WHERE I WENT: BROOKLYN REVISITED

Every New Yorker is supposed to have his or her “New York Moment.” For me, a scene from a Woody Allen film comes to mind. It’s nighttime and the moon is shining overhead, reflecting on the East River. I’m staring at a skyline filled with lights that make me believe that I’ve never seen this view before, when in reality, I’ve grown up looking at it. It’s so loud and quiet at the same time, I can almost hear Gershwin in the background. As I stare at the skyline in wonderment, a hobo walking nearby spills coffee with the specific intent of aiming for me, while a pigeon releases itself onto the table I’m sitting on. New York, New York.

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It’s late August and time for most New Yorkers to banish the city to savor the last weeks of warm weather and long daytime. As for me, my television has been treating my okay, so I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere.

Over the years, Brooklyn has definitely earned its stripes. For most teenage girls of the Sex and the City era, they all wanted to live in Manhattan, next door to Carrie. No one wanted to be in Brooklyn with Miranda…she was, like, the worst one. Yet somehow, we’ve learned to cut BK some slack and grow into its gentrified heels.

I live far enough from the action to be able to relax, but a 20-minute ride on the L to get to the action before it dies. Growing up, there was always a bit of embarrassment that arose when someone asked, “Where do you live?” Now that I am in college and interact with the Downtown-Brooklyn-hipster-type, it’s even more unnerving. It’s like that scene in Pretty In Pink when Molly Ringwald DOES NOT want Andrew McCarthy to drop her home. I live in the side of the L train, that you don’t want to get off. Sometimes a 20-minute subway ride is reason enough to not leave the house, so I drive.

Somehow I ended up in DUMBO with my Dad who pointed out that he used to work in that area, way back when I wasn’t even a thought in his mind more than twenty years ago. As we bounced in the car from the cobblestoned roads of Water St., he reminisced about a time that that building used to be his office. Now, of course, it’s an art gallery. As he puts it, “Nowadays, it’s super cool to say that I worked on Water St., huh?” The economy is great in Brooklyn now, we can say with assurance.

Bookstores, cookie shops, and a water view. There is literally nowhere else I’d rather be. It’s like discovering another world every time I go there. Maybe part of the physical gentrification and expansion, I’ve been programmed to be gentrified, too! Sometimes we just need to get away, yet New York City is more than good enough.

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DUMBO, Brooklyn, NYC

Every week, I’ll be posting a mid-week wanderlust– where I’ve been, where you should go, and why! But really, who needs a reason to travel?

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IN DEFENSE OF THE “STAYCATION”

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If you’ve ever Instagram’d an indulgent picture of yourself on vacation just to make your 256 followers jealous, then maybe you should skip reading this. Do you click “Book A Flight” to the Andes while your student loans are scratching your wallet? Maybe you should stop reading.

There really is no good way to mock someone who likes to travel, mainly because I love travelling myself. Recently, though, I have discovered the glorified “staycation” and art of humility. Because if you’re sick and tired of scrolling through your NewsFeed only to truly dislike all the pictures of your “friends” in the Jersey Shore, then you’re like me. But seriously, who goes to the Jersey Shore, anyway?

Before there was Facebook or Instagram, I was a pretentious 7-year-old who used her mouth as a way of boasting my recent escapades. I would brag how I have stayed in three of the top ten resorts on the Eastern Seaboard, and would tease someone for confusing the Hyatt for the Hilton. Then on a class trip to the New York Aquarium in the third grade, little me was smacked emotionally in my little head. Since the cheese bus always made me nervous, I started a conversation with my classmate who I shared the seat with, “So where did you go on your summer vacation?” With a grin on her face, she says, “The mall.” It was then that I realized, that she probably has never been on an airplane as many times as I had. It’s okay, she eventually became my best friend.

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Now a humble college student, I have learned to bring my humility down even further with a staycation. The term was added into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2005, just in time for the 2008 Great Recession, when its usage may have been worn out. Now that Summer 2013 is coming to a close and we are hopefully hearing the last of Blurred Lines or Get Lucky or We Can’t Stop, a recent survey has declared death to the staycation. As a college student who is getting ready for her future of living in New York City, I will stand by the staycation!

Alas, it may just be impossible to save on cost during “vacation time” anymore. I have to pay $20 just to be admitted to my own beach. If you ask me, choosing to lay on a bunch of sand mixed with cigarette ash and water bottles while staring at sweaty, obese, naked people, should only cost me my free will…which is slowly getting expensive.

