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Plowing Through, Full Speed Ahead

6 Jul

Hello again! It feels like ages since I’ve posted…probably because it has been!

Real talk: it’s been a shitty past 2 weeks for this girl.  I’ve been dealt a bunch of major personal challenges all at once, and they have been TOUGH.  So, as any good drama queen knows, when the universe falls outta wack, the best option for dealing with everything is to curl up in the fetal position on your bed and cry it out with a glass of Pinot on your nightstand.  Check, check, and check!  Unfortunately, no pearls of blogging genius were spewing from my brain during this period, and who really wants to read whiney crap?  No one, that’s who.

This was from another rough week back in college, but the staples of the recovery process are the same: wine, a large pot of pasta, and some sappy girl tunes (note the "old fashioned" ipods).

I did break up the personal pity party, though, SOMEtimes over the past couple of weeks.  I went to work, I walked from my bedroom to my kitchen to retrieve cold pizza from the fridge, and one day I even shifted my sad sack body to the couch to watch Love Actually (cue more crying)…oh yea, and I moved.

That’s right.  I am officially a Clinton Hill resident.  Mr. Wong did his thing, and I’m in!  I never like to waste any time getting to the unpacking portion of moving, so that’s pretty much done, too.  And I’ve rearranged the furniture no fewer than 50 times, so the apartment is finally looking the way I’d hoped it would.

Exhausted from just completing the move, but happy because my friend Biscut now lives nearby! See those glasses of water? Yea, they were replaced with beers and gin & tonics about 10 seconds after this photo was taken.

Yup, I’m settled in, and I’m loving the extra space (when you’re used to a studio, a 1BR feels like a mansion).  And the kitty babies are doing a happy dance since they can now see exciting stuff from the windows, like birds in the backyard (I swear, to these cats, a bird flying by is like watching the Superbowl on a huge flatscreen).  They’re so distracted that they’ve even stopped waking me up at 5:30 AM!  So, I guess it’s actually me who should be doing the happy dance.

Any-who…details of the move and photos of the new place are forthcoming.  So, stay tuned.  It’s good to be back!  And in the spirit of happy stuff, leave a comment telling me what fun fun fun stuff you did for the 4th of July.  It’s a fave holiday in my parents’ house, so there are always major festivities and tons of beach-going.  This year was no exception.  What did you do?  Here’s hoping you’re sufficiently tanned.



Here’s The Situation

16 Jun

If you’re an out-of-towner, you probably think my recent posts about rental prices in New York are ludicrous.  You’re thinking, “No wonder this girl is in the process of moving!  No one in their right mind would pay so much money for a shoebox apartment!”  You’re right:  it is totally crazy-pants.  But for folks who are familiar with NYC apartment pricing, the prices I’ve mentioned are par for the course.  And it may seem odd that two gainfully employed adults (Agent Owens and me) can’t afford $1000/month, each, to continue living in an apartment they love (read all about why we’re moving here and our new Clinton Hill place here).   If you’ve been reading Happy City Living, you probably also know that in the past I paid $1300/month (by myself) to live in Sunset Park and $1600/month (by myself) to live in Harlem.  So, why did I recently put myself through all the agita of apartment hunting, over $1000/month each?

Well, for Agent Owens and me, our living situation recently took a pretty drastic turn.  Agent Owens got a great new job offer within his agency – YAY!  But it required working in Philadelphia for the next two years – BOO.  To be honest, though, we were both thrilled for him to get the job, and he loves Philadelphia almost as much as I love New York.  So, overall, it was a great turn of events.

Us, in front of Independence Hall. Taking photos outside of the building is as close to an historical experience as I need to have. History and me - not BFFs.

