Friday, July 29, 2011

MY Best vs. THE Best

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~Mother Theresa

I really love this quote (yea I'm having a quote kind of week).  Even if you don't believe in any sort of higher power, the idea that your life is between you and you is pretty powerful.  The motivation to strive to do your best everyday regardless of where it gets you is inherent.  To give it your all is rewarding in and of itself.  Imagine, if everyone tried to be the best person they could be everyday, and treated others as they would like to be treated.  That would be some world!

It can be difficult not to compare yourself to others, not to judge yourself according to outside influences, or judge others against yourself.  We've all done it at some point or another: felt inadequate by comparing our lives to another persons, felt superior by comparing our choices to someone else's. (I can't tell you how many times I've left the house so pleased with an outfit, only to get to my destination and regret how over or under dressed I am compared to everyone else.)  That's one of my favorite things about the sport of distance running.  The competition is between you and you.  You're not racing against someone else (not really), you're chasing your own PR, or simply proving to yourself that you have the stamina, the dedication, the drive.  I've got medals from some of the races I've run, and certainly people have told me they're impressed I run such long distances, but the real reward is internal.  It's the strength I feel when I'm moving, the strength of will and body that I've cultivated, and the drive to always work harder.  As I age, I'll get slower no doubt, and have to cut mileage, but as long as I'm making the commitment to do the best I can every day, it will be enough.

I made some resolutions in January (as I'm sure most of you did too), but to be honest with you, I don't remember what they were, and I can't find where I wrote them down.  I've decided to make some new resolutions.  For today.  For tomorrow.  For the day after that.  Resolutions to make every morning before I get out of bed.

Today I will hold no grudges, I'll remember to forgive.
Today I will be kind and face the world with patience.
Today I will be honest.
Today I will be happy, at the very least grateful.
Today I will do good.
I will give the world the best I have today.  Maybe it is a lot, and maybe it is a little, but whatever my best is today, I will give it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Going Superhero

"That's what running does to lives.  It's not just excercise.  It's not just acheivement.  It's a daily discipline that has nothing to do with speed, weight, social status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, where you live, what car you drive, or whether anyone anywhere loves you.  It's about the slow and painful process of being the best you can be.  That's why the first step out the door is always so hard.  That's when we choose between settling for average and being a superhero version of ourselves.
Some days, average wins.
But man, when you go superhero..."

~From To Be a Runner By Martin Dugard (seriously go read this book)

poppy art pink by essie
I don't know if it was the fresh mani pedi I gave myself before bed last night (yay pink), the 9 hours of sleep, or the beautiful weather this morning, but everything feels fresh today.  Hopeful.  Brilliant.  I sent an email right before I left work yesterday and today it yielded fabulous results, crossing a huge to-do off my list and giving me the momentum I needed to kick today's petutie (pronounced: peh tOOt ee).

Since I had such a wonderful time reading Martin Dugard's memoir through running (see AMAZING quote from above), I decided to try another.  New York Public Library's Mid-Manhattan branch has a pretty sizable section of sports books on the 5th floor (found where the 300 signs meet the 900 signs, I was confused too).  If you're an athlete and are looking for some inspiration in your sport without dropping any moolah, I highly recommend it.  I picked up Bart Yasso's My Life on the Run.  I'm super excited to read this one, as he's a great contributor to Runner's World (obV my favorite magazine ever), and apparently he was a groomsman at my aunts wedding.  So, even though he doesn't know I exist, it's like we're besties, right?

Tonight I'm headed out for another 5-6 miler.  I haven't decided which direction I'll head out on yet, but I think it might be a park day...either way, I'm totally going superhero today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Retail Therapy...and a love letter to friends

Because when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping (that's how that saying goes right?).  In an effort to dig myself out of the funk I've been in, I did a little athletic wear shopping.  I ended up with two new sports bras and a pair of shorts, all from Old Navy, that were on sale for $10 each!  Armed with my new gear, I set out on a 5 miler around south Brooklyn last night.  I have to say, it was kind of glorious.  I was rocking some tunes, kept a steady pace, and although it was pretty hot and humid, it started sprinkling the tiniest bit during my last two miles.  In all my emotional overwrought-ness it felt like much need relief from the heavens.  The whole thing felt pretty victorious. 

