Sunday, January 31, 2010


I woke up this morning and decided to do something drastic.

I decided to explore my natural hair color -
and go...~ gasp ~ ...BRUNETTE!

For as long as I can remember, I've been highlighting my hair. I was blonde as a kid - so it made sense. For the past 3 years in NYC I've gone to salon after salon, either paying ridiculous amounts for 3 1/2 hours for a full head of foil or skimping on price and perhaps feeling satisfied, but not for long. First of all, who has the time to go sit in a salon for that long? Second of all, does anyone else's neck feel like it's going to snap mid-procedure?!

So goodbye, blonde, for now. Goodbye, 45 different colors in my hair. Goodbye, upkeep.

And hellooo, dark brown locks!

Perhaps my sudden need for change had something to do with upcoming changes at work. Or perhaps it had something to do with my boyfriend flying out early this morning to play baseball for the next 8 months and wondering how I can even wrap my head around that fact and what it means for us. Perhaps it had something to do with it feeling like the peak of winter all over again.

Perhaps I needed change that I could control. Hair.

Bee tee doubleyou - I highly recommend Rizza Salon in Chelsea. Ask for Jimmy. He'll take care of you.

until next time,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Matters

I could sit here and tell you about how --

Today, I had my yearly review at work and heard great feedback.

or --

Tonight, I spilled an entire box of angel hair pasta on my kitchen floor and I somehow managed to not lose it during the most un-fun game of "pick up stix".

In the grand scheme of things, though, neither of these situations matter one bit. What am I really proud about? What really matters? This.

My 9-year-old nephew, my sister's oldest, has been taking bagpipe lessons from my brother. He's been saving up from birthday money, etc. over the years in a small savings account to buy his own bagpipes one day. He's such a smart little guy - he recently won $50 during a home schoolers' memorization competition. During church this past Sunday, he heard the pastor talk about what was going on in Haiti and how they were going to send an offering this coming week. After church, he went to my sister and gave her his prize money and then told her that he wanted her to take $100 out of his savings to send to Haiti.

He told her, "the pipes can wait".



Me too.

until next time,


Monday, January 18, 2010

Planes, Trains and....Buses.

If you move to New York City as a young man or woman you will soon learn about all of the various forms of transportation. Why? Well if you're like me it's because you have no car.

Since Thanksgiving I've been on 6 planes, 4 trains, 4 buses, a gazillion subways, and in a handful of airport AirTrains and taxi cabs. In my adieu to traveling for a bit and getting back to enjoying my life here in the city, I'd like to give my personal feedback on a few modes of transportation to and from this big ol' apple.


With all the recent security breaches, it's a wonder we don't have to arrive to our terminal looking like this.

While flying is sometimes your only option, it can definitely be a headache with lost luggage, missed connections and stuffing every small liquid container you own into a Ziploc baggie. (For your information, the beautiful & nostalgic snow globe precipitation does constitute as liquid. Ahem.) But, like I said, sometimes it's your only option. If you're flying into NYC, you have the choice of flying into LaGuardia, JFK or Newark, NJ. If I have a lot of luggage I prefer to fly out of LGA because it's the cheapest cab ride from my apartment and office. If I am traveling for a weekend (and I can somehow manage to not pack 5 pairs of shoes), I prefer flying out of either JFK or EWR as I can save $ by taking other transportation and just carrying my bags. Here's the scoop: For JFK, the AirTrain links the Howard Beach A and the Sutphin Boulevard E, J, Z subway stations, and LIRR's Jamaica Station directly to JFK's departure terminals. For EWR, you can take the NJ Transit from Penn Station and then connect to an AirTrain that will take you directly to the airport as well. You can also check out Super Shuttle, something I've been meaning to try, and share a ride to the airport.


