Tag Archives: blog every day in april

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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.

Central Park Chess Pavilion central park trees spring

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. 

Guggenheim New York Guggenheim Ceiling New York

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.

Guggenheim Museum people Guggenheim How to Work Better

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.

Remembering Names is Hard | BEDA Day 10

Happy Sunday, blogees! I like to consider myself a pretty sharp person, but there’s one thing I’ve been struggling with recently: remembering people’s names. I can talk about shows in detail til the cows come home, but names seem to go in one ear and out the other. It was bothering me so much, that I just had to make a video about it.

On a different note, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with this whole YouTube thing. I still love making videos but the game has changed so much since I started vlogging in my dorm room five years ago. I don’t really have a niche or a brand. I’m personally fine with that, but it makes it hard to tell people what my channel is about. If anything, I guess my brand is “comedy vlogs about travel and 20-something life.” That’s kind of vague, I realize, but it’s as close to a genre as I’m going to get.

Enjoy this delve into my slightly dysfunctional brain. I hope you’re all having wonderful weekends!

where to eat in theatre district

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!

Five for Friday | BEDA Day 8

I’ll be honest with y’all, today has been hard blogging-wise. I’m kind of hard up for ideas and don’t have a ton of time for a more in-depth post. So in light of this general Friday-ness, here are five things I’ve been digging this week.

Floss Gloss Nail Polish in Honey

Image courtesy of Floss Gloss

I’m an adult with a full-time job, so naturally I decided to throw some glitter nail polish on last night. I like to think I did it in an attempt to manifest the party for this weekend, since I’ve been a bit of a hermit this past week. I picked up Floss Gloss’s Honey last year at the BUST Craftacular Primped event, but I hadn’t actually used it until last night. I’m kind of obsessed now. It took a few coats, but it looks really nice even without another color underneath. Unfortunately, Honey is sold out on their website, but Floss Gloss has a ton of other fun colors to check out. The best part? All their nail polishes are 4 Free (formulated without Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Toluene, Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde Resin) and cruelty free. *throws glitter*

Sephora’s Love Note Shopping Event

Head’s up, makeup hoarders: if you’re a member of Sephora’s Beauty Insider loyalty program, there’s a sale going on JUST FOR Y’ALL now through Wednesday, April 13th. VIB Rouge members get 15% off with the code ROUGENOTE, VIB members get 15% off with the code VIBNOTE, and Beauty Insiders get 10% off with the code BINOTE. I already stocked up on some dwindling products this morning. So much for saving money this weekend. (P.S., don’t forget to shop with Ebates* for 4% cash back!)

The Path

Image courtesy of comingsoon.net

If you know me, you know I have a (totally healthy) fascination with cults. I find them incredibly interesting from a psychological point of view and have a tendency to fall down a Wikipedia rabbit hole researching cults gone awry. When I first heard about The Patha new series on Hulu about a growing “movement” in Upstate New York (why are they always in Upstate New York?), I knew I had to check it out. The show hasn’t disappointed so far, bringing great performances from Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, and Hugh Dancy. Hulu releases a new episode every Wednesday, so I can’t properly binge it, but I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here.

A Few Good Reads 

Bookmark these articles for your weekend reading pleasure.

I Am Begging My Mother Not to Read this Blog: “Sucks to be you, Jyn Erso”
The Financial Diet: “I Don’t Care If They’re Chic: Capsule Wardrobes Stress Me Out
New York Times: “Going From Show to Show No More”

New Blog Features 

If you haven’t noticed (which you probably haven’t), I updated my “About” page and added an FAQ! If you’re new around here, I’d suggest giving them a look-see. I also added Disqus to make comments a little easier.

Speaking of comments, what are you excited about this weekend? Let me know below!

parliament

#TBT: Memories of London | BEDA Day 7

Around this time four years ago, I was gallivanting around London as one of the many study abroad students who arrive in the country each year. Studying abroad was always part of my undergrad plan, but I wasn’t sure where (or when) I would go. In the end I went with what now seems like the safest option in retrospect. I didn’t have to learn a new language, I was familiar with the culture, and the time difference wasn’t as bad as somewhere like Australia. The safe option turned out to be the best choice, though.

My 11 weeks in London were some of the best of my life. I know how typical that sounds: “I studied abroad and it changed my life! OMG I’m so CuLtUrEd!!!” Seriously, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. There were challenges along the way – I did get homesick and the classes were difficult. I came home feeling much more independent, though, and ultimately felt really comfortable in the city. Plus, I had the best group of flatmates around.

