Monday, February 24, 2014

Shocking things I saw today....

So living in New York City, working in Times Square, you're bound to see things that the average person from my mid-west upbringing would never imagine they would see. Although I take into consideration that some of the people I see may be mentally disturbed, or have some other medical issue (bless their soul) some of the stuff I witness still doesn't make sense and leaves me utterly baffled.

FOR example, this morning while walking into the little cafe near my work to get my friday sandwich, a man cradling a literal wad of cash walked into the cafe. I looked at him obviously like he was going to mug me and tuck my money into his wad and sing it to sleep. He casually walked past me, walked up to the cop in the store, turned around, and walked out and down the street... never to be seen again. What the hell did I just see.

First of all, where's the money from? Second of all, why are you flaunting your wad baby? Third of all, why did you enter the store in the first place if you weren't even going to buy anything? I know that this may seem subtle and uneventful but try and put yourself in my position on a sunny Friday morning, confronted by a dirty man with a neatly organized fat stack of cash, just, ya know, meandering around. I've shared my experiences with the two people who have read my blog before, my mom and the (assumingly) Russian woman/stranger who just put me in one of her Google circles, but I can't stress enough how often these things happen.

Some of the time they are slightly funny and slightly tragic, like the man on the subway in the batman mini dress, but most of the time they strike this imagination of mine that may just as well be the most active imagination in the world.

That same day, before I saw money cradle man, I was walking to the subway in Williamsburg. On the off chance that someone besides my beautiful mother reads this, Williamsburg is a very hipster area in Brooklyn*. This slightly normal woman with ripped jeans and a bearable singing voice was belting out an Evanescence song. Of course my first thought was judgmental and along the lines of, "She definitely does NOT live or belong in hipster Williamsburg singing that song." And then, a few minutes later when I had time to think on the rush hour train--sandwiched between someone who didn't brush their teeth and an edgy chick who shoves everyone else a little too far in so she doesn't have to wait the 120 seconds for the next train, might I add--I started to judge myself, too.

I knew that song. It was Evanescence, and I remember when that song would come on the TV when I was younger I was mesmerized and couldn't stop listening to it. I couldn't stop judging my younger, former self for delighting so much in such a sad, yet beautiful, song sung by a rather goth looking band.

I have learned, therefore, to keep looking around and notice the things around me. I am constantly entertained by people of the city and their fascinating mannerisms and confidence. This is the perfect city to entertain an active imagination.

*They just put a Dunkin' Donuts into a very prominent corner in Williamsburg and the plaid brigade was none too happy, if that gives you a better description of the area

Balancing act...

Today's an inspirational one... getttttt ready.

So for those of you recent post-graduates who spent some time after college searching around for a suitable career, you know that this time was perfectly spent finding new ways to entertain yourself. Whether it was picking up a new hobby, learning how to be more intelligent with $3 crossword books, swapping your car for jogging shoes as a viable mode of transportation, or teaching your cat new tricks (don't knock it until you try it), you became an honest master of distraction.

Here's the thing about that, once you get used to being a non-genius, yet equally interesting version of Demitri Martin, once you obtain a full time job, those great qualities you picked up due to lack of activity, which made you super rad, fall to the wayside. This is an adjustment period. Suddenly grocery shopping is an option instead of a necessity, things like emails turn into a chore rather than exciting electronic packages tied up with imaginary bows, filled with fashion tips and stories from your college roommates, and your cat is more fun to cuddle with and relax than something that challenges your skill and tests just how patient you can actually be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT complaining about having a job, along with which comes a large occupation of my time. I'm however proposing a new view point: instead of thinking how sad it is that your time no longer is disposable, but look at this new time restraint as the next level of the challenge of life. You know, level 1 wasn't hard.... level 2, while you're actively looking for a job, maybe working part time, gets a little more difficult. Level 3, when you have a full time job, has arrived, guys. Get a good stretch in and get ready for the challenge. Important piece of advice before getting to far into the Rainbow Road: you'll fail. You won't make all of your goals every day (for those of you that do, way to go).

After awhile you'll notice which goals that are part of each level will change. You know when you were young and your mom said, "There are plenty of fish in the sea," the life is your sea, babe. These fish are all different sizes, some long, some short, and you don't have to have all of the fish at once. Instead, focus on one or two to begin with and work consciously on those. Reflect every day on how you did. Anecdote: if you think you're amazing and can complete all of these goals right off the bat, all at once, chances are you're setting yourself up for failure.

