Now I Know, New York.

Everything is scary until you do it.
New York is kind of a scary concept. Millions of people in a small amount of space. Crowded streets, crowded buildings, crowded subways. There isn’t crime around every corner waiting for you. But you do need to pay attention to your surroundings. The sheer number of people means there will be more poverty and homelessness, dirtier streets, more germs. It also means there will be loud, opinionated people. Or sometimes there will be loud, mentally unstable people sitting next to you on the Subway talking to themselves or yelling “You’re all going to wish you were dead!” at you and a friend in the street (yes, that actually happened).
There are a lot of unsettling things about New York. But, having just left, I can say I felt an overwhelming sense of security and like I was truly at home in New York.

Central Park

This summer, I did something I’d always wanted to do. A friend of mine asked me if I had known about my internship before I decided I wanted to live in the city. Basically, what came first: my job or the city? And my answer was the city. The city always came first. If anyone ever asked where I wanted to live most or where I wanted to visit, that was the first place to come to mind. I was just too afraid to really ever do it or say I was going to do it. Personally, I thank God for the courage and good timing to do it.

When I came to New York in middle school with my mom and a friend, I really saw it through rose-colored glasses. This idealistic view of the city continued as I grew up and obsessively watched Sex and the City and Gossip Girl. I viewed NYC as this glamorous oasis with constant excitement, lights, fame, love, beauty and opportunity. And that is absolutely part of the multi-layered cake that is New York. But only part.
Now I know so much more about this place than I ever did.

Now I know Times Square is not the coolest part of the city and it’s actually a death trap full of tourists and guys with comedy show tickets waiting to rip you off.

Now I know that the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and 5th Avenue are beautiful, clean, and well-deservedly famous but some of the coolest, most chic people and places in the city can be found in SoHo, the West Village and Chelsea. That goes for the most expensive apartments too.

My favorite street in SoHo
My favorite street in SoHo

Now I know that having a rooftop with a view is an unbeatable perk to look for, whether in an apartment, club or a restaurant. But I also know it’s impressive to find an apartment with a dishwasher and laundry in the building.

Now I know the other boroughs have tons to offer, you just have to be willing to look.

Now I know that, yes, there are 1.5 million Starbucks in Manhattan but to find the best coffee, you have to go looking. And coffee is always necessary. Always.

Now I know that you fold your pizza when you eat it. That’s really the only way to do it.

Now I know that black and white never go out of style. If you ever want to push your fashion boundaries there is no better place than New York to try.

Now I know that New York has some of the best bakeries and desserts you’ll ever find. Items like the Cronut and the Cookie Shot at Dominique Ansel’s are truly an experience just to get your hands on. But sometimes all you need is a classic black and white cookie, a dessert that I now know New York loves.

The Cronut
The Cronut

Now I know that anywhere unlimited sushi and sake is offered is guaranteed to be two things: 1) loud and 2) incredibly fun.

Now I know that you don’t really have to wait for a walk sign to cross the street. In fact, doing that is kind of weird.

Now I know that it might be worth looking like a weird newbie checking the street before you walk in order to not be pummeled by the bikers that fly by without stopping for pedestrians.

Now I know that you should never really feel lost in New York because no matter where you are, there’s something incredible to see and someone else equally lost to see it with.

Wings

Now I know that people don’t talk on the Subway. Ever.

Now I know that making a plan is overrated. I spent more days than not just wandering around my favorite neighborhoods with no specific destination in mind and that is when I enjoyed myself the most and when I found the coolest spots.

Now I know that the best things come when you’re least expecting it or looking for it. Seeing celebrities, for example, always happened at the most random times in the most random places. New York will always surprise you.

Now I know that if I made it in New York starting from scratch, I really can make it anywhere (Jay Z knew what he was talking about). New York challenges you and pushes you to be tougher and ready for anything.

Street Art 2

Now I know that if you don’t know what to do after college and you find yourself getting an internship offer in New York City and you see no possible way it could work out and you don’t really know what you’ll do after, there is only one thing you should do: make it work. Don’t even think twice.

