Working 9 to 5

Friday, September 30, 2011

So I am going to go out on a limb.  I'm taking a risk in writing this one, because I generally don't write about jobs or relationships or anything that could be interpreted the wrong way.

Just as a disclaimer, I really do like my job.  I absolutely adore my fellow hall directors.  They are, without a doubt, the best people I have ever worked with.  And I love my RAs.  They make what I do so much fun.  Rumor has it that they love me too.

But work in New York is just not what I expected.

In Oklahoma, I generally worked 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (little to no lunch break) and averaged about 50 hours a week.  A normal, full time work week is 40 hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  You are absolutely expected to be at work on time, meaning at your desk and ready to go at 8:00 a.m.  Meetings start at the time they are advertised, so the professional thing to do is arrive five or so minutes early.  This is the only work life that I've ever known.

I've said before that I made applying for jobs in New York a bit of a hobby, but had completely given up on that idea when this one actually came along.  And I definitely prepared myself to step it up.  Working in New York would be much more rigorous, intensive, and fast-paced than some silly little place called Oklahoma.  People in Manhattan actually have no idea where Oklahoma is, or what it is for that matter.

So imagine my surprise with this new reality of mine.  A standard work week is 35 hours here, with typical hours being 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  And by typical, I mean very very flexible.  I attend four staff meetings every week and have five or so one on one meetings per week.  And I have yet to attend a meeting that starts on time.  When I arrive 5-10 minutes early for a meeting, people look at me like I'm crazy.   I just cannot make myself adjust to this new way of working.

Also, I've never had a job that starts at 9:00 a.m.  I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself with that extra hour in the mornings.  I see a lot more of the Today Show these days.

Now, just to put it out there, it's not just my job.  I know you were thinking it.  My non-res-life friends say the same things about their New York jobs.  It's just that they think it's normal.  The two most common excuses I've heard?  New Yorkers stay up later at night, so work is more flexible to accommodate.  Also, since people live closer to work, they are more likely to arrive late.  What???  Those excuses would never in a million years fly in Oklahoma.

I'm just learning things all the time.  But I do adore wearing jeans to work whenever I feel like it.

Nothing Like Oklahoma

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"I'm in a world so wide it makes me feel small sometimes.  I miss the big blue sky, the Oklahoma kind..."

Here's what I know for sure.  Home is a good place.

I mean, New York is the greatest city in the world.  You can get anything you want here.  Except for Sonic, Big Truck Tacos, Ted's, and Mom's Mexican Casserole.  Those airline miles were just burning a hole in my pocket.  I couldn't resist anymore.  Two months not leaving New York was long enough.

So two subways, one New Jersey transit train, two Newark AirTrains, and two Continental jets later, I finally got what I really wanted...Baby Sister and The Chief and lots and lots of TexMex.

I saw my family and best friends and went to church.  I watched favorite TV season openers with favorite people.  I sort of had to relearn how to drive (whoops!).  I forgot how big the parking lots are.  I wandered through the "small" Target in Oklahoma City...which is still larger than a city block in Manhattan.  The Chief even made Texas Pie special for the occasion.

It's a funny thing though.  Everyone in Oklahoma kept asking if I had a Yankee accent yet.  Kept commenting on how "big city" I looked.  Kept begging for every detail of my glamourous New York City lifestyle.  And the truth is, living in Manhattan actually makes me feel a lot more small town.  People call me out on my "cute Southern accent" all the time.  Two months ago, no one had ever told me I had an accent.  I am constantly aware of how little I really feel in this great big giant city.  I crave all things Southern.  I get crazy excited when I find out someone is from Texas or Oklahoma.  If you're ever in New York and need a Southern comfort food fix, I'm your girl.

Yes, I do have a fancy new New York haircut.  But in all honestly, it's from the same place in Oklahoma City that always did my hair.  And it was about one-third the cost of a fancy New York haircut.

And at midnight last night when I flew over the sparkling lights of this perfect monstrosity of a metropolis, I couldn't help but feel that surreal feeling that hasn't quite subsided in two months.  I live in New York.  New York.  I still can't really believe it.  I'm not sure if I ever will.

