Wednesday, August 31, 2011

J. G. Melon's

In past blogs I have told you how much I have wanted to try J. G. Melon's, well it finally happened. It has been featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Burgers by Bobby Flay. This past Sunday Erica and I decided to walk a few blocks over from our apartment and wait the 30 minutes for a table to finally try it.

When we walked inside, it was very crowded. We found the man at the end of the bar taking people's table requests. He was not the most polite man I have ever met, but then again I am in New York. The restaurant is very small and has a cozy feeling to it. The place is decorated in an old school way that is nostalgic and comforting. The kitchen is set up to where it is across from the bar and you can see them cooking. We waited by the bar (the only place you can wait inside) and stared as we saw all the food come out. Since we were both starving, this was probably the hardest part. About 98% of the food that came out was hamburgers, so we instantly knew that's what we wanted.

When we finally sat down, all the tables were pushed as close together as possible. Luckily we were in the corner so we had a little more room than the people next to us. When the waitress came to our table, Erica and I immediately ordered. She ordered a plain hamburger, I ordered the cheeseburger and we split an ordered of cottage house fries. We were so hungry and ready to try these burgers all we could talk about while we waited was the food. Every time a waitress came into the room with food we were desperately hoping it was ours.

When ours finally came, we instantly started dressing our burgers and fries. Between the first and last bites, literally the only words that were spoken were "oh my goodness this is amazing" and at the end we both agreed it was the best burger we had ever had. It has to be true because I don't think I have ever gone a whole meal without talking because the food was so amazing (actually I don't think I have ever gone a whole meal without talking period). Oh and sorry the pictures are so dark!

After the burger, we decided to split a piece of pecan pie. The waitress brought it out and we quickly devoured it as well. The pie was warm and gooey, but still had the crunchiness of the pecans. The only thing that would have made it better was a big scoop of Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream.

On most occasions I am not a huge hamburger person. I don't enjoy ordering them at restaurants because they always fall apart on you and are never overly amazing. J. G. Melon's forever changed my mind.

Erica and I can't decide if it's a good thing we live so close or a bad thing. I think I could have one of their hamburgers every week, but I don't know how much my body would like that. We decided it would at least become a monthly tradition to eat there though.

Today I decided to eat my salad in Central Park while I read my new book Alexa bought me. I had a salad with spinach leaves, blackened onions, watercress, beets, cannelloni beans and Italian dressing. To my amazement I found out I actually love beets!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Earthquakes & Hurricanes

As many of you have heard over the past week there was not only an earthquake in New York City (technically the aftershock of the one that happened in Virginia), but also a hurricane headed our way as well. While most people in the city freaked out, being from Texas I didn't really let either one phase me too much.

First I'll start with the earthquake. Despite New Yorkers freaking out, nothing really happened. I was sitting on the roof at work eating lunch and the building started shaking. As I sat there with a few people we wondered what could possibly be the cause. About 30 seconds later, it stopped and we went on with lunch. A few minutes later a friend from Texas texted me about it.

Here is how the conversation went: Him: "Earthquake much?" Me: "Ok was there one just in New York? I felt it and had no clue what it was." Him: "Haha yeah the news is already all over it." And that was about as much as I freaked out. While yes I understand earthquakes aren't supposed to happen here, I don't really understand why everyone else here freaked out so much.

Growing up about 20 minutes from the Gulf Coast taught me in a way to be numb to hurricanes. This past week was no different. While the rest of the city (along with my roommate's family) was worried we were going to lose power and the city was going to flood, I continued to think it wasn't that big of a deal. I know the weather man's tricks to scare everyone into thinking they are going to be without water or electricity for weeks and to stay glued to the television to make their fears even worse. We don't have TV at my apartment, so I didn't really have to worry about that thank goodness. Also, I knew by the time it reached us it would be so much weaker nothing was really going to happen.

I did the necessary precautions of buying some dry food, water (to humor my parents), chocolate and about 6 bottles of wine (you can never have too many). Erica and I hung out at home Saturday night thinking it would begin to rain or something would happen since most of the city had shut down. We drank wine, ate chocolate and watched movies on her computer. By this point we were dying for a TV. After a very uneventful evening, we went to sleep hoping more would happen tomorrow.

Not only was the hurricane not a big deal like I had predicted, I slept right through it without even knowing it happened. I woke up and was still waiting for it to come and Erica told me it already had. I was in a way slightly disappointed because I was hoping for at least something semi-dramatic since there had been so much hype in the city. Also, we were hoping we wouldn't have to go to work on Monday.

After being in our apartment for so long we were going a little crazy. We decided to walk around the city to see if we could find any damage. We walked about 45 blocks south and over to the river. Most of the city was still closed and it was extremely eerie to see the streets so empty. The weather was nice and cool with a strong breeze. The walk felt amazing and afterwards we ate at J.G. Melon's for dinner (another blog will come about this place later in the week).

