Sunday, August 31, 2008

Knew it'd happen eventually...

New environment + stress + working a lot + little kids coughing on me on the subway = Tara will get sick.

I knew it was going to happen! I was just counting the days until it did. My throat started to feel scratchy yesterday and I had a killer headache the day before. And now, ah, the sweet taste of Nyquill lingers on my lips! Mmmmm-MMM!!

Regardless of the cold, I managed to have a great last few days. My friend Arya and his brother Yasha were in town from Baltimore/California so Dennis and I hung out with them during the day. We walked along the lower west side in the Greenwhich village area and explored a little bit. I enjoyed seeing them, it had definitely been a while. Here are some pictures that we took at this park that we stopped at near the Hudson river.






Last night, Dennis and I hung out with his buddy Jeff. It was reaaaally humid and sticky out yesterday so the three of us were trying to find a place to hang out that preferably had air conditioning. Somehow Jeff convinced his older sister to let us crash at her swank apartment in Greenwhich Village since she wouldn't be there. We drove back to Manhattan and found a parking space not too far from her place. Her apartment was so beautiful! As soon as we walked in, Dennis and I were like "Yeeeeeah we could definitely get used to this!!" Jeff kept complaining that it was too small and he kept injuring himself on things because, yeah, the apartment was only two rooms and it was easy to knock into objects. However, Dennis and I thought it was an amazing little piece of Manhattan. If you looked out the window near the fire escape, you had a perfect view of the top of the Empire State Building. I don't know if I could ever get tired of seeing such a lovely view each day!

The plan was to wake up super early this morning to get back to Brooklyn, but alas Jeff's sister's couch was really comfy and we were all enjoying the AC a little too much. The guys wound up dropping me off home around 9:15am. I showered, took some cough medicine and then started to get crackin' on packin'. Afterward, Kim, the woman who I was staying with helped me move my boxes to my new apartment in Brooklyn!



We got everything here really quickly and my new mattress was delivered around 2:00. My room is a teeeeny bit bigger than I had remembered. A full bed definitely fits in here but that's about it. I do have a window though, so wahhh-hooo to natural light! I don't have a closet...I'm using the one in the spare room, so I think that might be a problem. Where will all of my dresses go!? I need to figure out a way to make more space in here. At some point I decided to go out and explore a little bit...I was on a mission to find some sheets.

I hopped on the G train which took me to the L. I was sitting quietly by myself until I looked up a few moments later and noticed a group of girls standing together right near me. One of them looked EXTREMELY familiar. I kept trying not to stare and be obvious but I was really convinced that this girl was someone who I had worked with back when I lived in California. I kept staring and staring and finally decided to ask her what her name was. It took so much guts but eventually I whimpered out, "Excuse me, is your name Megan by any chance?" She looked at me and immediately shouted out my name! I absolutely couldn't believe it...what a small world! I decided to get off at their stop and we walked around for a bit. She has been living here for two years working on her masters and is about to move back to the west coast. Her and her friends just happened to be on that train coming back from Brooklyn. What are the odds that she was on the same train and same car, let alone standing directly in front of me?? Soooo weird!!!! I'm bummed she's moving back but at the same time it was really great to see a familiar face.

After the run-in, I walked around Union Square and picked up some food at Whole Foods. I started to feel achey again so I went home pretty soon after eating a sandwich in the park. I slept fora few hours and now I'm awake and sitting on my new bed. Yay. I work tomorrow and Tuesday but I am looking forward to Wednesday through Friday because I have those days off and I'll be spending them with my friend Sean who I grew up with in Florida. He'll be in town those days so I'll have someone new to go exploring with. This week should fly by and then GUESS WHAT!! Next week is FASHION WEEK!!! Get ready for some amazing pictures...I can't wait to see the runway show.





Okay...I think I'm going to try to get some sleep. Boohoo, go away cold! I miss you all!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It was west Philadelphia born and raised on the playground was where I spent most of my days.

Dennis, me and the red mustang took a 24 hour road trip up to Philadelphia yesterday on my day off. (Hahaha...that sounds so crazy. "Yeah, I went to Philly today, no big deal, eh! Yeeeeah common' guyy!!") We arrived into the city late Thursday night and the drive went surprisingly quickly. We spoke in unnecessarily thick east-coast tough-guy accents for long periods of time and circled around the pretty deserted downtown area taking pictures and watching the late-night folk walk aimlessly down the city streets until we began to have trouble keeping our eyes open.



