Weekly Roundup | Later, October

Friday, October 30, 2015

First, how is it Friday? Second, how is it the end of October already? These weeks have been flying by, as have the months. My mind is so confused... after two years of "no seasons" in Orange County, fall has crept up on us and almost blown by so fast that I didn't even see it coming. With everything that's happened in the past three months, I really feel like it should still be the beginning of September. Time needs to slooow dowwwn.

It's Halloween weekend and it came up so fast that I'm totally unprepared. My friend Ada is having a party at her place in Brooklyn, but it's "costume only" and I can assure you that I don't have anything costume-like in the one drawer worth of clothes I brought with me. Maybe I should run out and throw something together really quickly tonight or tomorrow? Ideas? I'm out of ideas. Help. (It's still only supposed to be like September, remember?)


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City Scenes

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yesterday's post was met with many comments and emails of encouragement from readers that definitely helped brighten my day and lift my spirit. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me with such kind words! I ended my post with a bit of positivity, sharing that while I am stressed out and homesick, we're still excited and making the most of our new experiences and new city.

I shared in last week's Weekly Roundup that Chelsea had come to spend my birthday weekend with us. It was a great reunion and felt like we were all just back together in our apartment in California...except we were in New York City and had a million new things to see!

We started our Saturday morning off with a (belated) birthday brunch for me at Petite Abeille near Union Square. I wanted waffles and Chels and Dan happily obliged.

After brunch we visited Strand Bookstore, followed by a subway ride down to the Brooklyn Bridge. You would think that after all of the time I've spent here in New York over the years, I would have walked across the Brooklyn Bridge before now... but you'd be wrong. For some unknown reason, this Saturday was the first time I ever did. I'd say it's worth the walk, if only for the amazing views.

Back in Manhattan, we crossed the street from the bridge to find the Wafels & Dinges truck! I couldn't resist...I ate a second waffle that day. I mean, you just can't run into the Wafels & Dinges truck and not have a Nutella Wafel! (Seriously...if you ever come across this truck or their stand near Bryant Park, get one!)

Afterwards, Dan headed back to our apartment while Chels and I finished the day by wandering through SoHo. And of course, we finished our round-trip walking tour back in Washington Square Park, my all-time favorite place in the entire borough.

This city keeps reminding me why I wanted to come here in the first place.

The Un-Pretty Truth About Our New Life

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Here's the truth: I'm not dealing well with our most recent transition. Moving to New York City was supposed to be "everything I ever wanted," but it has not been easy.

I'm still working through my thoughts and feelings on everything, and it's hard to talk and/or write about without sounding ungrateful. I don't want to complain all the time. I actually wrote a couple of very miserable paragraphs that I immediately erased because I'm trying really hard not to fill this space with so much negativity.

But sometimes... sometimes life is tough and you just want to rant and complain and put all of your feelings out there. I don't want to be the kind of person (or blogger) who only posts pretty pictures and fills their blog with wonderful inspiring stories that show off how amazing and fun their life is, because life just isn't like that all the time. Sometimes I need to share the hard, un-pretty, complain-y things. (After all, this is my space and I'll cry if I want to.)

(I also know that it has been through blogging that I've "met" so many other great blog friends who are so real and uplifting. Thanks to you all for sharing the un-pretty and hard situations in your life, too, because it's through those types of connections and by reading and relating to those stories that I don't feel so alone or ungrateful or complain-y.)

I'm homesick. So, so homesick. After two years away from my family, two months with them was a dream. From Downtown Abbey marathons with my mom and family dinners around the table in my childhood home with her and my dad to cooking dinner with my mother-in-law and watching crazy movies with her and my father-in-law... Time with family is so wonderful, and nothing makes you realize that like being really far away from them. Again.

We've been down this road once. We're completely starting over, again. We're in a city where we don't really know anyone, again. We have barely any belongings, again. It's tough. It's making me question whether or not this is what I really want.

So I go back and forth, alternating between the excitement of living here and the reality of daily life: work, chores, bills, and other mundane aspects of daily life are the same no matter which city you live in. It's what you do in your free time that defines your lifestyle, and right now I'm trying to determine what kind of lifestyle it is that I want.

Don't mistake me for completely miserable, though. We are having fun here! We're exploring and trying new restaurants and wandering through new neighborhoods. We're seeing things we've heard and read of and making mental checklists of things we want to do and see in the future. Life is exciting here, but life can be really exciting and really difficult at the same time.

