Category Archives: NYC

Roaches are a Metaphor

A few months ago, my brilliant and talented friend Carl stayed at my apartment for a few days while visiting New York. Though we don’t see each other all that often, we have the kind of friendship where we can be honest with each other, even when things aren’t so pretty. It’s something I value and am incredibly grateful for. Most of the time.

On the last day of his stay, I had some errands to run, so I left him at the apartment to do his thing. A few minutes later, I got a Snapchat from him – it was a picture of a dead cockroach on its back, a few inches from my radiator.

“KILL IT WITH FIRE,” I responded, as any completely sane person would.

Roaches are just a fact of life in New York. No matter where you live or how long your apartment building has existed, you’re going to deal with them at some point. They’re gross, but I’ve kind of just accepted the fact that I am invading their turf. They were here first. And they’re probably not going to kill me. Probably.

Still, it’s embarrassing as hell to have a guest find one in your home.

I live alone, so when it comes to my apartment, I don’t really have anyone to answer to but myself. No one’s nagging me to wash my dishes, or take out the recycling, or clean my refrigerator (seriously, who has the time?). I keep the place as clean as possible for myself and try to get in a good deep cleaning session at least once a month. It’s not always easy, though. I’m a busy person – some weeks I’m only home long enough to get in a good night’s sleep. This was more or less the norm back when I was working 50 hours a week.

I let things pile up. I hide my messes when people come over. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes the cracks show.

Despite being a Virgo, I am far from a perfectionist. I know that I can’t control everything. I know that I can’t make everyone feel safe. And yet, when someone finds something off about my home – a leaky faucet, an unclean glass, a roach carcass – I feel like they’re seeing my truth. That I am a messy person who can’t take care of herself. Someone who enjoys living in filth. Someone who just doesn’t care.

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that I can’t wallow in that feeling. I can listen to it and acknowledge its presence, but I can’t let it control me. That just leads to more hoarding, more ignoring, more surface-level cleaning. If anything, that Snap was a wake up call.

Last night, I finally had some time to investigate the problem further. It turns out that my sink has been leaking for…who even knows how long. One thing roaches love more than human food is damp spaces. And I gave them a nice place to play.

It feels shitty to acknowledge the fact that I’ve been ignoring this problem for so long. I feel like I lost all my “cool girl who lives alone” cred in that moment. My apartment can look cool as hell, but what’s even the point if things don’t work properly?

I took a second to wallow, and then called my super. He’s looking into it today. It may take a few days to fix, but we’ll find a solution. And who knows? Maybe someday it’ll start leaking again. At least I’ll know what to do.

Sunday in the Park (And The Guggenheim Museum) | BEDA Day 11

A few weeks ago my parents came to New York to visit family and celebrate my mom’s birthday. Minor travel issues aside, it was nice to spend some time with them and do the fancy things I only get to do when they’re in town. It was finally starting to feel a little bit like spring, so we decided to spend Sunday meandering through Central Park and the Guggenheim Museum.

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I feel like I post a lot of pictures of Central Park on here, but it really is one of my favorite places in the city. It really is an oasis in an often-stifling city, and somewhere I feel like I can actually breathe. Everything was so perfectly lit in the mid-winter sun that I had to get a few photos. Plus, if I manage to capture the park in every season maybe I’ll turn it into a coffee table book of amateur photos that no one will buy. 

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We made our way up to 88th Street, which was quite a feat after our brunch at The Plaza Food Hall. I actually hadn’t been to the Guggenheim before, and I was happy to cross it off my New York bucket list. The museum, designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is a work of art on it’s own and features art from the mid 19th century to today.

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The main exhibit on view this spring is Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s “How To Work Better,” a collection of multi-media works on how we perceive daily life. Honestly, I didn’t get a lot of it as I’m terribly uneducated in the visual art world, but I appreciate the work. There were these little sculptures of women commuting to work that I found particularly striking and had to capture. I think we only made it through about half the museum, so I will definitely be back soon to tackle the rest of the gallery.

