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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no alarms and no surprises, please.

If there is one quirk about me, it’s that every week I like to buy a bar of chocolate for myself. When I was in NYC last weekend, my friends and I went into a Duane Reed to escape the cold, and my little and I headed straight to the candy section. I saw this:

I was intrigued. I’m no stranger to the combination of chili and chocolate. In Oneonta, I tried Mexican Chili Chocolate gelato at The Latte Lounge. It was delicious. However, I could not justify spending $4.00 on a chocolate bar when I knew that I would be able to get it cheaper upstate. I found it in Price Chopper for $1.99 with my Advantage card. Victory was mine.

I broke the golden supermarket rule of eating something before you buy it but I couldn’t help it- curiosity is a cruel mistress. As I took the first bite, I didn’t notice anything. It felt as if I bit into a regular dark chocolate bar. It wasn’t until I savored the chocolate that I was able to taste the spices. I wondered if this was a mistake because the spices were a little overwhelming. I felt a little heartburn from the chocolate bar. Then, I got used to it and started to enjoy the fact that it was spicy- keep in mind though, I ate it in three separate sittings. There’s no way you can eat this all in one shot. This is a chocolate bar meant for savoring and in fact, the next time around, I would look to pair this with a nice red wine.

Trente pour Trente!

This is Thursday’s outfit. I apologize for not looking more enthused. Photographing yourself with a self timer can only be so entertaining.

  • White Cardigan- Pac Sun
  • Striped Top- H&M
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Headband- Claire’s

…and it’s awkward pose Friday! It turned that work ended up giving me a snow day.

  • Grey cardigan- New York and Company
  • Grey striped top- Kohl’s
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Belt- Gap
  • Scarf- Maxwell’s

I’m actually very surprised that I haven’t remixed this outfit yet. It seems like I would have definitely worn it earlier in the challenge but it isn’t. Only five more days! Boy has this month flown by!

Finally, before I go and call some more landlords to secure a humble abode, I always like passing a good thing on. If you’re looking for a good moisturizer, I highly recommend Burt’s Bees Radiance Day and Night creams. I purchased this back in Potsdam. Slowly but surely, I’m on a mission to purchase only all natural cosmetics, soaps, and shampoos. This was my first all natural moisturizer and I had heard nothing but great things about it.

After using it for four months, I can absolutely say that wow! These moisturizers make your skin feel baby soft even after applying makeup. Even when it’s 7PM, my skin is still supple and soft to the touch. The craziest thing about these moisturizers is that they’re not heavy to the touch at all. At first, I was really skeptical about them because the formula does feel watery and I was wondering if I wasted $40 on crummy moisturizers. Trust me- a little bit goes a very, very long way. I am so impressed with Radiance. I used to buy this

but I never received such awesome results that I’ve experienced with Burt’ Bees’ Radiance line. It’s definitely more expensive than Clinique ($24 for Clinque, $18 each for the Radiance day and night creams) but it’s worth it.


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i wear my sunglasses at night. (nyc, post grad sorority, and wonderful cheesecake and deadly animal surprises)

I’m back from NYC and I’m back in Saratoga! While I was going home to Sullivan County on the train (which always excites me, I love trains) I thought to myself- you know, NYC is not meant to be a city to visit. I feel that to truly appreciate the city, you have to live there. One day, I hope that I will be able to take the city on. There’s so much of it that I haven’t seen yet and so many more good times to be had. If anything, that was the best part of the trip. I went there for the sole reason to see people that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. I was able to see two of my friends that I haven’t seen in two years and I can’t even tell you how amazing it was to roam around Manhattan like we used to. I saw two of my former colleagues which was awesome because I haven’t seen them since November and I’ve missed them since everything wrapped up. I also got to see a couple of my college friends, including my little sister from my sorority.

What is a little? In a sorority or a fraternity, each sister or brother gets to mentor and guide a pledge during the pledging process. I was so happy to finally hang out with my little- we were both extremely active on Oneonta’s campus. In fact- that’s the reason why I wanted her as my little because she’s such a strong woman and we’re alike in the way that we were constantly busy because we wanted to make our campus a better place. Unfortunately, when you get two busy people together, you have to deal with two different and busy schedules. I always felt guilty because I never was able to spend as much time with her as I would have liked to. I had a reputation amongst my friends- that in order to see me, you had to live with me because I was always off doing something.

