Thursday, June 30, 2011

Take Me Away

This morning, A. turned to me and said, "You know, I remember when you used to dance around and jump on the bed in the mornings and I'd look at you and think 'She's so vibrant and full of life.'"
"And now?" I asked from underneath the blanket.
"You seem to be really weighed down these days."
"I know," I sighed. "Was that back when I was unemployed?"
"Exactly. I didn't have any cares or responsibilities then."
"I suppose so."

Working six days/56 hours a week doesn't leave much energy to attempt bed flips and tumbles at 8 in the morning. Don't get me wrong, when I play, I PLAY, but more often than not I'd much rather chillax than hit the town. And now A.'s current bout of funemployment is making me wish I had more time for myself.

I might not want to go full-freelance again just yet, but it's high time I took a break alone or accompanied. I keep thinking about laid-back afternoons on the beach and ticking off how many months its been since I took a day off for our trip to L.A. earlier this year. Four months and no future getaways in sight.

"Let's take a vacation then," A. said.
"Oh could we please?! No more just talking about it."

See, over the last few months we've collected an impressive list of destinations that we could visit, but nothing ever comes of it. Blame life, jobs and the fact that time is flying by so quickly. I mean July? Already?! Geezas.

Our list so far includes:
Traveling through Europe

Honestly, I really don't care where we end up as long as I get to leave this stormy stress behind for a few days and get a moment to breathe and sleep in (that is if my body ever regains that ability). Plus, everyone knows fluffy hotel room beds were absolutely made for jumping.

Where are you dreaming about these days?


Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Inspiration

Art print can be bought here. Want to know something ironic? The first time Amanda Cherie created and posted this print, she misspelled a word Frankly, I would've preferred the "loose" version of Pearce's quote.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dry As Toast Gets a Makeover

After three straight years with the same look, Dry As Toast has finally classed it up a bit for you. I don't know much about HTML and CSS so there's been a lot of Googling, making note of the qualities I like from other sites and figuring out how to fix up the place. I'm still making tweaks here and there and a new Facebook page is in the works, so bear with me this weekend and please let me know what you think!

UPDATE: Well the new site is pretty much done. Thanks for all the nice comments! I know some of you are mourning the loss of the toast (and yes, I saved it), but it was time for something new, don't you think? Please check out the new Facebook page and like Dry As Toast. I'll be popping in there often with fun finds and to chat with you so be sure to join the convo. And you can always follow my random thoughts and NYC outings on Twitter.

New York Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Last night, New York passed the same-sex marriage bill legalizing something that should have been done eons ago. Now double the amount of gay and lesbian couples can tie the knot and I'm sure tomorrow's Gay Pride parade should be madness! Six states down (with NY being the largest), 44 more to go and I'm looking at you, California.

P.S. Did anyone catch the Empire State Building shining in a rainbow of colors last night?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Disappointed by Good Taste

I feel like the illustration above could be a little more inclusive because not only do I sometimes have trouble putting thoughts onto paper, but also turn ideas into tangible/digital creations and execute visions exactly as I envision them.

Last night I spent several hours fiddling with a new blog layout and was thisclose to clicking "Apply to Blog" just to get something started, but I couldn't do it. I wasn't completely satisfied. And now this morning I'm thinking that everything I did last night was absolute crap. Bah!

Same goes for other creative work. I know everything I do could be SO much better because what I do still doesn't compare to how it looks inside my head. Somewhere along the route from brain to fingertips things get a little wonky and my recognizing this is what frustrates me to no end. This actually reminds me of a great quote from radio personality Ira Glass on good taste that's stuck with me the last few months (via Kottke):

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit."

I know there is no progress without action and learning from both the good and bad, but it's also hard to present something you feel is subpar. That said, it's such a wonderful feeling when you do manage to bring an idea to life and it turns out pretty awesome. Those are the moments I want to strive for, but in order to get there I know I have to go through many disappointing ones along the way. *womp, womp*

Have you ever let your disappointments keep you from trying again?


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Daze

Even though today is officially the beginning of summer, the hot days arrived in the city long ago. And what's been on my mind as we enter the sunny season? All of the projects I want to tackle over the next few months.

Blog revamp: After three years and nearly 1200 posts, I've been feeling the need to steer Dry As Toast in a new direction. I want a fresh look and more original/creative content. In other words, things that will pump some life into this place that will get me excited to blog once again. Sometimes you just have to shake things up when they start feeling stale. Come to think of it, my hair could probably use the same treatment.

Anywho, some ideas include interviews and guest posts from inspiring folk; narrowing the blog's focus to a few main themes such as relationships, lifestyle, arts, travel, NYC and personal insight; and going for quality rather than quantity. This means I might not share something new each day (but will share links to fun finds via Facebook and Twitter), but when I do, it will be meaningful.

