April 30, 2011

Friday Blanks on Saturday

1.   I am looking forward to    being done with finals. 8 more days!

2.  Something kind of embarrassing that I still love anyway is    Desperate Housewives. So trashy, but the drama is so addictive!

3.  My favorite car is  

4.  If I could pick one type of weather to live with for the rest of my life it would be     seasonal but moderate. I hate too-cold winter and too-hot, too-humid summer, but I definitely need  a change from season to season .

5.  My favorite thing to do after a bad/stressful day is      if I want alone time, get into pajamas, make a yummy snack and eat it in bed while watching a few episodes of a favorite show, or, if I'm feeling social, go out for a glass of wine with a couple of friends to unwind .

6.  This weekend      I will be studying alllll weekend, finishing up some finals projects   .

7.  If I were a color, I'd be     green     because    it's fresh, calming, and elegant   .


April 27, 2011

Wee Bits on Wednesday!

 It's a beautiful, sunny, warm spring day and I'm suck in the basement of the SIPA building, running hypothesis tests and regressions on a bunch of data we still don't even understand.

I really cannot wait for school to be over so that I can go play outside!

 But in the meantime (while my group partners are doing stuff I can't really help with) I can take a little break and answer some Wee Bits!As always, don't forget to link up with Leigh!

{one} have you ever been stuck in an elevator?
Multiple times. The elevator in my grandmother's apartment in Rome was one of those old fashioned kinds with the doors you have to manually open and close. If there was too much weight in the elevator (more than four people) it would go up half a floor and then just stop, so the doorman had to come rescue you. Good times.

{two} have you ever ridden on an elephant?
No, but I can't even begin to say how much I want to. I LOVE elephants!

{three} have you ever met a well known celebrity?
I've seen a few, like Nathalie Portman or Tatiana Ali, but never talked to them.
I did meet Sir Richard Branson when I was a kid; he taught me to play pool.

{four} do you have any food allergies?
Not that I know of... knock on wood.

{five} do you know how to sew?
Yes! I love sewing. I just made myself a skirt last night, after altering a pair of pants.

{six} did you get an allowance when you were young?
Yes, and surprisingly it wasn't tied up with any chores or anything.
We had to do those anyway.

{seven} how often do you fill up your gas tank?
I don't have a gas tank to fill.

{eight} have you ever been stung by a jelly fish?
Yes, multiple times. The worst time was in Mexico when i was about 7 and I got stung all over my arms and legs. It was excruciatingly painful.

{nine} have you ever been robbed?
Yes, just last month I had over $900 digitally stolen from me at an ATM in Guatemala.
Luckily the bank paid me back for everything.

{ten} what is the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
In eighth grade I got a really short slanted bob, which might have been cute a) if I had styled it in the morning, and b) if I hadn't worn it with a middle part. Luckily I grew out my hair and haven't had a traumatizing haircut since!


And now it's back to stats :(

Happy Wednesday!

April 24, 2011

Apparently Spring is Obsolete

We seem to have jumped directly from winter to summer.

Yesterday it was cold, dark, rainy, windy and in the low 40s.

Today it's warm, sunny, beautiful, and in the mid 70s.

While in the kitchen getting Easter dinner ready with friends we were quite literally sweltering in the kitchen, despite the open windows and the breeze.

But I really don't want to complain. Yesterday the weather was miserable, and today is much, much nicer, so I really don't want to seem ungrateful.

Instead I'll share some evidence of the fact that spring did in fact make a stop in NY last week, however briefly.

p.s.  Happy Easter! :)

April 22, 2011

Follies on Friday

Every spring SIPA put on Follies, a comedy show with a series of skits and videos making fun of the SIPA experience in general, which every SIPA student can relate to.

The event is live (except for the videos) and space is limited, so tickets literally sell out before they go on sale (more people line up than there are tickets hours before they start selling). Which means that if you don't have time to stand in line for two hours before tickets go on sale, the only way to see the show is to be in a skit or help out with the production of the show.

I volunteered to do hair, make up and costumes, so while most of my friends are downstairs studying, I'm up on the 15th floor all day today and tomorrow helping through rehearsal runs and getting people's costumes fitted for their skits.

Tomorrow we're doing full dress rehearsals, so I'll be busy all day. But today there's less costuming going on, so I've had pockets of free time.