Although I’m crazy biased and in love with New York, I should be fair here and tell you there are some things to really love about Philadelphia.  First of all, it’s close to New York, haha!  Ok, but seriously.  It’s a clean, vibrant, walk-able city.  Plus, there’s a great path for biking and jogging along the Schuylkill River (try saying that name 3 times fast – or, even one time!), that leads to the Wissahickon Park (where do they GET these names?????).  For bike-a-holics like Agent Owens, this quick escape from the hustle-bustle of the city is an amazing amenity.  The city also has fun going-out spots, pretty neighborhoods with historic buildings, and all the conveniences of big city living.

And, most notably, the aptly named Philly Cheesesteaks the city has to offer are Out. Of. This. World.  I’d eaten some bullsh*t cheesesteaks here in NYC at some point, and as a result I thought I didn’t like cheesesteaks.  I’ve never been more wrong, and my growing waistline (acquired since our Philly stint) is proof of that.  If you can’t get to Philly, try Carl’s Steaks in NYC.  They’re pretty amazeballs, and they’re the best you’ll find in New York.  But if you reeeeeally want the best of the best, hit up Jim’s Steaks in Illy.  Yes, I said Illy.  I’m a half-resident of that town now, and I’m allowed to use that name because that’s what the cool kids say. I think.  Anyway, Jim’s is on South Street at the corner of 4th Street.  Every Philly-goer has their fave cheesesteak spot – you might have heard of the more famous Pat’s   and Geno’s – and Jim’s is our go-to.  The line wrapping around the corner of the building at busy times is proof that we’re right.

It's hoppin' at Jim's! See the mob by the front door? That's the line.

But wait…apartments…how did I get so far off on a tangent?  Food always seems to do that to me!  Well, as I was saying, Agent Owens now spends a good chunk of time in Philly each week for work, necessitating a second apartment.  The need for that second home (which comes with an oh-so-fun second monthly rent payment), combined with The Gate’s recent rent hike, was just too much for our poor wallets.  So, we had to make a move, and in a short two weeks I’ll be off to the suburbs tree-lined streets of Brooklyn.

As I get closer to moving into the new digs, I’m actually getting more and more excited. The thought of more space, a roof deck, and a fairly new building makes me a little giddy.  Although, I haven’t been giddy enough to start packing yet. Hmmm, maybe I should get on that.

So, the happy city couple is now straddling two cities. Is it a little bit annoying to have to ever step foot into another city that ISN’T New York? Yes. But, truthfully, Agent Owens carries the brunt of the travel burden. So, I should stop being whiny.

Plus, I always remind myself that when I’m in Philly I’m right around the corner from MODG’s house. Oh you don’t know MODG? She’s the hilarious Philadelphia-area blogger behind Martinis Or Diaper Genies, who weighs the pros and cons of her former responsibility-free lifestyle and her current life as a new parent.  You should check her out right here. Hers was the first blog I ever became addicted to, and you’ll become obsessed, too (mostly if you’re a 20/30-something female). I try to relay the hilarity of this blog to Agent Owens, but he’s firmly on the “Martinis” side of the MODG debate, and he gets a glazed-over, comatose look on his face when I mention the words “baby,” “child,” or “kid.” Plus, he doesn’t care about high heels or Suri Cruise, which are two other hot topics over in MODG-land. But 1 zillion fanatical readers (and me) can’t be wrong.  I love MODG, and I tell myself that if I hang out in Philly long enough I’ll totally run into her and we’ll become BFFs on the spot. It’ll be fate. Fo shizz.

MODG: Ninja? Mom? Shoe-a-holic? All of the above.

So, tell me.  Anyone else juggling two apartments? Or two cities for that matter? Anyone think Agent Owens and I are nuts for renting two apartments in two of the most expensive cities in the country? Heck, I think we’re nutty half the time!  If you can offer up a cool new Philly activity or place of interest you’ll totally get bonus points…in the game of good karma and life in general. Deal? K.

