Summer To Do List

I was thinking about how fast summer was going by a few days ago. And I had this crazy notion I wasn’t living up to my full summer potential. Like I had been sitting in my apartment listlessly watching the hours drag by…and I knew that wasn’t true. I wanted to write down some things to do before summer ended, and also highlight the things I had already done. So this is my summer done/to do list. This summer has already been spectacular and I feel incredibly blessed to be living in such a fantastic city with a great community of friends.

Summer DONE list:

  1. Hung out with out of town friends. I love having people visit me and my city.
  2. Gone to the beach. Riis beach to be exact, which leads to my next item…
  3. Fulfilled my odd and freakishly stalker-like ambition of eating at all of the Ample Hills locationsI would freely describe myself as an Ample Hills addict. Hands down my favorite ice cream in the city.
  4. Waited in line and scored awesome seats for Shakespeare in the ParkI had never done this before.
  5. Did a crazy two-nights-sleeping-on-the-streets-experience to buy cancelation line tickets to HAMILTONWas it worth it? YES. Have I been listening to the soundtrack nonstop since I was in the room where it happened? DOUBLE YES.
  6. Lounged in Governor’s Island hammock groveSeriously, what’s better than a hammock?
  7. Scored tickets to the Brooklyn Pop Up Dinner. Second year in a row attending, and I’m still just as mesmerized by the sea of white and glorious table decorations.
  8. Attended a summer outdoor wedding. (Congrats again, Erin & Jon.)
  9. Camped out in Brooklyn Bridge Park for the 4th of July fireworks. My #1 favorite park in NYC.
  10. Went to multiple summer BBQs. Prospect Park is so close, and we’re definitely taking advantage of that.
  11. Learned new things at the Secret Science Club. Like how did I not realize there were FEASTING black holes and FASTING black holes? #terrifying.
  12. Gotten crafty with my community group. I have been so blessed by Liberty Church.
  13. Painted a mural in Bay Ridge. This one happened at the very start of summer, but I’m including it because I’m all about volunteering.
  14. Rode Jane’s Carrousel. Have wanted to do this ever since I moved here and just hadn’t gotten around to doing it.
  15. Gone on a city wide scavenger hunt. Sponsored by Open House New York. We didn’t get anywhere close to the top three teams, but we had a ton of fun.

Rest of Summer to-do list

  1. Visit two new beaches. I’ve got my eyes on you, Fire Island.
  2. Go to the Museum of Ice Cream. I mean, could I really NOT go to this??
  3. Go on some actual rides at Coney Island. I hear some roller coasters calling my name.
  4. Try two new ice cream places. You may have sensed that I really like ice cream. I haven’t been to Odd Fellows or that new Magnum NYC pop-up.
  5. Find a new summer jam. I’ve been looking forward to Relient K’s new release: Air For Free, as well as NEEDTOBREATHE’s Hard Love.
  6. Attend one of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concerts. Again, located in my backyard, Prospect Park.
  7. Catch one of the Broadway in Bryant Park series. Free broadway? Yes, duh.
  8. Visit the Mo Willems exhibit at the New York Historical Society. I love his picture books. And so many of them are set in the city!
  9. Visit the Cooper Hewitt and see their pixar exhibit. Haven’t been to this museum yet, and it looks amazing.

This isn’t everything, but it’s a start. What about you? What exciting things have you already done this summer? Any ice cream recommendations?

Life in the Big Apple

As you may have gathered from my post title, I am writing this from NEW YORK CITY.

I did it!

I know, I know. I’ve been saying for YEARS that I’d move to NYC, but I’m not sure how many people thought I was actually serious. (I’m actually not sure how serious I was at some points.)

But I decided after grad school it was time to take the plunge. So I sold all my furniture and my car and got some roommates and moved to Brooklyn.

And it already feels like home. I love this city.

But I’ve been playing a game with myself. Kind of keeping a mental tally of things to check off that are quintessential New York.

