Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Friends & Soul Mates

And so I finally met her last night. Friday's plans fell through and we'd rescheduled for yesterday. I'm not going to lie, as I was walking over to Starbucks I got increasingly nervous. Would she be weird? Will she be able to hear my thoughts? Can she sense that I'm about to pass out from low blood pressure again?

Well let me start out by saying that all worries vanished when I saw her and she flashed this huge smile at me. In fact, I don't want to call her The Psychic anymore since it sounds like I'm mocking her. Plus, the word sounds way too mystical for the person I met last night – a 29-year-old fashion designer who hails from PA (she doesn’t really follow Philly sports, but her bf does).

Oddly enough, it was so easy opening up to her. We each talked about our families, work, what led us to T and of course, boys. As we laughed and cracked jokes over coffee (her) and banana nut bread (me), I told her my story and she told me hers (btw, why is it so easy to pour your heart out to a total stranger, but not to those closest to you?). I almost teared up when I told her about Mr. First and she said that as clichéd as it sounded, things would get better with time; that it’s one of the hardest things you’ll go through, but you’ll learn something each time. And then she gave me an interesting take on the soul mate idea.

In a book she borrowed from T, she read that each soul is a half – a ying or yang – and that even if you do find your soul mate in this lifetime it might not be time for the two of you to get together. So you must continue on your journey learning, gathering, growing and moving through each subsequent life so that when you are both whole, you’ll be able to fuse together.

I absolutely loved that view. It’s filled with hope that even if it didn’t work out with whomever you’re meant to be with now, it will eventually when you’re both ready. For the past several months I was carrying around another idea of what a soul mate is. Those of you who read Eat, Pray, Love (also from T’s personal library) might recognize this definition Richard from Texas gives Elizabeth:
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go.”
I believe that applied to him as well. Because of him I realized I needed to get help. I saw that my anxiety was affecting him – and us – and I didn’t want to keep going down that path. So now how am I supposed to let someone who pushed me to do so much just go?

She doesn't know why she felt compelled to reach out to me that night, but I'm glad she did. By some crazy chance, we crossed paths and this new friend from Pennsylvania somehow made my day a bit brighter. So instead why don't we call her...Penny :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Over In NY

Unfortunately for my dad (and countless other Mets fans) the Mets blew their shot at the wildcard spot today. And so ends baseball season in New York (because not even the Yankees managed to go into the post season with their overpaid players). Goooo Phillies - I'm sooo getting kicked out of this city :)

And with that, we bid adieu to Shea Stadium as well.

Tina Comes Back!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


So 2.5 weeks ago I went to the doc for a check-up and got the results a week later. Obviously I heard that I needed to gain weight (but she was acutally nice about it) and suggested I start lifitng weights and drinking protein shakes to build up my muscles. Dad then proceeded to run over to GNC the first chance he got and buy me this ginormous container of protein powder! How on Earth am I supposed to consume all that?? Ew.

Dad: Oh and they told me you can't drink a full cup of this thing.
Me: Well why not? (like I really even want to)
Dad: Because you don't exercise or burn enough calories a day. So drink only half a cup.
Me: So you're saying if I take a full cup, I'll be intaking more calories than I'll be burning? Isn't that the whole point?!

So ladies and gentlemen, in a few weeks time I'll be looking like I'm on steroids. Minus the 'roid rage.

Dear Lord! I just checked and a "heaping scoop" of this thing packs 750 calories!! Where has this thing been all my life? I'm gonna have protein powder-seasoned rice with protein powder-flavored chicken and a protein powder shake to wash it all down (gotta mix it up you know). I wonder if your stomach can explode from this stuff...

But I'm not being a complete bum. I actually lifted some weights this morning while watching my morning cartoons. And maybe I'll start up on some yoga in the morning.

Other than that all is well on the health front. Well as good as they can be when you're underweight and learned that you have "an impressive list of allergies" you never knew you had before. Let's just say an 8 on the scale signifies a high allergic reaction and these are just some of my ratings:

orchard grass: 40.60
timothy grass: 25.40
birch tree: 54.50 (this one is just a teeeeeny bit disconcerting; what exactly would happen to me?)
oak tree: 29.10

The list of allergens goes on, but those are the highest. Plus, this is the first fall season I'm getting allergies (they usually visit in the spring) so I'll be lucky if I make it to winter with my nose intact.

Text From Mr. First:

"Phillies in the playoffs. Spread the word."


