Thursday, May 28, 2009

Don't Rain on my P-Rade!

Align Center
How amazing is this vintage postcard image? I am dying. I also think I'll have to forgo my plans to be an American Girl Doll for Halloween and get crafting on one of the above ensembles...

I have been so swamped with work lately that I didn't go shopping for any of the cute orange items I posted, nor did I get my hair cut, nor did I do most of the things I've wanted to do (*cough* lose 20 pounds *cough*) in anticipation of Reunions. Ah, well.

Sending you love (very soon, anyway) from New Jersey!

Going back, Going back
Going back to Nassau Hall

Going back, Going back
To the best damned place of All

Going back, Going back
From all this earthly ball

We'll clear the track as we go back
Going back to Nassau Hall!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quarter-Life Musings...

Perhaps because my SECOND (!) college reunion is mere days away, I'm starting to feel a quarter-life crisis coming on...

When I began college, I believed I had the perfect friends, the perfect boyfriend, and was attending my perfect school. Very shortly thereafter, the fallacy of the American teenage experience revealed itself to me: Working hard your entire existence and gaining entry to your perfect school is NOT, in fact, a guarantee of a free-riding, idyllic's simply a fresh start, with foreign rules to play by, and new people to impress. Truthfully, it marks the beginning of an endless cycle you're forced into for the rest of your life, which rears its ugly head each time you begin a job, introduce yourself to a new person, or embark on a different adventure. Some people expect or adjust to this realization better than others.

As for me, in my first year of college I lost my way. Then, blessedly, found it again when I least expected. Finally realizing that life could sometimes be the best or most poignant when it happened outside of my control, I nixed my post-graduation plans of spending two years in France (two years that, had I gone, would be wrapping up in just a few months' time...), followed by (hopefully) a PhD program in Art History, and, thus, my picture-perfect life as a professor. I do believe this was the right decision. But I think now about what has happened in my life in the past two years while living in New York, and compare that to what might have been had I spent that time in France instead. And how would I feel at this exact moment if I knew I was PhD-bound, rather than merely hoping for a promotion in my current job?

Tonight I had dinner with a group of Princeton classmates that, among other attributes, are working at the New Yorker, have just returned from a year in Asia and Africa, are Columbia and Yale grad students, have recently been awarded Fulbrights, are playwrights whose work is being produced in NYC, and conductors who are apprenticing with important orchestras. I am proud of and inspired by these friends, yet I can't help but wonder how (or if) I contribute to THEIR lives and make THEM proud to know ME. Princeton Reunions, for all of their fun, will only cause more of these questions and insecurities.

Have the decisions I've made in the last two years been the right ones? How will I choose to navigate my future? Should I try to live my life with eventual goals in mind? Like living in Europe full-time before my 20's are over...Or will the goals I make today seem irrelevant a year from now? In high school, I had the same English teacher in 9th and 11th grades. Both years she assigned my class to write "Life Lists," synonymous with "bucket lists." In 11th grade I referred back to my 9th grade list and scarcely understood how I could have wished for any of those goals only two years prior; if I reviewed my 11th grade list today, I would doubtless laugh at my naievete.

I have a lot to think about as I contemplate my plans for the summer, and how those might prepare me for the decisions I will make in the Autumn. Until then, I guess I need to focus on the small, pleasant things that will make me happy no matter my position or location in life. Thanks, Kate Spade, for your brilliant windows and your refreshing philosophies:

"Rent a Tandem" // "Learn to Hula"

"Cool Your Heels" // "Go Local"

"Cocktail Anywhere" // "Look Up"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Recap: TOO.MUCH.PIZZA.

I pushed myself to get out of the office for lunch and was glad I did. I was totally refreshed, due to sunshine and my view:

In the evening ALF arrived from Cambridge. We had such fun catching up. We dropped by Molly's birthday party and then wandered around the LES, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods for strolling through. We worked our way back to the East Village and decided on dinner at Cacio e Vino (sister restaurant of the equally fabulous Cacio e Pepe). Here's a photo of my yummy caprese pizza:

ALF and I joined E(B)AC for brunch at the cute Soho spot, Salt, just a few storefronts down from my favorite, Hundred Acres. This may well have been my last NYC meal with E(B)AC, who has been my NYC companion for the past two years, and my friend for nearly a decade. Her relocation is the best decision for her, but I hope she knows that she will be much missed, and thought of fondly and often.