I understand that the hurricane was devastating in some areas and don't mean to make light of it in any way. It's just that in our area, absolutely nothing happened and with all the hype by media and New Yorkers I was slightly disappointed. I am happy that Erica and I are both safe and nothing happened to our apartment. I'm also happy I bought food I will eat either way and now I hope they'll let me return the flashlights/batteries.

I already had one friend inform me he didn't really care to read about my salads, but it's only day two and I already tried to get out of eating one for lunch. I decided I would post what I ate at the bottom of each entry to hold me accountable, so if you don't care, don't read this part. Today I had spinach leaves with garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, green olives, and roasted tomatoes, onions, cauliflower and mushrooms with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was much better than yesterdays choice.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Salad A Day

This week I decided to challenge myself to eat a salad a day. While this might sound strange to most of you, first let me tell you I'm not a huge fan of salads. I just can't wrap my mind around them being a "real" meal. To me a salad is like an appetizer. Something you eat, but it doesn't fill you up and it is never really overly satisfying.

I have really tried to like salads in the past, but I have never been successful. I love trying new foods and ordering a salad off a menu is not my idea of enjoying a delicious meal. I can eat a salad and afterwards be completely full, but to me it is still a waste of a meal. It never gives me the feeling of being like "oh my goodness that was amazing" or "wow that was so delicious" or "that was one of the best things I have ever eaten." Instead my responses are more like "why did I just waste my meal on a salad?" or "I'm full, but now I want something that is actually tasty" or "I don't understand how people eat this and feel satisfied."

When I go to the cafeteria at work there are two rooms, the room with hot food and the room with the salad bar. Usually for me it's a no brainer to go into the room with the hot food. I mean who wouldn't rather have pork tenderloin, fried chicken, pizza or pasta over a salad? Surprisingly though, the salad line is always the longest. It made me begin to wonder what everyone finds so amazing about them (besides them being healthy). This is when I decided I needed to change my perspective on salads.

Since this is my last week at work, I decided I am going to eat at least one salad every day. (I'm still debating if I want to do it for two weeks because I don't know how much that will cost when I don't have a job, but I'm for sure doing it this week.) I am going to try one with different toppings and dressing each time. I figure maybe I can train myself to enjoy eating salads. I mean they are healthier and more nutritious than most of the other foods I eat, so why not. I am determined to at least learn to appreciate salads and who knows, maybe one day they will be my go-to meal at restaurants.

Today I ordered a salad with artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, purple onions and fresh mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. It was ok I guess. The best part was the free bread roll and lemonade that came with it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Name Change

I was bored at work the other day and decided to explore other people's blogs. I mean I always want new people to read mine, so why not read someone else's right? As I was doing this I realized how many blogs there really are out there. Obviously I already knew there were like a million out there, but just clicking "next blog" over and over because they all looked uninteresting and weird made it even more real.

As I was clicking through blogs, I saw many that had to do with families, food, health, etc. I would read each title of the blog and then what it was about. I found some to be very clever and some very lame. It made me wish I had been more creative with my name. I started my blog the night before I moved to New York and only did it because my mom kept begging me to. I figured I wouldn't keep it that long and no one would read it but her.

Well now that friends (at least the ones I force to) read it, I decided it was time for a better blog name. I brainstormed with Alexa the other night and we came up with "Life North of the Mason Dixon." It may not be the best name ever, but I figured I could try it out and see how I liked it.

Now that I renamed my blog, I also want a better background and header. I unfortunately have no idea how to use html or how to make my blog look awesome. I have an idea of what I would like it to look like, but I don't know how to do it myself. So if there is anyone that would like to help me, by all means, let me know!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Long Week Ahead

Ever since I moved I have been the farthest thing from healthy that's possible. I have been eating any and every kind of sweet known to man on a daily basis, I have been eating all other sorts of unhealthy food and I haven't worked out once. I have been trying to ignore this because I wasn't really ready to give up chocolate yet. Well after being sick of waking up and feeling disgusting, it finally changed. Sunday I started a Total Body Rapid Cleanse.

There are a couple dozen different types of cleanses ranging from liver to smoking cleanses and they can last from one week to a whole month. After reading up on them, I found out they not only help get rid of toxins, but also help with dry/oily skin, fatigue, low energy, weight gain, headaches/migraines, brain fog, allergies and more I won't go into here.

 I decided it would be a good idea and help give me a fresh healthy start for Fall. I went to the health food store across the street from my apartment to look at the different types they had and to finally purchase one (I had been putting this off for like two weeks). The cleanse lasts for seven days and eliminates every impurity/toxin from my body. I figure having never done one, there is plenty of stuff I could get rid of that has built up over the past 22 years.

I take two pills in the morning and at night, along with a fiber powder mixed in water. This part really isn't so bad, except for having to drink water nonstop throughout the day. (In case you didn't know, I'm not a huge fan of water and only really started drinking it semi-consistently within the past year or so.) What's the not so fun part is the diet. There is a great deal of food I'm not supposed to eat and very few things I can eat. I can eat eggs, fruits, vegetables, fish, almonds, organic chicken and pasta made with buckwheat. So that means no sweets, no milk (I'm dying), no cheese, no starches, no carbs, no caffeine (it's already killing me at work), no alcohol and a whole bunch of other delicious stuff is off limits too. While the diet isn't required, following it will help ensure the cleanse works properly and I get my money's worth.

