Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The 9th Annual Christmas Shopping Trip

By this time many of you are familiar with the Christmas shopping trip that Kel and I take every year. For 2008 - we left on December 10th - headed for Woodbury Commons for the 9th annual trip. I can't believe we've been doing this trip for almost a decade. But we love it!

Pictured here is Kel, in Coach - buying bags for pretty much everyone she knows. They had such good deals in Coach that we both bought numerous things in there - though Kel gets the medal for most bags ever purchased in Coach at a single time. In some stores, the deals were pretty decent - in others - not so much. But despite the face that it rained both days, and was much colder on Thursday - we were troopers, shopped for a total of 17 hours over both days, and got 95% of our shopping done.

The funny quotes from the trip are:

"I'm going to make it stop raining by willing it to stop. The Secret says I can" then - "See? I told you it would be done by the time we finished lunch."

"We cannot go back to the car after every single store."


"We can't listen to Christmas music because the CDs are buried under the packages."

"I'm not leaving here without my mother's fucking gloves."

"$2.00 a box? Fuck you!"

That's all I can remember right now. Good trip though!

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Food Bank for NYC

Yesterday was Community Outreach Day at my company, so my team volunteered to be a part of one of the outreach efforts planned - spending a morning working at the Food Bank for NYC.

We trekked out to the Bronx from Wall Street - no small feat. After two trains and a bus (flashbacks of living at home!) we arrived at the warehouse. Our objective was to separate huge boxes of food into smaller boxes by category: fruit, condiments, snacks, etc. I ended up being a "boxer" - I would repack stuff that other people had separated, seal the boxes and deposit them on nearby pallets.

I confess, volunteer work is not something I do often, but I really enjoyed the work we were doing at the Food Bank. The time went by so fast, and it was nice to know that we were doing something good for others. Here is a picture of all of us at the warehouse.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Story Update

I received some good news the other day. Many of you may remember that several years ago, I had a story chosen to be published in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. My story, "Melts in Your Heart, Not in Your Hand" appeared in "Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul". So on Saturday I received an email saying my story was considered one of the best of the best, and was going to be included in a new anthology - "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Preteens Talk". It is really exciting to know that not only do the editors think that my story was one of the best, but now more people will have a chance to read it. The book is actually available on Amazon, if you want to check it out, here's the link:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've been meaning to do this entry for awhile, but as usual, things have been busy. As some of you know, our offices recently moved from East-Nothing to the downtown financial district of Manhattan. A few things have changed - for one, we are no longer ALM but are now Incisive Media. So our new offices are located at 120 Broadway, in the historical Equitable Building. We are across the street from Trinity Church, whose graveyard holds the grave of Alexander Hamilton. We are a couple of blocks from the the New York Stock Exchange, and the Federal building where George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. Pretty cool, right?

We can also see the WTC site from one of our conference rooms. It still just looks like a construction site, but I think it will be interesting to watch the building when they start on whatever memorial will be there and the Freedom Tower - if that's still the plan. I think they keep changing it.

Anyway - that's the latest from this side of the city.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Supermarket Ettiquette

Some of you may remember posts I did a few years ago called "Subway Etiquette" and "Umbrella Etiquette", which focused on some common sense (you would think) tips for taking the subway and walking around New York City with an umbrella. Apparently the people of New York haven't learned much because now I need to do a post explaning how to behave at the supermarket.

I do most of my food shopping at the Stop & Shop in Maspeth which is a decent sized supermarket for Queens. Matt and I went yesterday to stock up on food for the week at around 7 p.m. As usual, the place was packed with idiots.

From that experience, I've drafted the following rules:

1. Do not leave your cart in the middle of the aisle and diagnolly so that it blocks up the entire aisle. I don't know if you know this, but other people are making their way up and down the aisles with carts as well.

2. If you are going to stop to look at products, please pull your cart over to the side. Treat the aisle like the highway - you can't just stop right in the freaking middle and hang out there for awhile.

3. If someone else has already stopped their cart on the side of the aisle, do not stop your cart directly next to theirs. You don't know how many times I have seen this. People stop in the exact same place, and their two carts block up the whole aisle. And they seem so surprised when you're behind them saying "Excuse me." Here's a nifty solution. Park your cart in front or in back of the other pulled over cart so that there's still an open lane.

4. Do not come to a complete stop at the end or beginning of a new aisle. I know you're trying to figure out if you need more freaking Cheerios, but figure it out somewhere out of the way.

5. Don't walk at an absolute snail's pace through the aisles. I'm tired too - but if we all walk at normal speeds, we can get done shopping quicker and get to bed quicker and get more sleep so we have enough energy to be at the supermarket.

