Life in New York


Well, if nothing else, my post about dealing with disappointment was a great reminder of just how wonderful my support system is. Many of my friends reached out to me, but not just to try to bolster my own confidence. They also shared their own stories of feeling inadequate, increasing my confidence that, you know, sometimes we just feel this way.

In one of these conversations, a friend of mine remarked, “You’ve just accomplished too much before 30.”

That thought struck me for some reason. For pretty much all of my life, I’ve defined myself by my goals, projects, and what I’m working toward. Right up to your early twenties, that path is almost mapped out for you with school, job hunting, starts of serious relationships, etc. After you hit your mid- to late-twenties, though, there isn’t really a map anymore.

Sure, you can start thinking about kids, but you don’t have to. Yes, you can buy a house. But a lot of people also don’t.

Basically, for the first time ever, I don’t really have a five-year plan. Lately, I feel pretty good if I can tell you where I’ll be in a year.

And that’s…weird.

But maybe it’s better to be aware that that’s what’s bothering me. So I can add it to my goal of “letting things go” more. (Yup, only I could make a goal of not relying so much on goals. It’s a sickness.)

Anyway. I just didn’t want my most recent post to be such a downer. You know, in case I get hit by a bus or something before I can update again.

How creepy will it be if I get hit by a bus after writing this? I’m going to be extra careful on my commute home.

I think, mostly, I just want to go back to feeling awesome. Feeling like I know what I’m doing and where I’m going and that I have it all together. Not feel like a fraud in any of those things. Basically, I think I need to reignite the Happiness Project. That’s a goal I can get behind.

The point is, I’m in a better place a couple of days after writing that other post. I know everything will be fine. It pretty much always is.

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Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that I go out to eat a fair amount.


Like, a lot.


I like nice restaurants. I like ambience. I like a glass of wine. I like appetizers and desserts. I like debating what my dining partner and I are going to get for ourselves and what we’re going to share. I like cheese plates and tapas. I like big salads filled with caramelized nuts and avocado. I like mood lighting and the clink of glasses and waiters who keep my water glass filled.


Plus, I mean, you know I like eating.


The only problem with this little hobby of mine? I live in New York City, and it’s not, you know, inexpensive to go out around these parts.


For the record, I have cut back. And it’s not like I’m spending like a millionaire even when I do go out. But it’s definitely a sizable portion of my monthly expenses.


The thing is, I accept that. I guess I figure that now is the time of my life to go out to dinners and meet up with friends. At some point, we’re going to settle in more. We’ll probably move away from New York, get a house, have a couple of kids, and suddenly a dinner on the town will become an event and not so much just our lifestyle. So even though it’s a luxury, it’s one I always appreciate.


Like when I’m walking down 9th Avenue to meet up with a friend at Chelsea Market. Or (gasp) hopping in a cab because I’m late for dinner in the East Village. Or like last night.


My friend Carly and I had dinner in one of my favorite restaurants in Chelsea Market, Friedman’s Lunch. Friedman’s occasionally has a special dessert that is a skillet cookie with ice cream (also known as my favorite thing), and I was telling Carly about it during the meal. When we asked, though, we were informed tonight was not one of the magical evenings the skillet cookie is available.


Driven by a desire beyond our control, Carly and I took to the streets trying to find somewhere we could procure a warm chocolate chip cookie with a scoop of ice cream. Finally, we happened upon a diner. Carly explained our quest, and the maitre d’ told us to take a seat because he would take care of us. Carly also managed to finagle us two healthy pours of wine because — surprise! — she also happens to speak Italian and the entire waitstaff was Sicilian. Whatta gal, right?


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These kinds of things don’t happen in every city in the world.


And, not to get overly sentimental, but those are the things I want to remember when I think about my New York life. I did cool things. I had so much fun. So I keep these things in their place, but I also appreciate fully when they happen.

I’m starting to think me saying I’m bored is the kiss of death. I mean, the last time I thought “I haven’t had a good New York moment in a while,” I was almost hit by a car. So…I should stop whining.

