restaurant and went and sat with her. I was surprised by how clean and nice the place actually was. I opened the menu to the back page to find an incredible lunch menu. They had a whole page of different lunch combinations for very reasonable prices.

Melissa decided on ordering 3 sushi rolls (6 pieces per roll) for $12 and I order 2 rolls for $9.00. Both of our meals included Miso soup and salad as well.

The service was very prompt. They immediately brought out our soup and salad. I'm not a huge Miso soup fan, but this one wasn't that bad. The salad was good, but kinda difficult to eat. All of the dressing was poured on top and since the bowl was so small it was hard to mix it up. After eating a little bit it was easier to mix everything together.

The sushi was pretty good too. I can't eat raw food (the texture freaks me out), so I ordered the California and Tempura Shrimp rolls (don't make fun of me). They were small in size and not tightly wrapped so they fell apart a little too much for me. Melissa's were fine though and stayed in tact the whole time. I forgot to take a picture of them but they were good. Next time I want to try the Chicken Teriyaki meal for $7.50.

While I desperately miss Teriyaki Park in Waco, I think Aijsai may become one of my new regular sushi stops. If you are ever near this area, it is located at 615 9th Avenue between 43rd and 44th.

Click here to view their full menu:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My First Celebrity Sighting

I not only saw my first celebrity today, I got to meet him! I saw Tyler Florence today at Rockefeller Center. For those of you haven't heard of him, he is a chef on the Food Network.

I was walking from Chelsea to Union Station today to get to know the city better. While I was at Rockefeller Center, I saw a huge sign for House Beautiful: Kitchen of the Year with Tyler Florence. Basically Tyler Florence teamed up with House Beautiful magazine and designed the kitchen of the year. It was open to the public to view and there were cooking demos taking place outside.

After realizing I was never going to be able to push myself to the front of the cooking demo outside to try the food, I decided to look around the kitchen inside. I noticed a camera crew setting up and two men having their mics set up. No one else was really in the kitchen so I decided to stay and see what they were going to do.

The Inside Kitchen

Setting Up

The two guys turned out to be the "Beekman Boys," Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge. They are organic goat farmers in Sharon Springs, NY and have their own documentary The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green (

They are releasing "The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom Recipes" October 4th, just in time for the holidays. They were showcasing their eight minute prep Strawberry/Basil Galette recipe from the cookbook. (See links below to purchase DVD set or cookbook.)

The Beekman Boys

Once everything was set up and ready to go the room was packed and I was happy I had my front row spot. Next thing I knew Tyler Florence walks in to introduce the two men. Tyler and his wife are friends with the Beekman Boys and were there to support them and their new cookbook. 

Their cooking philosophy is to take your grandmother and mother's classic recipes and incorporate the new modern cuisine that exists today. Also they believe that cooking should be simple. To prove this they called two people from the audience to help make the Basil/Strawberry Galette.

First they demonstrated how to make a simple crust. Their theory for crust is much simpler than most bakers. They say it's all about "1+1+a little." That means 1 stick of butter + 1 cup of flour + a little more flour. They made it look absolutely effortless and after doing it a time or two, you really could prep the entire dessert in 8 minutes.

Preparing the dessert

After the crust they cut the tops off of the strawberries and split them in haves or fourths (whichever you prefer). Basil was then added. Tyler informed everyone from the side that basil compliments sweet desserts well. 

They explained the amount of sugar you add depends on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Fruits like strawberries are naturally sweet and need less sugar, while blackberries are more tart and need more sugar. Once the fruit and basil are in the center of the dough, you simply fold the dough over towards the center and bake the dessert for about 30 minutes or until fruit is soft on 350 degrees. 

The Baked Gelette

I was amazed how simply they explained everything. They said all the details that bakers normally stress when making desserts don't really apply with this one. A few examples are: it doesn't matter if the butter is cold or not, you don't need to really measure anything, even if the crust looks sloppy it only makes it look more rustic and taste better when it's done. After the Gelette was finished, they passed out samples to everyone and it was absolutely amazing. I would definitely make it at home. 

After the demo, I went over to introduce myself to Tyler Florence. I was so nervous for some reason. I really look up to him as a chef and love his shows. Meeting him made my day! I'm also excited to learn about the Beekman Boys so I can add their cookbook to my collection when it comes out! Let me know what you think of them too. 

To learn more about the Beekman Boys go to

Click here for the Strawberry/Basil Galette recipe:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Six Necessary Items for New York

As of yesterday I have been living in New York for one full week. While it doesn't sound like a long time, it feels like forever. I created a list of problems/issues and solutions I have encountered while living here (in no particular order).

