30 January 2009

Jcrew.com mystery solved!

I reported earlier this week that jcrew.com was having some rather annoying technical difficulties. A diligent Yeah, Like The Cheese follower informed me that, according to the Chicago Tribune, jcrew.com was malfunctioning because of President Obama! After inauguration, traffic to the site increased because the First Daughters wore JCrew coats on their dad's big day.

Change is good...

I am in the process of making a few changes to my blog. Obviously, the look has been altered. More changes to come...

Survival of the fittest

It’s amazing the things we humans have to survive. And I say “have to” and not “can” because, well, we can survive some pretty amazing things, like being buried in an avalanche and falling 20 stories. But we don’t “have to” live through those things – it’s not necessary for the species to continue on if a select few humans die in these and other unique disasters. What I’m talking about are the things that nearly everyone on the planet “has to” live through; the things that when we come face-to-face with them we really don’t know how we are going to keep on living, but, miraculously enough, we actually do.

Death of a loved-one; heartbreak; physical pains of childbirth*; making a really huge, really wrong decision and having to live with the consequences; knowing that you severely damaged a person you deeply care about, are just a few examples.

At the rightful old age of 25, I can put a checkmark next to every one of these, except childbirth (thank God). What happens when you hit this age, the confusing mid-20s, and have never had to deal with any of these emotional roadblocks? How is it when your life sails along in a seemingly undisturbed, smooth way for decades? What is it like to be 25-26-27 and never really feel the lowest one can feel?

It’s my personal belief that 27-year-olds who are sheltered from these dramas become like those children whose parents keep them in a virtual bubble, never allowing them to play with other kids because of the potential transmission of germs and bacteria, so that when they do join the ranks of other public school first-graders, they become violently ill for weeks and weeks because their previously protected immune systems were not exposed to the evil germs carried by other six-year-olds and spread via snot, sneezes, unwashed hands and a fascination of cigarette butts and other bits of trash on the playground blacktop. [Now that was a run-on sentence.] While these childrens’ bodies go into exposure overload, the mid-20s’ minds are supercharged by scary emotions such as dread, hatred, sadness, depression and un-diluted fear. These individuals also are, in my humble opinion, not likely to realize when they emotionally hurt others. Since they have not had a broken heart or had to live with a horrid decision, they don’t really know how it feels when the emotional pain far succeeds that of any physical pain they have ever experienced.

Taken bit-by-bit and on a one-at-a-time basis, the previously mentioned devastations can be handled. Learning how to manage supreme disappointment throughout two or three decades allows one to grow and mature, as emotionally growing as a human being is the result of “having to” survive things like heartbreak and the death of someone you love. And so, I think it is safe to say, that people who don’t have to learn how maneuver through these emotional hardships are not as mentally mature as those who do push through the shitty times.

Or maybe I’m wrong. I mean, I haven’t checked off everything on the list yet, so maybe after I give birth (hopefully years from now) I can claim to know what I’m talking (or writing) about. Or, maybe I am right.

Regardless of whether I am right or wrong, I do make a point in saying that we humans “have to” survive some pretty heavy stuff AND I know I am right in saying that the things we “have to” endure are nothing short of emotional earthquakes and mental monsoons, causing devastation and wreaking havoc in our front lopes and synapses. But look at it this way, we become better people after surviving our own emotional Hurricane Katrinas. We become better friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, mothers, godfathers, sisters, subway riders, pet parents, writers, community citizens and daughters. So push through the pain people. It will eventually subside enough for you to realize that that pain was actually worth it…

*only half the population, duh

Newest obsessions

I received a Facebook invitation to a short film screening earlier this week from a high school acquaintance. The screening for Ramblin' Round was last night at 11th Street Bar.

1. The movie was fantastic! It was about a man and a woman who decide to leave the city and flee to Maine. It was only about 20 minutes long (hence, short film), but filmed on a 16mm camera and for less than $5,000. My high school friend did the visual effects and everyone else involved in the film volunteered their time and talents.

