A New New Yorker | What Living in New York Has Taught Me | Tale 4

Today marks my sixth month in New York. Whatt?! Half a year?! How did this happen? Well, to be totally honest, not without tears, tantrums, lots of complaining and pent up anger (I’m afraid if I ever show aggression out on the streets someone will follow me home and kill me).

I’ve decided that, as a 6 month anniversary gift to the city that I…uh…(sometimes) tolerate, I will compile a list of things I’ve learned from living here.

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  1. Not letting gross things bother you (for that long): In the past 6 months in New York, I have been exposed to more disgusting things than I have in my entire life. I’ve had old air conditioners leak their cooling juices on my head as I walk below them, I’ve learned how to avoid getting bed bugs in a place infested by them, I’ve taught myself how to avoid breathing by port-a-potties, and I’ve even learned how to get over a cockroach the size of my palm scurrying across my desk.
  2. How to get from point A to point B: In New York, you just have to know where you’re going. Because if you try to ask someone, they will most likely give you incorrect directions. Really, this happened to me on my second day of work. You can truly only count on yourself. And Google Maps…but only if you check it before going underground because then you’re screwed.
  3. That I don’t like crowded, loud places: When I was living in Chicago, I attributed a lot of my nights spent at home to my lack of friends living in the actual city. Now, after some time in NY I’ve realized that even when I have the option to go to these jam-packed, rowdy places, I happily opt out without any FOMO at all.
  4. How to pretend like some rude person didn’t just cut you off or aggressively push past you: Okay. I’m not even a slow walker. Like, I walk really really fast. So when someone pushes me out of their way (instead of just saying “excuse me” like a normal, non-savage, human being) I simply don’t understand it. But I also don’t understand why most homeless people here have iPhones or iPads, so what do I know?
  5. Just get your groceries delivered: For the love of God, don’t make the mistakes I have made. Walking a mile with three filled Trader Joe’s bag or paying $25 for your cab…not worth it. Fresh Direct is the way to go.
  6. Wear layers: Subway stations are 100 degrees and the office is 60. Need I say more?
  7. How to deal with claustrophobia: My two-bedroom apartment is the same size as my studio in Chicago was. To deal with this I – pretend I live in the fantasy worlds I watch on Netflix, go to A’s apartment, or force myself to fall asleep to avoid life.
  8. How to do pretty much anything in bed: My bed is so much more than a place to sleep. It’s also a place to eat, work, paint my nails, do crunches, and pretty much any other thing you can imagine me doing during the day. This is what happens when you don’t have a real living room.
  9. How to ignore gross men or crazy people on the street: Whether it’s a catcall or a guy walking around in a leotard screaming Selena Gomez song lyrics, for your own sanity, learn to tune it all out. I actually always day-dream of responding with some witty, bitchy comment. But refrain because, again, someone from the street can always follow you home and kill you.
  10. How to look past all this shit because you’re in New York: As much as I dislike the city, I realize that it truly is a city of dreams. The number of opportunities you have just outside your door is astonishing. So learning to look past all the negatives and focus on all the positives, is the number one thing New York has taught me. Granted, I still complain at least 5 times a day. But most days I can step back, look at my life, and realize that I’m so lucky to be where I am.

Moment of truth: I actually don’t deal with most of these situations well at all. And my #1 way of coping is actually just calling my mom and complaining. Then she tells me she’s sick of hearing it. So then I call my dad. So thanks dad, for putting up with me!

Love,

K

Thursday Travels

Yesterday Swarm (aka Fourquare) informed me I had been to JFK six times in 4 consecutive weeks. And I usually fly LaGuardia…

My travel-sized toiletries haven’t left my carry-on bag, I know which shoes are most suitable for both quick removal at the airport AND looking fancy in a client meeting. I know what (very very limited) gluten-free options are available, and I know to wear at least three layers for easy piling on and peeling off.

Now I’m an advertiser, not a consultant, so I wouldn’t claim to be as experienced as those (smart as hell) Deliotte, PWC, Bane, BCG, McKinsey folks. My best friend, bless her, lives the NY>SF bicoastal life (and has mad status). It can be super exciting, and don’t even get me started on the travel perks…

But, despite my line of work, the last two years have been a chockfull of professional and personal travel. Minneapolis, Miami, LA, Chicago, North Carolina, Bali, Singapore, Punta Cana, Austin, India, Cleveland, Toledo, Baltimore, Washington DC, Virginia, Phoenix, Ann Arbor. Next week I’m off to Binghamton.

If you asked me four years ago, I would’ve told you that New York was a two-to-three-year plan. Mr.P and I would work our tails off for a while, and then move to a more livable city. We thought about Chicago. We thought about Portland (even though we’ve never been there). San Francisco (even though I’ve never been there).