What changes would you like to see on Dry As Toast?

Stationery design: This is pretty much the beast that refuses to die. No matter how many times I push this aside, it will not let me rest until I pay it some mind. Attending the National Stationery Show was a double-edged sword. It made me want to be a part of that scene so much, but goodness! The talent on display was a bit paralyzing. I learned so much from walking the show and talking to others, but it also made me fall back and Dream much more than Do. Could I honestly pull off a stationery collection and maintain a writing career?

Writing: Little by little the "Published In" section in my resume is growing. Now that I met my last goal with a story in Anthology's upcoming "The Great Outdoors" issue and unexpectedly landing a side gig, I have a few other publications on my target list that I want to hit next. Not to mention an idea for a children's book that's part autobiographical and part fiction.

Quite a busy summer, huh? And with no vacation plans in sight at the moment, I might have to set aside time to look through old travel photos of mine and remember what it was like to sit out by the beach and think about nothing but the setting sun and the waves crashing onto the shore.

What will you be doing in the upcoming months?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The High Line and Rainbow City

The High Line is an elevated park that runs along the west side of Manhattan from Gansevoort Street to 30th Street. Originally constructed in the 1930s to lift freight trains off the street, the abandoned tracks were transformed into a public space in 2009. The second section, which added 10 blocks to the project, just opened last week and once completed, we'll have a mile-and-a-half long haven with concrete pathways lined with plants going up to 34th street and overlooking the Hudson River.

To celebrate the milestone, FriendsWithYou and AOL teamed up to create Rainbow City (through July 5), an interactive artistic playground filled with giant inflated sculptures and colorful characters located at the 30th Street and 10th Avenue entrance to the park. I finally popped over for a stroll after work Wednesday and it was so lovely I was still wishing I were there rather than in my cubicle today. The evening breeze as the sun set beyond the river, people watching and the children running ahead of their parents and the live band jamming away in the outdoor bar below us. All my days should end as blissfully as this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Over the weekend, I headed over to Governor's Island for the first time to check out the free annual imaginative art-and-play festival FIGMENT NYC. The island is only open to the public from May 27 to September 25 and for one silly weekend people gather for all sorts of shenanigans. There were musicians, crazy costumes, giant bubbles, a mini-golf course, foam sword fighting and a bunch of curious artwork we really couldn't quite figure out.

It was great seeing that not only kids were completely amused by the simple things, but that the adults were having just as much fun. Had I known beforehand, I totally would've busted out a colorful mismatched costume, too. Maybe next year?

One of my favorite art installations was a small replica of a subway train interior. This was the only time I've been able to grab the overhead pole and have my feet still touch the floor so obviously I had to capture that special moment.

Other whimsical works of art included this bouncy/ hanging thing made from all sorts of bottle caps that rattled when pulled and tree cozies knitted from recycled plastic bags. I didn't think trees to shiver in the cold, but I guess they made for some pretty decoration. Also, one of the wonderful things about the event was being surrounded by so much music. There were jazz musicians, a DJ spinning house music and a live band all spread throughout the grounds. So when I saw a lonely mosquito net hanging from a tree, I just had to run through it and dance with the tulle flying in the breeze.

"You're really letting it all out today, huh?" A. said when I finished acting a fool.

Well when you grow up in Manhattan with insufficient grass, space and stress relief, you'd better take full advantage and release that pent-up energy the first chance you get before packing in the crazy and heading back home. So that's exactly what I did.

On our music-filled ferry ride back to lower Manhattan, we marveled at how lucky we are to live in a place that makes events like this so accessible to us. A mere 10 minutes away from this concrete island lies 172 acres of nature, bike paths, historic monuments, a waterfront promenade and rolling hills with views of the city skyline, so close while at the same time feeling so distant. I love that I don't need a car or much money to escape for the day and forget about NYC for a while only to fall back in love with it as we approached home.

If you want to take a quick trip around this year's FIGMENT, check out the video I pieced together for you. Just be warned: it contains silly dancing, bad singing and lots of laughter. Oh, and maybe a bit of teasing followed by an obscene gesture from A. Enjoy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Game of Thrones"

For the past nine weeks I've been watching HBO's "Game of Thrones" after A. kept geeking out about how gripping George R. R. Martin's fantasy book series has been. Although I've enjoyed the episodes, criticizing some of its lackluster beginnings and getting attached to some of the characters along the way, none have incited as much rage and emotion as the season's second-to-last episode.

I mean seriously?? What. The. Crap?!

