Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Williams as Monroe

 {Image via}
I went with a dear friend to see "My Week With Marilyn" last night. I am a forever-fan of Marilyn Monroe's, something about her tragic existence and exploitation as a sex object has always fascinated me, even as she put herself into that position while still trying to be taken seriously as an actress. And I have to say, while I did not particularly like Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, there were a few snippets here and there where she 100% was the ill-fated starlet. A purse of the mouth here, a jumble of words there, a drunken stumble and a cry and Marilyn was there on the screen in all her simpering glory. But then she would disappear again and it would just be Michelle Williams with platinum hair and strange hip padding. Still, the movie itself was worth a viewing - the entire cast is amazing and Kenneth Branaugh is, as one would expect, strong as Sir Laurence Olivier. Definitely check this film out, as all England-based films are (for me, at least), this is a great winter-time flick.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


 {Image via}
I am a pretty optimistic person. I like to look for the best in people, assume that goodness and fairness and honesty is there within all of us. This gets me into trouble more often than not - some people really are just shady or hateful or manipulative, and while I'm sure there was once goodness within them, the older I get the more exhausted I am having to deal with current states of personhood, which generally can be fairly terrible. Last night on the train I experienced a slight example of this as I bumped into - and stepped on the foot of - a rather large man as I was getting crammed into my train home by the hordes of fellow commuters. I turned slightly to apologize for stepping on him and he told me it was quite all right. "Nothing wrong with getting bumped into by a beautiful woman." He nodded as he spoke and I couldn't help but laugh out loud - I was commuting home after a sweaty gym session, and still bloated from Thanksgiving, so I was feeling nothing further from passable let alone beautiful. Unfortunately that seemed to give him his cue to continue even as I turned back to face away from him. He went on. "Any man who has a problem getting bumped into by a beautiful woman, that ain't right. Why's he got to complain? He wants a man to bump into him?" This last comment raised the tiniest of red flags which were validated when this stranger chose to lean in towards me with his last bit of philosophizing before getting off at his stop, "If a man wants a man to bump into him in a crowded train, he's got something wrong with him. Something wrong with him inside." And with that last bit of conspiratorial homophobia he wished me a good night and left the car. And I was left with a sad, sick feeling of just how far we have to go and of the fact that humans are always going to be ignorant and fearful and hateful and awful to each other, based on one thing or another. And it was all I could do to get myself home and showered and put myself to bed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

home sweet home

 {Image via}
Good new kids. After months of waffling back and forth with do I like New York? Has it beaten me? Is it time to throw in the towel? And a recent return from my October visit to Cali rendering me less than excited about returning to this iconic city, I am pleased as punch to tell you that I am very happy to be back in New York after this Thanksgiving holiday. I think the move to Brooklyn had a lot to do with it, I think returning home in Cali to friends who love me in all my varying incarnations and who themselves are scattered all throughout California - and who share appreciations and pasts in the city I now call home - had a lot to do with that. New York is my playground for the time being, my place of self-discovery and adventure, and I am excited to return to it and view it as such. So as we wind down November and gear up for December - and admittedly another return visit to my California home - I am amped to keep discovering my New York. I hope everyone else had safe travels and wonderful times with family and friends this past weekend, whether as a part of Thanksgiving gatherings or not!
 {Image via}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

 {Image via}
And today is the day that America eagerly preps for the eating that will commence tomorrow. I am flying home tonight to spent the long weekend with my family so I will be MIA from this oft-visited page until next week. I hope all my American readers enjoy this time with family and friends, and remember things to be thankful for, and cherish them, because god knows there is a whole lotta awful going on all over the world at any given time. Life never claimed to be easy, it just claimed to keep going, so we have to take note of those things for which we are grateful at every opportunity. Happy Thanksgiving all, safe travels to you and yours, and I'll see you next week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


 {Image via}
It really is lovely how, if you are open to all the new experiences and adventures that life throws your way, you really can discover consistently new angles and sides of yourself. I guess life should always be a learning experience, you should never think you're done. Because, maybe we never are. Nothing better than contentment after a long and busy prior week, I'll say that!

