Currently: a Monday evening perspective

HI THERE, HOW ARE THINGS? Life lately = yeeesh. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these (or one of anything on here) so let’s touch base. Regroup. Circle back. Er, I mean catch up. It’s only Monday evening (when I wrote this) and I’m already exhausted. I’d say “what a week!” but it’s been a day. I DIGRESS.

Park pond

Currently, (as I navigate my at Monday evening), I am…

Listening to: A Spotify playlist I made featuring all the songs on Will Arnett’s horrible Netflix original series called Flaked. The show will make you upset with Venice and friendship and humanity (in a totally not worth it way) but the music will make you moody and solemn and deep (in the best way!), so do that instead.

Eating: I just finished an “open-faced grilled cheese sandwich.” AKA I microwaved a slab of brie on an english muffin, and I’m trying to make myself feel okay about it. Other people my age have families of five and I’m still cooking at a junior-high level but THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Sipping on: A glass of pinot noir. Always. I mean obviously not always, but you know, sometimes. We’re getting into the most uncomfortable time of the year for red-wine connoisseurs, btw – when the rising outside temperatures make ordering a malbec or shiraz socially uncomfortable. But be bold, lovers of the dark-colored grape, and do not let those rosé or *shivers* chardonnay drinkers cramp your style. For if it truly gets too warm out to think about sipping on a red, there’s always our good friend whiskey on the rocks.

Feeling good about: This past weekend. I helped coordinate an alumni happy hour AND I organized a donut crawl, which is exactly what it sounds like (a bar crawl of donut shops). Both were occasions to catch up with people who I’ve spent too long not seeing, and it was so good to socialize and spend some time exploring new places in the city which I too often (literally daily) take for granted.

Reading: Finishing up Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance and starting Pamela Ryckman’s Stiletto Network for book club (#oneNewYearsResolutiondown).

Missing: My long-distance family and friends. And Whitney Houston, always.

Terrified of: Spiders. Job stuff. Strangers/being followed. Walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you. You know, the normal things to be terrified of.

Excited about: OH I REBRANDED MY WEBSITE. In a time when I actually have 1,000,000+ other things I should be working on in my spare time, I decided to move full speed ahead with the website rebrand I’ve been thinking about for a year on the blog I update maybe once every other month at most. Anyways, it’s still a bit of a work in progress, but I chose the name Uptown Moxie because:

a) I’m no longer the little girl I was when I moved to the big apple five years ago, and even though ‘uptown’ is specific to where I live curently, I like being a little more expansive with my geo-referencing. Just perhaps I won’t live in New York for the rest of my blogging days. Just perhaps.

b) I have always lived Uptown, and I’m basically Christie Brinkley

c) I liked and have used the word Moxie plenty of times before Allison Williams named her dog. But for the record I died a million times when she got/named that adorable pup.

cp

With that, I’m at the end of my feelings and also at the end of my wine glass. I hope you like the rebrand and that you’ll stick around to hear my ramblings, however many months apart I may post them. Xo.

P.S. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In the Heights

GW Bridge

I haven’t taken out my camera recently, so with Sunday’s gorgeous weather and nothing on my agenda, the timing felt right. My roommate and I took a casual four-hour stroll in our neighborhood, and I photographically documented some of the sites. It was a day filled with leisurely exercise, a guacamole BLT sandwich (aka heaven), and a sunscreen-scented headband reminding me of that season called summer; what more can you ask for? Here’s a few photos of the George Washington Bridge, the little red lighthouse, Hudson View Gardens and Fort Tryon Park — in other words: our backyard.

1026b0978b1046b 1020b 0985b1004b0996b1052b1016c

Entertaining in the Empire City: Jess’ go-to Guide

Happy Friday! It’s the last day of the workweek and my the last post for the Entertaining in the Empire City series. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22 excited about both!

Today’s recommendations come from my best friend and roommate, Jess. Background info: I met Jess over a decade ago – participating in a variety show for our hometown theater. I became true friends with Jess when we were hired by Retail-Giant-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to deep clean their store with steel wool and a variety of semi-toxic cleaning products. I stayed friends with her for too many reasons to list. Top of my mind reasons include: Jess can hold a conversation with anyone, she’s never afraid to ask for what she wants, and her Instagram is a carefully curated work of art. She has the voice of Beyoncé, the face of Taylor Swift ;) and she always knows what she wants for dinner. The fact that she selflessly offers sound advice and unconditional support when you need it is just added bonus. (I really just keep her around for her Instagramming abilities).