Good luck to you goal makers, goal achievers, and anyone who takes advice from a sage 24 year-old living in New York who is happily sauntering her way through life.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Return to the subway

I don't know how I did it, but I forgot all about the subway situation in NYC while I was gone.. Don't get me wrong, I think that public transportation is a great way to travel, it's good for the environment, and good for you wallet, but in a city of 5.4 million riders a day on one of the oldest subway systems in the world, you notice some things.

Today on my way home, in particular, I noticed a man dressed in a batman outfit. Normally it wouldn't phase me as there are many workers in Times Square that dress up as movie characters for their job. However, this man was literally dressed in his costume, his pot bell protruding out of his dress and a rather high thigh flash was happening. To add to the drama of wearing a Batman suit, he yelled, "Yeah baby" a few times between each stop, making sure to stare at passengers and lick his lips, and shouted the stops along with the MTA announcer. I apologize if there was something "wrong" with this man, but you have to take the good with the bad and see the humor and sarcasm in life, regardless of the situation.

The icing on the cake was "Friendly Rick" the General Contractor who sat down next to me and said, "Die Fledermaus must be in down," with a flashy smile. Thanks for the input and funny joke, Rick, but if this creepy Batman dude comes tunneling over here, I'm expecting you to throw yourself in front of me to protect me. Thanks! (Yes, my sass has returned and my coldness meter is dropping a little since being back, and I love it)

After transferring trains, I was waiting for the next train and noticed a woman in front of me with a rather large pony tail and silver thumb ring. The thumb ring, okay I get, I used to wear one because a cool Native American was selling them and I just had to have it. The pony tail, however, is another story. This is the point where I stop blaming Pony Tail Polly, and get angry with her friends. Polly's friends, please advise her on a new hair do. For example, I know that my hair looks rediculous in a pony tail because my hair is pin straight and my head is far too small for my body. Thus, a pony tail isn't my most flattering do. So, here's to my cynicism about long-haired-pony-tail-wearers and to hoping their friends step it up and suggest a change.

The most precious thing I noticed on the subway was actually a Con Ed worker. He was resting his eyes, or something, and held a notebook in his hands. Being incredibly nosey and curious, I stared at his notebook until I realized that it said "SAFETY" on the front in bubble letter that had been colored in. Little things that I notice, like that, always make me imagine what the person's story is. Where did he come from? Did he drawn in the letters or did someone he love? How long of a shift does he work? After mulling over these questions a wave of gratitude strikes me. This man sitting across from me on the subway is working hard to ensure the city-dwellers have heat, hot water, electricity, etc. and I'm thankful for him.

I finally deboarded the train once arriving in my temporary town of Williamsburg. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Williamsburg, it is essentially just a huge neighborhood almost entirely filled with hipsters. For those of your unfamiliar with the term "hipster", it is a person who spends far too much time looking for vintage clothing, trying to be an original, skateboarding, smoking American Spirit cigarettes, eating vegan food, drinking PRB, any or all of the above, and believes he/she is (here's the kicker) first person to have behaved in that manner, believe those beliefs, or create that certain thing. No one else did that, they were the first. The issue therein being that they all believe that. In true tandem with the quote, "If everyone's different, nobody is," their lives are mocked, in turn, but those the hipsters mock. It's a big circle of mockery and it works. I'm not saying "Don't Feed the Hipsters", some of them are delightful human beings, but the chances are the more you feed their egos, the skinnier their jeans will get.

However crowded, smelly, hot, cold, creepy, etc. the subway is, it always provides me with an entire rotation of emotions by the time I get off--IF I'm paying attention.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Making it work in a big city

So post graduate life is well on the way. As grateful as I am to have the support of my parents not only emotionally but also financially, come August I am cut off if I am to remain in NYC. For those of you who are judging me for being 23 and still relying on my parents for money, get over yourself. Sometimes it takes people longer to find a full time job. (especially when you're an aspiring window display artist in NYC... pretty specific and minimal job opportunities)

ANYWAY. I am currently working at Anthropologie as a sales associate because they usually promote from within and I am working my way up the ladder. The first question is: How do people "make it work", rent, food, going out, monthly subway pass, college loans, all on $10 and hour sans the 6.5% (or whatever it is) tax deduction from you pay?! Being the ambitious person I am, I picked up shifts tomorrow and voluntarily signed myself up to work 7am to midnight. What the hell was I thinking?