  1. I’ve seen rats on the subway
  2. I’ve seen clearly DISEASED rats on the subway (nothing like a good ol’ flesh disease to brighten your commute)
  3. I’ve accidentally missed my stop because I was too involved in my book
  4. I’ve had to plan an alternate route home because there was construction on my line
  5. I’ve run into someone I knew in NYC (seriously, how cool is that? NYC is huge!)
  6. I’ve eaten some NYC favs: Momofuku, Junior’s, Shake Shack, Roberta’s…
  7. I’ve spent hours roaming Central Park
  8. I’ve successfully given directions on how to transfer to another line on the metro
  9. I’ve seen multiple film productions on the street/metro
  10. I’ve had a shared connection with a complete stranger on the metro

But I’m excited for this new venture and all the changes it will bring. There’s so much to explore. And, of course, I’ll be updating here with my adventures and misadventures.

View from Brooklyn Bridge Park of the Manhattan Skyline

A brief update…life, the universe, and everything.

Since the last time I wrote was 6 months ago, I figured I should give you an update on my life. Who knew these past several months would be so crazy? I mean, well, I guess I should have realized this would be the case. When has life never been full of surprises?

Since November I’ve…

  • written a novel
  • graduated with a master’s degree
  • traveled to Europe
  • traveled to California
  • lost beloved family members
  • watched my sister move to Japan
  • met award-winning authors
  • been published
  • picked up a freelance gig
  • accepted a summer publishing internship
  • seen dear friends wed
  • seen dear friends graduate and move away

Really, it’s been quite a year. And of course, I have loads of pictures.

This was one of the interior courtyards of a building in Budapest. It looked perfectly ordinary from the outside, but once we went inside to visit one of the agencies we were greeted with this view. The only downside I can think is having to carry groceries up several flights of stairs. I would live here in a heartbeat.

This was one of the interior courtyards of a building in Budapest. It looked perfectly ordinary from the outside, but once we went inside to visit one of the agencies we were greeted with this view. The only downside I can think is having to carry groceries up several flights of stairs. I would live here in a heartbeat.

We walked across the famous Chain Bridge that separates the Buda side from the Pest side of Budapest. We traveled up the stairs to Buda Castle. I'm fairly certain I left part of my heart in this city.

We walked across the famous Chain Bridge that separates the Buda side from the Pest side of Budapest. We traveled up the stairs to Buda Castle. I’m fairly certain I left part of my heart in this city.

The Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. Absolutely beautiful. Open 365 days a week. I learned that some men come every day when the baths open and they sit in the water and play chess against one another for hours. You can see the smallest glimpse of those men in the bottom right hand corner of this picture.

The Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. Absolutely beautiful. Open 365 days a week. I learned that some men come every day when the baths open and they sit in the water and play chess against one another for hours. You can see the smallest glimpse of those men in the bottom right hand corner of this picture.

Amsterdam. This place had special significance because I was able to visit the Anne Frank House and it was also featured in The Fault in Our Stars (which is coming out in theaters this June). It's crazy that I visited Indianapolis AND Amsterdam within a year of reading John Green's book.

Amsterdam. This place had special significance because I was able to visit the Anne Frank House and it was also featured in The Fault in Our Stars (which is coming out in theaters this June). It’s crazy that I visited Indianapolis AND Amsterdam within a year of reading John Green’s book.

We saw Wicked in London. It was quite spectacular and I loved it.

We saw Wicked in London. It was quite spectacular and I loved it.

Overlooking London from the very top of St. Paul's Cathedral. My mother had warned me that it would be a lot of stairs...and it was A. LOT. OF. STAIRS. It was quite a work out. But the view was more than worth it. SO worth it.

Overlooking London from the very top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. My mother had warned me that it would be a lot of stairs…and it was A. LOT. OF. STAIRS. It was quite a work out. But the view was more than worth it. SO worth it.

I've been fascinated with this building ever since my first visit to London. The Gherkin (as it's fondly known) is such a glorious structure. I got to the base and toured the art installations that were placed around this area for the 2013-2014 year.

I’ve been fascinated with this building ever since my first visit to London. The Gherkin (as it’s fondly known) is such a glorious structure. I got to the base and toured the art installations that were placed around this area for the 2013-2014 year.

We took a bus ride around the city to see some of the sights. Unfortunately, I had desperately wanted to ride the London Eye, but it was closed for construction the entire time we were in London. I was still able to admire it from afar though.