E(B)AC with her lamb burger wrapped in pita // ALF with her veggie omelette.
After brunch, ALF and I traipsed up to Chelsea Market, worked our way through the Meatpacking District (I am SO reluctant to ever refer to that neighborhood as "MePa"), the West Village, stumbled upon my friend CP and her mother as they were moving her out of her apt post-NYU graduation, and rested our tired feet while sipping on watermelon lemonades at Sanctuary T in Soho. Since ALF had somehow never yet been subjected to my mandatory-for-all-visitors cupcake tasting, I dragged her to Crumbs. She was QUITE pleased with her Oreo cupcake selection. After a few hours of conversation and convalescence from hours of walking, ALF, The Bunny and I went to dinner at Sea. Sea serves my favorite Thai food in the city at the most wonderful prices. ALF and I attempted to watch a few episodes of AbFab, but wound up gossiping and reminiscing instead; isn't it great to have friends who've known you forever?

ALF departed early in the morning. Shortly thereafter, I headed to LaGuardia airport to see one of my very oldest friends, EMW. She was in the New York area for her brother's graduation from West Point (CONGRATS, JW!). Time was tight and schedules were hectic, and EMW couldn't venture into the City, so I went to her! I sure do love this fabulous and fashionable girl. Here's a picture of EMW (right) with her friend AMD (left), who also made the commute to LGA. We're both East Village girls and happily shared a cab home after bidding EMW a safe flight.

After a long nap, I met up with MBM and her parents, who were in town from the West Coast, for dinner at Otto. I once again ordered pizza (mostly because the pasta at Otto is, in my opinion, unappetizing), this time it was Quattro Formaggi (taleggio, mozzarella, cacio and ricotta).

I arose at the crack of 1.15pm, "breakfasted" on toast with Nutella, bought supplies for a scrapbook at Paper Presentation in Union Square, picked up a slice of pizza (yes, again) and sunned myself in Madison Square Park until it closed at 6pm. Now, after reorganizing my closet, I feel like a new woman. Typical of me, however, I have lots of work to do and have waited until the last minute to do it. This takes me back to high school/college when I would wait until the final hours of winter and spring breaks to BEGIN all of my work, thus undoing an extended period's worth of rest and relaxation. Ah, well. It was incredibly good while it lasted!

This week's rule? No more pizza.

How were your weekends?

Friday, May 22, 2009

(So Many!) Things That Make Me Smile.

1) One of my oldest and dearest friends, ALF, just completed her studies at Harvard Law school and is celebrating by coming to NYC this weekend! She's en route as I type. I can't wait to see her! Tomorrow we're having brunch with another childhood friend E(B)AC, who just received her Master's in Art History from NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. Such smarties!

ALF and me at In Vino during her visit to NYC in February 2008. (Yep. I look like a train wreck.)

2) An update on my friend Molly, who celebrates her birthday today: She was recently cast as Ursula in the upcoming Broadway production of "Bye Bye Birdie"! I am delighted for her, and delighted for myself because I now have an excuse to see (perhaps on multiple occasions) one of my very favorite musicals. I don't yet know who will play Birdie and Kim in this production, but John Stamos (Uncle Jesse!) will play Albert and Gina Gershon will play Rosie. What a fun cast!

3) Coco Rocha's post-Met Costume Institute Gala stop: McDonald's.

4) This stylish and adorable baby, snapped by the Sartorialist in Sydney:

5) THREE.DAY.WEEKEND. Followed by a THREE.DAY.WEEK. Followed by another THREE.DAY.WEEKEND. Yespleasethankyouverymuch.


If the shoe fits...

Have I found the perfect Reunions shoe?

Should I? Shouldn't I?

One week from today...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot Town, Summer in The City (and elsewhere)

