Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coffee Talk Link-Up #20

1. When eating a taco, do you turn your head or do you turn the taco???

I turn my head.  I tilt to acknowledge the majesty of the taco.  And by the way, can I take a moment here to talk to you about Jesus?  Jesus's Taco, one block up from me.  Jesus has totally converted me.  All I can think about are his miraculous shrimp tacos.  Jesus is just all right with me.

2. Chocolate chip cookies or oreos??
Chocolate chip cookies all the way!  Even the crumbly ones.  The only Oreos I really like are Halloween Oreos - something about the orange dye in the filling reminds me of being broke in college but splurging on a pack to cram for a midterm (which I aced!) the morning after an all-night Halloween party which coincided with Daylight Savings Time.  But nothing beats freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies - even if they originated in a plastic tube in the dairy section of your local grocery mart.

3. What's the craziest thing you've ever been asked to do and DID?
Wow, opening Pandora's Box here? 

4. Never have I ever__________________.
Jumped out of a plane, cooked a steak, been to a rock concert, performed in drag, eaten ceviche, had a classic martini, been to a gym, lost or broken my cell phone.

5. Would you rather be broke and happy or rich and sad?

I'm pretty much already broke and happy, and I don't mind it one bit.  I know people who make seven times what I make and some of them are miserable.  I'd like to thank simple pleasures, affordable therapy, and 28 years of life experiencce for teaching me that money can't buy happiness.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Little Letters Link-Up: Dear Facebook Users...

Dear Facebook Users:You are doing this ALL WRONG.  Here are some posts I saw in my feed this morning that I should NEVER see in a facebook feed:

1.  "Ohmigod I can't believe they kissed on last night's episode!  FINALLY!"
Really?  Posting spoilers on facebook?  Shouldn't we all know better by now?

2.  "Two more days....!"Uhhh...two more days until WHAT, you vague asshole?  Two more days until you step in as reigning queen of Genovia?  Then I shall "like" your status.  Two more days until they take your grandmother off the ventilator and she slips from this earth?  Then I'd look like a real prize jerk if I "liked" it, huh?  So unless you're gonna tell us what you're excited about happening in "two more days," maybe you should keep your excitement at your upcoming event AND your counting skills TO YOURSELF.

3.  Long paragraphs about how much you love your children/significant other, musing about how fast the time has gone, all your treasured memories together, how much they have changed your life, blah blah blah.Dude.  It's called a phone.  Put down the facebook and CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND.  She'd probably appreciate you telling her so in person more than your facebook broadcast.  Oh and by the way?  Unless your child is on facebook and literate, they aren't going to be able to appreciate your long-winded rant about how much you cherish them so instead of typing up that two-page rant, go hug your baby and play Chutes and Ladders with them or something.  Invite your beloved girlfriend.  Make it a party.  But please, don't get the internet involved.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Escape the Cold at Fort Xavier!

Winter in New York has taken a turn for the absolutely frigid.  When you start seeing temperatures like these, you start thinking about getting away from it all, perhaps in some exotic vacation spot...

Like the blanket fort I recently built in the living room, which my friend dubbed Fort Xavier, paying tribute to the name of our wireless network:  The Xavier Institute.  Yes, we're dorks.

But warm and happy dorks!!  Behold Fort Xavier with envy!!

the veranda

the front entrance

from the outside...check me out in my awesome penguin pants chillin' on the veranda of Fort Xavier!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Social

I don't normally link up with Sunday Social, but this week's questions caught my eye and sparked my reflective nature.  Even if you don't link up, these are some thought-provoking questions.  I encourage you to submit your ponderings to the link-up with Neely at A Complete Waste of Makeup as well!

What is your ideal way to relax?

Well, I would be sitting at home, either in the living room or, as I am now, stretched out in bed, listening to the sounds around me.  It might sound crazy to some that I enjoy listening to footsteps in the stairwell, screaming babies, and doors slamming shut, but I do.  Among the sounds of musicians practicing, pots and pans clanking during the production of a big meal, and low conversation and laughter.  It makes me feel like part of it all, somehow, being witness to all the lives bustling on around me.

Where is your favorite place to be?

Well, home, obviously.

Who do you consider your biggest role model?

John Lennon, I suppose.  To me, he always seemed to radiate wisdom, calm, and humility.

What does your life look like in 3 years?