Weekly Roundup | NY Minutes Aren't Long Enough

Friday, October 23, 2015

Brooklyn Bridge | Em Busy Living

The last week has been an absolute whirlwind! I wanted to post and share earlier in the week but I haven't had a moment to spare!

Chelsea came up from Jersey for my birthday weekend and we had a blast! We had brunch near Union Square, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, explored SoHo, shopped, visited the Guggenheim museum, had appetizers and drinks at one of my work's restaurants, and probably walked a million miles. I took a ton of photos and hope I'll have time to share some of them soon!

I have so much freelance work this week that I haven't had time to do anything else other than work. If I had more time to design freelance, I could almost see myself taking this full time instead of working in a cubicle. Working for myself brings me so much more joy. Besides those thoughts though, things at the new job have been going rather well. It's definitely an interesting business!

  • I've been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award by three different bloggers lately! I have every intention of sitting down one day and answering lots of their questions about my travels (because I love sharing that sort of thing,) but I just need to find the time first! One day, girls! Until then, go check out what Jasmine, Nathalie, and Lo shared about their travels and adventures.



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Weekly Roundup | It's My Birthday!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Happy birthday to me!! I'm 29 years young today, so let's hope this last year of my twenties goes really well! Chelsea is on her way into the city tonight after work to spend the weekend with us and celebrate...it'll be like we're all back in California together! Except we'll be in New York and won't have half as much room or as wonderful weather. I'm excited!

It's been a long second week in New York. I love that Dan and I meet up after I get out of work and go explore. I came home Tuesday and told him I wanted pizza and it had to be Joe's! We hopped on the train and headed down to the West Village for a slice, followed by a stroll down Bleeker Street and a little people watching in Washington Square Park, which has always been my absolute favorite place to hang out in New York City. If you've ever spent any time there yourself, you know exactly what I'm talking about and why I love it so much. I wish we could live nearby so I could go all the time.

Our friend Ryne moved to the city a couple of years ago so we reunited with him Wednesday night for dinner. It was great to talk to someone from home (Roanoke); someone who knows us, where we're from, and really gets us. It's been hard being in another new city (again) with few friends (again) and I'm so happy to know he's just over in the Lower East Side and willing to hang anytime.

  • On Tuesday I shared a bit about last weekend, which mostly consisted of eating and walking and playing tourist in our own city.

Watching (Trailers!)
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I haven't read the so-popular novel of the same title, but this looks fun! Starring Lily James and Lena Headley.
  • Suffragette This one looks intense, but I bet it will be amazing! Starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep.
  • Big Stone Gap This one is based in (and was filmed in) the town of Big Stone Gap in Southwest Virginia. Everyone back home in SWVA is excited about this; it's rare that big stars make their way to that part of the state! Apparently this one is also based on a book, but I wasn't aware of it. Maybe I'll get my hands on that soon! Starring Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Jenna Elfman, and a bunch more!
  • Hair, Caesar! This one just looks funny! Starring George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, and so many more.

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  • Every year my hometown community pulls together and throws a "trucker's parade" to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Big trucks are sponsored by members of the community to add a banner of a loved one who fought cancer (some in honor of those who won, some in memory of those who died) and they drive together in parade form from one end of the county to the other. This year they raised $100,000! This is huge for the tiny little place where I come from! (Video in link if you just can't image it!)

Our First Weekend in New York City

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

One World Trade Center, the "Freedom Tower" in New York City| Em Busy Living

Okay, so technically this past weekend was our second weekend in the city, but since we spent all of our first weekend here trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to find somewhere to live, this was the our first free weekend to relax and explore as we pleased.

I have to say sorry...I may have sounded like quite the stressed out complainer in Friday's Weekly Roundup post, but the moment I realized we were no longer actively searching for a place to lay our heads in a few days' time it felt like a million pounds were lifted from my shoulders! Stress levels have gone waaay down since we've landed in this temporary place and I love that!

I finished my first week of work and came "home" (weird!) on Friday night demanding we immediately go out to dinner! It was a celebration of our week, celebration of our jobs, and celebration that we didn't have anything else to do!