I was next to my dad when the message came in and I just blurted it out with a smile on my face. He proceeded to throw his hands up in the air. Oooh wells :)

MagPo #1


Hall of Fame for Great Americans & Gould Memorial Library,
Bronx Community College
*The reason why this looks like it's straight out of Italy or Greece is because the library's design was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome:
Btw, the motto "Perstare et Praestare" (found on the floors of the Hall of Fame colonnade) means "To prepare and to excel" in Latin (literally: to withstand and to stand before). It's also the motto of New York University, since the work was commissioned in 1900 by NYU's chancellor as part of an undergraduate college of the university. The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is open to the public daily and free of charge from 10am to 5pm. The Gould Library/Hall of Fame are also one of the 350 sites open to the public (for free) in this year's Open House NY Weekend (Oct 4th & 5th).

Friday, September 26, 2008


What's better than being in your cozy home while wearing tattered 10-year-old high school gym sweat pants, with a Christmas Cookie-scented candle and snuggled in your comfy couch watching TV?
Nothing. Happy Friday night, guys :)

Where In The World...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meeting Someone Tomorrow...

Only it's not who you think - or any boy for that matter. On Monday, The Psychic and I agreed to meet for coffee after work tomorrow. Mind you, I don't drink coffee, but I'm sure I can find something else to munch on to distract me from the fact that this situation is slightly weird. T tells me one of her patients would like to meet me and I say, "Sure?" Lordy.

Well, if anything, I hope she's nice. No clue what we'll talk about though - or what it is she feels I can teach her. Other than how to be an anxious worry-wort, that is.

P.S. My co-worker's bday party is tonight and I'm so exhausted I just want to head straight to bed (due to a long, stressful, overwhelming, upsetting weekend/week), but I'll be making a cameo nonetheless. Could help cheer me up a bit, maybe?

Eternal Sunshine

So remember The Geography of Bliss - that book I mentioned earlier this month? Well I took that much-needed break from reading and stopped after I was only seven pages in. But today I've picked it back up and am surely on the road to happiness now. Or not.

Either way, I've come across an interesting question that I'd like to pose to all of you: if you could experience constant pleasure all the time with no harm to your health or anything - just happiness 24/7 - would you? As much as I'd love to stop being depressed so often, I might actually get tired of being cheerful All The Time. Who knows? Maybe you need the downs to appreciate the ups like how you need the butt-uglies to appreciate the cutie-petuties. Plus, I think most people need the idea of pursuing happiness in order to be happy. So what say you? Would you choose constant pleasure?

And I'm thinking of renting Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind this weekend. I've never seen it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Clay is Gay

So do you think now people will stop focusing on the non-important and acknowledge that the kid can sing? Because at the end of the day, that's the only thing that would have the slightest effect on the rest of us. And the baby is a cutie petutie :)

Btw, Clay made his return to Broadway's Spamalot last Friday and will be reprising his role as Sir Robin until January 4.

In other coming-out-the-closet news, Lindsay Lohan admitted to dating Samantha Ronson. Again, do I care? No.

Best Magazine Covers of the Year Finalists

Every year, the American Society of Magazine Editors selects the best covers in the industry. They can range from simply beautiful to hilarious, but they're all pretty cool regardless. I usually like to go through their list of the Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years to see what designers have come up with in the past and how new ones play off of them. For example, one of this year's finalists for Best Coverline, Wired, played off their June 1997 cover on Apple (see below).

Some of my faves in the Top 40 include #4: The New Yorker (I even have that Steinberg illustration, along with several others, in postcard form), #6: The New Yorker (that 9/11 cover is haunting), and #10: National Geographic (when I first saw this photo in graphics class, I couldn't get those eyes out of my head!). And below are my picks for this year's Best Magazine Covers. At work we're über-excited we're in the running for Best Celebrity Cover!!! And it happens to be the first issue of the mag's redesign. I guess it paid off, huh?

Cover of the Year: Interview
June/July 2008 "Andy is 80!"

Best Celebrity Cover: Latina
March 2008 Jessica Alba Quote cover
sidenote: The other two are amazing as well, but I just love this cover too much - not that I'm biased or anything!

Best Concept Cover: Wired
November 2007 "Manga Conquers America"

Best Fashion Cover (tied because I think Eric Bana is too cute): GQ, March 2008 Eric Bana and Departures, April 2008 International Style

Best Leisure Interest Cover: New York
June 30, 2008 John McCain and Barack Obama at the beach

Best News Cover: The New Yorker
March 17, 2008 Clinton-Obama 3am phone call

Best Service Cover: New York
November 12, 2007 "Airport Hell and How to Escape It"

Best Coverline: Wired
April 2008 "Evil/Genius" (and to the right, the June 1997 issue)

Do you agree with my picks? We'll find out how wrong/right I was with my selections when the winners are picked and posted on October 6!