First off, a quick background summary for those who aren't familiar with the show straight from A., who's read all four books that have been published so far:

"Game of Thrones" is about a few very powerful families, each with their own code of honor and ethics, vying for the throne of the kingdom. Though it is billed as a fantasy series, it is more of a political and character drama; the world is incredibly rich with history and fully realized characters using their best traits to their advantages (or disadvantages), but magic has all but died out from the realm. The Starks oversee the cold North with honor and justice, while the rich Lannisters and powerful Baratheons joust for control at the heart of the realm, with King Robert Baratheon and Queen Cersei Lannister at the center of it all. Meanwhile, the exiled children of the previous king plot their return to their rightful kingdom with an army at their backs. The dominoes begin to fall when King Robert comes calling on Ned Stark to help him keep things in order and Ned finds that something isn't quite right...

The action begins right in the first episode, but because there's so much ground to cover, some 20-odd core characters to introduce and plots to establish in a mere hour, it comes off harried and confusing. As someone who had never heard of these people before or familiarized herself with this world, I couldn't tell a Targaryen from a Baratheon so when a shocking scene ends the episode, I'm left feeling...absolutely nothing. I really didn't care enough yet. But it just serves to show how the series has improved tremendously from there because now? NOW? Holy crap! I didn't think I'd be so shocked and in tears, hating A. as much as that damn brat Joffrey for getting me invested in this stupid show and then leaving me completely unprepared for what would occur. So I just sat there in silence trying to grasp the enormity of what just happened in last night's episode.

For the last couple of weeks, I've cycled through several emotions as I watch an episode. At first, I'm eager to see what will happen next, begging this one for hints with no success. Then there's the anxiety and tension that comes with the surprises, gore and the supernatural ish that freak me out. Then the shocking twists come in and by the end of the episode I'm both angry that I put my mind and body through that anguish and still secretly excited to know what could possible follow that. I don't think there's ever been a show that has put me on such edge each week and actually leaves me wanting more. Apparently this series compels you into a life of masochism.

Now I guess when you have that many important characters you can afford to get rid of a few at whim, but Jesus, be kind to your viewers! People just get killed off with no regards for our feelings. The writers bring us this far, make us get attached to them and for what? To rip out our hearts without remorse? It might be a tired T.V. cliche, but I quite like when the good guys come out on top and miraculously escape unscathed NOT when they're fatally betrayed with no chance for revenge.

Too bad that's exactly what makes the story so damn captivating: no one is safe. It's thrown out all the rules and given us something unexpected, something worth discussing long after the episode's through. "Winter is coming," the characters keep warning of the looming years of darkness that will fall upon the realm. If this is only the beginning, the gods only know what the hell lies up ahead.

Have any of you been watching "Game of Thrones" too?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

National Stationery Show: Snarky and Sarcastic

Not all of the exhibitors at the show went the sweet route with their card messages. Some decided to keep it real and mildly offensive in the hopes of getting the attention of buyers who find sappy greetings all too corny. Here are some noteworthy ones:

My favorite of the bunch has to be Up Up Creative's newly expanded Sapsucker line. A first-time exhibitor at this year's show, designer Julie Green uses bold typography, non-sappy messages and eco-friendly practices to get her point across: there is power in specificity and rewards to be reaped if you avoid cliches and sentimentality. In other words, cut the crap and say what you really mean.

Hard Cards might seem earnest on the outside, but deliver a jab once they're opened. A new birthday greeting says "Happy birthday from all of us" on the outside while the inside message gives a shout-out to the cheapskate who signed the card without contributing to the group gift. Another is brutally honest about buying a present for someone you don't even know that well. And I'm sure some of you marrieds can relate to this anniversary card...

I thought it was a wee bit dramatic to include a pack of band-aids in the press kit, but I have to admit Oh My Word cards do make you cringe. One sample simply says "You skinny little bitch" on the outside with the inside message adding "What I mean is...did you lose weight?" Ouch. The company, which has a collection of cards and gift items, has had a dark sense of humor from the start since it was born after founder Leslie Kolk realized that on her stepmother's birthday all she wanted to say was "Happy birthday. I wish you were dead." At least she channeled that emotion into creative pursuits and not ones that would land her in jail.

Mean Cards were created during a pretty depressing situation, but considering the name, I don't think they're that insulting at all! Maybe my tolerance for darkness is quite high? These cards would be good to give someone with a sense of humor, but with whom you've yet to cross that line. Oh, wait, never mind. This "Everything Dies" card is pretty sick. And I don't mean the slang version of the word.

For more cards with bite, check out Offensive + Delightful, Quiplip and Old Tom Foolery.

Images:,, and