Here Comes The Sun

Friday, March 30, 2012

Just a few shots from the Macy's Flower Show to send you into the weekend...

Happy New York City Spring!

Oh What A Night

Oh my goodness, this one is my absolute favorite...

So yesterday I had the afternoon off and was planning to go to the movie before a weekend full of studying.  But then I said to myself, "Self, why pay $15 for a movie when you can go to a Broadway show for ten little dollars more?"  Or at least, I thought I could.  You see, most of the shows sell student rush tickets for $26-38 per ticket, beginning when the box office opens each day for that night's show.  But you just never know if it will work.  When I saw "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." I waited in line for three hours for my partial view orchestra tickets ($30 each).  So it's worth it, but definitely a time investment.  So back to yesterday...

I hopped on the subway with a list of five shows offering $26 tickets.  It was about noon when I got to Times Square...two hours after the box office opened.  I started with "Jersey Boys," because well, it is just my absolute favorite.  Seriously, if you haven't seen it you must.  So very fun.  Just don't take the kids.

And just like that, the man handed me an orchestra seat, eighth row, for $26.  Oh my goodness.

I spent the afternoon in Union Square, browsing through my favorite used bookstore, The Strand, and wandering through a super cool, crazy expensive new store I found, Olde Good Things.  Then, just because I could, I had lunch at one of my favorite places, Mario Batali's Otto pizzeria.  It's the only Mario Batali restaurant I can afford, mind you, but it's fantastic.  And who should be having lunch there, but the lead singer from Journey, Steve Perry.  Obviously, I had absolutely no clue who he was...the waiter told me.  But still, it counts.  Last stop before the show?  Insomnia Cookies.  Yep.

Now, Otto pizza and Jersey Boys is totally the Las Vegas routine with The Chief and Baby Sister.  We absolutely adore Otto and Jersey Boys, Vegas style.  It's our favorite.  But, well, Baby Sister had to go and get married to Just Matt (who we love, by the way), and The Chief went to Kansas to visit the newlyweds this weekend.  I had to do something to entertain myself, but it sure did make me miss them. And it was fantastic last is really the most fun show on Broadway.  And "Who Loves You," the last song in the show, is my definite favorite of all the other favorites.

So if you ever want to make me really happy, make sure it involves Otto, Jersey Boys, old books, and some sort of baked treat.

But now here's the part that need not be repeated...

I leave the theater at 52nd and Broadway, head to the subway at 50th and Broadway, swipe my MetroCard, and pull out my Kindle Fire, because obviously I am 48% of the way through "The Hunger Games" and am totally hooked.  And then I find out that no trains are running to that station.  Would have been helpful before I swiped, you know?  So I walk one avenue over to the C train, swipe my Metro Card, and get back to my book.  I hop on at 50th and off at 59th, intending to change trains at Columbus Circle and take the 1 train home.  But there is a huge crowd on the 1 train platform, because someone got sick on the subway and they cleared the train.  So no trains running there either, and I've now wasted two swipes.

So up to street level I go, resolved to pay for the cab home.  Except I can't find a cab, because it's 10 p.m. and there are never cabs available at 10 p.m.  People are either going out or going home.  I consider calling my brother-in-law to take me home, except he lives in Kansas.  It would take him awhile.  So I walk up Broadway, doing the half-backwards walk while I look for cabs that might be approaching from behind.  And by the time I get to 67th, I am convinced that it's a sign from God to go to Magnolia Bakery, which is at 69th.  It seems packed, tables full, cupcakes waiting.  And the doors are locked, because it closed four minutes ago.  Dang it.  I cab it home, singing "Who Loves You" in my head the whole way.

I am quite worried that this discovery of super easy student rush tickets will be bad for my bank account.  But Jersey Boys for $26?  Oh what a night.

Bright Lights, Big City

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So there I was, skinny jeans, Columbia sweatshirt, Kate Spade bag, ballet flats, curly hair...

You know, just another lazy Wednesday in Manhattan until you stumble onto the set of a Justin Timberlake movie, literally filming right outside of my apartment building's front door.  When I went to work this morning, there were a whole bunch of old timey cars on the block, right where the normal looking cars are usually parked.  Then at lunchtime, I discovered my 2012 residence had transformed into 1960s New York...

They brought in old news stands, vintage cabs, truckloads of snow, and dozens of crew members.  They even replaced the subway signs...

This one's a work in progress, as you can see.  It's actually the 116th stop on the 1 train.  That suitcase ad on top probably won't last long, but I do love the vintage subway signs.  Wonder if they would let me keep it?

And no, I have not seen Justin Timberlake yet, but I'm doing my best people.  There are tons of people out there, mostly twenty-something college girls trying to convince JT to fall in love with them.  I may or may not be one of them.  Apparently, it's a new Cohen brothers movie about a singer-songwriter in the 1960s, also featuring Carey Mulligan and John Goodman.