It was almost 3:30 by the time we found someplace inexpensive to sleep. We both passed out very quickly and woke up relatively early the next morning to start exploring. The morning started off with a nice drive over this huge blue bridge into the city. We stopped at this sea-side port that had a beautiful scenic view of the city. It's funny because, if I wouldn't have been exposed to the insane skyline that I am fortunate to see almost every day in Manhattan, I would have thought that the Philadelphia skyline was very impressive. The city looked so tiny though. As we walked along the path by the water, I was surprised to see how disgustingly polluted the ocean was. I just cant even describe the filth that was festering in the water below us. It went out for hundreds and hundreds of feet...just pure sludge. The sad part was that there was tons of wildlife that had adapted to just sitting in the waste or swimming in it. Yuck. I later noticed that it wasn't just Philadelphia that was filthy like that, New Jersey was also VERY dirty.







Dennis and I eventually parked the car downtown and he convinced me that it was absolutely neccessary for me to eat a Philly Cheesestake while we were in town. I've got to admit, I'm not a huge meat eater...but mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-mmmmmmmmmmmm it was delish!! All of that melted cheese...drooool. After our huge sandwiches, we walked around the historical area to find the Liberty Bell.






A few hours went by and we decided that we had seen most of the tourist spots in the city. It was only 2 or 3 by this point so we decided...what the heck? Let's drive to Atlantic city!



Okay, so talk about being blown away a little bit. This place was definitely different from what I was expecting. I didn't realize how many casinos would be on the boardwalk so that was definitely a surprise. What was an even bigger shock was how rundown Atlantic City actually was. There was such extreme poverty bordering these million dollar hotels and casinos. Most of the houses looked completely unlivable but they were most definitely inhabited by families. Even the homes with totally boarded-up windows had people living inside. I just couldn't believe it. After seeing the filthy water in Philly and these poor poor poor areas in Jersey, the events of the day really started to wear on me. We decided to take a long walk on the boardwalk. Seeing the ocean and all of the cheesy tourists made me superficially feel a bit better about the kind of environment we had just been exposed to.








We decided to eat dinner at the Rainforest Cafe which was a lot of fun. Around 10:30ish we grabbed a couple of Starbucks Chai Lattes (which I've deviously gotten Dennis addicted to within the last week) and we decided to roll out. On our way back to the car, we hit up this western casino for a quick game of slots just so Dennis could say that he'd gambled before. He put in $5.00 and we walked away with $2.50, so I'd have to say that it was a pretty lucrative experience. It was a long drive home. I kept falling asleep which I felt really bad about. It took about two hours to get back to Brooklyn and by that point I was really exhausted. Luckily, I was able to get a pretty decent amount of sleep once I laid down in bed. After a quick shower and a boost of caffeine this morning, I felt pretty good and pumped up at work. I think I just needed a really good day off to get me back into the groove of things. I'm a travellin' woman!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MOMA



Today was an amazing day off. It started off with Dennis calling me at 9am because I am usually up at that hour. Apparently today was the wrong time to call me that early because he said I was grumpy on the phone, so he hung up (sorry Dennis!) and I fell back asleep. At about 12:15, I re-awoke and freaked out when I saw the time. I can't believe I had slept in so late! I haven't slept until noon since 9th grade! I had big plans for the day so I threw on some clothes as quickly as possible and actually brushed my hair for once. My original plans were to go downtown and roam around aimlessly by myself. However, I decided to call Chris, a friend that I was introduced to by my friend Jeb in Florida. He didn't have any plans today so we decided to meet up and explore together. It's cool because Chris is from South Florida also and he's only been here a month longer than I have, so we're both newbies to the city. I hopped onto the L train and met up with him on Montrose Ave. From there, we headed over to Manhattan and up to 14th street to grab some lunch at Whole Foods. I ate my turkey wrap and Chris ate his indian food on the grass in the big square park where everyone sits around and chit chats/reads/sleeps/etc. We watched a guy scratch his scalp vigorously for a good 15 minutes....(very interesting.)

After relaxing for a bit there, we rode up to 53 street and walked over to the Museum of Modern Art. It was so peaceful and pleasant looking at all of the art work...some of it was definitely innovative while others were the kind of paintings where you're like "dude a three year-old could do that." One of my favorite installations were these photographs by Gary Winogrand. He had a bunch of really candid and clever shots taken with humans and animals at zoos. I wish I could find more of his shots, there aren't many online. Anyway, here is one of them:



I saw a LOT of Picasso, I couldn't believe how many of his paintings and sculptures they had. I also had the opportunity to see some Warhol paintings as well (seen above!) I felt like I had accomplished something after seeing such famous artists...like now I can say things like, "Oh yes, I remember when I saw Warhol back in 2008" or "Oh, Monet? Yeah...his paintings were allllriiight. Odd stroke technique. I'd take a Dali over a Monet any day!"