One more day of work and then Thanksgiving feasting can commence for us stateside folks. I hope you all enjoy your Tuesdays!

Monday, November 21, 2011

gloomy monday

 I have to say, after a wonderful weekend filled with an aunt, an uncle, cousins and a houseguest-longtime-friend, I am rather happy that it's gloomy and rainy today at work. And, while I know this won't happen - I have 2 roommates after all - I would love nothing more than to come home from work today, plop down on the couch and watch some old episodes of "The L Word" - a TV series whose DVDs I do not own - while eating leftover cheesecake. I actually am itching to go to the gym after work but I lent my work-gym-back to my house guest to take to an interview so I am without clothes and I can almost guarantee I am not going to have the dedication to go home, get my clothes, and go back out to the gym. Especially if it's raining. So I think cheesecake - with something entertaining on the TV or the radio perhaps - is a much better substitution. I hope you all have equally relaxing entrances into this short workweek!

Friday, November 18, 2011

worked it!

 I didn't work out yesterday - I got a badly needed haircut instead and then chatted and made dinner with a dear friend of mine from college who is visiting. However this morning? This morning I got up, got my motivation going, and did yesterday's intended workout as well as today's! I feel amazing now, and I'm so proud that I just up and did it, no excuses, no complaints. I made this decision to get my health and strength together, and I'm seeing it through. Added bonus to getting the workout done, I must admit, is the fact that I have family coming to town today to enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving holiday, so I will be meeting up with them tonight. But how great do I feel that I didn't just skip either workout completely? Very great, let me just say. I wish you all the happiest of Fridays and the greatest of weekends!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


 {Image via}
As surrounded as I am by family members and friends who have admittedly sophisticated taste in music (hello, do you not all religiously follow my sister's blog??) I just love pop music. Gimme a catchy chorus, and upbeat drum rhythm - probably what all the middle school and high schoolers the states over are dancing to in cafeterias and school gym dances after football games - and I'm hooked. I love to be happy - it's felt rare and fleeting the past few months that I've truly been so, but I'm getting better at it (name that song?) - and music has such an effect on my mood. It can be like SADS but all throughout the year and fluctuating with a radio or music mix. It's really quite sad, I fear, thus why I keep myself as upbeat as I can. I know my downfalls. I avoid them. And pop music? Makes me happy. Effortlessly. So with that little piece of useless information, I leave you to your Thursdays!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

work it

 {Image via}
Yesterday's workout more than made up for Tuesday's screwed up evening. (And yes, I am very aware that the benefits come from the sum of consistent physical activity, rather than each workout individually - but when the stress relief doesn't come from a workout, it's very disappointing indeed.) Truly you guys, I kicked my butt, and I saw results - which really is the best part. I did 3 sets of 10 actual push-ups. And then I tried to do 15 more, but I had to revert to assisted push-ups. (Assisted. Not "Girl". So rude. Whatever man thought up that phraseology, and poo on all of us women who continue to use it. They're assisted push-ups, able to be used just as effectively by men as women. Girl-push-ups my foot.) I can't tell you how awesome it felt to keep going back to set after set of full-body pushups. Yes my form needs improvement, but I felt that additional strength. In the beginning of this re-commitment to working out, I could barely do 3 sets of 10 assisted push-ups. Seriously. My very first day I had to space my sets out literally throughout the evening and finish them at home because I was so sore. So that is quite an impressive improvement, if I may say so myself. I am one proud mama this morning. And it's Wednesday! Not too shabby at all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


