Thursday, October 30, 2008

Inspired.


I've never ever been one to get thoroughly involved in politics or other popular debatable topics. I have been classically conditioned to freeze like a deer in the headlights when I am confronted with my beliefs on these sorts of subjects for a few reasons. Firstly, I feel that politics in general is obviously a subject that many people are extremely passionate about... to the point where I often feel uncomfortable expressing myself in fear of being attacked by opposite view points. Discussing politics is, in essence, extremely similar to discussing religion, in my opinion. I believe that no one else has the right to tell you whether your opinion is right or wrong on these subjects because these topics are so subjective. They are directly based on the thoughts and feelings of each individual person. In my experience, many times when I have expressed a view antithetical to the one of my fellow conversationalist in the past, I have been immediately "attacked" for having the wrong thoughts and feelings. "Who is this person to tell me what I should be thinking or feeling?" is the first thing that usually pops into my head. Because I feel so defensive, I usually shut my mouth and try to change the topic of conversation immediately because I tend to be extremely un-confrontational. Arguing and fighting is definitely at the bottom of my favorite things-to-do list! The other reason why i tend to shy away from openly discussing my political views is because I openly admit that I am not educated enough on the fundamentals of politics to truly hold a debate-worthy conversation. Compared to those who feel an extreme passion for politics, I have a very poor understanding of what makes up our government and how it is able to operate efficiently. Besides the political science courses I took in college, I truly have no further education on our political system (and to be honest, I have a hard time finding the desire to do much research on the subject.)

With all that said, I feel like I have had a more than huge interest in this up and coming election because I truly do feel a connection to Barrack Obama and his efforts to save our country from a recession. He has inspired me to research the subjects that I feel passionate about and get involved in our future, even if it is on such a basic, individual level. I feel like a ton of Americans who, similar to me, have been disuaded by the potential harshness of politics and who have shyed away from openly discussing their viewpoints in fear of attack, have had a key interest in this election because they finally feel a personal connection to a presidential candidate. There has got to be a huge population of the United States who lack the proper understanding of politics and how the government works. Even with as much research as I have done and with political science courses under my belt, I still feel completely unqualified to truly discuss the core values of the political issues that need fixing. So, I tend to focus mostly on the personal connection I feel to Obama when I watch him speak. Am I the only one? When he says that this is the time for change, I honestly feel like he means it. Without choosing democrat or republican, I have from the very beginning, looked at both candidates with an open mind and I truly feel like Obama is so REAL. You can SEE how passionate he is when he speaks to Americans. It is a kind of emotion I feel McCain tries to force out of himself, which ultimately results in him feeling robotic, condescening and rehearsed. I think many Americans notice this aspect of McCain's personality immediately. After watching Obama's speeches and debates within the last few months, his commercial last night really hit me. I was holding back tears during some points in that 30-minute special. Like he said, he won't be able to be the perfect president but he will always promise to be honest with us. Isn't that what we all have been craving? Someone to just be honest with us? He is standing up for the middle class, for those of us who are struggling so badly...and I can see and feel that. I think many Americans can feel it too. There is a bonding that is happening across races and genders throughout the United States that I am lucky enough to witness on a daily basis while walking these ethnically-diverse city streets of NYC.

I'm expressing my opinions on my blog because...well...HEY! It's MY blog! I don't have to worry about people screaming at me to my face. I think everyone is open to their own opinion and I will never try to convince someone to change their view points to ones similar to my own. I just finally feel passionate about something I've never really cared about before.... and it's so exciting.

I found this earlier today...for those of you Obama-lovers, you might enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A layercake of clothing.

I've always claimed to love layering, but I don't think I ever really understood the true meaning of layering clothes until last night. I slept with a pair of socks on, sweat pants, a tank top, a long sleeve sleepshirt on top of that and to top it off slept with my UT (go longhorns!) sweatshirt on! I woke up this morning short of breath because I apparently wrapped my blankets too tightly around my face at some point during the night. When it was time to get ready for work and remove myself from my cocoon of hot blankets, taking that first step into the shower was one of the hardest things I've had to do in a long time. It's absolutely freezing in New York at the moment and I don't think we've hit the 30's yet! I think my teeth just chattered! Whew! Today I also realized that I stick out like a sore, cold thumb in this city. One of my customers told me this afternoon that I'm going to have to invest in proper winter clothes because I wasn't wearing warm enough leggings under my dress. Oh god. What do you mean, proper winter clothes? Leggings aren't going to cut it? What do I do instead? Is that what leg warmers are for? What exactly is long underwear? Can it be worn in public? Earmuffs...really?? This is so confusing...