Mere hours after I posted this a couple of days ago, I found out that I was, in fact, going to experience something new — I got called in for jury duty.

All together now: WHOMP, whahhhhhmp.

It was the first time this had ever happened to me, and I’m honestly not sure how it happened at all. I still haven’t updated my driver’s license to my Queens address (whoops). Yet somehow, it happened.

The day was pretty boring — I arrived at the courthouse bright and early to wait in line with my fellow citizens, then waited in a room through “orientation,” then waited some more until I was called in for interviews around 3 p.m.

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 6.02.12 PMLike most people, I had planned on trying to get out of it. Saying something crazy, like how I could usually tell if people were guilty just by looking at them, had crossed my mind.

But by the time I actually got in the little room, I was tired. The case presented (a liability trial determining fault in a minor car accident) was so innocuous, I couldn’t even work up a fake emotion about it. Plus, the attorneys assured us the trial wouldn’t even last a full day, making it “not the worst case you could get stuck on.” (Their actual words.)

And, honestly, they spent more time asking me about my employer than anything else.

So I guess by default I came across as fairly level-headed. Or, you know, just not crazy.

I was the last juror they picked. I may have said, “Seriously?” out loud when it happened. Because, really, when was the last time you heard about someone actually sitting on a jury?

Anyway. I have to go back tomorrow for “my case.” The lessons I learned from my first time around?

Here’s what to wear (and bring) to jury duty:

What to wear to jury duty.

Bring a jacket because the rooms are cold. Bring snacks because they will NOT be provided. (This should probably have been obvious to me, but I thought there would at LEAST be a snack machine.) Bring a book because using the Kindle app on your phone will drain the life out of it. And bring a charger because inevitably you will drain the life out of your phone answering work emails. Also, a notebook and bottle of water because, dude, it’s like an 8-hour thing and you’re going to get bored.

So I hope you all think of me fondly tomorrow while I’m upholding justice. It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it.

I’m aware the title of this post is a bold statement. But it’s really the only way to describe what I did this morning.

(I’m also aware just YESTERDAY I said I wasn’t going to talk about working out all the time. But I’m boring. And a liar. Deal with it.)

I’ve mentioned before the intense Epic classes that I signed up for with my friend Diana. What I have not mentioned?

Burpee Thursdays.

What is a Burpee Thursday, you ask? I’ll elaborate.

The class is broken into eight stations. Each station is comprised of some kind of toning move followed by five burpees. You perform each station five times before moving on to the next station. You have 45 seconds to perform each set.

So, for example, at one station you might do five dead lifts followed by five burpees. Five times. Then, at another station, you might do a box jump followed by five burpees. Five times.

Occasionally you finish the set before the 45 seconds are up, which means you have time to fit a few more burpees in. (Lucky you!)

I’ll save you the head scratching and just tell you that all of that averages out to at least 200 burpees per class.

I know you’re no doubt a busy person, so you probably read the last sentence kind of quickly and the meaning didn’t truly sink in for you. So I’m going to need you to pause for a second and really think about that.

Two. Hundred. Burpees.

In case you are unfamiliar with burpees (in which case, you were probably pretty perplexed at the 800 references to them I made above), this is a burpee.

It might look like the slightly more energetic cousin of the jumping jack, but rest assured — it’s so, so much worse.

If you don’t believe me, get on the floor right now and do ten in a row. Just ten. Go on, I’ll wait. I DARE YOU.

Now that we are all in agreement that these things are the work of the devil, it seems only fitting to remind you that I did over two hundred of them this morning.


Even crazier? It’s the second time I’ve taken this class. The first time, I think it was actually worse because I had no idea what to expect and I was by myself. This time, it was still a beast, but at least I had my pal Diana to grumble with.

In case you were wondering, this is what you look like after you’ve done over 200 burpees:


Diana defies the laws of science and logic with her ability to still look cute. (I credit the mystical powers of her entirely jade outfit.) I look appropriately near death.

