Saturday, January 7, 2012

Twenty-Something Resolutions for Twenty-Somethings

Image courtesy of myself...for once...kind of proud
  1. Frame a photo, don’t InstaGram it
  2. Wish your friends a “happy birthday” on the phone, not on their wall
  3. Leave your phone off or at home during dinner
  4. Trade in an energy drink for a juice drink
  5. Buy something because you need it, not because you saw an ad for it
  6. Walk down the street without headphones
  7. Read the news...any way you can
  8. Make a charitable donation, especially if it's your time
  9. Forget the names of of reality show stars, remember the names of the people you meet
  10. If you want to make a change, make a plan, don’t just send a Tweet
  11. Make it a goal to never appear on Texts From Last Night, do try to appear on Damn You Autocorrect
  12. Replace the following words and phrases in your vocabulary:
    1. Kim Kardashian with South Sudan
    2. Paris Hilton with The European Debt Crisis
    3. Lindsey Lohan with Gabrielle Giffords
    4. Real Housewives with National Geographic; it is essentially the same programming with rational behavior
    5. The Jersey Shore cast with actual Italians such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Frank Sinatra, and Sophia Loren
    6. Perez Hilton with NPR
  13. Engage in conversation about politics, sex and money
  14. Read the ingredient labels on food you buy, be skeptical of unregulated advertising lingo
  15. Learn to spell without autocorrect
  16. Research a question you have, don’t just ask Siri to Google it for you
  17. Read a book, not a blog (I acknowledge the irony of reading this on a blog)
  18. Make friends with someone who is different than you without sending a friend request
  19. Ask someone on a date over the phone, not in a message
  20. Aspire to never be “that guy/girl”
  21. Delete Internet Explorer from your parents computers and install Google Chrome (they’ll end up thanking you later)
  22. Work hard for the things you want
  23. Join a club, not a social network
  24. Talk to someone at a bar, don’t just find out who is there on Foursquare
  25. Take a vacation

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Diamond District Glory

What: Pawning Silver

Where: Diamond District, New York
Who: Jehdy and Myself

Having lived in New York for some time now, my father decided it was time for me to do him a favor and sell the silver his father left to him when he passed away. Seeming like a simple task I obliged and scouted out the diamond district for the best possible place to sell his metal.

Review after review popped up on my Google search. Most of the reviews were awful claiming that they had been ripped off. This was no surprise, the business of pawn shops and jewelry stores is very clear: make the most money possible and screw the person selling to you.

I finally decided on three locations that had the best of the bad reviews and dragged my coworker Jehdy with me during lunch. Not sure what I was up against I knew I might need backup.

Upon arriving to the first store we were lead to a back room where the price of silver was looked up online for the trading price that day and then my treasure was weighed. The old Jewish man then told me the best he could do was 4 dollars per ounce below the selling price, he was screwing me essentially.

The next office procured another Jewish man who went through the same process. They must have felt comfortable trying to screw me out of hundreds of dollars assuming that I had no knowledge or backbone, unbeknownst to them many of my family members are Jewish and I learned to haggle with the best of them.

This time the man offered me a reasonable price for the silver and I accepted. As I signed away the rights to the silver he asked if I wanted cash or a check. Having still not opened a New York bank account (way overdue) I asked for cash to hold me over for a while.

As the man counted the cash he gave me an extra $100. Unsure if he miscounted I took the cash and walked out with Jehdy. We both felt slightly violated by the back room experience and had to shake off the dirty feeling we were sure was associated with being a call girl (not that we saw anything wrong with this lifestyle.) As I counted my extra hundred dollars I smiled to myself thinking that I was the first person to screw the diamond district (a title I will not let go of soon.)

When I've retold this story to my friends I assure them I robbed the man and took more than he offered...there is only one witness to deny this, but luckily her price was only $50.