This weekend we got to do something that we never were able to do within the last two years. We got to hang out. I didn’t have to go and do something. Instead, we got to see things together. I can’t even tell you how nice that was.

It’s really funny, one would think that sorority life ends after college but it’s not true at all. The weird thing is, I feel more attached to my sorority after college than during college. I think it’s because during college- you take it for granted. You’re always with each other, so you don’t realize how much the phrase “loyal sisters all” means until you don’t have them by your side anymore. Still after graduation, they’re the ones I call when I’m having a bad day or when something really awesome is happening. It teaches you that yeah, you really can be close to over one hundred sisters, both past and present, and they’re still going to know everything about you and that you can have a conversation and have it MEAN something. My sorority was one of the biggest reasons why I got through the campaign, and the funny thing was, it wasn’t just the Oneonta chapter. It was also the Potsdam chapter. You’d think that it would be impossible for a girl to become really close friends with other girls that she barely even knows and the only thing that they do have in common is that they’re in the same sorority. It’s not impossible. Even though we’re from different parts of NY, going to different schools- or in my case, my Potsdam sisters were still in school and I was the one with a job- they weren’t just my sisters from another chapter. They are my sisters. And just like my sisters in Oneonta, I will have their backs no matter what. Unless they killed someone. That could be a deal breaker.

Although this trip made me realize something. I never cared about wind advisories before. Now I do. It was almost like NYC traded places with Chicago and wanted to be known as the windy city for a change. I’m not even exaggerating, when my friends and I were walking to the Met, we felt like a mini tornado was hitting us. I wore my sunglasses all day, even at night because I wear contact lenses and after I felt a piece of sand blow into my eye, I decided that enough was enough- even if I looked like a total tool, anything was better than getting a scratched cornea. Thankfully, NYC has streetlights everywhere you go, so it wasn’t as cumbersome as one would think to wear sunglasses at night.

It was my first time visiting the Met. Unfortunately, a wave of tourist fever came over me and I thought that the Met was the same thing as the Museum of Modern Art. I was wrong. Yet we still had an awesome time. My friend L and I discovered something that people would disregard as immature and juvenile: that male nude sculptures in the early ages have really tiny penises. As time goes on, the penises get bigger and bigger. I made a point of this to L, and my natural loud, boisterous made that point to other guests of the Met. I made three teenage girls laugh.

This was my first time in NYC since I left DC almost two years ago. The biggest difference between NYC and DC for me is that I lived in DC and I’ve only visited NYC. I learned something: You can take the girl out of DC but you can’t take the DC out of the girl. Which is weird because I live closer to NYC and I enjoy NYC because people are more laid back there than in DC and there’s so much more to do in NYC than DC. However, I couldn’t swipe the MetroCard to save my life and I was wishing that I was able to put some money on my SmarTrip. What is a SmarTrip? Eh, I’ll let the WMTA explain it:

A SmarTrip® card is a permanent, rechargeable farecard. It’s plastic, like a credit card, and is embedded with a special computer chip that keeps track of the value of the card.

Using a SmarTrip® card is fast and easy. Instead of inserting a farecard through the Metrorail faregate slot, you simply touch the SmarTrip® card to the circular targets on top of or inside station faregates. Likewise, you can tap the SmarTrip® farebox on Metrobus to pay your fare with SmarTrip®

I fucking loved that thing when I was in DC. It made life SO much easier. Yep. I looked like a total tourist. I also wish that NYC would get on the ball with its subway system. In DC, there are electronic signs that let you know when the next train is coming. In NYC, only a few subway stations have that. DC also has cell phone towers placed throughout the Metro system, so you’re able to use your phone while underground. My little didn’t understand why I kept looking at my phone until I told her that was just my habit to do so because in DC, you can use cell phones on the train. Then again, there is a beauty to not being able to use a cell phone on a train. It frees up more time to get to know perfect strangers. I met this one guy on the Bronx train who went to UAlbany. It was awesome to find out that it’s really a small world after all!