2. 11th Street Bar is so cool! The screening room is in the back, behind the public bar. It's nicer than the neighborhood dive bar, but friendly and comfortable. Totally my scene. And the clientele consisted of the typical East Villager, yet a bit more put together. Men like this are my weakness.

29 January 2009

Spontaneous dancing

If this really happened all the time, I would be the happiest person alive.

Anyone want to start the "Spontaneous, choreographed dancing" movement with me? I know Kathryn will, as I stole this video from her blog.

My biggest fear

If I EVER turn into someone like this, kill me:

Quickie post about the Hope Gala

Last Friday was the 2009 Hope Gala, which raised thousands of dollars for The Four Diamonds Fund, fighting pediatric cancer. The night was nothing short of amazing! Nearly 350 Penn Staters (and Penn State lovers) attended the event, including a THON family, pediatric oncology doctors, Penn State Alumni Board members, and some of my sorority sisters! This is a picture of us doing the lame Alpha Delta Pi diamond, which is obligatory when more than two ADPis are together, especially after not seeing each other for a while. Go ahead, laugh at us. You'd better believe we were making fun of ourselves.

The gala was held at Capitale, a huge and fantastic venue on the Lower East Side. Afterwards, we Penn Staters did what we do best (besides raise money for kids with cancer, kick ass in football and study), partied the night away at The Delancy. Of course we worked with the bar to make sure a percentage of the drink proceeds went to THON.

Click here to learn more about the Hope Gala, and how to donate to the Penn State Dance Marathon.

28 January 2009

And, I'm over it

Thankfully, I have been feeling better about being a single lady lately because (drum roll please) J has a new girlfriend. And apparently, from what I hear from our mutual friends, his relationship with this new girl is virtually identical to our relationship. Here is the checklist:
- Previously established relationship (as a friend) - Check!
- Complete obsession with each other - Check!
- Jumping in head first and going from 0 to 100 mph in about three minutes - Check!
- Spending nearly every night together - Check!
- She has an adorable name - Check!

I am not sad really. I think finding this out has actually jolted me into reality and I am able to say, "Man, I am over it." Let her deal with his shortcomings and neuroses. I am donzo. Unfortunately, she lives in Manhattan so I hope I don't run into them anywhere. I might throw up on him, mostly because he makes me sick. I mean, he didn't learn did he? That is sickening, to walk away from a relationship and not learn anything? Wow, I mean, I learned a lot and I know I won't make the same mistakes (see bullet points three and four, for example). Whatever. He's finally gone, and I am not sad. Party time!

Clowning around

If only our politicans and citizens could poke fun at the recession like members of the Kankakee, Illinois Chamber of Commerce did during the 1958 recession. Pictured here, these clowns (said endearingly with smile) staged a mock execution of "Old Man Gloom," as a way to rally local spirits.

Photo courtesy of www.time.com.


How annoying is this? I have been getting this error message on jcrew.com for weeks. It just pops up nearly every time I visit the website. I know the format of jcrew.com changed recently, and apparently, the company's IT department cannot fully manage its website. This makes me not want to shop at JCrew.

Some random thoughts...

So first of all, New Jersey is finally getting some recognition. The WSJ published an article saying the Garden State is "America's secret treasure-house of culture." Lee Siegel says that "no place has New Jersey's tightly packed diversity, its quick changes from urban to country, from mountains to coast, from gritty to gorgeous."

Second: I'm going to the ballet tonight with my friend, Kathryn. I am so excited! We are seeing Four Voices with the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Here is a photograph from Chiaroscuro, a ballet which "locates its six cast members between light and shadow as their weaving patterns unfold in complex interactions."

Photo courtesy of www.nycballet.com.

27 January 2009

Newest Obsession

You're just going to have to click here to find out my latest song obsession. It's amazing, trust me.

23 January 2009

Salmonella in peanut butter

I'm getting rid of all peanut-related products in my kitchen. Any food item with peanuts or peanut butter on the ingredients label are going down the trash chute. I may be overreacting, but it's better to be safe than sorry. I don't want to get salmonella.