Trains, to me, are the way to travel if you're looking for a no-rush leisurely venture. You simply show up 20 minutes before departure and hand someone your ticket. You bring your luggage with you wherever you go, which is fine, as you have ample room to store it...and your legs! You don't have to turn off your phone and you can stand up and walk between cars whenever you want since the conductor is not yelling that the seat belt light is 'on'. I've taken the train from NYC to my parents' home in VA for many holidays. I remember I once completely spaced out at my stop and the conductor not only made sure that I knew we had arrived ("oh right. we're here. heh."), he helped me off the train with all of my luggage and stood with me, tucked out of the pouring rain, while my stepdad brought over an umbrella. He somehow sensed I was worried about getting my suede boots wet. I know, so "girl" of me - but c'mon, talk about service! The one downside is the that you really must set aside a full day for travel if you're going a long distance - but, if you have the time, it's totally worth it.


The great perk about traveling by bus is you can get tickets for as little as $1 if you buy them far enough in advance. Yes, one dollar. "One small fry, one 4-piece chicken nugget...oh, and one bus to New Yawwk, please!" I've taken many of the Chinatown buses to other Northeast locations, a few different buses to DC and I've recently tried out Megabus (a double-decker) for the first time. While riding on the top is a wee nerve-wracking if traveling in snow, the drivers seem to be pretty reliable. One guy told me during an awkward-we're-waiting-in-line-together-chatty moment that the bus companies now have the technology to track the drivers' MPH and they'll get a nice little phone call if they're speeding. I will say there are a few things to remember when traveling by bus. If you're trip is over 2 hours, pack a snack/meal/drink. Sometimes they stop for a break....sometimes they don't. Unfortunately, they don't ask your opinion. You will either be shivering or passing out from heat stroke. Layer. And as during any kind of travel, you will meet some interesting characters. One lady sat next to me and proceeded to call every contact in her cellphone's phonebook and then fell asleep with her head stuffed up inside the sleeve of her puffer coat. Yes.

However you choose to travel, it's always an adventure.

until next time,


Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm Feeling Inspired, Folks.

Perhaps it's time to revisit my childhood dream that I've tucked away for a few months after not making any progress.
I have a framed quote in my kitchen that reads:

"There are a lot of tempting parking spaces on the road to success."

In other words, I need to put my car into drive!

As some of you know, I am hoping to write & illustrate a series of children's books. I've written two stories and I've sent off many manuscripts - so far, no luck.
I think I need to return to the drawing board (pun intended) and get reacquainted with my passion for art. Better said - it's time to doodle! I spend so much of my time assisting my bosses/helping others with their goals and I need to start focusing on my own. Someone hand me my pencil and sketchbook!

In the meantime, I'll share with you some illustrations from one of my favorite authors & illustrators, Babette Cole.

Her drawings make both children and adults smile. Definitely noteworthy.

until next time,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What to do in the USVI

I'd like to share a couple "insider tips" for those of you who are also fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to the US Virgin Islands.

If you stay in St. Thomas and explore the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie, you will soon learn that its main attraction is shopping. The majority of the stores sell jewelry and the owners come off as a bit pushy in their attempt to sell you their merchandise. For the New Yorkers reading this, think Chinatown. Keep in mind, though - with their eagerness comes the ability to bargain.

...but if it all becomes too overwhelming and you realize you're hungry, hop into one of the cabs (yes, those enormous minivan/tank-esque vehicles) and ask them to take you to Tutu Park. You will be whisked off to a secluded circle of colorful huts, one of which is "Jack's" restaurant - an outdoor venue strung with festive & island-y lights and decorations. It's owned by a fellow who's friends with my boyfriend's family. (Take note: order the wings - you won't be disappointed.) Inside one of the surrounding huts you can watch as a candle maker fills empty shells and coconuts with wax. Pretty neat.

Should you venture to St. John, you must visit one of the beautiful white sand beaches. If you're dropped off near a shopping area called Mongoose Junction, the cab drivers will encourage you to go to the main beach called Trunk Bay. Beware: you must take a cab there and you must also pay for entry to be alongside many other tourists. If you're looking for something a bit more secluded, try this:

First, grab lunch in the lovely little deli at Mongoose Junction. You can also rent snorkeling gear nearby. You will see a baseball field on the left and then a hiking trail off to the right. The hike takes about 15-20 minutes. Just follow the signs for Salomon Beach & Honeymoon Beach. (Are you a girly-girl that considers 5 minutes on the stairmaster in an air-conditioned gym "hiking"? You'll be fine. I hiked it in flip flops. And I somehow managed to not fall. And I'm the biggest klutz ever.)'s totally worth it. See below.

