Monday, March 29, 2010

A few pictures

Up late after finishing my taxes and feeling too antsy to sleep. So here's a few pictures I uploaded last week around the time of my assignments - by the way - keep those coming! I love all the elaborate suggestions I am getting, and that you're sharing such wonderful spots with me! :)

Up above are my new favorite shoes purchased at Target for 8 bucks. 8 bucks. That alone might make them my favorite, but add to that, they're comfortable, and shiny metallic-y sheen zebra print and I'm just sent over the edge. I always know I've bought a really interesting pair of shoes when I catch people staring longingly at them on the subway. Every once in awhile, people love what I'm wearing so much they feel compelled to comment - like the blue coat I've gotten compliments on all winter. I absolutely love things like that. :)

I loved how the moon lined up between these 2 water towers on my walk last Wednesday. I'm not sure which photo I like better, that one above, or this one:

Not much to say, just antsy and sleepy. How are your taxes going? SO glad mine are over!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Assignment #2: LES Pickle and Candy blowout!

Assignment #2: LES Pickle and Candy blowout!

So, for those of you non-New Yorkers who are not in the know, LES stands for "Lower East Side" and it's one of those charming transitioning neighborhoods near the East Village where you can see a synagogue, boutique hotel, spraypainted high school, rent-stabilized tenement buildings, and high-end salons, all on on the same block. Oh, and add to that list: an authentic pickle store and Economy Candy.

First up, was the pickle store, or more specifically, Pickle Guys on Essex St.:

Yeah, I don't have a glamor shot for you, because it's tiny and I was struck by shyness when I saw the long queue of people buying pickles and horseradish behind me. But the tiny store is filled with huge pickling barrels, an attendant gets your pickled items for you, weighs them, and sticks them in a brown paper bag.

Most amusing about my visit there was the fact that an attractive dark-haired man in tasteful business attire and dark trench coat stood in line in front of me, and the pickle guy kept calling him "Handsome." As in, "What can I do for you, Handsome?" and "Need anything else, Handsome?" (Imagine that sentence in a hardened Brooklyn accent.) I was having trouble stifling a smile, but Mr. Handsome looked very ill at ease indeed with his treatment from pickle guy. :) I purchased 2 pickles to sample: one Full-Sour and one Half-Sour. Oh, by the way, the guy with the grinder in the photo is grinding fresh Kosher Horseradish, since Passover is almost upon us. A serious-looking Orthodox Jewish man asked him dubiously, "Is your horseradish still Kosher?" To which the grinder replied: "Are you still Kosher?" I like the Pickle Guys. :)

Next stop, just a few blocks away, is Economy Candy, on Rivington St.:

I find it hilarious that Economy Candy is right across the street from an elegant, all-glass boutique hotel. You see how grimy that street is? Hilarious. Here's a full-length shot of the building for a better view of the neighborhood:

Inside Economy Candy is every type of candy you could possibly imagine, mostly American and European candies, because unless they were hidden, I didn't spot any Mexican candies. Again, I don't have a lot of shots from inside, because I always find it embarrassing to be "that person" carefully framing a shot in a crowded store on my silly little camera.

But I did snap this in the corner, because what better combination is there than comics and candy?

comics & candy

So I clutched my little plastic bag of pickles and brown paper bag of sour candies and walked over to Sunshine Cinema about 5-6 blocks away. To give you a clue of my fastidious appearance, here's a shot of what I was wearing: :)

I got myself a huge popcorn and coke and munched on my childish feast while watching The Runaways. It was pretty formulaic, but the music was good. The girls in front of me were splitting a delicious-looking bagel with lox and cream cheese. Also fun were the bathroom conversations after the movie in which one girl declared to another "I've never seen Kristen look at R-Patz that way! Oh she is so totally gay!" A fascinating conclusion to a fine evening, I must say. :)

Oh, and here's a shot of the 7th Ave subway, for good measure. I was asked about my favorite subway stops, and I have to say that every stop is my favorite - they're so oddly grimy, foreign, sad, and filthy. Often, I like going new places solely for the reason that I'll get to see another subway station.

So, there's Assignment #2, completed! This week's assignments were looking pretty lean - when that happens I'll just refer to my ongoing list. Maybe I should just ask you guys to chime in here to give me next week's assignment? Can't wait to see where you send me next! :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More first flowers

I found these delicate purplish-pink flowers on my way out of Brooklyn yesterday morning. I noticed some daffodils made their appearance this morning as well, although the NYC ones are still hiding.

I ran these through a few Pioneer Woman Photoshop Actions - Seventies, Fresh and Colorful, and Lovely and Ethereal.

I love the way the colors changed so dramatically from the nice, but dull original:

I've been gravitating towards square-shaped photos lately, but sometimes I can't decide which shape I like better, I think it varies:

I even like this blurry shot, but I'm not quite sure why...