For dinner, we went to Jackson Hole Burgers. I can’t believe I’m going to say it, but Five Guys, eat your heart out. This place was awesome! Instead of bread for patrons to nibble on while they’re waiting for their food to come out, the waiter brings out pickles to start! After that, I knew that Jackson Hole won over my heart. Just like Five Guys, Jackson Hole has an open kitchen where you can see your burger being cooked. The big differences between Jackson Hole and Five Guys is that:

  1. You have control over the way your burger is cooked. I like mine medium. E coli, schmee foli. Five Guys cooks their burgers well done.
  2. Jackson Hole’s burgers are a half a pound. Really. The line cook will take a slab of ground beef that is bigger than your hand and will slam it on the grill.

I was in carnivore heaven.

After a lovely dinner, we went to this fantastic bar on the Lower East Side called Pianos. My friends and I danced the night away- even though I can’t dance. Really, I can’t- my sorority nicknamed me Claps because I can’t clap to the rhythm of our sorority songs and I can’t dance to rhythm. We also came across The Little Cupcake Bakeshop where I had a delicious Nutella cappuccino that not only gave me the caffeine to last the whole night but it also kept my hands warm during the cold, blustery walk.

In the morning, my little wanted to take me to IHOP because I’ve never been there, but unfortunately, it was packed. We then ventured into Manhattan and ate at Big Daddy’s Restaurant. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste their famous tater tots because I was strapped for cash and tater tots can only fill you up for so long and if I was going to spend money- I wanted it to be for something that would keep me revved up during the day.  I enjoyed an awesome sandwich called the Chicken Lickin Sandy- grilled chicken breast with bacon, avocado, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, melted jalapeño jack cheese and herb mayo on ciabatta bread, served with sweet potato chips. Yummy doesn’t even begin to describe the experience.

During the trip, my friends kept telling me to get a new wallet because mine was literally falling apart. I refused though. I loved it to death, it looked like a boombox. While we were on Canal Street, my little decided to take matters in her own hands and bought me a wallet because she didn’t want to see me walking around with my old one anymore. It’s really cute! It has monsters all over it! I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were on Canal. My newfound friend B and I went to a Chinese bakery and got bubble tea and red bean buns. Needless to say, I was in food heaven in the city…which is another reason why I like NYC a lot better than DC. There’s so many different cuisines and you can actually get a decent slice of pizza there.

It’s back to Albany now. I had a wonderful night with my friends and it was totally unexpected. I hung out with Marc of Cautious and Carefree, Zac of Albany Sucka , and Guilderland Matt. I saw Marc as I was walking back from work and we all had an epic night full of watching documentaries about the most deadliest animals in Austrailia and capped the night off with eating delicious cheesecake at Cheesecake Machismo on Hamilton Street in downtown Albany. For $5 for a drink and a beverage, you cannot go wrong. I had the Black Stout Cheesecake.

Oh yeah- and I’m still keeping up with 30 for 30!

Saturday

That’s Little and I at Pianos! I know you can’t see the whole outfit but to tell you the truth, I didn’t want to ask my friends to take a picture of my entire outfit. This time was to concentrate on them and not myself. As you can see from my face, I was (terribly) dancing up a storm! Who needs rhythm when you’re having an awesome time?

  • White Top- Kohl’s
  • Vest- New York and Company
  • Scarf- Maxwell’s
  • Belt- Forever 21
  • Leggings- Kohl’s
  • Boots- borrowed from a friend because she didn’t want me walking around NYC with my mocs.

Monday

There isn’t a Sunday pic. I sowwy. I was just ridiculously busy with walking around NYC, having an awesome time with my friends, and by the time I got home, I was too exhausted to take a picture. For those of you who are interested- I stayed true to 30 for 30 and wore an Oneonta sweatshirt and leggings because you always have to represent the best college in the SUNY system ;D

  • Jacket- New York and Company
  • Tee Shirt- American Eagle (which has a graphic print of NYC!)
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Mocs- Minnetonka
  • Scarf- A friend gave it to me back in college
  • Daisy- Claire’s

My bangs were doing the Rod Blogojevich today.

That’s unfortunate.

  • Black drape cardigan- Kohl’s
  • Scarf- My friend gave it to me in college
  • White Tee- Kohl’s
  • Pants- New York and Company

The last two outfits are my favorite because since I work at an office- I have to mix my work clothes with my regular clothes during this challenge. The beauty about doing 30 for 30 is working with what you have and creating outfits that normally you don’t wear. I would have never wore this outfit to work without 30 for 30 and honestly- I’m glad that I stumbled upon this combo. Not only is it office appropriate, but it’s comfy and stylish…or at least I hope it’s stylish ;D