After the museum we walked down to central park, which was absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't believe how green and lush everything was, it smelled like dew and flowers. We followed the curvy paths past families, musicians, tourists and kids for quite a while. Eventually we wound up near a dog park. We sat there for a long time watching the dogs roughhouse...and this is where I witnessed one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I am so proud to have gotten this moment on film! Let the picture speak for itself:



Hahahahaha!!! This poor guy! The small dog eventually ripped his entire collar off...and no one even tried to help him! Everyone just crowded around, pointed and laughed. Ah, so great.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Excuse me doesn't cut it here.

Another key difference about New Yorkers that I sadly realized today: they don't budge if they don't have to. I think I ram into about 25 people a day while walking here and there because I expect them to move when they see me approaching. I assume that most of us, at least Ido, step to the side when we see large groups of people heading directly toward us. That is quite the contrary here. Today I slammed my arm into this woman's shoulder of steel while I was trying to quickly get off of the subway. She could see I was in a rush to get off before the doors closed but she blatantly stepped in front of me so I couldn't get through. I swear I saw her smirk afterward. It was a perfect example of a situation that has happened numerous times to me within the last week. I've really been taken aback by how unsympathetic and rude some people are when it comes to just stepping out of the way for the courtesy of others. Absolutely ridiculous. This must be their way of getting back at annoying tourists. It's like passive-aggressive physical abuse to strangers!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

T-Minus 14 days and counting...

...until I move into my new apartment in Greenpoint. It can't come ANY sooner!! I am tired of being isolated out here in East Brooklyn.

Last week, Dennis and I decided to take a little road trip out to upstate NY. I didn't get to write much about it because I have been so busy. We drove about two hours up this gorgeous highway that rode alongside the Hudson river. There were so many scenic spots, Dennis was pulling over every few minutes so I could see!



We spent the afternoon hiking up this huge mountain after visiting his old military school and driving through tiny towns. He was an amazing tourguide and I am so thankful that he took the time to show me a different side to New York. I wish my camera wouldn't have died because there were some amazing views. I was able to capture a few before my batteries ran out.




(Dennis leaning over the wall. Such a view!!!)

Today, I spent the morning in my store doing some last minute preparations for inventory (happening at 5am tomorrow morning...oy vey!) Around 3:30, I decided to get the heck out of there, considering it was supposed to be my day off and all. I walked down to Urban Outfitters and hung out there for a little while. That store is always depressing because it's great style but incredibly overpriced...ESPECIALLY when you're in NYC and can't afford anything in general. I then hopped onto the 4 train and headed down to Union square where I took the L train to Williamsburg to meet up with Nina. We walked around Bedford Avenue and IT WAS AWESOME! I had gone there a couple of weeks ago with my friend Chris but it was late and I couldn't really appreciate all of the adorable boutiques that are in that area.





Since it was Sunday, there were a ton of people selling things on the streets as we walked past the many vintage stores, cafes and novelty shops. There were sooo many different kinds of people roaming around in that area. I kept seeing trendy tattoo'd kids walking alongside skateboarders, tourists, parents and business people. It just seems like such a versatile area to live in. I can't wait until I move over there!!



Nina is a great shopping partner because she has great style and loves everything from vintage to high-end design. We walked into a bunch of great stores, including Built By Wendy. I used to LOVEEEEE the guitar straps she did about 8 years ago before she started to design for Wrangler and Simplicity Patterns. Her boutique was simple but had great design.

We did a little window shopping after that and also went into this store that is EXACTLY like Buffalo Exchange. Although tempted, I was proud of myself for not buying anything and saving my money. Oh man...and also, as we were leaving I found tons of the fliers that Keith (who also designed my logo up there!),Matt and Beef had designed for the Pool Parties event going on in Brooklyn. It was nice to see a little piece of home to remind me of my friends. I am so proud of them!



Eventually, we found a little Italian restaurant to eat at called La Nonna. I ordered a spinach salad with chicken and arugula, which was a healthy alternative to the Pizza binge that I've been on! Our waitress only spoke Italian, so when Nina and I needed the check, I asked the woman, "Possiamo avere il conto?" Haha. The waitress laughed! I was excited to use my Italian skillzzz, it's been a while.