I haven't been hungry in the evening lately (which is completely weird for me since I typically eat half of my calories after 7pm).  It could be because I'm getting more protein during the day (yay!) or it might be because I become morose and dejected when the sun goes down.  Either way, I've been making sure I eat a decent dinner and get in bed before midnight.  (I've been super super good about breakfast!  Bonus points?)  Last night I watched "Spirit of the Marathon" which trails a handful of runners as they prepare and run the Chicago marathon.  1) It was awesome. 2) I sobbed like a baby when the gun went off at the EPIC-ness of it all.  3) I'm keeping it on my instant queue on Netflix and will watch whenever I'm feeling stuck while training.

In other news, I have amazing friends.  It's really awe inducing to know that in spite of being spread literally around the world, that my friends are always there for me when I need them.  I can't even express how grateful I am, to all those new and old.  I'm going to have a chance to see some of my favorite girls from high school this weekend (who I haven't seen in an embarrassing number of years), friends from grade school, and family.  When I come back from my country retreat, I know I'm coming back to wonderful people here in the city.  I am incredibly lucky.  Your generosity fills me with gratitude and I hope I bring as much goodness into your lives as you bring to mine.

So maybe shopping isn't what the tough do when the going gets tough....maybe they reach out to their even tougher friends. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adventures in Protein Shakes

I was getting a little bored with eating the exact same thing every morning, so I decided to take a tip from my Dad (Mr. P90X), and try a protein shake for breakfast.  I used:

1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup of skim milk
1 scoop of chocolate whey protein
1/4 cup of plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 tbsp flaxseed meal

Nutrition deets: 40g Protein, 367 Calories

I realize it's a little redundant on the dairy, but it was really good and chock full of delicious protein, omega 3s and antioxidants.  The greek yogurt gave it just a hint of sour to counter the sweetness of the whey protein  I have some kale in my fridge that I wanted to add, but that would have required the foresight to food process it first.  I was not so inclined.  Anyhow, I recommend this shake (provided your not lactose intolerant), as it's almost lunchtime and I'm still full.

Last night I knocked out 3 miles...I set out for a 5 mile run, but it did not go so well.  Note to self: when you cannot be alone with your own thoughts, run with an ipod.  I spent the last mile sprinting home and singing the alphabet over and over and over to myself to try and block out all the noise in my head.  I'll be hitting those five tonight armed with showtunes (nothing murders thoughts of reality like a good musical score). 

This weekend I'm headed to the homeland so I'm super excited to do my scheduled 12 miler on some trails (currently listening to Simon and Garfunkel's Homeword Bound).  I love running in the city, and I'm a mile from Prospect Park so I'm never far from a run with nature, but every once in awhile you just want to be alone on a trail.  I recently finished Martin Dugard's "To Be a Runner" and it's totally got me itching to get off of the pavement and onto the dirt.  I highly recommend this book, if you're even marginally inclined to running.  For one, it's motivating, he's so excited about life and running and it's completely infectious.  Additionally, he's not only an experienced runner, he's also a coach, so there's a lot of practical running wisdom woven into captivating narrative.  I loved it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My awful, terrible, no-good weekend.. or I think I'm running a marathon?

Going into this weekend I knew it was going to be rough.  I was scheduled to work all day Saturday and Sunday (and by all day I mean 12noon-12midnight) at the Park Avenue Armory, ushering for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  While the hours were long, and I spent a little too much time on my feet, working turned out to be the best part of my weekend.  The theater is air conditioned like whoa, I got to see FOUR amazing productions by one of the world's best Shakespeare companies (I may or may not have offended an actor at some point...oops), and I got to spend some time with a couple of lovely ladies from my grad program.  All in all, it was not so bad.  The items around working, in which Friday night was a disaster, I sweat it out in my apartment, cried out of exhaustion and frustration, and ran out of clean laundry were not so good. 