Winter definitely is approaching quickly. I'm going to have to get on this warm clothes thing FAST! Thankgoodness my room in our new apartment will have a heater. I thought I'd easily be able to handle the cold because I love sleeping in a chilly bedroom, but boy oh boy, I may have been wrong. Let's see how I handle the 10 and 20 degree winter air!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Home sweet home.

Today I found out that I've been approved for an adorable apartment that I found yesterday after a long day of home-searching! It is a two bedroom pre-war apartment with tons of charm and a vintage feel in Astoria...PERFECT for Kate and I! A huge calm has swept over me, it feels incredible knowing that I will have a place to call home...MY home!!! No more of this room-surfing on a monthly basis. I move in on November 15th and Kate will finally be here at the beginning of December, so I won't be there by myself for too long. I realized that I literally have NO furniture, haha! I think Kate will be bringing some things of her own for our house and I might get my brother go through his place to see if he can find some random necessities of mine to bring along while he roadtrip's up here with Kate and Matt. Gosh I can't waittttttttttttttttttttt....I feel like this is going to be a new New York beginning. I get to spend the beginning of November with Nicole for a few days, Thanksgiving with my mom, the first week of December with Kate, Matt, Keith and my brother and then my Dad and stepmom will be here in the middle of December. Also, Nicole, Jeff and Scott will be in Pennsylvania during the holidays so I am going to try to make my way out there for Christmas. It is going to be fantastic! I'm in high spirits.

I better get to bed, but I will leave you with some pictures I took at Central park while I was visiting with Massimo and Francesco.



Friday, October 24, 2008

I loved watching the gorillas at the zoo on Monday. They seemed so sweet tempered. Some of them had the saddest eyes, though.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ohhhh goodness!!

I'm so sorry that I haven't written in a while...I've been so busy!!!!

Our store had a crazy week (in a good way, though!) so I've been here early each day trying to get everything back in order. This back office is like a second home. Unfortunately, this is also the only place where I can use a computer because my laptop at home is having a heart attack and might be on its last leg. I guess four years old is kind of old for a computer? It hates me, or is having a bad case of hiccups, or...I have no idea. So, with the exception of trying to create blog posts on my phone, I thought I would do a quick update on here before I run to fulfill my caffeine addiction.

This last week has been a lot of fun. The weather has cooled down a LOT. I've been getting a ton of use out of my Fall coat and am enjoying the leggings and hats. It feels absolutely freezing to me but everyone is telling me this is only a small dose of what's to come. In the grand scheme of winter, 49 degrees isn't that chilly for NYC. On Monday, I went with my friend Ashley who i grew up with in Florida and her boyfriend Mike to the Bronx Zoo. Mondays are definitely the recommended day to go because there is literally no one there. Except for a brash run in with some folks who may or may not have been under the influence of SOMETHING in the gorilla habitat area, we had fun looking at all of the animals. The zoo is beautiful, it looks like a museum because it has tons of lovely white museum-esque buildings that house the birds and butterflies. Walking past the sea otters was sad because they reminded me of Sam when we'd take him swimming in the river. Poor Sam...I wonder where my sweet dachshund is now. Sigh.