Kids, Politics and Car Safety

If you have kids in your life that would like to learn more about our country's crazy world of politics, check out this story I wrote for Latina.com. It has some quick tips on introducing them to how the process works as well as books that'll break it down for them. And while you're at it, make sure they're buckled in safely when you make that trip to the polling booth.

Biz Quiz

Friday, September 19, 2008

Too Much Contact

So about two hours ago I received a phone call from a strange number - at the exact same time Mr. First sent me a text. I never pick up numbers I don't recognize so I immediately e-mailed my friend to ask what that guy's number was. Turns out it wasn't him; it was The Psychic calling me to see if we could meet up next week. I called back and left her a message so I'm waiting to hear back from her.

And now I just received another text - this time from that guy (he'll get a nickname once I get to know him a bit better). Some girls might frown upon texting as a way of first reaching out, but I am perfectly fine with that. In fact, I prefer it to talking (which is why I'm a writer and not a speaker). His text was simple and short: "Hey, hows it going? This is -- (--'s friend)."

Ladies and gentlemen, we have contact.

Oh no! I just had a thought: what if I replied way too quick? Now he's going to think I'm a thirst bucket. Plus, I've been having second thoughts about the whole thing. Maybe I'm not ready to start talking to other guys. The idea of him and me dating other people still makes me teary-eyed. I dunno...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plus One More

And because my friend feels she has such a great track record setting people up - like she did with the Dominican Striker - she has decided that I need to meet yet another guy. Apparently she's been trying to set me up with this ex-military "cutie" for a while and e-mailed him my number before I even knew what was going on. Maybe I shouldn't have ignored her e-mail from this afternoon: "Hey shorty...you excited about your blind date coming up??"

She refuses to give me any details so that we'll "have stuff to talk about." Oy vey. The rest of the online convo went as follows:

Setter-upper: Do u wanna see a pic?
Me: Sure why not. Save us all some time and trouble.
Setter-upper: Nope! Too bad!
Me: You suck!!
Setter-upper: Defies the whole purpose of a blind date and you telling me alllllllll about it.
Me: Not if it doesn't happen I won't be.
Setter-upper: Well talk on the phone first at least!
Me: Yes, because we all know how great I am on the phone. I zoned out with the other one and we talked for only 4 minutes!! Oh! Does he speak English? Tell me he speaks English at least!
Setter-upper: Yes! Perfect English!

Well at least he has that going for him. And clearly I'm just here for her amusement. We'll see how this one plays out.

Boys, Boys, All Types of Boys

Over the past month and a half there have been a couple new characters that have popped into my life for some reason. And yes, one old one. Here's a rundown:

The Security Guy

Back in August, one of the security guards at work started calling for my attention. Every time I'd walk in or out of the building he'd say, "I'm watching you." Yes, I'd smile and giggle back because really, who doesn't like to be noticed? And I actually busted out laughing when on my way out to lunch one day I heard "sometimes it feels like somebody's watching me..." coming from the distance. But the thing is he'd say this everyday several times a day and around other people! Frankly, it was getting kind of annoying/kind of creepy. One day I snapped back, "Why are you watching me??"
And he replied, "I'm just looking out for you."
"Uh huh," I said.

Well I didn't want to give him the wrong idea so I started ignoring him whenever I'd see him looking at me from the corner of my eye. I'm such a cold-hearted witch, I know. Either way he stopped "watching" me a couple weeks after that. Or at least he didn't yell it out every time he saw me. But we still say hi every now and then.

Well end of day Monday, he was in our office hanging out with our receptionist - who is pretty much cool with the whole building - and the three of us ended up taking the elevator together. "Hey Dorkys," she said, "you know --?" And just like that I learned his name and he learned mine. Apparently he's also invited to her birthday party next week. When she mentioned that her goal was to get all her girls drunk that night, I said negativo to that. I actually have to work the next day! Then he said, "Don't worry, if anything you and I take the same way home."


Turns out he gets off three stops before me on the train ride home and he once saw me in his train car. "I told you I was watching you," he added. Oh boy.