Which means I have time to fill in some blanks! As usual, link up with Lauren!

1.   Fridays are       relaxing and class-free; the perfect beginning to the weekend   .

2.   Warm sunny days    make me terribly happy.

3.  Something that inspires me is    the city that I live in. Walking around and doing stuff in New York is as productive as crossing one thing off my To Do list and adding two more; every time I go out I discover more things I want to do and see.

4.  If I had the day off today I would     be doing exactly what I am doing with the day off I already have: watching my hilarious friends act in hilarious skits all day.

5.  If I had to put a label on my home decor style, I would say my style is    non-existent. I haven't actually decorated a house yet, so I'm not sure what my style is.

6.  Concerning politics I would say I'm     very liberal and left-wing, but I'm also very open-minded and love nothing more than a good, educated, informed debate with someone who has different views than me.

7.  I'd like to go to      South America     so I could     travel around, eat delicious food, meet amazing people, and practice my Spanish.  

And now I'm going to watch the curtain call and then go have dinner with my mom downtown! 

Happy Weekend!

April 20, 2011

Weekly(ish) Photo Essay: Purl Soho and Balloons

My mom came to town to visit for a few days and so I met her downtown this afternoon for lunch, and dinner, and a long walk around Soho and Battery Park in between.

We were wandering around Soho looking for Muji (which unfortunately doesn't carry my favorite brown and midnight blue pens anymore) when we came across Purl Soho.

I'm aware that http://www.purlsoho.com/purl is a store. Well, I am now, anyway. When I first heard of it, it was through the blog, the Purl Bee, the blog, which features tons of amazing sewing (and knitting and crocheting and quilting) tips and tutorials.

I wasn't aware that the blog has a store (and I know realize it's the store that has the blog... I am clearly the sharpest knife in the drawer) until almost walked straight into it today! So I dragged my mom inside and we relished all the yarns and fabrics and trims for a good thirty minutes, before settling on some embroidery floss and some adorable measuring tape twill tape.

We finally left (to continue our quest for Muji), but not before I snapped too many photos (the snooty sales girl started giving me cross looks) of all the beautiful rainbow-colored crafty wares.

(Excuse the poor quality, I only had my iphone)

And these balloons weren't at Purl Soho (they were at the Tribeca Film Festival) but everyone loves giant balloons, so I thought I'd include them :)

And while I'm at it, I might as well throw in an almost-Thursday round of Wee Bit Wednesday!

Don't forget to link up with Leigh!

{one} how often do you do laundry?
Every couple of weeks. I have enough underwear and socks to last me for months!

{two} what is your favorite type of cookie?
Girl Scout Samoas and Thin Mints.

{three} what would you do with an extra $2000 per month?
Get a driver, a new wardrobe, a put aside a whiskey budget.

{four} what was/is your favorite subject in school?
I liked English. But ceramics was pretty cool too.
Now I like my Human Rights classes a lot.

{five} have you ever ridden in a hot air balloon?
No, but it's on my bucket list for sure.

{six} what was your high school mascot?
The Falcons. Boring, but totally uncontroversial.

{seven} if you had the chance to go into space, would you?
Meh. I'm really ambivalent about space. Probably not, too much room for error.

{eight} how often do you go dancing?
In clubs, every two or three months. More often if you count SIPA parties with dancing.

{nine} would you rather drive or fly?
It depends on where I'm going, distance-wise. But probably drive. I hate flying.
Even though I don't think I've ever had a year of my life in which I've flown fewer than four times.

{ten} have you ever been caught re-gifting?
Caught, no. But I've definitely mastered the art.


April 18, 2011

You Can Thank Me Later

I'm a busy busy bee this week, between two final group projects, my mom coming to town, and SIPA Follies (more on this later).

But I thought I'd take a short break from my econ homework (Damn you, macroeconomics. Damn you) to bring you an AH-mazing video.

Seriously. I think I've watched this at least five or six times today, and I'm nowhere near done.

You can thank me later!

April 15, 2011

Fridays Are For Filling In Blanks!

It's been a long week, but my little horror story is behind me, and it's finally Friday!
I am very excited about this weekend!