Because at the end of the day, maybe I really am just an Okie from Muskogee.

NYCkt Official Tour

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

OK folks, the official NYCkt tour is open for business.   Get in line and book those plane tickets.  

My cousin Adam came for a visit this weekend.  It was his first time to New York, so we saw pretty much every possible tourist attraction in this city.  We also ate.  A lot.  Eating is a key feature of the official tour, but don't should be prepared to walk around 10 miles a day.  It all evens out eventually...

Considering coming to visit for the weekend?  Here are the highlights...

Day One:
Authentic New York Bagels
Subway (You just never know what you'll see...)

World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial

Financial District
Battery Park, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island
Stone Street (plus a really great crepe place)
Brooklyn Bridge

DUMBO, Authentic Brooklyn Pizza, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Empire State Building

Macy's (The World's Largest Store!) and Herald Square
Madison Square Park
Union Square
Max Brenner (Seriously.  Best Chocolate Cake. Ever.)
Times Square

Day Two:
Brunch in Morningside Heights
Central Park Highlights

Shake Shack (I try to convince myself it's not good.  I'm so wrong.)
Fifth Avenue Shopping
Plaza Hotel
Museum of Modern Art (Along with the original I Heart NY design and my favorite painting.)

New York Public Library and Bryant Park
Grand Central Station (with Juniors in NY)
United Nations
Washington Square Park and NYU
Little Italy (Plus a street fair if you get lucky...)

Meatpacking District
Dinner at Dos Caminos

Day Three:
Brunch on a Rooftop
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Central Park, round two (it's a big park, people)

Billy's Bakery (let's not even start about how good it is.)

High Line Park and Meatpacking District
Chelsea Market (home of the Food Network studios)
Secret Restaurant with Really Awesome Burgers
Times Square
SoHo and NoHo

Day Four:
Classic New York Deli
Upper West Side Shopping
Magnolia Bakery

Now, I'm working on multiple versions of the tour, but you get the idea.  This one was the boy tour...
minimal shopping, no musicals, special trip to the knights and armor section of the museum.  Next up is my mom and aunt, for the culinary tour of New York City.  I'm pretty darn excited about that one.  Until then, you can find me at the gym...

Stars Over Texas

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You can take the girl out of the honkey tonk...

I have lived in New York for 6.5 weeks, and tonight absolutely, positively felt like home for the first time.  And it's all because this Southern girl got a bit of the Lone Star state in the Empire state.

I journeyed to the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn this afternoon.  New Yorkers like to name every possible tiny little corner of a neighborhood to create a new, trendy, up and coming district that will inevitably drive real estate prices through the roof.  HIMYM fans...please see Dowisetrepla episode for a full explanation.  DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.  It's right by the Brooklyn Bridge.

True to it's name, here's the Manhattan Bridge...

Since I was a little early, I wandered around the area.  I am always on the hunt for new restaurants and places to take visitors.  (NOT SO SUBTLE HINT: COME VISIT)  There might have been a Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie involved in this wandering.  If you ever need a free way to spend an afternoon in New York, definitely head to the Brooklyn Bridge.  It's a beautiful area.  Also, there is an ice cream factory at the base of the bridge.  Also, if you're ever looking to sweep me off my feet in a great big grand romantic gesture that involves diamonds, there's The River Cafe.

But on to the reason for the Brooklyn jaunt...

It should come as no shock that the Southern girl in me is feeling super homesick lately.  I spend my time daydreaming about Tex Mex and BBQ and all the things that New York just does not do well.  I miss enchiladas and quality salsa and the smell of charcoal grilling in backyards.  In my search to recreate home (or distract myself long enough to get back home), I stumbled upon The Homesick Texan.  The blogger/author moved to New York from Texas when she was 25, couldn't find any decent Tex Mex, cooked her own, and starting writing/blogging.  Sound familiar?