So last but not least, in her words, here is Jess’ list of her favorite New York spots to show to out-of-town visitors.

Housing Works Bookstore, Soho: This place makes you feel like a hipster Belle in a bookstore paradise with spiral staircases and hundreds of rare, new, and used books. Pair that with a non-fat latte and decent record collection for browsing. Who needs a prince anyway?

UCB Cagematch, Chelsea: It goes without saying that Amy Poehler knows what’s up. Basically everything she touches turns to genius so it’s no surprise her underground improv den is sweaty, rowdy, and a whole lot of fun. I took my dad here for a midnight Cagematch show. He came for the PBRs, but stayed for the impressive fart jokes.

Le Cheile, Washington Heights: This one is just me being selfish. This adorable Irish bar is 2 blocks from my apartment. With its local art, subway tile decor, and locally sourced brews this place gives Brooklyn a run for its money. Oh, and the GIANT grilled cheese is kind of out of this world.

Fort Tryon Park, Washington Heights: If you want to blow a tourist’s mind take them to this park. It feels like you’ve been dropped inside a mythical fairy land complete with beautiful flower gardens, tangles of tree branches overhead, and castles filled to the brim with medieval art. Oh, and somehow you’re still in Manhattan.

PUNDERDOME 3000, Gowanus, Brooklyn: Alright, I’ll hand it to Brooklyn for this one. PUNDERDOME is a weirdly wonderful evening once a month where pun aficionados convene in a battle royal of wits. Don’t question it, just go. It’s a pun of fun (get it?!).

 

And that’s a wrap on Entertaining in the Empire City, folks! Anything we missed? Anything you’re dying to check out?

Entertaining in the Empire City: Anela and Mandy’s Favorite Spots

Day three. You know the drill. These two ladies are one-of-a-kind friends, and both have such unique takes on their favorite spots in the city. I met them both at the same former job (at different times), and even both being ladies of fashion, their tastes couldn’t be more different.

Up first, Anela – who was born and raised in Long Island and bleeds Brooklyn to the tee. She’s lived all over the boroughs, recently traveled to Africa, and finds inspiration everywhere she goes and in everything she does. She’s quirky, fun, and endlessly curious. Here’s what she has to say:

Anela prefaces, “These are my all time favorite places to eat. They really have an old school vibe to them, and are very New York. I’ve gotten to know them well, and I have to say they have stolen my heart. ”

As mentioned previously, my friend Mandy is another one of the fashionistas I surround myself with on the reg. Her Cali roots have instilled her with a sense of adventure and a professional drive that never gives up. For someone who I forced to call me “Princess” for the first three weeks we were acquainted (the same name didn’t vibe well with me off the bat), I’m surprised (and delighted!) that we are as close as we are now. But more so than that, I’m grateful, because I can’t imagine my New York life without her honest, rom-com-y, positive outlook on life. Here’s a few of Mandy’s favorite places she likes to show off to visitors.

On Saying Yes

There have been a number of instances over the past few months when I’ve really thought long and hard about throwing in the towel. Not on life, obviously, but very truthfully on New York. I’ve never been too shy or modest to say that this city will eat you up if you let it. And sometimes, even for the most enthusiastic of its fans (i.e. myself), surly New York can get pretty darn close to taking a big bite of your confidence. Her sharp, pearly whites are constantly chomping at the bit of your dreams. If you’re lucky, she’ll rip you up and spit you out. But preferably, she’ll swallow you whole…

But then you’re walking home from an after-work yoga class, and due to forgetting proper footwear, you have to do the 50 minute commute home in dressy boots, a long overcoat, short gym shorts and an oversized tee. You resemble what could only be described as an out-of-shape, disheveled, and just overall bad, masculine prostitute, when you run into someone on the street looking 11 shades worse, and who is very much rocking it on purpose.

Or you’re heading to a friend’s apartment after a long day to work on a project and you, like any annoying, yet serious-about-her-career New Yorker, need caffeine. You stop at the local coffee shop on the way to the E and the Barista says, “Hey, this one’s on me.” It was probably because you’re so sleep deprived you look like you could murder four puppies without blinking and he’s frightened, but you know, in a world of jerks, it’s a win.