This morning I have my weekly, and very looked-forward-to yoga class, and then tonight I have dinner with my fellow Journal of International Affairs new-Editorial Board members, followed by drinks with a friend at one of my new favorite bars in New York . And then tomorrow three of my friends from Italy will be in town, so I'm taking them out around the city for the evening along with my friend Rhiannon who is alsi hosting an out-of-towner. We were thinking Mexican food in East Harlem and then drinks on St. Mark's, but it depends what our guests want to do. 
Any other suggestions? 

And hopefully the weather will stay nice all weekend (today was a beee-yoo-ti-ful day!) and the rain forecast will prove to be false. 

But before I get to all my exciting weekend plans, I have some blanks to fill! As usual, don't forget to link up with Lauren!

1.   My favorite daily responsibility is  getting ready in the morning. Not that it's really a responsibility, but it's still something I have to do every day, and the whole process of showering, doing my hair, make up, and picking an outfit is exactly the process I need to get from asleep to awake   .

2.  My least favorite daily responsibility is  getting ready for bed. Even though it only takes three minutes, I will often sit at my computer for so long after my bedtime because I'm too lazy to get up, brush my teeth, take out my contacts, and wash my face.

3.  My favorite cuisine to eat when going out is   seafood. I rarely cook seafood at home so I like to treat myself when I go out .

4.  My favorite cuisine to prepare at home is     brunch, and pasta.

5.  Andy Warhol said that everyone is famous for 15 minutes. My claim to fame is    going to be the amazing baby-saving NGO I'll found :)  .

6.  If I could have 3 wishes I would wish   for world peace and happiness (boring, I know, but necessary),  the ability to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and never lose my figure (vain, I know, but necessary), and unlimited plane tickets around the world for the rest of my life .

7.  My biggest pet peeve is     slow walkers on the sidewalk. Closely followed by people who spit on the street (ew), people who crack their knuckles, and incorrect grammar

Have a Great Weekend, Everyone!

April 14, 2011

My ABCs And A Few Extra Thoughts

I feel a bit bad about not being around here as much as I used to.

It's mostly because I feel like if I don't have the time to sit and think up an amazingly thoughtful post, it's probably better if I don't write anything at all.

But I forget that sometimes it's just as nice to post an inspirational photo as a thought-provoking essay, and I should really let this place be a venue for my thoughts, whatever they are in the moment. And I don't want this to be become a source or guilt, because that totally defeats the purpose of the world being my oyster.

This semester has been a lot of work, and it has virtually flown by. Today is April 14. In four weeks I'll be done with half of of my master's, and in ten weeks I'll be flying to West Africa. Before I know it it'll be September and I'll be starting a new semester, a new year, and I'll be only ten months away from starting my real life.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The point is to remind myself that even when things get a little crazy, I should always be able to find the time to stop by and say something. Even if it's just to comment on an article I read, or display a pretty picture, or share a great tip!

{Speaking of which, have you all heard of Heartsy? It's like Groupon for Etsy, but better! Every day there are three or four deals and most of them are more than 60% off! And the best part is that it's free to join! Click on the link to sign up!}

Maybe one day I'll even get around to posting tutorials and photos of my sewing projects, but I barely have time to even make anything, let alone take pictures and write instructions!

In the mean time, I'll take what I can get in terms of time, and share what's on my mind.

Today that happens to be this adorable idea that I'm borrowing from Jamie.


I Heart Cake

Age: 26
Bed size: Queen
Chore you hate: Vacuuming
Dogs: Cute, but too high maintenance
Essential start of your day: Brushing my teeth and checking my email
Favorite color: A rich green, but my clothes are mostly black, white, and neutrals
Gold or silver: Silver
Height: 5'2"
Instruments I play (or have played): Jazz Piano, many years ago
Job title: Full-time grad student
Kids: Maybe one day, definitely not now
Live: New York City
Mom's name: Marie Christine, but to me, Maman
Nickname:  Jules
Overnight hospital stays: Nope
Pet peeve: Slow sidewalk walkers. And people who spit.
Quote from a movie: "Me? I haven't a snobbish bone in my body!"
Right or left handed: Usually right-handed, but sometimes ambidextrous
Siblings:  One little brother
Time you wake up: Depending on the day of the week, between 6:30 and 9:30
Underwear: Multicolored!
Vegetables you dislike: Okra. Hairy and slimy? No thanks.
What makes you run late: When my alarm clock becomes part of my dream and fails to wake me up
X-rays you've had done: Dental, both wrists, both ankles, one knee
Yummy food you make: Delicious brunch
Zoo animal:  Penguins at the New England Aquarium!


