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.

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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?

Monday Motivation

Hopefully I won’t continue to fail at blogging as the week wears on, but for now, here are my latest finds on Pinterest. I don’t know about you all, but since Monday’s about to hit me like a ton of bricks this week, I needed some extra inspiration. Because I’m the best, I figured why not spread the motivational quote love all around. Enjoy, and try to make this workweek a good one!Quote 2Quote 3Quote 4Quote 5

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It’s a Sunshine Day

Oh hai there. Some things (such suspense in the vagueness) have yet again taken precedence away from updating this old thing the past few weeks, so for that I apologize. I can’t on-the-record promise this or next week will be any better… but I’m sure going to try.

A few weeks back, an ahh-mazing blogger known as Zee nominated me for a pretty cool thing called the Sunshine Award. Allegedly, this is a way for cool bloggers to introduce cool bloggers to other cool bloggers. A lot of cool bloggers involved in the process, specifically those who are creative, positive, and all around good guys and gals (or at least appear so in their internet personas). Sounds great, right?! Since I’m pretty much obsessed with Catching Zees and also this is the first time I’ve ever won (been nominated for? I prefer saying won) anything worthwhile in my young adult existence, I was pumped. But then I fell off the [blogging] wagon enough for enough time to gain 8 pounds. BUT LOOK AT ME NOW. HERE, BLOGGING AGAIN. Attempting to pick off right where I left. Let us allow this be seamless. Did someone say Seamless?! Uhh, so here’s the rules I was asked to follow:

  1. Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you. (Thank you, Zee. You’re fantastic!)
  3. Post 10 interesting things about yourself.
  4. Nominate some fellow deserving bloggers for the award.
  5. Link your nominees in the post and let them know about their nomination with a comment.

Sunshine Award

I’ll do my best to make this interesting. Here are some typed up things about me:

  1. I don’t know how to embed gifs on my blog. Or even really how to google gifs properly. I know gifs would make this more interesting, so I’m kind of already considering this a failure.
  2. I don’t use emoticons. Never have. I’d confidently continue with “never will” but there’s some awfully tempting cat-faced contenders out there. For the time being, I have a folder of saved images of Kristin Wiig’s facial expressions that I send out when I feel the need to deeply convey emotion outside of the normal : ) slash : ( slash o_O Kristen Wiig face
  3. Once in 2011 I tweeted something to the effect of “I hope wine and popcorn count toward my daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables.” So I guess you could say I was Olivia Poping it before Olivia Pope. *brushes dirt off shoulders*Olivia Wine
  4. I have the handwriting of a second grader.
  5. Life goal is to be: half as hip as Lindsay Weir, a third of as funny as anyone who replies to the @Midnight tweets, a fourth of as energetic as Leslie Knope, and a fifth of as continuously turnt up as Miley Cyrus.Miley Cyrus LipKristen Wiig face
  6. True life: I didn’t know what the Oxford comma was until last week.
  7. You always know what I’m thinking and feeling because I wear my emotions on my sleeve face. Sorrrrrry.Gilly
  8. I have a very real, very perpetual fear of mispronouncing words. And using words at incorrect times. I guess, just talking in general. I should probably look into data-entry as a career.
  9. For as obsessed with television as I am, I loathe reality TV. (Much to my mom’s dismay)
  10. “If you’re going to break the rules, break all the rules” is my favorite thing anyone’s ever said to me. Walter White

In the same vein, I do feel like breaking some Sunshine rules. I don’t want to pressure anyone to do this type of post if it isn’t your thing. Plus, some of you have been around for a while and potentially have been nominated before. SO, instead of commenting on each of your blogs with this nom., I’m going to not. But I think you all are very wonderful in such creative, inspiring and unique ways, and since I don’t have a “blogroll” of sorts, I’m excited that this award has given me the chance to shout out to the few sites I regularly pop over to check out during the week.

Ahh, hope I’m not forgetting anyone. Also, I hope this isn’t creepy to those of you who don’t know me at all since I just tagged your blog! If anyone has any other great recommendations of who to follow out there in the blogosphere, let me know in the comments! Always up for checking out new reads/making new web-based friends. AND: happy Monday!

Lists, Loves & Links

My motto until “Christmas break” as I’m calling it is “if Lena Dunham can get through dating a man who wears fedoras, I can make it to 2014.” That’s where my life feels like it’s at right now, so go ahead, judge.

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Here are some of my favorite things circling the web this week: