Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How About a Picnic?

I love trips to the park so it's a wonder why I haven't had a picnic in a little over forever. I'm trying to change that this summer! Here's how to host your own little party in the sun.

P.S. Isn't this spontaneous picnic dress so cheery?

Images: reddishstudio.com

All Points West Music & Arts Festival

I'd love to go to Friday's gigs, but the price is so high it's making me think twice. They even have a layaway plan for the festival! Yipers...

Image: jcregister.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Giveaway: The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything

I love guide books: travel guides, photography, writing, card making, etc. So soon after finishing grad school, I wanted to find one that would tell me all the big and little things I should know about the real world. Yeah, I know many of it is common sense and figuring things out on your own, but if there was something that would detail as much of it out for me before I went out and "learned from my mistakes," then I wanted to read it.

I wanted to know about the appropriate attire for different situations, how to manage a new relationship and my old-school parents, how to handle a new job and my finances and, later, how to apartment hunt. Oh, and I wanted it all in one book and didn't want to be bored to death with all this info.

Enter The Girl's Guide to Absolutely Everything. When I found this book, I got just what I needed. It even included stuff I didn't even know I wanted to know. The info is presented in a fresh and fun way unlike the other snore fests found in the self-help aisle and has practical tips you'll actually use. (Actually I hope I never have to unclog an overflowing toilet. Ew.) In fact, I loved it so much I bought several copies to give away that following Christmas. And from what I hear, my friends enjoyed it just as much. It's so handy and even though I doubt you'll read it from cover to cover right off the bat, it's a great resource to flip through and search for any answers you need. I still go back to mine when I have a random question (like how long will that produce last in my fridge).

Author Melissa Kirsch asked all the women she knew, "What do you know now that you wish you'd known right after college and in your 20s that would have made your life a lot less difficult, spared you heartache, generally made the transition to life on your own a heck of a lot easier?" This book is their answer.

This week, I'll be giving away a copy of this book to a random winner! Just answer me this: what do you know now that you wish you knew 5, 10 years ago?

And if you follow or subscribe to this blog, you'll get extra entries (but you still have to comment first). A winner will be announced tomorrow night.

CONGRATULATIONS: Odessa is this week's winner!

Image: search.barnesandnoble.com

Shecky's Girls Night Out

Saturday night, Anonymous and I went to a fun Shecky's Girls Night Out event. We spent the whole evening looking at clothes, jewelry, accessories, taking pictures, tasting cocktails and beer, trying to snag extra food samples on the low (we were hungry!) and just laughing four hours away. I even considered hosting a Booty Parlour Party! And I treated myself to this beautiful necklace from B.Bohéme: a real leaf preserved in gold.

We even got goodie bags with our tickets! Mine had all sorts of fun stuff, coupons and samples: magnets with cocktail recipes, four purse-sized Aveeno moisturizers and lip balm, yummy veggie chips and microwavable chocolate cake for one, hair accessories, Alka-Seltzer, zero-calorie ices, tiny toothbrushes, a flexible tote, teeth whitener, nail polish, a 4-blade razor and bikini cream, eye drops, a sweet eau de toilette sample from The Body Shop, Aunt Flow stoppers both big and small, Yes To Carrots products, a Meg Cabot book and a Harlequin novel about a ranch and cowboy lovers...or something like that. We were in the train station looking through our bags like two kids on Noche Buena.

I'm not usually into fashion and beauty events, but I had such a fun night hanging out I definitely wouldn't mind going again in the fall! They host events in several cities so check if they'll swing by your neck of the woods, too.

Image: sfindiefashion.com

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Need a Laugh?

Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" radio commercials get me every time. I dare you to listen to any one of them and not bust out laughing.

Oh, and please drink responsibly.

P.S. OMG, this one's hysterical!

Image: usatoday.com

MTA Fare Hike - Yes, Another One

And so it finally happened again. As of today, the fares to ride the MTA have increased. Argh. Here are the new prices for us (financially) poor New Yorkers:

Single fare: $2.25
1-day: $8.25
7-day: $27
14-day: $51.50
30-day: $89

Single fare for express bus: $5.50
7-day express bus pass: $45


Image: nydailynews.com

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Having Fun Isn't Hard

Remember that little public library I discovered a block away from my house? Yeah, well it took me more than a month to actually visit it.

So here I am trying to be "productive" and instead blogging up a storm. In fact, as soon as I entered I walked straight to a random section (really I just wanted to look like I knew where I was going) and ended up in the web guides section. What did I grab from there (again, to look as if that was exactly where I wanted to be)? The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. Funny, this is going to make Monday's Giveaway even more true.

