Friday, January 23, 2015

The Room and the Roommate

After getting the chance to settle in, I figured it was time to share some pictures of the hole-in-the-wall I'm calling my home and the wonderful lady I'm calling my roommate!


The Room


Living in an old building like the New Yorker/living in NYC in general, I didn't expect much. The room is small (of course), as is the bathroom (of course), but it's a place for me to sleep and relax when I'm not working or running around the city.

If you couldn't tell from the above picture, my side is the purple side. I've got a few pictures on the wall (hi friends!) and glow-in-the-dark stars above my bed... because I need to have stars somehow while I'm living in the city. 

The room comes with drawers and shelving under the bed, which is ideal for such a small room. But the closet (not pictured) is so shallow that the clothes and hangers sit halfway out, so the door can't even close. So before my parents left the city, my mom and I headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and we bought this AWESOME standing closet, which is now at the end of my bed! My roommate has a similar one, which is where my mom and I got the idea, but mine is a little different: it only has one rod (hers has two) but mine has a top shelf, so I have storage cubes with scarves/winter hats/gloves on top. The standing closet has been my best purchase in NYC thus far. 

The room itself isn't in bad condition, and the furniture (desk, drawers under the bed, side tables) are like new! The bathroom is a different story: there are cracks in the tiles everywhere, and rust in the medicine cabinet. Oh and the shower is absolutely terrible. Also, my roommate told me that before I moved in, there was a cockroach casually living in the sink that had crawled up our pipes. 

But I mean hey, beggars can't be choosers. Right? RIGHT?



The Roommate

MADDIE • 18 years old • From Portland, OR
Likes: chocolate, dance, Law and Order: SVU, Fourth of July
Dislikes: grumpy people, the smells of crowded NYC, when Starbucks' baristas spell her name wrong
Fun Fact: she's been dancing since she was a baby, and now dances for the New York Knicks!
Favorite Place in NYC: Rockefeller Center

It's been two years since I've had to live with someone else in a small vicinity such as a dorm room. The first time having a roommate was fine, but I was super nervous this time around – I didn't know anything about my potential roommate, not even a name! 

When it came time to meet Maddie (she wasn't in the room when I moved in), I was nervous, but it turned out that she was slightly nervous too. Her last roommate moved out due to some personal problems, but the two were never on the same page anyway. Maddie later told me that when she first saw my stuff (some Disney items and a roll of mustache duct-tape in particular), she called her mom in tears of joy because I "seemed normal". It turns out that Maddie and I have a lot in common, and I'm so so so lucky to have her as my roommate. 


••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Thanks for reading! Hope ya'll have been keeping warm wherever you are, and if you live somewhere warm, will you send me a care package of sunshine? Please and thank you!

xoxo, Laurie

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Weekend Update

Friday

Around 4pm I met up with my friend, Chris. We work together at IC and have become good friends since the fall of our sophomore year (Fall 2013) – the kid is tall and hilarious and has made working in our dining hall not only bearable, but fun. Chris has lived in Queens his whole life, but has only started to spend in Manhattan within the last few years.

We met on Chambers Street and since he (obviously) knew the area more than me, he sort of led the way. We ended up walking towards the shore of the Hudson River through part of Battery Park (an activity that has now been crossed off my bucket list!), where I saw an exciting view of...New Jersey. The view of the "Dirty Jerz", as New Yorkers call it, was a pretty sight, but I somewhat expected the first cityscape I saw while living in NYC was going to be of NYC. But then, as the sun was setting (*dramatic music in the background*) I saw Lady Liberty herself. She was chillin'.