1. Hand Sanitizer

I have never been a fan of hand sanitizer. The gels smell way too strong and reek of alcohol. It also makes your hands feel sticky. I always choose to wash my hands rather than use any type of hand sanitizer. After riding on so many subways though, I have finally changed my mind.

I borrowed Erica's Burt's Bees hand sanitizer and I actually like it. It is a spray so my hands do not feel sticky. Also, the smell is not overwhelming. Just pump it twice and your hands are clean, non-sticky and smell normal.

2. Blisters

Being from Texas I am used to being able to wear heels all the time and my feet never hurt. That is not possible in New York. I wore a new pair of heels out one night and now I have a horrible blister on my foot. After that I borrowed my friend Katey's Blister Blocker. It had made such a difference. It puts a protective layer on your heel to prevent blisters.

3. Heels VS Wedges

Before I moved here I bought two new pairs of heels. While I love the heels, I should have either gotten a shorter heel or bought wedges instead. Wedges are much more practical to wear around the city and do not hurt your feet near as much. Here is a cute pair of Steve Madden wedges I want to purchase when I save up enough money (size 6 1/2 in case anyone is curious haha).

4. Starbucks Chocolate Smoothies

Since I have no job, I have been having to be extremely tight with my money. This can be hard when I feel hungry all the time from all the walking all over the city. I have found that the Chocolate Smoothies from Starbucks are healthy (270-300 calories) and keep me full for for about two meals which helps me save money ($4.87). I have been trying to limit myself to buying only 2-3 a week to save money, but it's hard because I enjoy them so much.

5. Deodorant 

July in New York city is no time to skimp on deodorant. While the weather may feel ok outside sometimes, wait until you are in the metro station waiting for your subway. I have had many instances where I swear people who were sitting next to me got up and moved because I smelt so bad. I feel the need to constantly reapply. (Don't ever feel embarrassed to carry it with you and reapply while in the bathroom.)

I usually use Secret Clinical Strength Water Proof, but I don't feel like it has been working as well lately. I don't know if your body can become immune to a deodorant, but if it can, mine has. It used to be great, but maybe it's just that no deodorant can withstand the heat of the city.

6. Calluses 

Walking in New York is not optional. Even though you may strengthen your body's endurance, you can't prevent calluses from forming on your feet. I got a pedicure right before I moved to the city and calluses have already formed on the bottoms of my feet. My roommate bought a pumice stone for her feet the other day that can alleviate this problem. 

I've only been here a week and I feel that I have learned so much. I can't wait to see what it will be like after living here a month. If you plan to visit New York or any other big city in the future, hopefully these tips will help you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Letting Go and Trusting God

Even though apartment hunting is over, I continued to stress out about not having a job. This weekend it consumed all of my thoughts and made me begin to question my life in New York.

Scheduled to sign my apartment lease today, I allowed my weekend to become consumed with thoughts of how I have no job to pay for it. I began to question if I was even supposed to be in New York. Before I moved here I kept telling myself and my family God wanted me here. Then I started to think what if I just wanted to believe that He wanted me here so badly, I convinced myself of it and ignored what He was really trying to tell me. This thought led me on an emotional roller coaster.

If you know me at all, you know that I over analyze EVERYTHING, get stressed out easily (even though I do enjoy being stressed) and absolutely never cry. Well these nifty character traits of mine just about drove me crazy this weekend. 

I would start thinking about whether I was supposed to be in New York or not and want to start crying. I was so scared and had no clue what to do. I continually asked myself all sorts of questions like what if I don't ever get a job? What if I get a job and can't afford my apartment? What if I sign my lease and then realize God doesn't really want me to be here? What do I do if I realize I'm not supposed to be here? Instead of being thrilled after finding an apartment, all these questions kept running through my head. 

Yesterday when I was at Church different people talked about how God showed them signs for what He wanted them to do in their lives. I realized that this is what I needed. I needed a HUGE sign from God that could not be mistake in any way to show me what He wanted me to do. 

I had an appointment to sign my lease today so needless to say I needed that sign to come quickly. The Lord laid on my heart Joshua 1:9. It says: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

This morning I woke up wondering what God was going to show me. While still curious and scared, I went to a recruiter to help me find a job. He introduced me to a few different people in his office that had possible positions for me. I told him I was willing to do temporary work until I found a permanent job. He got me a job for tomorrow that will help, but it's only for one day and I don't get paid until next week. I still thought it was better than nothing though. 

I left his office feeling better. I stopped at the Starbucks around the corner to get my chocolate smoothie that I am pretty much living off of these days. As I pulled out my money a fortune that I had apparently saved forever ago fell out onto the counter. It read "Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation." While I am not one of those fortune people, I felt that God wanted me to read this. 