In honor of #tbt, here are a some of my favorite memories of my time abroad, in the form of crappy photos pulled off of Facebook.

stonehenge london study abroad

My parents did a bit of traveling of their own while I was abroad. They met up with me in London for Mother’s Day weekend before heading off on a two week tour of Ireland. While they were in town, we decided to take a day trip to Bath and Stonehenge, because you can’t go to Southern England without visiting Bath and Stonehenge. My folks don’t do anything half-assed, so we booked a tour that allowed us to get up close and personal with the stones after the park had closed to the public. This is definitely the way to go if you can swing it. Of course you can’t actually touch the stones, getting so close to something so ancient is really freaking cool. Also there are lots of sheep.
elephant house edinburgh london study abroadI so wish you could actually see out the window in this photo. One weekend in April, a couple of us took an overnight Megabus (not recommended) to Edinburgh to see what Scotland had to offer. We arrived around 7am, before most shops and cafes in Old Town opened. After some frustrated wandering, we found The Elephant House, empty and just opening for the day. I believe Jo Rowling herself was shining her light on me at that moment because a) I was starving and exhausted and b) as the “birthplace of Harry Potter,” The Elephant House is almost always packed. We got an amazing seat with a view of Edinburgh Castle and stuffed our faces with eggs. As you can tell from the above photo, I was very content.

franz ferdinand limerick london study abroad

Sometimes your favorite band announces that their first set of shows in a few years will take place in Ireland. While you’re studying in London. And your friend (also a huge fan) is living in Glasgow. You have to go, right? Right. That’s exactly what I did. I spent a total of 48 hours in Ireland, 4 of which were spent on buses between Dublin and Limerick, the site of the concert. It was so worth it, though. Dolan’s Warehouse is a much smaller venue than the ones Franz Ferdinand typically plays in the states, and we ended up standing just a few rows from the front. The new songs, which eventually made up their 2013 album “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action,” sounded great. I saw them again when they headlined the Field Day festival in London a few weeks later, which means I’ve officially seen them play in three different countries. Does that make me a groupie? Who knows.

climbing lion trafalgar square london study abroad

Everyone has to climb a lion in Trafalgar Square when they come to London. It’s a rite of passage, apparently. On my last night in London, a friend of mine invited me to help him shoot something for his webseries in the wee hours of the morning. We ended up staying up all night and found ourselves in Frafalgar Square at 4am. It was far from deserted, but as I was flying home in about 8 hours, I figured now was my chance to ride one of these majestic iron creatures. With a little help from my friends, I conquered the beast. Later, we watched the sun rise along the Thames, perfectly lighting up Parliament. Somehow I still made my flight.
I’m ready to go back to London right about now. If anyone has a job for me over there, or a couple thousand dollars lying around, hit me up.

Photo Credit: Sigmama on Flickr

TSA Pre-Check: A Review | BEDA Day 6

I may pretend to be a travel expert on the internet, but in reality I don’t fly all that often. I don’t travel for work and I can only scrape together so many vacation days (and so much cash), so I only average about 6-8 flights per year. Despite this, in a hopeful attempt to manifest some more travel into my life, I decided to register for TSA PreCheck ahead of my trip to Hawaii and California last December. I had watched my family and friends abandon me in the airport security line for their shorter, more streamlined TSA PreCheck screening one too many times. It was my turn to be one of the traveling elite. Registering for PreCheck was..a bit of a process, but one I believe was worth it. Here’s how it all went down.

Registration

The application process for TSA PreCheck comes in two parts: an online application and an in-person interview. The online application mostly consists of personal information and I found it pretty easy to navigate. Once that was complete, I was asked to schedule an appointment at a local ID center. Of course, the center closest to me was booked for a good month, so I went with the next best option: Brooklyn.

I’ll be honest, the ID center in Brooklyn was so nondescript, I was sure the security guy in the lobby had misdirected me. I actually went downstairs again to make sure I was going to the right place. I eventually found some signage and didn’t have to wait too long to be seen. The woman conducting my interview wasn’t particularly cheery, but after several trips to the DMV I wasn’t expecting much. She basically asked me the same questions from the online application (you can actually do both in the office), scanned my license, and took my fingerprints. I was also recovering from getting stitches in my thumb, so this took a few tries. Overall, the process was shorter than my actual trip to Brooklyn and I was approved a few days later.

Flying With PreCheck

I’ll be honest, I was pretty pumped to see the words “TSA PreCheck” on my boarding pass when we checked in for our flight to Kauai. The line at security wasn’t that much longer than the standard one, but it did move a bit faster since we didn’t have to take off our shoes, belts, pants, etc. Of course, I got “randomly selected” for a pat-down my first time out the gate. There wasn’t much I could do there, I guess. At least I still didn’t have to take off my shoes.

PreCheck was extra helpful on our flight from Kauai to Honolulu, as the tiny Lihue airport was packed with post-Christmas travelers. As a major American airline, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see Hawaiian Airlines opting in to the PreCheck program. We were able to get through security with a little extra time to grab some last-minute Kauai gifts.