By the time my second break rolled around my feet were so swollen I had to losen my t-straps a notch. Standing on concrete for 11 hours straight really ins't great for your body, let me tell you. Not only were my feet hurting, but people who shop can be really mean/rude/belittling. Yes, I know I work at a retail store getting paid $10 an hour and you make a couple hunded grand a year, but I DO have a college degree and I'm not an idiot so please don't treat me as such. Working a cash register or finding you a size in back stock may not be my strong suites, but put a camera in my hand or ask me to make an installation and I'll stun you. (being assertive, not conceited, is a key trait in surviving as an artist and making yourself known--thank you Jeff Jones)

After all of this complaining I got home and was thinking to myself how so many people in the service industry work from 7am-1 or 2am every day, and they don't complain ;). Yes the people who are mean to service industry workers need to get over themselves, but I think so do I. I am voluntarily living in NYC and trying to make it work. Needless to say, I have zero social life anymore and every time I come home my kitten acts like I've been away to war for months. The question I'm asking myself now is, "Is it worth it?"

Should I move back to Saint Louis :/ for a while and save some money, work my tail off there, and attempt to make some more business connections so that I can later move back to NYC and face the struggle all over? Or should I stay here and attempt to find some mediocre desk job so that I can afford rent and food whilst attempting to be an artist in New York? The mind reels...

Friday, May 10, 2013

So I usually start my day with a thoughtful quote or profound literary piece from my dad in an email or text. Today I received this video What is Water? WATCH IT. (I think it was removed so here is another link

When you live in a crowded place where you are constantly moving around, and where it takes at least 35 minutes just to get through the line at the grocery store, it is helpful to be reminded that you are not the only person who feels frustrated, tired and annoyed at the end of a long work day. Sometimes you just get so wrapped up in it all that you forget you are not the only person on earth.

More importantly, why do more graduation speeches not resemble this one? What a perfect depiction of the every day "adult life" that so many of americans live. Instead of glorifying independence as a free right to party whenever we want and spend money however we choose, why aren't more parents/advisors sitting college students and recent grads down, looking them in the eye and saying. "LISTEN, it won't be as fun as you think." Maybe more college grads would be better prepared for the real world if that would have happened.

For the majority of my life I feel I have been incredibly independent and self-sufficient. The major flaw is that I have never been financially independent--whomp whomp. I still enjoy going to the grocery store and seeing all the different people. My point is that maybe the little annoyances come with financial independence. Who knows; maybe it is just being young and living in a city that I love that fules my naivety.

All that I am saying is that as an artist, and as a compassionate human, the video I posted above is a lesson worth listening to and one that all recent college grads should be required to watch. All you have to do is realize what the water is around you.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Naming things is hard.

I spent tonight updating my website, LinkedIn, resume, job reference list, and cover letter. All of this took place after an unpaid, 11 hour work day. Work honestly just gets me awake and so pumped to have a non-internship, full-time job to call mine.

One thing that has recently happened is that I have moved! Woo woo! I now live with people my own age, not that I didn't absolutely love living with two of my cousins who were 20 years my senior, but it's so nice to be around 20-somethings again. I found my roommate on Craigslist and she is adorable and the best roommate I have ever had. Who every thought after seeings "Craigslist Killer" (Lifetime you misleading thing, you) that I could find such a great roommate through Craigslist? Go Craig!

I also started working at Domestic Construction and have been there for almost three months now and absolutely love it. My boss is one of the most rad (to use her favorite term) artist chicks I have ever met. One of my new role models for sure. She isn't even 30 yet and has already owned her own clothing line, and now owns her own event design company. Seriously, talk about drive and passion. I am so grateful to work for Domestic Construction in their amazingly bohemian studio in Greenpoint. I have also fallen into quite a smitten relationship with their mentally handicapped cat, Fluff. I've been trying to take him home but they won't let me... yet...

The best part about DC is that I was able to work at the Bronx Zoo in helping to set up an event the other day. That's right, I spent the entire day next to barking, playful seals on a beautifully sunny and temperate day. It was perfect. I was also able to help stage an event for AMC! From Breaking Bad to Walking Dead to Mad Men, I was at the height of my existence.

I also just got an interview with my dream company, Anthropologie, for my dream job, Display Coordinator. So obviously I've been super busy submerging myself fully into my internships and am ready to take on a full time job where I can create! Lets go!

Am I not the luckiest girl around?

Monday, February 18, 2013

So much change!