Five Great Places to Eat in New York’s Theatre District | BEDA Day 9

I see a lot of theatre, and as such, spend a lot of time in New York’s Theatre District. The West 40s are littered with restaurants, bars, and cafes catering to the millions of theatre-goers passing through the area each year. And I’ve been to…a lot of them.

Almost any type of cuisine you can think of is available just minutes from Times Square, and the amount of choices can be pretty overwhelming. It’s easy to just say “screw it” and end up at an overpriced chain restaurant right across the street from your theatre. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with convenience – I used to frequent happy hour at Jekyll & Hyde before it closed (RIP, old friend) – but there are some great places just a few blocks away from the main drag. The next time you’re in town for a show, check out some of these spots for a bite.

For Pre-Matinee Brunch: Pigalle 

This cute French bistro at 48th Street & 8th Avenue is popular with both tourists and the theatre community, and for good reason. Pigalle’s brunch menu features classic French dishes like croque monsieur and breakfast staples like challah french toast. I recently came here before a matinee of School of Rock and enjoyed a light, fluffy waffle and way too much coffee. I also enjoyed pretending I was in Smash for an hour, as the infamous NBC musical drama shot several scenes here. For the record, I’m Team Ivy.

For When Your Parents Are in Town: Esca

This restaurant, a joint venture from Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, Lydia Bastianich, and David Pasternack, has become a family favorite in recent months. Esca specializes in Southern Italian seafood, particularly of the raw variety. Their crudo, or raw fish, is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. If you’re not feeling too adventurous, Esca also offers plenty of classic pasta dishes. They also have plenty of options for the gluten-free crowd. Naturally, this place is a little pricey, so it’s definitely a  good place to bring your folks for dinner if they’re feeling generous.

For a Cold Winter’s Night: Obao

I am kind of obsessed with this Thai and Vietnamese spot in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Plenty of New York eateries have trendy interiors, but can’t quite deliver on the culinary aspect. Obao’s trendy ambiance is almost as spectacular as it’s menu of noodles, barbecue, and cocktails. Their Pho Bo is guaranteed to warm you up after a day of standing in the rain trying to get Hamilton tickets. Best of all, everything is really reasonably priced. Their lunch special (appetizer and entree for $9) is one of the best deals in the city, at least in my mind.

For Post-Show Cocktails: Bea

There must be something about the corner of 43rd Street & 9th Avenue, seeing as two spots on my list are located there. Bea, unlike Esca, is a little more casual and known for their menu of creative cocktails and bar bites. It’s not quite as rowdy as some of the other bars in the area, which makes it great for post-show discussions over a “Tottenville Tea” or “Lavender Monk.” Their flatbreads are also fantastic if you’re feeling a bit peckish after four hours of Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

For Something Sweet: Schmackary’s

Schmackary’s, home to some of the best cookies in New York, quickly became a big part of my theatre-going routine after I moved here last year. After a show, if it’s not completely freezing out, you’ll usually find me waiting in line here for a Classic Chocolate Chip cookie and a decaf tea. Schmackary’s cookies are always fresh and never overly-sweet. Their cookies come in a huge range of flavors (including gluten and nut-free options), so you’ll definitely find something to tempt your tastebuds.

Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more equipped to handle the culinary jungle that is the Theatre District and Hell’s Kitchen. New Yorkers, let me know your favorite places to eat in the area. I’m always looking for new places to check out!

Snapshots | Fall 2015

I’ve decided to try something new. I know you all fear change, but just bear with me. In an effort to put all my recommendations, life updates, and little snippets that don’t necessarily warrant full posts in one place, I’m launching a new series called “Snapshots.” I haven’t decided if this is something that’ll happen every month, every couple of months, or every season, but for now I want to give you a peek into my life over the past few months. This is all heavily influenced by my girl Emily Diana Ruth’s monthly digest, which I adore (along with everything she makes).

Okay, enough disclaimers, let’s do this.

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Queen’s County Farm Museum

In an effort to experience some semblance of fall in the big city, my friends and I ventured out to the Queen’s County Farm Museum for some pumpkin picking. The trip was a bit of a haul from Manhattan, especially without a car, but it was totally worth it. The farm offers pumpkin picking, a petting zoo, a corn maze, and plenty of sweet treats in the fall. Plus we got to hang out with chickens, which is always a good time. I’d definitely go back to the Farm Museum at some point during the warmer months to get my nature on.

