Speechless Sunday

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Uptown Girl: Chapter Two

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

{Note: This post makes no sense whatsoever if you haven't read the previous post.  Ok thanks.}

I got bored/frustrated this afternoon and set out to find more details about my humble abode on West 83rd Street.  I googled Cafe Lalo, got the street adress, looked at the street view, and spun it around to see across the street.  Conveniently, the building had a sign in the window for apartment rentals.  I googled the company and found one apartment available in the building! 

It is beautiful, in a totally practical kind of way.  Not over the top or flashy.  Just a one bed, one bath place with hardwood floors, granite countertops, original exposed brick, wood-burning fireplace, new bathroom, etc.  All for the bargain price of $2,600 per month.  Which, unfortunately, is more than I bring home in a month.  According to New York standards (which usually require an annual income of 40 times the monthly rent), I can have this tiny little one bedroom apartment when I make approximately $104,000 per year.  About that... 

Any blog fans out there want to finance this lifestyle in the mean time?  I promise I will thank you in the acknowledgements section of my first, second and third books.

{Another note: In my spare time, I could easily be an investigator/sleuth/finder of important information.  I am AWESOME at finding random facts and details online.  You should consider hiring me to do this imporant task for you.  I charge $2,600 per month.  That is all.} 

Uptown Girl

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Confession.  I dream about New York apartments the way some women dream about jewelry and Jimmy Choo shoes.  I read books about Manhattan real estate.  I scour Craigs List apartment listings.  I am absolutely addicted to Selling New York.  Recently, I was trapped in the Atlanta airport and didn't even care because of the latest all-New York issue of Dwell Magazine.  Don't even start with me about how it's a waste of time or totally unrealistic.  I love reading real estate listings for one-bedroom, 700-square-feet condos in prewar brownstones, listed at the awe-inspiring bargain of $625,000.  Don't judge me.

A couple of Christmases ago, I went to New York with The Chief (aka Mom), Baby Sister and Grandma.  While having breakfast at Cafe Lalo (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's first meeting place in "You've Got Mail"), I noticed a "for rent" sign in the apartment window across the street.  I have no idea what kind of condition the place was in or how much it was.  It was situated in a perfect Manhattan brownstone on this perfect, tree-lined Upper West Side street with a charming neighborhood cafe (which features an endless supply of cheesecake).  People, I dream about this place.  Think about it all the time.  Wonder if there is something available in that building and if I could afford/justify the rent. 

(P.S. If anyone has any leads on finding and affording an apartment on West 83rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway, I'm totally listening).

My favorite New York friend wakes up to this view every day...

To him it is nothing special, but I can't get enough of it.  I love how every building looks so unique.  In a city that constantly changes, it somehow manages to be beautiful and unchanging (insert cheesy yearbook theme here).  In a city with nine million people, I always wonder who lives across the street, what their lives are like, how they came to New York.  I know plenty of people who want the land, the pool, the swing set, and the three-car garage of affluent, suburban America.  What these people don't understand is how fantastic Central Park is on a summer day, or how taking the subway means your car never gets stuck on the highway, or how you can eat at a different restaurant every day and never, ever try them all.  It's just the best.

Living in Oklahoma, I see plenty of farm houses.  Once you get beyond city limits, they are pretty much impossible to ignore.  What I wasn't expecting was to stumble upon this historic farm house on the corner of East 29th and Third Avenue in New York one perfect fall day...

Can I have it?  Pretty Please?????  I'm not really a farm house kind of girl.  (Please refer to previous post wherein The Chief thought comparing myself to The Pioneer Woman was the funniest thing she had ever heard).  I could, however, get on board with a farm house in the middle of Manhattan.  I mean, how cute is that?  Armed with my iPhone, I googled it from the neighborhood bagel cafe (Conveniently called "Bagel Cafe").  It is still a single family home from the 1800s and used to be a carriage house.  You know, when subways looked an awful lot like horses.  It's like the best of all possible Katie worlds.  Plus, I would easily have room for all my friends and family (that means you) to visit/move in.  Perfection.

In the mean time, I'll just keep decorating the fictional West 83rd Street apartment and living in my fantasy uptown world...

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If I Knew What I Was Doing

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Meet baby sister...