Now I am home and about to go to sleep. I called a car service to take me to work tomorrow morning. I am going to be too exhausted to ride the subway at 4am, plus it probably isn't so safe to ride the trains at that time in the morning. Gosh...I'm going to be a ZOMBIE TOMORROW!!!

I miss all of youuuuuuuuuuu!! Night.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Busy busy busy

Ahhh I feel awful that I haven't been posting very often since I've been here. Part of the reason is because I left my camera in Dennis' car and I hate making entries on here without something for you all to look at!

The last few days of work have been really long. Priscila and I have managed to get a lot done in the store as far as organization goes. We completely overhauled the stock room and I've begun to get as much paperwork as I can together. However it still feels like we haven't even made a dent. To make things even more hectic, we have inventory on Monday. Sooooooooo I'll have to work on Sunday (my day off) and I need to be here at 5:00am on Monday (my day off) to meet with the inventory crew. I'm already tired and it's not even halfway through the work week!!

It's been difficult separating my work life from normal life because they kind of coincide. I don't live in the best neighborhood so I try to get home by the time it gets dark so I don't have to walk back to my house and risk anything happening. Last night I decided that I REALLY needed to get out and just DO something besides go straight home, so I met up with my new friend Nina who I met at the Betsey Johnson Anniversary party. We ate Thai food at this awesome place off of 23rd and Park Avenue. Then we went to go see Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2(wow...worst movie ever. The first one wasn't half bad!) Afterward, Dennis called and freaked when he found out I was about to take the subway & taxi it back home so he and his friend Alex drove into Manhattan and picked her and I up. We brought Nina home and then they drove me back to Brooklyn. It felt SO good to get out of the house on my own for a bit, but I've realized that I really just need to stick it out until September 1st when I move into the new apartment and really hesitate from coming home late. After seeing how Dennis and Alex freaked out about where I'm living, it was (another) reality check that I'm not in Texas anymore. As safe as it feels here, it is a dangerous place for a 20-something year old. I just want to get out and see all there is to see in this city!!!!!! Atleast I'll be here for a while...I don't have to rush and see everything at once.


Okay...I PROMISE I'll try to get some pictures from my last few days in NY on here :)I miss all of you very much.


(Not the most recent picture of our store window, but I love these roses!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's been a few days...

I'm sorry that I haven't written a ton. The store has pretty much consumed my life for the last week. Sunday will be my first day off and I am SO excited. I really just need to sleep. My voice has been going away on and off since I've arrived to NYC. It gets worse at night...I can't figure out what's going on.

Anyway, I'm going to hit the sack. I just wanted to get on here and let everyone know that I'm okay! More detailed posts soon to come. :)

Tara

Monday, August 4, 2008

ABC's on the A train



Last night I was coming home on the A train after work. It was rush hour and there were a ton of people crammed into the poorly-air conditioned space. I was so exhausted from the day that I kept doing that thing where you nod off and then your head jerks around a bit and hits the person next to you. I was barely able to keep my eyes open until two little African American kids across from me, maybe 4 and 3 years old, began singing the ABC song. In their squeaky little-kid voices, they would sing the entire song but when they would get to the end where it says "next time won't you sing with me" they couldn't remember what the words were, so they would just start the song over. After the seventh or eight time around, everyone in the train car was cracking up! It was awesome how two innocent little kids helped everyone forget that we were all crammed together, claustrophobic and tired-beyond belief. It was such a perfect moment.

For the last two days, my friend Dennis and I have been driving non-stop across the city. Yesterday we drove all the way out to long island and Queens. The ocean was beautiful and I've never seen so many amazing scenic spots in my life. It's funny because when you think of New York, you think about the millions of buildings in Manhattan, but you forget that the ocean is right there as well and that there are so many residential areas in the boroughs. It felt really good to smell the salt water while we drove down the highway with the windows down. I forgot how great it feels to have the Atlantic ocean nearby.




Today I woke up early and Dennis and I drove out to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to look at an apartment that had a room open. A girl from the showroom at work told me her boyfriend was looking for a roommate. He emailed me and we went to see the apartment today. It is awesome!! The room is small but it's just right for my situation (considering I don't even have any furniture!) It is very clean and the two people who live there are quiet, artsy and very respectful. The apartment is about 5 minutes from the subway stop and 10 minutes away from Williamsburg. It will be so great to live in a good neighborhood with people my own age! SO...I move in on September 1st. Whoohoo!! It is such a relief to know that I will have a roof over my head in three weeks.