Some of the safe stuff:

22 January 2009

And I hit a break-up milestone...

So, it's been a little over a week since I've mentioned J, and as you can see, I have not been blogging about him nearly as much as I was in 2008. I don't want you to think that he is no longer on my mind, when, in fact, thoughts of him and us linger on the edge of consciousness...all the time. Usually his name flashes just behind my eyes, in the space of my mind that is only filled when running, working out, in meetings at work and reading. He is still there, still renting real estate in my hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory). Luckily he's downgraded from an unsightly mansion the size of Bill Gates' estate to a 20-something's Manhattan apartment. My thoughts of him rarely elicit the response they did months ago, a flash of heat and gage reflex. Yet, still, sometimes I feel a flush hiding just beneath my skin; it takes a few minutes of deep breathing and ab contractions (to focus my thoughts on something physical) to push the heat and panic back into my heart.

This morning, months after stupid J broke my heart, I hit a milestone in the worst break-up in my history. I was on the 5 train on my way to work. I looked down, and the guy standing next to me was wearing brown shoes with an outfit that would have been better served by black shoes. When we were in love, J didn't have black dress shoes, only these brownish, orange, wingtipish shoes. And I smiled. I smiled when I thought of his quirky brown shoes. I finally smiled from a memory and there was no animosity, or love, or pain in the smile. Nothing but happiness from a memory; happiness from a thought about him. And this was the first time since our break-up three months ago that I was able to think about him without feeling regret, pain, sadness or jealousy. Am I ready to be his friend? Absolutely not. But it appears as if I am well on my way to either being able to accept life without him or allowing him to have an active presence in my world.

21 January 2009

Happy squirrel appreciation day...

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day everyone! That's right...today marks the eighth annual Squirrel Appreciation Day. So go ahead, drop a few nuts on your way out the door, brake for these cut tree-hoppers, and, for once, don't yell at them when they tip your bird feeder this evening.

Our prez is cool

President Obama is one cool dude. Check out his dancing skills at one of the inaugural balls. I suspect he is holding back.

The talented, the young, the cute...Mr. Radcliffe

Last night, my friend, Jackie, and I went to see Equus. Equus is a story of a stable boy and psychiatrist who seek to understand what provoked the boy to blind six horses, his favorite animal. Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Potter) plays the stable boy, and Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter's uncle), plays the psychiatrist. The play was startling, to say the least. I was emotionally drained afterward. However, not drained enough to NOT brave the 20 degree weather to meet Mr. Radcliffe! And so, Jackie and I waited for 30 minutes after the show to see Daniel and get his autograph. Luckily, he came to our side of the queue first, so we could have a chat and then run off. Here is a picture of Daniel...

He seemed thoroughly overwhelmed, but was chatty. Someone complimented his hat; he complimented her furry hood. A woman commended him for pushing through a cold and said she had one last week; he responded with, "I hope you feel better." Nice kid.

20 January 2009

THON: Fighting pediatric cancer

When I was an undergraduate student at Penn State, I became involved in the Penn State Dance Marathon.

THON, as we called it, is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. During my senior year, 80,000 Penn State students raised $4.1 million for The Four Diamonds Fund, an organization run out of the Penn State Children's Hospital at Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa. that supports children with cancer and their families. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $52 million for The Four Diamonds Fund.

This year, some New York City Penn Staters got together to organize the first annual Hope Gala, It's Up to You New York!. The event is being held this coming Friday, January 23 at Capitale restaurant. While the gala is completely sold out, donations for THON are still being accepted at www.thon.org until the final hours of the 48-hour dance marathon, which begins at 7 p.m. on February 20 and ends at 7 p.m. on February 22. I will be volunteering at the gala and my brother, currently a junior at Penn State, is on a rules & regulations committee, working during THON.