While sitting at a table, I checked my e-mail and read my quote of the day. (Yes my friends make fun of me all the time for getting a quote of the day, but it always seem to say the right thing when I need it.) The quote today was by Henry Ford. It said: "One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again." The next e-mail was from a company that wanted to schedule an interview with me this week. 

After so many things reassuring me about me living in New York and finding a job, I went to sign my lease. While I was at the brokers office, one of my brokers gave me the name of a guy who is opening a a hotel in Midtown and is hiring. He had already called the guy and spoke to him about me. I am supposed to go meet him later this week.

This again just continued to reassure me that I was fulfilling God's will for my life. I think sometimes God just tests us a little to make sure we rely on him during the good times and the bad. This entire day just reassured me that He always knows better than I do and I just need to follow the path he has laid out for me. I never know what will come from some of the temp jobs I have or from random people I meet. All I need to know is that God is in control and knows what's better for me than I do.

I'm excited to see how the rest of the week turns out. Maybe I will get a job this week, maybe I won't. All I know is that I am living in the Upper East side for at least a year and God will take care of the rest. 

A Relaxing Sunday in Manhattan

Today was a very relaxing day. It was the first day we didn't have to go looking at apartments and it was amazing. Erica and I lounged around and didn't leave the apartment until 5:30pm.

Erica and I went to church at Apostles in Union Square at 6:00pm ( There were guest speakers so I can't really judge if I'm going to like it or not by tonight. We want to go a few more times to get a good feel for it. The service was held in a beautiful church. The only problem is they don't have central A/C so it was extremely hot today. Hopefully as fall comes around it will be much cooler.

In the park across the street from the church

After church we went and met up with Tyler and his roommate at Pier 84 along the Hudson Bay. There was a live band and free dance lessons. Dance Manhattan holds this on Sundays during the summer. Each weekend is a different style of dancing and a different band. Check out to view the calendar.

Even if you don't want to dance the area is very family friendly. There is a small lawn where people can take blankets and food to relax and listen to the bands. Also the view of the Hudson River at sunset is absolutely beautiful. When the weather is nice like it was today, it can be a great date spot or a nice place to meet up with friends.

Kids playing in the fountain by the pier

New Jersey skyline

The band

A navy ship by the pier


After listening to salsa music, we were in desperate need for Mexican food. Erica and I were very leery to eat Mexican food north of Texas, but Tyler assured us he found a place that was close and had great reviews on the Four Square iPhone app ( Tulcingo Del Valle Restaurant is located at 655 10th Avenue in Hell's Kitchen (


We got there about 15 minutes before the kitchen closed so the waitress was not extremely happy with us. We looked over the decently priced meal and decided on our meals.

We ordered chunky guacamole as an appetizer ($8.95). I was impressed it tasted so good. The color was the typical bright green with the pit in it for freshness. The onions and tomatoes were uniformly sized. The taste of cilantro was present, but not overwhelming. It needed a little bit more cilantro, some lime juice, salt and pepper to make it perfect.


Obviously those tiny things missing didn't keep us from eating all of it. All four of us ate it until all the chips were gone.


I ordered the chicken nachos as my entree ($6.95). They were topped with sliced tomatoes and jalapenos which I thought was odd. Normally you will find those diced on the side. The chicken was cut up into small pieces which made it easier to eat each nacho. They were covered with cheese and beans which to me is the best.

Chicken Nachos

Tyler ordered the chicken burrito ($7.95). It was huge and delicious. The burrito was filled to the max with rice, beans, tomatoes, chicken, and onions. I only wish the onions would have been slightly sauteed so they weren't as crunchy. They reminded me of the onions in Taco Bell's burritos. 

Chicken Burrito

Our friend Chis ordered the Mole ($12.95). We both agreed that it was not very good. If you go here, I do not suggest that you order it.


The over all meal was good. If you are ever in New York City and are in desperate need of some Mexican food that's not a chain, I suggest that you go to Tulcingo's. You even get Chicklets when you pay, so if everything I told you hasn't convinced you, that should. 

After leaving the restaurant, I was full. While my craving for Mexican food had been successfully suppressed, I quickly recognized the bloated feeling that it leaves you with afterwards. Luckily in New York you walk everywhere so that made me feel better. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Hunt is Over!

Erica and I finally found an apartment! Today could possibly be the best day I've had in the city so far.

Today started like any other day of apartment searching. We had 5 apartments we planned to view and didn't have high hopes. I made an appointment at Manhattan Apartments for 10:00am (

After meeting our broker we had a good feeling. He was very straightforward and promised us he could find us something. I don't know it was, but Erica and I both trusted him.