After the apartment, Dennis dropped me off and I took the subway to Greenwich Village and SoHo. I did pretty well, as far as not getting lost goes. I walked up town a little bit to Washington Square Park because I wanted to see where a scene from When Harry Met Sally (my favorite movie) was shot. It was surreal standing there! I realized, after standing by that huge arch and after talking to Dennis, that New York is one of the few places in the United States where you walk around and feel like there is SO much history around you. When I went to Italy last year, I was overwhelmed because we were surrounded by so many old buildings and statues. It made me feel like we were seriously lacking here in the states. However, NYC is one of the most historical cities in the states and I really felt it today while I walked around by myself.








Okay..I need to go to sleep. I am seriously tired. The commuting and walking really takes a lot out of you, but you don't notice it until you get home and lay in bed. Still trying to deal with the blisters and feet throbbing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Don't feed the pigeons.



On my 10 minute walk to the subway station this moring, I realized that I haven't taken any pictures of the beautiful brownstone architecture in the area that I'm staying in. Although it's not the BEST neighborhood, you would never know it by how calm and peaceful the streets are first thing in the morning. Everyone walks quietly to the stop with a newspaper in hand. I've never been a huge walker, but I have truly enjoyed these little walks each morning in Stuyvesant Heights.

It has only been a few short days since I have arrived, yet I have noticed one key quality that sets New Yorkers apart from other US city folk... they are FEARLESS when it comes to moving vehicles! I'll tell you right now that when it comes to stop signs, I like to obey the law. I enjoy waiting for the WALK sign, especially when there are moving buses, taxis and 18 wheelers hurling toward my direction. However, most New Yorkers could care less about street signs. They step out into the middle of the road and throw their hands up in the air as if they are Moses about to split the ocean in half! The cars will go around. No worries. This morning on my way to the store, I found a prime example of someone who had no qualms about getting runover. Check this out:



There are three prime points I would like to you to focus on.
#1 the woman to the left is standing directly in a lane for oncoming traffic. Notice how taxis are completely ignoring her, as well.
#2 I happened to take this picture at the one moment when the man WASN'T looking at his cell phone. I stood there for about 45 seconds watching him text message or something and pay no attention to the cars coming directly toward him,
#3 The people on the right corner. The light is obviously green, there are cars flying by them, yet they still stand in the middle of the road!

It just boggles my mind. I can't get used to it. I wonder if I will ever be that courageous. I would never throw myself under the bus like that. (Get it?! Get it?? Under the bus? ehh? eh??)

Today was an interesting day at the store. I showed up pretty early so that I could get used to opening the gates to the store and turning all of the circuit breakers on. (Like I said before, it is a REALLY old store!) I met a new associate today and she seemed a bit weary of me at first, but as time went on I think her and the other associate whom I've met before really began to warm up to me. I started teaching them tons of little things and mentioned how important I think it is for them to talk to customers like they would their friends. Immediately, both of them began commenting on things customers were wearing, asking where they were visiting from, trying really hard to make conversation. It made me very very happy. In a store full of chaos, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel...the very lonnnngggggg tunnel.

There is a teeny quaint little park next to my store. I've been spending my lunches on the benches, people-watching and admiring the architecture around it. Today I sat alone and ate the leftovers from a ham and cheese Subway wrap that I bought the other day. The weather was surprisingly less humid, although it was still very very hot. Kate was RIGHT! The city is like a heater! Even though the temperature is less than it is in Texas, the heat is just barricaded in by the cement buildings and the rising heat from the subways. And standing on the subway platforms?! That's a whole 'nother story. I have been bringing washcloths in my purse to wipe the sweat off of my face. It's gross, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do!


I also had my first crazy subway adventure today!! At the time, I was a bit scared, but looking back...I laugh at how nervous I got! I was on the 4 train coming home and for some reason, it just stopped. So we slowly rolled to the next stop and they shuffled everyone off. I had no idea where I was and the station didn't have any other transfers. I walked up onto the street level and went a few blocks further until I found another subway stop. I walked back down the stairs, re-swiped my metro card (thank goodness for my unlimited pass!)and tried to find another train to connect to my original train destination solely based on the teeny molskine map that I had! AND...my efforts were prosperous! I made it back home only an hour and a half later than expected. Whewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. LONG DAY!!!!



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