Alex in Transit(ion)

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the people you meet (and unexpectedly reunite with) when your bus is delayed for two hours.

I know this sounds crazy but I love taking public transportation.

You can chalk it up to me growing up in the middle of nowhere- other than school buses, the small taxi companies, and the Medi-Vans, public transportation is non-existent in Sullivan County. My first ride on a public bus was when I went to college in Oneonta and I thought that it was the most marvelous thing. 

Last weekend, I took Megabus to NYC to visit a couple of friends where we would celebrate my birthday. It was a great time, especially when my sorority sister Dee took me on a tour of Chelsea. It was my first time there and I simply fell in love with it. We ate very yummy and CHEAP Thai food at Room Service (that link will take you to Dee’s blog!). We made the lunch special where you could get soup, an appetizer, and an entrée for $8. You can’t even get that deal in Albany. After lunch, I went to Pinkberry for the first time and I got green tea yogurt mixed with strawberries and raspberries which was pure bliss after drinking a 2 liter glass boot of beer at Biergarten the night before. She then took me to the High Line, which is a park that was built on an elevated railroad spur that used to lift freight. It is hands down the most modern and innovative park I’ve ever seen. There is even a floor fountain, where you can dip your feet on a hot day!

Dee and I, standing in the floor fountain.

She then took me to Chelsea Market- which I was very impressed with. Just like the Highline, it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen and is home to, what I believe, is the coolest fountain.

The last stop on the tour was to the Chelsea Puppy Store. Yes, I said it, a store that is devoted to only selling puppies. We got to play with this very handsome beagle that I wanted to bring back with me to Albany. Unfortunately, my landlord isn’t a fan of pets. 

He was a very big fan of hanging out by my feet.

When it was time to leave NYC on Sunday, I was running against the clock to catch my bus because of all the subway construction. I’ve given up trying to understand the way the NYC subways work. I feel that I need to live there in order to get the gist of it and after living in DC, I’ve been very spoiled with how easy the Metro is to use. Yet I was able to make it well before my departure time of 2:45…

But just because I was able to make it before that time doesn’t mean that the bus would too. It turned out that my bus was delayed for two hours because Megabus was short staffed. To tell you the truth though- it wasn’t that bad. I ended up making a few friends out of it. There was a woman named Barbara who was a retired school aide who gave me some yummy Werther’s Original candies and this one grandmother that I befriended asked me to take her granddaughter to Dunkin Donuts after she heard that I was a youth leadership facilitator. It was definitely random, but I guess in those two hours she thought I was a trustworthy person. The biggest surprise of the day came when I saw this girl and boy stand in line for the DC Megabus, which was also delayed. I noticed the girl’s shoes and I really liked them. Then I saw her face and it turns out that it is Anna from Beach Koozies! I haven’t seen her in a year, since we graduated college. It was a wonderful and unexpected surprise- and I loved every minute of it. It was inconvenient that the bus was delayed for a long time (and tomorrow I will be writing to Megabus to see if I can get a refund) but you just couldn’t beat the quality of the people that I was in line with. 

Seriously, when do things like this happen?! =D This is why I love public transportation.

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“but I won’t follow you into the rabbit hole.

I said I would but then I saw your skin and bones, they didn’t want me to.

It’s a terrible love and I’m walking with spiders.

It’s a terrible love that I’m walking here.

It takes an ocean not to break.”

-The National: Terrible Love

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test kitchen: eggplant and white bean soup

My two favorite food blogs are Stone Soup and Cheap Healthy Good. For months, I’ve had my eyes on so many of their recipes and now that I finally have a kitchen again, I can see if the recipes taste as good as the look on the zee internetz! When Jules of Stone Soup posted a recipe on how to make Eggplant and White Bean Soup, I knew that I had to try it out. Then Cheap Healthy Good adapted the recipe, replacing the liquid that the beans are coated in with chicken broth for soup stock.  I decided I liked the adaptation and felt a little adventurous. Prior to last night, I never made fresh soup before. 

I was so excited to make up my shopping list, yet I was cringing at the same time. Have you ever noticed when you move into a new place, that the first grocery bill is always the most expensive? I needed to stock up on the necessities, such as olive oil, marinades, salad dressings, Parmesan cheese, and of course, Frank’s Red Hot. The Price Chopper that is within walking distance of my apartment isn’t exactly known for its variety when it comes to food selection. I wanted to buy humanely raised chicken but when I saw that it was $8, I couldn’t put it in my cart. When I lived in Saratoga, that kind of chicken was $5 or $6, or sometimes even cheaper than that. I’m going to check out Cardona’s on Delaware and see how their poultry is priced. They only sell humanely raised meat and poultry. I went for the regular chicken instead even though I know how cruel and inhumane the slaughtering processes are. It was only $3 and was easier on my wallet. I tried to ease my conscience by buying cage-free eggs and humanely raised chicken sausage from Cohoes, a town only 15-20 minutes away from Albany. The sausage was only $3.99, so I am very excited to try it out!