Baby sister always has brilliant advice.  She is just like a real life walking, talking first grader in a twenty-something body.  Recently, I asked her what topic I should choose for my dissertation.  Most people, if they even make it to that point, spend months, maybe years constructing the perfect research question.  This usually follows years of doctoral-level coursework.  After all, it is the culminating academic work in a terminal degree program (or you know, three decades of school).  I am already nervous about this thought.  Luckily for me, baby sister is always ready to save the day.  She wasted no time solving my problem.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present the topic my little sister proposed for my Ivy League dissertation.  The one that will be submitted to the faculty of the very first graduate school of education in the United States; the university ranked fourth of all institutions of higher education ANYWHERE.  No pressure...

"How chickens cross the road and why they should cross back."

What do you think, Columbia?  Ivy material?  Somehow I feel like this would be an excellent topic to propose to Mr. Belding at Bayside High.  

(To be fair, baby sister also announced today that she really wants to get two cheetah babies and name them Cory and Topanga.  Brilliant.)

In between Snowmageddon One and Snowmageddon Two, I attended the First Year Experience conference in Atlanta.  About 1,000 higher ed people gathered to discuss ways to create the best, most educational and transformative first year of college for students across the country.  You know, for all the kids who think Saved by the Bell: The College Years is totally what it's going to be like.  This was the first time I've really discussed Columbia with people outside of my close friends and family.  Let me tell you, they listen.  To this point, all reactions to my upcoming education/Ivy League/New York experience fall into one of two categories.  I am either brilliant and ridiculously impressive, or I am insane.  Both are completely, positively, 100% correct assumptions.

While at the conference, I stopped by a session about successfully writing a dissertation.  I thought it might be helpful, and I'm an overachiever.  The facilitator described all the people just starting the doctoral process as sixth graders thinking about which college to attend after high school.  Hello!?!?!  I don't like to brag, and I don't even tell people that the school I'm attending is Ivy, but give me a little credit.  I have a long way to go.  I will need a ton of help and support along the way.  But I'm not a total idiot.  I wrote a brilliant admissions essay.  I read original works by Aristotle and Aquinas, and I very clearly demonstrated how they relate to real life and education in 2011.  I got in.  I have clearly fooled everyone (myself included) into thinking that I know what I've gotten myself into.

Just to clarify, I start coursework at Teachers College (Columbia's education school) in June.  The program is a fast-track, intensive Adult Learning and Leadership program designed to speed students through 91 credit hours in just two years...insane.  Although it is considered a full-time program, I won't actually be in New York full time (at least not yet).  For the next three summers, I'll spend three weeks each June at Teachers College/Columbia University.  I'll also be in New York for classes four weekends each semester for two academic years.  In the time between classes, I'll have homework, research, reading, etc.  Once I finish coursework, I'll spend the next year constructing/researching/writing the dissertation (all 120 pages of it).  Yikesabee.

One of the things I'm most excited about is that my doctoral program is a cohort model.  There will be 15 or so students who do all the courses together and earn degrees at roughly the same time.  A few years back, I met the greatest group of friends a girl could ask for...  

We laughed, cried, studied, researched, caffeinated, danced, traveled and prayed together.  I learned at least as much from this group of people as I did in master's classes (sorry Frank, Dub and RCC), and let them change my life a little (or a lot) in the process.  Even when I didn't know what I was doing, they were right there doing (or not doing) it with me.  I sort of wish my Baylor cohort/fellow glee club members were starting Columbia with me, but they are all off being their brilliant selves.  And I am really, really excited that a new group of students/scholars/friends will join me on this ridiculous, scary, unknown journey that lies ahead.  Until then, I'll just keep daydreaming about school supplies and scribbling brilliant dissertation topics on pink post-its.

If I knew what I was doing, I'd be doing it right now...

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hug Mug

People always ask me for New York recommendations.  Where should they have cupcakes or coffee or pizza or great New York experiences?  From time to time, I'll use {the ivy project} to write about my favorite New York places.  One of my favorite things about New York is that there is always something new to discover.  I, of course, have favorites, but I'm not one of those people who goes to the same restaurants every single time.  New York is far too exciting for repetition.