So as it turns out, Lisa's cookbook launch was tonight, just in time for me to attend.  I expected nostalgia and a deep desire to spend a few days in Hill Country.  I did not expect the countless references to Ninfa's, kolaches, and Rotel.  I took one bite of the green salsa and was back at Ninfa's in good old Waco. People, I seriously dream about green sauce at Ninfa's, so this was pretty monumental.  

I left with a list of NYC restaurants that attempt Tex Mex, a few BBQ recommendations, and a warning that nothing will ever compare to the Lone Star state.  But then again, I already knew that.

...but you can't take the honkey tonk out of the girl.

Monday Motivation

Monday, September 12, 2011

New York Minute

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago...

My roommate's radio alarm clock woke me up.  I had no idea that Baylor would eventually cancel classes that day.

I called my mom, wondering if she had seen the "accident" that happened in New York.

I skipped a shower that morning, choosing instead to watch every moment of the Today Show.  I saw the second plane hit the tower.  Even still, I had no idea how that would change everything.

I walked from my freshman residence hall to class, talking to my dad about those two towers we had just seen in New York.

And I sat in Mass Comm, watching with 100 or so new Baylor classmates while mass communications as we knew it collapsed on live television.

And I could not fathom that the skyline I had just been introduced to would forever look like this...

(Look closely...the photo hanging on the fence of the Brooklyn Promenade corrects the skyline.) 

And ten years ago in a dorm room at Baylor University, I would never have believed that on the ten year anniversary of this still-confusing news,  I would wake up on a beautiful September morning just like that day, just a few miles away from lower Manhattan and the skyline that recently became home.

But here is what I do know...

Fashion's Night Out

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Contrary to my previous post about yoga pants, there are a few perks to living in the fashion capitol of the world.  And since it is Fashion Week in New York, it is only fitting to pay tribute to one of New York's favorite holidays.

Hello, Fashion's Night Out.

Thursday night kicked off Fashion Week in style.  New Yorkers call in sick, rearrange evening plans, and turn their lives upside down to take part of this annual spectacle of pretty things and even prettier people.  I know this because all the students who report to me actually did those things.  All the stores and designer boutiques open for special events, prizes, concerts, runway shows, and more.  It's basically a chance for the "commoners" in the city to experience what A-listers see from their runway-side chairs at the top fashion shows.

Well, when it comes to a free Marc Jacobs bag and other great prizes, I'm not one to judge.  So I finished my research papers and assigned reading and class prep and crazy work week just in time.  And I may or may not have strategically camped out in a cafe across from Marc Jacobs scoping out the crowds to ensure that I too received the exclusive giveaway.

There were definitely dark sunglasses involved in my stake out.

And a cupcake.  Because you can't have a stake out without baked goods.

It was legit.

But, in attempt to score the coveted bag, I ended up with two.  I am that good.

My first Fashion's Night Out included a trip to Bloomingdales, Macy's, two Marc Jacobs boutiques on Bleecker Street, and Magnolia Bakery.

Oh yeah...

It also included Kirsten Dunst and Tommy Hilfiger.

This was my attempt at a Kirsten Dunst picture, but some guy walked right in front of me.  I was literally standing right next to her on the street corner when I realize who it was, and then she sat down and was waiting for filming.  As soon as I took this awful picture (blonde girl in the khaki trench coat right in the middle), she disappeared into a cafe.  I'm pretty sure we're best friends now.

This is Tommy Hilfiger at Macy's, where he was doing a special Fashion's Night Out appearance.  I was standing in the Tommy Hilfiger section and he smiled at me.  I'm pretty sure he's going to personally design all my clothes from now on.  We had a connection, you know?

You really should make plans to be at Fashion's Night Out in New York next year.  I'm sure another stake out can be arranged.  And in the mean time, you can find me hanging out with my new BFFs.

They love me.

Yoga Pants vs. Real Pants

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You know this commercial about laundry soap and yoga pants?

It's pretty much the story of my life lately.  I mean, it started out totally innocent.  I didn't work all summer, so I wore workout clothes almost every day.  I would go to the gym or ballet, meet Baby Sister for lunch, run errands for The Chief, and cook dinner.  No harm in wearing yoga pants for the summer.