Happy Double-City Rebecca


Images:  (1) Rebecca for Happy City Living, (2) Jim’s Steaks, (3) Martinis or Diaper Genies

I’m Celebrating, and Nobody Can Stop Me

7 Jun

I’m sitting on my couch in my underwear, watching House Hunters with my cats, and drinking champagne.  I don’t care if you think I’m lame.  For me, this is a party.  I am celebrating.  What am I celebrating, you might ask?

  1. Getting a new place (read more about that here).
  2. The end of a long day – we’re in the middle of being audited at work.  Noooooo fun.
  3. A big week in blogging.

The fun thing about blogging is that you get to just blab blab blab, and it’s your blog so nobody can tell you to shut up.  Seriously, if you’re a Chatty Cathy like me, you should try it.  But the sad/scary/ego-driven thing is that, potentially, no one gives a crap about what you have to say, and you’re blab blab blabbing to no one.  Lame-O.

But this past week, many reassuring blog milestones happened for me and Happy City Living.  They gave me so much happiness that I felt a celebration was warranted.

I should start by saying that I have super-duper-amazing friends and family who read my little blog and send me nice little loving notes about the things they liked reading.  THANK YOU!  Every comment, email, and facebook message makes me feel warm and fuzzy and loved, like you wouldn’t believe.

My parents, aka my biggest fans, who will read this blog even when everyone else decides they've heard enough of my babble.

BUT!  This past week, a girl I had only met ONE TIME told me she’d been reading my blog and even recalled a specific post she liked!  She’s a friend of a friend, and Peltz, if you’re reading this, I floated on air on the way home from that bar on Houston Street, after talking to you – and it wasn’t just from being buzzed on wine and cranberry-vodkas.

Then, I had ramen noodles at a great restaurant called Minca (yes, you need to try it if you live in NYC – best. ramen. ever.), with my friend Eliya, who told me he’s been reading the blog.  He said I should continue creating original content and that he thinks I might be able to monetize it soon!  (Hey, who doesn’t want some moolah?)  And he works in web advertising!  A real-life professional thinks HCL has potential!

Most delicious ramen noodles of all time.

Gratuitous noodle photo. Can't help it. Pasta is my #1 addiction.

On Monday, one of my fave bloggers, Liz from It’s Great To Be Home, mentioned HCL on HER blog, and that was amaze-balls.  Not only did she mention HCL as one of her biggest supporters, but she also has us on her blog roll, on her homepage!  Liz is the real freakin’ deal.  The girl flip houses, and she’s not one of those HGTV screw-up people who wings it and ends up in the hole from their stupid choices.  She turns average looking houses into homes that make me want to live in the suburbs.  No joke.  Check her out as soon as you have the chance.  If you didn’t click on the link above, click this one.  Now.

And then tonight, just when it seemed that the blogging world couldn’t get any sweeter, another of my blog idols, ZDub from Raising Colorado, read my blog and left a comment.  Ahhhh, life is good.  ZDub mostly talks about kids (which I don’t have) and squirrels (which, as a New Yorker, I think are just rats with furry tails) and I still love love love her blog.  I read it every day because she just makes me laugh so hard.  And cry.  Her daughter was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and I cry every time I read a post about it.  And then I laugh, because ZDub is FUNNY AS HELL.  So check her out!  Please and thank you.

And now it’s time to go, because in my blogging fervor I just drooled champagne on to the carpet (Vader is currently licking it up).   My sister would call me a shit show, and that means I must call it a day.  Celebrating can get out of hand, even if you are on the couch with your cats.

Vader, you're a lush! And you're no better, Johnny.

But before I leave, I must share this…the House Hunters lady is showing homes with her Yorkie dog in her purse.  I love dogs, but never have I seen such a thing.  Nor do I approve of it.  GET. IT. TOGETHER., woman!

Please note the dog in the bag, under the woman's arm. Also, note the bow in its hair. Ummm, no.

…Or maybe I’m the one who needs to get it together.  Meh, blogging superstars maniacs get to drink merrily sometimes.

Woo woo!

Images:  Rebecca for Happy City Living