Kind of looks like I'm living on the set of Mad Men.

This actually happens a lot on my block.  It's a beautiful, tree lined street that looks like New York, but without the hustle and bustle of the big city.

See?  I told you so...

They filmed a Lifetime pilot called Modern Love in the fall, again right outside of my apartment.  Patrick Dempsey's apartment in Enchanted?  Building on the corner, just before Riverside Park.

(Please excuse this brief pause as I daydream about Patrick Dempsey actually living in the building on the corner...)

So yeah, for as much as I insist that life in New York is not like the media portrays, that real responsibilities get in the way of a tourist's version of this city, and that it is so much harder to live here than anyone thinks, sometimes it really is just like living in a movie.

New York Truths

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Everything I need to know about New York, I learned on the subway...

These are all ads for a local storage company that is notorious for designing marketing campaigns that have very little to do with storage.  But they sure do make the subway rides more interesting...

Ivy League Problems

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Overheard on campus today...

"I had such a boring Spring Break, not like last year when I went to Italy or the year before when I went to Greece."

"I mean, maybe I am doing too many drugs.  Who knows?"

"I promise it was just incense."

"I'm pretty sure the government is bugging my house."

"It is soooooooooooo hot.  Why are we outside?" (It was 70 degrees.)

"Pilates is totally more important than work."

"Ah, it sucked.  I was one hour away from meeting my idol and I missed it.  Next time, I will definitely plan better to party with Kardashians."

"The only place I went for Spring Break was New Jersey."

Yep, true story.  You just can't make this stuff up people.

Impossible Things

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
(Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll)

So here's my goal.  I'm putting it out there for {the ivy project} and the world so that someone can hold me to it...or tell me I'm insane.  Either way.

My goal is to be ABD by my 30th birthday.

Now, I realize that most of you don't know or care what ABD even means.  Also, I realize that the particular date is a little sooner than I would like.  But here goes...

ABD is academic talk for "All But Dissertation."  It's the point in this whole crazy process when you have completed all the requirements (coursework, certification exam, qualifying paper, writing the proposal, and defending the proposal) and just have to write the actual dissertation itself.  In a traditional doctoral program, it might take someone 8-10 years to get to that point, if not even longer.  My goal, start of coursework to ABD, is two years.

Yep, insane.

Of course, I would still have to write the dissertation, which might take a year or two.  Obviously, I'm shooting for the short end of that timeline.  But still.  I would like to defend my proposal and have all those other requirements done right around the time I finish coursework.  I want the degree.  I want to be able to teach.  I do not want this thing to take eight years of my life.  It will not happen.

I have other stuff to do, you know?

On My Way Here

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Twelve years ago, pretty much right about now, this is where it all began.

Who new that one walk through those iron gates would lead to this crazy love affair with a city called New York?  Or this much time and energy and, let's be honest, money spent on some tiny little island called Manhattan.  A few days in the Big Apple and one silly little high school journalism conference was all it took.  It was really over before it ever began.

So it was pretty funny to walk through those stately iron gates today, underneath that same sign, through crowds of overeager teenagers just thrilled to set foot on campus.  They have no clue...but really, I didn't either.  Still don't, if I'm being totally honest.

Twelve years ago on St. Patrick's Day, I kind of fell in love.  Big, beautiful New York snow, parade down Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co.  Wonderful.  Now, just to put it out there, if you need to find me this St. Patrick's Day, you should probably start with the pediatric emergency room at St. Luke's hospital.  On call for the biggest party holiday of the year?  Almost as good as being on call for Halloween, which I also spent making new friends in a Harlem hospital.  So feel free to stop by or bring cookies or call to keep me company.  I'm going to need it.

Love Wins

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When did my baby sister grow up and get so gorgeous?

Right after the ceremony, I have this vague memory during photos of the tornado siren sounding in the background.  Hello, noon in Oklahoma.  Also pretty appropriate for a Baby Sister wedding.  Twister and Gary England were her first loves, but I’m pretty sure Just Matt is ok with that.

By the time I made it to the reception, the party was in full swing.  Those 400 guests were enjoying the wedding brunch…biscuit bar with homemade jams and jellies, scones, asparagus with lemon tarragon dip, fresh fruit.  Oh yeah, and the church Starbucks.  Yes, don’t judge.  My church has a Starbucks.  Because they love Emily, they were more than willing to serve up a host of sweet espresso coffee creations.  So much fun.  Of course, I never really ate any of it.  But people, that cake was good. 

Seriously, look how beautiful this cake is.  Em saw a picture on Pinterest and worked with a cake designer to recreate the look.  After four tastings, she finally had the perfect wedding treat…vanilla almond cake (not too sweet) with coconut flakes and filling.  I have had more wedding cake in the last three days that I will ever admit to any of you.  Since Matt isn’t a big sweets fan, there were mini cherry pies (his favorite!) and my granddaddy’s famous homemade peanut brittle.  Yum yum yum.

And yes, I caught the bouquet.  

I mean, it sort of dropped and broke a little, but I totally caught it.  But really, none of the other bridesmaids even made an attempt.  There was an agreement made pre-ceremony (which I had nothing to do with) that it should be me.  So boys, please call and ask me on a date now.  Thanks so much. 

There were so many people at the reception I never got the chance to talk to.  I really, really wanted to, and I just had no idea how busy we would all be.  For every person I loved seeing and catching up with, there were two more I didn’t connect with.  Please accept this public apology if you were one of those people.  I guess that’s what you get with a big wedding. 

Before I knew it, my sister and brand new brother-in-law had to leave.  Something about being ready to start their honeymoon…  So we waved goodbye with sweet ribbon wands and they were off.  

I mean, until I saw them back at the house 20 minutes later.  You see, it was my job to follow them to my mom’s house to bring her things from the bride’s room and food packed up from the reception.  I walked in to find them both passed out on the floor.  They were exhausted.  I managed to convince the bride to change from wedding gown to travel clothes, convinced them both to get up off the floor and eat their reception food, and told them both exactly when to go to the airport.  A few hugs and an “I love you” later, they were off to Savannah, Georgia for a sweet Southern honeymoon to relax after their huge Southern country wedding. 

And people, they earned it.  So many parties and people, and they were so very gracious through all of it.  They stood in the receiving line to thank every single person at that wedding.  But boy do they need the vacation! 

Come to think of it, I could use the vacation too.  Until then, more wedding cake.  

Labels or Love

Getting ready for a wedding is kind of like being a movie star.

All I had to do was wake up and get myself to the church.  People just materialized to transform hair, perfect makeup, zip dresses, and remind us to put on jewelry.  It was fabulous.

The bridesmaids arrived at 7:00 a.m. on the dot to get beautiful for the big event.  Hair stylists curled, pinned, and perfected each girl’s hair, starting with the bride and mom, of course.  Jennifer, our new favorite makeup stylist, primped bride, mom and maid of honor until every last detail was perfect.  Courtney, Em’s other maid of honor, planned the perfect playlist for the morning of the wedding, complete with Disney and “Going to the Chapel” and the “Wedding Singer” Broadway soundtrack.  Donuts and coffee and lots of laughs later, all that was left was the dress.

And by dress, I mean Vera Wang. 


Should I say it again?  Vera Wang.


I’ve been waiting four months to tell someone, anyone, that there was a Vera Wang gown hanging in my mom’s house.

The bridesmaids cleared out for mom and I to help with the dress.  And it was perfect.  She was perfect. 

And people, I totally lost it.  I didn’t expect to cry that much, and when I saw my baby sister in her Vera Wang wedding gown, I lost it.  It started slow, and then I just couldn’t help it.  Sobbing.  Bad.  Borderline ugly cry.  Dad was waiting just outside, and I went to fetch him, ugly cry and all.  It’s totally my fault that my parents couldn’t hold it together.  I was a mess.

She’s just so pretty!

Luckily, Jennifer had not done my makeup yet.  I pulled it together enough to allow Jennifer to fix my sobbing crying face into wedding makeup perfection.  

Baby Sister and Just Matt chose to do a first look and see each other before the ceremony began.  They had a few private moments to stare and giggle and pray…exactly what they needed before 400 pairs of eyes stared for 45 minutes.  By the time they moved on to pre-wedding pictures, I was finally dressed and joined the wedding party for a slew of photos. 

But still, the big moment was yet to come.  And the closer 11:00 a.m. drew, the more real it seemed, and the more everyone’s hearts began to flutter. 

And then it was time…

The Day Before You

The day before the big day was a whirlwind of parties and last-minute plans and shoe shopping.  Obviously, the bride needed one more chance to make sure the shoes were perfect.

The bride woke up super early to look cute for her groom.  Just Matt showed up bright and early to go get the marriage license.  I guess they’re really going to do it, huh?  Before 9:00 a.m., they swore under oath that they weren’t related, weren’t already married, and knew what they were getting themselves into.  $5 later, they had an Oklahoma marriage license and the official go-ahead from the government.  Easy as pie.

Next up?  Mani/pedi date for the bride, two maids of honor, and mom.  We needed it, since it was probably the only time the whole day the four of us sat still. 