Pictured: Salomon Beach. Right around the corner from those rocks is Honeymoon Beach.

Happy travels!

until next time,


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm baaaaack

I've experienced my first sad return to the city. ~Sniffle~

Perhaps it has something to do with where I left.

It's hard to go from seeing something like this every morning...

to something like this.

picture from

My boyfriend and I ventured to St. Thomas for a wedding. Six days and one freckly-tan later, I'm the freezing my sweltering apartment.  My freshly sun-kissed skin is now transitioning from air conditioning and 85-degree weather to an unspeakable frigid wind chill and stifling radiator steam. And my inner child is wondering why it had to sit in front of a computer screen all day instead of getting to play in the ocean.

(And my inner grown-up is wondering "where the hell is my pina colada?!")

Vacations like the one I just had - the serene, calm, slow-paced ones - remind you to press the RESET button on life and take a moment to actually get out there and enjoy it. 

Someone once said that you'll never look back and wished you worked more. 

I've done enough work for one day. For now, I'm off to shake the sand out of my bags and give myself an hour of "vacation" before bed. 

until next time,


Monday, January 4, 2010

No Pants Subway Ride

Hello, readers! Excited for a new decade?

So, it's cold outside.

Let me rephrase that. It's freakin' FREEZING outside.

So what do New Yorkers do? They partake in the annual "No Pants Subway Ride".

That's right. No pants. Here are the details:

When: 1/10/10 at 3pm - 5:30pm
Where: 1 of 5 meeting places - Hoyt Playground in Astoria, Prospect Park in Downtown Brooklyn, Foley Square in Downtown Manhattan, Great Hill in Central Park or Bushwick Park in Williamsburg/Bushwick.
What you need: a backpack and a metro card.
Wear: Normal winter clothes.
Here are the requirements, as listed at

1. Willing to take pants off on subway.

2. Able to keep a straight face about it.

"Everyone should meet at their chosen meeting point at 3 PM. Please be on time. Feel free to be early. At the meeting points, participants will be organized into groups and assigned a specific train car. Once everyone is divided up we will all head to nearby subway station[s]. Do not talk to others once you enter the subway system. No one knows each other. Sit in the car as you normally would. Read a magazine or whatever you would normally do. Your team leader will have already divided you into smaller groups, assigning your group a specific stop where you will depants. As soon as the doors shut at the stop before yours, stand up and take your pants off and put them in your backpack. If you’d like to use a briefcase, purse, grocery bag, or whatever instead of a backpack that’s fine too. If anyone asks you why you’ve removed your pants, tell them that they were “getting uncomfortable” (or something along those lines.) Exit the train at your assigned stop and stand on the platform, pantless. You will wait on the platform for the next train to arrive. Stay in the exact same place on the platform so you enter the next train in the same car as you exited the last train. When you enter, act as you normally would. You do not know any of the other pantless riders. If questioned, tell folks that you “forgot to wear pants” and yes you are “a little cold.” Insist that it is a coincidence that others also forgot their pants. Be nice and friendly and normal. All train routes will converge on Union Square. Your exact route will be explained at the meeting point, and may involve a transfer. You can wear fun underwear if you like, but nothing that screams out, “I wore this because I’m doing a silly stunt.” Wear two pairs of underwear if it makes you feel more comfortable. Don’t wear a thong or anything else that might offend people. Our aim is to make people laugh, not piss them off. Please leave your cameras at home and resist the temptation to snap photos with your iPhone, etc. while the event is happening. Take as many as you like before and after the event, but during the ride we really want people to enjoy the experience of participating rather than documenting. It detracts from the mission if everyone is taking photos of each other rather than keeping a straight face. Don’t worry, we have photographers assigned to every meeting point who will take great photos.
This is always a blast, and we look forward to seeing you there. You may bring along friends if you like, but make sure they get a chance to read all of these instructions."

Watch the No Pants Subway Ride from 2009 here.

I love this city.
until next time,
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