Things are shifting in my life right now, and being the stubborn person that I am, I'm resistant to the change (mostly because I have no control over it).  I suppose it's all a part of the transient nature of your twenties.  It is a time for big life changes, seemingly insurmountable challenges, and testing your steel.  Surely the moment of greatest difficulty is a moment for great growth.  I'm determined to stay positive and focus on being the best I can be.  So as any rational person would do in a moment of uncertainty, I made a rash decision. 

I signed up for my first November.  The very first ever Bucks County Marathon is being held on November 20, 2011, and I will be running it.  I'm completely terrified (sick to my stomach thinking about it right now), but I have no doubt I'll be able to handle the challenge.  (I'm suddenly reallly glad I signed up for that 18miler in September.)  Was it a stupid thing to sign up for (and fork over $100 for) on impulse?  Yes.  Do I hate myself a little bit right now?  Definitely.  Am I really incredibly excited to run my first marathon in THE very first marathon to be held in my hometown?  Hell yes!

Since I'm already training for distance, I don't think it'll be a far cry once the time comes around.  I was fairly healthy all weekend, in spite of a two day respite from running (does 4 reps of standing for 5 hours at a time count as a run?).  I've been starting my days with a whole grain english muffin, peanut butter and banana, rocking a variety of salads for lunch, and eating whatever happens to be available for dinner.  (I have big plans for a grocery store run this afternoon to improve my current evening menu options, of which I'll keep you posted.)  It's time to get serious, and I can't think of any better motivation to run than when the world seems to be falling out from under me. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Surviving Heatpocalypse

Happy Friday everyone! If you live almost anywhere in the US today you are sweating to death, but know that you are not alone.  I feel you (and I may or may not have forgotten to put on deodorant this morning...feel bad for my co-workers).  I'll be on a tour of places that are air conditioned today: the office, Loehmann's (I have a gift card!!), the gym, and later some bar (because obviously I can't go home since I don't have a/c).  Thank goodness for modern amenities, can you even IMAGINE what today would be like if this were 1920 and none of us had air conditioning?  Yea, I don't want to think about it either.

Yesterday I employed a similar strategy to beat the heat.  I headed straight to the gym after work, but not before picking up this delicious energy bar by CLIF.  I may have already mentioned my affinity for CLIF energy bars, as I find them to be the only energy bars on the market that are delightful to eat and enough fuel for long runs.  This one's the CLIF Mojo, and its AMAZING.  It's marketed as "sweet and salty" which obviously is the world's best combination of flavors.  There are pretzels and peanuts in this bar and its chewy and crunchy and did I mention that its amazing?  I hate half of it before my workout, and the rest after.  It gave me plenty of fuel to get through (a 5K followed by some speedwork and strength training), and it was just so damn pleasant to eat.  I'm going to try and buy it wholesale from the CLIF company.

Because it was so damn hot, and that Mojo bar had already rocked my world, I wasn't really hungry for dinner yesterday.  I made some frozen broccoli in the microwave, had some popcorn and ate some nuts.   Seriously, I know this is a sub par and really weird dinner, but I could NOT use my stove or oven yesterday.  It just was not an option.  Afterwards I headed over to Charlie's (he has a/c).  On the way over I passed so many bars that looked like Thursday was the world's best ever night to go out, so I convinced Charlie that it was time to bring back thirsty Thursdays (not with that phrasing however, because he would have rolled his eyes and turned on Sports Center if I used the words "thirsty" and "Thursday" together).  Anyhow, it was FUN!  There are lots of people out on Thursday nights (bars are air conditioned), and its so casual, I loved it, I love it, I'm bringing back Thursdays: Friday mornings be damned!

This morning I rocked a banana, peanut butter, english muffin and a diesel iced coffee. 

What are you doing to survive heatpocolaypse?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things that are really good for me

Exhibit A
Yesterday I had a little pity party for myself.  Even though I brought my gym bag with me to work, I didn't go (in all fairness I did have hours of work to do when I got home), and after dinner I skulked down the block for a cheese danish (yes, I even love sweet cheese).  This morning I had to be at work early, so I didn't get up before work to run before the HEATPOCALYPSE (it is like a bajillion degrees in NYC right now), but I've got my gym bag again and I think my resolve is a little stronger today. 

