Friday, December 14, 2007

Shoeless and Wiser

Something made me want to go through my keepsake box. In it, I found everything from old photos to gift cards people gave me but never used. I saw Claire and Seth’s wedding photos, pictures from my trip to the Philippines (life-changing, as you can imagine), and a newsletter I created called “Tacky City” about New Jersey clubbers who have no clue. The tagline reads, “Just when you thought the Jersey shore couldn’t get any tasteless, these clubbers have proved you wrong.”

I still have that passport picture of my grandfather. He signed it. It’s one of my most precious possessions. Attached to it was the eulogy I read at his funeral. I talked about his quirks and how wonderful I thought he was. I remember reading this in front of family and friends. I couldn’t even finish. I think I cried the third or fourth paragraph in when I said, “He stopped smoking to save money to send his kids to college. Everything that he did, he did for his family.” I quoted a passage from a love letter he wrote to my grandmother and ended my speech with, “Let his passion live on in all of us.” With all of this, I’m including the last speech I had to make as the maid of honor at my sister’s wedding about how she had a hand in teaching me the meaning of love.

It’s been such a long time since I opened this box –- so long that I had forgotten what was in this special collection of memories of mine. I don’t just put anything in it either. Everything inside is special. These are the things that I never want to let go of. Everything is a part of me and I’m proud of it.

At the bottom of the box, I discovered a card. On the front is a black and white photo -– a print –- of a woman wearing a fabulous hat. She’s got three big dogs. She’s quite glamorous. I look at it for a second and wonder, why would I save this? I had no recollection what it was and who had given it to me. I opened it and there it was: Something I had buried because I was so ashamed of it at one point. Heaven forbid, I was once unsure of myself and sad. I guess for so long, I refused to believe that anything had bothered me that much … that someone was able to hurt me even the slightest bit.

I won’t go into detail about what that was all about. Suffice it to say, it was a hard time in my life. Something I never thought I’d even have to go through, in fact. But I did and I got through it. I never thought I would recover from that kind of heartache. But here I am, sitting in my own apartment, that I pay for with my own pay check, that I have filled with furniture that I bought –- even some that I had put together myself. I have the job that I’ve always wanted and I’ve since met the most amazing man in the world. And he makes me happy –- not just the silly kind of happy, but the kind of happy that reminds you over and over again that you’re important.

And now as I read this card -- a card that I had given to myself about three years ago or so -- I’m filled with gratitude. I did it. I moved on.

In the card, I wrote:
Life is right now. It doesn’t wait for you to get back on your feet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fetching Casper

So here I am, still sans a full-length mirror, eating on my living room rug (even though I have a coffee table), and with an empty room (which can either house a dining table and chairs, or a bar, or an elliptical). Living solo is fab (I think)!

Just last Friday, I took a day off to fetch my car in (gasp) Irvington after having been towed outside the Bloomfield train station. Yes, I got in a cab with this cab driver a la ghetto swagger (and that's the ghetto'est of ghetto, mind you) to get my Casper (that's my white Toyota Solara), which I thought was right in my neighborhood at first. As it turns out, it was four exits south on the GSP. Oh, and did I mention I made him (ghetto cabbie guy) stop at an ATM because I didn't have enough cab fair on me? Oh, and then I stopped at a deli because -- what?! -- I can't go to the other murder capital of the world (the first one is Newark, conveniently right next door) without a capuccino (the cheapo kind that comes out of a machine with all that artificial sweetener which will likely cause a stroke before one even gets close to being shot at in either of the murder capitals of the world).


So I'm in the cab now in designer boots (ha! did you think they were actually designer? fooled ya!), black tights, an oversized black merino wool sweater, and my eggplant handbag (my fave, my fave). Hair long, and blond, and wavy, and fake. In a town like Irvington, where I stick out like a sore thumb due to my inability to look fierce.

Oh but wait, my ghetto cabbie stopped at his house first! What'da?! So now I'm in his cab, parked in his driveway, and he's inside. As I sit there, my mind starts racing: I just know it -- this guy is getting another guy and they're going to kill me, rob me, rape me, or something! I'm not biased by any means, but when ALONE, these projections can't help but creep into brain.

So ghetto cabbie finally comes out ... And wouldn't you know, he just needed his Bluetooth.

