26 February 2009

The Facebook face slap; but it doesn't have to be

Every time I log onto Facebook, I notice that at least one of my "friends" is hitting a grown-up milestone. Whether it's a status update saying my grade and high school travel buddy is moving in with her boyfriend, a college friend changing his status to say 'married' or an acquaintance posting pictures of her new baby, it seems like everyone is growing up and taking the requisite steps into adulthood.

Approximately one year ago, I was on this path. I had already moved in with my boyfriend, was (I thought) on the way to exclaiming "Yes!" to a diamond ring and a few tiny years away from inhaling obscene amounts of folic acid and those other vitamins and minerals women need when trying to conceive or when they are already preggers. And while I chose to end that life, a life of being-the-woman-I-thought-I-should-be, I find that I still crave some of it. I crave the closeness of a serious relationship, knowing where my next sexy night will take place and with whom I will be with, the security that comes from knowing that he would never leave me, because I know that N would never have left if I hadn't ended the relationships myself early last spring. However, I also know that putting an end to that half-decade-long relationship saved me. In that relationship, I had, essentially, given up on my life.

Yet, I miss it. I miss having a man that adores me, because N did adore me. Looking back, I see that v. clearly. But in leaving him, I was able to fall in love with J. And while short, that relationship revived me, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the world of the living again.

Sure, my relationship status on Facebook says 'single' and there are no pictures of me with my baby and I've no boyfriend to move in with...not yet anyway. But I'm a believer and I believe that all that will happen to me. Maybe it won't be this year or even this decade, but I have faith that, with the help of my good friends, I'll somehow meet the perfect guy. Perhaps I already know him. Perhaps I won't meet him for another few years. But he's out there, waiting for me, too.


25 February 2009

LENT

So, this year I have decided to give up celebrity gossip websites and magazines for Lent. It is going to be very hard for me. I know that that this type of "news" does not matter and that most of the people mentioned in the reports are completely insane or ridiculous, but for some reason I can not stop reading about them! I am addicted to Perezhilton.com and DListed.com. I am not posting the links because I will be tempeted to click on them! I mostly like seeing what people are wearing, but I do admit that I like to learn about all the drama. Whenever I am bored I always look at the sites, but no more! I will stay on task and resist the urge to click! I wonder what I will do with all the free time that I will have??

Also, I went to Mass today to get my ashes and they always do the Gospel about not showing off how much you suffer when fasting and not to pray in public, but to do it in your own home so as not to brag about how religious you are being. What I don't understand is if they want you to keep your religion private and a personal thing, why do they mark a cross in ash on your head? I understand and agree with the reasoning of the ashes; to remind us of our mortality and that we will return to the ashes when we die, but our souls will continue to live, hopefully, with God, but I feel like it contradicts the Gospel chosen especially for this day. Maybe the ashes are there as more of a personal reminder of our mortality, but I can not help noticing that it is a particularly public way of showing that you are Catholic on a day when we are reminded to not flaunt our religion.

Get some DailyCandy

So I am obsessed with this website called DailyCandy. It’s a free daily e-mail dedicated to an area of your choosing. If you sign up you get the latest scoop on fashion, food, and fun. You just simply put in your email, choose an area, click if you’d also like to receive emails from DailyCandy Travel and/or Deals.

The daily editions available are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philly, San Fran, Seattle, and D.C. Weekly editions include Deals, Travel, Kids, and Kids Local.

You will receive info on hot new restaurants, stores, events, and lifestyle. Each week, DailyCandy also sends out a “Weekend Guide,” which details things to DO, SEE, EAT, and SHOP in your area. It’s like getting an e-mail from your quirky, eclectic, always in-the-know BFF.

I have wandered across some incredible new restaurants, gallery and store openings, designers, sample sales….pretty much everything and anything you can imagine through DailyCandy.

I recommend it to everyone! To sign-up or just check it out, click the link below. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

http://www.dailycandy.com/

24 February 2009

My Yorkville neighborhood

I woke up this morning and could not move. Literally, I was aching so bad I could - not - move. It took all my energy and yoga-like breathing to summon the courage to reach two feet to my right to pick up my cell phone and call out of work.

Several hours, and many small movements inching my body to the edge of my bed, later I was able to hobble into the kitchen, make toast and tea, and plop myself on the couch, where I did not move until 2 p.m. At this time, I decided I was well enough to venture outside to do laundry and pick up a copy of my lease at the leasing office on E. 78th Street.

As a woman who does not ingest chemicals (ie - medications) on a daily or even weekly basis, the cough medicine I took hit me good and I found myself wandering aimlessly around my neighborhood - along the East River and through John Jay Park. John Jay Park is, simply, so cool! There is a baseball court, handball courts (which I will use to hit tennis balls) and a pool! There is a cute community pool one block away from my home and I am so excited to hang out there this summer! And there is a gorgeous running path along the East River which runs along the entire length of the river. I can't believe it took getting sick and taking cough suppressant to get me to wander around my neighborhood.




I love PSU



What THON is all about...



23 February 2009

Two remarkable blues musicians


Sunday night I went to see blues legends B.B King and Buddy Guy perform at the Beacon Theatre with my dear friend David (the Geek Whisperer).