I can't even imagine my life three years from now.  Which is fantastic.  Who wants to know what the future has to hold?  I hope to still be living in this apartment - I really do love this apartment, can you tell? - with maybe a few painted walls and a little more artwork hung.  I hope to be healthy.  I would love some insurance, please and thank you.  Other than that, I would love for this, my current state of existence, to continue on for the next three years!

If you could go back and change one decision what would it be?

I'm going to have to be vague here and say I would always choose to love.  I would have been nicer to my parents when growing up.  I would have tried to enjoy things more.  I would have kept my head down less in fear and leaned back more in enjoyment.  I would have chosen to love my life instead of worrying so much about it.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?

Moving to New York City, certainly.  Making a go of it and bringing to life this amazing dream of sitting in my apartment alone and listening to the activity around me - and loving it.

Very Superstitious

My ghost-tourists often ask me, "Do you believe in ghosts?"  I don't like to answer because I encourage them to keep an open mind but I will admit to being fairly superstitious.  Is it even possible to be superstitious and an atheist at the same time?  Please keep an open mind for me.

MONEY     I think many people have this one.  It's pretty straightforward.  If I find money on the ground - from a penny up to $20 - I consider it a harbinger of good luck to come.

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved to read my horoscope.  I don't get super into it (cough, anymore) but if it's around, I'll read it and in spite of myself, gasp and say "Oh that's so true!" 

This one goes with the horoscopes.  Something about the general vagueness of fortune cookies makes them relate-able and universally true.  I save some of my favourite fortunes and even plan to display them in my room.  And besides, if you can't trust a cookie, who can  you trust?

My mom taught me this one:  Whatever you do on New Year's Day is what you'll do all year 'round.  I'm so glad I didn't have to work this year on New Year's Day.  Instead, I tidied up the apartment, took a candlelit bath, ran a few errands, wrote a lot for my blog, and went on a random adventure with friends.  If the superstition is true, then in 2013 I will be prolific in my blogging (so far, so good), take care of myself, keep a neat apartment, and have a lot of fun.

     I don't even know how this one got started, but for some reason, whenever I see a pug walking down the street, I consider it a sign of good luck.  Like the opposite of the cat superstition:  they say if a black cat crosses your path, you will soon have bad luck.  But if a fawn pug crosses your path, it's a sign of good luck to come!  Maybe?  So I think.  It's also possible that seeing a cute pug (or sweaters...!) just puts me in a better mood and I create my own good luck. 

But isn't that really what superstitions are?  Mind over matter?  Alright, I've let you into my weird, superstitious mind.  Leave me a comment with something weird that you're superstitious about.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Peek At... Target in East Harlem

Target here in New York City is not like Target in the rest of the country.  Suburban Target is well-stocked, classy, and clean.  From past experiences in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, I can tell you that this is not the case here.

Then I heard a rumour about a Target in East Harlem that was just as good as suburban Target.  I could hardly believe this could be true!  First of all, East Harlem?  I am strictly a West Harlem girl, thankyouverymuch.  Yet my desire for Target led me to venture up there and discover that, not only are the rumours true, East Harlem Target is Nerd Paradise.
First of all, the toys.  The action figures made up two aisles.  I totally fell in love with this talking Chewbacca.  We had the best conversation.

The board games aisle was so well-stocked!  They had Ticket to Ride, Dixit, and R2D2 Operation.  And not only did they have classic Settlers of Catan and a few expansion packs, check this one out:

Star Trek Settlers of Catan???  Is that not quite possibly the geekiest thing in all of existence?

No, this is:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a 400-pack box of Splenda.  Nerds, do this math with me.  In the rest of Manhattan, a 100-pack box goes for somewhere around $5.99.  This 400-pack box only set me back $12.99, and could possibly last me an entire week.  That's 400% of my regular amount of Splenda packets for only 200% of the price!  Rather, a regular box of Splenda costs 1/2 of what this costs but only gives you 1/4 of the Splenda?  Or something like that.  I wouldn't know.  I'm terrible at math.  I'm not a huge nerd.

But if you are, you should make the trip up to East Harlem to check out this Target.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Learning to Love the Cyborg Within

On the subject of irrational fears, check out this fortune cookie I received the other day:

The thing in us that we fear?  I don't know about you, but the thing I fear most is robots.  Sorry, Rosie.