Breathe again.

I get to Irvington ... Ummm, there are places in the world like this?! Really?! No freakin' way! This was like being in a circus -- so many attractions, and I'm scared of all of them. And clearly, I was freaked to have to step out of the cab. My sweet cab driver (now he's sweet, no longer ghetto), was nice enough to take me right to the door and wait for me to get in safely.

So I pay. After I paid, the woman behind the counter seemed to be giving me directions: "You walk out the door, you walk down the block, and when you see the gate, that's where you need to go." What'da?! I have to WALK? As in WALK down this scary block by myself? Sure it's broad daylight, but people get mugged during daylight, too, for crying out loud!


I walk out, no mace, no cabbie, no safety ... So I'm walking ... I'm trying to put the meanest, ugliest (some might say most deformed) face I can make. If they want to mug me, maybe they'll think twice because I'm even more deranged then they are?? After an eternity, I make it down the block. I get into my Casper and I drive away.

But first, I had to stop at stop light. I look to my right and nearly 20 feet away, I see a car pull on the side of the road, asking a group of guys on the street corner for directions. Doh, not directions. I saw an exchange! I looked away quickly -- what if they shoot witnesses?! The light turns green and I see a sign for the GSP -- oh glorious green GSP sign, I love thee.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Well there really was no vaca.' In fact, I pretty much worked my arse off (in a good way). Nevertheless, I did learn quite a few things. One, being that I missed my fall wardrobe. Wearing tunics, leggings/skinny jeans and ballet flats gets old.

Ahhh fall. I know autumn hits the moment I throw on a pencil skirt and black round-toed pumps -- such things are just not summer wear! As I walked down Seventh in these heels from hell (and every bit worth it), I conjured up a list in my head of stuff I learned this summer.

* I am still afraid to say "I love you." I feel it, dammit, why can't I just say it already?!
* Be "choosy" with new friends. Some dramafied chickens are just not worth the trouble.
* Embrace change. It's not so bad.
* Don't sweat the small stuff. Perspiring on stupid shit makes hearts heavy. From now on, I'll refrain.
* Walk more, eat more. The less I eat (hmmm), the more I gain. The new rule is eat when I'm hungry, but stop when I'm (almost) full.
* I like strawberries (but only covered in chocolate).
* I hate the word "creme" -- just say CREAM.
* I will forever be a sample slut.
* Appreciate the rain.
* Buying a planner does not necessarily mean I'm getting organized.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Our First Plane Ride

OK, so I adore my boyfriend ... I do. But I discovered a few unusual traits of Jason's during our Chicago weekend getaway (ummm to go to a Star Wars convention -- yes, we're both loser-fans).

1. He gets bashful. I had to go up to the female Jedi for him because he was too shy to ask her for a picture.

2. He will, once in awhile, forego his health OCD. As in, he will actually eat carbs, consider snacks with saturated fat, and have a sip of non-diet soda. While in New York, he'll only have grilled chicken breast and diet coke.

3. He likes video games. Who knew? And I thought I was the boy of this relationship. He played baseball on his cousin's Wii until wee hours of the night.

4. He is no fun on plane rides. He goes to sleep -- no fun! I like to talk and watch things on the little monitors with my plane-mates (not strangers, I mean people I'm traveling with) and make comments. But oh, he ate a bag of Doritos first (sooo weird, he'd never eat a chip back home)!

5. He's always a gentleman, no matter the circumstance. Back home, on vacay, etc. he'll always let me walk ahead, go first, watch as I walk through a crowd, pay, and get me drinks/food/whatever I need.

After all is said and done, I'd have to say, I consider myself a lucky GF -- despite the fact that he falls asleep on plane rides.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Revolving Door Woman, Die

I debated for awhile whether to pack light or not for my long weekend getaway with Jason. I initially set out to dump my mini-vacay wardrobe -- all 10 outfits worth -- in my Ralph Lauren overnight bag. For a split second I thought I was all set. Then I realized that I still had my toiletries, two pairs of shoes, hair dryer, and a light jacket to pack.

So forget my initial pack-light venture.

I ended up bringing my pink Delsey luggage. Everything fit perfectly with room to spare should I decide to make a quick stop to H&M or Zara before I leave.