I just had a ginormous (newest word in the dictionary!!) salad from Chop't and I'm feeling great.  This morning's early meeting was super, I have on a power outfit*, and there is a seltzer in my future (the only thing I like more than cheese is bubbly water)!  I've been drinking lots of water today (mostly because it's freaking hot), have only had one grain so far today, and already knocked down 4 servings of fruits/veggies, and 2 servings of protein.  As it turns out, eating well makes me feel really good.  Yesterday I was (sleepy)whiny and hungry all day.  Today I'm full and full of energy, and PUMPED yo.   

Lessons for the day:

1) Sleeping in when I need it is smart.
2) Getting dressed and ready in the morning makes me feel ready for the day.
3) Eating more protein and veggies with less grains feels good.

Do I get a cupcake for learning my lesson?

*power outfit refers to articles of clothing that when put together make the wearer feel powerful (See exhibit A, please note the elevator is not air conditioned and the lighting is bad, forgive the photographer for sucking at taking photos)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In which I share with you my twisted and very obvious dream.

I've been feeling a little.....stuck lately.  I'm in between my first and second years of grad school, and feeling pretty darn ready to gear up and be employed like a regular person again.  However, I'm currently committed in intern limbo and will start classes again in a month, so there isn't much employment seeking going on until December.  Hence, I feel stuck and a little bit out of the drivers seat.  On Monday night I had a super interesting subconscious protest to my current situation.  It went like this:

I get on the bus (which is running the 2/3 line, but as a bus and above ground, but I'm not in New York...I'm in Boston but it looks like New York) going from Brooklyn to Manhattan (BUT ITS NOT NEW YORK, ITS BOSTON).  The bus starts going over a bridge (that looks like the Manhattan bridge, but it's not, it's some bridge over the Charles River in Boston) but its a drawbridge and its rising to let a boat through.  At this point I say to myself, "Is this guy just going to drive us into the river?"  and the busdriver keeps going, as we reach the peak of the bridge, I'm not panicking, I'm thinking "SERIOUSLY, IS THIS GUY REALLY JUST GOING TO DRIVE US INTO THE RIVER?" as if he's some moron in my way on the street, not a suicidal/homocidal maniac.  As it becomes clear that we are in fact going into the river, I sit and think "sigh, ok how do I survive this?"  and as the bus plummets towards the water I wake up. 

Let's analyze!

1) Obviously I'm feeling like I'm stuck in a bad situation and just have to figure out how to deal with it.

2) I read a blog on Sunday about someone who was running along the Charles River, which I have NO personal memory of.  Hence, I was somewhere else but it really just looked like what my brain already knows.

3) I randomly took the 2/3 train to work Monday morning instead of my regular lines b/c my mom was visiting and headed somewhere on that line.


In response I'm trying to take control of the things I can. Long runs, healthy foods and getting to bed on time is going to be enough for now.

Want to know why New Yorkers wear black?

(Note: this post is a day late..oops)

I was up and out the door at 6:28 this morning to get in a run before the heat set in.  Don't believe me?  I took a picture to prove it:

It was a breezy sweaty three miles, but a great start to the day.  I didn't eat anything before I went out...too early.  When I got home I put on this cute pajama dress my mom got me to chill out and get some things done before work, but I liked it so much, I decided to wear it to work.  (I'm wearing pajamas at work!!)  I meant to take a picture for you, but felt like a creepy blogger about it and didn't, so you'll just have to assume I didn't look like a nut in my hot pink dress.

I have to say, I now remember why I don't wear bright colors.  You know that campaign against street heckling women that's floating around the internet?  I mean I totally support you ladies, but I'm pretty sure its not realistic.  On a given day (when I'm not wearing bright colors), I'll probably get howled at by no less than 3 different men of varying shape, size and age, not to mention the looks and the whistles, etc.  Just so you know, this is NOT because I'm exceptionally attractive.  Any girl in this city has the same experience on a given day.  After your first few weeks, months, years here (depending on the person), you stop reacting, stare straight ahead and scowl at the world instead of flashing that megawatt smile as you walk on by.  You don't keep track, you don't remember and it no longer phases you.  There are a lot of people on the street and you just want to avoid as many of them as possible.  However, in pink today, I was "complimented" as I deposited a check at the ATM INSIDE MY BANK, by the man who ran the cart where I purchased my iced coffee (he gave me the JUMBO for the regular price though so I forgave him), and by someone in the lobby of my building.  C'mon gentlemen!  I understand that strangers on the street are one thing, but I'm conducting my daily business here, keep your comments to yourself!  Anyhow, now I remember why I wear black in the heat of summer.  Sad but true.