We took the subway down to Chelsea and had dinner at The Meatball Shop, which I'd read wonderful reviews of. I've learned that if there's a wait for a restaurant in New York City, there's usually a good reason! Inside was loud, dark, and crowded but we were wowed by our food. We both ordered different dishes and switched plates halfway though so we could enjoy both meals. I ordered beef with mushroom sauce over rigatoni and Dan ordered the spicy pork and spicy marinara over spaghetti. Both meals were so good! We even stayed for dessert: root beer floats and the richest chocolate ice cream I've ever tasted. I highly recommend a visit next time you're in the city!

View of the Empire State Building from Chelsea, Manhattan | Em Busy Living

On Saturday we had lunch at the Tribeca Tap House. Although their food wasn't out-of-this-world spectacular, it was nice to sit and enjoy a good burger and a chill vibe in a place that wasn't totally packed for brunch.

The Tribeca Tap House, TriBeCa, Manhattan, New York | Em Busy Living
The Tribeca Tap House, TriBeCa, Manhattan, New York | Em Busy Living
Bronx Brewery's Belgian Pale Ale | Em Busy Living
Dan highly recommends Bronx Brewery's Belgian Pale Ale!

The Tap House was an easy walk away from Pier 25 on the Hudson River, so after lunch we walked that direction. The view of the new Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) was spectacular, so we headed downtown towards it. Cue the crowds! We wandered through the tourists who were lined up to visit the 9/11 Memorial and had a peek at the memorial pools that were built where the towers once stood. It was quite surreal; I had never seen them in person before, as the last time I visited the area they were still blocked off with fences. The first time I ever visited New York City the rubble was still insurmountable and crews were still digging down. They have come a very long way.

One World Trade Center, the "Freedom Tower" in New York City| Em Busy Living
North Pool at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City| Em Busy Living

Saturday night was a reunion for me! Dan and I took the train to Williamsburg in Brooklyn and met up with my friend Ada for drinks at the Crown Victoria Biergarten. Ada and I were partners and BFFs in our photography class at Parsons in 2009 and hadn't seen each other since! She's back in Brooklyn now after years at home in Paris and we had so much to catch up on. I hope we'll be seeing a lot more of each other now that we're so close again!

Em Busy Living

Want to know what else thrilled me to death about this weekend? Besides having a really wonderful Friday date night and day of exploration on Saturday... we did normal things on Sunday! Chipotle + laundry + grocery shopping...I can't tell you the last time we went grocery shopping! We have a tiny mini fridge and a tiny stove top, but we cooked our own dinner Sunday night and were so excited to do so. Maybe life is getting a little bit back to normal; it's just a new normal, but I couldn't be more thankful!

Weekly Roundup | Our First Week in New York

Friday, October 9, 2015

We've been in New York City for one full week now, which is crazy! Thank goodness for Fridays, because this has been the most exhausting week.

We arrived last Friday afternoon to pouring down rain; I'm talking the soaking kind, where all three suitcases and both messenger bags were soaked through almost immediately. We dragged our heavy luggage a block north of crowded Penn Station in an effort to flag down a taxi instead of standing in the taxi line at the station in the rain... I mean, do these people not realize they can walk a block east or north and catch all of the taxis before the people in line do? Maybe not, but when it's pouring buckets I'm cheating.

We arrived at our AirBnB in Chelsea and found the keys our host left for us to let ourselves in, realizing soon after than her building was a walk-up...and she lived on the fifth floor. If I hadn't been so concerned about Dan falling down the stairs with our huge, heavy suitcase on his back, I may have filmed the feat for future entertainment. Sidenote: when you've been a lazy bum for months and have also had a cough/bronchitis for several weeks, climbing four flights of stairs is an incredible undertaking. That's 72 stairs several times this past week; once we were up, we were up for the night!

We spent much of Saturday and Sunday with a real estate broker that a friend had referred to me. We saw several apartments and gained a more realistic idea of what we would have to spend for a space that felt suitable (read: big enough for a bed and a couch; updated enough that the tiles still had grout; maybe a toilet that didn't have a stick knob like my elementary school bathroom). We "decided" on one each day, only to call him later and tell him it didn't feel right and we'd like to keep looking. Also, this broker isn't to sell us an apartment...this guy is just the middle man to help us rent, and like a broker for sales, he comes with a fee. This was a big decision and a big chunk of change to throw down after only two days of looking. As Monday approached, we felt more and more stressed out.