 {Image via}
I didn't get my workout in yesterday - I left work late, had the knowledge in the back of my mind that I needed to meet a friend back at my apartment, and kept getting interrupted by well-intentioned gym rats trying to correct my form which eventually led into a spiel from a trainer about his services, which I 100% cannot afford. So I entered the gym annoyed, remained annoyed through every interrupted set, and left annoyed. I am still annoyed this morning, even more so since I was not able to work off any of my daily aggression/annoyances at the gym, which is a huge part of the reason I go so consistently anyway. And now I feel antsy and distracted and more unfocused than I usually am. Blargh. And to top it all off, it's only Tuesday. Eff this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

lovely leaves

 Because it's a rather gloomy Monday and I am still in a delightful food coma from yesterday when my insta-friend-from-our-studies-abroad arrived in New York and we ate our way down the West Side of Manhattan, here are some pictures to kick start your week. The trees in Central Park were lovely - the yellows and golds herald the rather surprising arrival of fall, even as the wind makes me feel that winter is just waiting to pounce.

Friday, November 11, 2011


 {Image via}
I read an interesting piece yesterday speaking about how life should be lived with conviction, actively, about how you shouldn't let life just happen to you, but that you should make the effort to make the life you want happen for yourself. This certainly is not a new concept, but I am definitely the sort who likes her comfort zone, floating along on the familiar. This move across the country was easily the gutsiest thing I've ever done, and since doing it a year ago, I haven't really lived my life via conscious decisions for my part. I went with the crowd, I blended in, and not only did it get me into trouble financially, but that way of life also didn't do much to benefit my mindset. I suppose there's a correlation between living with conviction and being a control freak, I do have a bit of a control issue as well. Yet, it just makes sense to look at the decisions I make throughout the day and muse whether each is something I am going to appreciate and enjoy or not. I have always been a people pleaser, and there is something to be said for that too - keeping the peace, probably being the single strongest benefit - but I am going to work towards being conscious and present in my life, on a daily basis, and examine each decision I make with its pro's and con's for me, rather than what I know or assume the other party - or society in general - might want. Wish me luck! And Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I love my neighborhood

 {Image via}
I am completely enamored with the neighborhood into which I've moved. A true mix of - yes, the rumors are true - hipsters looking effortlessly chic in what are surely incredibly expensive clothes, thin and waif-like as they suck down their coffee and dangle their cigarettes from their lips, sauntering from coffee shop to subway, yammering on their phones. Mixing elbows with the kids born and raised in Brooklyn, children of Polish and Italian immigrants mostly, also sucking down coffee and smoking, but with tougher-looking exteriors, eyes with more of a smile in them, Brooklyn accents thick and heavy. There are children clutching their parents' hands as they dash up the stairs from the subway to get to the numerous elementary schools clustered throughout the houses and mom-and-pop shops. And there are lifers, the parents and grandparents of the born-and-raised Brooklynites, the men and women who have watched this neighborhood grow and change for years. Speaking to each other in Italian, in Polish, surely discussing children, neighbors, friends of the families, shaking their heads at the latest girlfriends and boyfriends, the things adults all over the world discuss with their peers.

I love that I have a sushi restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, a burrito joint, an ice cream stop, a myriad of bodegas, a deli all within close, close walking distance to my house. I love that further down there is authentic Italian food, a Vietnamese restaurant, Chinese food. And that there is a store selling monuments for your Catholic deceased, headstones for your loved ones, that there is a dentist and a physician within two blocks of each other, where probably only the lifers get their dental and medical needs met. I love that I have found a little neighborhood that still has shops open late after a long day, but that also has families and histories and space and peace and quiet. I am so happy with my change. I think I had needed it for awhile. It's truly giving me a new lease on New York life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yesterday, for the first time in the 3+ weeks I've been going to the gym, I discovered the art of listening to my body. I had been concerned, because the week prior I really had not been very sore after my workouts, and I use DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) - annoying as it is - to gauge how hard I've pushed myself and feel how much damage I've inflicted on my muscles and, therefore, which muscles will grow in healing. Thus I was feeling like I had done very little work even while the exercises themselves had me at a point of exhausted weakness, "I can't even lift 5 lbs, I'll have to lift 3..." mindset. What I discovered last night - when I forced myself to go no lower than 7.5 lbs in my reps - was that I require breaks to refresh my muscles in certain exercises. (I guess maybe everyone does? Maybe I should have been cycling this whole time?) After completing 2 sets of an exercise, and feeling completely incapable of doing anymore, I moved on to my next selected exercise, intending to return to finish the previous set. Upon returning, my body had so much more energy! I was completely capable of finishing that set in good form. It really was an incredible thing to realize, just the amount of energy push that resting the previous part and focusing on another body part could do for me. And it reminded me, this is why I'm getting myself back into a healthy routine; to learn my body again, to learn to listen and to hear what my physical self needs. With the strength and tone I'm striving for, needs to come understanding and knowledge of my physical body. I'd lost touch with myself for so long, and this time of personal focus from the inside out has happened organically, and I think at exactly the time when such inner reflection and hard work was needed. So this was an unintended, and exciting discovery. And with that, we've made it to the middle of the week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