Yup, robots.  Specifically, very humaniod robots and/or cyborgs and/or artificial intelligence.  Y'know.  Like Cylons.  BTW, major spoiler alert, the last four scenes of the-greatest-TV-series-ever Battlestar Galactica still makes me quake with fear.  Don't watch this unless you want the entire series completely and utterly ruined for you:

Okay, that creepy semi-blinking lady robot gives me total nightmares.  Speaking of nightmares, I have frequent ones in which the people I love turn out to be human cyborgs, set to destroy my life by gaining my trust.  Never mind asking why our future robot overlords have such an interest in my personal life, after all, I am no Gaius Baltar - seriously, why aren't you watching Battlestar Galactica RIGHT NOW??

But until that fortune cookie came into my life, it had never occurred to me that I might be a robot!  What if beneath this squishy exterior beats a metal thrumming, a wired brain waiting for the switch to turn me on and murder the Admiral NO SERIOUSLY!  YOU.  BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.  RIGHT NOW.And so, a shift.  A turning of a corner.  A tinny, angular, 90-degree corner.  A newfound love and respect for robots.  Not necessarily the humanoid ones - get back, Terminator! - but your classic, aluminum retro bots get a by for now.  Love them yourself, if you dare:

But you've been warned, they cannot love you back....


Eeeeeeeeuch.  I am just not ready for that kind of a committment.  Talk about fears!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coffee Talk Link-Up #19

1. Do you drink the milk after eating cereal or do you dump it out?

I don't eat cereal.  It's so gross!  Cereal is like dog food.  Moderately flavourless crunchy meal-food-stuffs.  It's boring and there's nothing good about it.  It is because there's no flavour?  And no, sugary frostedness does NOT count as flavour!

2. Do you share drinks/food?

Oh yeah!  All the time!  Maybe I'm just more comfortable being intimate with strangers but if something tastes good, I'm going to share it.  By the way, don't you hate it when someone tastes something gross and they go "Ew!  Taste this!" and offer it to you?  Like, "Thanks for that, but I'm gonna pass."

3. How often do you replace your toothbrush?

Whenever it occurs to me.  Or when I get bored with the previous one.  Or if they're on sale, or if there's a really pretty one, or if I lost my old one, or if the previous toothbrush fell in the toilet by accident  <--note: span="">  this actually happened once, and it's part of why I'm super paranoid about always keeping the toilet lid closed.

4. How often do you wash your hair?

Every day.  EVERY DAY unless I'm being deliberately disgusting and lazy.  Which is maybe once a week.  MAYBE.  It depends whether I have anywhere to be.  If I leave the house, my hair is clean!  Call me vain, but I refuse to get on the subway with dirty hair.  Maybe it's because of the security cameras.  I don't want there to be any record of me having gross greasy hair out there in the universe.

5. Do you use a dishwasher or do you hand wash your dishes?

You're not going to believe me, but dishwashers are like, illegal in New York City.  Every apartment I know of, there's a stipulation in the lease barring the installation of a dishwasher.  So I hand wash my dishes and have for years now.  Sometimes I even splurge on the pink Dawn detergent that makes your hands soft and smell nice!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Little Letters Link-Up

Dear New York City,
Sorry you're so frigid.
I still love you.
Be my Valentine?

Dear Wednesday,
I love how you're my Friday.

Dear Whole Foods,
Stop looking at me with those eyes.
I only came in here because you're the only place that sells Clementines at 10:30pm on a weekday.
I'm not going to buy anything else.
Except maybe some kimchi.

Dear Jackie's mom,
Your kimchi is better than Whole Foods's.
Mail me some, please?

Get Creative!

This.  THIS.  Is my favourite YouTube video of all time.  I dare you to watch it to the very end.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Peek At... Tom's Restaurant

"What's the deal with Tom's Restaurant?"

I'll tell you.

First of all, you may recognize the outside of Tom's Restaurant as being the exterior shot used for the diner oft-visited by Jerry, Kramer, Elaine, and George in a little TV show they call Seinfeld.

Secondly, this little Morningside Heights gem was immortalized in song by Suzanne Vega in 1987, in a little ditty called "Tom's Diner."

And by the way, Mr. 44th President of the United States Barack Obama frequently visited Tom's Restaurant in the 80's while studying at nearby Columbia University.

And if those aren't enough reasons to visit, there's a sign outside advertizing giant (22oz) milkshakes.  GIANT MILKSHAKES!