I started my new job on Monday! I realize now I haven't really shared anything about it, so here goes: I'm a graphic designer (one of two) for an events and management company here that owns several restaurants. I'll be working to design promotional and marketing materials for these venues as well as any photography, videography, etc, they might need. I really like it so far! It's very fast paced (a lot of "put this project on hold and do this really fast for me,") and I'm starting to get a feel for the company and the restaurants. Looking through some of their coverage in the press I've found that I signed a confidentiality agreement for good reason: lots of celebrities and NY hot shots frequent these venues for a variety of things (branded parties, Super Bowl parties, just random dinner date nights with other important friends,) and apparently two of my higher-ups are literally dating supermodels. It's really weird...this position should be interesting! Also, my hours are kind of strange and have been difficult to adjust to...I work 11am-7pm; for what reason, I have no clue.

Dan headed into his new office on Monday as well. His job transferred so he's with the same company, but he's meeting an entirely new staff and he'll be the only developer/IT staff in this office. Things seem to be going well for him and he's starting to figure out how to navigate the subway and city streets. He works 9am-5pm. I really wish we matched up more on that, but what can you do? It's not so bad, though. He's been meeting me as I get out of work and we'll walk to dinner together and talk about our day, so that's been a nice new routine.

So back to the apartment... With the stress of starting the new job, with my weird new hours, with us not being able to go view any places after work (because of my hours), and with me going back to the doctor again this week for another round of antibiotics (I just can't seem to kick this! The rainy weekend couldn't have helped...), and with the clock ticking on our AirBnB (which ended yesterday at noon)...we just flat out couldn't deal. The one apartment we liked had terrible management reviews. Move-in plus broker fees would have nearly broke our bank account. The stress levels were too high. (I promise to write an entire post one day about the process of moving to NYC, because there is truly nothing like it on the planet. Never in my life!)

At the last minute Wednesday afternoon, I found a short-term furnished apartment online. We paid up front for 30 days and moved our things in before work yesterday. It's pretty much a glorified hotel room, but it's our glorified hotel room! For a month, at least. Hopefully now that we're here and getting "settled" we can take our time finding out where we want to be long-term. We're currently in Hell's Kitchen/Midtown West and can both walk to work in Midtown, so that's nice! It's a great neighborhood. I'm so happy to unpack a suitcase for the first time in two months!

And I just wrote the longest blog post ever, ha! On to a few things I found online this week...

  • Fear the Walking Dead Finale Who watched it and loved it?! I'm so excited for the next season of The Walking Dead. I have a theory that they wouldn't have thrown this random mini-season in the middle of two WD seasons unless we were going to meet these FTWD characters later in the regular WD. Right? Is that a crazy idea? Will Rick and Travis take on the world together? 

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Weekly Roundup | Moving Day!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Em Busy Living, "Weekly Roundup | Moving Day!"  | The Blue Ridge Mountains in Salem, Virginia

First things first—I got the job!

I start on Monday and I'm excited and overwhelmed and exhausted and so many other crazy emotions. We're currently on an Amtrak somewhere near Charlottesville, Virginia, which I'm relieved to say since we literally had to run to catch the train in Lynchburg.

Waking up at 5am is no joke. Waking up at 5am after a late-night Walking Dead marathon is even worse. (Terrible idea, but we were on the finale of season five! We HAD to finish it!) Waking up at 5am after a late-night Walking Dead marathon and rushing to get ready/load the car/grab breakfast and gas at Sheetz and then drive an hour and fifteen minutes in the rain (thanks Hurricane Juaquin!) and praying there's parking and finding the VERY LAST SPACE in the tiny Kemper Street Station lot and dragging our three over-packed and over-weight suitcases across the cobblestones and being the very last two people to board the train approximately sixty seconds before it started moving...whew...is no. freaking. joke.

This entire process has been exhausting and ridiculous (why has it been SO HARD?!) but I hope by the end of next week we'll be settled in our new place and excitedly sharing about our first week in our new offices!

‣I haven't really been online much this week to do anything other than book our AirBnB, train tickets, and apartment hunt, but I did really enjoy this gif of Pope Francis being the life of the party.

‣JK...I did keep up with the news a bit by reading The Skimm. Thank goodness for them, or I wouldn't have a clue what's going on in the world!