On a more positive note, I have leftover Thai food for lunch today (shut up, I get a "get out of jail free" card when my mom takes me out to dinner, plus there's no cheese in it (in other news apparently cheese is also bad for the environment), and I don't have to go the gym or run in the billion degree heat this afternoon.  I guess I'll take today as a win.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's National Ice Cream Day!

Self Magazine told me so!  I have a sixth sense about these things though (these things meaning any possible reason/excuse to indulge in sweet goodness), so I got my fix last night.

My nails match my ice cream...
So after my wild Friday night and lazy Saturday, I actually did get up on Sunday and knock out my first training run of the season.  I kicked a solid 10 miles, and a run/walked eleventh mile before stretching, icing and sitting on my ass for the rest of the day.  As I'm a coffee drinker, I can't do a long run without caffein-ating first, so I started my day with half of a large iced coffee and half an english muffin with peanut butter and banana.  When I got home I consumed the other halves...and then I ate a lot of cheese (what? I mixed the cheese with black beans and salsa!  don't judge my cheese obsession!).

Since I have a really cool part time gig in which I WORK FROM HOME (this is seriously the coolest thing ever imo), I got some work done to earn some cash money, and then watched the Women's World Cup.  Can we talk about a great game?  Because I was totally nail biting the entire time.  While it would have been amazing to see the US Women win (how awesome are they?), I wasn't upset that the Japanese took the Cup.  First of all, they earned it (I don't think I've ever seen such a no-bull soccer game), second of all, Japan really needed a win this year.  Even so, second place in the World Cup is nothing to scoff at and I'm pretty proud of all these strong American women.  Here's to you ladies!

photo sourced from

Saturday, July 16, 2011

You know what's really bad for you?

Being a 25 year old in NYC.  Last night I headed over to my lovely friend Colleen's back patio for a little Friday night BBQ.  I would have taken pictures for you, but I had a run in with this guy:
firefly vodka: amazing but deadly
 In short, we had fun and I did not go on my scheduled long run today, so I'm hitting the hay early on this Saturday night (I'm super cool, I know), so I can get knock out a healthy 10 miler tomorrow. 

Bonne nuit!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Taking Stock of My Healthy Habits

Jelly Beans?
So in the interest of kicking off official Aubrie training season, I decided to stock the shelves with some healthy inventory.  I've been hearing a lot about protein pancakes, and I'm a fan of health food in breakfast candy form, so I picked up recipes from here and here, and set out to get some whey protein.  Can we talk about the fact that I would have to sell my firstborn (or my brother's firstborn since I have little intention of reproducing) to pay for protein powder?!  Not to be discouraged, I texted my dad from the store and asked if he could nab me some at BULK DISCOUNT from Costco.  Of course, I couldn't walk out without buying something, so I picked up the item that looked the most like candy (which also happened to be buy 2 get 1 free: SCORE!!) and hightailed it out of there.

Up next was the grocery store, but I had to check the stores at home first.  I have healthy inclinations, but a few fatal flaws.  For one, my protein of choice is cheese. Pepper jack, brie, cheddar, mozzarella, gruyere, swiss, goat, feta, parmesan, you name it, I love it.  I will put cheese on an otherwise healthy dish and completely destroy its figure saving intentions...oops.  Here is a cross section of my refrigerator shelf:

Among other things lives, THREE KINDS OF CHEESE (far right).  But let's not focus on how I'm failing, let's build on the good stuff.  On the left, a collection of leafy greens, almond milk, there's also some salsa (we won't talk about the enormous amounts of tortilla chips that go with that...or cheese), leftovers, eggs (we won't talk about the expiration date on those...I solely use eggs for baking), hummus, english muffins....and I'm boring myself.  The point is, after taking stock of the food in my fridge and pantry, I realize that I'm not doing too bad.  Here's what I need to change:

1) I'm heavy on the carbs.  Yes, I eat all whole grains, but they make up the bulk of my diet.  Yes I get 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but I also get 7-12 servings of breads and grains....oops.

fix: replace grain based snacks with ones that are protein and fruit/veggie based

2) I'm not getting enough protein.  I try to have protein with every meal, but since I don't eat eggs and meat is expensive, I eat a lot of beans and cheese and occasionally peanut butter as a replacement.  These aren't bad options, but I'm not eating enough of it.

fix: add protein powder to my life, switch to greek yogurt, start eating nuts as snacks

3) I don't know how to fuel before a workout.  I tend to either eat too much, or eat something that doesn't sit well, or not eat at all.  Each of these situations leaves me sluggish.  I like those mini clif bars before races, but they get pricey if I'm eating them everyday.  So what's a girl to do?

fix: Visit in search of pre workout snack recipes!  And request suggestions from YOU...what do you eat to fuel before a workout? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Motivation Roadblock

Today's lunch: chipotle!
I am a highly motivated individual.  I've never been the smartest person in the room, or the nicest, or the prettiest, or the most graceful, or strong or fast or WHATEVER, but you better believe if I set my mind to something I will accomplish it.  (Please note, I also reallllly like myself so I tend to set goals that are completely attainable in order to propagate this reality.  Aim low, win big!)  But lately, I've been feeling extremely unmotivated.  I'm getting the things I need to get done, done, but going above and beyond is just not happening.  There are a number of reasons for this: 1) I don't feel challenged by my current schedule 2) It's really hot and smelly outside 3) I've been eating a lot of junk (see photo) 4) I'm a little burnt out from the 80 hour weeks I rock when school's in session, etc.

The excuse train stops here.  It has to, because in the fall I've committed myself to a couple of things that are just a littttttle bit outside of the range of my current capacity, and if I'm not ready...well, not being ready just isn't an option.

Goal outside my current capacity # 1: Running an 18 mile race

This is a funny one folks.  I got it into my head that I would run the 2012 marathon by way of the New York Road Runners 9+1 program.  As it turns out, one of the qualifying races for 2012 is the 2011 marathon tune I signed up to race 18 miles with a bunch of folks who are planning on running 26.2 a few weeks later.  I figured, might as well start bulking up the mileage this year, give myself a good juicy challenge.  Have I ever mentioned that my longest run was 13.1 miles?  Did I mention that my longest run in months was around 8 miles?  HAVE I TOLD YOU THAT I'M EATING ALL THE JUNK?!

Clearly the time has come to focus.  I've set myself up on a very official stupid simple training program that begins this week, and I'm going to have to start eating to fuel my workouts.  Unfortunately, with my lack of intrinsic motivation, I'm finding it very difficult to get my butt in gear.

It's so bad I've been bringing my gym bag to work just so I'll go straight there instead of home (once my butt hits the couch, its over).  So for the next nine weeks, I'm going to blog my training and eating so that YOU can hold me accountable (aka I'll be embarrassed just in case anyone reads this and I'm being a total lazyass).  Don't worry, I won't become a health blogger on you (I would totally fail).  I'm just going to pepper my usual menu of addressing the unjust plight of privileged twenty somethings in the first world, with tales of my professional extremely amateur athletic pursuits.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pandora ads are stereotyping me

However, they are doing it inconsistently.  I currently have 6 stations tailored just for me courtesy of the music genome project (and I love them all), but what the internet thinks I want, changes based on which station I'm favoring at the moment.  For example, when I put on my "country" station, Pandora gives me advertisements for Sealy mattresses and some Italian jeweler's engagement rings.  When I put on the station I've deemed "hipster music" I get ads for Brooklyn singles and e-dating sights. 

ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME NEW YORKERS ARE LONELY AND PEOPLE FROM THE SOUTH & WEST GET MARRIED AND BUY HOMES, PANDORA?  Because, you would probably be right.  But what about me Pandora?  I listen to both stations, couldn't you come up with advertising that aligns specifically with me?  The Netflix ads were a good pick, I totally bought that one.  Vistaprint was decent too, that fits persons across musical genres!  What I'm trying to say is that my possession of multiple stations should inform overall advertising strategy as opposed to stereotyping each of my channels.  I don't know how Pandora's ad reps decide what goes where, and I probably shouldn't tell them how to do their jobs, but wouldn't you just LOVE to see what they would come up with if I put my "musicals" and "geto boyz radio" stations together?! 

(Update: at the time of publishing this post, Pandora gave me an ad for GOOGLE...I guess it doesn't get more universal than that)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poor (wo)Man's Guide to Keeping Cool

Ya'll it is HOT out there!  I don't know about where you live, but NYC becomes a festering pool of sweaty humidity in the summer months.  It's totally gross.  You know you've hit a new low when you're standing on the subway platform, and you lean in and enjoy that gross blast of air the train pushes out of the tunnel as it coasts into the station.  If you've ever been here in the summer, you know what I'm talking about, and you've totally been there.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, thank your lucky stars while I shoot you my death stare of envy. 

As I took a vow of poverty (read, chose to work in theater and then pursue a masters in this lucrative field), I have abstained from purchasing and installing an air conditioner in my apartment...for the fourth summer in a row.  To be honest, I wear this like a badge of honor and it's really not that badass.  My apartment is the entire second floor of a three story building so I'm sort of cocooned.  As long as I keep my blinds closed during the day and windows wide open at night, it's not so bad.  We get a few sticky sweaty days in August where all you can do is lie on the couch directly in front of a fan and suck on ice cubes, but on the whole, it's liveable.  However, since I am the master of keeping cool without maxing your e-bill, I felt it only right to share my wisdom with you.  Here are my cheap tips for staying cool:

10) Take a tour of the nearest IKEA.  I realize that this one doesn't work for anyone who lives more than a handful of miles from one, but there's a convenient way to get to Brooklyn's IKEA from pretty much everywhere in NYC.  I guarantee you will lose at least an afternoon in this endeavor (if only because you cannot find your way out), and there are 50 cent (maybe $1) hot dogs and sodas at their snack bars.

9)  Buy popsicles in bulk.  Bonus points if you buy them from Costco in the cold of winter when they're on super sale.

8) Go shopping without your wallet.  Some of you may have more self control than I do, and you can feel free to bring your wallet, but I don't recommend it.  I frittered away several cool hours in a department store last weekend and didn't spend a dime.

7) Stay very, very still.  After you turn off and unplug any and all electronics, appliances, and lights you'll cut your e-bill in half and stay cool.  Better yet, adopt a vampire lifestyle in which you sleep during the day and wake at night, it's cooler without the sun and your body temperature drops when you're sleeping (I think?). 

6) Throw an annual spring or autumn party (this one takes a little foresight).  Invite all of your friends who have air conditioners.  In the summer, it will be their turn to play host and guess who's on the guestlist? YOU!

sweet relief
5) Alter your coffee habit.  You know what folks, it's way hotter in the middle of the day than it is in the morning.  Get your caffeine fix in the afternoon in the form of iced coffee.

4) Join a gym.  This one may sound counterproductive, but those places are air conditioned and many have great deals for the summer.  The $40 you spend every month is way cheaper than the jump in your ConEd charges after you install an air conditioner.  However, if you're not convinced it's worth the cost, I'll let you in on a little secret: Most gyms offer 1 week-1 month free trial periods, just "try out" a few.  Also, the less body fat you have to insulate you, the cooler you will be.  Win/win, right?  (this one might be justification for my lazy ass that just can't get up early enough to run before it's unbearably hot)

3) Get a library card!  Since I moved to New York, I read a lot more in the summers.  For a long time I couldn't figure out why this was, but now I realize it's because they're all SUPER COLD in the summer.  Free entertainment with an AC, score!

2) Get a job somewhere with air conditioning.  Go there everyday.  Pick up extra shifts, work late, do whatever you have to do to get paid to be in that cool environment.