 

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Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Eye Gels

Now that I’ve (sort of) passed my acne-prone teen years, I can move on to other skin concerns, specifically protecting the skin around my eyes. I received a few of these eye gels in my Ipsy bag a few months ago, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. I can’t really justify spending $30 on a pack of 8, but the $15 pack of 4 I bought at Ulta seemed totally reasonable. I don’t get my logic. Regardless, they take care of my sensitive skin and make me feel nice and refreshed. Maybe I’ll actually spring for the big bag one of these days.

 

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Forever Twenty Somethings

I’m happy to announce that I’m now contributing to Forever Twenty Somethings! FTS is “an on online magazine that helps millennials navigate life in their twenties as they endure the “quarter life crisis.” Their content is fun and informative, very much in the vein of Thought Catalog and HelloGiggles. My first three posts are up now! Give them a read and check out some of their other content while you’re at it.

My School Had A Quarter System And It Prepared Me For The Real World

The Pros & Cons Of Being An Only Child In Your 20s

50 Thoughts I Have During Zumba Class

 

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Must Reads

It’s almost the holidays, which means you’ll have plenty of time to dedicate to those longreads you’ve been saving for later. Here’s a few more pieces to peruse while you’re avoiding your family (and their political opinions).

Racial Profiling on the Main Line  – Philadelphia Magazine

How I Plan to Spend No Money This #NoSpendNovember  – The Financial Diet

Which of Your Favorite Websites Have Money And From Where – The Billfold

The Movie That Taught A Generation of Misfits To Let Their Freak Flags Fly – Buzzfeed

 

Fall Playlist

Traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving? You’ll need some tunes. Here are a few song I’ve had in heavy rotation over the last few months. This playlist includes some Grimes, some Carly Rae Jepson, and some Jesus Christ Superstar. Clearly my musical taste has been a little all over the place this season.

Broadway Christmas | Broadway Flea Market 2015 and Elsie Fest

I’ll admit to being a little skeptical when Elsie Fest was announced for the same day as the annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction. Two major Broadway events in one day? Won’t one take away from the other? Despite this, I found the idea of a “Coachella for showtunes” intriguing to say the least. I decided to go for it. Take my money, Darren Criss.

Broadway Bears from Fun Home, The King & I, and Hand to God for auction.

Broadway Bears from Fun Home, The King & I, and Hand to God for auction.

I started out my day in Times Square, navigating the throngs of shoppers at the Broadway Flea Market. I look forward to this event every year. Much like your average flea market, you never know who you’ll run into or which hidden treasures you’ll find. If, in your mind, hidden treasure equates to vintage Playbills from the original Broadway production of Chess, then this event is for you. I shared my haul from this year in the video below. I’m particularly excited about the shot glass.

The Broadway Flea isn’t just an amazing fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. It also acts as a massive gathering of the theatre community. Stars, community leaders, producers, and fans alike get together to celebrate the new season and our favorite shows. I saw lots of friends reunite, taking a break from their busy schedules to scour the tables together for the perfect find. It all makes for a super-fun (albeit sweaty) day out in midtown.

The Hudson from JBL Live.

The Hudson from JBL Live.

After a few hours, I tore myself away from the flea market and headed over to JBL Live for Elsie Fest. I really didn’t know what to expect heading in, but the set-up was similar to many outdoor concerts I’d been to before: stage, merch booths, porta potties. In addition to the standards, Darren Criss & Co. brought in a couple of food trucks and set up beer garden/piano bar on the opposite end of the bar (sponsored by the legendary West Village haunt, Marie’s Crisis). My friends and I scouted out a spot in the back where we could lay down a picnic blanket and set up base camp for the day.