pretty pictures for a tuesday

 Sometimes I awake feeling very uninspired and this is one of those days. Not glum, not stressed necessarily, even rather contented, but with nothing too excited to post about or think about or write about. So instead I will give you some pictures on this Tuesday - which feels like it should be a Friday. Oy.

PS - And yes, I'm pretty sure I've posted some if not all of these pictures before, but they're favorites for a reason right? Taken from Here and Here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Painting completion

No, the room does not look professionally painted. With any luck, maybe I'll get motivated in a few weeks and want to do a second coat, but as Saturday night rolled around, the last thing I wanted to do was go back over those walls with another coat of white. And the other last thing I wanted was to be faced with having to put the ugly plastic tarp back over my bed and dresser and start all over Sunday morning. So I called it a night on Saturday and made peace with the slightly splotchy walls and very splotchy ceiling. It's probably pretty bad that my initial enthusiasm could have been so swiftly replaced with the mindset, "eh, it's just a rental." I didn't even bother to paint my grey accent wall. Still, all my worrying that I only gave half-effort to this painting endeavor, does not diminish the fact that even my one-coat paint-job has brightened the room immeasurably. It even makes the awful, broken blinds that came with the room look less shabby, if a bit more disposable. Cleaner and brighter, the room now looks, and I now only have to strip the layers of paint off my remaining light switch plate and 1 outlet face plate to bring them back to their original white color, and remove the paint drips that currently decorate bits of my floor and a corner of my dresser, and the room will be single-coat complete. Not too bad for a day's work, really, even though more dedicated souls would probably have done the requisite 2 coats and done their clean-up in the same amount of time. Now, let's get through this Monday!


Friday, November 4, 2011


 {Image via}
This weekend I am all set to paint my new room. That's right. Me. Painting. Can you imagine the Vachal Debacles that may come about from this?? I shall be sure to report back with a full-scale story as well as photos - I may take some before shots, just to assure myself that job will surely make it look better than it started out, even if it ends up being a rather shoddy job... But the supplies have been purchased, pre-painting cleaning, patching, etc. will take place this evening, and tomorrow will be the day of transformation! I am proud to say that I spent a couple of hours last night cleaning the stove top and scrubbing down the shower. Those now look 100% better than they started out, but there is still work to be done. :) Oh rentals that have been inhabited by boys for years and years. And I say that as a messy girl - I'm not going to lie when I tell you that I generally scrub down my apartment twice, once upon move-in and once upon move-out. So I'm not claiming to be some Susie Homemaker here. Still, proud of my common areas handiwork, and excited to keep the momentum going with this weekend's touch-up of my own space! Until Monday kids, have a fabulous and safe first-weekend-of-November!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I feel like the past month I have been running non-stop, fretting about and hunting for housing, fretting and worrying about the timing of my old place being rented out and my ability to find a new place, worries about money, money, money, worries about whether New York really was the place for me or whether it had beaten me and it was time to pack it in. I feel like I've just been a stress ball since October 1. I am happy to report, however, that even in all that running-to-viewings, making it to work on-time, and trying to spend as little money on necessities as humanly possible, I still managed to make myself get into the gym on the 4 days a week allotted for ensuring I get some weight training in. My eating has been abhorrent, sporadic and incredibly unhealthy, but at least the weights have helped to keep me sane. I very much believe it was a saving grace that, for 30 minutes in a day, I was able to focus only on the feeling of my muscles contracting, focus only on the pride of lifting a pound heavier than I'd managed the last week. When I saw this picture, I felt like it hit two nails on the head - first, my relief at - for the first time in so many weeks - not having to think about where I'm going to live or how I'm going to pay a deposit, and second, the reason I keep pushing myself to make it to the gym for weights. I want to increase strength and capability, I want to stop relying so heavily on outside sources for my emotional strength, and I think a good manifestation of that effort, for me, is to push for a strong physical self. Regardless, this picture seemed fitting for today, so there it is.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