The MySpace Pen Pal

Almost four weeks ago I received a friend request from a total stranger. As is customary when I'm completely bored and curious, I sent him the usual "Do I know you?" The answer is always no and this time was no different, but instead of leaving it at that we actually kept messaging each other. For three hours. It was actually nice talking to someone (don't worry, it was all clean) and probably spilling too many personal details about what we were reading, what we've learned from past relationships and the pressures of getting married (he's 37 and single). I told him I recently decided to create some distance between my ex and me. He told me his family tried to set him up with someone at a funeral.

Since that night, we've sent more messages, I accepted him as a "friend" and Monday night he asked me for the online equivalent of my digits: "Do you have AIM?" So I passed along my screen name. It's been cool talking to him and must say I thoroughly enjoyed the compliments that followed when he was granted access to my MySpace pictures. But it'll pretty much stay at that since I'm not interested in taking it any further. He did casually invite me to the movies Labor Day weekend, but I was so busy I had to decline. By the way, he also lives in the Bronx.

Mr. First

Our keeping in touch has become more and more sporadic, but when we do speak it's still great. I still wish it had worked out between us because I miss him so much. It's especially hard when I make my way back to my apartment alone after a night out and realize that I can't call him anymore to tell him I got in OK. That he's not waiting up for me to make sure I'm safe at home. That's when I feel the loneliest. Maybe it's the alcohol that raises that sensitivity level, but I wish I could dial his number at two in the morning and say, "Hey babe, I'm home now."

On Monday he sent me a random e-mail. "So check this out," he wrote. "I ran into something online that I found hilarious, especially for you so I ordered you some of it. It’s nothing big, but I imagine you will get a chuckle from it too." And apparently the monkeybutt mistakenly registered me as a "Mister!" That goofball...

So we'll see what craziness arrives for me at the office soon enough :)

The Dominican Striker

Remember him? Well I never heard from him again - thank the Lord - but I'm sure he has gone on to lead a fruitful life stalking other women. In fact, he showed up at my friend's building just days later asking for more numbers. Bless his heart.

So that's it on the men. Now you tell me, would you ever date someone from work? And do you have age limits on the people you'll date? Because right now my answers are "No" and "Three years younger or three years older." Hmmm, but I don't think I'm ready to start letting 30-year-olds into the picture starting next year...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Apartment Decorating Once Again

So I had to put a halt on decorating my new apartment due to lack of monetary funds and time. But I was able to jumpstart it this weekend! No, I'm still broke but I had some time and some ideas I wanted to try out. I went to my go-to place (Ikea) on Saturday and got some plants, pots, wall stickers, frames and a large framed umm...photo? painting? I don't know what I'd call it, but I hung it by my bed and I love it. In the living room I tried making my super long plant grow around the two frames I got from Urban Outfitters two months ago, but it wasn't cooperating so I went the faux route with these stickers from Ikea. I was also able to finally frame the ladybug poster I bought back in June and hung it up on my bathroom wall to go along with the ladybug motif I have going on in there.

I also decided to cultivate my green thumb by creating a mini-garden by my living room window. I bought a shelf and today I just repotted the plants I bought this weekend and made a hot mess in the process. Hopefully they don't all die on me. I'm trying to get seeds to grow some herbs while I'm at it too. I like that I have my own little green space in my apartment now :)

And I have a roommate now too! Too bad the fool pays no rent whatsoever. I bought a little fishie - a betta - April of last year and at some point I gave it up for adoption to my younger brother. Somehow he managed to survive all this time and I regained custody yesterday after the tank broke. I had decided to buy another one when my brother asked if I wanted to take him back. So I did! Mr. First and I had named him Clifford after the big red dog, but I usually just refer to it as "Fish." Say hello!

And finally, remember that pottery class my friend and I took for six weeks this summer? Well we FINALLY picked up our creations yesterday evening and here's what I ended up with:

Pretty cool, huh? You should've seen what the advanced students made. I'd love to take another class someday, but then again I have bills to pay and now mouths to feed.
So yup, that's what's been going on in the homefront. What do you guys think?

Biz Quiz

Monday, September 15, 2008

Story Time

OK, so here's a list of some stories I've written thus far. I've only included the ones that have appeared online because, well, because I don't know how to embed a whole file. Maybe later on I'll scan my magazine articles and post those as well. In the meantime, enjoy!