16 January 2009

The geek whisperer

This is my friend David:

David is a geek. A HUGE geek. But he's also, actually, a personable geek; and he's wicked smart. David is more social than any other true-blue geek I have ever met. I am a firm believer that we all have a little "geekiness" inside of us, but most of us are afraid to admit that we like reading old Batman comics/wish we could rebuild computers/have been to a tech convention. He really puts his geekiness out there in his blog, The_Geek_Whisperer. He has really embraced being a geek by providing witty commentary on a range of topics including tech news, comics, social networking and new gadgets. Check it.

Four More Days...

The day we have been waiting for is quickly approaching.

Read or watch Bush's farewell speech and join in on the country's countdown...

15 January 2009

Plane crashed in the Hudson River

A U.S. Airways flight crashed in the Hudson River a couple of hours ago. Apparently, the plane hit a flock of geese and then went down. Thankfully everyone on board survived the crash. I was able to see the plane and rescue boats from my office building. However, a friend of a friend was on one of the ferries that picked up the stranded passengers.

Scary stuff.

The new love-of-my-life

And so, it has happened again. I have fallen in love.

But this time, instead of falling for a selfish and immature man, my new love is a city. New York, to be exact. Similar to the way I was able to forget all my pains and all the bad stuff whenever I thought of or was with J, New York is quickly becoming a love-of-my-life. Especially in the gorgeous snow, as seen in this picture of City Hall from City Hall Park.

Sometimes I get frustrated with the city. It's annoying to have to squish into a subway car, and sometimes schlepping through the snow and rain seems to be more trouble than it's worth, but then I just think of where I am and where I live, and I am transported to my happy place. New York, it seems, is the place for me.

14 January 2009

Weak back and weakening self control

I hurt my back, so much that I have to stop my marathon training. I want to scream. Training was the only think keeping me sane. The dull thud-thud-thud-breath-thud-thud-thud-breath is a combination of sounds that was like therapy to me. And now, it's over. At least for now. The physical therapist said he should have me back on my training regime in a few weeks, but it might be too late to reclaim my sanity.

You see, training was taking up so much time and energy, that I had no time to really think about J. However, in the past week, since I have cut down on training so drastically, I am beginning to feel the sense of panic I associate with having lost him. I resolved, right before Christmas, that he and I could not be friends, so all means of contact between the two of us have come to a halt. But, I am feeling myself weaken, my desire to speak to him and innate need to have him back in my life, albiet in some v. small way, is strengthening. And now I don't even have training to keep my mind off our non-existent friendship.

Must - stay - strong.

Must - find - new - "boyfriend."

(The word "boyfriend" is in quotations because it's not a serious relationship I need, it's just someone to keep my mind at ease. Some to have some no-strings-attached fun. So far, none of the men I have met and know have made the cut.)

Stupid weak back. Stupid weak self control.

Dances-with-Wolves Plays-the-Guitar

During my mid-morning media monitoring, I came across an article titled Kevin Costner's Other Career. It appears as if our favorite Robin Hood started a band named Modern West, which features guitarist John Coinman and bassist Blair Forward. Dances-with-Wolves is, of course, lead vocalist and plays rhythm guitar. I give props to the man for taking a risk and changing up his career, but come on, how cliche can you get!

13 January 2009

U.S.A. = No selling brides

I am facinated by other cultures, their rituals, ways of life, marriage customs and basically what it's like to live in another part of the world. This is why I chose strange places to visit (Turkey, Guatemala, Russia, China, etc...).

What I find weird though, is how some culture sell women to be brides. I read this article on cnn.com today about a man, who moved to California from Oaxaca, Mexico and sold his daughter for some cash, beer and soda. Apparently, this is a common event in Oaxaca, but come on man, this is America, the land of the free. We don't sell people here. If you really wanted to take part in this custom, then at least go back to Mexico to conduct the transaction. If you did that, you would not be in jail right now.

09 January 2009

So that's where all the romantics are...