Speaking of giant, the food is awesome and enormous.  My cohort and I both ordered burgers - mine veggie, his with fried egg and cheese - which came with a heaping side of shoestring fries and GIANT PICKLES.  Seriously, GIANT PICKLES.  My cohort deemed it too much food.  Yours truly devoured everything on her plate. 

And to wash it down, what else does one order at a classic New York diner but another New York classic - a chocolate egg cream!

Yes, chocolate egg cream.  Not entirely sure what it is (haven't I provided you with enough trivia for today?), except that it doesn't actually have egg in it, and it's delicious.  Classic.  And legendary.

Hey, kind of like Tom's Restaurant.

Tom's Restaurant
2880 Broadway (at 112th Street)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pin Win: T-Shirt Drawer Overhaul

It is known that I have not had the best relationship with Pinterest "life hacks."  You know, those tips that look oh-so-easy on Pinterest and work for soooo many Pinners and have cute graphics and fonts and an adorable hipster chick with winged eyeliner and a topknot smiling through the photo tutorial?

Those are mostly total bullshit.

I swear, there is a Pinterest conspiracy ring out there putting fake tips on Pinterest just to see what crazy crap they can get normal human beings to do.  Put rubber bands around eggsSoak our laundry in salt waterMake everything ombre.  I like to take Pinterest's advice with a grain of salt...water...with a t-shirt in it.

But this pin caught my attention and persuaded me to dump all my shirts out onto my bed for a drawer overhaul:

And guess what, guys.  It totally worked.

It's super easy to fold your shirts this way.  I fit one and a half drawers' worth of shirts into 7/8ths of a single drawer. 

You really can see all your shirts.  Your drawer will look amazing.  It's worth the half hour it takes, and it will change your life.Or so Pinterest claims.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Share the Liebs

The sweet, awesome, and awesomely sweet Eeka at Live.Love.Random nominated me for the Liebster Award this past week, and in accordance with the rules, I now must share some liebs - er, love - with fellow bloggers!

But first, questions must be answered:

1. What is your favorite vacation spot & why?

I already live in the greatest city on Earth!  But when I deign to leave the island Manhattan, I love going to Buffalo to visit my family and enjoy a complete change of pace, or to the quiet artsy haven of Owego, New York.

2. In what era would you love to live in & why?

I wish I could go back to the '60s and '70s in American history.  The music, the clothes, and the revolutionary spirit all jive really well with my personality.  Mostly the music, though!

3. You have three wishes...go! (only unlimited wishing.)

Okay, I would wish to own an apartment in a brownstone on Perry Street in Greenwich Village.  After that, I would wish for B-level celebrity status.  And then, I will wish for clear skin.  Ta-da!

4. If you could change you home to be "you" and money wasn't an option, what would you change?

I want to paint some bright, bold accent walls.  Red behind the sofa in the living room, maybe a bright gold with some texture in the hallway.  I want to hang my blue guitar on my bedroom wall, and maybe add a tapestry of the zodiac in bright gold and red.

5. What is your favorite home cooked meal & why?

This is not a cop-out, I genuinely love my home-cooked pasta salad.  Simple as it may be, it's greatly satisfying.  I invented it myself when I was in deep sorrow, and it's become my own comfort food:  cheap and easy enough to have all the time and a bit therapeutic to assemble.

6. If you could be a magical creature, what would you be?

I would be a Time Lord!  Two hearts, long life, and regeneration sounds pretty awesome, too.

7. Purple monkeys eat rotten coconuts, in rainbow tutus because.....

...Lady Gaga sold them to the Cylons during the Revolutionary War.

8. You have 24 hours to live, who are you with and what are your plans for the next 23 hours?

I would wander all over Manhattan, not sleeping, eating cupcakes, dancing in the street.  Probably by myself, listening to music.  I would walk my entire beloved island alone, as it should be, until I dropped dead in the gutter, in my favourite outfit, sugar high and starry-eyed.

9. What is your favorite cupcake flavor?

I'm torn here between the peanut butter cupcakes we sell at work, or Sprinkles Cupcakes' salted caramel cupcakes!  Don't get me started on cupcakes, though - SO good!

10. What is your most favorite birthday memory?

On my 25th birthday, I took an epic walk from the East Village up to Times Square to ring in my 25th year amid the lights and the hustle and bustle.  Standing in the haze of neon, middle of the night but bright as day, is one of my fondest memories, period.