Last night, however, was one of the best nights I've had so far! I have a couple of friends who belong to a band called The Canadians. Ironically, they are from Italy and my friend Jenna and I had discovered them during college when we were listening to Italian music to help with our grammar. At some point, we became email friends with one of the bandmates and Jenna had the opportunity to see them play live in Milan when she was there studying abroad. Last year The Canadians and their record label owner came to Austin to attend SXSW and Jenna and I spent the whole night with Massimo and Francesco. We showed them around the downtown area, practiced our Italian and taught them how to eat Smores. It was such a fabulous time. SO...you can only imagine how excited I was when Massimo emailed me to tell me that him and Francesco would be in NYC this week to attend another music festival, CMJ. Last night after work I took a taxi down to their hotel and met up with them for dinner. We all get along so well and it was unbelievably nice to see such familiar (kind of?? they live in italy!!) faces. We ate dinner at this wonderful French restaurant and talked for quite a while. Then we trekked down to the Bowery to see a show. I wound up not staying because I had to get some sleep since today was going to be an early day, but I decided to take tomorrow off to get some errands done and then spend the whole day with the two of them. We're going to do all of the touristy things like see ground zero, central park and take them to find good shopping. I can't wait. They are such nice guys. Maybe my next move after NYC will be Italy?? I hope so.

I will try to post again when I have more time...until then...I hope everyone is well!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grand Central...STAT!

Yesterday was a pretty fun day. With the exception of P and I almost losing our minds because it was so quiet at the store, the day went by somewhat quickly. Reason being because my mom's good friend from college, Bob, was in NYC and on his way to meet me at my store around 7. He hadn't seen me since I was about seven years old so it was definitely a funny experience seeing eachother again. He was in town to go to this showcase for his friend Nathan at The Annex (which I think is in the villiage). After P and I finished closing the store, Bob and I hailed a taxi and headed downtown to find Nathan. We ventured into this dark little club where there were maybe 10 people hanging around. The woman who was putting on the showcase had just moved here from Austin too and lived right next to my neighborhood in Austin AND in Brooklyn! Small world. We all chit chatted a bit and then Bob and I walked upstairs to watch Nathan from the balcony. He was pretty good! It was a solo-acoustic thing and the whole point of the show was to sing for a record producer who was in town for that night. Nathan had a really beautiful voice and I was excited that he did a cover of one of my favorite songs, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. His set lasted about 20 minutes, when it was over Bob and I had to leave pretty quickly because he had to catch a 9:15 train and it was 8:50! We rushed out to the corner, suitcases in tow, hailed a cab and once inside I got to say one of the things I've always wanted to say, "We need to go to Grand Central...STAT!!" With that, the cabbie laid down on the gas and got us to the station in eight minutes! We quickly rushed to Bob's train with five minutes to spare, gave eachother hugs and with that, the two hour visit was over. I walked downstairs to the 7 line and headed back to Brooklyn. When I got home, I had a text from Keith telling me that his sister, Becca was going into labor! I couldn't believe it has been nine months already. When I first met her in college station she was barely pregnant at that point. I excitedly called him up and we talked for a bit on the phone. I always love talking to him because he's got such a great laugh and we have always gotten along so well. I was so happy after talking with him, I could barely sleep for some reason! I woke up around 5 and tossed and turned for a couple of hours. At seven I decided to just wake up, get dressed and go to the gym early. After 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 on the eliptical machine...I feel amazing!!! Today we're having a big party at the store for Breast Cancer Awareness month so I need to run out and get balloons blown up and cookies! Last time we had a party we got cupcakes and WE ate them all. I'm not making THAT mistake again...especially since I just spend the morning exercising. Haha!! Whew. I feel like a big ball of energy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Quiet Zone.