My embroidery has really been gathering dust lately, huh? I need a swift kick to get back into it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Send me somewhere in NYC: Week 2

Assignment #1 recap

So, up above is the recap of last week's assignments. So many great ideas! I plan to keep that list with me and visit / cross out at will. :)

Also, since I mentioned last week that I can see the Statue of Liberty from Brooklyn, I thought I'd share a snap of that with you, too:

See her on the horizon? Oddly, she looks closer to me in Brooklyn than in Manhattan. Here she is a little bigger.

And here are the first flowers I spied in Brooklyn on a rainy Monday this week:

first flowers in Brooklyn

So, here we go again: Send me somewhere in NYC this week! Where do I go now? Let's do it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jersey shore

So, this Saturday I went on a quick jaunt to the Jersey shore for my roommates' wedding. It being March and New York, I expected dreary gray weather, a downpour, and a general beastly chill coming off of the cold, cold Atlantic. Instead? The first day of Spring was gorgeous - the warmest it has been all year - and I actually felt a little hot in my strapless dress with the sun warming my shoulders. Perfect day for an outdoor wedding. We took advantage of the gorgeous sunshine the next morning, and took an early walk on the beach, hunting for seashells:

In case you're wondering, yes, neither of those hands are my hands. :) I snuck a pic of my friends as they compared seashells, and snuck a few more shots of them making their quiet way down the shore:

I loved the chill in the morning air - the sand was ice cold from the receding water, and I walked barefoot until my feet were red and numb.

There's something romantic about the beach, I suppose. I've been to so many beaches, being regularly in the company of those who love beaches. I guess, for that reason, I've never really thought about whether or not I love beaches...

And, it occured to me then, that I do.

I love how the memory of all beaches connects them, one to another, as if we don't inhabit different shores, but live on one, large shore that goes around the world. I know that makes no geographic sense. But it's what I feel, when I'm walking on the beach, and I feel that I'm walking on every beach I've ever walked on, with everyone I ever walked with, since the beginning of my life.

Not a bad way to start the Spring.

How was your first day of Spring? Or, if it wasn't Spring in your part of the world, how was your vernal equinox? :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Assignment #1: Or, that was fast!

Assignment #1: complete!

I was thrilled at all your suggestions! I made sure to note them down yesterday, as I plan to keep a running list. I'm curious to see how many of these I can fit in one week... As it was, I can technically cross 2 things off that list: waterfronts and one of my favorite places:

one of my favorite spots

This is Hudson River Park, so named, because it sits on the west side of lower Manhattan, right next to the Hudson. I love this place. I love sneaking away to it around noontime, when the sun is intense and gleaming and the wind pushes its salty smell over you.

the other shore is New Jersey

The shore on the other side is New Jersey, Hoboken to be exact. This is about a 15 minute walk from Battery Park, and so you can see the (itty bitty, in this picture) Statue of Liberty. Actually, I can also see the Statue of Liberty from where I live, in Brooklyn. It's pretty amazing how many different points in New York you can see her from. She looks especially gorgeous at sunrise and at night.

It's odd, being so close to landmarks - you get used to them, and in a certain sense, they lose their splendor. Then, all of a sudden, one day, you remember where you are, and it washes over you how lucky you are to pass by something amazing every day. That's what it's like to live in a city like New York.

the water smells salty

I've stood here dozens of times, staring at water taxis and boats passing, leaning on the freshly painted railing, inhaling the fresh, briny smell of the water, feeling my eyes almost singed by the brilliant light on the water.

deep orange gleam

My quest was rewarded by this glimpse of the first flowers of Spring. Yes, these are literally the very first flowers I've seen blooming anywhere in NYC. And now, you've seen them, too.

first flowers

I'm not scrapping that list just yet! I'm still thinking of visiting a few more places on this list before the week is up... This is fun! :)

And pssst! If you have an assignment for me for this week leave it at this post! I'll do my best to collect them all... :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

On an assignment: from you!


So often, I forget just what an adventure and a privilege it is to live in New York City. I downplay it all the time, but it is a magical place, filled with magical people and amazing experiences. I love reading your comments about NYC, too - when you chime in about places you've been, places you miss, places you want to see again, or see for the first time. And you, know, here I am, in NYC, and... did I mention I have a lot of time on my hands? ;)


Which brings me to my idea... how about... you tell me... where to go? :) How about, at least once a week, I do a post where I'll collect an "assignment" from you! Give me a specific place you want me to go, something you want me to do. I'll take photographs and report back right here, then I'll go on another assignment from you... how does that sound?

Naturally, I won't be able to go every single place you assign for me, but I'll do my best to choose at least one that is doable for me that particular week. Yeah? Ok, let's start now! On this post, right now - tell me where to go this week! :)

The tale of the sad umbrellas

It appears it was a rough night

Where I come from, it hardly ever rains. The storms are big, and noisy, and full of thunder and lightning, but you can generally count the number of times it rains in a year on your own two hands.