Now I know that everything is scary until you do it. Then it’s just part of life you’ll look back on and always love that you did it.

A friend I met in New York shared a quote with me that I think perfectly describes the effect the city has on its explorers: “Once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.” – John Steinbeck 

Now I know.

Brooklyn Bridge

“I’m from Arkansas.” “Oh, where is that again?”

“I’m from Arkansas.”

“Oh, wow! That must be quite the change.”

“This must be like night and day.”

“Oh, isn’t that by Florida?”

and my personal favorite “Do you guys, like..go out there?”

Any variation of this tends to be the very first comment I hear from someone I meet here in New York. And of course the sentiments about how different it is are true. It is different…But really? The “do you guys go out?” part. I mean, come on, we’re not that weird, I promise.

I’ve lived in NYC for two and a half months now and have learned some valuable things about how it differs from my home state and, more importantly, how it’s really pretty similar.

1) The most obvious difference: prices. Anything and everything is more expensive here. One random exception I’ve noticed is that you can find super cheap manicures and pedicures. I’m assuming those are just sketchy nail salons but I’ve seen a lot of them. Other than that, you have to be prepared to spend more money than you would pretty much anywhere else. Hair cuts are more expensive, clothes are more expensive, food is way more expensive (but so worth it). Oh and renting an apartment? Absolutely ridiculous.

Afford NY

2) The dogs. A lot of NY apartments aren’t big enough for a decent sized living area (Exhibit A: my apartment), much less big enough for a large dog. The dogs here tend to be tiny and adorable, just how I like them. I’ve noticed a lot of french bulldogs, pugs, yorkies and cocker spaniels. Plus, maybe it’s the dirty streets or maybe just because New York dogs are more fashionable than most humans other places, but a lot of dogs I’ve seen have been wearing tiny little boots. Come on…it can’t get cuter than a pug in boots.

3) Brunch. Brunch is a dearly loved event in the city. I know people everywhere eat brunch but it isn’t just a meal in New York, it’s a social-event craze like no other. Brunch is pretty much code for a recover-from-last-night-and-stuff-your-face ritual. It isn’t right unless it’s “bottomless” – unlimited food and mimosas. Pretty much every established restaurant or cafe in the city comes equipped with a brunch deal where you can get an entree, coffee and a mimosa (or other drink) for a set price. A couple of my favorite brunch spots so far: #1) East End Kitchen in the UES, where Charles and I enjoyed a brunch pizza, delicious French toast and drinks for a great price and #2) Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village, where you can get coffee + an entree + bread/croissant + mimosa for $22.

Brunch1 Brunch2

4) Energy. There’s a reason they call it the city that never sleeps. There’s a certain energy to New York that is contagious, exciting and very unique. And, in general, you just get less sleep if you’re a 20-something in NYC. Unlike Dickson Street in Fayetteville, where going out at 11:30 is considered late, 11:30 here is early. Most clubs don’t even open until 11 and it doesn’t get really going until at least 1 in the morning. New Yorkers do more after midnight than most people do in their entire day. Thankfully, my roommates in NYC broke me of my habit of going out at 10 PM. Thank goodness for them.

Energy

5) Viewpoints. This may be another pretty obvious difference but it’s importance is pretty big to me. I’ve heard a lot of differing, even totally new, viewpoints on topics while I’ve been here. The three interns I worked with this summer were from Connecticut, California and Minnesota originally, which means we’re spread out all over the map and have all had the chance to hear and share different opinions on things. I’ve loved being able to hear different, unique opinions and reasons backing them up. It’s a great way to consider new perspectives and grow.

6) Public bathrooms. Just no. They don’t exist. I’ve seen maybe one the entire time I’ve been here and it was in Central Park. If you’re anywhere else that doesn’t have a Starbucks close by, you’re kind of out of luck in terms of using the bathroom.

But enough about what makes us different. Despite what some people seem to think, NY and AR do share some qualities.