April 13, 2011

Someone Tried To Kill Me Today, And The Thing I'm Most Upset About Is Losing My Umbrella

It was a super cute umbrella. A red and white polka dot umbrella I got at Newbury Comics a couple of years ago. And best of all it was an umbrella that had never flipped inside out, never broken, and still folded up small enough to fit in my purse. It was worth every cent of the $30 I spent on it.

And this morning, in the heat of the moment, I lost it on the metro.

Normally I don't have class until eleven on Wednesdays.

But this morning I had a meeting with my stats group at eleven, so I had to go to the earlier econ class at nine-fifteen. As usual, I'm running late, and at nine o'clock, a good five minutes after I should have already been on the metro, I run onto the 1 train as the doors are about to close.

As soon as I get on the subway, I notice the enormous (we're talking five hundred plus pounds) homeless guy I sometimes see in the 116th St. stop. He's sitting there, quietly, staring off into the distance and muttering to himself. He's never done or said anything weird, but I recognize him because aside from being the size of a minivan, the man has a smell that is nothing short of noxious, so I always notice when he's around. The entire subway car full of people is discreetly covering their noses with their sleeves, but all of our upper-west-side middle-class white guilt stops us from getting off at the next stop and switching to the next car.

I sit down on the next section of seats over from him, and minding my own business, listening to my ipod, I take out my iphone to strategize my next move on Words With Friends.

A few minutes later, out of the corner of my eye I see the enormous homeless guy (who is also partially disrobed) coming at me. All of a sudden he's on top of me with his giant hands around my neck trying to strangle me, screaming bloody murder about how I'm shooting microchips at him and trying to kill him.

The next two minutes happened so fast that I barely remember them, but I do remember that I was on the floor of the subway car, screaming for help, trying to pry his hands off my neck and kicking him as hard as I could. Everyone around me on the car jumped up but the only one who did anything was a girl about my age (and size) who started beating him with her huge golf umbrella.

This startled him enough for him to let go of me for a second, and I scrambled out from under him (miraculously thinking to save my bag and laptop in the process, but not my umbrella), and ran to the end of the car. The men passengers are yelling at the him to stay away, while all the women are standing protectively around me as I'm standing there, completely in shock about what just happened.

The girl who hit him with her umbrella -- who not only stayed with me until everything was over, but who I later learned was also the girl who notified the conductor and stopped the train -- said that the next ninety seconds, until we got to the 96th St stop, were the longest ninety seconds of her life.

I barely remember them.

At the next stop everyone in the car got off the train and a few people gently ushered me into the next car over. My logical thought at that moment was that I would wait until I got to my stop and then notify the police and transit security, but I didn't think to tell the conductor or anything. Luckily Britney, the unsung hero of my morning, took care of that, and at 103rd St. the train stopped and the conductor came to see what happened. I realize now that if she hadn't done that, I would have gotten off at my stop and called the police, but the train would have kept going with the crazy homeless guy still on it, which would have made it difficult to later track him down.

The conductor came over to make sure I was ok, and then called the police, who eventually came and asked me if I wanted to press charges. I was shocked, and definitely shaken up, but not badly hurt (just a little scuffed around the neck) and even in that state I knew that this poor guy didn't belong in jail, he needed help.

I told that to the police, and the friendly lady police offer I talked to (as the eight other policemen surrounded the enormous homeless guy to stop him from lunging at me again) said she couldn't agree more. She said if they arrested him, he'd be out again by tomorrow, since he'd appear in front of a judge who would just declare him unfit to stand trial.

They've arrested him before multiple times for a variety of things, including indecent exposure and public urination (although never for attacking someone) and it seems that every time he's had an interaction with the police, he's always been muttering something about microchips and crazy women trying to kill him. Apparently he's a clinically certified paranoid schizophrenic who, up until today, was big, loud, scary, and olefactorily offensive, but essentially harmless.