Here are some things, both big and small, that I want to make happen before summer is over:
  • Chow down. I know my good friend ESG will be a great enabler in visiting all of the restos in the Burger of the Month Club's Top 10 Burger Rankings and sampling the best they have to offer
  • Play Summer Camp Counselor. I want to get my friends together and plan the following activities for us (I love playing social planner):
  1. Visit to a beer garden in Queens
  2. Day trip to a Long Island winery
  3. Day trip to Coney Island, perhaps for the Mermaid Parade on June 20?
  4. Day trip to Philadelphia. I used to visit this city frequently and know it very well, but many of my friends haven't spent much time there. Not to be missed is my favorite Philly resto, Cuba Libre. Plantain chips? Coconut milk latte with a meringue kiss? YES PLEASE!
  5. Neighborhood walking tours, visiting places I've been to before, have loved, and want to share with my friends, as well as places that I want us to explore for the first time together. Something akin to what they offer on Time Out's website.
  • Take advantage of these Brooklyn Bridge Park activities:
  1. Sunset Psychedelic. June 4.
  2. Waterfront Pilates Classes. Multiple Tuesdays.
  3. "To Catch a Thief" outdoor screening. July 30.
  4. Kayaking on the East River! Multiple Saturdays. (One of my dreams in life is to have a red canoe and my own pond, but I will settle for a kayak on the East River.)
  1. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Rock & Run on the River 5k. June 7. WOULD LOVE FRIENDS TO JOIN ME IN THIS!
  2. Wizard of Oz screening. July 10. Even in Manhattan, there's no place like home.
  3. Ghostbusters screening. July 24. I know EJS will accompany me for this one...
  4. Blues & BBQ festival. August 23.
I sure do love "Kramer vs. Kramer." I saw "Casablanca" during the 2007 film series and it was such a delight to be amongst hundreds of people, all of whom were picnicking, sipping wine, and shouting out Bogie's lines along with him. "Here's lookin' at you, kid."
  • Read. I have been a voracious reader all of my life. One summer I read 100 books and my mother rewarded me with a new outfit for my Samantha American Girl doll. Oh, childhood. Anyway, there's a deplorably HUGE pile of unread books on my nightstand...and I think education is power, so I'm determined to make this happen!
  • Work on my stomach. Instead of hating my entire body (in case you haven't noticed, I've fallen off of the WW and daily workout wagon...just in time to look disgusting at Reunions), I need to focus on one thing at a time. I have the most regrets about my stomach, and I think if I can put the blinders on and fix the thing I hate the most, I'm less likely to become overwhelmed when I look in the mirror and am disappointed by everything I see. Make sense?
  • Travel abroad. I made it a personal goal to travel out of the country every year since I was 14. 2008 was the first year I failed to make this happen. Considering that my original post-college graduation plans were to live in France for 2 years, this is especially shameful. I've been to the Bahamas, Canada, England, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Taiwan, and I hate the idea of stagnating...I want to keep exploring. Top of my list? The Czech Republic, South Africa, Australia and Israel. Keeping my fingers crossed that something interesting will happen.
What are your plans for summer? And who's game for the above ideas?!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Full stop! News Flash!


Have I died and gone to heaven?
I'll track down the truck and let you know!

Bernice Bobs Her Hair? Taking a note from F. Scott...

As predicted, I have been dragging my feet about getting a haircut.

Blame my hectic work and social schedule. Blame my indecision. But the fact remains that my hair looks dull and needs a boost, especially with Reunions right around the corner.

So here's my latest dilemma: I think I want to BOB it.

My hair hasn't so much as graced the top of my shoulders since I was a child, so this would be a major change.

What do you, my dear readers, think?
  • Do I continue to grow my hair for a few months and then donate it to a charity like Locks of Love?
  • Do I keep it long for summer and then bob it in the Autumn in order to create a cute-with-turtlenecks style, a la AH? (It would certainly help if my neck was also 20 feet long..)

  • Should I altogether avoid a bob (since I will never be Audrey Hepburn)?
  • Here are some styles that piqued my interest in the last few weeks:

So, what do you think? Hair DO or hair DON'T? Summer style or Fall fashion?
I always love reading your comments.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Busy Bee Me.

These are some of the things I've been up to in the last few days...
  • Saw "The Norman Conquests: Table Manners" on Broadway with CCR. This play has three discrete parts that involve the same characters, the same general setting (an English country house), and the same weekend...the difference is that you only see what occurs in a single room each time you go. I saw everything that happens in the Dining Room, and had such a wonderful time, and was so impressed by the cast, that I plan to return to see the events of the Living Room and the Garden.
  • Feted LAB at Le Royale on the occasion of her 24th birthday party. The birthday girl was happy, and they made my G&T with Hendrick's--there is no finer gin, in my opinion, for making my favorite cocktail!
  • Defeated my roommate with my ping pong skills (or was it the other way around?) at Fat Cat, with AKK, EJS and The Bunny as witnesses. I always have fun when I go there. And they have the cutest admission stamp in the entire City:

  • Trekked to New Haven to see my brilliant friends, JDB and MB. JDB, a Chemistry PhD candidate, gave me a tour of the labs where he's essentially working to SOLVE ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS. Seriously. We had a GREAT lunch at Caseus, followed by The Bunny's tour of his alma mater, Yale Law School. We took in the delightful "Picasso and the Allure of Language" exhibit at the Yale Art Gallery, and relaxed with tea and some reading at the always wonderful Atticus bookstore/cafe. In the evening, we saw "American Catnip," a funny and thought-provoking play written by my talented friend MB (an MFA Playwriting student at the Yale School of Drama).