Aaron Tveit

Tiny Aaron Tveit

Bringing showtunes out of the theatre and into a concert setting like that of Elsie Fest is tricky, but I think everyone pulled it off really well. Some of the acts seemed more tailored to a smaller venue like 54 Below, but most adapted to the huge stage pretty well. Aaron Tveit opened his set with a rocking rendition of “I’m Alive” from Next to Normal, Leslie Odom Jr. turned “Cheer Up Charlie” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory into a soulful R&B ballad, and Darren Criss closed out the show with a punk cover of “Cabaret.” Plus, the whole Starkid gang got together to perform numbers from the hit parody musicals, most notably “Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts” from A Very Potter Musical.

When you go see a show, there’s really no opportunity to get up and dance to your favorite songs like you might at home (unless you’re seeing Mamma Mia). Elsie Fest gave us theatre dorks the opportunity to do just that, to relax and celebrate our favorite shows and performers. One of my favorite parts of the day was bonding with a bunch of rad ladies in the food truck line over Hamilton and more. That’s really the best part of any fan gathering and why I keep going to them. I’m sure Elsie Fest will be even better next year. I know I’ll be back.

An “Expert’s” Guide to Doing Broadway On a Budget

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It’s almost that time, kids. In a few weeks, exciting new productions will be popping up all over the Great White Way. Personally, I’m incredibly excited for the upcoming season. Productions like Hamilton, Allegiance, and the revival of Spring Awakening are bringing fantastic stories and much-needed diversity to Broadway. How do you keep up with the season without losing your shirt? Here are some of my favorite ways to catch a show on a budget.

Cheap

The TKTS booths – located in Times Square, South Street Seaport, and Downtown Brooklyn – have been the go-to outlets for discount theatre tickets for years. Head to your location of choice early in the day to grab same-day tickets at up to 50% off face value. Since availability varies every day, TKTS is a great way to go if you’re not too picky about which show you want to see. I’d recommend downloading the TKTS app as well for real-time updates on ticket availability.

You can also save a great deal of money by simply planning ahead. Contrary to popular belief, not all Broadway tickets have a face value of $100+. Mezzanine seats for weekday performances can cost as little as $35. If you can buy your seats directly from the box office and avoid online fees, even better.

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The TodayTix app has been a true game-changer for me. This app offers discounted tickets to almost every show in New York up to a week in advance. Buying tickets for a show 3 days ahead of time is about as spontaneous as I get, so TodayTix is perfect for me. The app also runs e-lotteries for shows like On the Town and Fun Home, offering heavily discounted tickets to winners. There is a service fee for TodayTix purchases (roughly $10 per ticket), so do keep that in mind when perusing the app. Otherwise, this is by far my favorite way to snag a ticket.

If you’re under the age of 30 (let’s be real, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are), there are even more ways to get discount tickets in advance. My TDF membership is one of the best investments I’ve made since moving to New York. TDF offers members of certain demographics (students, teachers, recent grads, seniors, members of the armed forces, etc.) discount tickets to select performances of plays, musicals, concerts, cabaret performances, and more for just $30 a year. While selection is sometimes limited, tickets are never more than $50 each. Plus, your membership supports TDF’s amazing theatre education and outreach programs. Non-profit theatre companies like Roundabout and Manhattan Theatre Club also offer heavily-discounted tickets to young theatregoers. Sign up and keep an eye on your email to find out when these seats go on sale.

Cheapest

Most Broadway shows offer a limited number of discounted tickets through a rush every day, depending on availability. In many cases you can get a great seat for under $40 by simply showing up to the box office early on the day of the show. Rushing can be a bit of a crap shoot. During the busy seasons (the holidays, post-Tonys) you’ll need to get in line before the box office opens to secure your spot. If you really want to try your luck, many of the hottest shows on Broadway (Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Wicked) run a lottery for discounted tickets. Head to the theatre about two and a half hours before curtain to get your name in the drawing. While lottery tickets are probably the least certain way to get tickets, the experience itself can be pretty fun. You can find more information on Broadway rush policies here.

With the average theatre ticket price climbing into the triple digits, it’s nice to know that there are still ways to take in a show without going into crippling debt. Have you tried any of these services? What did you see? Share your experiences in the comments!