But despite being jumped on, strangled and crushed, I really didn't wish him any ill will, and I honestly thought that he was much better off getting the psychiatric help he needed than ending up in a jail cell. So I told the police I didn't want to press criminal charges, but that I still wanted to ensure that he wouldn't be allowed on the metro again.

I was lucky enough that I wasn't seriously hurt, and that it happened first thing in the morning on a train full of people, most of whom were willing to help. God forbid it happened late at night when I was alone with him on the platform, or worse, alone in a closed subway car. I can't even imagine what might have happened if he had jumped on a woman with baby, or a frail old lady.

I have no idea why he decided to attack me. I'm guessing it was because he started talking at me, but because I was listening to music I couldn't hear him, and to him this looked like I was ignoring him, which fueled his senseless, misdirected anger to a breaking point. Although it's possible that not even he knew why he attacked me.

But as much as his actions were most likely beyond his own cognizance, that very fact makes him that much more dangerous, because there's no telling where or when it could happen again. Although I didn't think jail was the right place for him, I was adamant that he be removed from the metro and steps be taken for his psychiatric evaluation and institutionalization. As sad as his situation may be, crowded public spaces are no place for someone so volatile and so physically threatening.

Britney and her friend generously stayed with me the entire time that I talked to the MTA conductor, the NYC Police and the Transit Police, they both called their offices and said they'd be late, and they happened to be getting off at the same stop as me, so I wasn't alone until I got to campus.

Once I got out of the subway I didn't really know what to do. My adrenaline rush was starting to wear off, and my heart was still pounding, but at this point I was already at school and I had work I had to do. I didn't feel shaken up enough to take a cab home, but I certainly wasn't about to get back on the metro.

So I bought myself a coffee, took myself to school, and started working my stats project. Hour by hour the day became a regular Wednesday, interspersed with coffee, lunch, and telling my shocked friends the story of the morning.

It's been twelve hours and oddly enough I feel fine. As bizarre as it sounds I think experiencing the attack -- as opposed to seeing the whole thing unfold -- was a lot less traumatizing, and the shock of the experience dulled my memory of those critical minutes, so I don't really have an "attack reel" looping in my mind. But after the adrenaline wore off (and after five hours of coding stats variables) I felt like I'd run a marathon, so I took myself home, put on some sweats, got in bed and read a trashy novel for a couple of hours.

I also booked my ticket to Mali and talked to my brother and my mom, so now I feel a lot better.

If there's one thing I learned today, it's to be aware. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of your instincts, and be aware that the out-of-the-ordinary can happen. 

But if there's one thing that this whole experience really got me thinking about, it's humanity. In the span of sixty seconds I experienced some of the very worst -- being violently attacked by a stranger -- and the very best -- being bravely protected by a stranger -- of humanity.

The police officer I talked to told me I was lucky that people helped out. He'd heard of people on the subway witnessing a stabbing and rather than report it at the next stop, wait until their stop, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes later, to get off and mention that someone had been stabbed.

Talk about your jaded New Yorkers.

I was lucky enough to have a subway car full of people who not only got up to protect me, but who physically got involved in the altercation, possibly risking their own safety. Not only that but these two girls took an hour out of their busy mornings to stick around and make sure I was OK.

You really don't see that every day. That, or a giant five hundred pound homeless man attacking a 5'2" girl one fourth his size.

But ultimately, when I remember today, I'm going to remember Britney, who beat the guy back with her giant umbrella, and her friend, who shielded me from him during those agonizingly long (for them) ninety seconds until the next stop, the train conductor, who stopped the train for twenty-five minutes, at the annoyance of dozens of morning commuters, to make sure that the situation got taken care of, and the friendly lady police officer who cracked jokes to try to make me feel better.

Sure, a crazy homeless guy tried to kill me today, but I'll mostly remember the people who were there to help.

And the fact that I lost my favorite umbrella. 

Wee Bit Wednesday On A Rainy Day

Today the weather is positively dismal in New York.
I am very displeased.

It's cold, rainy, grey, windy, and all I want to do it curl up in some flannel pajamas with a mug of hot chocolate and read a trashy novel in bed. 

Unfortunately I have to be at school for the next few hours, and after an unfortunate twist of events this morning, I now no longer have my umbrella or a scarf.  And today isn't a great day to be without an umbrella or a scarf. 