I'm halfway through the cleanse and I'm slightly dying. Not having coffee in the morning is probably the toughest part. I pretty much live off my skinny caramel latte from Starbucks. (Unfortunately I used up my last gift card. I have gone through $75 in about four weeks if that tells you anything.) Every day at work it takes all I have to be able to focus on even the tiniest tasks. The cleanse says it's supposed to give you a metabolic jump start and energy, but I'm not seeing it yet. I'm exhausted constantly and just want to crawl in bed and sleep all the time.

Also, every time I drink a glass of water at home, I crave a tall glass of milk. I pass by bakeries and it takes everything I have not to go buy a Black & White cookie. Yes I know I sound semi-pathetic, but I think it's just because I know I'm not supposed to have any of it that is making me crave it even more.

Tonight is Alexa's birthday celebration, so I'm going to cheat a little bit and have a drink or two. I already cheated this morning, too, and stopped at Starbucks for a tall coffee. I decided it was either that or I was going to make up an excuse to leave work early to take a nap before tonight. Plus to make myself feel better, I said it was in honor of Alexa's birthday.

I hope it will get better and if not, at least I tried. I'll let you know at the end of day seven how I feel and if you should go purchase one for yourself!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Week of Soup

After looking through multiple recipes, I decided to cook another soup this week to take to work. I understand summer isn't exactly the best time to be cooking soup, but it's inexpensive and lasts a while. Once I get my food processor, I plan on making Gazpacho. If anyone has a good recipe, please send it my way! 

After looking through The Family Chef cookbook, I finally decided which soup I wanted to make. Below are some pictures and the recipe from the cookbook. It's very healthy and almost tastes like a pasta fagioli. There are things I would do differently next time, but overall it was yummy. Enjoy!

Jewels' Favorite Soup Jill Makes
Serves 6-8

3 15-ounce cans of cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups of chicken stock
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped in a medium dice
2 ribs of celery, chopped in medium dice
4 ripe large tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Place beans, stock and garlic in a large pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is warm, add the olive oil and saute the onion and celery for 5-6 minutes until soft and translucent. Next, add the tomatoes and salt and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the vegetables mixture and parsley to beans. Cook another 15 minutes or so to meld the flavors together. Serve with Parmesan cheese. 

-Feel free to add leftover chicken or small pasta noodles to the soup as well. 
- Add some spice by throwing in 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper when cooking the vegetables. If you don't want something that spicy, be sure to at least add salt and pepper or it will be bland.
-If you don't have fresh tomatoes, chop up some canned San Marzano tomatoes. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Unexpected Weekend Happenings

When the weekend started, Alexa and I had our weekend plans set. We were going out Friday, trying a new place for brunch Saturday and enjoy Parked at Seaport later that afternoon. (Basically it's an event where they were having all the different food trucks in the city at one location with cheap menu prices for everyone to try their food.) I had been looking forward to it all week and was already excited to blog about it. Well the weekend didn't end up going exactly as planned, but it definitely started out with a bang and ended with a pretty good one as well. 

Alexa and I found a coupon on Scoutmob for 50% off at this bar/restaurant in Union Square that expired on Friday, so we decided we should use it. We showed up and realized it was more of a sports bar and didn't really feel like going in. 

We began wandering around Union Square searching for somewhere else to have dinner. While we were looking for a place, it started raining. We saw a sign for 2 for 1 drink specials and figured it would be a good place to wait for the rain to stop. We went upstairs to Bar 13 and were not ready for what happened over the next hour or so. 

As we walked inside, we immediately realized we did not fit in with this crowd at all. Not wanting to go back out in the rain, we ordered a drink and got ready for some of the best people watching we have ever experienced. 

The one thing this place did have going for it was it had an AWESOME DJ; however, we felt like we were in the beginning scene of Save the Last Dance. While I don't plan on going back anytime soon, I am really happy we stumbled across this random dance club. It definitely gave us some good stories to talk about later. 

After exploring Union, we took a cab back to my neighborhood. Around midnight we still hadn't eaten dinner and were starving. After searching my fridge for food, Alexa decided she wanted to go get something at the diner on the corner. About two minutes after she left, my door buzzer went off. I was surprised she was back so soon. Come to find out she accidentally tripped going down the stairs of my apartment. She hurt her left ankle and right knee. 

When we woke up the next morning, the severity of her fall was made clear to us. Her ankle was completely swollen along with her knee. She tried to walk on it and almost collapsed from being in so much pain. Immediately we knew we weren't going to be doing anything for the rest of the weekend. We hung out at my apartment all day, while she kept both of them iced and elevated. 

This morning we woke up and she could still barely walk. We decided it was time to go to the hospital. After getting the x-rays back, we found out that nothing was broken (hallelujah), but she had severely sprained her ankle and torn some ligaments in her knee. 