All of you men out there should pay attention to this six-year-old boy because he certainly knows how to romance his five-year-old girlfriend. These two mini-romantics decided they wanted to go to Africa to get married, so they packed their bags, recruited a witness (how a six-year-old knew to bring a witness is a mystery to me) and headed to the airport, sans parents. Of course they were stopped before they got anywhere significant, but the story made news in their home country, Germany.

So that's where all the romantics are...in first-grade.

06 January 2009

Hayley's Blog

Hi! You should check out Hayley's blog: http://shehasitt.blogspot.com/.

She is in Washington D.C. getting her master's degree in public health from George Washington University and is wicked smart. Her blog touches upon aspects of public health, in addition to raves about clothes and trips and such...

05 January 2009

Rants and Raves

This Rant is my Rave.

Marathon training. It's lovely to be in such great shape. I have muscles where I never had muscles before, and my abs are stronger and more solid that ever before. Not to mention to intense number of calories I burn on each run. Whoa Nelly - two hour training runs rule my life!

And yet, they also suck, so bad. My entire body hurts...All - The - Time. If it's not shin-splints, it's abdominal cramps. If it's not cramps in my abdomen, then it's cramps in my thighs or calves. So while I love the results that are slowly showing from training so hard, it is also taking a giant toll on my body. When is it okay to stop training for a few day? Ever? Do I just continue to push through the pain that literally makes me cry during my daily runs, or do I give in to the pain for a half of a week?

Making Repeat Mistakes

Would you knowingly make the same mistake twice?

Okay, so we have all had a drunken night out after vowing to never have more than two G&Ts the next time a GNO (girls night out) happens. What I mean is a huge mistake. Like driving drunk, getting into an accident and then doing the same thing three months later. Or jumping back into a relationship you know a)wasn’t good for you, b) left you feeling empty, or c) made you unhappy. Or going on another shopping spree at Barneys even though you know you just spent a month’s salary on travel and shopping.

I spent my daily run thinking about mistakes and whether or not I would willingly make one of my many colossal mistakes again. Some, like dating an ex, I would cave and do again. I’m weak when it comes to people and emotions and I have been told that I forgive much too easily. I’m putty in a lover’s arms, especially in certain cases and with certain people. But others, like becoming anorexic again, I don’t ever think I would ever let happen again.

However, when is it okay to give in to temptation and make a repeat mistake? Is it okay to, say, jump back into Round Two of a relationship if we sincerely think things will be different and if our intentions are pure? And, if we make a mistake again, do we suffer in silence or can we lean on friends…again?

A Big Start to My New Year

2009 has so far been a huge year for me. I moved into my own, cute, little apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (see pictures below). My neighborhood, referred to by its residents as Yorkville, is filled with cute restaurants, bars and shops. It's not far from Central Park and is close to some of my favorite NYC museums including the Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, and the Frick.

John Travolta's Son Dies

I'm sure you know by now that John Travolta's son, Jett (aged 16), died on Friday, January 2. According to reports, Jett had a developmental disability that his parents linked to Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disorder of the artery walls that can lead to heart disease. Word in the celebrity blogosphere is that the Scientologists (Mr. and Mrs. Travolta) claimed that the seizure medication he was on for this Kawasaki-linked developmental disorder did not work, so Mr. and Mrs. had him stop treatment. Other reports claim that he had some other disorder, which was not a recognized disease by their religion, so they were not treating him for the condition with which he was actually afflicted. The autopsy is being done today, so we shall see what really happened to poor Jett. On a side note, my best friend, Hayley, had Kawasaki disease when she was four or five years old. She was in the hospital for a week and has no long-lasting negative effects from the disease (thankfully). Call me crazy and biased, but don't weird things happen to those Scientologists???

01 January 2009

Spreading Laughs in 2009

To start off the new year, I'd like to share with you some YouTube videos I find particularly entertaining. Pass these links along to spread some laughs and smiles this year.

Big Ball Montage

Shaun Mercado Performs "Single Ladies"

Shuz (one of my all time favorite videos)

Happy New Year!