In the meantime, we traveled – mostly for work. And although work trips don’t necessarily afford you the opportunity to explore and get to know a city, you naturally get a gist. You see the people, you sense the attitudes, you taste the food. You see the roads, and the greenery, and the fashion.

Every city I visited, I asked myself “could we live here?” And even cities that we used to consider no-brainers, somehow didn’t feel right. They were too cold, or too hot, or too cloudy. The people were too singular, or in-your-face, or asked things like “what do Indian people eat for breakfast?” And every time our trips came to a close, as the plane descended on New York and the Empire State Building was shining, even through the fog (it’s not smog!), we were filled with the undeniable warmth of home.

Mr. P has been here since 2010, and me since 2011, and it’s just getting sweeter as the years go by. Your friends just get closer, your neighbors just get kinder, and you just get more comfortable.

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2013 – When Mr. P and I got engaged in Central Park.

So thank you – employers, friends, family, life – for taking us around, and in turn, making New York home.

Hugs,

A

Blooming Breakfasts

Is it just me, or is fulfillment hard to come by these days? Feeling passionate about something, having a fire inside you that is hot and bright and wild. Mine’s been feeling a bit frozen over (and I can’t blame it on the weather, completely).

I had a “Blooming Breakfast” with two of my favorite work ladies this morning. I’m pretty sure D (you can check out her Tumblr here) came up with the name. Isn’t it perfect? We talked about our hypes and gripes from the last few weeks – what’s excited us, and what’s defeated us. People discount the importance of talking about feelings at work, but really, emotions lie at the core of everything we do. And if we don’t talk about them, it’s likely we’ll explode (or at least I will).

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Jobs are hard. Some more than others, of course, but understanding one’s path, and growth trajectory, and weaknesses is serious. We’ve all gone through similar trials and tribulations, and we need to know that we’re not alone in how we feel. I can’t convey the importance of empathy. We all started somewhere, didn’t we?

As I’m sure you can assume, a big chunk of our breakfast turned into us venting. Which was great, and much needed! But we walked away with some “homework” assignments from one another.

The first: If someone were to write an article about you in a magazine, what would you want it to say?

The second: Go through Skillshare’s class roster and pick some classes that interest you.

The purpose of the assignments is to really look inside ourselves and start understanding who we want to be, and secondarily, what we really love. Outside of work, or inside of work. I really believe that these sort of exercises move us towards fulfillment. Because how can you be fulfilled if you don’t really know what you want. Am I right?

If anyone wants to join in and do this “homework” with me, I’d love to do a digital swap! Or we meet up for our own “Blooming Breakfast!” I’m going to make K do it with me, too!

Love,

A

The Importance of a P.M.A.

I’ve been having one of those months (…few months?) when I’m having trouble focusing on the positive. When people hear me say this, they consistently think I’m insane. I’m engaged to the love of my life, we’re planning an amazing wedding, we live in the “greatest city on earth,” we have a really cute puppy, we both have families that will love us until the end of time, and friends that think we’re cool enough to occasionally invite us out.

Of course when I list this out, I sit back and think – holy shit *while smiling cheek to cheek*. But it’s not that easy to focus on the good stuff all the time. Wedding planning is also hard, we live in the most intense city in the world, our puppy is a handful (okay, actually I have no downside to this, the handful part doesn’t even matter), we’re far away from our families, and we don’t spend nearly as much time with our friends as we wish we could. Yes, in the grand scheme, these are just blips – I know this – but right now, it’s hard not to get caught up.

Life is not easy.

But there are still plenty, I mean plenty of things to be happy about every day. Even if one thing is falling to the wayside, there are other things that can help lift you right back up.

Yesterday, I was reading my horoscope (you know me, I’m into shit like that), and this is what it told me:

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Okay, thank you for a kick in the ass cosmos. Why am I letting a fly ruin what is one of the best times of my life? Also… I don’t even know what the fly is! Working too much? Flakey wedding vendors? Not being able to decide where to go for our Honeymoon? I’m realizing how crazy I sound.

So… that was my horoscope. And then, a girl I know from college posted about #100happydays. Now I’ve seen this a million times on Instagram, and have of course chosen to ignore it (call me Pessimistic Patrice), but today I clicked. And it sort of caught me off guard. Like in a slap in the face sort of way.

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71% of people don’t have enough time to spend two minutes a day marinating on what makes them happy. SEVENTY ONE PERCENT OF PEOPLE! That is madness – (given that as a strategist I know the data has been slightly fudged because it’s probably that people don’t have time to take an amazing picture and share it – don’t believe everything you hear! But…) the point is a compelling one.

Whether or not you commit to socially sharing what makes you happy for 100 days in a row (it is a big commitment!), we should at least take time each day to reflect on what makes us happy. OR maybe do consider partaking in an exercise like this! It keeps us all accountable.