1) Well, for one, the hospitality. This one surprised me and will probably surprise others but I mean it 100%. Everyone warns you to prepare for a huge difference from the “southern hospitality” you’re used to, where people go out of their way to be nice to you and help you. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve really not noticed this extreme difference everyone stresses. People have offered directions, offered information about good restaurants and bars, and a random person stopped me on the street to tell me about free kayaking in the city because she heard me talking about it with a friend.

So, no, I’ve not felt this giant gap between New York and Arkansas and how kind people are. In fact, I’ve noticed such a big heart in New Yorkers, full of love for others and, especially, a love for New York.

I think the key difference here comes in the pace of the city and the time at which you meet people. It takes some getting used to always being in a rush or getting pushed by people who are (like when you’re trying to get on or off a Subway train). While some take this fast-paced mindset as a sign of unfriendliness, it is really just something you have to expect in a small area with so many people trying to get things done and go about their everyday lives. There is nothing really “mean” about it. Sure, people in NY can be somewhat more impatient than those in the south, but there are lots of places to be and people to see…so sometimes you just have to hurry up on the sidewalk so everyone can make it where they’re going.

IMG_7661

2) Family. People wonder what it would be like to raise a family in a place like New York. Although it’s hard to imagine being a parent in a place so crazy and busy, I can see from my short time here that New Yorkers place just as much importance on family. Maybe kids grow up to be have tougher skin and be a little more street smart (like learning not to approach strange looking people earlier on and learning how to navigate the Subway instead of learning how to drive a car). But, when it all comes down to it, you’ll still see quiet neighborhoods that are more family-oriented and tons of families fill up Central Park and other parks all over the city on the weekends.

I think recognizing these similarities is so important and really shows us the need for us to see what we have in common with people everywhere. That’s much more important than what makes us different. It allows us to relate, to form relationships, to learn from one another and to grow. If you need more evidence of this commonality I’m talking about, follow Humans of New York on Facebook or Instagram. There’s a reason each post about a person resonates so loudly with people from all over –  not just people from New York. There is a universal humanity that links us and gives us so much more to work with than all of our differences combined.

This is evidenced even more in the fact that New York is so incredibly diverse, with inhabits from every country you can imagine. Even with this diversity, the city retains this characteristic, iconic personality that makes it famous. Why? Because the similarities between all these people do more for this city than the differences.

“Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion.” – E.B. White (1949).

 

Apps That Can Save You 2 Precious Things: Time and Money

Dollar Shave Club recently asked me to write about different ways to “shave time and money”, something that I honestly paid no attention to until I graduated from college and realized my life kind of depends on it. It seems like I can never have quite enough time or money. Or if I do, I decide it to blow it all on something unnecessary, like binge-watching Netflix instead of using my time for something productive (but we’re all guilty of that, aren’t we?).

But don’t worry. If you’re like me and aren’t naturally inclined toward saving money or making the most of your time, you’re in luck. Interning at a start-up surrounded by other start-ups and apps has taught me that there are tons of apps out there I didn’t know about and most of them are, in fact, meant to save you time and money. Poor post-grads and young professionals of the world, it’s time to use these apps to our benefit. If you learn to save time here and there throughout the day, that leaves you with extra time at night to watch House of Cards or Game of Thrones. Or extra money to treat yourself to Chipotle for lunch. Or both if you’re really lucky.


Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 10.58.27 PMUber

If you live in a city where Uber has already taken off, you’ll know exactly why it’s on this list. If you don’t, just wait. You can use Uber to get a ride basically anywhere in your city using your phone. You connect your credit card to your account on the app, meaning you never have to pull out cash or worry about how to pay. The best part: if you live in NYC, using Uber instead of a regular taxi will actually save you money. That’s right. As of July 2014, Uber X (the low-fare Uber option) is cheaper than taking an NYC taxi. You can also get free rides on the app by getting your friends to use it. Next time you’re out at 2 a.m. trying to figure out how much your cab will cost (or how long it will take to find a cab at all), take Uber and rest easy knowing you saved some time and cash getting home.Venmo Logo

Venmo

Never again will you have to waste 20 minutes figuring out how to split a check between 10 friends at your favorite happy hour restaurant. Venmo allows you to pay your friends with the click of a button. Users connect their debit and credit cards and add friends on the app, allowing them to easily pay someone back. This can save you tons of time and stress. Plus, it’s totally safe, don’t worry.