Buddy Guy took the stage first and played classic blues, along with some killer solos. It was incredible. Then he announced he was bringing out a 9-year old kid to play along. The kids name was Quinn, and he was prodigious. Not seeing him on stage, one would have thought he played guitar for decades. Buddy and Quinn shared the spotlight for a couple songs, then Buddy put his guitar down and let Quinn take it away as lead guitar (Buddy was vocals).

After an intermission B.B. King’s Blues Band took to the stage and played two songs before B.B. King came on stage. There was a chair up front and center, where he just sat and jammed for the rest of the evening.

B.B. King wears his crown as the King of Blues exceptionally well. At age 83, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no effect on B.B., other than adding to his wide array of fans, and making him more popular than ever. As a B.B. King “virgin,” I can attest to this quite well.

B.B. King spends half of his time on stage playing belting out incredible lyrics, strumming on his guitar like no other, and the other half interacting with the audience. He is quite the funny dude. He loves woman, and he is not afraid to let you know.

B.B. brought out Buddy and Quinn halfway through his set. The three of them jammed out to a few tunes, and then B.B. finished a phenomenal set.

The concert was incredible, however, the audience wasn’t so great. I don’t know about you, but I cant sit still listening to music, so forget about live music. I tend to jam out to anything and everything. So just as usual, David and I were bopping around and moving our head to the tunes. It seemed to me like we were one of the few in the whole theater to be any what amused by the music we were listening to (a usual for me). Both Buddy Guy and B.B. King have incredible showmanship mind-boggling musical talent. So how can you not??

D-A-N-C-I-N-G

Here is a clip of the beginning of the THON 2009 Line Dance...


...and the end.



22 February 2009

National Museum of American History

This weekend my good friend from Rutgers, Amanda, came to visit. I had only been to the National Museum of American History (one of the Smithsonians) once since it opened late last year and for only a few minutes. So, we decided to go on a Saturday, which was our first mistake. It was entirely too crowded, even though it is a huge building. The ventilation was terrible and it was extremely hot, which surprised me because it has been recently renovated. We had to wait in lines for most of the exhibits, including the first ladies and pop culture exhibits. The first lady exhibit is pretty good. There is a display of many of the inauguration dresses worn by first ladies ranging from Martha Washington to Laura Bush (Michelle Obama's is not yet on display). We then had to wait in a pretty long line for the pop culture exhibit and it is so small! It is like half of a small room and consists of only a few items, some of which are not even interesting. I was really disappointed in the lack of interesting displays and the very small exhibits. It seems that there is a lot of space in the building, but they are not utilizing it. I assume they are not finished with the renovations, but as of now, it is not worth visiting. There are so many interesting moments in American history, but none of them are featured! The National Gallery of Art is my favorite museum in D.C. The interior is gorgeous and relaxing and the collections are eclectic and can keep you entertained for hours. I am so lucky that I live in a city where I have the opportunity to visit all these educational and entertaining venues! There is something new to do everyday.

THON raised...



$7,490,123.87 FOR THE KIDS!

Congratulations dancers and fundraisers!

20 February 2009

Real time picture from THON

I'm heading up to Penn State tomorrow morning to go to the Penn State Dance Marathon. My brother is volunteering at the annual fundraiser and just texted me this picture:

There are about 700 dancers and thousands of student volunteers and supporters that gather in the Bryce Jordan Center one weekend every February to dance for 48 hours For The Kids! More details and pictures from THON to come, so stay tuned!



Jealous? You will be soon enough

I hate to rub it in, but this is a photograph of the location of my next adventure...Costa Rica. Gorgeous, isn't it.
Jackie and I (with our buddy David, the Geek Whisperer) are going to Costa Rica in May, and this is a picture of Monteverde, which is located north of San Jose. I wish I was there. Right. Now. Like right now. Jackie and I are already buying some cute clothing items for our pending vacation to paradise. We are quite impatient.

Are you totally Super J?*

*Super J means "jealous" in mid-twenties-trendy-blonde-girl speak. Just FYI.


A conversation with my mom via e-mail

Me: Apparently J is not the happy, go lucky man I once knew. I have insider information that he has become bitter and mean and not-fun.
Mom: He is not the J you loved...
Me: Where did he go?
Mom: He is in a tomb under his Quaker primary school – his spirit never grew older than the last age he was when he went there.
Me: Probably.
Mom: You will find a nice/patient/all-loving and generous guy. He’ll probably be Catholic, not Quaker.*

*J was not Quaker, just went to a Quaker primary school that taught the kids with the Quaker, hands-off, non-grading, teach-what-the-kids-want-to-be-taught ideals. He has (in my opinion) severe and negative effects from going to such a tiny school. My mother is a public school teacher. And a Catholic.

NOTE: My mother is usually an open-minded woman, but when it comes to men who have hurt me, she can be brutal. It's the Jersey Girl in her, I think. At least, I hope it's not genetic...


19 February 2009

What happened to the courtship stage?

As I mentioned in my "Hola!" post, I am in love with love. Who woulnd't be??! According to many, I'm the victim of falling fast and hard for the "not so good" guys, which always seems to end in heartbreak and a substantial loss of self-confidence. About 8 months ago, my almost 4-year relationship ended, and I was devastated. Now, I realize that it was the best thing for me. I've grown, realized my own strengths and weaknesses, and have started to become my own woman again (although I do admit, I still have much room for personal growth—but don’t we all?).