Yesterday the sun was shining and there was a really wonderful breeze that was just cool enough to require a sweater. I had left my window open during the night and awoke to freezing toes and a red nose, but I would trade warm weather for this ANY day! I put on my newest Betsey acquisition (a gray plaid gauze tunic from last fall with puff sleeves and a square neckline), black tights, my new Frye boots and threw on my black leather handbag. The plan for the day was to head over to the upper west side. I had never been to the Columbus avenue area and I wanted to check out our competition stores. I took the L train to 8th avenue and then waited for the C train. Of course it was a weekend and the trains were all running on the wrong lines. I waited and waited, the C never came. Some ladies confusingly asked me what was going on so I told them the same shpeal others had told me when I first arrived to the city. "The trains run funky on weekends, I'll show you the way!" We got onto the A train and I gave them directions to the Magnolia cupcake bakery via their tourist subway map. I decided to get off on Columbus circle and walk the 15 blocks up to where I needed to go. The weather was just so nice and I couldn't bear to be underground!
I walked up to around 72nd and Columbus Ave. The upper west side is absolutely beautiful. The brownstones and architecture are so old but very well taken care of. On that side of town I found TONS of high-end stores meshed with small cozy clothing boutiques. There was a restaurant every 20 feet and people were EVERYWHERE. I wish our store was in such a prime foot-traffic location! We would be KILLING our goals. Sigh. Alas, I enjoyed the area, even if it did make me a little depressed that I didn't get to spend time in such a cool neighborhood each day. From that street I realized that I was only a block away from central park and decided to trek over that way. Although I have only been there a few times now, I am always blown away by how gorgeous Central Park is. It literally pops out of nowhere, even though it is absolutely ginormous. It's a green, luscious oasis flourishing amongst a huge cascade of cement, traffic and pollution. I carefully followed down the paths for walkers and sightseers, paying careful attention not to step food into the joggers and bikers paths. There were so many people there, probably because the weather was so beautiful. Benches line the paths and were packed with everyone from business men to little kids licking ice cream cones. I've never seen anything like it!



At some point I came across this huge field that I had never seen before. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people sprawled out on the grass, basking in the sun. For as many people as there were, it was dead silent, unbelievable! The tall city buildings loomed in the background but the noise of the city had somehow been shut out of this large square of Central Park grass.




I sat down on a nearby bench that lined the jogging path. There was an older couple sitting nearby. The man, probably in his 80's, was reading a hard-cover book that seemed to have been read so many times that I couldn't make out what the title was. His wife sat in her wheelchair opposite from him. There were oxygen tubes in her nose and her head was tilted slightly to the side as she blankly watched the families sprawled out in the grass parallel to us. At some point, a gust of wind swirled through the red and green leafed trees and blew her white, fine hair into her eyes. She didn't move. Her husband immediately looked up to her, removed his hand from her knee and pushed the strand of hair away from her eyes and behind her ear. He then patted her knee with his hand, adjusted his glasses and went back to reading his book. It was such a touching moment. After briefly feeling a rush of home-sickness, I decided to walk back up to 7th avenue and catch the train home.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Care package.

I have the most incredible friends and family.

I came home just now after a busy Friday and a nice run at the gym to find a package sitting in front of my room.

I dropped my enormous duffel bag and purse onto the floor and sat down to opened it up. Inside I found an adorable card accompanying 27 mixed cd's that my best friend Jenna made me. I had told her a few days ago that all of my music had gotten deleted when my brother reformatted my computer. I can't believe she did this for me...this must have taken forever!!! Jenna, I love you!!


My family and friends have been taking such great care of me, even from thousands of miles away. They always know how to cheer me up and instinctively know when to do it. This whole process of starting over somewhere completely new and on my own has been so much easier thanks to the wonderful people I am so lucky to have in my life.

Thank you so much to my incredible parents, brother and best friends. My life would not be the same without you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What makes the world go 'round.