And then you have a Monday — a figurative AND literal Monday at work — and due to a swirl of irony and happenstance, you make one of your favorite comedians laugh. A silly face, some dumb accent. It very well could have been a pity laugh, but if he felt compelled enough to fake it, at least you must have been true-to-form: awkward and hopefully, likable.

This city isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t for the half-assers, the get-embarassed-easilyers, or the try-it-once-but-then-I’m-done-ers either. And contrary to popular belief, it isn’t even for the dreamers. It’s for the doers. The open-minded, hard-working, inadequate humans who fail SO much and HATE it — but aren’t afraid to keep failing. To keep improving. To keep trying. To keep saying yes. The kind of people who say “Yes” are not the kind of people who succeed in New York, but rather are the kind of people who survive here.

Maybe it’s not even specific to New York. In light of taking an improv workshop with Second City through my job and re-reading Tina Fey’ Bossypants, I feel enlightened and compelled to keep saying “Yes” to life. I haven’t finished meeting these insane and wonderful people harboring vast and unique experiences only New Yorkers can offer. I’m not over chasing my dreams. I’m not done with New York, and I don’t think New York is done with me. I have more to do here — more to experience, more to lean — and I’m excited and ready for whatever that may entail.

YES_NY

Have you said “Yes” today? Or walked by someone wearing fishnets, black spandex and a cowboy hat out in public? If so, where do you live? And why?

Currently, this Monday Morning

RECAPPING: a nonsensical “Happy Passover” e-card from my father, a certain random Twitter follow from this weekend, macaroon Easter treats from a friend and cookie gifts from my manager because of having to work the holiday. I suppose people really aren’t that bad.

HOWEVER: This Buzzfeed quiz suggests otherwise. Favorite comment: “NYC made me this way.” Ugh. Sad but true.

REALIZING: I’ve fallen very behind in my 52 books in 52 weeks goal. Should audio books count? If so, where can I find audio books? And also, the time to listen to twelve of them in the next two weeks?

ACCEPTING: Audio book recommendations. Normal book recommendations would also suffice.

LISTENING TO: Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson’s Beauty and the Beast, on repeat. It’s a beautiful, inspiring song; don’t judge.

SIPPING: French vanilla coffee from Trader Joe’s.

CRAVING: Country music, windows down and an open road. I’m chalking it up to the onset of summer, but sooner rather than later, some things may deserve a revisit if this keeps up.

REMINDING MYSELF: I should not compare myself to anyone other than who I was yesterday.

And with that, I bid a very happy work-week to you, readers! Make it a good one. Spring’s in full swing and summer jusssst around the corner. You can do it!

Fort Tryon

We’re Adults. When Did that Happen?

…And just to finish the last part of that Grey’s Anatomy quote from 2005, “And how do we make it stop?” Although my feelings at the moment are less in the interest of making it stop and quite a bit more curious on just when and where it began?

Due to a slight emotional breakdown (not adulty behavior, I know) my parents recently made an impromptu trip into the city for a long weekend; bless their hearts. I called my mom on a Monday afternoon, and she and my dad were in the city early Thursday evening. The last time they visited, it was literally a nightmare. It rained the ENTIRE time they visited, I was running around midtown like a psychotic tourist fool and all they wanted to do was relax with their daughter. Needless to say, that weekend didn’t end on the best of terms, and this time around not only did I not have time to plan ANYTHING, but also they were staying IN MY LIVING ROOM. A recipe for disaster, I thought.

BUT GUESS WHAT? It was fantastic! Hands down not only the greatest weekend I could have imagined with my parents, but also one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long, long time. It was so refreshing to just mosey about the city, not have to constantly be on some rampant schedule that I’ve meticulously worked out, and just fully enjoy my parents’ company. To say I had a wonderful weekend is putting it lightly.

