GREATEST NATURAL DISASTERS OF NYC (or how I stopped complaining about everything)

iloveny

Two years ago when I went to Washington, D.C. with my parents, I experienced my first earthquake. I was sitting on the National Mall about to stuff my face with a questionable hot dog when I felt the ground shake and saw the glass walls of the National Air & Space Museum wobbling. It was for five minutes…in Internet time, and probably two seconds in real time. My mom, an experienced human of natural occurrences, proceeded to tease me the whole day for seeing my face turn extremely white when the ground shook. The “earthquake” was 5.8 on the Richter Scale and my precious moment of experiencing tectonic plates shifting was a solid 10.

Growing up in New York City, I have never experienced any natural disasters like the ones that are going on right now around the world. Mud slides, earthquakes, and typhoons have never come near Brooklyn as hard as they are in California or the Midwest. I’ve never seen the sky form a circular cloud (AKA a tornado) or feel the earth shake so badly that I had to hide in my bathtub (as advised by my 5th grade teacher). New York City is pretty lucky that way…and unlucky.

In a study by the engineers of Trulia (that real estate website you’re on looking for the perfect apartment), the safest region to live in is upstate New York and Ohio. No potential earthquake, hurricane, or tornado risks. Not even Hurricane Sandy which messed up Lower Manhattan could ever touch those places. Maybe that’s why every single Lifetime movie takes place in a sketchy suburban neighborhood in upstate New York. There’s no other natural way to die there. You never hear anything on the news about Syracuse or Akron, so Mother Nature never really allows them to have any airtime.

From what I’ve experienced, the greatest natural disaster that native New Yorkers fear is gentrification. While those fake-glassesed, jean-jacket-wearing, coffee lovers on their MacBooks fear that they will never get published or pay back their parents for last month’s rent. Of course there are they stereotypical New York-natural disasters like getting splashed by a yellow taxi on a rainy day. Then there’s the moment you realize that you walked five blocks only to find out that the L train is “under construction.” Poor, New Yorkers. You don’t get natural disasters, but you do get overpriced studios.

So watch your back, New York. Mother Nature is just waiting for the day when she hears you complain about your “problems” just enough so that she hits you hard with another snowstorm. While we watch these natural disasters unfold around the world, it’s worth it to just appreciate that it’s not happening in New York. You’re going to have to start a new small talk conversation besides, “How do you like this weather?”

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FASHION WEEK GUIDE FOR THE REGULAR GIRL

Fashion Week 2013

Being a Brooklyn resident and going to school in New York City are things that I can take for granted. For the past week, however, I would trade that special quality of mine for anything else. It’s the first week of September which means it’s time to head back to the bland hallways and classrooms of college, which already look exhausted to be there. What makes this process of readjustment even more difficult is seeing the sartorially dressed “weirdos” walking the cobblestoned streets of Brooklyn making their way into an Uber or 1 Train. Welcome to Fashion Week— when the morning commute looks like the title sequence to The Devil Wears Prada. All the girls dressed in Isabel Marant or carrying her grandmother’s old Louis– no one will know because together, they’re all giving you a brutal death stare ready to be photographed for your blog or whatever.

When I was a little girl, I would pass and stare with disdain at the white tents in Bryant Park, for always getting in my way when all I wanted to do was enjoy the park before school started. Now, all I want to do is get in. Years later, photographers are competing to merely get a shot of the girls who aren’t inside, but rocking a killer outfit outside. Who knows if she’s got an invite to Lincoln Center? Meanwhile if you take the G Train back to Brooklyn, yours truly is constantly refreshing Twitter and Instagram with anything containing #NYFW. I won’t say I’m obsessed, but I do have a fascination with fashion.

Maybe my current predilection for what comes down the runway has a connection with spending my entire life in private school, when I wore uniforms. Up until I graduated high school, D-Day stood for Dress Down Day. In 7th grade, I remember wearing a Beatles-yellow-submarine-type yellow coat from GAP for an entire school day because I hated the clothes I was wearing. And now all I want to do is leave my coat open to show off my graphic T. (Hello, Alexander Wang’s shirts marked Parental Advisory!)

Us (Band of) outsiders may or may not understand what goes on in keeping up with Fashion Week. It’s an enigma to some and Holy Week to others. How must we deal with this time of peril?  Here are some lessons for the regular girl when it comes to Fashion Week:

  • It’s important not to end up crying in fetal position, but do as those ladies with death stares do. Use the sidewalks and your school’s hallways as the runway. Rock that Jansport backpack like you just got on Dean’s List.
  • Pretend you’ve got Coco Rocha’s cheekbones and eat the onion bagel on your morning commute.
  • Grab your picnic blanket you used this summer, throw it on, and BOOM, you like you just walked out of Derek Lam’s collection!
  • Keep your iPhone camera on standby because you never know when another fashion blogger is going to want to take a snap of your sweatpants messy bun as you head to school in the morning.
  • Did you see David and Harper Beckham front row at Victoria Beckham’s show? O.M.G. This isn’t really a tip, but if you can find yourself a supportive hot dad, then he’ll be your ultimate accessory.

And so, I’ll wear my Ferragamo’s to school to compensate for my absence at Lincoln Center. People will stare, but isn’t that the point of fashion?

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Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com

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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SLEEP ALL NIGHT TO GET LUCKY

As the anticipated age of 20 hath approacheth, it is inevitable for me to check-in with my life. I should not be slipping off-track, but making sure I’m just the right amount of “off the beaten path.” Most of the time, I try to assure myself with my “consoling mind” that the path I am currently paving is the right one because it is my own. However, a pressure to compare myself to the people I look up to creates a pressure to imitate them.

12am

Every night at 12:00 AM, my iPhone alarm goes off asking me if I have accomplished my day’s duties. I try to make myself accountable. I make rules for myself. No Twitter for more than 30 minutes. Do not play more than five games of Dots. No sneaking into the pantry for sugary cereal. So, I set that alarm. Then somewhere between 2:30 and 3:15 PM, I have successfully made a textbook list of loopholes to my own rules (the same goes for my New Year’s resolutions). I can spend 10 more minutes on Twitter because 2 people favorited my tweet that I thought would be too intellectual. One more game of Dots. I won’t eat Frosted Flakes, but I will have two servings of the Quaker Oats Cinnamon Squares because they’re healthier. Okay, two more games of Dots. I am my own greatest enemy…and a strategic one at that.

Then as 11:55 PM rolls around and I am on my 79th game of Dots, I wonder how many plays or blog posts I could have written today. Mindy Kaling wrote plays in college, and yet I have none. Then my “consoling mind” kicks in thinking that Mindy did not have Dots when she was in college. If she did have an iPhone, then she would have totally been spending time on that game the whole day, too! Right? I hope so.

I have no published works on the Internet yet, which is the ubiquitous and most narcissistic complaint of every Millennial (and Journalism student). Then I think that Tina Fey was the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper. Great, so am I. Check. Lena Dunham grew up in Brooklyn. So did I…in the completely opposite side of Brooklyn. But anyway, check.

I like to start blogs and projects because my optimistic mind goes into overdrive thinking that I could totally get sponsors that will pay me for writing. I am not even close to getting there and that dream seems hopelessly far away. This essay, however, was not sponsored by the makers of Dots; however I would endorse it if you like to waste time. Then again, some nights I get lucky. Lucky enough to fall asleep through my alarm, never having to face the fact that today was yet another lazy day in the life of a Millennial.

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