Time Out NY

It Happened Here

City Library: Books Being Read by Editors at Major Publishing Houses

City Library: Books Being Read by Television Executives


What Gynecologists Are Really Thinking

Inquiring Minds: How to Keep Kids Sharp in the Summer Months

Use Less Energy, Save More Money

Home Makeover Series Part One: How to Choose Color

Home Makeover Series Part Two: How to Get Organized

It's About to Get [Even More] Personal

For those of you who regularly read this blog and don't know me personally, I've decided to share a little more about myself. I know my profile gives you a tiny glimpse, but I figured maybe you deserve more. When I started writing this blog I wanted to keep some distance between this and my personal life, but obviously I've grown more comfortable sharing things with you as time has gone by. I also wanted to retain some anonymity and so I've never mentioned where I work or posted stories I've written.

I'll start out by saying yes, that's my real name. If I chose a pseudonym why would it ever be that one?? My parents are from the Dominican Republic and my younger brother and sister and I were born and raised in the Washington Heights/Inwood section of uptown Manhattan. I finally moved out on my own - to the Bronx - this past June.
I received a bachelor's degree in architectural technology from the New York Institute of Technology and made a major switch when I went for my master's in journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse. Now I work as an assistant research editor at Latina magazine and freelance for the Manhattan Times - my old community's paper - as well as Time Out New York magazine. I'll be posting links to stories available online as they're published and will create a post with past stories soon. Don't be afraid to let me know what you think about them; you'll never be a harsher critic than I am with myself.

I can admit that there are tons of things I don't know, which is both exciting and scary at the same time. I don't have much faith and prefer knowing exactly what's going to happen next. I'm a creative soul who constantly needs to have a project in the works - even if I never follow them through completion. And I always need to carry around pen and paper not only because ideas jump into my head at odd times, but because I could quite possibly possess the worst memory on Earth.

So that's the tiny gist. Now it's your turn to introduce yourselves!

P.S. Pictures of people other than myself will be making appearances every now and then. But that baby is me and not some child of mine. And sitting with me up in that awesome photograph I developed, printed and then scanned myself are my younger brother and sister. Aren't they precious?

Happy Monday!

OK, I'm not really that excited that it's Monday, but I am happy that the weather in NYC is not as disgustingly sticky as it was yesterday. Note to self: do not haul laundry up and down four flights of stairs and then go grocery shopping in jeans during 70+% humidity.

I also went to Ikea on Saturday to continue decorating the apartment (more on that later) and went to Barnes and Noble yesterday with the sis for some quality work time (that consisted of me writing for a half hour and then getting super antsy the remainder of our 3-hour long stay).

So how were your weekends? Get into any trouble? Any exciting plans for the week?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NY Tech Mini Reunion

Last night I went to a mini NYIT reunion some people from my undergrad put together. It was at the Chill Lounge on 39th and Lexington Avenue. I'd never been there, but after all the fun I had I'd definitely go back. We pretty much took over the bar area with our singing and dancing. I only wished I hadn't decided to wear so many layers that day; I was broiling!

Either way, it was great seeing all those people I hadn't seen since I left school three years ago: friends, residents (I was a resident advisor for 3.5 years) and people whose names I never knew to begin with. Last night was also the first night all but one of them saw me drinking and dancing since I was such a busy goody two shoes back then that I never went out clubbing. And of course over the course of the night I learned who got married, who was on their way to biting the dust, who had popped out babies and who was preggers. Fun times; I'm glad I fought the urge to go home after work and curl up on my couch instead :)

Then on my way back to Grand Central Terminal at midnight, I couldn't help myself from taking pictures of these two beautifully eerie sights: Grand Central Terminal (above) and the Chrysler Building (below).

Tram to Roosevelt Island

On Thursday, I up and decided to finally take that tram into Roosevelt Island. Why? Because! For years I've seen the little car zip through the air thinking, "One day, one day..." But I always pushed it aside. Yeah well I remember seven summer ago I told my little brother the same thing about visiting two certain towers. We started walking toward the World Trade Center from Canal Street thinking it was a lot closer than it actually was. When we realized that it was quite a bit away - and that we were both starving - we decided to go home instead. We could always visit the Twin Towers another day. We never went back.

The tram station is located on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue and the fare is $2 each way, but I was able to use my Metrocard (yay for monthly unlimited!). I loved the view of the city as well as the bridge and was on the bridge within 10 minutes. Once on the island I hopped on their bus for a quarter and took it around the north side of the island for a little tour. The two-mile long island is so cute; although it's mostly a residential area, they have their schools, supermarkets, plazas and a library. I wish I had walked along the river/park, but like seven years ago, I was famished and just wanted to head back home for food. At least this time I actually got to my destination before giving up.

The whole trip took less than a half hour and before I knew it was flying back to another island and the view of Manhattan as it was getting closer to dusk was lovely.