She is having to use crutches, which she is not very happy about. I don't blame her though because I'm pretty sure she is the only person in New York right now on crutches. Everywhere we went people stared like they had never seen them before, it was kinda funny, but kinda awkward at the same time.

After getting all bandaged up, we went to brunch. (I mean after all we didn't get to go Saturday and we couldn't wait until next weekend.) We packed up all of her stuff and took a cab to her apartment (she lives about 50 minutes away by Subway, but only 20 by cab). We got her situated with plenty of ice packs and medicine. Hopefully she will be better by this week because her birthday is on Wednesday and celebrating is not an option. 

Since I was cooped up all day yesterday, I decided to walk home from her apartment (about 3.5 miles) and enjoy Central Park. On my way home I caught up with my best friend Haley and enjoyed people watching in the park. I went to Barnes & Noble wanting to buy a new cookbook (I haven't bought a new one in a month and I'm dying), but I couldn't find any good ones on sale. Afterwards, I stopped by Heather's, and caught up with her. I also found a new grocery store semi-near me that is huge and has everything! I bought ingredients to make a soup to eat this week at work. I'm kinda tired right now, so I might just make it tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Want to See Me in Waco for Homecoming??

After living in Waco for four years, most people are in no hurry to ever return. That is unless it is Baylor's Homecoming weekend. On this weekend anyone and everyone who went to Baylor returns to see all of their old friends, watch the parade and go to the football game (even though we know we are most likely going to lose).

Whenever I told people I was moving to New York and didn't know when I would see any of them again, they would always respond with "I'll see you at Homecoming." (After all it is a given most of your friends will come back and reunite at Scruff's.) I would respond by telling people I probably wouldn't be able to afford to come back just for Homecoming. It sucked, but I knew it was most likely true. The thought of never knowing when I would see most of my friends again was really sad.

The other day I was talking with my friend Cami and she was trying to convince me to come back and visit. I immediately went through the same spiel and told her I wouldn't be able to afford it. She began to tell me I was wrong. She reminded me I would have a free place to stay, drinks and food are half the price and all I would really need money for was the flight.

This thought began to tempt me. Maybe it would be possible. But then the fact that I don't have a real job reminded me I don't need to be spending money on plane tickets, when I should be saving. Also, how am I going to get money to be able to buy a plane ticket?

I shared my predicament with Alexa and we began to ponder how we could make this Homecoming trip possible. She and I began discussing all the fun we would have and all of our friends we would be able to see again. I started thinking how I could go to T-Park and order the Baylor Roll, eat real Mexican food, have a late night cup of corn from Taco Z with Melodie, go see all the boys at 9th street and hang out with some of my best friends. I finally came up with an idea to make it possible and you aren't allowed to judge me.

Since homecoming is November 4-5, it is during my birthday month (yes I am one of those people who celebrates for the whole month). I decided I am going to set up PayPal on my website and if you would like to donate to the "Send Megan to Waco for Homecoming Fund" or just want to get me a birthday gift, but don't know what to buy me, this is it. I know it sounds kinda lame, but I figure it can't hurt to ask. Plus, even if no one donates, I really have nothing to lose.

I looked up tickets online and the cheapeast I could find were around $315 round trip and they will probably only go up the longer I wait. This is why I am resorting to this method of begging/asking for help. If you don't want to help me out, it's completely understandable, but if you do, I would love you forever.

Having to do this isn't necessarily easy. No one wants to admit they can't afford a single plane ticket. I figure though it's better to set aside my pride if it means I am able to see my friends. So there you have it. Donate or don't donate. Either way I love you all and whatever is supposed to happen will. Maybe I'll see some of you in November, maybe I won't. We will all just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Tour of My Apartment

Finally, what I know everyone has been waiting for...a video of my apartment! I had to create a YouTube account just to be able to upload it, so I hope you like it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My First Home Cooked Meal

While there are times I love going out to eat and trying new restaurants, I also enjoy eating at home. Often times I get sick of eating out and crave a home cooked meal. This works out well since I absolutely love to cook. You name it, I'll find a recipe and before you know it, dinner is ready.

I find cooking new dishes interesting. Also, being in the kitchen is a stress reliever for me. I can be completely stressed out from the day, come home, whip up a batch of cookies and feel instantly better. (All my guy friends in college benefited a lot when this happened because I would always just show up with food for them.)

Ever since I moved, I haven't had a kitchen I was able to cook in. Before last night, my cooking skills have been used to make pb&j sandwiches and frozen pizzas. Very sad, I know. After the installation of our new kitchen counter this weekend, this is no longer going be the case

Yesterday was the first time I have been able to cook since I've moved and it was amazing. I found a recipe with the fewest amount of ingredients (so it would be cheaper) and headed straight to the grocery store after work. I was so excited to be able to walk around the grocery store and pick out all the ingredients I needed. (Yes, I am one of those weird people who actually enjoy going grocery shopping.)

While I have been wanting to cook pinto beans, rice and cornbread (don't laugh at me, it's delicious), I'm waiting for my parents to mail me Tony Cachere's Seasoning before I do. Instead I decided to cook Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup. This would be healthy and last me for the week to eat at work. The soup was extremely easy to make and had very little clean up afterwards.

