Friday, July 18, 2008

Making Things Fun

Let's just say that I have a 'knack' for making a joke out of anything. Give me a slice of pizza and reality TV and I'm good to go. While I have a long list of 'favorites' to keep me entertained, there is one that stands out among the masses that never seems to fail me - America's Funniest Home Videos. To some, it's just a show that fills a 6:00 pm time slot on any given channel. To me, it's hilarity. Believe me, I know what you're asking...what is it about young children learning to ride a bike that is so funny? Does it ever get old to watch people fall at weddings? I don't know, and no.

With that being said, I'd like to think that I take the same approach to life. Let's talk vacations. Everyone loves them, yet few indulge in them. If you're anything like me, It's just not practical. One minute I am riding the high of pay day, and the other I am eating ramen out of a paper cup. I say this, not for your to feel sorry for me, but to reason with you. Sure I'd take a trip to the Bahamas, but realistically, it's just not in the cards. Between gas prices, baggage charges, new trip outfits (let's be real here) and various 'extras,' a girl struggles just to visit her family! So here's my advice, make something out of nothing. For instance, this weekend in NY had few prospect. Everyone seems to be leaving town, the heat is rising and my budget is falling. So instead of just meandering around the city, aimlessly spending money in an effort to entertain myself, I have decided to take a trip...out to Jersey! Let me explain myself. It started as a joke. One of my closest friends, Ol' Rob, was asked to come to NY for work. They agreed to put him up in corporate housing (translation: free/large/clean/new/etc), if he agreed to work for them. The hitch: instead of a luxurious Manhattan pad, he was put in Weehawken. *collective 'womp womp'*

All summer I have heard the 'woes' of Jersey life. The schlepping, the transit, etc. So last weekend, I had to see for myself. In an effort to 'spice' up our Saturday night, Alyssa and I grabbed hot dogs and headed to the Garden State. The trip was two-fold, go see Robbie and pick up a few items at Target:) So we set sail, grabbed our items, met Rob at Houlihan's (the finest suburban dining around) and headed to his apartment. We walked in, and to say that we freaked out was an understatement. We are talking bay windows, incredible view of the city, brand new appliances, a second floor, and most importantly, central air! I kid you not, I did a cartwheel in the living room! I think he was surprised by our reaction, and to be honest with you, we were too. You can take the suburban kids out of suburbia, but you can't take the suburbia out of the kids!

Needless to say, our next weekend was planned. Dinner at Houlihan's, tennis at his complex, a trip to the beach, a stop by the mall and we are in heaven. While it's not the vacation destination of a lifetime, I can guarantee that there will be many laughs, a picture or two and several good memories. Who knows, maybe one day while I'm sitting on the beach in Greece, I'll think fondly on my days of cheap thrills...

Ps. Stay tuned for fun-filled photos!

*Update: Photos from the weekend*

Houlihan's. The greatest chain on earth:

Alyssa & I hyped about our cheese fries:

"Hi New York!"

Just a day at the beach:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Good Girl: Starting Fresh

There is nothing more daunting than the idea of a new beginning. Some people love the thrill, for others, it's the chase. Well not this good girl. For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with starting points. Do I start with a bang and then slowly even out? Or should I challenge myself like a runner, slow and steady through the course? I may not know the answer, but I do know that I'm not a runner - so the slow and steady might have to wait.

I will start with my new beginning. My life-long dream was to move to New York City. I know what you're thinking...I am one of those people plagued by a zealous love for FRIENDS episodes and New York - based chick flicks. But the truth is, I knew it was going to be ugly. So naturally, leaving God's Country* with my friends and family attached to it was not an easy reality. While I was ready for the excitement of branching out on my own, I knew that there were a few things to learn along the way. Being the good girl that I am, my parents were nervous that I would trust everyone that I came in contact with leaving a wide open space for someone to take advantage of me, for example:

Stranger: "Could I trouble you for $5?"
Me: "Sure"

Cab Driver: "I actually can't take you there, but I can drop you off here" (a mile from the destination)
Me: "Oh...ok"

Landlord: "I won't be able to come and fix your toilet until next Monday"
Me: "Oh really? Hmm..ok"

You get the idea.

The point is, some of my 'firsts' were a tear-stained mess but others were a lot of fun. While my list of lost, then recovered, items is long and winding (my wallet, my roommates license and social security card, my cell phone, etc) it was just a bridge to cross in my journey of self-discovery. I can't tell you how many times I called my Good Mother with crying eyes and a heavy heart telling her that I couldn't branch out on my own, she would be there reassuring me that I could do it and it would pay off. I am so glad that I did. I don't think that I'll ever forget my first Christmas in the City, complete with a Charlie Brown tree and great friends. Or my first excursion to the Hamptons, filled with bike rides, beaches and enough Polo for a lifetime. Or even the simpler times of 'pizza Thursdays,' Magnolia cupcakes and a nice walk through Central Park.

If I have learned anything, it is that eventually good will prevail from all faulty beginnings. I find that I won't appreciate it if I didn't have to work for it. So get in there good girl - start small, start fresh, and enjoy!

*The Lone Star State

"That's what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most." - Hope Floats