At least I still have my wellies!

But while I wait for my statistics group to meet me, I thought I'd Wee Bit my Wednesday, with the questions from this week and last week, which I didn't do.

{one} what is one food that, as an adult you love, but as a child you said you’d never touch?
Zucchini. I really didn't like it growing up, but now I could eat it all day long!

{two} did you go to college? if yes, what was your major?
I did. In undergrad I majored in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, and I double minored in Latin American Studies and Sociology. Now I'm halfway through a Master's of International Affairs in Human Rights and International Media, Advocacy, and Communication.

{three} what’s the most wild animal you’ve seen in real life (not counting the zoo)?
I've seen wild boars, those are pretty crazy.

{four} have you ever been to a fortune teller?
I haven't. I'd love to see what I psychic would have to say but I can't justify paying for one.

{five} can you juggle?
I can juggle with two things :)

{six} hardwood floors or carpet?
Hardwood, for sure. So much more elegant.

{seven} is it called “soda” or “pop”?
Soda. Pop reminds me of all my Canadian friends from undergrad.

{eight} what was your first car?
I've never owned my own car. I had a scooter in Rome though!

{nine} what is the most decadent dessert you’ve ever eaten?
I have had a lot of decadent desserts in my life, so I can't say for certain which was the most decadent, but I recently had one with marzipan, raspberries, lemon curd, white chocolate and toasted coconut.
It was divine.

{ten} how often do you rearrange your furniture?
I hate rearranging furniture. Usually when I find a good arrangement in the room, I get used to get aesthetic of it and I don't want to change it. 
{one} have you ever fainted?
Twice, both when running cross country. I have low blood pressure and I occasionally suffer from heat exhaustion, so I fainted once during practice and once during a race. Both times were very embarrassing.

{two} what is your favorite casino game?
I like slots. Otherwise I'm a fan of Texas Hold'em

{three} do you have a good sense of direction?
Generally yes, but not as soon as I get out of the subway. I've been known to walk multiple blocks in the wrong direction before figuring out my mistake.

{four} laptop or desktop?
Laptop for sure. Mine is small and adorable and white.
I named her pearl.

{five} what is your go-to hair style when having a bad hair day?
A messy bun with a bunch of giant straight pins.

{six} do you read the newspaper on a daily basis?
I try to, but I don't always have time.
{seven} do you have a favorite celebrity chef?
I love Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson. They would make the best aunts!

{eight} what tv show would you like to make a guest appearance on?
Mad Men, and How I Met Your Mother. 

{nine} do you have satellite radio in your car?
I don't have a car.

{ten} what was the last movie that made you cry?
Don't forget to link up with Leigh!
Happy Wednesday, Everyone! I wish you a wonderful day in spite of the horrific weather!

April 11, 2011

SIPA Gala at Capitale

Last Friday was our "SIPA Gala", or as other people like to affectionately call it, "SIPA Prom."

It was the annual fancy-shmancy dance for our graduate program - black tie - with all the girls in pretty dresses and gowns and all the boys in pretty suits and tuxedos.

I'm not sure where it was last year, but this year we had it in Capitale, one of the most elegant and luxurious venues in New York City.

Originally built in 1893 as The Bowery Savings Bank, Capitale has since been converted into a venue for elegant events. It has a beautifully decorated vaulted ceiling, gold Corinthian columns, and a giant dance floor.

Here is it all dressed up for a wedding

We were thrilled to be able to have our Gala here, and our amazing student association did the venue justice by organizing a wonderful event with a champagne reception, a fully catered dinner, and all night open bar with top shelf drinks.

The Steering Committee (with a few faces missing)
The Human Rights Ladies

Rhiannon's fancy shoes and fancy date

A pretty people sandwich!

I heart Champagne!

The Attack of the Brunettes in Black Dresses on the Colorful Blonde!

Cheers! To no one in particular...

And this is when the camera got put away and the dancing got started.

I had such a wonderful time (and even though I didn't take advantage of the buffet dinner as much as I could have, I certainly took advantage of the free-flowing champagne!) and I cannot wait to go to Gala again next year. Athough it'll be a bit bittersweet because I'll have one month of school left instead of one year.

Thanks to SIPASA for putting on such a wonderful evening!