We took a bus ride around the city to see some of the sights. Unfortunately, I had desperately wanted to ride the London Eye, but it was closed for construction the entire time we were in London. I was still able to admire it from afar though.

One of the best museums I've been to. Such a glorious set of buildings and gardens. Every angle was interesting and engaging. I could have spent days at the Getty Center. So. Good.

One of the best museums I’ve been to. Such a glorious set of buildings and gardens. Every angle was interesting and engaging. I could have spent days at the Getty Center. So. Good.

I loved seeing Frank Gehry's design. He's a fabulous architect and I enjoyed exploring the exterior of this building.

I loved seeing Frank Gehry’s design. He’s a fabulous architect and I enjoyed exploring the exterior of this building.

This was absolutely the BEST FRENCH TOAST I have ever had. It was some sort of egg brioche that was then covered in frosted flakes and came with a vanilla bean sauce that was heavenly. The fruit was also a fantastic touch.

This was absolutely the BEST FRENCH TOAST I have ever had. It was some sort of egg brioche that was then covered in frosted flakes and came with a vanilla bean sauce that was heavenly. The fruit was also a fantastic touch.

My friend took me to this lights exhibit outside the LACMA. It was fantastically cool and I loved it.

My friend took me to this lights exhibit outside the LACMA. It was fantastically cool and I loved it.

One of my loves: the ocean. Even though the water was a little bit chilly, I couldn't help strolling in the water.

One of my loves: the ocean. Even though the water was a little bit chilly, I couldn’t help strolling in the water.

This was on my journey up the California coast, I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and got to this beach just in time to watch the sunset. The view was glorious.

This was on my journey up the California coast, I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and got to this beach just in time to watch the sunset. The view was glorious.

Chinatown in San Francisco. I wandered down the streets before most places were open and it was nice to walk down the streets without very many other people. The emptiness was strangely soothing.

Chinatown in San Francisco. I wandered down the streets before most places were open and it was nice to walk down the streets without very many other people. The emptiness was strangely soothing.

Yes, I am a tourist. And it was my first time seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. How could I not take pictures from every angle? I also walked halfway across before getting cold and tired and heading back (I had been up since 5:15am and it was already around 3-4pm when I got to the bridge. I was ready to rest.)

Yes, I am a tourist. And it was my first time seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. How could I not take pictures from every angle? I also walked halfway across before getting cold and tired and heading back (I had been up since 5:15am and it was already around 3-4pm when I got to the bridge. I was ready to rest.)

Andrés Neuman was the featured guest of the 2014 Puterbaugh Festival sponsored by World Literature Today. I got the chance to photograph the events and I was also invited to the photoshoot for the magazine cover. It was so cool.

Andrés Neuman was the featured guest of the 2014 Puterbaugh Festival sponsored by World Literature Today. I got the chance to photograph the events and I was also invited to the photoshoot for the magazine cover. It was so cool.

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with my masters in Professional Writing. Next step: NYC and getting a job in publishing.

Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with my masters in Professional Writing. Next step: NYC and getting a job in publishing.

A Short Summary of My New York City Trip

I got the opportunity to travel to New York City last week and it was definitely one of the highlights of my year! I’ve dreamed of visiting for YEARS. So when I joined my school’s Magazine Interest Group and heard they were taking a trip to visit magazine companies in NYC, you can bet I jumped on that band wagon.

It was a whirlwind of site-seeing, magazines, food, and culture. I had an absolute blast. The magazines we visited: Departures, Real Simple, Brides,  Lucky, Harper’s Bazaar, and Sports Illustrated.

I wandered the city, seeing as much as I could with the precious amounts of daylight each day. My feet definitely hurt at the end of the day. But it was worth it. So worth it.

These are some of the photos I snagged during my 4 day trip. Hope you enjoy!

NYC Skyline

 

 

 

One of the first things I did: The Empire State Building. The view was absolutely fabulous. I could have spent hours there.
Atop the Empire State Building

 

 

 

 

 

Such a glorious view. Every angle was interesting. I loved this little viewfinder, patiently waiting to show off the view.

Times Square

 

 

 

 

And I (of course) went to Times Square my first night. How could I resist? It’s one of the first things people think of when they picture NYC. And it most certainly did not disappoint. Especially loved all of the Hunger Games!