Key Ring

Key Ring

You know all those plastic loyalty cards you use to get discounts or rewards at stores? Key Ring keeps you from having to pull out your key chain each time and shuffle through your membership and loyalty cards. You scan the barcodes from your cards and then can use that scanned barcode when you make a purchase in-store. But it doesn’t end there. Key Ring also has a database of coupons from tons of brands so you can save money and find good deals too. Win win! Waze

Waze

Your rush hour traffic nightmares are finally over! With Waze, drivers in your area share information about traffic and road conditions in real-time. A map with different symbols tells you what to expect ahead of you on your route home or leaving town. It can tell you if there is bad traffic, an accident or even a police trap. But we all know what we really want to save when it comes to driving – gas money. And Waze helps there too. You can also use the app to find the cheapest gas station on your route. Time to drive happy!

Mint

Mint

This one is essential to managing (and saving) your money. Mint is a personal finance management app. You enter your account information (you can add checking, savings, credit cards, investments and retirement) and Mint automatically detects when you spend money and what you spend it on. It enters your transactions for you without you doing a thing! This allows you to track your spending habits and see which areas are out of hand (Fast food and Starbucks, for example). You can create a budget for yourself as well to help you stay on track. I actually kind of think this app was made for me. Thanks, Mint, that’s so sweet of you.

RedLaser

RedLaser

I can just see it now…one of the worst shopping scenarios: You buy some cute shoes and are telling your friends about them only to find out your bff got the exact same pair for half the price somewhere else. Sometimes, especially when it comes to clothes, it’s better to treat yourself to higher quality items. But when it is available at exactly the same quality for a lower price, well then it’s silly not to take the deal. RedLaser will save you time you usually spend comparing prices at different stores. You can scan an item’s barcode and instantly see where else you can find it and for how much. You can quickly find the best prices and deals all over your area. You can be sure you’re getting the best deal because the app includes price comparisons at local AND online locations. It’s like having a personal assistant do all the work for you, but…it’s fo FREE.

Poach It

PoachIt

Speaking of shopping for clothes…PoachIt is so necessary for finding good deals on clothes. Here’s how it works: you scan the barcode of an item you like, the app finds the item online and sends you an alert when the product’s price drops or there is a coupon code you can use for it. What can be better than loving a dress and getting a notification sent to your phone when the dress gets cheaper? Pretty much nothing, in my opinion.

Just a note: you can use the app but there is also a PoachIt website. Also, you can add an item to your alert list with the click of a button while shopping online – you don’t have to be in the store to use it.

FastCustomer

FastCustomer

I don’t think a single person on Earth could say they enjoy waiting on hold to talk to a customer service rep. It’s even less fun when they ask you to push a million numbers just to hear you have to wait even longer to talk to a live person. FastCustomer actually does all the waiting for you, so you don’t have to waste your precious life on hold. You tell the app who you need to talk to (as specific as a particular department within the company) and they do the navigation to a live customer service rep. Then the app calls you back once they have someone on the line ready to talk to you. Genius, just genius.

I hope these apps can be useful to all my fellow young adults struggling to find ways to survive in this post-allowance place we call the real world. Save money on gas and clothes and you might just be able to toss the Ramen and indulge in some real food. Shave some of your time off commuting or on hold and you’ll have more time to dedicate to the Underwoods. Whatever you decide to spend your extra time and money on, be sure to have fun with it!

Of course, I can’t end this without a shout out to Dollar Shave Club, the company that inspired this post. If you don’t know about them, what they do is save you time and money (just like these apps) by shipping quality razors to you each month for low prices. Might just have to check them out to shave some money!

What We Can (and Can’t) Learn from Chick Flicks

 

How To Lose a Guy

Spoiler alert: This post might spoil the ending/plot of some classic chick flicks. Beware. 