Recently I started "dating" an incredible guy. After coming out of what many would call (actually, what everyone would call) "a very unhealthy 4-year relationship,” this scares me. Trust, communication, patience, honesty, opening up and letting someone new into your life. And then comes the “what are we” issue.

Many of my close friends are jumping into extremely serious relationships and drowning themselves in them. Now, don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a serious relationship, but a connection takes time to build. I’m hearing from a few, the what I like to call “relationship timeline.” The “you’ve been talking/seeing each other for 3 weeks now, so your totally bf/gf.” I’m not going to lie to you, I did ask this new interest what he thought would be appropriate to tell people we were, if the question ever arises. And we had a deep conversation about it.

I’m learning that there is no timeline for personal relationships—it’s all person dependent. Relationships come naturally, if you let them. Rushing into a commitment can work for some people, but in most cases it does not work out in the long run. It can be very detrimental. I think when couples rush into a relationship, they stay in the infatuation stage for a while, and when that is over, what else do they have? Yes, there’s still the sexual attraction (but there always is anyway). But what about the little things? What about the deep, undying connection that we as humans seek to form?

As women, we tend to overanalyze situations. And sometimes I can be the queen of overanalyzing. The “he doesn’t want to see me tonight, therefore he must not be interested.” I’m learning that if he wants to spend most of his time with you….he’s interested. If he shoots you a random text or call just to say hi….he’s interested. Maybe our overanalyzing tendencies are why we want to rush into the “bf/gf” status? Why though? If he tells you he’s into you and doesn’t want to talk to other girls or see other girls….please try to trust him, b/c he’s most likely interested ladies.

The words "boyfriend" and “girlfriend” hold a lot of weight to them. It implies exclusivity, dedication, commitment, patience, honesty, and trust (as well as an incredible amount of everything else that comes along with it!). All of which are scary things to everyone, especially to someone who has not had many relationships or has spent most of their relationship history in damaging relationships.

With all that said, as I mentioned, I did just have the “what are we” talk. And we decided to say “we’re dating.” But we are both a tad bit old fashioned, and would like to call it “in the midst of courtship.” Right now we are enjoying spending a lot of time together, getting to know eachother, learning eachothers quirks and personalities. Why put stress on that? This has been an amazing 3 weeks or month or whatever it's been (remember, there’s no timeline to relationships!). And when we hit the next “what are we” roadblock, we’ll address it. But for now, I’m completely ok with our “courtship process.”

So my advice to anyone in the same boat as me: Breathe. Don’t fall for the “not so good guys.” Don’t drown yourself. Be a little old fashioned. Enjoy the “courtship process.” I’m learning it can be quite enjoyable, spectacular, fun, and everything amazing (oh, and that you can find a rather phenomenal dude in the process).

18 February 2009

One of the greatest choreographers of all time...

I am currently watching a two-hour-long special on PBS called Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About. Robbins was one of America's most amazing choreographers, working with Broadway, Hollywood and New York City Ballet. What is so cool to me is that I did some of his choreography when I was in ShowKids Invitational Theatre, being a child actor in a community theater group. So Robbins' dances are close to my heart.




Sunday brunch


This past weekend a couple friends and I decided to go to brunch. While roaming around Astoria, it’s hard not to notice the wide array of restaurants along Broadway as well as 30th ave. We decided on Balu, located on 30th ave and 38th Street, and we LOVED it! It’s only been around for about 8 months and from the looks of it, is going to be around for many to come.

Balu is a restaurant/bar/lounge with a phenomenal atmosphere—very classic yet laid back at the same time. The walls are painted different shades of purple and white. Dark purple curtains hang from the windows, white couches line the outer walls, and light purple silk taffeta drapes the ceiling. The wait staff was incredibly friendly and the food was outstanding. We ate chocolate pancakes, a prosciutto and mozzarella panini on ciabatta bread, and a grilled chicken wrap with avocado, tomatoes, and roasted peppers. Corn bread muffins are served before your meal, as well as an unlimited cup of coffee (and for 3 coffee lovers, we were in heaven!). And best of all—brunch comes with unlimited mimosas, bellinis, or bloody marys! Who could pass on that?! Oh, and did I mention, brunch is only $12!

We were also told that at night Balu gets pretty crowed! We’re going one night soon to check out the night atmosphere.

In the spring and summer months Balu lines the side walk with tables, so customers can spend their afternoon people watching, eating, drinking, and passing time with their friends.

I’ve decided to make Sunday brunch my new ritual. What’s a better way to end one week and start a new week?? I give Balu 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone exploring Astoria.

Worth it or a waste of time?

I have been slacking in providing descriptions of places I have been. Sorry. So I thought that listing and categorizing my recent culinary and recreational experiences would be best. Here goes....

Worth It

I went to Alta in the Village for dinner last week with five others. The upbeat vibe, tapas menu and delicious drinks (including its version of Sangria) provided the perfect environment for a larger group of twenty-somethings.

The PIT (Peoples Improv Theater) provides some low-cost laughs. The small theater hosts improv and sketch comedy acts. I went last week to see Jackie’s friends, Sam and Ben from Audience of Two – the $10 I parted with to see the show was well spent as my abs got a great workout I laughed so much.