But here's my gripe. Walking around Manhattan con luggage during rush hour was (for the lack of a better word) a nightmare. Actually, rewind an hour, getting on my train from New Brunswick was a chore for starters. There's about a foot gap between the platform and train -- nice (Ysolt says saracastically as she nearly breaks her arm hoarding the heavy luggage carrying more than a weekend's worth of outfits). Yes, totally my fault for not packing light and bringing three pairs of shoes, along with appliances.

Anyway ...

I get to my destination. And duhhh -- I can't go the manual-stair route. I scoured for an escalator. I found one! Only, people trying to get to work just don't allot for my luggage space. They're trying to step over it, tripping on it, etc. Hey, it's not my fault you're blind! I mean, what do you want me to do? Carry it over my head, heaven forbid it is within two feet of your personal space, which by the way, is public space anyway.

So I finally made my way to the outside world. As I made my way five blocks to my office, my luggage had managed to touch puddles from yesterday's showers. No big deal, not the worst thing that could happen.

Fast forward 10 minutes later and the worst thing did happen: The only way to get into my office building was through a revolving door. I hate those things to begin with. Pair my hate with hard-to-maneuver luggage, and you've got a recipe for disaster. As I made it in, I went slowly as I drew my not-so-modest carryon through the rolling nightmare. However, to my dismay, a woman who got in the revolver moments after me decided not to care that I was struggling. She pushed the door quicker than I could catch up and my bag got caught. But did she stop to give me a moment to recover? No. The crazy lady kept on pushing regardless of resistance (from my caught luggage and dissheveled self).

I finally managed to make it out of the revolving door alive. But did she say sorry? No. She looked at me and chuckled. What a whore!

Stand by for my blog about Chicago.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mousetraps, Freebies, and Weight Loss

WOW -- those three terms have got to be the best possible subject headlines for e-mail blasters to use. (Sorry, just thinking aloud as my Beauty & Style newsletter is launching next week and I need to brainstorm how to entice the average Web surfer.) Anyway ...

Finally, I can wear boots when it's not even that cold and no one will judge me ... Or, maybe they are, and I finally just don't give a hoot-nanny. Sorry I've been a little blog-dry, all. I've been tending to The Fashionator.

Fret not, as I will never neglect The Shoe Blog. Anyway, I've been working in Manhattan for a little over a month now. And so far, so grand -- I love it. I love the job (despite the fact that I've been getting up at 5 a.m. and getting home at 8:30 p.m.). I loathe public transportation, yes, but I love not having to drive in traffic.

So here's a list of other things I've encountered since being a 9-to-5 "New Yorker":

* If you don't want anyone to sit next to you on the bus or train, just try to look smelly and ugly. If that doesn't work, just pretend to be sound asleep.

* I found a mousetrap under my desk today. Luckily, no mouse, but still weird.

* On average, I get more freebies. It could be the NBC/iVillage name tagged to my e-mail signature or the fact that I'm in a zipcode I'm actually proud of, but my freeloading buds should be happy.

* I am losing weight. Maybe it's the walk to and from station to office -- 5 blocks -- or the so-busy-I-forget-to-eat madness. Nevertheless, thank the lord. I can cancel my gym membership and consume carbs (when I remember to eat, that is).

OK, well, that's about it so far. I'll blog again soon. If I'm too busy to check in, just find me on MySpace ( Otherwise, my next post will probably be a picture of me in worn-out sneakers moving furniture and all sorts of nonsense. I'm getting a humble apartment closer to Manhattan. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Everyday is Like Vaca'

Yes, I wear heels to the beach (sometimes). I don't want to look (uhhh) short. But that's besides the point -- this blog is celebratory. I spotted the first Jesus sandals of the season. Happy summer!

Dianna and I christened the onslaught of beach boys and pina coladas by hanging down in Belmar during Memorial Day Weekend. We browned on the beach (ahem, the designated surfers' section), lunched outside D'jais (shrimp cocktails, burgers, and sweet potato fries present), and partied at Bar A (well sort of -- more like made fun of tacky girls in outdated jeans and creepy boys in stupid logo tees).