I was also able to find 6 ears of corn for $1.98! I know this is going to sound like I’m from the boondocks, but I don’t care. I am from the boonies and I love to shuck corn. People always look at me as if I have three heads when I say that but it’s the truth. My family used to go out on my grandparents’ porch in the summertime and shuck corn together. It was a great time!

With great power comes great responsibility and with 6 ears of corn, you have to figure out what to do with it so it doesn’t go bad. I chopped up an ear of corn and put it in the soup. Eggplant is already a sweet vegetable and I thought the corn would compliment it nicely. It did. It took me two hours to make, prep time included, but I was so happy after because I never made soup before, and this recipe was from two of my favorite food blogs! It’s delicious and I’m very excited to eat it for lunch tomorrow. 

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Although its been a week and two days, I’m still moving into my apartment! One of the challenges that I’ve run into is that it’s hard to move from a studio to a three bedroom apartment for the fact that a studio is all one room with a separate bed area and living area and now I have a single bedroom to myself. It’s still very overwhelming but I hope that by Wednesday, I will have an awesome, organized room. 

Speaking of awesome, organized room, I had a huge case of buyer’s remorse, even though it was for something I needed. I really needed storage, but I wanted something that is functional, attractive, CHEAP, and goes along with my Hotel Yorba theme. 

(I always wanted to decorate a room with a red, black, and white color scheme and I was inspired to do this by The White Stripes. I named the theme “Hotel Yorba,” after my favorite White Stripes song.)

I ended up getting this from Target: 

And of course…

I only bought two of these bad boys for now. I’m going to wait and see if I will be needing more. After I put the whole thing in the cart, I looked at Brian and I said “you know, we should go to WalMart, Home Depot, and Loews just to double check to make sure that I got this for a good price.” 

Brian then smacked me with the sword of truth, just like any best friend since the first grade would. “Alex, we could do that. And you would end up wasting money because we could find this at a better price and you’d be wasting the rest on gas.” He was right. Have you all ever had buyer’s remorse after buying something you needed? 

(Side note: It’s funny. I grew up in the middle of NOWHERE. Seriously. As of 2000, my hometown had 296 people living in it. There was only one Wal Mart in the whole county vs. Albany that seems to have a Wal Mart every 5 miles. We had to drive a hour or more to get to a mall in either Middletown, Binghamton, or Scranton whereas now I have two really nice malls within a 10 minute drive. It’s so funny how I’m getting used to big box conveniences.)

We then went to Jo-Ann Fabrics where I got some canvas and red and black ribbon so I could make myself a message board! Pictures will be coming soon but I’m really proud at the way it turned out! However, I found out some really sad news, in terms of my future DIY endeavors. I accidentally left my craft box in my storage unit and what lil’ ol’ me found out is that when you leave craft glues and paints in an Upstate NY storage unit for 8 months, they will go bad. 

I also ended up claiming my birthday gifts from Sephora and The Body Shop…even though it’s not my birthday yet. =X It was funny though! I was dressed up in sweats because I just finished dogsitting Boy-I-Fancy’s dog for the weekend and I didn’t look festive at all but the salespeople enthusiastically said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” I felt really awkward afterwards because I gave a sorta-excited-but-holding-back-a-little-because-it’s-not-May-20th-yet “thanks!” I think they thought I wasn’t having a good birthday haha. I don’t know how the actual day will go down, but I’m going to be a great smelling individual with my free gifts:

Sephora is giving out a Philosophy Shower Gel/Shampoo/Bubble Bath Gel called “Happy Birthday, Beautiful” and it smells like Vanilla Birthday Cake! 

I got some shampoo at The Body Shop. If you’re part of their rewards program, you get $10 off a purchase for your birthday. It smells awesome. And I got 14 oz of shampoo for $3, so you can’t beat that! 

Well, it’s time to build this cubicle! 

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It’s Not About That

This evening, Boy-I-Fancy and I helped my friend Brian babysit his landlord’s dogs. Ah, they were so adorable and very energetic, especially the 14 month old Husky who let me know that she really likes chewing on my hair haha. Call us lame, but we didn’t go to the bars at all for Cinco de Mayo. Instead we brought the party to the apartment and celebrated with some Coronas, Bombers Burritos y Taquitos, and watched many episodes of Lost. 

During one episode of Lost, I said “you know, that water has to have some bacteria in it. Why don’t they show one of the survivors developing dysentery?”

Brian said “Alex, the show isn’t about that. It’s about how they are trying to get off the island!”

Later on the drive home, I realized he had a point. Life isn’t about worrying about your problems. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and working to realize your dreams.