As I began cooking, Erica arrived home with her own groceries to make a pasta salad. I am not usually a huge fan of pasta salads because they don't have enough sauce for me (in my opinion the more sauce the better). However, this pasta salad was different from most. It was made with tortellinis and had a balsamic and red wine vinegar dressing. It was also filled with onions, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and asparagus. I tried some of it and it was amazing.

After both meals were done, Erica and I were impressed by each other's dishes and plan on swapping recipes soon. We talked about what we could do differently to each one next time we cook them so they will be even better. I'm sure these two meals will be made often in the months to come.

After dinner, we sat on the couch and talked. Our apartment finally started feeling like home. I don't know if it was the smell of the food, being able to actually cook for once or what, but it was amazing. Erica and I both agreed that the apartment just felt better afterwards. I know it will only get better because we plan on cooking as often as we can afford and I can't wait.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lazy Weekend

Ever since I moved to New York, I have constantly been on the go. There has been something to do every weekend or a friend coming to visit. This past weekend I finally caught up on all my lost sleep over the past month and it felt wonderful.

After work Friday I met up with Alexa and Erica for a few drinks at Three of Cups. It's a quaint restaurant/bar located in East Village. The bartender was extremely nice while we hung out for a couple of hours and told us some other good places in the area to try.

Dying for something to eat, I ordered a mushroom, onion and pepper pizza for dinner. I have never been a huge fan of pizza, but I am starting to order it more often. It tastes better than Domino's and Papa John's I was accustomed to at home. Also, it's usually one of the cheapest items on the menu so that's a plus, too. This pizza wasn't the best I've had, but it also wasn't the worst.

Afterwards we had the bright idea to go see Hamlet in some random parking lot in the area. (For some reason it seemed like a great idea beforehand and Alexa was really excited about it.) Our plan was to show up about 45 minutes early to make sure we had some place to sit, and of course that didn't happen. Fifteen minutes before the show we arrived and found this tiny parking lot packed. We watched the show for about 15 minutes and then decided to give up. We weren't that interested (except for Alexa) and we couldn't hear the actors.

I went home and immediately passed out. It felt so nice to finally sleep in. The next morning Alexa and I continued our usual Saturday tradition of going to brunch. I was craving a waffle for some reason, so we skipped our normal spot and tried somewhere new. We are so glad we did!

We went to the Barking Dog cafe down the street from my apartment and it was delicious. My waffle was perfect with a side of fruit salad and Alexa ordered a chorizo frittata that was amazing. Their Bloody Marys and mimosas were exceptional as well.

We went back to the apartment every so often while Tyler was building us our new kitchen. Since we wanted to stay close by in case he needed anything, we decided to explore my neighborhood this weekend. I walk to and from work every morning, but I don't ever stop to see what's all around me. Alexa and I walked up and down the streets and browsed several boutiques. While most of them were out of our price range, we did happen to find a few in our budget. I found a few dresses I loved, but decided to only purchase one. Alexa found several tops that looked great on her at another store. Needless to say we were both excited we found something.

We went back to my apartment to check on the progress of the kitchen and relax. We wanted to have another chill night and not go out. We decided to go dinner at the York Grill and then see Midnight in Paris after. Dinner was absolutely delicious, especially since we had a coupon for 50% off our meal. We were of course craving something sweet afterwards and stopped in an ice cream shop and ordered an Oreo and Peanut Butter frozen yogurt. It was amazing! It tasted just like a Butterfinger. It was the perfect ending to our meal.

Alexa and I both enjoyed Midnight in Paris. I think we appreciated it more since we have read The Paris Wife. Both the book and movie (not related) are set in Paris in the 1920s. While I enjoyed the movie, it is not something I think I would watch multiple times. I'm still holding out to go see The Help.

Also this weekend Tyler began construction on our new kitchen counter. He spent all day Saturday and Sunday building it for us. He did an incredible job and it looks absolutely amazing. We now have space to cook, store our food, hang our pots, hold our silverware and more. Erica and I are so excited! We can't wait to cook our first meal this week.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Movie In the Park

This past week I was exhausted from the previous weekend. I was in the mood to be lazy and simply relax at my apartment. This changed when Alexa told me the Brooklyn Bridge Park shows free movies in the summer and this past Thursday happened to be Breakfast at Tiffany's.

After coordinating our three schedules, Erica, Alexa and I headed to Brooklyn for the first time. The itinerary online said the music began at 6:00pm and the movie at dusk. We arrived around 8:00pm and were not prepared for how many people were already there. While I felt a little silly carrying a bright gold Baylor blanket on the subway, once we arrived I was happy I had it.

People were literally everywhere. Determined we weren't going to stand through the whole movie, we walked down to the bottom and began to make our way through the picnic blankets and groups of people. After realizing we were never going to find a "good" spot, the three of us to squeeze together on the half-way unfolded blanket.

While I would not say it was the most comfortable movie watching setting, it was fun. The view of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge was absolutely beautiful. Even though I have seen the movie dozens of times, it was still amazing. Living in New York made me appreciate it even more.