Goals Accomplished:
1) First visit to the Diamond District
2) Uncomfortable feeling like a hooker
3) You can beat the people trying to screw you

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pizza, Yes, For One, No

What: A Rejection
Where: Florence, Italy
Who: Myself
I arrived in Florence on Monday, February 14th. Not realizing what day it was after having traveled from Madrid on the bus ride that took me to the plane that took me to the train. After showering in my hotel I dressed in what might be considered extensive in New York City, but felt right for a nice dinner in Florence.
As I walked down the cobblestone streets passing by buildings, statues and monuments built by masters of the past I began to drink in the energy that is Italy. As I passed by one partially outdoor cafe I noticed an array of hearts and cupids on the overhang and in the windows. It was Valentine’s Day.
Having been in Europe for a week at this point I knew it had been this Hallmark Holiday when I had awoken that day, but had forgotten by the time my feet hit the dirt in Tuscany. This less than pleased me, I was alone (even though in a relationship), across the ocean. Deciding to make the best of it, the way many single girls do on some lonely Sunday at a matinee, I headed in the direction of a favorite pizza place from years before when I studied in Florence.
After weaving in and out of the city center towards the less touristy (read: less expensive) restaurants of the center I found myself at Pizzaiolo. My Italian was rusty after years of solitary confinement, but I had never forgotten how to ask for a table, order more food or ask for a liter of wine.
Translated Conversation:
Me: Good Evening, may I have a table for one, please?
Hostess: No, we cannot accommodate a table for one tonight.
I stared blank, something I am pretty sure translates the world over, thinking that maybe I had used the wrong verb and altered my question.
Me: Can I have a table, please?
Hostess: No, you cannot have a table.
I stepped towards the door somewhat stupefied by the experience as three people walked in.
Group: May we have a table for three?
Hostess: Yes, right this way.
For a moment I thought about asking to join that table and being their fourth...they wouldn’t even have to acknowledge my presence, except when ordering. After a moment of dreamily, probably creepily, staring at the threesome I headed towards the door.
As I slipped out the front door I saw another restaurant favorite I had from years earlier and decided to go there instead.
After a whole pizza and half a liter of wine I roamed the streets back towards my hotel. The intoxicating scents and sights of Florence became overly romanticized in my head. The statues? I thought. Sure they were beautifully built, but they weren’t ‘that’ impressive. And the oldest bridge in Italy? I mean really, had they seen the Brooklyn bridge?
Rounding the street where the restaurant that had accosted me hours earlier was I swore I would never go there again; a big threat considering I had been to the country three times in the past 6 years.
The next night I found myself jonesing for more authentic Italian pizza and found myself in front of the exact restaurant, Pizzaiolo.
I stepped through the front door, walked right up to the hostess, held my head high, and said:
“May I have one go please?”

Goals Accomplished:
1) First dinner alone
2) Uncomfortable getting rejected
3) That Italian hostess' are not above having an attitude

Monday, January 31, 2011

Giraffe Neck Equals Model Offer

*Photo by Steven Meisel

What: A Model Offer

Where: Grand Central

Who: Steven Meisel, Lara, Myself

A couple Monday’s ago I went to meet my friend Lara in the constantly bustling Grand Central terminal. Upon arriving I remembered how much I despised this chaotic gathering place of comings and goings.

Not a minute into waiting at the end of the appropriate platform a woman came up to me and asked the time. After giving it to her we awkwardly stood together waiting for our arrivals.

Another minute passed and a man came up to me and barked:

Man: Do you have pen?

Me: No.

While I probably did have a pen I get nervous when yelled at by strangers and thought I would be furthered yelled at if I had to rifle through my bag.

Man: Well take down this number.

At this point, the woman turned and studied the well-groomed 50 something man in a beige knee-length peacoat.

Man: 212

Me: Hold on! I snapped back as an incoming text message took over my screen.

Man: 212-***-****....Call me on Monday.

Me: What?

Man: Whoever you’re working for now, you’ll be happier working for me.

While probably true, I was still skeptical of the man.

Me: What?

Man: Who do you work for? Next? I love your neck.

Me: What?

At this point I hopelessly gazed for my friend Lara to avoid the crazy next to me while the woman continued to be intrigued by the crazy.

Man: You really don’t know what I’m not talking about, do you?

Me: Not in the slightest.

Man: I’m legitimate, I’m a photographer. I want to shoot your neck, it’s long.

Me: Yeah, I used to get called a giraffe a lot.

Finally Lara arrived and I hugged her and whispered that I did not know the strangers next to me and she began to steer me away.

Man: I’m Steven Meisel, call me on Monday.