Vino Wine Bar at Second Ave. and 66th Street is cheap and delicious. I went on a Valentine’s Day date with my friends and we all walked away well fed from the restaurant’s small plates and slightly buzzed by our reasonably priced yet delicious bottle of wine. At $20 per person, you can’t beat it.

Vol de Nuit on W. 4th and 6th Avenue is a Belgium beer garden that introduces its clients to some pretty cool brews. A covered entry tunnel takes you off W. 4th so the bar seems like it’s hidden and exclusive. I had Lindemans Framboise, a raspberry flavored beer that is more sweet than hoppy. It’s pretty pricey, my beer was $8, but worth the splurge.


Crumbs is a cupcake restaurant. I don’t think I need to say anything else, except maybe, “I would like to endorse the carrot cake, pumpkin, chocolate chip fudge, Reese’s and German chocolate cupcakes.” I’ve been here twice, once with a group of girls (we all shared our cupcakes, hence the long list of cupcakes I loved) and once with my mom.




Time Wasters

The Slaughtered Lamb pub on W. 4th Street might be a cool and creepy bar (there are fake skeletons locked in fake cells in the basement restaurant, which is referred to as “the dungeon”) but don’t bother eating here. The service was slow, food lackluster and waitresses ditsy. Although, my male friend who accompanied me to dinner loved the waitresses’ outfits, which I can describe as “spooky Hooters.”

The Living Room Lounge in the W Union Square is your typical, pretentious, high-end, hotel bar. I had a scotch on the rocks (the 12-year Glenlivet) for $12, which was not too pricey. However, the uptight clientele looked at my group like we were lepers; we all came from work and were dressed appropriately so I’m not sure why the other patrons found us so offensive. It could be our lack of trust funds and our apparent happiness that was off-putting.


17 February 2009

Boring lunch

For the most part, I enjoy variety in life. I love trying new things, taking chances and making changes to better my tiny world. I like being spontaneous and have a problem saying "no" to random outings and other shenanigans. However, my lunch, for the most part, is the same - every - single - day. I change up the type of hummus, wrap, greenery and fruit, but nearly every day this is what my lunch looks like:
Can someone please take me out to lunch?


The International

This weekend we saw "The International" starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. It was an interesting and pretty sobering concept - a large and powerful bank sells small arms to revolutionaries in civil conflicts and profits (in many ways) off of the debts that are accrued. I hope that I explained that correctly! I had a difficult time paying attention the entire time as it was a pretty slow moving film. I kept thinking it was ending and then it would keep going. Matt really enjoyed it, but I thought it could have been shorter and the characters could have been developed more fully. They seemed pretty one-dimensional. I would wait to see it when it comes out on DVD because it seems like a combination of other movies I have already seen.

Hola!

Hello “Yeah Like the Cheese” readers! As the newest contributor, let me introduce myself…As Brie mentioned, my name is Jackie, and I am a pharmaceutical copywriter in New York City. This is my first time writing for a blog, and I’m extremely excited and honored that Brie asked me to be a contributor to hers!

Currently, I live in Astoria—and love it! To tell you the truth, I live in the same building that I was raised in, so it was home to me the second I moved back in.

A few of my favorite obsessions are heels (well, really I have a passion for shoes of all kinds), conversation hearts and candy corn, wandering aimlessly around the streets of New York, art museums, music, and obviously—my friends.

I’m a tiny girl with a fierce personality—and by saying fierce, I mean it in a good way! I’m a little preppy, hippy, and punk rock. I love to laugh. I love to travel. I love wine and cheese. I love love. And most of all, I love life.

Brie and I are in the midst of planning our trip to Costa Rica, so I’m sure you will be hearing about that, as well as our many adventures!

Between Brie, Hayley, and myself, I’m sure we will be able to keep you entertained, informed, and amused with our own personal thoughts and experiences of current events, life, and culture in New York City and D.C.

Newest contributor

Hey everyone! I'd like to welcome to the Yeah, Like the Cheese writing staff, Ms. Jackie Vance!

[Wild applause]

Jackie is a 23-year-old phamarceutical copywriter, currently living in Queens. She and I have quickly become partners in crime during our nights out in the City and is on my short list of good friends. Jackie accompanied me to the Nine Circles show a few weeks ago and we have plenty more excursions planned for the upcoming months.


After five centuries, beheading is back in style

I thought the last woman ever to be beheaded by her husband would be Anne Boleyn. But apparently beheading is back in style.


The founder of an Islamic television station in New York state aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes beheaded his wife last weekend.


15 February 2009

Valentine's Day Outings

Last night we went to Palette, which is in the Madison Hotel in downtown D.C. We had a pre-fix meal with wine pairings, which I have never done before, so I was looking forward to it. The salad course was a goat cheese, beet, and pecan salad with one of the best pinot grigios that I have ever had. I forget the name of the wine, but it was from Oregon and it was so easy to drink and went great with the salad. For the entree I had chicken, which was very juicy and good, with bread pudding and spinach. It came with chardonnay, but it was pretty smoky, which I can appreciate, but prefer crisp tasting white wines because they are easy to drink and really refreshing. The cheese course was not spectacular. There were only soft cheeses and one tasted like pizza cheese - not so good. My dessert was great - it was a soft cake with cream and strawberries. Matt had the chocolate cake, but there was too much of an orange/bitter taste to it. Overall, the food was good, the atmosphere was pleasant and modern, and the service was great. We had a very good time.