I’ve seen my fair share of chick flicks and rom coms and completely recognize that, sure, they may not be the Mona Lisa of films, okay? But I actually think we can occasionally look to them for some practical advice about life, love, and finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. After all, there must be some reason we watch them over and over again and make them box office hits, right? Oh right, that’s because of Zac Efron, Ryan Gosling and Matthew McConaughey. I forgot. Regardless, there are some valuable things we can learn from these movies and also some ridiculous things we should forget ASAP.

First, for the things we can learn from chick flicks:

  • Letting the sort-of-right-guy go. Sometimes, the one that got away was supposed to get away. It’s hard to let go of the “what-could-have-happened?” mindset with a person you never pursued. But if you’ve always been just friends with the guy, it can be safe to assume you were just supposed to be just friends. My example here happens to be from one of my all-time favorite chick flicks: My Best Friend’s Wedding with Julia Roberts. She basically turns into a psycho trying to make a guy she never gave a shot to fall in love with her before he marries someone else. After a lot of unnecessary mishaps and backstabbing, she realizes they were always just supposed to stay best friends. Trying to turn any and every loose end into “the one” can result in chaos, car chases and a young Cameron Diaz slapping you. We don’t want that, do we?

Best Friends Wedding

 

  • Always be yourself. This is a seemingly popular lesson in romantic films. Someone pretends to be someone they aren’t, falls in love with another person, and then reveals their true self to their new love only to find the lover is totally pissed off they lied about who they were. I mean, come on – that’s like a less-creepy version of photoshopping your online dating pictures. No one likes to be lied to. Even though the angry lover typically forgives the wrong, it is always better to be honest from the start. Don’t lie about how you feel, where you work, your interests. It can all come back to haunt you if you truly fall for the person. Case and point: Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Okay, it ended up working out for her because – surprise –  he forgave her. But before that, he was deeply hurt so let’s try to avoid that. Not all men are so forgiving.
  • There are pretty much always strings attached. You might not really need a movie example for this point, but I’ll give a couple anyway. The idea here is that it’s very rare for the “friends with benefits” idea to go smoothly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s possible. But after a certain amount of time and getting to know one another, it seems feelings always develop. Just look at Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in Friends with Benefits (such a clever name). Or, if you don’t believe me, there is always the less popular No Strings Attached featuring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Side note:  Why didn’t anyone question these identical movies coming out at basically the same time? Weird. Moving on…

Friends with Benefits

 

  • The right one doesn’t always translate to “the perfect one.” This lesson hails from an empire that provides unending love advice: none other than Carrie Bradshaw herself from Sex and the City. Everyone could see Mr. Big was the one for Carrie, throughout the series and into the movies. However, everyone could also see Big wasn’t the best boyfriend he could’ve been. He was terrified of commitment. He put her through more heartbreak than any other man on the show, including cheating on a previous wife with Carrie. But O.M.G. that chemistry. They belonged together but that hardly made either of them perfect. Another example from Sex and the City is the relationship between Charlotte and Harry. The pristine, Episcopalian city-girl never imagined falling in love with a bald Jewish man. He wasn’t the perfect one she’d always imagined but he was completely right for her.
  • Don’t forget about yourself. Relationships don’t tend to be healthy or happy if you never focus on yourself. Whether that’s spending some time being single to find yourself, treating yourself to some pampering, or traveling and discovering new interests, I cannot stress this enough. Carrie honestly needed the space from Big sometimes to not lose herself, and Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte never let her forget that. Julia Roberts’ character in Eat Pray Love found this lesson equally significant. It goes back to the idea that you have to love yourself before you can successfully love someone else.

Love me more

Carrie Bradshaw summed it up perfectly with this quote: “Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well that’s just fabulous.”