Then I moved to New York, where I have been so busy that anything requiring extra effort just doesn't seem worth it.  So on Labor Day, when I met New York BFF for holiday brunch at Community Food and Juice (my new brunch obsession), I decided that yoga pants on a holiday was perfectly fine.  They were cute yoga pants.

But then yesterday I wore yoga pants to work.

I can't decide if this is a new low point or a great perk of my new job.  In my defense, these particular yoga pants look like skinny black pants.  I wore a long sweater and ballet flats with them, and I actually got a ton of compliments.  Which, of course, did not help the matter at all.  It just made me want to buy more yoga pants.

(In unrelated news, if you're ever looking to get me a gift, here's a great gift card option: Lululemon.)

Now, if you are one of my closest friends and know me really well, you know that I don't particularly like pants.  I love expensive jeans (sorry, I do) and yoga pants (obviously), but other than that I own ONE pair of pants...and I never, ever wear them.  Think about often do you see me in something other than a dress, skirt, or jeans?  Yep.  Not going to lie...I am concerned about this whole upcoming New York winter and my hatred for pants.  It might be a problem.

Maybe I'll just buy warmer yoga pants.

And just to be clear, I don't actually do yoga.  Maybe I should start that too...

Better Days

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ah, September.  I love you already.  

Today, I did exactly what I wanted to do all day long.  And it was fabulous.

I slept late, drank lots of coffee, returned the duty phone (which did not ring once!), and then I was off...

It was a beautiful day in New York, so I walked from my apartment at 116th and Broadway to Central Park at 79th.  I spent half an hour wandering through the park, enjoying doing absolutely nothing.  It's a funny thing about Central Park.  If you hit it at just the right time on just the right day, it's like walking into a dream.  All of the problems of the city literally just disappear, and you're left with blue skies and birds chirping and all is right with the world.

I stopped by Strawberry Fields.  No joke, there were people praying to the Beatles.  And lots and lots of tourists.

I sat at the Boathouse for two whole hours reading a book that has nothing to do with higher education.  I watched all the bored nannies with all the adorable children in their fancy strollers.  I loved every single minute of my perfect 75 degree New York morning.  (Side note: New Yorkers are serious about their strollers.  Since most of them don't have cars, strollers are a status symbol.   It's legit.)

After the park, I had a leisurely lunch at EAT, my favorite Upper East Side cafe.  You see, the Upper East Side is pretty much the most difficult neighborhood to get to from the Upper West Side.  Makes no sense, I know.  But most of the public transportation runs downtown, not crosstown, so walking is pretty much your only option.  I don't get over there often, so it was a nice break from reality.  Also, EAT basically has the best grilled cheese on the planet.

I wandered my way back to Fifth Avenue, destination in sight...

In all of my years of New York travels, I had never been to the Met.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to pretty much every important artist or piece of art ever.  It's several city blocks long and actually sits inside of Central Park.

I needed to experience something more important than my own stress.  I needed to spend hours staring at beautiful paintings.  I needed to zone out.  And I always forget until I'm in the moment, but wandering around an art museum for a few hours with just my iPod does more for my sanity and clarity and feeling at peace and happiness than pretty much anything else.  Especially when it involves Van Gogh and Degas and Renoir and Monet.

And two hours later, just when I thought I'd seen it all, I saw a sign for elevators to the rooftop.  And remember how yesterday I admitted that more often than not since moving here, I don't even remember that I live in New York?

I needed reminding...

I just sat and stared at the New York skyline for a long time.  It was as beautiful as anything in the museum.  Luckily, I get into the museum for free with my Columbia ID.  Many more trips in my future, for sure.  

I wandered my way back down Madison Avenue to Bloomingdales, where I did a little more wandering.        I worked my way back to Columbus Circle, and then I worked my way to where all epic New York days eventually lead...

I mean, I walked a little over eight miles today.  I earned that trip to Magnolia Bakery. 

And I earned this day in New York.