We left 20-30 minutes before the movie was over. Since we were towards the front of the screen, we wanted to miss the mass exit and the rush to the subway station. The entire experience was fun and I'm glad we went. It can't get much better than three girls squeezed together on a blanket watching Audrey Hepburn in the park (unless we had a glass of wine to sip on). Next time we will make sure to arrive sooner and take a picnic basket full of goodies.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The One Month Mark

As of today I have officially lived in the city for one month. While it hasn't really been that long, it feels like I left Texas six months ago. Much to my parent's dismay, I'm no where near homesick. I miss people and things about Texas, but I would not go back and change my decision to move here. Since living here, I have learned a lot and experienced even more. Some of it is trivial, while other parts are significant to my survival.

There have been nights where I have had a blast and nights where (if I cried) I wanted to cry myself to sleep. There were days I didn't think I could walk another block without dying and days where I walked for about three hours for the fun of it. There have been times where I love temping and times I feel like a loser for not having a real job. There are days I have loved being independent and days I hated not having my close friends by my side. There are times I love meeting new people and times when it's even worse to tell some people I have met bye. There are moments I just want to be completely alone and moments when I want to have a ton of people around. Sometimes I question what I was thinking moving to this huge city all alone and then know it's exactly where I am supposed to be.

While none of this may be of any importance to most, it has all been huge for me. It has helped me actually deal with my emotions and feelings (which is huge for me). I have realized not knowing what comes next is actually a great adventure instead of some scary unknown. I have gained an inner strength that has helped me become more confident in my life here. I have realized there are still great guys out there and sometimes they show up when you least expect it. I have once again been reminded that God always knows better than I do and whatever is supposed to happen will.

I look back at this past month and can't believe it flew by so quickly. I could have never predicted half the things that happened to me, but wouldn't change any of them. I can't wait to see what life has to offer this coming month.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Random Things I've Learned

New York City is completely different from any city I have ever lived in. That is probably one of my favorite things about it. I feel like it's a new adventure each day. I am constantly learning new things and meeting interesting people. While I am aware that I haven't really lived here very long, I do feel like I have gathered a semi-decent amount of knowledge about the city. Here are some things I learned the hard way and some the easy way:

Having to find an apartment and move in New York is the worst thing ever, especially when you don't have a car. 
Always carry an umbrella with you because the Weather Channel is never accurate.
Food truck carts are lifesavers at 3:00am.
When people say it's expensive to live here, they really aren't exaggerating. 
Good Mexican food doesn't exist here. 
Don't go out in expensive neighborhoods unless you plan on finding a guy to buy your drinks all night.
NEVER order a frozen margarita here. 
It's better to pass out on a friends couch than to have to walk 20 blocks home in heels.
Walking is often times quicker than taking the subway.
Club promoters are fun because you get free drinks, but then you're stuck hanging out with random girls all night and that's never fun.
Always carry cash on you.
Don't wear heels out if you plan on walking everywhere. 
Finding a laundromat is not as easy as you would think in my neighborhood.
Happy Hour deals are a must on a limited budget.
Having a living room is not optional when you're sharing a one bedroom.
Brunch with unlimited drinks is the best thing ever.
Coffee is necessary to function at work.
If possible, have an apartment with a doorman.
Avoid Times Square at all costs, unless you enjoy being surrounded by people who don't know where they are going and walk slow.

While none of this is pertinent information, I have found it makes life easier when you know what to watch out for. Finding it out the hard way can sometimes lead to a great story in the end though.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Greenwich Village

My friend Heather shared with me how she learned the city. Each weekend she and her friend would pick a neighborhood and explore it for the day. They would find a place to eat brunch, shop and just stroll along the streets. I decided I loved this idea and wanted to do it as well. The other weekend my friend Alexa and I choose to spend the day in Greenwich Village.

We decided this as we were eating brunch by my apartment, but figured we could always find other things to do in the neighborhood. As we got off the subway, we began exploring the cute little shops around the area. We began browsing through one shop that had hilarious birthday cards and interesting/random little knickknacks.

Across the street I saw the restaurant A Salt & Battery. I immediately knew it had been on some Food Network show and looked it up on my iPhone app (yes I realize that's kinda pathetic). It has been on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Totally Unexpected" for their deep fried candy bars and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay: Fish & Chips." Since Alexa and I were too full for fish and chips, we decided the deep fried candy bar was a must. I mean after all we are from Texas and believe anything deep fried automatically tastes better.

The store was very simple and small with only one row of bar stools to sit at. We looked on the menu and instantly found the deep fried candy bar. There were three different choices and we hadn't even heard of two of the candy bars.

I asked the guy which one was the best and he said he preferred the Lion Bar. I told him we would take one. After a few minutes it was ready and looked delicious.

Since it had just come out of the fryer, it was extremely hot. While Alexa waited for her half to cool down, I ate mine piping hot.

Absolutely amazing! It was crunchy and chocolaty and made me feel like I was at the county fair. We were instantly in love and if we hadn't been so full, we would have ordered another. We plan to go back soon to try their fish and chips and of course another deep fried candy bar.