Being right on the water, it was windy and practically freezing. Before we headed our separate ways, I asked Chris the same thing I have been asking all my native New Yorker friends, "what are a few tips you could give a newbie about living in New York City"? Here's what Chris had to say:

  1. Walk fast, or you will get trampled
  2. If a subway car is empty, there's a reason – "probably a homeless person peed in there"
  3. Ask locals where to eat to avoid tourist traps
  4. If you're walking alone at night in a shady place, do not play music – it will make you a target and take you off your guard when you should be paying attention to your surroundings 
  5. Look up when you're walking! You never know what you could miss
    • Also: Make sure you don't trip in Central Park, "because you'll probably fall into horse poop – it happened to me"
  6. Get chicken over rice with white rice from The Halal Guys
  7. There's always something going on for free in the city – there are literally websites dedicated to finding that stuff
  8. The more expensive the car, the slower you can walk (I had to have him explain: "basically a cab will run you over no problem, but someone with a nice, expensive car won't want to damage it...so if you're crossing the street in front of a Maserati, you can take your time")
  9. The subway has the best free entertainment – spend a day just riding it to people watch
  10. Don't be that person to fall on other people on the subway


Later that night, my roommate and our friend decided to go out for dinner. My friend was itching for a burger, so she suggested *drumroll please*... Shake Shack (click the link to see their mouth-watering Instagram account)! The burger-fries-and-shake joint has become a popular staple in Manhattan over the last few years, and it was one of the first restaurants I put on my bucket list. I just got a basic meal at the Shake Shack on 42nd Street, but I was one happy girl.


Saturday

I had a major FOMO (aka Fear-Of-Missing-Out) moment late Friday night/Saturday night, when my close friends back in Ithaca called me on FaceTime after a night at the bars. It was hard for me seeing them all together again and hearing them say that they missed me and that I should be back in Ithaca. Unlike a group of my close friends who are currently studying abroad in London (shout out to those trolls), I am in New York essentially by myself. I didn't think I would miss Ithaca as much as I have been missing it this past week. But honestly, it was amazing to talk and laugh with my friends at 2am, and I'm glad they thought of me. 

After a somewhat lazy Saturday (except for that hour I spent at our building's gym – first time I've set foot in a gym in I couldn't tell you how long), I had a night out of my own. My roommate and a bunch of kids from our building usually spend their weekends at this local pub called Jack Doyle's, or Jack's for short. It's less than a block away, and it certainly has the vibe of an Irish pub, very casual and homey... the very opposite of the many bars and clubs that I thought NYC was full of. It was my first night out with my roommate, and overall one of the most fun nights I've had so far.


Sunday

This morning I woke up to my aunt posting a picture of a slice of Mark's Pizzeria. I almost cried.

New York City in the rain (it's been pouring all day) is very sad. Not my favorite. But! A rainy day calls for a lazy day – later tonight my friends and I are going to drink some wine and watch some movies. I'm mentally preparing myself to start classes and to get my start date for my internship. These past few days I've been finalizing paperwork, so hopefully I'll be able to start soon... 

I have a couple other posts and plans for the coming week, so stay tuned!

--------------------------------

Thank you again for reading! I appreciate all the love and positive remarks I've received from friends and family, and it means a lot that people have been thinking of me! 

Much love!
xoxo, Laurie

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Brunch at Cafe Gitane

Today I hopped on the B-train and headed downtown to meet up with a long-time friend, Claudia. I didn't even get lost once – impressive, I know...shout out to Google maps!

Claudia and I have been friends since we were in the 2nd grade, and through the years have always managed to kept in touch. She has been studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) for a couple years now, so she has become a pro at getting around the city and finding the teeny-tiny cafes. When she found out I was moving to New York during winter break, we made plans to meet up. She suggested Cafe Gitane on Motts Street. 



The cafe was my definition of quaint, and the woman who was working actually recognized Claudia from her being there recently. We sat and caught up as Claud drank her mocha-something and I stuffed my face with carbs (as usual), then we wandered through Soho for about an hour or so. We snagged some nice deals from H&M (her hat, my scarf, as pictured above, both for $2.50), and as we got on the subway back uptown, I asked Claudia if she could give me three tips about living in NYC. She gave me nine.
  1. Walk a lot, because people miss things always taking the subway or staying indoors
  2. Museums are actually free because they're donation based, so don't be fooled by the price!
  3. Find other cafe shops besides Starbucks – there are many
  4. The cheapest cereal is at Whole Foods
  5. Walk Fast – New Yorkers will hate you if you don't
  6. Union Square Market = cheapest fresh produce
  7. You can use your Metro Card on buses...("I just discovered this", she added)
  8. Avoid Midtown unless you want to experience the crazy tourists and business rush hours
  9. The Seaport on the Lower East Side is a hidden gem. Visit. 
I'm honestly just grateful to have someone who knows what they're doing in the city. Claudia and I are easily able to pick up where we left off, so it was truly nice to get together. Thanks again for showing me around, girl, and thanks for the helpful tips!

