Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Tale of a Sanguine Sunday and the Chelsea Cupcakes

Once upon a time, a terribly beautiful, yet unusually tall girl was working hard at her job in a far away land.  This girl enjoyed her job, but it had been a long week, and she was growing tired of the constant teasing from her co-workers, which, whilst she understood was light-hearted, could get annoying.  One be-spectacled coworker, who went by the name of Amel, was particularly distracting with his non-work-related talk of some guy called "Perez Hilton".  

The girl sighed and stared out the window.  Or she would have stared out the window if she sat by one. 

Her thoughts turned, as they often did, to the weekends.  Her mind wondered what it would be like to spend a day doing as many of her favourite things as possible.  She wondered what these would be..

Well, clearly, the first thing would be to go to the movies.  This was one of her bestest things to do. What to see, what to see?? She knew there was a movie out that she had been meaning to see for quite some time, but never got round to it.  She would go and see that.  She would see Sweeney Todd.  She would sit and watch it at the Clearview Chelsea cinema on 23rd, where the seats are big and comfy, and she could walk past the Chelsea Hotel and dream of when Russell Brand stayed there.  

*ahem* She would watch the movie, and it would be the best Johnny Depp film she's seen in a while.  She would be glad that he finished with that Pirates nonsense.  She would be happy that he is back to doing what he does best... deliciously ghoulish Tim Burton movies.  She would marvel at the singing, be shocked at the first disgusting moment when the razor cuts into a juicy throat and become enthralled at the spectacle of the vivid red blood spurting theatrically from countless necks after that.  She would be sad at the end, and be satisfied at the theme of those that seek vengeance ultimately get their just desserts.

Dessert eh? Hmmm.. after this she would be hungry.  She would consult her guide book, which would recommend a whimsical place by the name of 'The Cupcake Cafe'. Cupcakes you say? Better than Magnolia you claim? She will see about that...

Off she would march to 40th and 9th, off to see these cupcakes of note.. and sample their delights.  She would get there and be charmed by its beautiful interior.  Whitewashed vintage benches, thrifted chairs alongside marble slabs of table, adorned with fairy lights.  

And the cakes, the most prettiful cakes...

She would order cupcakes, quiche and a large cup of coffee...

She thought her friends and family would benefit from close up pictures of those cakes.. She would also drool a little bit.

She would tuck in....

And then she heard a voice...

"Laura-JANE is that work-related???"

She awoke from her day-dream, told Amel to shut his filthy piehole, and carried on reading Perez Hilton... uh *ahem* I mean, continued to do work.


Monday, January 28, 2008

It was acceptable in the 80s

Just a quick one today..

Yes, this is me (and my friend Chris!).  Yes, I have far too much makeup on.  Yes I am wearing some sort of black lace ra-ra monstrosity and fingerless leather gloves.  No, it is not 1987.  

Why? Why the bloody hell not?! No, seriously, this was all in aid of my friend Becca's birthday party, which was conducted under the umbrella theme of 'The 1980's" this weekend.

Just thought I would share the hilarity.

I have done other things this weekend, but I was an utter tard and forgot to take my camera out.  Luckily, thanks to Isabel, who let me borrow her camera for picture taking purposes (I guess, what else right?) I do have pictures, but not on my person/computer.  I will be getting them my way tomorrow though.  So I figured to let you guys know I haven't given up on my 'at least once a week' pledge in terms of blogging, you could all have a good old giggle at what I would have dressed like if I had in fact been partying circa 1987. Sexy no?!

Monday, January 21, 2008

I have a dream...

Martin Luther King Jr... What a guy eh?  Inspiration to a nation... Key mover and shaker in the civil rights movement and most importantly, because of his influence and social importance, I get to spend today chillaxing all up in your grill instead of being at work.

KIDDING.  Kind of.

No seriously, as much as having a bank holiday at a point in the year when everything normally feels a bit DEpressing has cheered me up no end, it has also made me think about why Dr King is being celebrated in this way.  It is because we have to remember that we are all more alike than we are different.  His dream was the dream that we all have, of all men being equal.  And it's fantastic the impact of his speech and the civil rights movement, which has built what America has become today.  One of the things I love about America and especially New York, coming from Britain where there is a lot of noise about immigration and the problems it brings for our country, and also the problems with people not feeling that they can be proud to be British;  I love the American way, and that to me is the fact that Americans are proud to be who they are: American, but also celebrate wholeheartedly where they came from, as this country was built on immigration.  And everyone's backgrounds seem to be recognized as being different, and respected as such, without losing sight of the fact that they are all united in this United States.