Afterwards, we went to the Donovan House Hotel restaurant, which is a couple blocks away. It is not officially open yet, but they have the bar open with some temporary tables and lounge areas. I was not impressed. Maybe it will be better when they officially open, but they did not have good drink - my G&T was pretty weak and Matt did not like his Cabernet. We heard one of the waiters say that the same chef who cooked at Tao in Las Vegas is going to be the chef there, so maybe it will improve. I will give it another chance when it officially opens. It was a fun night and it was exciting to check out new places!

Just because...


I get to see her live in 44 days!


13 February 2009

House of cards

Click here to view excerpts from CNBC's House of Cards, a two-hour-long documentary that reviews the sub-prime mortgage crisis in America. Keep in mind that David Faber is out to blame anyone but the American public for the economic crisis. While investment bankers, lenders, and the Fed (among others) all contributed to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, American consumers are also to blame. We've been borrowing like crazy, believing that the wealth bubble we were living in for years was never going to break. And it did. We can't pay back our mortgages (why people were signing mortgages and loans for $500K when making less than $50K/year is beyond me) and have a lot less wealth. So keep in mind, when watching House of Cards, that the financial crisis is all our faults.

Key lesson: Live within your means. Don't buy a Lexus if you can't afford a Lexus. Yes, those Dolce shoes are to die for, but if you can't part with $700 in cash, then don't buy them! Ask yourself, "Do I really need a new cell phone or is my old Motorola RAZR doing the trick?" Visit www.timeout.com to learn about free/cheap activities in your city...


12 February 2009

Who thought working in finance could be entertaining?

I am usually logged into Investopedia.com all day, every weekday. I use this website purely for it's financial dictionary since I am by no means a finance girl (yet) and because I work in the finance industry. Investopedia is the love of my life since it helps me sound like I know what I am talking about at work and assists in some intense translations, like this: the consequent rating implications are likely to be negligible due to robust transaction structures and subordination build-up. WTF does that mean? Investopedia will help me decode this cryptic message.

Also, Investopedia gives me a "Quote of the Day" and "Financial Term of the Day." Today's quote and term are both entertaining...

QOTD
"If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians."
- Warren Buffett

FTOTD is especially wonderful, as I think it describes me and Hayley: RECESSIONISTA!

What Does Recessionista Mean?
A person who is able to remain stylish during times of economic hardship. A recessionista can shop on a limited budget and still manage to be up to date on the most current fashions. A recessionista does not let a bad economy, inflation, or a strong recession damage his or her wardrobe and opts to search for sales and shop at thrifty discount stores instead.

Investopedia explains Recessionista
The term recessionista derives from a combination of the words recession and fashionista. It is used to make light of a bad situation and demonstrate how people can maintain their lifestyles in times of struggle.


And so the genius said...




10 February 2009

iRevolution

I have been reading this blog by Patrick Meier - a researcher who is investigating the ability of individuals to be self-sufficient, self-determined, and facilitate self-survival through information communication technology, which can include the internet, cell phones, SMS texting, and more. This includes the ability of individuals to develop and form non-violent uprisings and create change (digital activism). The way this is done is through bottom-up use of technology. For example, Ushahidi, is a crowdsoucing mapping platform that provides real-time information on situational awareness in conflict situations. The basic premises of Ushahidi ("testimony" in Swahili) is that citizen journalists in Kenya submit SMS text messages to a central organization that maps out the reports. The map can help management groups mitigate the crises.

I have talked about using SMS text messaging before to report violence in schools, but this is an entire movement - giving individuals the freedom to do their own surveillance, be citizen journalists, and create change through social uprisings. Cell phones are very prevalent in rural societies and are becoming even more common place. Through organizations such as InSTEDD and The Global Research In.itiative, disease surveillance and agricultural improvements can be accomplished through the individual use of technology.

This is an amazing use of technological advances to improve the lives of people around the world and it is an extremely fascinating area of study.

09 February 2009

A night full of music

Holy fun weekend Batman! With the exception of reinjuring my back yesterday (the result of dragging 50+ pounds of laundry up six flights of stairs) and having to organize my tax stuff, this weekend pretty much ruled. I explored some new venues and got to spend time with new and old friends.

I already told you all about Prohibition and Bourbon Street, both places I visited on Friday night. On Saturday, after running for hours (back on track with training, hooray!), I met Jackie for what promised to be a night full of live music and dancing on Bleecker Street. We embraced our punk rocker personas and rocked out at the Nine Circles show at The Bitter End. I went to high school with the band's bass player, Steve, and when I got the invitation from him (which said, "come see us play, we don't suck) to come see the show, I couldn't say "no!"

Jackie and I were graced with the presence of someone I have known since I was seven, fellow High Bridgean, Chris Romash. Here we are rocking out.

Oh, and by the way, we were the only ones going crazy, dancing around, singing along with the lyrics and screaming Steve's name. While many patrons, mostly men, seemed entertained by our antics, we did make a few enemies...mostly other women. We expected that would be the case.