Even though I knew I would be seeing them in a short two months, saying goodbye was still hard. It was after that tearfest that I got to thinking, “Hmm, only a matured grown ass woman cries when leaving her parents for an undermined amount of time.” And even though that’s actually more like what babies and small children do, the point was that I actually enjoyed their visit. Hanging out with them felt exactly like hanging out with them, and not like trying to entertain them and shield them from the big-city things I wouldn’t want my care-takers to see. After dissecting the situation a bit more, I came to the realization that this is one of the first times (aside of paying bills and watching my metabolism dissolve before my eyes) I truly felt like an adult. Here are some other signs you’re growing up I’ve since come up with:

  1. When politics suddenly get really exciting. True that 2012 being an election year and me being a huge SNL fan also feeds into this, but outside of exciting, you start to realize politics are also very relevant.
  2. The aforementioned getting along with your parents.
  3. A 401k. You have one now.
  4. The endgame of any time you consume a drink does not consist of blacking out and making terrible life decisions. *It does on occasion, but just not every time.
  5. Reading the newspaper everyday. And not just the horoscope section.
  6. Putting money in the tip jar. I don’t know, maybe this consists of being a good human, but I’ve started to do this a lot lately and it does feel good. Plus karma and stuff.
  7. Starting to seriously considering adopting a dog, because even though you will always be a cat person, your maternal instinct is kicking in and you don’t have the money for a baby.
  8. Sending out more mail than you receive. (Bills, bills, bills)
  9. Reading the washing instructions before you buy clothing.
  10. You know how to fax shit. And you fax shit like a mofo.
  11. Buying beers in bottles.
  12. Voluntarily volunteering.
  13. When you realize the TV shows you watch have shifted from Jersey Shore and Gossip Girl to Up All Night and Parenthood.
  14. Choosing to buy tampons over candy as your drugstore purchase two weeks before your lady time because you need to get cash back and the ATM is 4 blocks farther away.

Anything I missed? When was the first time you actually felt like a grown-ass adult?

This Could Really Be a Good Life

I was joking around with someone today and stated that the first stages of moving to and living in New York City are:

  1. Crying in Public
  2. Drowning/Learning How to Live Under Water
  3. Finally! I’ve Got the Hang of this Now
  4. Just Kidding, No I Don’t

Even something as simple as getting groceries, this city makes seem next to impossible. My grocery store is literally 135 blocks away from my apartment. Beginning next month, my student loans payment (which is of an ungodly, disturbing amount) will be the same as my rent. I’ve lived here for seven months, have a college degree and my job title is “Sales Associate” in a discount retail store. Do I think about leaving? Every day. But I have a voice in the back of my head that says ‘everything happens for a reason,’ and I listen.

This past week as been unusually  stressful; I’ve cried three times at work (and remember, I work in retail–nothing is really that important). But, I’ve also talked to an unusually large amount of people with whom I’ve either attended high school or college with, that are feeling the exact same way I do with regards to life, despite the working retail or living in New York parts. A number of people I graduated with (most holding my same degree) are unhappy with their current career situation. Many have quit their first out-of-college job and/or are moving somewhere else than where they thought they would be the most happy/successful. Maybe it makes me selfish that a part of me relishes in the fact others aren’t completely happy either–but I’m chalking it up to human nature.  ;)

Right now, I’m also seeing a lot of my friends who are graduating in the upcoming months accept amazing first jobs in cool cities with awesome salaries, and I suppose that is making me second guess the moves I’ve made. I chose to move to New York City. I chose to work retail. I also chose to attend UD which, while made me have an amazing college experience, also inadvertently chose to leave me with some monumental student loans to pay off on my small retail salary. As they say, ‘sucks to suck.’

But I also know that the negative and hard things about my choices are a lot easier to see than the good ones. I live in what I still consider to be the best city in the world. I’ve met some amazing people here that I would never had the chance to meet otherwise. I work at an amazing company at which I am obsessed with and can’t wait to advance in. Many of my best friends either already live here or are planning to move here very soon. NYC is a short flight or drive away from my hometown in Ohio, so I can easily get there if I need to. I can afford to live the life I lead, under current circumstances. The opportunities in this city are amazing and endless.

Taking everything into account, I’ve realized that most of the problems I’ve been battling are personal in nature and nothing against Manhattan. NYC allows me to see Broadway shows for $27. New York lets me to pay rent that is cheaper than some of my friends pay in the Midwest. In NYC, I can travel anywhere I want, as many times I want for a whole month–for the price of a roundtrip drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland. In New York, I can get anything I want, at anytime I want–thanks to my local Duane Reade and Blendr. (Kidding about Blendr–but…even if I wasn’t…). In NYC, I have airports, museums, restaurants and fashion boutiques coming out of my ass; and it’s easy to forget how lucky I am to have such things at my fingertips. New York has been giving me ALL of the opportunities–it is I who has not been fully grasping everything that is awaiting me.