Five Amazing Spots in NYC

According to Timehop, one year ago I was preparing to move to New York to start yet another round of internships. At the time I was excited, but pretty apprehensive. Everything seemed so temporary: I was living in a privately-owned dorm with mostly college kids, my internships ended in December, and I had four months to find a “real job” or move back home. In hindsight, I was putting way too much pressure on myself (as I am wont to do).

I guess it worked out, though. Here I am, a year later with a full-time job in the entertainment industry, a big-girl apartment, and some semblance of a life and routine.

Now that I’m not constantly freaking out about my future (the operative word here being “constantly”), I’ve had some more time to explore the city. Here are five of the best spots I’ve found over the past year.

1. Perk Kafe

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There are tons of cute, bespoke coffee joints in New York, but most of them aren’t in Midtown. Luckily, Perk Kafe fills that void in Murray Hill in a decidedly unpretentious way. They offer awesome coffee in a very aesthetically-pleasing (albeit small) environment. And they don’t balk when I order decaf! It’s a nice alternative to grabbing Starbucks for the 10th time in one week.

2. The Bell House

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Confession: I don’t love going to Brooklyn. It’s a long train ride, I don’t know the neighborhood that well, and I never feel cool enough to be there. However, I will gladly endure the G train for a show at The Bell House in Gowanus. Their calendar is filled to the brim with comedy shows, live podcasts, concerts, dance parties, and more. Once a warehouse, the space has an old-timey feel to it, and almost reminds me of the rec hall at my summer camp (in the best possible way). A few months ago, my friends and I attended Shipwreck, a night of erotic fan fiction from some of today’s best writers. That night’s theme was Moby Dick, and featured Cecil Baldwin of Welcome to Nightvale as the designated reader. Although I’m not super-familiar with the book, I still laughed my ass off.

3. Strand Bookstore

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Yeah, yeah, everyone loves the Strand Bookstore, with its miles of books and fun tote bags. There’s lots of hype around this Union Square institution, but for good reason. If you have a favorite literary niche, they have the books you want to read. I usually find myself in their (extensive) drama section, checking out new plays and the classics I haven’t gotten around to reading quite yet. You can also trade in your books, CDs, and DVDs for cash or store credit. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

4. Sheep Meadow, Central Park

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If the last place on my list didn’t make me sound basic, this one totally will. The Sheep Meadow may be one of the most visited spots in Central Park, but it’s so vast that I’ve never had trouble finding a spot in which to read and soak up some Vitamin D. The open space also allows you to see how nature meets metropolis as the trees give way to fancy apartment buildings for gazillionaires. It’s a great spot to vedge out on a Sunday. Just remember to bring your own water.

5. Fat Cat

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I fell in love with Fat Cat after stopping by for a round of pool on my friend’s birthday. Located in the heart of the West Village, Fat Cat is a jazz bar/gaming center with a little something for everyone. Grab a soju cocktail, listen to some great tunes, and challenge your friends to a game of pool, ping pong, or even checkers. That night I remembered that I’m pretty terrible at pool, so next time I think I’ll opt for Scrabble. The prices are reasonable and the vibe is awesome, so I’ll definitely be back.

Fellow New Yorkers, tell me some of the best spots you’ve found in your adventures around town. My goal for year 2 is to explore as much as possible, and I’m always looking for new recommendations. Cheers to another year of fun!

Bethesda

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“This angel. She’s my favorite angel. I like them best when they’re statuary. They commemorate death but suggest a world without dying. They are made of the heaviest things on earth, stone and iron, they weigh tons but they’re winged, they are engines and instruments of flight.” – Tony Kushner, Angels in America

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During my junior year of college, I spent six months working at a theater in Philadelphia. I started about a week after their production of Angels in America opened and was highly encouraged to see the show (all six hours of it).

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The utter enormity of this piece really changed the way I looked at theatre forever. I realized that a play could be both extravagant and intimate. It broke all the rules that had been ingrained in my brain since my first playwriting class. It gave me so much hope and is still a source of inspiration.