L to R: JDB's lab, Mac & Cheese at Caseus, the library of Yale Law School
Below: MB on the program cover for the Carlotta Festival of New Plays

  • Shopped at Lilly P. with the Bunny's mother and sister; and I thought I was a marathon shopper...!
  • Caught up with my dear old friends, CLB and SN (visiting from Texas!), who were co-fellows with me during my 2007 research fellowship in Poland. It was wonderful to get the group together again.

  • Saw an advanced screening of "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" at the Museum of Natural History, at the invitation of the always lovely EJS. The opening and closing scenes from this film, as well as the original N@tM movie, were filmed at the AMNH. This movie was so much fun! And nothing is more enjoyable than watching a childrens' film in an auditorium teeming with kids!

Ticket and "swag"

I am already exhausted, but HAPPILY SO!, and it's only Monday...
Tomorrow begins a new adventure!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Do You Understand the Words Coming Out of My Mouth?

After a foreign (English as a second language) co-worker told me that he can't always understand me because I speak too quickly, I polled my friends to see if I habitually talk too fast.
Here's what they had to say:



No you speak lucidly and at a properly measured pace

You speak rapidly, but not too rapidly

ENP (who types like I talk!):
Yes you speak quickly but i always know what you are saying
at least you aren't boring
i mean, ppl that speak really slowly...sometimes i get f*cking annoyed
so, i don't mind it, it's part of who you are
i talk prob like you though, esp when you get excited, it all just comes out
it's the hard part of having a fast brain

Not much of a consensus!
Have you ever met someone who has a lisp but is blissfully unaware of it? (Be honest, folks.)
Despite vocalizing being SO integral one's daily existence, people tend to be very unaware of what their voices and speech patterns "read" as.

Just some food for thought...

Things that Make Me Smile: Nonsense Conversation.

This morning, AWC (with whom I had a GREAT dinner at Burger Joint last night) and I indulged in a favorite pastime of nerdy Princetonians: Comparing our Residential Colleges to the Hogwarts School's Houses in Harry Potter.

Just a little FYI:

Princeton's Residential Colleges:

Left to Right: The shields of Butler, Mathey, Whitman, Wilson, Rocky, and Forbes
  • Butler
  • Forbes
  • Mathey
  • Rockefeller (aka "Rocky")
  • Wilson
  • ...and though it was not open in my time there, Whitman.
Hogwarts's Houses:
  • Gryffindor
  • Hufflepuff
  • Ravenclaw
  • Slytherin

Our Conversation (which is admittedly useless in the scheme of the world/our lives, etc.):

ok how would you match up HP houses with Pton Res colleges
I think I usually thought Butler was Slytherin
Rocky was Gryffindor (biased much?)
Wilson was Ravenclaw
and Mathey was Hufflepuff
and forbes was like where Hagrid lived
(no offense.)
CJM: hahahahhaha ok, it's totalllly biased by your experience
because i ALWAYS thought that since so many ppl from Rocky ended up in Ivy
that Rocky = Slytherin
AWC: yeah I've heard that one a lot
CJM: and that Forbes was really noble
AWC: hahahaha
CJM: so Forbes = Gryffindor (biased much?)
and that Hufflepuff is for the lame-os
so Hufflepuff = Wilson
CJM: and like Butler = Ravenclaw
and Mathey doesn't matter
wah wah
AWC: alright alright I can dig it
CJM: but Forbes = Hagrid's house? makes sense
because it's SO.FAR.AWAY
but Whitman screws it all up
AWC: oh yeahhhh
stupid whitman
whitman's like one of those schools from russia that comes for the big ball
CJM: it was hard enough fitting 5 res colleges into 4 HP houses
but 6 is impossible

No offense to the Wilsonians out there...or to Woodrow Wilson himself. What do my Princetonian readers think about these pairings?

Apologies to my non-Princetonian readers. I'm not trying to exclude anyone, but Reunions begin two weeks from yesterday, so I've got Old Nassau on my mind...

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

While we're quoting people wiser than ourself...

Despite my recent blog posts indicating the contrary...I'm not one of those people who spends my days spouting adages. From my experience, you can quote other people until you're blue in the face but it ultimately doesn't change the fact that at the end of the day you have to live your life according to the circumstances at hand.

Nevertheless, I think it's important to be able to summarize general approaches to life; the simpler, the better.

My dear friend TAG says you should be able to identify your wardrobe aesthetic in 3 words. (For the record, her adjectives are Classic, Feminine, and Preppy.)