 

Now, here are some things we shouldn’t take away from chick flicks:

  • The catch-them-at-the-airport scene. If you mess up and your significant other happens to be leaving forever to a foreign country, you can totally just chase them down in an exciting scene, catch them at the airport and make everything so much better they’ll change their life plans (and their $500 flight) and live happily ever after with you. Needless to say, this is far from realistic. It’s hard enough to show up at the airport on time when you have your own flight, much less making it through traffic (and security) to catch the love of your life. News flash: TSA doesn’t care about your love life, sorry.
  • Everyone ends up happy. It goes without saying that we need to take the happily ever after aspect of rom-coms and be more questioning. I want to take the time to give props to He’s Just Not That Into You, a romantic comedy that actually ended with people alone for once. Wait…someone cheated on his wife and didn’t end up happy at the end with his mistress? No way, that sounds too much like WHAT WOULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN. Thank you He’s Just Not That Into You for maintaining some of the comfortable, predictable storylines while also throwing in some real-life surprises. You rock. Moreover, what we can take away from that movie? NEVER trust Scarlett Johansson.

Hes Not Into You

  • The portrayal of love. Call me a skeptic, but I think there are plenty of people out there who have experienced true love that didn’t happen as a result of jumping into Ryan Gosling’s arms in the pouring rain with a love ballad blasting in the background. Love isn’t made in a cookie-cutter fashion. It’s unique. It’s messy. Sure, it’s powerful and can be amazing, I won’t argue with that. But it won’t necessarily be the photoshopped, flawless portrayal we see in romantic movies. Just because you and your significant other don’t have the deep, intelligent, clever conversations like the ones exchanged between Jack and Rose and other love story pairs doesn’t make your relationship any less loving. It makes it real, actually. Maybe teen girls won’t obsess over it or cry for hours watching it and spooning icing into their mouths (mmmm, icing…), but who cares? It’s about you and your guy or gal, not about box office numbers.

There you have it. Don’t go plan your life around Hollywood’s portrayal of love or anything. But realize there are some very insightful lessons to be learned from the Carrie Bradshaws and Andie Andersons of film. Even if you disagree, you know deep down life is always just a little happier when you grab popcorn and indulge in the happily ever afters.

[P.P.S. – This post was originally published for Firelight, the introductions app I’m interning for and highly recommend you try out.]

Don’t worry…Beyoncé

I would have considered myself extremely lucky this summer just to have the chance to live in New York City.

But it didn’t end there.

Two weeks ago, after being in NYC for exactly one month, I had the opportunity to go to Montego Bay, Jamaica with Charles and his family. Jamaica was absolutely beautiful – soft beaches with crystal-clear turquoise water surrounded by rich, green mountains. But there was more to it than the beautiful scenery. Jamaica was defined by this infectious joy and contentment with life. And this atmosphere made it possible to forget about life in NY and relax by the ocean for a bit, where there is no rush and there are “no worries, mon.” We snorkeled and kayaked in the Caribbean Sea. We ate authentic jerk chicken. Charles and I found a new favorite drink (the dirty banana, a perfect morning-on-the-beach drink).

water

charles and me

We even learned some of the local lingo. The word “Irie” has a joyful and spiritual meaning for Jamaicans, meaning (from what we were told by the locals) “everything is alright/great, no worries”. But it seemed like more than a casual phrase. It seemed to capture a powerful, positive feeling and quality to life. Something we don’t really have a word for here in the U.S., at least not that I can think of.

The coolest thing we did in Jamaica (and probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done) was swim in bioluminescent water. We went to the Luminous Lagoon, home to microorganisms that emit a phosphorescent light when stirred up. When the boat moved, the water began to glow bright blue. When when fish swim around, you can see them below the water, appearing as bright blue streaks. We were told this was one of 3 places in the world with such waters and this one, in particular, was the largest because Jamaican water is so warm. We even got to swim in it with the water lighting up around us. It was too dark to take good pictures on our phones, but here’s a picture from the website of the Luminous Lagoon.

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 9.42.18 PM

Next, after a blissful week in Jamaica, I went back to New York for an exciting week!

I met my friends Jodi, Brennan and Laura Ann in NYC and we took a bus to Baltimore to see….wait for it…BEYONCÉTo add to this already unbelievable summer, I got to see Beyoncé and Jay Z perform 40 songs together…definitely a special show to see. Bey looked and sounded #flawless. After seeing her live, I can tell you based on her vocals, dancing and just overall performance (same goes for Jay Z – best live rap I’ve ever seen), she is definitely not overrated. And I’m not just saying that so the Beygency doesn’t get me.