Overall, I’d say that TSA PreCheck is worth the $85 fee. I’m set for the next 5 years, and I plan to get as much travel in as possible in that period of time. Though the program isn’t available everywhere, it does make the whole security process much easier, and the flying experience generally more pleasant.

You can find out more about the TSA PreCheck program here.

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Confessions of a Broke Travel Points Junkie | BEDA Day 2

I signed up for my first travel credit card this year.

I’ve always been wary of credit cards. The idea of “free money” always seemed attractive, but growing up in the recession, I’d heard so many horror stories of people ruining their finances with them. Considering I had no credit after graduating from college, I figured it might be time to give one a try. A year later, I found they weren’t so scary after all.

Now that I’m settled in NYC, I want to get some more travel under my belt. Which can be pricey. I might not be traveling on The Points Guy’s level, but if I can offset some of the costs of travel with points and miles, all the better.

I started with Amtrak Guest Rewards. I travel home to Philly at least once a month on Amtrak, and with their rewards program, I earn 2 points per dollar spent. They recently changed their redemption system, so it costs less points to get a ticket. I haven’t earned quite enough points, though, and when I do I may just hoard them for a bigger trip or tickets to a show via Audience Rewards.

When I decided to bite the bullet and get a travel credit card, I decided to go for the card with the lowest possible risk (in my eyes). I’m still broke after all. My bank offers a card with a decent point-per-dollar-spent rate and no annual fee. These general travel credit cards let you redeem points for any number of travel costs, from airfare to hotels to taxis. I’ve found this to be the easiest way to earn points as it doesn’t depend on how much you actually travel. Plus, I got a big old points bonus for spending a certain amount of money (and paying it off) within the first 3 months. Win.

I’m not particularly loyal to any airline. I like to go with whoever offers the best fare and flight times for my trip. Despite this, I did recently join the American Airlines AAdvantage and JetBlue TrueBlue programs. This was kind of a “screw it” move. These airlines fly out of my main travel hubs (Philadelphia and New York respectively), and have decent programs with lots of brand partners. If I’m going to fly on either airline, I might as well make the most out of it. It was free to sign up and I’ll at least get a magazine subscription out of it.

How do I keep track of all these points (ha)? My favorite tool at the moment is AwardWallet. This site automatically keeps track of your awards points in a variety of programs (including retail loyalty programs like Sephora Beauty Insider) and lets you know when points are about to expire. No need to log into each site individually to check your point balance. AwardWallet has you covered.

I may be earning slowly right now, but eventually I’ll have enough points to at least fund half of a trip to one of my bucket list locations. What are your thoughts on award travel, friends?

Photo Credit: Ak~i on Flickr

Shut Up and Write, Already | BEDA Day 1

I’ve been thinking about identities a lot recently.

DON’T CLICK AWAY YET. This won’t take long.

I, like many others, kind of define myself by what I do. Vlogger, performer, assistant, traveler, they’re all hats I’ve worn over the years. One title I’ve felt particularly distant from recently is one of the one’s I’ve held the longest – writer. I talk so much about writing and wanting to write and other people’s writing…and yet I’m not actually writing all that often.

Part of it is the job. I work 50 hours a week, 90% of which is spent in front of a computer. It’s pretty difficult to motivate yourself to sit in front of a screen and churn out words after doing so for 10 hours straight. Of course, plenty of writers can make it work. I just haven’t quite gotten to that point yet.

Another part of it is that I’ve started writing for other people – and getting paid for it. Which is great! Side hustles are super-important in this economy. However, I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to work on my own stuff when I can whip up a post for a client and make a few bucks. This all sounds more like a #humblebrag than a complaint, but it’s something I’m feeling. I only have so much creative energy to give.

It’s time to put those excuses aside. For this month at least.

In an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m taking part in BEDA – Blog Every Day in April. I have attempted these “create something every day” challenges before to varying degrees of success (High Point – completing Vlog Every Day in August in 2011, Low Point – giving up on VEDA after 3 days in 2012). The key to these challenges I’ve found is two-fold:

  1. Preparation – I’m writing some of these posts ahead of time. This might go against the rules in some writers’ minds, but I take “Blog Every Day in April” to mean “Post on your Blog Every Day in April.” And it’s my blog so I make the rules, punk.
  2. Being Okay with Imperfection – When you’re posting something new every day, sometimes it’s more important to just get something online than to make sure it’s the best thing you’ve ever written. Not everything I post this month is going to be great. It probably won’t even be that good. But it’ll be there.

So here we go. 30 posts in 30 days. Will it actually happen? We’ll see. But it doesn’t hurt to try. And I’m trusting y’all to keep me accountable. Comment, share with your friends, nag me on Twitter, whatever you feel like doing. I’m looking forward to this month, y’all.
Here we go.