Afterwards we strolled around the streets of Greenwich Village and decided to try different happy hours. Each time we passed a place with a decent one, we would pop in and have one drink and then move on to the next. We found some places with decent drinks and we also found some of the worst frozen margarita I have ever had in my life. We also met some very interesting people along the way.

Overall I would say it was a very successful day and can't wait for our next neighborhood exploration.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Postal Service Update

About two weeks ago I wrote about how the the lost art of sending letters/gifts in the mail. Ever since then I have not only been writing people letters, I have been receiving some as well! I put together a collage of what all has brightened my days these past few weeks.

I received a gift card and umbrella from my friend Shelby, multiple small gifts from my mom, letters from family and friends and a package of three gifts from my friend Kathryn. She packaged each one separate, so it would be more fun to open. I decided to open one a day and it felt like it was my birthday haha. She even sent one that says I'm not allowed to open it until I am having a horrible day. Hopefully I don't have one anytime soon, but I can't wait to see what's inside when I do.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me something. Every day I found something in my mail box, a huge smile was put on my face. It encourages me to continue to send letters and gifts to others and brighten their day just like some of you brightened mine.

I just made a list of letters to write and so far it has five people on it. Hopefully I don't run out of stationary!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fact: Hot Guys Don't Take the Subway

For girls Disney movies made us grow up thinking one day we would meet Prince Charming and he would sweep us off our feet. As we grew up, we realized most guys were not like that and it wasn't going to change anytime soon. While living in New York, I have also witnessed another false idea of reality being told to women today. I've learned, much to my dismay, attractive men do NOT use the subway system.

Television is continuously trying to make you think otherwise, but I'm sorry it's just not true. They always portray a man and woman meeting on the subway, little girls blushing over a crush they see down the cart, or changing a ticket to sit next to someone you will end up marrying. They make it seem so real and natural. You start to believe maybe you too could one day meet someone on your way home from work.

Up until these past few days, I have taken the take the subway multiple times a day. The entire time I have lived here (and yes I realize it's only been 3 weeks), I have only seen maybe a total of five attractive men using the metro stations. The worst part is two were married, one looked like he had a girlfriend and I'm pretty sure the other two were still in school.

I have definitely have had guys talk to me on the subway. I have talked with cute elderly men, creepy old guys, polite married couples, gangster guys, dorky guys, guys who are wayyyy to young for me, guys who are wayyy to old and some of whom you would have to see for yourself to understand. Let's just say I would never be interested in any of them.

I just find it odd out of so many people living here, only occasionally do I see attractive ones. Now I'm not saying New York City is void of attractive men because I have met some, but you would just think they would be more abundant. I'm thinking I must be using the wrong form of transportation (maybe only hot guys take cabs), or I'm going to the wrong restaurants/bars (maybe hot guys can afford more than me), or maybe they are just very rare here. I'm not sure, but whatever it is I would like to find out.

Don't get me wrong I'm not looking to meet my soul mate or anything during a subway ride. I'm not even looking for a boyfriend anytime soon, but when I do change my mind I would like to know where to go to find him.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life in General

So besides moving into my new apartment, nothing too exciting is going on in my life these days to blog about (especially when I can't upload pictures). So I guess I'll just blog about a little of everything going on in general.

It's exciting to see our apartment starting to really come together! Most of the boxes are unpacked and everything is put away. Last night we went to a store around the corner from us and bought a huge mirror to put in our bedroom and some shelving for our bathroom. After Tyler installed everything, it felt so much better.

I am the type of person who likes to live in an area to see how I will want things before I start hanging up hooks, shelves, etc and Erica is the exact opposite. She is ready to have everything set up asap. While I do agree with her, at the same time I just don't know where I want to put half the stuff yet. It's interesting to see our different personalities and it's nice finally being roommates and having to deal with these differences.

I am dying to cook now that we finally have our own kitchen, but we literally have maybe 1 foot of counter space. We are in desperate need of storage everywhere, so Tyler is looking at installing more shelving and a counter top in the kitchen. Hopefully it will happen soonish so Erica and can start making our weekly dinners together. We decided we are going to cook for anyone who asks and hopefully meet more people haha.

The more we unpack, the more we realize how much we still need for the apartment. Even common items like windex, detergent, bathroom soap, etc. Normally having to buy these things randomly is no big deal, but buying it all at once costs a lot more. I definitely have to watch my budget more and eat out less. After we get the necessities though, it will get better.

My best friend Christy is coming to visit tomorrow and I can't wait! We have known each other since we were three. We get along so well it's ridiculous. Since her college was about an eight hour drive from mine and her parents moved to Thailand, we haven't been able to see each other very often these past couple of years. The last time I saw her was when I was living in Nashville last summer and she came to visit for a week. It will be good to see her and catch up.

My friend Alan is also coming to visit on Friday. I met him when I was in Nashville last summer, so I haven't seen him in a year either. It's kinda like a reunion weekend since him and Christy know each other too. He's only staying one night because he's going to visit some friends in Jersey, but I'm still really excited. Whenever we are together we always have a good time, so I can't wait for the weekend!