IMG_9995IMG_0006

 

So…it’s kind of ridiculous the summer I’m having. For now it’s back to working life in NYC. The summer’s halfway over so I have to take advantage of the rest of my time.

But, no worries. Irie.

Swiping Left

“All of this creates the fear of missing out, or FOMO, that promotes a state of loneliness during that in-between time in which we should be content just being.”
I love the truth of this thought – the idea that social media and the constant connection to others we have through technology has led us to constantly feel like we are missing out on something, someone, some place. I want to make it a goal to look within, at my own life and how grateful I should be for my own, personal journey instead of looking at the lives of others and comparing.

Q L C

tinder

A few weeks ago, I was on Tinder, the popular dating app, and low and behold after a few swipes, I was faced with my ex-fiancé. After my initial shock, I did what anyone would do in this situation; I looked at her pictures, read her description, and then had a decision to make. What I was faced with was a second chance, as I was now armed with far more information than a brief, snapshot of potential love. I knew this person on a deeper level, and I could see far beyond the shallow surface before me. The question that I was faced with was, “Would I ever want to reconnect with her again?”

When I came upon my big Tinder decision, I realized that I no longer felt a deep connection with her, and in fact, was not attracted to her as I once might have been if…

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Week One in the Big Apple

My first week in NYC is officially over and, trust me, it did not disappoint. I packed about as much as you possibly could into one week. It has all been a blur but I really couldn’t be any happier with my situation here. My apartment is in a great, quiet neighborhood with a fantastic view of the city from the roof. I got so lucky to have really cool roommates, fellow interns and bosses. Sumpto’s office is awesome and the work I do is really interesting and fun. Plus there are free snacks, coffee and a super comfy couch available at all times – who could ask for more?!

To top it off, I’ve only been lost twice. That’s groundbreaking.

The view of the city from the roof of my apartment building
The view of the city from the roof of my apartment building

I’m really starting to feel at home and like I know what I’m doing for the most part. I spent the first few days just getting used to the apartment and the area. I live in the Financial District in downtown Manhattan, a fast-paced financial center during the day and a relaxed residential area at night. We can see the Hudson and the One World Trade Center from our apartment. There is also this cool area by the water a short walk from our place called South Street Seaport with great food, drinks and a sense of community. If you can’t tell, I love where I live!

One day, I walked around close to my apartment after getting off work and realized the 9/11 Memorial is incredibly close to where I live. The twin towers of the WTC stood feet from where I get on the subway every morning to go to work. It was a solemn visit to see where the towers used to stand. The memorial was beautiful. I haven’t had a chance to visit the new museum that just opened but hopefully I can do that soon.

9/11 Memorial
9/11 Memorial

Saturdays and Sundays this summer there is a huge food market in Brooklyn called Smorgasburg. There are 100 vendors every weekend set up from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. My roommates and I wanted to try some of the delicious food so we went Sunday to check it out. This was my first time in Brooklyn ever and, needless to say, it was great! We ended up being really far from the food market and we were starting to get hangry. So we postponed Smorgasburg for another weekend and decided to eat at a cool Brooklyn restaurant called Shelter Pizza. I got a brunch pizza with fried eggs, truffle oil, mozzarella and parmesan. Best food decision so far in NYC! It was so great and something I’d never had before. I definitely want to go back and try more of their pizza before this summer is over.

Brunch pizza at Shelter Pizza in Brooklyn
Brunch pizza at Shelter Pizza in Brooklyn

I’ve also had a chance to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington Square Park, both of which were beautiful. I’m already loving New York and there is still so much time here and so much to do. I hope time slows down a bit because I can already tell I’m in love with this city. I can’t wait for my friends, family and Charles to come visit because right now, those are the only things missing from this wonderful city. Keep checking back to find out more about my time in NYC! Let me know if there is anything I HAVE to do while I’m here.