 {Image via}
I am happy to report to you that, after my first night in my new apartment, I am 100% happy in my decision to make the shift from Manhattan studio living to Brooklyn roommate living. I hadn't realized how lonely it really did get living on my own - there was something comforting about just knowing there was someone in the house last evening as I puttered about unpacking my room and he continued about his Tuesday night. Added bonus to living with 2 hetero guys? There was no qualms about my putting my stuff anywhere. I asked about everything, "is there a cupboard that would be mine?",  "Is there a shelf I should use?",  "Is this area empty for a reason or can I put something there?" and every single question was answered with a quizzical look, a shrug and a "Sure, do whatever." Very lucky to have such laid-back roommates, I believe. Never mind the fact that my room's former resident apparently had a bit more stuff than anyone realized so the living area - while undoubtedly small - feels a bit roomier than it did when I first looked at the apartment. And, as I left the house to make my commute into the city, there was something beyond lovely about looking up to see sky above the apartment buildings, pink and orange brilliance as the sun came up, and to make it to my subway stop where I stood with plenty of room all around me waiting for my train. Upon reaching my Manhattan transfer station, of course, I was sardined in with the rest of the commuters, but I can already tell that my move to seek more space and peace has been successful, the goal accomplished. There's still much setting up to be done - gotta finish up the cleaning in my old studio tonight, hand off the keys - and I want to do a thorough cleaning of both the bathroom and the kitchen - these are boys I'm living with, after all - but I am very excited.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


 {Image via}
I am relieved to let all of you know that I have found a new abode with lower rent, to appease money worries, get me out of my own head with more frequency thanks to the existence of two roommates, and introduce me to the idiosyncrasies of a borough outside of the claustrophobic rushing of Manhattan. I have loved my little studio, and I am sad to give it up, although not as sad as I thought I would be. Presumably because my goals are loftier now - thriftiness plays a larger role than most in my life now that I know what it feels like to be struggling to keep your head above water monetarily - but regardless I am incredibly excited to get started on yet another chapter in my New York journey. I will be moving to Brooklyn as of this evening - returning only to my UES stomping grounds to finish cleaning the apartment and tie up any odds and ends deemed necessary by my property management company. I am excited for my new neighborhood, one with which I am already a bit familiar thanks to a friend who used to live in the area, and which I am excited to get to know on my own, with my own agenda, my own time-line and my own interest base. Never mind the fact that Brooklyn is such an enormous borough that there are going to be plenty of neighborhoods I will soon be able to explore, especially thanks to the freedom that my now-essential-for-commuting unlimited metro pass will provide me to train it up and down and all around. Added bonus to the fact that I am already somewhat familiar with the neighborhood into which I'm moving? The fact that this room was the largest for this rental price that I saw in all the weeks I was searching out rooms. It has 2 closets (that's right, 2), a window (that looks outside) and it's own door! And for all this I will be paying less than $1,000 a month. There was a lot of panic at the end there, but I am more happy than even I imagined for putting into action this move-out plan, and I am relieved beyond belief to start having some wiggle room in my monthly earnings. Wish me luck with the move and I hope to have tales of my new life as a roommate and a Brooklynite soon!