11. Where would you love to live when you're retired & why?

I and my clear skin shall reside semi-famously down on Perry Street.

Now, as is described in the rules, I must tag some fellow bloggers.  However, many of my prospective tag-ees have already won the award, so I'd just like to say some nice words about some nice bloggers.

Follow back Eeka at Live.Love.Random for her sweetness and unfailing honesty.  She also has great hair and outfit posts.  Michael at Crazy Tragic Almost Magic has come so far as a blogger in the past year and just took some amazing photos and could absolutely be a model, as far as I'm concerned.  Rachele at The Nearsighted Owl is sexy and brash and writes so well, I eagerly await each new post.  Check out their blogs and throw them a follow, if you please.  They deserve some liebs!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

True Life: I'm Becoming a Narwhal

Let's play an awesome game.  It's called,
What Is Eating Me Alive???

Is it:

1.  A spider

2.  Mosquitos

3.  Fleas

4.  Mysterious blood-sucking fruit flies?

Or is it possible that I'm merely sprouting a magical horn from my forehead that, when ground into a poultice, will cure diseases?

And the questions just keep coming.

What does one put onto bug bites to make them disappear immediately?
And most importantly of all, can I pull off this bangs-to-the-side look?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Always Bring Your Own Bags to Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's has the greatest stuff.  Succulent baked tofu.  Delectable peanut butter salted caramel truffles.  And adorable hipster cashiers.

I stopped in there last week for some groceries and that's it, I swear.  The cashier-director directed me towards a tall, lithe, curly-moppped cashier with glasses.  Swoon.

I placed my groceries on the register and pulled out my neon-yellow reusable shopping bag.

"Oh, you brought your own bag!"  the cashier cutie mused. 

Seeing this as an opportunity, I launched into my flirtation.

"Oh yeah.  Reuse a bag, save a tree!  I love trees!  They give us oxygen and slapstick comedy."

"Alright, total is $12.96.  Swipe your card now if you please..."

"I think I shall, if I thank you..."  HEY!  I said I was flirting, I didn't say I was good at it!

Or maybe I'm better than you think...

"Okay, can I get your name and phone number?"  the cashier casually crowed.


"Okay! Meghan, M-E-G-H-A-N, 555-555-5555...!"

"Great!"  my checkout hunk chirped.  "Now you're entered into the Bring Your Own Bag raffle!"

"...Great!"  I grabbed my groceries, and headed out, awkwardly.

So I may have lost the guy....

....but word is still out on that raffle.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coffee Talk Link-Up: Music Edition

1. Compile your best music mix tape!
I don't know if this is my "best," but I found it in my Grooveshark files and just rediscovered it.  Ta-da!  I love random music!

2. Biggie or 2Pac?

I have no opinion, either way!

3. Best music video ever made.

4. Put together your best outfit of your favorite singer/band in
Rock and Roll outfit

I tried to go for something a little Leather Tuscadero, a little The Runaways, and maybe a little Lady Gaga. 

5. What music is your guilty pleasure?

All of my music is awesome, and I refuse to feel guilty about singing along aloud in Westside Market when Barry Manilow's "Mandy" comes over the speakers.

6. Quote your favorite lyric from a song.My favourite song is "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed, and the lyrics "You're going to reap just what you sow" are always important to remember.

Linking up with Natalie at 23SEVENTEEN!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lou Reed on How Not To Suck

Ladies and Gentlemen, my favourite song of all time:

Are you swaying in your seat?

Remember:  You're going to reap just what you sow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On the Bright Side, There's Always the Dark Side

If anyone has yet to see it, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is the funniest undiscovered* TV show available on Netflix for Instant Streaming. 

The show combines outrageous humour (presumably this much raunch is totally allowed in Canada) with quick dialogue.  If Season One of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was an over-the-top campy comedy.  Or if Clone High was a horror series.  There isn't a single weak link in the cast!  And speaking of the cast.  Jason Mewes.  Oh yes.  Jason "One Half of Jay and Silent Bob" Mewes.

Do yourself a favour.  Take a day.  Marathon this show.  Twenty six 21-minute episodes long, that's a solid day of hilarity and gore!  The laughter is even more contagious than German Herpes!

* unless you've already discovered it, in which case you're more awesome than me!

Monday, January 14, 2013

You'll Never Walk Alone...Unless You're Into That Sort Of Thing

My hobby of taking long walks by myself has brought me to some serious realizations.

Firstly, that walking helps me clear my mind.  Much like the shower, or washing the dishes, I can think most clearly when taking long walks.  By myself, with music ringing through my headphones, even while texting.  I am utterly brilliant.  Still working on being able to "walk and chew gum at the same time," though.

Secondly, I see the most amazing things while walking alone.  Or perhaps I just appreciate normal things more.  A haunting smell in the air, the glow of lights, the beauty of the world around me.  The poetry in everything is easier for me to observe when I'm alone.

And lastly, I like being alone.  I really do.  I don't have to worry about pleasing anyone, so the possibilities are endless.  Like the day before Christmas, when the above photo was taken.  I could go into any shop, turn down any street, even take myself out for coffee.  I could take a train, a bus, or keep walking and keep feeling limitless.

It reminded me of one of my favourite scenes from Sex and the City:

Thing is, I actually like this old lady.  I want to be this old lady.  At the counter, with my ice cream, wearing a ridiculous hat.  The idea kind of thrills me.  Of being one of those fabulous, chic old ladies who swaddle themselves in bizarre outfits, take to the streets, and strut through Manhattan like they own the place, all on their own like they couldn't give less of a damn.

That is my dream.  That is my destiny.  And I think that may even be my reality:

I mean, I do have a way with a ridiculous hat.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The 70's on Sunday

If I had a time machine, I might choose any period in time to travel to - but I might travel back to the time of the 70's on Sunday.

You may have misunderstood.  The 70's on Sunday was a weekly day-long radio show on the local oldies station where all the songs played that day were from the 70's.  Stadium rock, disco, singer/songwriter standards.  Say what you like about your favourite era, but the 70's probably has it beat, musically speaking.

Sundays in my childhood were always scored to the mellow, bright, dulcet tones of the 70's on Sunday coming through the old, grey, kitchen radio.  Or the alarm clock radio in my bedroom.  Or the big tape deck/turntable stereo in the den, that hulking piece of machinery I never fully comprehended.  School projects, sundry craft projects, Odyssey of the Mind meetings, or just lazy days not doing anything at all.  It seems only fitting that such an innocent time in my life should correspond in my memory with the optimistic innocence of the songs coming through those low-tech plastic speakers.

The 70's on Sunday ceased to exist many years ago, just like the 70's themselves.  And I no longer spend lazy days at home glued to the radio, letting little melodic memories bob to the surface.  But occasionally, a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song will play and I'll find myself wistful for the cozy comfort of my childhood home, and for a simpler time...the 70's on Sunday.

Go ahead, enjoy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Peek At... East Village NYC

When someone says "East Village" to me, the first thing that springs to mind is the musical Rent.  I seldom associate my favourite haunts with being in the "East Village."  But apparently, after spending the day down there, that is just what it is!

See, I had this elaborate day planned out. 
It would involve three lunches, two desserts, four shoppes
and a stroll through some of the coolest streets in Manhattan. 

For starters, a shared small mac n' cheese at S'MAC, a favourite of mine for over three years.  Located on 12th street between 1st and 2nd, it's impossible to forget the address and once you've tasted the food, it's impossible to forget the restaurant, either!  One of the things I love is that most of the menu is vegetarian.  It's made fresh, piping hot (so watch you don't burn your tongue!), and always inventive.  I'm eternally torn between ordering the Parisienne with it's fresh figs, the La Mancha with the crunchy caraway seeds, and usually settle for the Masala - a spicy Indian flair mac n'cheese.  Whichever you choose, try it with Gulden's Brown Mustard and consider yourself forever changed!

Our second lunch was at The Dumpling Man.  At 100 St. Marks Place, I've been dragging friends all the way to the East side for the best dumplings in the world for over five years.  My lunch partner had never had dumplings - imagine!  What is that all about?  Dumpling Man dumplings are the best - thin dough pockets in bright pastels colours stuffed over-full of amazing delicious and multi-layered fillings.  Never underestimate the amount of flavour inside - Dumpling Man proves that good things often come in tiny packages!

Across from The Dumpling Man is the sweetly chic Macaron Parlour.  Having tried macarons for the first time ever in Paris, I can say that these may be the best in the world.  The lemon flavour was light and tart, the pecan pie rich and crunchy, and the Elvis-inspired peanut butter and banana macaron may be my favourite!  It's nearly impossible to chose just one - so we bought a dozen for later.