The Subway

 

 

 

 

I loved the subway. So many people each going their own way. And contrary to popular belief, I did not run into any mean New Yorkers. Everyone I stopped to ask questions or directions was nice.

 

 

Time Inc.

 

 

Time Inc. One of the major buildings that hosted some of the magazines we visited! It was absolutely amazing to talk with these editors and assistants and hear about how magazines worked and their advice for people wanting to break into this industry.

 

NYC Streets

 

 

 

I couldn’t get enough of the streetscapes. So much movement and color. There was always something interesting going on.

Delicious Food

 

 

 

 

 

My first meal in NYC: Le Pain Quotidien – a french bakery/cafe. I had a Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella di Bufala Tartine and it was absolutely delicious.

Shake Shack

 

 

 

 

 

Another fabulous meal: a burger, fries, and shake from the Shake Shack. Basically the east coast version of In-N-Out Burger (one of my all time favorites.)

2 Bros. Pizza

 

 

 

 

And NYC is famous for having these little hole-in-the-wall $1 pizza slice places. These are THE GREATEST. Probably one of the best deals of NYC. If you have a dollar, you have pizza. AND they’re open late. Double score.The Strand BookstoreGrand Central Station The Chrysler Building  Standing outside of the NYC Public LibraryThe Original Winnie the PoohWhere The Wild Things AreCentral Park Foliage Beautiful Trees in Central ParkCentral Park      

   Sailing in Central Park     The Met

Guggenheim MuseumGoodbye, NYC...I'll be back soon!  

 

 

We also visited The Strand, the largest independent bookstore in NYC. So many aisles of books! They boast over 18 miles of books.

 

 

 

 

 

And how could I NOT visit Grand Central Station? They were celebrating their centennial! So that was pretty neat as well.

 

 

 

 

 

I also stopped by the Chrysler Building. I’m a big fan of art deco, but unfortunately it was closed. My friend told me it had gone bankrupt, so I don’t know what is going to become of it…

 

 

 

 

 

Me on the New York Public Library steps. Whenever I travel to new cities I always try to visit either a library or a bookstore. I can’t help but gravitate towards book-oriented places.

 

 

 

And the NYC public library was running this FANTASTIC exhibit: The ABC of it: Why Children’s Books Matter that featured so many timeless classics and new favorites. This is the original Winnie the Pooh.

 

 

 

 

Inside a playful Where the Wild Things Are cut-out. One of my all time favorite children’s books. Their exhibit was excellent because it had elements for adults and children.

 

 

 

 

I walked through Central Park for a few hours. The fall colors were BEAUTIFUL. I Could not get enough of that fall color hue. It was a lovely day. I could have easily spent my whole day there if I didn’t have other things I wanted to see.

 

 

 

 

BUT SERIOUSLY, HOW COULD YOU EVER GET TIRED OF THIS? I was having a heyday taking all of these pictures.

 

 

 

 

Central Park is huge, expansive and beautiful. I thought I had been walking for miles and I felt like I had gone so far. But when I looked at my phone’s map, I realized I hadn’t even gone a mile.

 

 

 

 

 

They had remote-controlled sailboats and they were fun to watch. I absolutely love this picture. The contrast of dark and light and the darker hues of the reds and oranges in the background. Love.

 

 

 

I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a few hours. It was also SUPER VAST. And I’ll admit that I got lost trying to make my way out. And, fun fact: when I got back home, I saw an article that said Psy (Gangnam Style) had visited the Met the SAME EVENING I was there! How crazy is that?!

 

 

The last place I visited on my free day was the Guggenheim Museum. I’ve seen this building in various movies/places for years. So when I saw they had pay-what-you-want hours from 5:45-7:45pm every Saturday, I had to go. Such a cool piece of architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

 

 

 

One of my last views of the city. The taxi ride to the airport. I was sad to say goodbye, but I know I’ll be back soon.

What I’ve been doing all these past weeks…instead of blogging.

To say I’ve been waylaid by life as the sole means for my lack of posts would be cheesy and cliche. That’s why I’m switching around the wording.

Of late, I have been rather busy with the holidays and such, so I must apologize for my lack of posting.