It has been a while! On of the off chance that someone besides my mother reads this, I'm just going to keep updating the blog when I can and hope that my life is as interesting to the outside eye as it is to me.

I got a restaurant job and I also quit on the third shift. So, there went my theory of really wanting to work in the restaurant business, at least one with Italian management--incredibly different from every other type of management. I worked there for one day learning how to be a barista (definitely not my calling in life) before they put me on the floor as a server, on a Friday night, with 30 minutes of training, on a computer system that is definitely circa 1980, and had me wait on three 4-tops and three 8-tops. If you've ever been a server anywhere, you know that's a lot of tables. Well, it feels like even more when you have zero training, zero help in your section, and a rather pushy man ordering a bottle of tequila every 30 minutes.

The manager at the restaurant told me she could tell I wasn't from New York because of my "accent" and because I wasn't loud, I was "humble". Her "New Yorker" way of saying that I should probably be a little louder and pushy. So, now that they won't pay me, I've been exercising my non-humble side and have shown her my Nerinx woman side instead. You are ever SO welcome, Tabitha, you sassy little Indian chick from Jersey.

The good thing about quitting the crazy restaurant was that I now have another interview for an internship with a company I could really see myself with long-term. It is called Domestic Construction (google it I dare you) and it's located in Greenpoint. The company specializes in event planning and something I just discovered called "event design". Jackpot! Since graduation I have been looking for companies that incorporate artwork into events/event planning and here it is. Hopefully I get the internship with them and/or they hire me on full time! Fingers crossed and intelligence engaged.

The past week I had the flu and am now best friends with my cousins' cat, Shiva. At home I have a 85lb Golden-doodle named Wally who holds my heart, and a 5lb Coton de Tulear names Sophie. I think Shiva may be inching her way in, but only time will tell. After being an apartment alone for the past week, however, the only contact I've had has been with the cat and the guy who comes to pet the cat for about an hour a day, ohhh New York living.

The upside of being in a bed for a week is that I discovered the show "White Trash Weddings". Nothing makes me happier than this show. Watching this show is both entertaining and educational about how another half lives (I wouldn't go as far to say THEE other half). One wedding in particular that I watched had a woman who bought a yellow sundress from a consignment shop for her wedding. Seeing as this was her 4th and her husband's 5th weddings, I understand that. The real kicker was that she "b-dazzled" her dress with one of those "As Seen on TV!!" sequin guns. She did a great job lining the neck with sequins, but did an even better job b-dazzling her new husband's last name across the front skirt. For the reception they kicked back with some Coors Lights, 15 pizzas, and rode into the dusty sunset in a go cart (a one-seater so the groom drove and the bride rode on the "hood" essentially straddling him). How can you not want to watch that show?

On the opposite spectrum from "White Trash Weddings", I hung out with some new found friends in their upper east side studio this past weekend. The girls were decked out in Michael Kors bags, Christian Louboutin shoes (you're 23 and you have two pairs of Louboutins? Be my BFF) and David Yurman arm candy. I definitely felt like Dorothy in Oz, except my ruby red slippers were from Target and theirs were Christian Louboutins.

On a more serious note, it has been a little bit of a struggle to move to this huge city without really knowing more than two people my own age. I'm still working on figuring out who I am and why I am on the planet. My advisors prepared me for a post-graduate life for when I turn 35, not for when I'm 23. I have no full time job, no solid direction and way too many interests. Thankfully my Dayton family is close and my advisors will still be hearing from my post-grad self asking for advice.

Working at ELLE has helped me to narrow down my job search a little. It has shown me that I'm interested in fashion, but do not eat/sleep/dream fashion. ELLE/Hearst is full of wonderful, kind and talented people, I'm just not meant to work in an accessories closet. It's a different type of creativity that I'm really looking for.

In the mean time, there are a few things that I've learned so far that aren't a result of my costly education, but of just pretty much being alive:
- Cab drivers are some of the most intelligent people you'll meet in NYC, and are almost always humble.
- Humidifiers in New York in the winter are essential if you don't want to walk around all day with bloodshot eyes and no moisture in your body what-so-ever
- Don't drink past stupid... for real (thanks, Dad, I'm really listening this time)
- Books are fun if you read the right ones
- It's not where you are it's who you're with (although the location can make quite an impact)
- You can let your dog do it's business on the sidewalk. Gross.
- Hand sanitizer is a good friend to have
- Waterproof boots are helpful during a blizzard / Blizzards are real
- The majority of the people in NYC are very nice