I think it’s time we redefine “staycation.” There is only one method to getting away from everyone and everything we know at a price of $0. This deal cannot be found anywhere else. The only way is to…switch off our phones. No Facebook. No Instagram. No Twitter. No nothing. Just a complete silence and release of our sixth sense, which is our smartphone.

Note: This deal is only valid for five minutes. If more than five minutes, then symptoms of withdrawal start kicking in. Mom, can we go to the Hamptons instead?

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Paul’s Daughter, Coney Island, NY

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P.S. How do YOU “staycation”?

PEOPLE I DON’T #FF

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Five years ago, I would come home to Facebook like it was my on-and-off boyfriend. Now, I’ve abandoned it for the newer, cooler model that’s ready for a long-term relationship. Even 13-year-olds aren’t exactly privy to the cultist status that Facebook used to have. Also, I’m just not having it with the subtle “my life is better than yours” photo albums.

Now that Twitter and I have established ourselves, I am in a point in our relationship where I am comfortable with pointing out its flaws. (Disclaimer: There is never a safe time to point out each other’s flaws; I am just describing a website!) Let’s be honest, there are people we follow on Twitter that can make or break our day and timeline. It’s time to call them out.

Here is a list of people you should try to avoid being on Twitter. And the safest boundary to be on Twitter is always a funny lady. Or Horse_ebooks.

  1. The Hypochondriac: The Twitter status box is not the WebMD symptom checker. Do not feel free to list your health symptoms or feelings. Your followers are not your doctor…unless your pediatrician really is following you.

  2. A Life Coach or Tony Robbins: You’re the people who post motivational/inspirational/religious quotes in the hope that you’re making someone’s day. That’s what the comments section of FOX News is for, my friends.

  3. The Subliminal Tweeter: I get it. That tweet you just tweeted was directed towards me. Can’t you just text me?

  4. Tweeter Before Texter: I texted you, then you tweet something instead of replying to me. Bitch.

  5. ThEsE PeOpLe or TH1$ P3R$0N

I’m certainly not here to tell you how you should tweet. I’m just someone who wishes that everyone will have the same television viewing schedule as I do, or that Beyonce would reveal her new do hours before I decide to sleep. Since the world will most likely NOT sing Destiny Child’s Cater 2 U as an ode to me, I won’t dictate your Twitter habits.

Twitter is my Narnia, don’t ruin it for me.

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P.S. Follow me on Twitter? Did I miss anyone?

MY STATIC RELATIONSHIP WITH TV

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I was the one who said, “Sorry, I don’t watch TV,” way before it was cool. I didn’t have Cable TV growing up. With now being the prime time of Cable TV & the hour-long drama, I think this is God’s way of making up for the lost time. As Mindy Kaling once said, I have a relationship with television in that I grew up not watching it. Dozens of documents and unread emails piling up are the fault of unwatched episodes. So long, life. I’m keeping up with the characters.

Summer mode means catching up on personal work, work that needed to be delayed because of school. It turns out, my life for the past couple of months has been very much like that episode of Portlandia. I keep track of time in terms of episodes instead of hours. I keep tracks of weeks in terms of the TV series. It’s time to return to real life…if I still remember what that is.

In May, I binge-watched all six seasons of Mad Men. After watching the finale and finally escaping my house, I felt like I lived Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The world being a bright light unknown to me, and the only safe place I knew was in Sally Draper’s sassy quips.

I try to reason with myself as to why I need to keep watching…why we all keep watching. I say it’s “research” for my coming-of-age romantic dramedy hour-long series that is my life. I suppose we love to watch fictional characters because they’re more twisted than we are. Speak for yourself, Jessica. Isn’t that the reason that America is so fascinated with the Kardashians? Maybe Kim and her friends are all pulling a classic Lonelygirl15 on us (remember her?), and it’s all an illusion!

Then here we are with Netflix making a bold zig-zag snap to Cable TV. Already a contender at the Emmy’s with House of Cards (with its hilarious protagonist’s “asides”), it produces Orange is the New Black. TV gods, you’re doing a lot for the unemployed. Because of Netflix, I finally have an answer to “What would you do if you had one week to live?” Ironically, a copy of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises sits on my bedside table. Staring at me.

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P.S. Why are we obsessed with television? What’s missing from television now?