Hope ya'll are staying warm. I haven't been able to adventure as much as I would like to since it's been below freezing the last few days, but I'm getting my internship all set in place and trying to make myself comfortable in my little dorm room. Pictures to come soon!

Best,
xoxo Laurie

Sunday, January 11, 2015

First 48 Hours

Hi all!

As many of you know, I moved to New York City two days ago. My parents and I rented a minivan (super luxurious and classy to roll up to NYC in, I know) and made the 6 hour trip from Rochester to Midtown Manhattan on Friday, and arrived around 3pm.



Since I moved in a few days after the official EHS (Educational Housing Services) move-in day, the process of getting my belongings up 9 stories with no help was an experience in itself. But the 1920's Art-Deco building is in more-than-decent shape, and the hotel staff has been friendly thus far. I'm staying in the New Yorker, which is half hotel and half student-dorming. I'll post a more detailed review of the place once I've been here longer than 72 hours!

When I first got to my room, I was not surprised by the size, but was surprised by the fact that my roommate (who wasn't there when I arrived) seemed to have been moved in for some time. I never thought I would have to live in a dorm room with someone again – being an only child, my freshman year was the first time I had to live in the same room as someone, and after that one year I lived in a single at school. It turns out that my new roommate, Maddie, has been living in the room since this summer. She is 18, from Portland, Oregon, and dances for the New York Knicks...casual, I know. But her few extra months of experience in the city will turn out to be a huge benefit for me, I can already tell. 

The 'rents and I immediately looked for food. Obviously the first real restaurant we came across was a steakhouse and obviously my mom and I were overly excited. Uncle Jack's Steakhouse on the Westside provided me with the best steak I have ever eaten, hands down (sorry Outback, you know I love ya). My parents and I all ordered the filet mignon, then continuously told each other how perfect our steaks were in between chewing. 

After dinner, I realized my wallet was missing. Only three hours after arriving. Like, only I would lose something so important so quickly. I was convinced it was in my room, but then figured I had to have dropped in while moving in and someone must have snagged it. After two panic attacks and crying to my mom that "it's not gonna be in a lost-in-found, there is no such thing as a lost-in-found in New York City, GOSH MOM", we found my wallet on my bed. 

We ended the night falling asleep in my parent's hotel room while watching HGTV. 

Saturday morning my mom and I took the subway to Bed, Bath and Beyond and my dad did who knows what. After ensuring I was "settled", they left around 1:15pm, and then I was alone. Very alone. Which was honestly...not awful. Of course I loved and appreciated having my parents help me move down to the city, but it was nice to walk around by myself and not have to worry about losing my dad or my mom giving money to every single homeless person that approached her (4 out of 4 times she did). The rest of my Saturday consisted of a nap, pizza, and catching up on some blogs. 

Sunday will consist of assembling a free-standing closet (since our "closet" is essentially non-existent), finding my way to 30 Rock, probably shopping because why not, and keeping warm. Having a week before my classes and internship start is going to be wonderful – it will give me the chance to really explore and get my feet on the ground.

Most important things I have learned thus far:

  • Crosswalk lights only offer a suggestion of when to walk
  • Everything is more expensive in New York City
  • Wear a scarf – it's just a thing, I can't explain it

After much consideration I did not bring my Canon with me. So even thought I haven't taken many pictures yet anyway, ya'll are just going to have to deal with iPhone quality pictures in the future. I hope to take more pictures in the next few days of exploring and meeting up with friends!

A serious thank you to the people who have reached out to me about my blog. I look forward to updating my friends and family around the world, and am beyond happy to get any type of response. 