The name was lost on me until I googled later to find out that he is one of the most successful and famous fashion photographers in the world. He shoots every cover of Italian Vogue, many of the American Vogue’s, Madonna’s Sex Book and the list continues.

I was slightly excited at the prospect of being photographed by someone with more street cred than Kanye West has among douche bags and delighted to be one of the only people in the world who has told Steven Meisel to “hold on.” I contacted him two weeks later and his assistant, Ruk (the name of a chess piece...spelled incorrectly), asked me to send a photo and he would talk to Steven.

After sending the photo I received a reply in which Ruk asked me to describe the man in Grand Central because Steven did not remember approaching me. I then described the man and was told that it was not Steven and no one at the office matched my description.

Mortified I said that I was not an aspiring model by any means and apologized for the waste of time to which Ruk responded that he was more taken aback and amused at the impersonator who is giving out the right number.

With my model dreams crushed in only 3 lines of an email I resorted to going back to the office the next day my head a little lower...if only to hide the length of my neck.

Goals Accomplished:
1) First fake offer

2) Uncomfortable when I learned it was not legitimate

3) That even I can succumb to dreams of being a model

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Admission: A Fist Pump

What: Pacha
Where: Pacha, Hell's Kitchen
Who: Justin, Jon, Myself

If you have ever been to Pacha and thoroughly enjoyed yourself then you should probably stop reading here.

“Come to Pacha,” Justin encouraged me.

Having worked in a night club for years, being over busy with work and only trying to new things for the sake of this blog/my sanity, I have become less of a “club” person and more of a “sit at home and eat bad food” person. A fact that I have no qualms with, but friends tend to think otherwise.

So not too long ago I decided to venture out and see the now infamous night club, Pacha, an offshoot of the famous club in Ibiza. With the likes of Snooki and the Kardashians recently attending I was apprehensive about what I was getting myself into.

Upon entering the club with Justin and Jon I found myself immersed in a stampede of hundreds of people bumping their way like ping pong balls around the room to get to the bar, the dance floor or the bathroom. Many of these drunk wonders would be referred to by Manhattanites as ‘bridge and tunnel’ or ‘strong islanders.’ Something I was assured does not always happen. More frequently, the club attracts hardcore music lovers that praise unity through music rather than unity through hair gel.

Spanning two floors Pacha is a large night club in Hell’s Kitchen that attracts famous DJs (Cosmic Gate, Bob Sinclair, etc.) and other celebrities alike. The dance floor, located on the lower level, can be viewed from the second floor, probably your best bet if you dislike being charged into repeatedly.

The music was a mix of trance and techno with a top 40 remix thrown in every so often. I found myself on the dance floor in a sea of fist pumping, lights flashing, dirty grinding, glove show mania that could only be subdued by the drink in my hand.

One girl took it upon herself to pin me against a wall while she danced (read: rubbed up against me) in front of me. Slightly scared by her lack of coherence due to the drugs she was on I searched around for someone to save me. When she finally turned her back to me I frantically texted Justin for a rescue, of which he gladly obliged.

After this I realized I had to throw away all of the things I usually found fun and fist pump with the best of them while dancing with no one in particular. (The trick I learned for fist pumping is to start low and bring it up slow…in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation.)

I called it a night at 1:30 AM, early by Pacha standards since you can stay well past 4 AM. And while this did not turn me into a ‘club kid’ it did make me appreciate the fist pumping, hair blown out, strobe light flashing action that I got to be a part of.

Goals Accomplished:
1) First big time NYC night club

2) Uncomfortable being assaulted by that many people

3) That fist pumping can be fun...if you don't take yourself seriously

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Far Down Does the Club Have to be in order to be Considered a Bunker?

What: Soft Opening for a club
Where: The Bunker Club, Meatpacking
Who: Amanda, Alex, Me
Welcome to Bunker, another sheik club that the meatpacking district can add to its repertoire. While I would normally not attend an overly buzzed about club because I don’t believe in lines on principal (there are 30 other clubs in a 5 block radius without lines) I went because a friend who works there put us on a list for a private party sponsored by Veuve Clicquot. No waiting and free alcohol? It was as though this friend knew my hopes and dreams…at least for the evening.