Bitter End is an amazing venue to see your favorite local band. It has been hosting bands since 1961 and calls itself “New York’s Oldest Rock Club.” The only downfall, to me, is the lack of open space. Tables and benches are crammed into all available space near the stage, so it is not a place conducive to rocking out, which, translates into a lack of energy created by the audience for the performing bands to feed off of while playing. Other than that, the vibe is more rock than hipster, and inviting to those not completely comfortable in lesser, seedier venues.

After an awesome show (I am now a devoted Nine Circles fan), we met up with some of Jackie's high school friends and headed over the Planet Rose karaoke bar on 14th Street and Avenue A for some good ol' karaoke fun. Jackie and I signed up to sing Love Shack, but the bar closed before we could belt out "bang bang bang on the door baby..." which we were pretty disappointed about. The place was a dive, with corny zebra print couches in the "karaoke room" which was in the back of the bar. There is no stage, and the lights are on low, so it would feel less like a performance when jamming out to your favorite songs and more like singing in your bedroom using a brush as a microphone like you did when you were a kid (or three nights ago if you are me). So if you are looking for a good place to test your vocal skills before heading to the popular karaoke spot, The Watering Hole, where you are prominently on display in the middle of the bar, head to 14th and A, and leave the hairbrush at home.


And the winner will be...

...not this guy.
According to BBC News, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be one of the 13 competitors on the new season of Dancing with the Stars. He's a looker, isn't he ladies?

The roster includes other C/D-list celebs including Jewel, Belinda Carlisle, Lil' Kim, Shawn Johnson, Steve-O and Denise Richards. I'm putting my money on little Shawn Johnson - she already has dancing skills and her partner will be able to do some crazy lifts with this Olympic gymnast.


You have options PSA

I helped my brother make this Public Service Announcement for his Sociology class last semester. We got an "A."



08 February 2009

He's Just Not That Into You


First of all, I have to give Matt credit for going to this movie with me. It is most definitely a chick flick. I thought it was ok. There were scenes that were really slow moving, but it was generally entertaining. You cringe at the desperate actions of one girl as you curse the actions of a cheating husband. You definitely are invested in the lives of these men and women, but it just does not flow as well as it should. I thought that the acting was pretty good - especially Ginnifer Goodwin; I really liked her character. There are many lines in the movie that you have said time after time to your friends and you will laugh at the recognition. I had heard that the movie is depressing, but I do not think so at all. I thought the end was satisfying. I would recommend seeing other movies, such as "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Benjamin Button" before I would see this.



07 February 2009

Just a thought on the new partnership


I just read Hayley's post from this morning and it appears as if we are going to be great blogging partners!

If you have any suggestions on places for Hayley and I to check out in D.C. or New York, let us know. Also, while I can't speak for Hayley, if you have any venue/exercise class/shop/meeting you are curious about, I'll do the heavy lifting, check it out for you and report back.


Penn Staters' night out on the UWS

What happens when five or more Penn State alumni go out drinking?

The school cheer happens, that’s what.

And last night I was out with an eclectic group of about 15 Penn Staters, so it was inevitable that someone (I figured it would be Ian as he is always the tallest of the group so his voice carries across the crowd very easily) yell “We Are!” at some point during the evening. My prediction was true, down to the Penn State obsessed individual who began the cheer, our friend Ian, the tall guy from Survivor Palau which aired in 2005.

We began our evening with $.50 Bud Lights at Bourbon Street on 79th and Amsterdam. The bar was an undeniable Sausage Fest - so much so that the bouncer refused to let men in after a while – whose clientele seemed to include every frat boy from Columbia University. The median age of our group was 26, so we were, on average, four years older than the next oldest patron. We spent about 30 minutes there, screaming over the music, fighting our way to the bar, and dodging the pool-players pool sticks (yes, there was a pool table, and yes, it was nearly impossible to play because of the sheer number of bodies crammed into the tiny space). And so we left the land of the college boys and headed over the 84th and Columbus to Prohibition.

Prohibition was definitely more “our” scene and it was here that we entertained other patrons with “We Are” “Penn State.” The clientele ranged in age from 22 to 50, but the age range worked. The d├ęcor is based on the Prohibition-Era style of the twenties and early thirties, but has a definite sophisticated, minimalistic feel.

The Eastside Mix played covers to some of the world’s favorite songs including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious.” The dance floor was crowded, but the weaker dancers were pushed to the outskirts of the crowd, leaving the partiers with control of the floor. Eastside Mix was one of the best cover bands I have ever seen play. Three singers, two men and one woman, had their own singing style and Broadway-worthy voices. Everyone in our Penn State group either attended or organized last month’s Hope Gala and we all identified Eastside Mix as a potential band to entertain at next year’s gala.

As I rarely drink, I am not sure about the price or quality of alcoholic beverages at Prohibition, but the atmosphere alone is worth the visit. Although, I did read some reviews about Prohibition’s menu, and it appears as if the restaurant/bar’s food is fresh and moderately priced. I think I will take Hayley here for dinner when she visits in three weeks. Check back in March for a review of Prohibition’s dinner.