So I have learned and been rewarded.  Who says positive reinforcement doesn't work!?

Ok, in other less political news, this weekend I have been a busAY bee..

I went to see Cloverfield at the cinema.  I don't want to spoil it for those that can't see it yet in England, but for me,  being a huge horror/thriller/general movie fan, I found it amazing.  For the following reasons:

1) It's set in New York
2) Think a spectacular mix of Blair Witch Project/Godzilla (in a good way, I know, oxymoron right? But bear with me)/and 9/11
3) The reason I said 9/11 is this so realistic.  Like seriously, I know, it's a monster film, and with monster films, you suspend disbelief in order for it to work, its like that would never happen, but ok let's get past that.  But I swear, if a monster was to actually rampage New York, this is exactly what would happen.  EXACTLY.
4) It's PG-13 rated over here, and I don't know what it is in the UK, but that here, means that kids can go and see it with their parents.  The showing I went to see, there were actual small children in there with their parents.  Well all I can say is it is the most horrific film I have ever seen with children in the audience.  I have no idea how it got that rating.  Well I do, because you don't actually see anything but that's not to say that it's not scary.  Things are implied or portrayed in such a way that it's not shown on camera, kind of a la the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Very cleverly done, presumably to get the rating that they did.  But please for the love of all that is sacred, don't take kids to see it, even if you legally can.  They will be scarred for life.  You have been warned.

There are many other things I would love to talk about but I can't without spoiling it for everyone, so just see it, yes?  It was all round brilliant stuff.

I also went to see a choral concert at Carnegie Hall with my friend Blair.  Carnegie Hall is amazing, the acoustics are awesome.  And it has all this gold leaf and detailing that just added to the prestigiousness (it's a word OK!) of the evening.

Unfortunately, they did decide to stick the worlds most boring Haydn symphony (hard choice, as none of them are particularly inspiring) at the end of the programme which resulted in many many frustrated sighs and rolling of eyes and general groaning from Blair.  Who was already feeling a bit poorly, so I am very grateful that he came with me.  I will say that the first choir did one piece at the beginning which I thought was really entertaining, it was called 'Cloudburst', and I can't remember the composer, but the way the parts were written for this huge choir involved a lot of dissonance (my fave), and interesting devices like everyone whispering and clicking their fingers and clapping at random times, it really did sound like it was a big dark cloud forming together and then starting the pitter patter of a rain shower.  I loved it.  It did exactly what it said on the tin.  Blair was less excited, but we agreed to disagree.

I have also spent this weekend doing a little exploring of lower Manhattan.  I went for brunch in the Wall Street area and did a little blog research while I was at it.

It's definitely the place in New York that most reminds me of London.  It's off the grid system completely by the time you get that far south, so all the streets meet in a very organic way, the buildings are older and it is completely reminiscent of the City of London area.

This is the corner of Wall and Broad Streets.  No intersection has been of greater importance to New York City in its history.  The New York Stock Exchange, from 1817 when it was founded, right up to today (well not exactly today as it is a bank holiday so it is closed, but you get the idea) is the financial epicenter, which can cause tremors that are felt around the world.  It was a weird feeling to be there, particularly at a time when the US is on the verge of, if not, even as we speak, entering a recession.  To think of that day, Tuesday October 1929 when the stock market crashed, and the panic that ensued in these very streets - according to popular myth, traders even threw themselves from the windows in surrounding buildings.  To be there, on a deathly cold, but gorgeously sunny and beautiful Sunday, the area seemed almost tranquil.  The calm before the storm?

This is Trinity Church, at the head of Wall Street: an amazingly hauntingly gothic treasure nestled in amongst the tall buildings of financial importance.  It is one of the nation's oldest Anglican churches, and believe it or not, was once the tallest thing in the city!  Darkly breathtaking.

And finally, this is Federal Hall National Monument, the place where, in 1789 George Washington himself was sworn in as the USA's first president.  This was another day when these streets were rammed with people, but not in panic; in celebration.  Here they all stood and cheered in excitement as the Chancellor of the State of New York announced on these steps in a booming voice: "Long live George Washington, President of the United States".

An area seeping with history, festooned in inspiration.  New York was born here, and how far it has come.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Missed the last train home, birds pass by to tell me that I'm not alone..

Check me out updating weekly!  Unfortunately this will be a photo-less blog as I lent my camera to my boss this weekend.

So, updating, this is one of many things I now vow to do as it is a new year.  New year = new starts.