Work is going really well. I went and saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit on Monday. While it was really cool, I don't understand why people are waiting in line for three hours to see it. It has been so crazy with all the people here. I love walking through all the different rooms when I have to run errands though. All the rooms are so interesting and have beautiful items/paintings. My boss encourages me to explore whenever I have down time.

I have been receiving a few things in the mail from friends back home and let me tell y'all THANK YOU!! It has been making my week so much better. Once I can upload pictures, I will post more about my surprises.

I'm going to happy hour with Erica, Tyler and my friend Everett tonight. We are trying to find some place with good margaritas, but I don't know how successful we will be. Hopefully we will have internet tomorrow and I can start sharing more with everyone.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekend Moving Adventures

Sorry I haven't written the past few days. I have been extremely busy moving. Also, I haven't had internet since Friday and it's hard to blog on my phone. I'm using a friends computer, so I can't upload photos yet, but as soon as I get internet at my new apartment I will share plenty with you! Ok so let me tell you about my weekend.

As of Friday our sublease moved everything out of the apartment to her new place. I got home around 10:00pm that night and the place was so empty. I mean obviously I knew it would be, but seeing it made it real. Erica and I were planning on sleeping on a blow up mattress. Well when I got there and blew it up, I realized it was only a twin size....awesome. Erica ended up sleeping on the couch at our friends apartment and I slept on the mattress.

Since I was extremely exhausted, I decided I didn't want to go out Friday night. I was lying on the blowup mattress ready for bed and next thing I knew Heather (the girl who we subleased from) and a few of her friends came over to paint. Needless to say I felt like a complete loser being in an empty apartment all alone in bed at 10:30pm on a Friday night. It made me realize I need to start making new friends asap.

Saturday morning Erica and I went to meet up with the tenants from the apartment we were moving into. We paid them for a few things they were leaving for us and we got the keys. We were so excited that in less than 24 hours we would have our own place.

Erica decided to call the storage place to let them know we would be moving out the next day. The storage place informed us they don't open until 10:00am on Sundays and we had movers scheduled for 8:00am. Erica finally arranged for the movers to switch their appointment with us and move us at 10:00am, but they had another appointment at 1:00pm so they had to be done quickly. This was obviously fine with us since that meant we didn't have to pay them as much.

Well we realized with such a limited amount of time to move on Sunday, we were going to have to move all of the stuff from out sublease to our new apartment on our own. So around 9:00pm on Saturday night we packed everything up, hailed two mini van taxi's and loaded up all of our stuff and took it to our new place. After throwing all our boxes on the floor, we agreed we deserved a night out in our new neighborhood. We went to a couple different places and decided we are going to love living there.

Since our storage unit was in Long Island City (about a 30 minute subway ride from our new apartment), we had to wake up early. After we were up, we realized we forget to get all of our stuff out of the bathroom at our sublease. I had no face wash, toothbrush or soap. Needless to say I felt gross all day.

As we were getting ready to go to the storage unit, the movers called and told us they were running behind and would meet us at 10:30. Subways always run slower on the weekends and as we wait for our train, 4 uptown trains and 3 downtown trains pass us before we finally see ours.

Upon arriving at the storage unit, we find out the movers in fact don't have a truck, but a van. Immediately we are scared all of our stuff isn't going to fit. They assure us everything will be fine and begin unloading our unit. Two hours later they finally have the truck loaded, but of course not everything fits. Erica has to take a cab with some boxes while I ride with them to let them into the apartment.

They begin to unload all of our stuff in a hurry because they are late for their next appointment. As they are almost done we ask how much we owe them to write the checks. They tell us they don't accept checks, but cash only. Erica and I both have cash on us so we say ok. They told Erica they charged $60/hour. They worked for 3 hours so we were ready to pay them $180.

They began to argue with us saying we owe them more money. They said it would normally take 5 hours to move all of our stuff, but since they were so busy they hurried for us. They wanted us to pay them for 5 hours even though the only worked for 3. They also said since it was the 31st we should pay them more since it was a busy day.

Erica and I argued with them and told them we refused to pay them for time they didn't work, they never told us it would cost more to move today and we could tell they were in a hurry because all the furniture was scratched. Needless to say they weren't pleased and basically started yelling at us. We paid them $200 and told them to get out of our apartment.

After they left Erica and I began to put together our apartment. Our first task was setting up our beds. This was quite comical, but eventually we did it. We worked on our apartment for the rest of the afternoon. We have most of the kitchen and our bedrooms set up, but it doesn't look like it at all. We still have boxes, clothes and random stuff everywhere.

We only have one closet, so trying to find enough room for all of our clothes and to store stuff is proving to be difficult. Once we have everything put up, we are going to see what we need to buy to help with storage and save space.

After moving all day and trying to unpack Erica and I were extremely exhausted. We both passed out at around 10:30 last night. It felt amazing finally being able to sleep in our own beds, room and apartment. I can't wait to post pictures once everything is organized!