 

THE GREATER FOOL: ECONOMICS OR ENGLISH?

diarySince starting this blog, I have come up with a few conclusions about the blogging world. It consists of many bathroom breaks to make up for the lack of exercise, writing, checking the fridge, writing, and avoiding the Sun. I started writing when I was in First Grade, with my first essay being about my dream to travel to “Paris and Europe to walk the campgrounds.” As I progressed in elementary school, I wrote poetry and kept journals, mostly as a way to express my joy and vent my “frustrations.”

In 4th grade, my mom bought me a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank which completely changed the way I wrote in my diary and (secret) Xanga. I realized that Anne Frank probably did not know when she was writing in her diary that people in the year 2013 would be quoting her. She is the reason why I was careful not to write in my diary about school crushes or arguments with my parents because there was a small hope within me that my diary will someday be a time capsule. Perhaps I was a fool to believe that, but it made my journal entries more well written, hilarious, and honestly naive. Although I thought myself as a 10-year-old with a thousand affectations, I was convinced that I would be a writer.

When high school arrived, I lost myself in the world of selfies and sitting at cafeteria tables exchanging banalities. Then in college I spent my first year “UNDECLARED” but eventually majoring in Economics. Many people begin studying Economics to eventually be welcomed at the gates of Wall Street, but I believed that it would be a gateway to…frankly, I’m still figuring that out.

One theory (out of a multitude) that I did learn this year from my Econ class was the “Greater Fool.” It is the theory that a person would make a risky investment with the assumption that there will be a greater fool who will be willing to buy into it at a higher price. In simpler terms as Aaron Sorkin explained it in The Newsroom, “It’s a patsy. For the rest of us to profit, we need a greater fool, someone who will buy long and sell short.” Perhaps I am the greater fool for starting a blog with the belief that I will attract readers to my site. Perhaps the readers of this blog are the greater fool for buying into something that is not even valuable in the first place…but eventually will be.

The other day, I uncovered one of my many old diaries that I wrote in when I was at the great age of 10. I read from it aloud because, like Shakespeare, my literary works are always better understood when spoken. I started to recite the first few sentences, but then I immediately stopped when I started laughing and crying out of embarrassment. Its as if I was reading something by a completely different person. When I finally finished reading, I discovered that I found more joy reading my old diary than any of my other attempts of written work at my current age, but maybe I’m being too hard on myself.

“You should have been there! OH! It was wonderful! Speaking in front of everybody– AGAIN!…While walking down the staircase I almost had a heart attack because my heart was beating fast. I skipped [two] steps and I almost tripped…Now, when I remembered this morning that I might, MIGHT!, talk on the lectern, I didn’t calm down!!!…I kept on smiling [on the lectern] and was about to laugh but I covered it with a cough in the microphone!”

I want to feel that way every time I read something written by myself, and I hope you do too.

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WHERE I WENT: MIDSUMMER IN MADISON

Throughout the week, I spend a lot of time online and off to consume information and stories that fuel me for conversations with friends, essay topics, and simply to expand my frame of reference. Most times, 140 characters isn’t enough to share what I love, so every week I will share what I read, watched, or learned for all the world to see. It’s also my time to “get real” with y’all. Let’s be smarter together!

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I spent last week in Madison, Wisconsin, and as soon as I landed, I wondered, “What am I supposed to do here?” It was a very “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” moment, except I felt like I was somewhere in Kansas far away from New York City. So naturally, I headed straight for Pinterest if anyone cared enough about Wisconsin to post some attractive pictures of it and surely La Petite Fashionista did.

Here’s how I interpreted my trip to Madison:

Memorial Union

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Memorial Union is located within University of Wisconsin: Madison, and since it is a college town, the nightlife here is…sweet.

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Epic Univ

Another University nearby Madison is EPIC. The campus is INCREDIBLE and…EPIC, if you will.

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Brennan's

America’s Dairyland. Brennan’s will serve you the best cheese. EVER. #Cheeseheads

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Instead of turning my blog into a public Facebook page by forcing you to look at pictures of my vacation (too late?), you can read a review of my trip at Triptease. As its name suggests, this website may be the sexiest one out there. Its the most beautiful and usable way to post and review your travel adventures. Hey, Triptease! If you need me to travel the world for you or run your site from NYC, I’m right here 😉

Triptease   Reimagining Travel Reviews

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P.S. Where did you go last week?