As OneRepublic would say, “This has gotta be the good life.” No matter where you live, what you do and who you surround yourself with, always remember: you make the choices in your life, everything happens for a reason and last but not least–all things are temporary.

Living in Harlem with Boys

Well, my number of days of living with the boys in Harlem are dwindling. As much as I’m looking forward to many new adventures and friendships in the Heights, I can’t deny there are ample things I will miss about living in my first, small box room in New York, and the people I shared it with.

I present: A countdown list of the top ten things I will miss about my fabulous roommates.

10) Accidental family dinners of $5 Chinese from the “Jesus is my boss” lady and beers from Nadals because we had the same idea when coming home from work.

9) That little noise all of your phones make when you receive a message on Grindr. Relatedly, I will also miss hearing about Grindr. I might have to get one myself so I can stay in the loop.

8) Beyoncé/Kelly Clarkson shower time.

7) Embracing the multicultural theme and running with it. Free to be, you and me! Except Jeff (because he’s black).

6) The smell of Nathan making rice at 10 in the morning. I had no idea that Asians didn’t eat normal breakfast food until I met him.

5) Steven shouting the phrase “Are you Cherokee or ya Sioux” when he sees me.

4) Steven shouting the phrase “Susan Miranda!” when he sees me.

3) Steven shouting. Just all the time. Whether he sees me or not. He is loud and proud and I will miss his caring voice every time I enter the new apartment.

2) Throwing sticky-padded rats out of our kitchen window and watching them fall to their death.

1) Three words: Tall. Boy. Nation. Girls won’t let me kill my liver with 600 calories worth of beer each night. Bless you for allowing me to do that, and making me feel like I really was ‘one of the gays’ of 534. This apartment and you three will always be my first home in the city! Thanks for that, and so much more. Love you all :)

Some New York Style Fun

I’ve spent the past week or so with some great people doing some really fun things. From watching the sunset over downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn waterfront to attending a free jazz concert that turned into a free stand up comedy performance, I love exploring things I haven’t done before in the city. I’ll share with you a few of my new-found favorite places:

Korzo Haus in the East Village: This place’s signature item is a DEEP FRIED HAMBURGER…need I say more?

The Epitome of Awesome

 

Vagabond Cafe in the West Village: From paninis and crepes to beer and tea, this cute little restaurant doesn’t stop its variety act there. At night, it turns into quite the popular hangout–complete with live jazz music and stand up comedy acts, all free of charge.

Photo: J. Dyer
Photo: J. Dyer

 

The Strand Bookstore in Union Square: “18 miles of new, used, and rare books.” Anyone could literally spend a whole day exploring this one-of-a-kind bookstore that has been around since 1927.

Books at the Strand

 

The Continental at St. Marks: $2 drafts and 5 for $10 shots of anything. If you’re in the market for ambiance, it might not be your place. But if you can’t afford much more, I highly recommend at least pregaming here.

Shots at The Continental

 

Blockheads/Mother Burger in Hell’s Kitchen: I really can’t pass up anything cheap, but $4 margaritas that are actually strong–done and done! The food (which is American at Mother Burger and Mexican at Blockheads) isn’t bad either.

Why yes, that is a margarita topped with an extra shot of tequila and a Corona.

 

Argo Tea in Columbus Circle: This joint offers insanely cool and unique offerings of tea. I would classify it as a little hipster-y version of Starbucks–except I guess not entirely because it’s still a chain. Regardless, it’s still cool in my book.

Tea Selections


The Highline Park in the Meatpacking District: If you don’t know, this is an elevated park that used to be railroad tracks. It’s beautiful and free and gives you a fun few of the river and some different areas of the city.

Photo: J Torres

 

Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg: Local artists and antique finders (?) get to showcase and sell their hard work. It’s only open on the weekends, but for the one-of-a-kind items that you will find there, it’s work the trek to Brooklyn.

Photo: J. Dyer

Although all of these places are insanely dope, who you are spending your time with is equally important (probably more) as what you spend your time doing. A lot of the time, game nights and movie marathons with friends trump going out to the hippest local venue there is. :) Hope everyone is having a great week!