6. Do not use the new fancy self-checkout counters if you do not know what the hell you are doing. I swear, when I shop at night they have about two aisles with actual cashiers with a line 5 or 6 people deep (the peoplel who are afraid of the new machines) and then five or six self checkout lanes with people standing around trying to figure out how to scan a head of lettuce that doesn't have a bar code. In fact, maybe the supermarket should just get rid of these things and hire a couple more teenagers to work the counter. These things don't save any time and they are causing everybody problems.

7. Keep your kids under control. I know this is difficult too, but when they are directly in front of my wagon and won't move, that would be a good time to intervene and actually do some parenting.

8. Once your car is packed up and your wagon is put back, get the hell out of there. There's about eighty other people waiting for your spot and you're on the phone. MOVE.

There you have it folks, food shopping is simple. See you in the cookie aisle.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coldplay: Viva la Vida Tour

As many of you know, Coldplay is my favorite band, so you can imagine how excited I've been about the release of their new (long-awaited) album - Viva la Vida. I was on iTunes at midnight the day the album was released (they actually had it available at 11:45 pm the day before) and I have been listening to it ever since.

To kick off their new tour Coldplay decided to give a couple of free "fan appreciation" concerts, and one of them was to be at Madison Square Garden. Of course I signed up to win tickets and actually was chosen as one of the winners! Not only that, but my tickets were floor seats, about thirty rows from the stage. Nice.

Matt and I went last night - it was pretty awesome to be shown to "close to the stage" floor seats, and we settled in for the concert. The opening band was called the Blue Jackets, they were handpicked by Coldplay to open for this concert. They were pretty good, but the next part of the show was even cooler. This DJ named Jon Hopkins came out and spun trancy, new-agey songs for about twenty minutes, accompanied by some trippy, 70s looking cartoons on a big screen. I actually discovered later that Jon Hopkins songs have been used in moments of "Sex and the City", pretty cool.

Finally, it was time for Coldplay! Chris Martin came out in that military jacket that he's been rocking everywhere. And the concert was pretty awesome. From the new album they played "Life in Technicolor", "Lost", "42", and some others. My favorite song from the new album so far is "Viva la Vida" and their energetic rendition was freaking awesome. They mixed up the old stuff too - "In My Place", "Square One", and even "Yellow" from a special mike up in the nosebleeds. The last song of the night was "Lovers in Japan" from the new album, and on a screen they had all these images of Japan and cherry blossoms, etc. And they made it rain confetti butterflies all over the garden, I picked up a few and pasted them into my journal with the concert ticket. Definitely my favorite part of the night.

So thank you Chris Martin and Johnny Buckland and Guy Berryman and Will Champion for coming to NY and letting Jenn come and hear her favorite music for free!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The Sex and the City movie

So I know I'm a little late on this post, and by now all the buzz has died down and maybe nobody cares. But facts are I was in Costa Rica and didn't get to see this movie until two nights ago, so I'm just getting around to commenting on it now.

I had been waiting a long time to see this film. I've always been a fan of Sex and the City, and watch the reruns constantly on HBO on Demand. I'm a fan of the friendship between the girls and their relationship and the homages to New York and single women. The funny thing is - I also have these moments where I completely freaking hate Carrie. I once had a long in-depth conversation with three other women at a party about Carrie Bradshaw and everything that irritated us about her. A short list would contain the obvious:

*Carrie is forever turning the conversation back to her super, self-absorbed self even when her friends are talking about cancer, unplanned pregnancies and infertility.
*Carrie probably makes no more than 50K a year and yet she owns 40 pairs of Manolo Blahniks.
*Carrie's job consists of her researching, writing and turning in one column a week, and yet she's always complaining about how busy she is. To give you an idea of how ludicrous this is, I was a part time newspaper reporter for three years, and generally wrote three articles a week, all while working a full time 9-5 job, and attending night meetings for the articles.

You get the idea. But yet I was desperate to see the movie the moment I heard they were making it. The thing is - I love these women same as everybody else does. Us single New York gals - we gotta stick together. And frankly, we all want to believe that our happy ending is out there somewhere. (Christ, I sound like Carrie right now...). So even though the end of the series left everything tied up in a nice pink bow, when the movie promised us another chapter, like everyone else, I knew I had to know the next part of the story.

So the verdict was that I really enjoyed the film. There was a lot of drama, more than most people bargained for, I think. And some people I talked to were upset about it - sad that the happy ending the series left us with was taken away. And on some level I agree with that, but God knows you couldn't have a movie without conflict. But they did a good job with the movie, I really felt for Carrie. And I was really glad that I got to see this next chapter of her life, because what really floored me about this movie was that I thought she had really matured. She listened to her friends this movie. She was calmer, not all neurotic and squealing and yapping about what Big said and did. There was not one moment in this movie where I disliked Carrie.

So there's no real point to this entry besides to share my thoughts...I can't really recommend that people go see this - most of the men out there don't care and any woman who does has already see it. But bottom line, it was good to see the girls again.

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