We befriended some lifeguards (score! ...or so we thought), shared after-hours chicken tenders with some random loner, ran into friends of old (a la new hairstyles), and flagged down an ice cream truck. When it was all said and done, we realized, this was nothing different than the usual at all. Everyday we're not in the office or classroom is like a fun-filled outing.

The only thing that changed is we can finally dress cute (not to mention, weather-appropriate) sans jackets and scarves (unless the ensemble calls for it). I wonder how the summer of '07 will unfold. Let the games begin.

Monday, May 21, 2007

But Sir, I Must Maintain My Sexy

While I did want to visit my good friend, Anita (someone who was really there for me even after our awkward high school "falling out"), my other reason for going to the other side of the country was for a personal awakening.

It's a journey, really. I'm a journalist working as a Web master-slash-marketing coordinator-slash-graphic designer-slash-advertising assistant-slash ... I can consider myself (still) a writer because I freelance for MSN and AOL. I write about education and careers -- about how one can "succeed" at those two ventures. And I just laugh -- I'm telling people how to achieve great things when I, myself, haven't even reached my dream.

So what is my ultimate goal, you ask? I don't know. So in hoping to land something (something I love, that is) soon, I stew in the meantime.

And I just think to myself, maybe getting far away from it all (even if it's just LA for the weekend) will evoke something in me, maybe I'll get clarity, maybe it'll ignite a change, or maybe I'll just have some fun.

Well I'm back in Jersey now. And while I did have fun over the weekend -- drinking, shopping, socializing, sightseeing -- clarity was not had, change was not ignited, nothing was evoked. I did, however, perfect the formal search procedure at the airport. Why am I always flagged? They even dusted some weird solution on my Chucks, and threatened to confiscate my Proactiv! And to that, I replied, "But sir, I must maintain my sexy." That got a laugh, and they let me keep my three-step face regimen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


It was a Tuesday morning. I had left my house a little later than usual (and in a panic) -- I'm a stickler for being punctual, you see. And crap, I had to fill up my gas tank. I drove to the closest BP, pulled in, and waited patiently. Somewhere between waiting patiently and freaking out, I must've leered angrily into the little deli shack.

A man finally creeps out in a ghetto-fab swagger with cell phone in hand. Hours later (or at least it felt like that), he gets to my window. I hand him my gas card and say, "Fill it up, regular, please." (Even in anger, I would never forget "please.") So finally -- I have gas!

Then I thought, hey, I'm this late anyway, let me run in to get a Coffee Frapuccino for the drive. I run into the little deli shack to make my purchase. My gas attendant was inside, and he just says under his breath, "Look at this one." I then say, "Excuse me?!" Then he goes, "You'd be really pretty if you would just smile more."

I proceed to tell him off ... "I don't have to smile if I don't want to. Maybe I'm having a bad day. Maybe there are things going on in my life that don't equate a smile. Maybe ... And why am I even justifying why I don't smile to you?!" And the man goes, "Look -- I don't even work here."

I look at him dumbfounded ... "But ... why ... ?" came out of my mouth. What I meant to say was "Why on earth would you fill up my gas tank if you don't work here? Good lord!" The fellow customer then says, "You were lookin' all upset, figured you could use the help."

Quiet, my Target ballet flats just slinked right on out of there.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I chant, "I love my job ..."

When in reality, I'm not so certain. Actually, I know -- I loathe this job like I loathe the skinny jeans I can no longer fit into.

I'm not learning a damn thing at NJL. Take it from a girl who once worked under two amazing editors who have cultivated my editorial and professional prowess, this job sucks. There's a lack of respect in this office. And, the only challenging thing I encounter is dealing with a boss who obviously doesn't trust my work (even though I work my ass off), doesn't value my skills (I think she may have even forgotten that I have a degree in journalism), and on a personal level, thinks I'm below her because I don't have a trust fund.

See that picture? That's me in a slightly understanding pair of skinny jeans and my Zara ballet flats, enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks. I consider it my last meal before prison. I typically get a tall cup of white chocolate mocha (skim) with whipped cream. I sip it slowly on the New Hope Starbucks porch and breathe. I'm a hop, skip, and a bridge away from hell. And as I inhale and exhale, I chant, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job," when in fact, the only thing I love at that very moment is the designer coffee I'm drinking, and the magazine's liberal dress code.