Art and Soul

Last night, Matt and I went to the really swanky and modern bar, Art and Soul. It is close to the Capitol on New Jersey Ave. There are huge black and white paintings of Martin Luther King Jr., Margaret Thatcher, and others including the newest addition - Obama. The environment is upscale, but it is still comfortable; you do not feel as though you are in a museum. It draws a pretty prestigious clientele. Matt saw a Senator there last night. We did not eat there, so I cannot comment on the food, but the drinks were fine. We both had wine and they give a pretty small serving size, but it is very good. I would recommend it for a nice date; it might be a little too formal for a girls night out.

We tried to go to "He's Just Not That Into You", but it was sold out! Maybe we will try to see it this weekend. I am interested in the ensemble cast and how they will interact with each other. Happy Weekend!

06 February 2009

Newest obsessions

I am so loving this organic chocolate right now! It's called Endangered Species Chocolate and 10% of net profits are donated to help support species, habitat and humanity. I buy one bar a week and that is all the chocolate I am allowed to eat that week. The flavor I am slowly savoring this week is Dark Chocolate with Goji Berry, Pecans and Maca. Delish.

How is this transition for you: One minute I'm helping to save animals (by buying socially acceptable chocolate), the next I am telling you about this snakeskin clutch with which I am obsessed. I saw it last week in H&M (so it is FAKE snakeskin, alright?) and am hating myself for not purchasing the second biggest clutch I have ever seen.

I am also crushing on these Theory flats. Can I justify spending $200 on a pair of shoes when I am spending half of my salary on rent, cable and groceries? Moments like these make me wish I had a sugar daddy...



Waiting for my weekend to begin

I'm at work right now, blogging in between assignments and requests to edit newsletters (which is something I seem to be doing a lot of this week), and I realized that I never really told you all what it is that I do with my life 50 hours each week. Without going into too much detail, I am an internal communications specialist at a financial ratings agency at World Trade Center. This means that I manage the company's intranet website, write newsletters and executive communications, plan employee events and Town Hall meetings, and, well, write and edit more than I'd really care to admit. My job may sound boring to some of you, but I love it. I am constantly chatting with employees and am "in the know" about most publications and events before the rest of the company, which totally rules.

So while I mostly love my job, today I am just ready to get out of here! My cousin, Kris, is coming to New York from Chicago for a meeting. She arrives tomorrow and leaves next Wednesday and I am staying with her at the Waldorf all weekend/next week! As you can image, when you are looking forward to something, the days have been dragging by. Here I am, being impatient and ornery:

At least I look cute today in my white shift dress, black vest, gray pearls, black stockings and black pumps with rockstarish metal studs.

Another great thing about my job is the view. Here is what you see when you look out of windows on the southwest side of the building - the Statue of Liberty is the tiny speck in the background.

I have another hour to go before I can even think about leaving my office. Then the weekend can begin! Stay tuned for some write-ups of a few venues I will be visiting this weekend, including The Bitter End, Bourbon, Libation, the Waldorf Astoria, various shops on Fifth and Madison, and (saving the best for last) the laundromat.

05 February 2009

Cutting calories can boost memory

According to a study conducted at the University of Munster (what an awesome name for a school - it's like Monster - hahah) in Germany, women who cut their caloric intake by 30 percent not only lost weight, but increased their scores on verbal memory tests. As if we needed another reason to cut down on the amount of pastries and fried foods we eat - heart disease isn't reason enough?


Obsessed List

I am done working for the day and decided to make a list of a few random things that I am currently obsessed with. It changes pretty much everyday, so this captures my very fickle tastes...


I love this furniture! This picture is from the Madison Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
I really like the fact that the furniture fits into the pretty traditional style of D.C. with an edge of modernity. The contrast of the white and the dark wood in the chairs in the background kind of gives off a tropical vibe, as do the red palm-tree like print of the foreground chairs and the paneling of the wood on the tables. I would love to decorate like this because it is understated, but still evokes sophistication and exoticism. I love it! And it looks even better in person! Matt (my BF) and I are having dinner at
Palette in the Madison on Valentine's Day. I am excited to have a drink in this gorgeous lobby/lounge.


I am not a huge fan of the Cruise family. Of course, their daughter Suri is super cute, but I do not like that they publicize every minute of their day-to-day activities. That being said, I think Katie looks amazing here. Some people may not like the color combination that she is wearing, but I think that she pulls it off. Her hair and make-up are amazing and I love the details of the dress. It is so hard to find something that is different, but not OTT (over the top - my British relatives use that abreviation, so I think I am "in the know" when I say it). I love the interesting beading on the top and the pattern on the skirt. If I were wearing it, I probably would have gove with a dove gray belt, but she took a chance. I enjoy finding different, but still classy and interesting pieces and Katie has definitely found one here!




I don't know how many of you "twitter", but if you do, make sure you follow me (Hayley_Anne). I do not update as much as I could, but I do enjoy reading other people's updates. It is one of the most useful tools that I have to stay on top of current events. I follow a bunch of news sources and get the latest headlines so that I do not have to constantly go to the websites and search for new updates. Plus it's a great way to keep track of what is going on with your friends. Matt updates his constantly, so you will always know where we are!

That's pretty much it for now... Will keep updating on the current obsessions!





Greetings!