Virtually impossible to find Bunker is located beneath Bill’s Bar and Burger and right around the corner from 675; owned by the same group. I arrived to the club with my friends Amanda and Alex and were immediately prompted to specify which list we were on…apparently there were multiple. After finding the appropriate list and getting my ID checked twice we were ushered down a dingy stairwell to arrive in a very hip, well decorated club.

Once inside the club partygoers can gaze up at the arched stone ceiling dotted with skylights that are cast with shadows of passerby’s on the street. A giant disco ball spins over the small, but adequate dance floor in front of the DJ who is spinning an eclectic selection of classics intertwined with modern beats.

The walls are lined with tables for bottle service and further back past the dance floor is a wall of open glass doors leading to a semi-private bottle service area. The overly attractive waitresses and bartenders are quick, polite, and radiate just a hint of arrogance; a perfect combination of the service they provide and the slight power they have over guests.

Along the bar that spans almost half of this intimate nightclub one can grab a seat and enjoy nearly any cocktail their heart desires. At the very end of the bar stand two bookcases, relics of an old Saturday Night Live set, both a great talking piece and amply appropriate for the d├ęcor.

And while I enjoyed the free champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, my most entertaining part of the night had to be the people watching. Most of the people appeared to be models (a theory that was further proven by their refusal to eat food, smile and act as though they were having fun.) Scantily clad women hung off the arms of what appeared to be rich men and then the most enjoyable had to be the outrageously dressed fashionistas who spun on the dance floor before sulking at a table.
Goals Accomplished:
1) First invite to a trendy Meatpacking club
2) Momentarily uncomfortable by the clientel
3) champagne=headache...and that people who want to be seen are as dreary as they appear

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Starving Artist or Artistically Starved?

*Photo property of BMW

What: BMW Commercial Audtion
Where: Chelsea
Who: My brother and Me

Living in a city full of starving artists it occurred to me that I had never been on a commercial audition before (I do realize the irony in referring to actors who want to be in national commercials as 'starving artists'.) So I discussed this matter with a few of my actor friends and decided that the best (read: cheapest) route to go down was to rifle through the craigslist ads for open auditions.

After heavy sifting over many weeks I found one that actually struck me as legitimate. I implore anyone who uses craigslist for these types of services to be very scrupulous since many of them appear to be scams.

The ad I found was for an upcoming BMW campaign. The parameters for auditioning sounded simple enough, you had to be between the ages of 20 – 60 and have a brother who was willing to audition with you. Luckily for me my older brother, Tom, obliged my request to come into the city to participate in my newest adventure.

After sending in a silly bio and even sillier pictures of each of us we were invited to audition this past Saturday. The casting crew were unclear about compensation and other details, but it did not matter to me since I was not looking to score a gig, but rather have an experience…although my actor friends assured me that a national commercial pays big bucks. Of course when told this my mind dove into a series of possible futures including my celebrity status from the campaign (similar to the status of Flo for Geico or the guys for Free Credit Report.Com.)

Alas we arrived at the casting office Saturday morning at 10:00 AM to find that we were the first auditions of the day. At this office they disclosed to us some more details:

1) There would be six pairs of semi-finalists who would have portraits taken of them and “day in the life” webisodes would be made
2) Pairs of sisters could audition…although it sounded like they didn’t stand a chance
3) There would be compensation…and a lot of it
4) This would be a three year campaign for the winners
5) There were auditions in four cities: Paris, London, Berlin and New York

While Tom and I were slightly excited about the prospect of earning money
we assumed that some European pair with foreign charisma and charm would win.

During the on camera interview they made us walk from side to side (with a natural swagger of course), pose at different angles and do a full 360 degree turn. Finding this hilarious Tom and I could not help but laugh throughout the interview. Then we were asked rather brutal questions such as, “What is the worst quality in your brother?” or “Was there a time where you guys really didn’t get along?”

After getting through the interview, and still wanting to be brothers, they asked one final question, “Is there anything you two don’t agree on, see eye-to-eye on, or have different opinions about?”

Tom turned to me and said, “Go for it,” with a knowing look.
“Well, he likes women…and I don’t,” I said with a smile as we turned to leave.

Goals Accomplished:
1) First audition for a commercial

2) Uncomfortable whirling and twirling in front of a camera
3) Learned that foreigners have quite a sense of humor about sexuality