The day ended in one of the strangest ways I've ever experienced since I have worked in retail. It was a quiet Tuesday, like most Tuesdays in our store since my arrival to New York. I spent the early afternoon praying for a burst of people to storm into the boutique and buy whatever their hearts desired to help us make our goal for the day. Well, God definitely sent me a burst of something...and it came in the form of a 60-something-year-old woman named Charlotte. At about 6:52 (we close at 7), a petite well-dressed woman with a blond bob and bright red lipstick walked into the store hauling a giant rolled up pink rug over her shoulder (a modern day sex in the city inspired Jesus, maybe?) She dropped the heavy load off near the counter and started to browse through the racks of colorful clothing. I approached her and commented on how gorgeous her Yves Saint Laurent handbag was. From there, I had made a new best friend! She grabbed me by the arm tenderly and led me around the store while telling me about her early days as a NYC fashionista. She started collecting BJ clothing in the early 70's, many of which she still has to to this day. We have many customers who come in to the boutique because the funky clothing helps them reminisce about their early years and past love for fashion. However, I quickly realized that we could have been a store selling Polish Bratwurst, live poultry or Barry Manilow CDs and Charlotte could have found interesting stories to share about those things, too. She started to pick up speed at this point as she stumbled around the store. While she spoke to me, her hands flew wildly through the air like an orchestra conductor as she switched from subject to subject, often interjecting enthusiastically when she would see a piece of clothing that stood out to her. I began to collect a pile of dresses in my hands and started running them back and forth to the dressing room like it was some kind of baton relay race. It was about 7:09 at this point and I looked over to MG who was patiently standing behind the counter, staring at me with confusion. We both knew that there was no way we were getting out of the store by 7:15 and especially no way that I was going to make my Pilates class at 7:30. Goodbye, vision of perfect abs! Eventually, the woman made her way into the room after asking me to pick out a pair of shoes for her to try on with the dresses. She wanted pumps, so I brought her pumps in a size 9. However, she decided on a pair of rainbow-colored beaded suede moccasins to balance out the simplicity of the silk charmeusse dresses she had chosen. At this point, I decided that there was something very peculiar about this woman. I asked her name, she replied with Charlotte. After I told her my name, I could hear her gushing about Gone with the Wind and how it was her favorite movie. I crept around the other side of the mirror and stared at the floor until she came out of the room. All of a sudden....WOOSH! The dressing room curtain flew open and there stood a very pale-skinned weathered Charlotte, with one breast hanging completely out of the dress that she had managed to put on backwards. I immediately turned to MG who stood behind the counter with her mouth dropped completely open. With the speed of a gazelle, I rushed over to Charlotte and struggled to get her dress put on properly so that she wasn't flashing all of the upper east side homeless people who stare into our windows late at night. The current situation had no visable effect on her. I had a feeling that this wasn't the first time she had been topless at a public establishment. Three or four ensembles later, we embarked on a conversation about how I had just moved to the city and that I need to join "groups" in order to make friends. "I joined groups, Tara. One of them was an AA group, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that not all drunks are BUMS!" she shouted in a muffled tone through the dressing room curtains. I just stood there with my hands on my head...staring into pink oblivion. It was 7:56 by this point and we just wanted to get out of there! Charlotte came out of the room with one of our own blouses on, jeans, moccasins, lipstick smeared on her front tooth and her blond bob, slightly off center from the position it was in upon her arrival. While trying not to stare too intently on her ever-shifting wig, Charlotte sat down indian style, possibly embracing her new choice of footwear, on the black and white checkered floor and told us to pick out pajamas for her. I suggested that I ring up her current items to give her the total before we picked out any more pieces. It came to $1800. I truly did not believe that she'd be able to pay for this and I especially was nervous about the fact that she could potentially be under the influence of something. I've had similar situations where I have received angry phone calls the following morning by husbands who had not given consent to any frivolous spending sprees at stores with a "no returns" return policy. I repeatedly asked Charlotte if the amount was okay with her and she seemed more than excited about her new items. I explained our return policy prior to swiping her card. I had her sign all receipts and I took her contact information down just in case I get a call from an angry spouse tomorrow morning. It took about fifteen minutes to get her all wrapped up, calmed down and on her way out of the boutique. I was worried about her walking home with her newly acquired pink shopping bags, expensive designer purse and large area rug (although I don't think anyone would mess with a woman wearing moccasins) so I ran outside to hail her a cab. A taxi showed up within 45 seconds. I was pretty impressed with myself, as this was my first time hailing a cab! I loaded all of her belongings into the taxi. When I turned around, she gave me a big lipsticky kiss on my cheek and said, "thank you tara, you both have sweet faces. goodluck in new york." I gave her a hug, pushed her pink bags into the car, closed the door and ended the Charlotte chapter in my big story book of crazy retail customer experiences.

Monday, October 6, 2008



This little guy ventured into our store the other day. His owner was a Russian model. I asked what his name was. "Putin", she replied.

Enough said.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

This morning was going to be a GLORIOUS morning. It was going to be the first day after a long 40-hour week of hard work where I could sleep in a little later than usual and not worry about my alarm going off at 7am. I even stayed up a little later than usual last night because I knew I could bask in the glory of dim lighting the following morning on my semi-comfortable make-shift bed.