Of course, the obvious benefit to doing The Hardest Workout You’ve Ever Done (besides bragging about it 8,000 times in your next blog post) is that you feel like a warrior princess the rest of the day. No matter what you accomplish for the next 12 hours, you’re doing this in your head:


Because you accomplished anything after doing over 200 burpees. (Say “over 200 burpees” again.)

And that, my friends, is pretty epic.

That, my friends, was a great holiday weekend.

It probably helps that I had, in total, five glorious days off of work. It was a much needed recharging. Here’s a little recap of what I did.

July 4th was spent how all July 4ths should be spent — on the beach followed by a BBQ.

Screen shot 2013-07-09 at 12.07.34 PMSaturday
Saturday I had the Justine-iest of all Justine-y days. I started out with a trip to the gym, then got a pedicure, then went shopping, then I got my hair highlighted at what is officially my new salon, Muze.

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Afterward, Joey and I met up for my favorite pad thai in the city, followed by a viewing of a little film called Monsters University. Because we’re adults.

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Saturday was a fairly low-key day, involving brunch at The Sandwich Bar and another backyard BBQ with some of our new Astoria friends. Much fun was had by all.

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Sunday was wedding day. My dear friend Melissa got married in New Jersey at the most gorgeous reception hall you’ve ever seen. Seriously. The words “fairy tale” only begin to describe this place.

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Yes, that is fog around their feet and a chandelier the size of my living room. BECAUSE SHE CAN, PEOPLE.

The hubs and I turned out in our best black tie for the affair.

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My dress is from Rent the Runway (the Carlos Miele Olinda Ocean Gown…rent it now because it’s awesome). (Also, click that referral link and we BOTH get a $20 credit. For realz.) I did my own hair and makeup because I’m not always high-maintenance.

Monday was recovery day. We slept, ate the hotel’s free breakfast, came home, napped some more, and generally did as little as possible. It was successful, if you ask me.

And that’s it! How did you spend your long weekend?

1. Joey admitted that the creature he had killed in our bedroom was roughly the size of a chipmunk. We should all just start evacuating now.

2. Apparently this fact lessens the chance that it was an actual cockroach and increased the likelihood that it was what people around here call a “waterbug.”

I’M SORRY. A waterbug is one of those spidery things that dances across ponds and lakes and looks like the insect version of a ballerina. IT CANNOT BE MISTAKEN FOR A COCKROACH.

Apparently New York waterbugs look exactly like cockroaches except giant. I had to hear no fewer than three people tell me last night, “Oh, that doesn’t sound like a cockroach. It had to have been a waterbug.” Then they would look at me like they had just delivered reassuring news.

My response:


Cuz, uh, guys? “Bug that looks just like a cockroach but is technically not a cockroach because it’s BIGGER” is not a consolation.

The only thing that might actually be a consolation? Apparently waterbugs are less of an infestation-type thing and more of a one-off occurrence. WE CAN ONLY HOPE.

On the bright side, when you tell people your cockroach horror stories in New York, invariably someone tops you. Which means I have heard some of the more horrendous, nightmare-inducing cockroach stories of my life in the last 12 hours. I haven’t even begun to live the cockroach nightmare. (One of my friends was actually pinned down and had an entire cockroach nest swarm his body. At that point, I’m pretty sure I just black out and hope I never come to.)

So anyway. I haven’t burned down my apartment (yet). But if this happens again…I just don’t know, you guys.

***EDIT: OMG I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Joey also admitted that the reason why he woke up and saw the cockroach/waterbug/stuff-of-nightmares in the first place is because he HEARD SOMETHING CHEWING THE PLASTIC THAT OUR RUG IS WRAPPED IN.

I need you to take a second and think about that. He woke up from SLEEP because he could HEAR this INSECT CHEWING. CHEWING. LIKE YOU CAN HEAR A SMALL CHILD CHEWING. CHEWINGCHEWINGCHEWING. I literally cannot get over it. CANNOT WILL NOT.