He took us to view three apartments in the Upper East and told us he thought we would sign on the first one. We had heard this before so we didn't put too much stock in what he said. As we walked in the first apartment we fell in love. There was a couple that was currently living there and were home when we viewed it. We were able to talk to them and ask them questions, which made us feel even more comfortable about the location.

We went and viewed the other ones and then immediately went back to the office to put in an application for the apartment. After filling out all the required paperwork, Erica and I left crossing our fingers that we would get it. A couple of hours later, the broker called and told us the apartment was ours and we could move in August 1st.

The apartment is a 1 bedroom with a living room and kitchen. It is in the Upper East Side and only 3 blocks from the metro station. The area is tree lined, family friendly and safe. Erica and I plan to put both of our beds in the bedroom so we can still have a living room for company.

Once we got the apartment I began to realize how incredibly broke I am now. While finding an apartment is extremely exciting, it is also making me more aware that I don't have enough current income to pay for it without the support of my parents.

I spent the rest of the day applying for jobs all the way from marketing to working as a sales associate in a bakery. I decided that it was better to have a low paying job to at least make some money while I look for a marketing job. I was so stressed after worrying about having a job and applying for so many I took a 3 hour nap.

I woke up and realized that this is supposed to be an exciting time, not a sad one. I went to the local wine store and bought the cheapest bottle of Riesling I could find. (Don't tell my cousin Leslie because she would be disappointed that a) it is white wine and b) that it is so cheap.) I wanted to buy champagne since that is more festive, but that was obviously out of my price range after getting the apartment.

I figured it was better to celebrate with a cheap wine than nothing at all. I'm waiting for Erica to get home from Tyler's so we can open the bottle and go out. Hopefully I can get other guys to buy my drinks all night since it is no longer in my budget.

NYC Restaurant Week: Smith & Wollensky

Tonight six of us decided to participate in NYC restaurant week. For those of you who don't know what it is, I'll explain it for you.

Twice a year some of New York City's finest restaurants participate in this event where they offer a three-course lunch for $24.07 and dinner for $35.00. This is a great opportunity to try places that would otherwise be out of your budget. All different types of cuisines are offered so this is also a safe way to try new dishes. To see a full list of the restaurants and menu options go to

Our group decided to dine at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse since we figure won't be able to afford a $50 steak very often ( Erica and I got dressed up with heels on and everything for our reservation at 9:30pm.

Our beautiful heels. 

Wanted to let you see the heel so you know how painful it was walking through the city.

When we arrived they had us down for a 10:00pm reservation instead of 9:30pm, but were very accommodating and seated us within 5-10 minutes. The restaurant was full and the waitstaff was very busy. They brought the traditional bread and water while we looked over the set menu.

797 3rd Avenue

It did take longer than normal to order, but we weren't in a rush so it was fine. After ordering the food came rather promptly. When ordering appetizers and desserts, we wanted to order at least three different items so we could share and taste each one.

I ordered the Split Pea Soup and it was excellent. It was very thick though so I was afraid to eat too much of it and not be able to eat the rest of my meal. The Mixed Greens Salad was light and had a spicy kick to it that made it extra special. The fried calamari was properly fried so the tubes were a light golden brown. It was absolutely delicious.

Split Pea Soup

Mixed Greens Salad

Fried Calamari

All appetizers were the traditional serving. This surprised us because each person had their own mini meal. We expected them to cut it in half since it was a set menu, but they did not skimp on anything. You could tell that they were in a bit of a hurry though because plating was not as exceptional as ususal.

Our main entree was not as diverse. Each one of us ordered a steak.

10 oz Filet Mignon 

Since sides are an additional cost to the meal, our group did not order any. I was slightly sad because my plate looked so bare. As soon as they set our plates down another waiter brought us complimentary hash browns and creamed spinach for the table. 

The hash browns had a nice thick, crunchy top layer. The sauteed onions in the hash browns added an extra special taste to them. They were noticeable, but did not take over the dish in any way. The creamed spinach had a vibrant green color that made it appealing. It was very thick and creamy. My medium filet was absolutely amazing. The cook time was very accurate by having the perfect amount of pink in the center. The juice and tenderness made the overall entree exceptional.  

For dessert we made sure to cover every option. I ordered the Bourbon Pecan Pie. Everyone at the table voted it was the best dessert. The center was solid, but still soft. It was gelled perfectly and had the right amount of pecans for the topping. It was the perfect ending to the meal.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

The overall meal was amazing. Our waiter had been working their for 25 years. He was very attentive and pleasant. We all agreed that it was the perfect place to choose for restaurant week and we all decided to pick another place next week for lunch.