Alas, my dream of peaceful slumber was completely obliterated at 7:45am when the angry Polish landlord from downstairs pounded vigorously on the front door to our apartment. The guy who is in charge of our rent is out of town and told me to give him the rent when he got back on Tuesday. This, unfortunately, had not been brought to our landlord's attention and he wanted the rent NOW (my share, anyway) in CASH! In a state of confusion, I deliriously slipped on a big sweater, jeans and a hat and walked 20 minutes in the cold to the closes Bank of America to get money.

Eventually, I returned back to the house and gave Slawmomir (that's his name) a chunk of $20 dollar bills. Here I am now, back on the floor staring at my alarm clock.

I guess the only positive thing about this situation is that I get to say that in my lifetime, I was once awoken by a 6 foot 2 angry, red-faced Polish man shouting in a thick accent about money, young kids being irresponsible and Sundays being church days.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday night at the movies

Today was a wonderful Saturday! It was really cold outside but M and I decided to leave the door open all day at work because I really think it creates more foot traffic when people can freely enter the shop. As funny as it sounds, I feel like people are intimidated to ring the buzzer and open the door on their own. They enjoy stealthily sneaking into the store when we're not looking to avoid having to talk to sales people. When you think about it though, it just gives us more of an opportunity to talk to them if they actually step foot into the store in the first place, no matter which method they use to do so. Ah, the joy of retail! This is what my psychology has resorted to during the slowest shopping season we've seen in years...analyzing conversion rates and foot traffic!!

After a crazy wealthy family from Mexico destroyed our store five minutes before we were about to close, I changed into my gym clothes because I was going to go for a treadmill jog at the gym. After getting out of my pretty clothes, washing off my makeup and packing up my bag, M and I left the store and I trekked over to the gym. To my dismay, it was closing at 8 which wouldn't give me enough time to workout. I guess most people have better things to do on a Saturday night, but I was really looking forward to a good run!! Instead, I hopped onto the train which took me down to Times Square. I walked over to the biggest movie theater I've ever been in and bought a ticket to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Going to the moves by yourself is actually really fun. This is the second one I've seen solo since I've been here. I think it should turn into a once-a-week kind of routine. It's a nice stress reliever and since I don't have a television, it gives me a chance to see what else is happening in the entertainment world! I lovedddddddd the soundtrack to the movie, it's playing via itunes on my computer right now. Sigh.

Tomorrow will be a good day. I am waking up early, heading to Manhattan to go to the gym and from there I'm going to check out an apartment on the upper west side. A friend from work owns it and has two rooms for rent. It's really close to central park and VERY reasonably priced. I hope the apartment lives up to its reputation because it would be sooooo wonderful to live in the city AND be able to save money at the same time! The fact that he has two rooms, one for me AND Kate is absolutely awesome....I guess we'll see!! I'll take pictures and keep everyone posted.

Friday, October 3, 2008

One more day...

...until my day off! I've got the itch to explore during Sunday and Monday. This past week was difficult for a number of reasons. However, I think the things that were causing the last seven days to be overwhelming are finally behind me and I am ready to get into the groove of the New York City life that I had started to develop before the craziness began.

Today was a quiet Friday at the store, but we are doing well for the month so far! We are 22% up for October, so that's great. I spent the day finishing up paperwork, re-merchandising our store with the girls and helping one of my associates re-do her resume. She's trying to get a merchandising position in the corporate office. It felt good to edit someone's paper, just like I used to do in my English courses, ha!



It is starting to get pretty chilly up here. Today was really the first day since I've been here that really felt like Fall to me. Granted, I don't really know what Fall feels like entirely, but the sky was gray and there was a crispness to the air that I haven't felt before. By the end of October I am most definitely going to need a good pair of boots and a nice coat! We received a shipment of winter cold-weather accessories today. I can't wait to wear my hats, scarves and (for the first time)...mittens!!

Alrightttttttttt....I'm exhausted. Time for bed. I hope everyone is doing well. I miss you all so terribly much. Sometimes it's all that I think about.
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