A P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude) can take you far.

Here’s to happiness.

Love,

A

The Doggy Diaries – Part II

If you haven’t already caught wind of the news (mostly from me babbling on and on and on about it), our puppy is finally confirmed!

In my last post, I shared a bit on the adoption process. How I went a little crazy over this adorable puppy (without even talking to Fiancé…), and decided that I just needed him. Of course, that didn’t end up working out. The pup was in Ohio, we couldn’t get much information on his health, where he came from, etc., and he needed to be picked up in 24-hours. For us Manhattan-ites, figuring out a car situation and driving eighteen hours on a few hours notice is tough. And since Fiancé just wasn’t 100% sold, we couldn’t go through with it. It would have been his puppy too, after all!

Over the next few days, we kept our eyes on all of the adoption sites: BARC, Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, Petfinder (with a more local filter this time!), even Craigslist (per a recommendation from my dog-loving friend, Cio <3). But with my slight dog allergy, & NYC-sized apartment space, we just couldn’t find a doggy that fit the bill. And the last thing we wanted was to get a dog we wouldn’t be able to care for properly.

So, we started investigating breeders. There are a lot of weird ones out there, so it’s important to be very very careful and do a lot of research. I realized that testimonials (real ones) are key. The breeder we found had a huge Facebook presence with hundreds of customers posting pictures of their dogs (even 12-year old dogs which they had gotten from her back in the day!), and singing her praises. She had a bunch of mixed breed honeys, and as soon as Fiancé saw some of the pictures she sent us, he totally fell in love.

I’ve been speaking to the breeder at length since then – seriously bless her for putting up with my incessant questions! She stayed on the phone with me for an hour the night we decided to finalize, telling me all about him and his parents, filling me in on what we’d need, etc. It was the most wonderful, stress-free, comforting process.

SO, in two weeks, our little guy KINGSTON is going to arrive. And we CAN’T WAIT.

I don’t have any pictures of him to share yet, but rest assured that when we do start posting pictures, it’ll never stop. Consider this your preemptive puppy picture hiatus.

Can’t wait to get started on all the cute puppy shopping! My Mom’s already started – she got him the bowls below 🙂

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Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.

Love,

A

PS – Any puppy advice would be much appreciated, so send it our way!

The Doggy Diaries – Part I

I have a confession to make. Amidst the utter utter madness that is my life right now, I haven’t been focusing on what I should. Work is… happening. Wedding planning is also happening. And though my brain is chugging along and going through all of the necessary motions, my heart is doing something entirely different.
Dreaming about a dog.
About two weeks ago, I found and fell in love with this puppy on Petfinder. He was up for adoption and I just HAD TO HAVE him. His name was Squigles. YES. Squigles.
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I emailed the volunteer to inquire, and found out he had a ton of applications on him. Of course I freaked out because I had immediately planned our entire life together, and submitted an application. Fiancé was busy, so he found out later. Ooops. This is the wrong way to go about things. I know!!!!!
I couldn’t stop thinking about my future puppy. I looked at what supplies I would need, made fiancé a Keynote presentation filled with reasons why we should get a dog and why we could absolutely, 200%, without a doubt handle it splendidly. I even called a local Vet to find out how much all of the first-year medical treatments would cost.
I was serious. Zero to obsessed in a matter of days.
Squigles didn’t end up working out *cue devastation and unruly tears.* Adoption, even in the puppy sense, is hard. It’s trying and risky and sad (though of course it’s incredibly rewarding when it does work out – and is undoubtedly the best way to go). And even though I didn’t know what to do with myself after what I thought was my dream puppy, slipped through my fingers (except allow Fiancé to cheer me up with dreams of the puppy we’d pick together), I knew that the time in my life had just arrived. I always knew I wanted a dog, and suddenly, something just clicked (I’d appreciate if you avoid making weird nesting jokes about my maternal instincts – I’m only 26, people!).
I had taken a step in the right direction. AND, due to my excellently crafted presentation (thank you, Advertising for teaching me how to sell!), I had convinced Fiancé.
So now we’re in the process of looking for our future puppy (which is much harder than you think but also probably much more exciting)! We’re exploring the best routes to getting a healthy, happy puppy, in a way that keeps our conscience clear. No pet stores for us!
So call us crazy, tell us we have bad timing, continue to scream at us about how we should “WAIT UNTIL AFTER THE HONEYMOON!” but we will politely ignore you. This is going to happen!
I will keep you all posted. I think things will happen pretty fast :), so keep your eyes peeled for a puppy reveal sometime very soon!
Excitedly Yours,
A
PS – If anyone else is thinking of bringing a furry loved one into their life, I can drop some serious knowledge, so shoot me a note.