Hello "Yeah Like the Cheese" fans! Brie has generously let me post on her blog. My old blog was super fun and I really enjoyed writing it, but I did not post as frequently as I would have liked. So, now I am a contributor here and I hope that between the two of us we can keep everyone entertained (most likely while they are supposed to be working!).



Brief introduction... My name is Hayley, as Brie mentioned, and I am a student at George Washington University where I am pursuing my Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology. I am interning at Georgetown where I am doing a policy analysis of open source intelligence use by the WHO. I am currently looking for a job for when I graduate this May. I live in D.C., currently on the Hill. I love living here because it is a young, powerful, vibrant, buCheck Spellingt livable city that never gets boring! The picture to the left is myself, Sarah (my roommate and high school friend), and Brie when she came to visit.

I am currently on my lunch break from doing my research at the Library of Congress. Tonight I will be indulging in one of my newest obsessions... "The Tudors". It is a very scandalous and exciting portrayal of King Henry VIII and his parade of marriages, affairs, and beheadings. I will head over to my friend Laur's new apartment in Arlington, VA to view the rest of season one.




P.S. There is a guy sitting near me who is chewing SO loudly with his mouth open. It drives me CRAZY when people do that. I can't even eat my own food, which is very rare for me!

Introducing Hayley as my newest contributor

So one of my best friends, Hayley, is now my first contributor to Yeah, Like the Cheese! She will be reporting on events and happenings in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as providing commentary on fashion, style and health.

Here we are during our Night-Before-Thanksgiving outing, fueled by pink champagne and G&Ts.


Tips from the geek whisperer

Do you hate your friends' long-ass voicemail recordings? I know I don't have time to listen to a one-minute excerpt from their favorite song from the 80s and often don't leave a message when confronted by 55 seconds of "Footloose" (even though I love that song) and 5 seconds of "I'm not here, so leave a message." The Geek Whisperer (my friend David) provided a tip on how to skip these lengthy messages and go right to the beep. He also posted a link to a website which houses more cellphone tricks.


Alleged zombie attacks spreading across U.S.

According to my Metro newspaper this morning, the alleged zombie attacks I reported on last week have increased, or so some hackers claim. Pranksters in Illinois and Indiana hacked into electronic road signs to post "Daily Lane Closures Due to Zombies" and "Raptors Ahead - Caution."



I understand that those signs are there for a reason, but come on, these pranks are pretty hilarious! I am waiting for this hacking knowledge to spread to Manhattan. Actually, if you know how to do this, let me know. It would be worth the $250 fine to get caught after posting a bogus message about zombie attacks. By the way, if you love zombies as much as I do, rent Shaun of the Dead. It's a great comedy/horror film.


Snowboarders take over Manhattan's LES

Olympic medalist, Shaun White, and other professional snowboarders will show off their sweet moves this afternoon in Manhattan's East River Park. Red Bull erected a 90-foot ramp in the city's LESish park and beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, 16 world-class snowboarders will compete for a cash prize (yeah, I know, like they need it). Red Bull Snowscrapers will use jams by Anthrax, Black Gold and Valiant Thorr (all of which will take the stage and perform live) to serenade the extreme boarders.



The event is free and "doors" open at 3 p.m. today, February 5. If you can't make it to the competition, visit RedBullSnowscrapers.com to watch it live.

If you are not into just watching some big-headed, yet very talented, snowboarders shred down a ramp, East River Park (FDR Drive and Houston Street) will also host Winter Jam NYC on Saturday, February 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Along with live entertainment by Apollo Run and Dujeous (among other bands and musicians) Winter Jam will feature a 70-foot long Snow Flume for sledding, a winter snowfield with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, a snow sculpture contest, a Warming Hut with free samples from N.Y. State farmers and producers, and performances from the high flying Skyriders. This is free, too, so all it will cost to check it out is a subway ride.


03 February 2009

Current emotion



~ ~ ~ No explanation needed ~ ~ ~


Sad day

Today is a sad sad day. My beautiful black boots are injured. I searched for these lovely boots for years and years, only to have them be a part of my life for three months before punking out on me. Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar...




02 February 2009

Everyone loves pot...

...even Olympic gold medalists! Well, one of them does anyway. Our favorite record-setting swimmer (Michael Phelps, duh) recently admitted to smoking pot (gasp!) when a picture surfaced of someone that appeared to be Phelps taking a hit off a bong. He confirmed that yes, it was him in the picture, and yes, he was smoking the reefer. Hey, it could have been worse. He could have admitted to being on 'roids or undergoing stretching to make his arms the freakishly long length they are. It's okay, Michael, I forgive you. Now let's get married.


Why?

Why on Earth do I say "Buh Bye" when ending all of my work-related phone conversations? I hate it and yet I cannot stop myself. I sound like a 59-year-old businessman. Sigh.




01 February 2009

Nearly invisible tats

I was chatting with a few friends yesterday about my decision to add to my body graffiti. I was bouncing some ideas off them, trying to decide what I would permanently have inked behind my right ear, when one friend mentioned a photograph he saw of a black light ink tattoo. So we did some research and found this:



How creepy is that?!


Zombie attack

Two electronic road signs near the University of Texas were hacked into and programmed to say "Caution! Zombies Ahead!" All I have to say is... amazing!