Doesn’t that sound posh.

Okay, but really…I have been busy. As long as you count sleeping in and reading books busy. (Which I do.) But I figured since it’s the New Year and all – I should do the obligatory New Year’s Resolutions post where I try to shame myself into being better at things.

  1. I resolve to write more frequently on my blog[s].
  2. I resolve to exercise more.
  3. I resolve to make better eating choices.
  4. I resolve to read a gazillon books.
  5. I resolve get an internship in NYC this summer.
  6. I resolve to write a novel.
  7. I resolve to buy less shoes…even if they are on super sale.
  8. I resolve to travel and take photographs.
  9. I resolve to be more disciplined in my writing.
  10. I resolve to actually check back on my New Year’s Resolutions sooner than January 2014.

That last one may be a bit of a stretch. It’s embarrassing to say, but sometimes I forget entirely about my resolutions as soon as I’ve posted them some place. It’s like my brain says, “Whew, glad you got that out of your system, let’s go back to that sleeping in business.”

And then for summary: I had a great winter break, thank you for asking. I saw friends + family and it was a nice bit of relaxation. I saw THE HOBBIT and rather enjoyed it. I bought myself a Nikon D3100 and am so far in love it’s not even the least bit funny. I successfully completed NaNoWriMo in November and now have a very lackluster novel to revitalize (it just needs some tender love and care…then it’ll be a decent novel.) and I’ve also taken quite a bit of photography with that new camera. Now I’m ready to get back into the swing of things as school starts next week.

Cheerio!

Please don’t psychoanalyze my dreams

For most of my life I’ve had crazy dreams. Dreams that really don’t make sense and are often more confusing than a mashup of Shel Silverstein poetry and Dr. Seuss characters.

For instance, I’ll give you an example from a weird dream I can STILL remember from a couple of years ago. I don’t know what I was doing in the dream, but I woke up being deathly terrified of an orange pool noodle shaped like an otherwise cute animal (seriously, it was like a sea-horse or something) and I vividly remember thinking that if that pool noodle found me I’d be dead. Weird.

Pool animals — Not nearly as scary when becoming conscious again.

Also, another freakish example of my late night brain shenanigans: I was on a cruise with my family and before I could go ashore I had to buy all new clothes from the cruise ship mall and eat my biscuits before the deflated shark on the pool deck got to them first. Yeah, like I said, kind of strange.

And these dream musings lead me to think about a few things…

  1. Haven’t I always heard that people dream in black & white?
  2. Is there some possible way I can harvest the creativity in my dreams and use them in my writing?
  3. Do I have such strange dreams because I’m a freak?

So I did some internet probing to figure out what was up with my preconceived notion about B&W dreams. And this is what I found. (Actually, I found a lot of things, but most were hokey-looking sites, and this seemed  kinda/sorta/hopefully legit.) It’s an interesting snippet saying that people used to think they dreamed in B&W, but that may have been strongly influenced by their B&W media. Now they think the majority of people dream in color. I know I dream in color because it’s usually a central part of my dreams…like that orange pool noodle, or that pink floral & denim dress I had to buy from the cruise ship mall.

Also, I’ve heard about some authors who are directly influenced by their dreams and use some of that material for their writing. And I’m always so jealous. This seemed like such a cool idea. But if you’ll kindly recall the two snippets of dreams I described for you…you can see why this would just make all my novels awkward.

It’s a little strange, because I’ve often had dreams that are super epic when I’m asleep and the back of my mind is making comments like: “When you wake this up, you should write this down, it’d make a great story.” or “Make sure you remember this, it’d be a super duper fantastic plot twist!” and other happy thoughts. But when I wake up and actually remember my dream it’s not super epic, it’s usually horribly lackluster. I really wish I could use this fountain of creativity for my writing…but it’s too bizarre to filter out anything worthwhile.

Also, have you ever been so caught up in a dream that when you finally wake up your mind has trouble distinguishing what’s reality and what’s fantasy? Because I’ve done that. And it’s kind of annoying because it leaves me with this cryptic sense of deja vu for the rest of the day.

So what about you? Strange dreams? Creepy dreams? Funny dreams? No dreams?