Due to my spa extravagances last week, this week has been "poor" week! So, I have not done an awful lot that is exciting.  So why blog?  Well, because everything is changing this week, and I want to use it as an excuse to get into a proper routine. 

The old January Mountbatten intake is leaving on Friday, which means all the apartments are changing and moving around at people's request to make way for the new January intake.  I am staying where I am with Jez, but we will have two May's in the boys room, and two new January's with me.  So next weekend I am going to scrub this apartment from top to bottom, and make it all nice.  And then attempt to keep it so with some sort of regular cleaning routine.  We'll see how that turns out.

Today, I also went to the gym.  To pick up a copy of their winter class schedule.  I didn't actually do any sweating! I have decided I am going to try to go to the kickboxing class on Wednesday's and the Pilates class on Friday's.  And then maybe do a work out at the weekend.  Again, we'll see how that turns out. 
I have decided that Sunday's will become chill-out days.  I have already started graduating onto the New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzle, as I have now had enough practice at the weekday ones that I feel like I can even vaguely attempt the Sunday behemoth.  It takes me a while, sometimes all week! But I am getting better!  Today, I got up and went to Starbucks, got a coffee and a lemon slice and sat with my puzzle for a good few hours. Bliss.  I like these kinds of Sundays.

I am also going to take time to explore different areas of New York, on Saturdays with my camera for blogging and fulfillment purposes.

I am also going to try to Skype my family on Sunday's... however this didn't work last week! And looks like it is set to fail this week, as I am currently logged in, and my family are nowhere to be seen!  And I can't hang around much longer, because I have been invited to a theater performance downtown with a friend of mine, and then later, I am going to Battery Park to see a fireworks display.  This is in honour of the QE, QM and QV2's meeting in the Hudson River.

When I lent my camera to my boss, I didn't realize there would be quite so much I'd be wanting to take photos of.


Oh well, I gots to jet as otherwise I will be late for Blair and he might get mad-eye!

Lots of love xxx

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

And so the ball dropped...

...and in rang 2008.

Well, this New Year's was certainly better than last year when I was dying of tonsillitis! Bryant Park was a great party.. well it must have been if I can't remember much after midnight like all the best NYE's! 

This picture of me and Jez my housemate was taken at the beginning of the evening.  I am praying that there were none taken at the end! One thing I will say is when you are out in the city on 31st December, you really do feel like you are at the world's biggest party. Bryant Park is a whole block away from Times Square, yet the noise is still deafening. The anticipation and excitement in the air is contagious.

However, this weekend was not one sent wallowing in the January blues... oh no. On Saturday I sent the whole afternoon in the spa making the most of my bosses Christmas present of spa vouchers! Best afternoon ever! I got myself a sauna, massage, manicure, pedicure and facial. I have never been so chillaxed... blissmongerous!

Then Sunday was the best day ever, for the following reasons:

1) I saved the life of none other than Jane Krakowski a.k.a. Elaine from Ally McBeal when I went for brunch in Tribeca, by adjusting the welcome mat of the restaurant, thus preventing her from tripping as she left!! Lj, celeb life saver = fact.

2) I spent the rest of the day on my lonesome, which was the best thing ever, cos I never get time to myself these days.  And I had forgotton how much I like my own company. Noone hassling me to hurry up, not having to worry if anyone else was bored. Fabarooney. I took the time to see and appreciate.

More specifically, on Sunday, I ventured to the New York Public Library:

This was because at the moment they have on an exhibition on none other than Jack Keroauc, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of 'On The Road'

I have only recently read 'On The Road', but I really love it.  I think its one of my favourite books. It gives me a similar feeling that 'Catcher in the Rye' does, which is my favourite book of all time, but the main character, spouting similar ideology to Holden Caulfield, is older, which gives it a slightly different perspective to the same ideas.

It was fascinating to see all the Kerouac memorabilia, and especially inspiring to see the famed scroll.

After that I was all in a literary mood, so wandered up 5th and spent the rest of the afternoon doing the New York Sunday Times Crossword puzzle in the Barnes & Noble cafe. Best.Time.Ever.

While I was there I looked through the pictures I had taken earlier in the day, while in Bryant Park, and it made me think of words that Kerouac had once written about it:

"It is upon first entering, almost startling

to sense the aura of rest and quiet

which exists over the area".

Too true Kerowacky... too true...

Here's to taking the time to notice.. to experience.. to appreciate.. to be thankful..

Here's to making the most of everything while you can..

Here's to this year.

Cheers xx