Grandma and Aunt threw a sweet bridesmaids luncheon for the wedding party, bride’s family, and groom’s family at a tea room near the church.  Obviously, we had to try on the hats for the tea party.

After a few hours decorating the chapel and reception, it was almost time to practice the real deal.  All the families and wedding party members and loved ones gathered for rehearsal.  Not going to lie, the rehearsal was without a doubt the most fun part of this whole wedding process.  The pastors were just hilarious, the wedding party was dancing down the aisle, and the flower girl had more twirls than she could even handle.  Tons of jokes and anxiety-causing moments for the bride and groom.  We had a blast.  But really, it was starting to get real…

A few toasts and laughs later, the dinner was done, the dresses were ready, and the maids and men said goodnight.  But the night was just starting, and the bridesmaids had a spectacular last evening of single life planned for Emily.  Obviously, we watched Saved by the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas.  Classic.  Zack and Kelly get married, Mr. Belding returns, and Jessie, Lisa, Slater, and Screech reunite for television greatness.  A lot of laughs and brownies and girly giggles later, alarm clocks were set and everyone pretended to go to bed. 

And no one slept a wink except the bride. 

Marry Me

Monday, March 12, 2012

Did you hear?  We had a wedding.

So I’ve just been a little busy lately, and I sort of forgot to blog.  This whole combination of new city, new job, Ivy League doctorate, and wedding of the century?  Turns out it was a bad combination for the blog.  But we’re back, with tons of happy updates.  Expect lots of catching up posts over the next few days.

(Side note: you should know that I am currently on a flight back to New York, watching Footloose and eating the most amazing wedding cake and miniature cherry pies.)

So this wedding.  It was a big deal. 

To recap, Baby Sister met Just Matt on July 9, got engaged November 16, and got married March 10.  Talk about a whirlwind.  We have been busy people.

It was, without a doubt, the most perfect wedding in the history of marriage ceremonies.  You know how something always goes wrong in a ceremony, like the best man forgetting the ring or the flower girl throwing a fit or someone somewhere doing something wrong?  Baby Sister planned an absolutely flawless ceremony.  It was like a fairytale or the kind of ceremony you see in movies.  Perfection.

And as a bonus, I didn’t trip walking down the aisle.  Not going to lie, I was pretty nervous.  I have actually never been a bridesmaid, much less the maid of honor.  I was terrified.  Scared that I would trip walking down the aisle, walk at New Yorker speed instead of sweet bridesmaid speed, pass out during the ceremony, trip over my own dress trying to fluff her dress, drop the groom’s ring from my thumb, forget to turn at the right time, fail to remember to switch bouquets, etc. etc.  The six beautiful bridesmaids had a pact that if one girl fell, all the other girls behind her would do the same.  Too bad I was the last one.  Good thing my youngest cousin agreed to create a diversion worse that whatever I might possibly do during the ceremony.  Thankfully, he didn’t have to.  All was so very perfect.

Josh and Kiley, my favorite worship leaders/friends, serenaded the bridesmaids down the aisle with, “How Deep The Father’s Love.”  Zoe, our flower girl who might as well be Eloise at The Plaza, did so great with a chapel of 400 people watching.  And then the music changed, “Butterfly Waltz” started, and my heart pounded.  I signaled to The Chief to stand, which signaled to the other 400 people to await the bride’s entrance.  And then the chapel doors opened.  Heart pounding.  Dad and Baby Sister floating toward me.  Praying for God’s peace and blessings and not to fall down because I was shaking so much. 

And everyone remembered their lines and roles and all the details.  I really thought I would be fine and wouldn’t cry.  And I was, until my sister, still with her arm in my dad’s, was crying.  I couldn’t help it.  Then my uncle, who performed most of the ceremony, talked about the day she was born and how my sister and I were like the daughters they never had.  He was crying, she was crying, I was crying, every single person on that stage was crying.  But it was beautiful. 

Before we knew it, they were married.  MARRIED.  Can you believe it?  Ukulele in hand, Josh serenaded them back down the aisle to “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” and that was it.  Husband and wife. 

The best man and I quickly followed, and someone forced me into the prayer room just off the chapel.  OK, I thought, I guess I’m supposed to pray for them.  Didn’t know that, but cool.  Turns out, it was the marriage license signing.  I totally forgot about that part!  But that was one of my favorite moments of the whole day, because it was just me, the best man, my uncle, and Em and Matt.  We had a few moments to laugh, recover, and say a whole bunch of, “can you believe you’re married???”  So very fun. 

Next up?  Official pictures and official party?  With my very married Baby Sister and her new husband.  How strange is that?  And the official pictures were beautiful.  Here’s a sneak peak until we get the full batch.  Em’s college friend Heather did a fantastic job…

But let’s rewind a little, because there are just so many details to share…