It's only starting to set in, but I guess this is real!
xoxo, Laurie

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Countdown: 5 Days

Today is Monday. I move to New York City on Friday.

Things that need to get done:

  1. Everything

I have slightly started to pack (which also means I have slightly started to UNpack from the fall semester that ended three weeks ago), but it's mostly just piles of stuff in my living room at this point. Honestly, I don't have that much stuff to bring, but I will probably end up bringing way more clothing than necessary. #girlproblems?

Today I plan on going to the mall to finally purchase the laptop bag/tote I will be using while in the city for school and my internship. Some nice ladies at the TUMI store put it on hold for me on Saturday, which is much longer than retail is supposed to hold items for customers. You can see a picture of the bag here, but I will post pictures of the final pack-up (and a review of the bag) soon enough!

I'll also be doing other nonsense errands today: returning Christmas gifts, heading to the laundromat, pick up some groceries and medications at Wegmans, and whatever else my mom asks me to do. Plus, I think we will be taking next year's Christmas card picture today...long story short, my mom has decided upon a new tradition of buying herself, my father, and me matching footie pajamas – aka "onesies" – for us to wear on Christmas morning, and she wants the world to know. I've got to admit, this is the second year we've done it and it's pretty hysterical.

By the way, welcome to my blog! While I officially created the site before the New Year, (December 28th, to be exact) I waited to share the link until move-in day got closer. Now that it's only a few days away, I figured it was time! Please feel free to click around, leave comments, and judge me for having a blog! I really can't wait to document my time in New York City, regardless of who (if anyone) reads it. 

Today is Monday. I move to New York City on Friday.

Here we go!
xoxo, Laurie

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Another Year Down

I never really was one for celebrating New Year's Eve. 

As a kid I would stay up late with my parents, or at least try to (apparently for Y2K I made my dad wear a tux, and then I fell asleep around 11:50pm). Some years I had a single friend come to watch movies and sleep over. It wasn't until late high school that I left my house and my parents to be with other friends. One year I babysat alone. I've only spent one New Years Eve with a significant other. 

This year I was happily at home with my parents, eating Chinese food while watching the Walking Dead marathon, and doing laundry. 

I've never felt that a new year meant a fresh start. People who see a new year as the only chance to make changes in their life confuse me. "New year, new me" is something my friends and I frequently laugh at. Celebrating a year full of happiness, success, and loved ones is great and fun, sure, but hearing statements from a person who fully believes they can change themselves (or others) just because it's January 1st...it just isn't realistic. I don't know. Call me cynical. 

Anyway, here's a round up: In 2014, I learned that there can be happiness after unhappy times. For my 20th birthday, my parents told me that I could go Disney for the first time as a gift. I threw my mom a surprise party for her 60th birthday. I went from sophomore to junior year of college and had my first real summer internship, where I (sort of) decided what to do with my future. I watched all of Parks and Recreation in like, two weeks. Also, shout out to AMC's 4th of July "Dead, White, and Blue" Weekend for starting my mom's and my obsession with The Walking Dead.

I had some highs, and definitely some lows. But for whatever reason, I found ways to keep on going. And every once in a while, I look back and realize how much I've changed. Change doesn't happen in a day, but it is constant. Diamonds are made from coal with pressure and time. Was that cheesy? Probably. But true. 

My main point is this: while I've obviously changed and grown this past year, and every year, my changing is never determined by the year...it's determined by the experiences. 

As blasé as I am about New Years, 2015 should be a pretty big year for me.

  • I'll be living in NYC for the first five months, taking classes and interning
  • I'll (finally) turn 21
  • Hopefully I'll take my first trip to Disney
  • This summer I'll be doing something... not sure what, but something
  • In August, I'll be starting my senior year of college


Here's to the adventures 2015 has in store. 
xoxo, Laurie

PS. This is only my second post, and as of now I haven't even shared the link to this blog with anyone. But! For future reference, and if you're on bloglovin', follow my blog! It will tell you any time I add a new post.