On the walk to the next lunch stop, we headed to St. Marks Place to stop in at a few stores:  the punk clothing store Search & Destroy, the overwhelmingly amazing St. Mark's Comics, and the gamer paradise 8-Bit & Up (pictured above).

Here's a cool fact about me:  I am terrified of robots.  Androids, mostly.  You know, things that look like humans but are mechanical?  I'm starting to warm up to cute metal robots like R2D2 and Daleks, but Zoltar the Fortune Teller totally freaks me out!

Having worked up an appetite once more, freaking out over Zoltar, we headed to Pommes Frites.  I've been here so many times, I've nearly tried all the sauces!  Pommes Frites makes amazing, salty, deep-fried Belgian frites and serves them with any of a vast number of dipping sauces, many mayonnaise-based.  Mmm, mayonnaise!  Pommes Frites always merits a return visit.  So I come nearly every time I'm down in the East Village.

I hope you still have room for dessert, because I always have to visit The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop when I'm East of 3rd Avenue.  Their trademark Salty Pimp cone is utter perfection, made by hand with such care.  Big enough to share, if you've already eaten almost everything in the East Village, but trust me, you won't want to.  They offer exotic toppings, boozy ice cream sandwiches, and even Mexican Coke!  Everything in the shop is delicious and inventive and friendly and delicious. 

The East Village emanates a cool, hip vibe.  Now that CBGB is gone, and many of the old shops have been converted to Ramen houses or 7-11's, you have to go even further east to explore the native culture.  The Joe Strummer memorial mural on the southeast corner of 7th Street and Avenue A pays homage to the co-founder of The Clash, arguably one of the best punk bands of all time.  While enjoying your ice cream cone, stop by and pay tribute.

Though it used to be crammed next door to Pommes Frites, legendary toy store Toy Tokyo has found a new home a few blocks south where they can spread out and show off all their plastic glory.  Still on 2nd Avenue, now between 5th and 6th streets, Toy Tokyo is nerd paradise.  This was probably the greatest stop of the day.  Blind box art toys, Doctor Who paraphenalia, and basically every other awesome pop culture toy imaginable.  Inner children will go wild at their collection of Star Wars, Godzilla, and Nickelodeon merchandise. 

Speaking of blind boxes, they're a new discovery of mine that may prove an addiction.  You buy a box not knowing what's inside and it's like Christmas.  It's sort of a rush, actually.  This was the total amount of blind boxes that were purchased that day, which were opened all at once while eating macarons.

What will the next East Village adventure hold?  Perhaps another tattoo, a new restaurant, more surprises?  Who can say.  But I may say that, after today, the East Village has become my new favourite neighborhood in Manhattan!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Coffee Talk with 23seventeen!

I can't resist a link-up.  Or coffee, for that matter.  So it was doubtful that I could resist the Coffee Talk Link-Up with Natalie at 23seventeen!

1. Would you rather have a pen pal or an email pal?

Email is soo much better.  I would love an email pal.  I practically have email pals - my best friend I've known for more than half my life I've only met in person once and we text almost every day.

2. What are you wearing at this exact moment?

Striped knee socks, light blue fleece pants with ambivalent penguins on them.  An emerald green v-neck T-shirt from work, three sizes too big.  And a "stolen" heather grey hoodie with Hello Kitty and a cupcake on it.

3. When you are sick, how do you handle it?

Well, I don't get sick.  If I get caught in the rain, I take Airborne.  If I feel sniffly, I take NyQuil.  I haven't gotten sick this season - YET! - and don't plan on it, either.

4. I am

looking forward to getting my next tattoo...I think I have a shop picked out!  I fell in love with their work on a recent walk and it's all I can think about!

5. Movie you are excited to see this year????

I don't know of any movies coming out - I haven't seen a movie in theatres since The Watch, which I saw because of Richard Ayoade.  I'd rather watch something wacky on the Netflix, or an old favourite, or go for a walk!  Do you know how expensive movies are here in New York City?!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One in a Million

On any given day, there are literally millions of people walking the streets of New York City at any given time.

Probably hundreds of them are walking Pomeranians.

Waiting at the light to cross Madison at 59th Street just a little past 5:00pm, I spotted one such Pomeranian.  On this given day, I felt a yen to pet him.  Making silent eye contact with his owner, I gestured to the pup, who permitted me to pet him.