1) Buy a Brita and keep it in your fridge.  All kidding aside, this is the NUMBER ONE thing that gets me through the summer.  Water is free.  My Brita has paid for itself a thousand times over, and it never fails to provide me with delicious cold water when it's sweltering.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Uneventful Independence Day

Happy Belated 4th to all!  I had an intensely uneventful weekend, which was much needed.  On Friday, we went up to the new hot dog stand + beer tent on top of a public restroom on Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bark, and had some Six Points under the stars.  I can't say anything for the food (Because of my vanity we didn't get there until after they stopped serving food), but it's a great environment to hang out and relax (read picnic tables and plastic cups).  The drink options were limited, but fairly priced and the view of lower Manhattan and the harbor is incomparable. 

Saturday I worked my new part time gig as an usher at Lincoln Center Festival (hello?  I just got paid to watch the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Romeo and Juliet…awesome), and then headed to a BBQ.  There were burgers and hot dogs and grilled veggies and grilled apple pie…that's right folks, we put the Apple Pie on the grill to warm it up (lazy ingenuity), and it was DELICIOUS.

(4th of July themed manicure done by yours truly)
Being exhausted from days of playing, Sunday was pretty lazy for me, but I did get an awesome workout in.  It appears most of the city was out of town and therefore I had free run of the gym.  I recently started strength training again (aka, I integrated various exercises with small dumbbells into my routine of just running whenever I find the time…I'm extremely structured about my fitness, obV), so it was nice to have access to all the goodies without fear of making a fool of myself in front of other people.

Since I had burned so many calories, it was necessary to refuel in the most healthy way possible.  Charlie and I went to get ice cream (snickers flavor from Baskin Robbins!).  Monday morning we decided to be the best Americans we could by going shopping to stimulate the economy.  I didn't buy anything really, but I did get a Captain America iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts that made me feel pretty patriotic.  As it turns out, I had spent so much time punking around over the weekend, that I still had work to get done.  My 4th of July was spent writing a press release over a glass of white wine…maybe I'll be cooler next year.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Fridays

I am one of those lucky folks that gets "Summer Fridays."  For those of you who aren't privy to this time honored tradition, Summer Fridays are generous gifts of half days on all the Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  This means that my workday ends at 2pm today.  Woot.  However, this shortened day makes one feel like there is just not enough time to embark on a new project (read: there were tequila shots at my friend's birthday dinner last night and I am not motivated).  Given my limited time (attention span) today, I am going to take you on a tour of my desk.

Exhibit A

As you can tell from the sweeping views of midtown Manhattan, I am a very important person around here.  In Exhibit A you will find my collection of fine art.  From left to right: Charlie and I at LA CAVERNA (NYC's most exclusive and fancy nightlife spot for sure), my lovely parentals and little (big) brother, and the future rulers of the universe (my grad school classmates).  Next you'll find various vessels used for imbibing caffeine.  When archaeologists find this someday they will believe humans vital source of life was coffee, not water.  On the computer is a gorgeous image of beautiful Bucks County (shout out hometown), that I stole from the internet....oops.

Exhibit B

Since I spent a number of my childhood years in the South, I have an affinity for mason jars.  When archaeologists dig up North Carolina, they're going to think mason jars were the primary currency in the state.  Fact.  I also keep a bulletin board with uber important memos on my desk.  (Sometimes I take things on and off of it to look like I'm super busy.)  You can't really see it, but there's also a cute little pair of magnetic initials next to the phone.  These were a gift from my adorbs cousin Carly, and another nod to my (few and far between) Southern tendencies (read: they monogram/intitial EVERYTHING)  The phone is cool.  I call Miss Cleo on the reg (not really, why would I pay for psychic services when I can get a full astrological analysis of my life for FREE on the internet?).  Also of crucial importance to looking busy and VIP is the big black binder.  There's nothing but a Table of Contents in there right now, but I find its very presence gives my workspace weight. 

Alright folks, now that you've toured my crib (MTV reference anyone?), and I've ingested enough caffeine to sincerely get some work done, I'm going to sign off for the weekend.  Have a great 4th of July and spectacular 3 day weekend!