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Bethesda Fountain, located in Central Park, plays a huge part in Angels, and yet it was one of those places I hadn’t truly visited in my many trips to the city. On a gorgeous day last August, I decided to fix it (and bring my camera along).

The fountain is truly magnificent, and you can see why it attracts so many visitors on days like this one. It’s also not far from the iconic Loeb Boathouse, where you can take a rowboat for a spin on the pond.

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The terrace directly across from the fountain features these gorgeous tiled ceilings and plenty of room for artists and visitors alike. On this particular afternoon I caught some buskers taking advantage of the space’s interesting acoustics to play some gospel tunes.

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Though I haven’t had a ton of time to get back to the park yet this season, I plan to in the coming weeks. The fact that Central Park exists and continues to thrive is truly a testament to what this city is capable of and it makes me incredibly excited to live here.

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Sunset on the Bridge | New York City

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I recently moved to New York to start my career in the TV industry.

God, that feels weird to type out.

The job search felt like it took forever, but I found two awesome internships in the TV industry and started working about a month ago. Despite this, I’ve only had a few chances to go exploring, seeing as I’ve spent most of my weekends back in Philly for various reasons. I had a free evening during my first week in town and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I took to Twitter, looking for ways to amuse myself, and my friend Catherine suggested I a) get Chinese food and b) watch the sun set on the Brooklyn Bridge. So I did that.

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I’ve always admired the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s one of the few pieces of old New York that have remained through the cities numerous transformations. It’s a feat of engineering and aesthetically gorgeous. Before this night, though, I had only experienced the bridge via car.

I quickly learned that the bridge gets a little crowded around sunset with both tourists and commuters. However, I staked out a spot to enjoy the view while eating my dumplings. Somehow I managed not to get hit by a cyclist or a swarm of exercisers in a bootcamp class.

 

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I may have missed the early part of the sunset, but the sky was still gorgeous and I had a lovely view of the Financial District. I’ve spent a lot of time in Manhattan over the years, but I’ve never really explored the world below 14th Street. Now that I live and work here, I understand why people love it so much. The whole city is awesome, but there’s so much life downtown. You can really see the city’s rich history here among all the fancy boutiques and high-rises that have sprung up over the years.

I also understand why you have to give up your first-born to live here.

IMG_0740 IMG_0850 IMG_0849 IMG_0844 IMG_0843 IMG_0830 IMG_0827 IMG_0738 IMG_0740 IMG_0752 IMG_0753 Oh, hi blog. It seems I’ve forgotten about you again. You know how mad life gets when you’re traveling and working and studying and trying to have a social life all at the same time. You get me, right? No? Okay. Well, this is embarrassing.

In case you couldn’t tell from all of the other content I’ve posted on the internet since last April, I made it back from England in one piece and with a boat-load of miles on my personal odometer. I only logged more miles when I returned by shuffling between two internships in the fall at The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and BUST Magazine in New York City. I’ve learned so much about myself and about the worlds of indie publishing and professional theatre and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience. To be honest, though, this is one of the first truly free weekends I’ve had to update you all. Oh, the life of an occasional overachiever.

Along the journey of the past few months since my last update, I got a DSLR camera (a Canon EOS Rebel t3i to be exact). I’ve been breaking it out whenever I can to hone my photography skills and capture the world around me. I figured this would be a good place to share some of my photos as well as the stories that go along with them. Eh? What do y’all think?

I’ll start with a few shots from my weekend in New York earlier last month. For one of my Christmas gifts, my parents took me to see The Book of Mormon and Once, two musicals I’d been dying to see but couldn’t afford to get to on my own. We had a lovely hotel room on one of the higher floors of the Marriott Marquis where I tested out my new macro lens on the East Manhattan skyline. On Sunday, before the matinee of Once, we headed over to Bryant Park for some brunch. It was absolutely gorgeous out and the light was pretty perfect, so I got some nice shots of the fancy buildings that surround the park. Someday I’ll win the artistic lottery and be able to afford one of those apartments. A girl can dream.

P.S. If you want to read my review of Once, you can check out Standing Room Only, my theatre blog. I hate to break it to you, blog, but I’m a blog polygamist. We can make this work.