I think there should be a similarly straight forward way to identify a life philosophy.

I grew up attending a non-Denominational Christian church. While I no longer ascribe to those beliefs, I am nevertheless a product of my upbringing. One of my favorite Biblical quotations, one that frequently plays in my mind, is from John 4:17:
"Any man who knows the good he ought to do,
but doesn't do it,

You don't have to be Christian, or even religious, to understand why this should matter. For any citizen of the world, I think it's a great mantra.

The other day, a phrase I used to love but haven't thought about in years popped into my head. This one is definitely more universal, and everyone would do well to think about it each time you prepare to make a decision:


-Elvis Presley

Hubba Hubba.
Boy, am I glad it's Thursday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Important Mid-Week Reminder.

One of my favorite mantras is "Keep Calm and Carry On."

The phrase was coined in 1940s England to "stiffen resolve" during the war and printed on now-iconic posters (though, in their time, these posters were not widely distributed).

Rachel Ashwell, the Brit behind Shabby Chic, sold pale pink reprints of these posters in her shop before it closed. Fear not, you can still order a poster on Etsy, among other outlets.

Jessica Kagan Cushman has made a scrimshaw bracelet featuring this maxim that I just LOVE. (And, rude though this may sound, I've NEVER liked JKC's bracelets before, and generally eschew graphic apparel/accessories, but when the right piece comes along, I'm willing to change my tune!)

On a day where I find myself continually thinking "It's ONLY Wednesday?!" this is a good thing to bear in mind...

Chin up, Soldiers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Are You A Good Witch, Or a Bad Witch?

Though I now consider myself a New Yorker for life, I am very proud of my home-state of Kansas and my birth-state of Oklahoma, and am always happy to see co-Midwesterners succeed.

Knowing how much I adore my fellow Okie Kristin Chenoweth, The Bunny bought tickets for us to attend a City Center gala performance featuring the Broadway starlet.

K.C. wore a delightful pink party dress before changing into this glorious black number and treating us to two encores.

K.C. is more than a talented singer and actress; the world is full of people with equal skill. What makes her stand out is her genuine SPARKLE. She's truly a great entertainer.

In an hour and a half of performing, she delighted the audience with many great songs, but my two favorites were:
"If (You Had But You Didn't)"
"The Girl in 14G"
Click the links above to see K.C. perform these songs in a 2004 concert.

For all of these opportunities...New York, I love you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekend Recap.

  • Stopped by Powerhouse Books in DUMBO to pick up some cards, and stumbled upon a Patrick McMullan party. Passed Lisa Edelstein (aka Cuddy from "House") on my way out the door.
  • Dined at 5 Napkin Burger with The Bunny and friends.
  • Was surprised with tickets to "Things to Ruin," the new show featuring music by Joe Iconis, one of Bunny's and my favorite musical talents. He's a hybrid between a musical theatre composer and Ben Folds, and his shows are always a lot of fun.
  • Brunched at Popover with LS (left) and EJS (right).
  • Walked through Central Park.
  • Strolled through the Guggenheim (alas, only two floors were open this weekend).
  • Shopped at Lilly, and picked up some cute things:

  • Passed Blake Lively as I came out of Lilly. She was on her way to La Maison du Chocolat.
  • Snacked at Two Little Red Hens.
  • Saw "Star Trek" with The Bunny (since he shops with me at Lilly, it's only fair...).
  • Brunched at Hundred Acres in honor of The Bunny's mother. It was a great time with delicious food and wonderful company. The Bunny's mother officially told me that she LOVES me (it must have been the new Lilly dress!).
  • Wandered through SoHo in the afternoon sunshine.
Why oh why does Monday come so soon?!
Hope you all enjoyed your weekends, too, and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mama.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Wo ai ni.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Something to Make You Smile

This has been QUITE the week. I have so much to say, but have had no time to say it. Hopefully I'll give you a good update soon.

In the meantime, here's something to make you smile, courtesy of the genius of Craig Dameauer at "New Math." Math hasn't been THIS fun since Danica McKellar's textbook...

My personal favorite:

(In Kansas, you don't have to parallel park on your driver's test...which doesn't bode well for spending the rest of my life in major cities with limited parking...)

This defines my friend LAB's job as a lab assistant two years ago:

One of my personal favorites...provides some perspective, no?

I honestly think I need to meet and marry this man, because two of his "equations" happen to be some of my mantras:

A little trivia for all you Pride and Prejudice fans out there: The book was originally entitled "First Impressions"...

Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother's Day!