In New York, it rains all the time. All kinds of rain. Cold rain, hard rain, dripping, feeble, drooly rain, screaming gale winds howling rain, sideways rain, upwards-splashing soak your pants in 2 minutes rain, gusting blow you around into sad puddles rain, so cold you can't believe it's not snowing rain, is it really raining because it's been a week with no stopping rain, blew out of nowhere rain, etc., etc., etc.

I was lucky enough to be inside for Saturday's storm, which was a howler. The wind literally screamed down the streets in my Brooklyn neighborhood, and this was the umbrella carnage I witnessed as I entered Manhattan early Sunday morning... Literally every trashcan was stuffed to capacity with sad, broken, violently torn and shredded umbrellas.

I was amused and a little sad for them, these small, helpless carcasses like sad smooshed spiders, cast around the wet streets:

I liked that sad picture so much that I started playing around with Pioneer Woman Photoshop Actions on it...

I think this is the 70's action.


And this, if I'm not mistaken, is 70's + Lovely and Ethereal, which adds a kind of soft, hazy glow, which I typically hate in bridal photos, but love in sad umbrella photos. Kind of a sad umbrella bridal shot, here.


There's a whole mess of tweaked actions in this one, including 70's, Lovely and Ethereal, Fresh and Colorful, Cooler, and Quick Edge Burn. That Quick Edge Burn kind of rocks my world.


And this has all of the above actions, with a dash more Cooler. I really love this one - I think it's my fave. Hey, can you tell me which one is your fave? Thanks. :)

Hope none of you guys got stuck in a storm like this one!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Unexpected sun

We had a recent burst of sunshine in NY, for about 4 days straight (!) and it was breaktaking. I like gray weather much more than I used to, but even I get tired of the dimensionless blahs of a bleak landscape. I love when sunlight pours over everything - when I have to squint to see out from under my dark eyelashes, when the sun warms me, when sharp shadows delineate every curve and angle, when the disappearing sun turns the sky riotous blues and teals and aquas:


The gray returned yesterday, erasing portions of the bright sky, patch by patch. And now we're back to milky whiteness again, rain, chill in the air, sighs. Oh well. At least I can tell, by the frenzied return of the robins to the park, and the sooty buds peeping out from the wet earth, that all this winter is almost over...

And when the gray sky gets me down, I'll just eat some chocolate:


What about you guys? Is winter beating a hasty retreat where you are? I hope so. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Amusing Youtube comments

under a white cloud

You may or may not be aware, but some time ago I posted a tutorial on Youtube on how to make an owl. It was ages ago, and to tell the truth, I am loath to point it out to you. :) I posted it to share with a friend who asked me to put together a little something for her. I knew it was public, but I thought to myself, out of all the cute cats, charming musical acts, and pirated tv shows, who's really going to bother to watch this stupid owl video?

Apparently, 133,564 of you. :) Unless there is one maniac continually hitting play, in his/her lonely cave, bedecked with felt owl corpses. But, let's not go there. :)

What amused me most, this morning, was looking at the complex and fascinating hierarchy of comments that have appeared on my little owl video. At first, mean comments used to bum me out, and I wouldn't publish them. But, I cracked up when I saw towaandes3's comment "that was boring" and just approved it.

But, more interesting is the way you can vote comments up or down - and it warmed my heart to see peeps defending the merits of my boring video, by thumbing that comment down, a whopping 4 times! :)

that was boring.
look! you guys are nice!

I also liked that 6 people voted up the cute comment - Your voice is so "tiny"

your voice is so "tiny"

Not to be outdone, was the person who mused: I think you should use that voice of yours for work or something... I find it very soothing and relaxing. (p.s. I think that's a really nice way to say "that. was. boring.")

I find it very soothing and relaxing

Well, even more amusing are the emails I get from this owl video. Ladies, looking for online love? Post an owl tutorial. Seriously.

Most romantic was this charmingly misspelled poem, entitled simply, "TE AMO":

no tengo palabras para de site cuanto

te extraño es mucho pero hecomprendido

que ya te perdi y no puedo enitar las ganas

de escuchar tu voz tu sonrriza mas que na da

tu bellas palabras y tam bien com prendi

que nobalgo nada solo soy un estorvo mas

con prendi que para mi no hay nad si ti TE AMO Y


Then, there was the beautiful Italian greeting I received a year or two ago:

..ciao floresita perchè non fai altri lavoretti ..ti confesso che la dolcezza con la quale racconti questo mi rilassa tantissimo e mi piacerebbe vedere altri tuoi video..ah io scrivo in italiano perchè non conosco bene l'inglese spero che tu lo possa capire...un bacio

In short, nothing warms the cockels of my heart on a cold morning like Youtube. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Best. proposal. ever.

will you marry me? [embroidery]
This pic and note belongs to katie.cupcake

Yeah, I'm pretty sure if I ever got a note like this, the answer would be yes. Normally, I would post this to Feeling Stitchy, but there have been SO MANY amazing things in the pool lately, I couldn't possibly post them all there. Like, a bajillion. You guys in the Embroidery pool sure are creative!