If you are ever in New York, you simply must visit Max Brenner: Chocolate By The Bald Man.  It will change your life (I'm not even exaggerating).  It is located in Union Square, just near the multi-level Whole Foods, which is another element of my dream life and one that will surely receive several blog posts dedicated to its magical-ness.  Max Brenner has a two page food menu and a 20 page dessert menu.  My kind of place.  How could anything bad happen to you at a place that has something called the "melting chocolate heart" dessert?  (Please refer to illustration 1)...

For the record, the Melting Chocolate Heart dessert includes a warn chocolate cake with a warm chocolate center topped with fresh strawberries, mini martini shaker with molten dark chocolate (to drizzle over the cake), tiny dish of organic vanilla bean gelato with chocolate shavings, and finally a baby chocolate shake (served in a shot glass) with fresh whipped cream.  Seriously...heaven in Manhattan.

Always hopelessly searching for ways to make the rest of the world more like the island of Manhattan, I present to you the hug mug...

Max Brenner's hug mug is the perfect remedy for four snow days and three feet of snow in the yard.  It is specially designed to warm your hands and make girls like me forget about the 29 inches of snow shoveled from the driveway.  (In related news, I miss subways).  Hug mugs are best enjoyed with peppermint hot chocolate, marshmallow cream and sisters who enjoy Alice Cups (stay tuned for an exclusive Alice Cup blog).

The next time you are in New York (or Las Vegas), walk a couple of extra blocks (which is actually 29 blocks in Katie-speak) to Union Square for a trip to Max Brenner.  The extra calories are worth the splurge.

No Such Thing

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Here is the view I imagine from my window when I wake up every morning...

Here is the actual view that I woke up to this morning...

Snowmageddon 2011 and the subsequent closing of the entire state of Oklahoma made my goal of a four-hour work week one step closer to reality.  I am obsessed with Half Price Books and saw this book there yesterday.  What's not to love?  It's not that I don't want to work...I do.  I just have lots of other things I want to do too.  Like write a novel (I'm working on it) and spend hours in Whole Foods.  Rachel Green basically worked about four hours a week, and she ended up with Ross and Emma and a job at Ralph Lauren.  Totally realistic, right?  I thought so.

My mom (referred to from here on as "The Chief") asked what I would do with my other 36 hours.  I responded that I would be like the Pioneer Woman.  Wouldn't it be lovely to write, blog and cook all day?  That is basically my dream life.  Apparently, comparing myself to the Pioneer Woman was pretty much the funniest thing I have ever said.  The Chief sincerely hopes there is a big city equivalent of the Pioneer Woman that I can aspire to, because the words "pioneer" and "Katie" have never, ever been spoken in the same sentence.  On a related note, I will be making Paula Deen's seven-cheese, from-scratch lasagna for dinner tonight (no really, I'm not joking).  All who want to brave the 29 inches of snow in my driveway are welcome.  Please bring appropriate amounts of tiramisu.

Here is why a four-hour work week is a good idea.  Awkward things happen to me at work.  As a 27-year-old student affairs administrator and professor at a college where the average student age is 27, awkwardness is bound to occur.  Students either think I'm ridiculously awesome (clearly the truth), also a student, or totally out of touch, since they are 27 and a community college student and I am 27 and a doctoral student (yep, that's right, I said it).  The result is always uncomfortable, flattering or both.

Student affairs is equal parts cheerleader and coach.  Like yesterday, when I received an email informing me that a student would not be on campus, because his "baby momma" had a doctor's appointment.  SO proud for emailing to let me know, SO proud for taking responsibility and going to the doctor with her, SO need to talk about referring to her as "baby momma."  When I received the email, I was grading journals for class.  Their assignment was to write about three goals they had for this semester and how they planned to achieve those goals.  Easy enough, right?  Over the years, this assignment has provided the single-best source of entertainment in my work life.  Up until now, my favorite goal a student submitted was "not get pregnant."  Valid goal.  I've also heard "try not to have any kids."  I particularly like the use of the word "try" with that one.  Yesterday, my student described two awesome goals related to doing well in school.  The third goal for the semester is to take me on a date.  Complete with a plan on how to achieve that goal.  In his defense, I told them I wasn't grading the content of the journal, just whether they followed directions.  Got to give the kid credit for having a goal.  

For the record, I gave the kid full points on the assignment and turned him down for dinner.  Just this once, I would like to get asked to dinner by someone who would not cause me to lose my job.  Is that really too much to ask?

I just found out there's no such thing as the real world, just a lie you've got to rise above.