Actually, I feel a bit out of place. Here I am, the only person on my iBook using the free WiFi when 10 other peeps are busy using the library's computer or waiting for one to open up. One's been trying to fill out a job application to Pathmark Supermarket for the past hour, but somehow can't seem to "get" it. I think he's getting on the librarians' nerves with his questions. And I overheard the guy next to him talking about a corrections officer. God I hope he was talking about a colleague.

It's a fairly small library, with half of the one-floor space dedicated to children's books (it's next to an elementary school). But there are quite a few tables and purple cushioned chairs that I'd love to sink into at some point. I doubt it ever gets too full on the weekends here, so I might pop in more often from now on.

We finally have beautiful weather in NYC today after days upon days of rain (with more to come) and though I should probably be out enjoying it, I like being in here for now. But I'll definitely be going out later on today.

P.S. Just how great is it outside, you ask? Well it's so perfect, I'm actually wearing a skirt! That means it's officially a holiday. It's a celebration...

P.P.S. The post title is a nod to a certain Arthur cartoon episode from long ago. I'm sure my sis will be the only one who knows the following lines to this song without having to Google for it :)

Cotton Ball Clouds

Last night, the girls and I wandered around midtown after a thunderstorm and ended up by Bryant Park. Minutes later, the purple-pink-and-orange sky put on a show for us! Don't the clouds look like pretty little cotton balls? And the surrounding architecture looked just as breathtaking.

Hot Wheels

I almost feel like waiting around for the driver...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Friday

Have any weekend plans? I'm hanging out with the girls in a couple hours, going to a Girls Night Out event tomorrow night and nursing my little pup (not pictured above) back to health. The poor guy is so out of it, he cried through most of the night.

But sidenote, doesn't this little puppy make you giggle? It looks like Heidi's dog, Charlie!

P.S. Upon Heidi's badgering request, here's Charlie :)

Image: fti.asn.au

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The End of an Era

And through LadyStyx, I just found out Ed McMahon passed away two days ago and Farrah Fawcett passed away earlier today. When I dropped Toby off to get neutered this morning, I half-saw coverage on Farrah's condition on TV, but I guess I didn't catch on. When I went to pick him up, it was all about Michael. Sad days indeed.

Being Single in NYC

Every now and then I'll get a comment on here about how "fab" it must be to be a single writer living it up in New York City. "It's so Sex and the City." Yeah, no. Let me break it down for you, fools. First off, I never say "fab," "fabu," or any other derivative of the word "fabulous" (which I also don't use). And second, well, let's just say this calls for a list. So I present to you...

Ten Ways My Life is NOT Like Sex and the City

10. I don't hop around from one chic party to the next. More often than not, you'll find me vegging out at home with my dog.

9. I don't own a single piece of couture or designer shoes. In fact, I only learned that all Louboutins have red soles about a month ago.

8. When I write out my stories, I don't include "I couldn't help but wonder..." in every intro.

7. My curls are slightly darker than Carrie's.

6. I tasted a Cosmo once and frankly? Ew. I think I'll stick with martinis.

5. I've never headed to the Hamptons for a summer weekend getaway.

4. Can someone please name a Latina on that show?

3. It's always Metrocards over yellow cabs for me, thanks.

2. You won't find me striking up a convo in graphic detail about my latest encounter as if I were talking about the weather.

1. I've yet to actually have sex in the city.

So there you have it. I hope I've burst any little bubbles you've dreamt up about my NYC life. If not, here's what others had to say about being single in this "fantabulous" city:

"I think the fact that we do live in the city that never sleeps, filled with an endless amount of social activities, helps put us in situations where we're more likely to encounter many different people. HOWEVER, I think whether or not a match ever happens is highly contingent on us. Personally speaking, I'm this timid little thing who very rarely, if ever, would approach someone of the opposite sex (sober) and start 'spitting game.' First of all, I have no game. Second of all, I'd be too busy wondering if this dude is into me to even formulate a coherent sentence. Either that or I'll play the role of this sassy little thing who's soooo not into you.

Whether you live in the greatest city on earth or in an itty-bitty town, I think how outgoing and confident you are plays the biggest role in whether or not you'll meet someone. If you're outgoing and not afraid to meet new people you're going to meet prospects WHEREVER you go. If you're shy it doesn't matter that you're surrounded by so many people because, if you're anything like me, you're more than likely not going to do anything about it - except hope they approach you." ~Dama


"I think being single in NYC is a lot harder than in other places. Sure there are a lot more people here so one would assume that the chances of meeting someone are greater, but the truth is that people have so many choices that they are scared to settle down. It's like everyone is waiting for the next best thing to come around the corner.

The culture in NYC is very focused on work, so that usually means that everyone works longer hours and that's even encouraged. People here don't have as much time to date as people in other cities. Because seriously, most of us are exhausted by the time we get home at 7 or 7:30 PM. Who has the energy to get all dressed up and go on a date after being out of your house for 11 or 12 hours? I'm not saying it's easy in other places, I just think that the fact there is so much focus on career makes that a priority.

There's also so much to do in this city, people fill the void of not having a boy/girlfriend by going out to a myriad of places: parks, bars, clubs, restaurants. You don't need a significant other in this city to have company; you can walk outside and find a million things to do that fill the void momentarily. I know in other places people who are single are more anxious of finding someone because they feel the need to share their alone moments with someone else." ~Heidi


"Yeah, I found dating to be hard way back when. I usually go out with my guys so if someone were to hit on me he'd stay back because of confusion as to who I'm with in the group. Then there's the creepy guy who wants to buy you a drink when there's nada there for him to pursue since you're not interested in any way. I really am a stickler for not dating where you work, but I'm so glad I ignored it. David and I are past the year-and-a-half mark and I'm so happy with him even if we are in different countries.

I really don't want to go back to the dating pool. Ayer, a guy passed by me and (NO joke) asked, 'Sweetheart, can I break your back?' Of course, I didn't answer and so he called out, 'So I can't get none?!' With idiots like that allowed to walk the streets, it makes it harder to find a quality guy. And to meet a guy in the bar or a club also has that stigma. No matter where the location or situation, you just have to take a chance when it comes to dating. And I don't think it matters if the girl makes the first move. Why wouldn't a guy find that flattering?" ~TJ

Images: msdress-up.com, thefrisky.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Fancy Little Dinner Party

So Sunday's dinner party actually went really well! I nearly had a panic attack when it was almost time for the guests to arrive and there I was still chopping up tomatoes for the bruschetta when I should've been getting dressed instead. But my friends had a lovely time and liked the food. And my little menus looked so cute!

Preparing everything was so much work, but it was nice to see the girls enjoy themselves and that I could pull it off without too many hitches. Read more about it here!

Images: courtesy of Dama and Dariany

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht

Watching Jon and Kate's family grow and then seeing their marriage fall apart in front of the cameras makes me sad. Heartbreaking how some things just unravel with time.

Image: lasnark.com

Monday Giveaway: Little Chickie Wear

Little Chickie Wear has the cutest little onesies and shirts! And aren't the baby hats so adorable?

It makes me want one.

(A baby, not a hat.)

Plus, all of designer Gwen's handmade clothes are printed on 100% organic cotton and without dyes so your little one will be stylish and green all at the same time. (Hey, they're never too early to learn!)

Take a look around her site, leave a comment with your fave item and design and one random winner will receive what they love. And if you follow or subscribe to this blog, you'll get extra entries (but you still have to comment first). A winner will be announced tomorrow night so check back for the update.

Gwen is also offering Dry As Toast readers a 20% discount until July 6. Just type in dryastoast09 when you checkout!

CONGRATULATIONS: Tooj is this week's winner!

Images: gwendesigns.com

Congratulations, Mott Hall Seniors

At least you'll actually remember who your keynote speaker was at your eighth grade graduation. No idea who mine was!

Image: nydailynews.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Away We Go

The sis and I went to see Away We Go yesterday afternoon. I hadn't read any reviews, didn't know much of what to expect and only caught a quick trailer beforehand. But from that clip and the movie's awesome poster, I knew I had to see this.

In the film, Verona (played by SNL's Maya Rudolph) and Burt (The Office's John Krasinski) are parents-to-be and in search of a new place to start their family. With the road before them and nothing tying them down, they go off to visit (some crazy) friends and family in search of home.

The movie was so unbelievably sweet and touching. Its comedy wasn't over-the-top (very unlike The Hangover, which was one crazy antic after the next), but it still had some very funny moments. And I loved the soundtrack, courtesy of Scottish newcomer Alexi Murdoch. I'll be sure to add it to my "Soundtracks I Still Need to Get Along with Juno" list.

Yes, I fought back tears through several parts in the movie and the fact that Krasinski's character reminded me so much of Mr. First didn't help much at all. This couple is so completely enamored with each other that it actually hurt. I want that. I want to be that much in love with someone and to know that no matter how crazy everyone around me becomes, there will always be that other person holding it down with you. My favorite parts were just seeing Verona and Burt interact with each other. Those little moments when you get to see them just be silly, loving, "angry," reassuring and nurturing to each other.