Then, his owner, a well-dressed lady, began speaking to me.  I pulled my earbud out of my right ear and asked her to repeat herself.

"Aren't you the girl who does the ghost tours?"

I had been recognized.

"I remembered your sweet face, but I'm sorry I can't remember your name!"

I reintroduced myself and she told me what a wonderful time she'd had on my tour, and that she planned to come and visit again.

The odds of running into someone you know on the streets of New York City on any given day can sometimes feel like one in a million.  But when it happens, you can sometimes feel in a million.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hot Wintry Striptease

I made this video to show you guys how many layers I'm wearing every day now.  It was made after a nine-hour shift, at 11:00pm, and I mistakenly call a thermal shirt a "hoodie" because I'm really tired, but I hope you appreciate my classy stripper singing.  Think of this as the lamest burlesque act you will ever see.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

First Time with IV, V, VI

One of my unofficial New Year's Resolutions is to try new things.  I already try everything I can - I'm always down to visit a new restaurant, try a new food, shake up my routine a little.  But there have been some things that, over the years, I just have never done.  And the time has come to correct this.

FOR INSTANCE, in my 28.5 years as a human being, I had heretofore never seen the Star Wars trilogy.

I know.  Shame!  I felt like a total fraud at ComicCon.  I came very close to seeing it several times, but it just never happened for me until just recently and YOU GUYS.  I just wanna watch it over and over again!

My favourite movie was Return of the Jedi.  I believe I can defend this thesis with several good (spoiler) bits of evidence:

1.  Han is totally sensitive.  Where he used to be all cocky and winky, he shows a softer side when Leia gets injured and offers to bow out of the way to allow her to pursue her affections for Luke.  Aww.

2.  Luke is way more badass!  In the first two, he's all "Wah wah, I can't save the galaxy!  I'll never finish Jedi training!  This is too hard!  Wah wah!".  However, in Return of the Jedi, he dons a slick outfit (seriously, the outfit ALONE makes it better) and is all "Hey, I'm a Jedi, you WILL do what I say!"  Gotta say, that's a change for the better.

3.  YOU GUYS, Ewoks are NOT THAT AWFUL.  There is so much Ewok hate out there, and just based on their role in this movie alone, I don't understand it.  They're fairly cute AND they help take on the Empire.  WHY U NO LIKE EWOKS, INTERNET?

4.  Leia is awesome.  I was worried about the whole "gold bikini" thing making her a victim but what does she do in that gold bikini?  She strangles Jabba to death.  Not only that, but I adored the bomb-toting bounty hunter ploy.  HOW AWESOME!?

5.  Darth Vader is a good guy in the end!  He saves Luke's life and then everyone wins and the Empire is defeated and yayyyyy!  I love when bad guys save the day - Severus Snape anyone? - because bad guys are fun, and when they go good, you feel justified in being able to say that they were really your favourites all along.

HOW ABOUT YOU?  HAVE YOU ALL SEEN STAR WARS?  Just when were you gonna let me borrow your DVDs, huh?  Too late for that.  But you can drop me a comment and tell me:

1.  Which of the three was YOUR favourite:  A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi

2.  Is it worth seeing the prequels?  Seriously, I wanna know.  Are they good?  Or will it ruin the originals?

3.  Do you think the rumors are true, and Disney will make three more movies?  Are you excited?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mani Mondays: Discount Disco

So the other day at work, my friend who always has the best makeup was showing off her super glittery silver Nails Inc nailpolish.

Two days later, I found the look for less at Duane Reade:

Sinful Colors' "Queen of Beauty"

Disco ball nails and money left over to pay the cover fee to get into the disco?  You know it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Please, please, please.  If it's snowing wherever you are, please post photos on your blog.

Here in NYC it has been bitterly cold, with zero snow.  I am in snow withdrawal.  I hail from the land of Too Many Snow Days, and have seen barely a flake this year.

Last Sunday, however, Central Park had a lovely dusting of snow on it and it almost felt like winter.  The paths were crusted with black ice, so I couldn't walk through, but stood on the outside taking photographs of this surreal scene as though it were a diorama at the American Museum of Natural History:

So come on, snow!  Bring it on!  I've got water resistant boots, wool socks, mittens, and hot cocoa.  If I'm gonna freeze my face off, at least I should be able to look through my frozen booger-crusted face at some pretty white powder.  I think that's only fair.

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