I wish I had that again. And for better or for worse, the truth is I simply miss him. Yet here I am refusing to respond. Because it's what I "should" do. Because it's what I "need" to do. Because I'd be "better off" forgetting and moving on. But here I am, on the fence, knowing that if something were ever to happen to either one of us, I would always regret leaving things as they are.

At random times, this wild sense of optimism flushes over me and I believe without a doubt that he and I will somehow be ok in the future. That everything will work itself out. Then I dismiss it and tell myself that I'm being delusional. That I feel it because I want so much to believe it. Who knows. I'm just going with it - whatever this is - because I'm tired of twisting and fighting and digging my heels in every step of the way. If I'm meant to go through this then I will. But I'll be walking very slowly as I go.

Away We Go: 4.5/5 Toasties


Friday, June 19, 2009

TGI the Weekend is More Like It

Just for kicks, here's a list of funny - some rated PG-17 - links from around the web so you can waste some more hours of your life (away from work)! Just in case any of you thought I was 100% angelic:

A lovely song about Facebook and exes. When I received it weeks ago, I liked it. As of last night, I related to parts of it. (Need captions?)

A hilarious blog where cute and furry little animals get cursed the #@&% out.

Family Guy. En estilo Dominicano. (Thanks Dariany and Dama!)

The blog's title is questionable, but I enjoy this fresh artistic view of NYC. (Thanks Intense Guy!)

I haven't actually checked this celeb gossip blog in over a year, but it was a funny (and usually raunchy) read. A guy writes it so you know what to expect (and, of course, a guy turned me onto it).

Into sick and twisted comic strips? Actually, I really heart the cartoonist since he was so kind when I had a special request for someone's birthday present last year. (Again, a guy introduced me to this.)

This guy is completely weird and hysterical and I love it.

Image: gettyimages.com

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Standard Hotel

So I'm all checked into The Standard Hotel and already took a thousand pictures of the room. I don't really hang out in the Meatpacking District and almost swore I'd never stepped foot in the neighborhood until I passed by Tenjune, a swanky little bar where Latina Magazine held a party for its June/July cover girls Prima J last year. Clearly I had no idea where we were when I took a cab over with my coworkers!

I took in some sights (and pics) on the short walk over and I love the area! There's so many cafés and delis. If the weather were nicer I'm sure the streets would be filled with open umbrellas and diners chatting outside. My coworker suggested I eat dinner at Vento Trattoria so I could practice my Italian while I was at it, but I said the weather was too yucky for fine dining and opted for a quick sandwich from North Village Deli Emporium instead.

The first task was finding the stinking front door to the hotel! So I walked on over to the cutie standing by the larger-than-life can of orange juice, walked right through the revolving door and found myself in the tiniest lobby filled with marble and black. It was a blur really since it's kind of hard to look sophisticated and nonchalant when you want to touch everything. Needless to say, no pictures here. Second task, opening my room door. Why must everything be so hard and high-tech? Geez. Oh and P.S. Some lighting inside the elevators would be nice. The only lighting came from screens on either side of the car. The picture on the left was taken with no flash! (Ok, it wasn't this dark, but it was super dim!)

Now onto the good part. I usually get a quick glance of the room from the door and then proceed to examine the bathroom first. There I was surprised with a nice yet kinky little feature. See this pic?

Well it was taken from inside the peek-a-boo shower! Yup, the stall has an entire glass wall so you can see right through to the room!

¡Que sexy! In fact, there are no doors to get into the bathroom or shower stall at all. (But don't worry. The "water closet" is behind door number 1.)

Just have to make sure the curtains are drawn come shower time because the glass wall faces the windows. And it is quite the view! (I meant the streets not your showering self.) It's not exactly the most glamorous part of Manhattan, but I love how gritty these streets and buildings are. And with floor-to-ceiling windows, I can take it all in from the 15th floor.

So there you are and here I am. Just writing, relaxing, finishing off this sandwich, about to catch The Real Housewives of New Jersey (apparently it's insane) and making plans to live from one hotel room to the next for the rest of my life. I'm heading out for cocktails in an hour so I'll pop in one last time tonight to tell you about that bar!

P.P.S. How does this TV work?!? "No signal?" Grrr...

UPDATE: The shindig happened in this little flower shop called Banchet Flowers a couple blocks from the hotel so not much to report on that front. The cocktails were good though and now I'm sleepy. Perfect. You know what else is perfect? A working TV. Goodnight :)