I Spy: The Look for Less!

I absolutely love finding articles of clothing that look very similar to designer duds for a fraction of the price. No one should have to have a ton of money to look good and dress in style. Here's my fav find of the week:
Chanel – Black and White Fantasy Tweed Jacket (on the left)- “”discounted”” price

on Rue La La $2,199.00

Express – Metallic Sweater Jacket (on the right) – $69.90

Loooooves it. I love Chanel's classic style, and this Express sweater jacket screams Chanel. I actually tried it on myself at Express and it's well made. There's a lot of detail on it, which makes the $69.90 price tag seem like a steal. I may have to buy it… 🙂

While I'm Chanel loving, I'd also like to show these amazing boots of theirs I also saw on Rue La La for $699. They are already sold out, which doesn't surprise me considering how cute they are!
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Rent-a-Cat?

My roommate and I have been discussing getting an addition to our apartment– a kitty, but we're having a difficult time agreeing on what kind of cat to get. My roommate has his heart set on a black Persian, but I've had a Persian before, and those long-haired purebreds are not easy to maintain. If you don't brush them thoroughly at least once a day their hair will become a tangled mat, and taking them to the groomer to get shaved becomes quite costly after several visits.

My recommendation is to adopt a cat or kitten from a nearby shelter. My roommate really wants a kitten that we can watch grow though. Choosing a cat based on every ones' desires in the household has become a little challenge, but I'm hoping we can figure things out soon. I started to wonder if getting a cat for our small NYC apartment would even be a good idea. After all, I don't want the whole apartment to smell like a giant litter box. Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea to do a trial run with having a cat in the apartment. I did a little online research and found a site that rents out cats. I'm not sure if this blogger who is pimping out his cats is for real or not but…that's actually not that bad of an idea.
Then as if it were a sign from the kitty heaven above, I stumbled upon another blog, Sea of Shoes, that describes a popular trend in Tokyo–Kitty Cafes. It's basically a cafe where you can pet and play with cats. Now why don't we have those in America? Best.Idea.Ever! (For those who like cats at least). The cats are treated like royalty too; you must wash your hands before petting them, you can't disturb them if they're sleeping, and you can feed them treats. This is the perfect place to go if one wants the companionship of a furry friend without having to take on the responsibility of housing and feeding them.

Unfortunately, there are no cat cafes in New York that I know of. Therefore, I may have to make a visit to a nearby shelter to get my feline fix. The only problem is that it's so hard seeing all of the kitties in their small cages meowing to be let out. I always leave wishing I could take a few of them home. Maybe my next business adventure will be opening New York's first cat cafe, and I can adopt several cats from shelters to live there.

(The ridiculously awesome picture at the top is compliments of Sea of Shoes blogger, Jane.)
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Cause an Uproar with The Last Lions

I recently* saw The Last Lions at the theater. I mainly wanted to go because a) I love any animal that is in or a descendant of the cat family and b) The showing was at the Paris Theater which I had been wanting to check out for a while (Carrie Bradshaw is at The Paris Theater in the opening of the first episode of Sex and the City.) The Paris Theater only shows one film at a time, making the movie experience feel somewhat more authentic. You have to walk downstairs to use the bathroom and there is a sole concession stand. In addition, you don't hear any battling noise from movies playing in the nexttheater over.

To be honest, I wasn't even sure what The Last Lions was about, but I figured since it is a National Geographic film, it would be good. I ended upthoroughly enjoying the movie about an African mother lion's struggle to survive and keep her young cubs safe. What was shocking for me were the statistics given at the end of the movie that there were approximately 450,000 lions in 1940, and that there are only 20,000 today. I really enjoyed the movie because it was entertaining while also being educational. The audience in the theater consisted of young kids accompanied by their parents, to elders, to young adults in my age-range. Therefore, I think it's safe to say it's a film that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

In addition, bringing this film to the big screen serves two purposes. It allows people a glimpseinto the hard life of a lion constantly on the hunt or being chased by other lion tribes claiming its territory and a view of African wildlife in general. It is also a great educational tool and promoter for Cause An Uproar, an initiative to save big cats in the wild.

The Last Lions certainly opened my eyes to the problem of wild cats, big, beautiful creatures that we have all grown up fascinated by, dangerously decending towards extinction. How sad would it be if the only big cats future generations will see are the ones conserved in zoos? I recommend everyone watch the The Last Lions or at least visit the causeanuproar.com website to learn more and find ways you can help.

*When I first started this blog post two months ago, it was shortly after seeing The Last Lions at the movies. Unfortunately, I went on hiatus before finishingand posting it…but here it is now!
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The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and Brave New World

I recently read The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton for International Arts Movement Readers Guild followed by rereading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (which I decided to reread after finishing Amusing Ourselves to Death). Coincidentally, both books serve as an interesting parallel to my current thoughts about life and work. Also, despite having been written almost a century apart and one being a philisophical non-fiction novel while the other is fiction, they surprisingly have many similarities, especially dealing with the issue of work and pleasure.

In both books, members of society are defined by their profession. The “”lower class”” is looked down upon simply because they make less money or their job is not as glamorous. There is no effort made in actually getting to know an individual of the lower class without subconsciously writing them off as less intelligent.

The majority of the population in Brave New World live in a world in which ignorance is bliss; they strive for a life of pleasure, so they do not worry themselves with troubling thoughts. Although there is still a social hierarchy, the people have been cultivated to be satisfied with their own ranking. Huxley alludes that this is not natural though, when he has The Director confess to Bernard & Helmholtz that he envies them for being outlawed to the islands where they can act

out their individualism. In The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work the author takes the reader on a preview through several different professions. He states that one job can simply be a way to pass time and keep us “”out of trouble,”” yet society defines us by our profession, so we must care and put in effort.

The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work and Brave New World both led me to think about my current state of happiness with my career, friends, job–life in general. John in Brave New World concludes that happiness isn’t everything, and he chooses life outside of a stable society in order to be free to live how he likes which includes enduring pain and suffering to repent and make him into a stronger individual. In living a life in which we often withstand anguish and monotmy it may make it so that when we do feel happy, that happiness is fully appreciated with a sense of relief and wonder. In other words, pain and doubt leading to happiness makes the path there seem so much sweeter; it becomes a way to learn. The combination of good and bad feelings balance and ultimately lead to an overall feeling of contentment. Do you agree that we are beings that need to suffer in order to learn and through knowledge we become content?

What I’ve come to realize is that while I do know that I will be judged by my profession so I must always be striving for improvement, what will truly make a fulfilled life is by thoroughly enjoying my time outside of work. I’m starting to view every weekend as a mini vacation, and after work on weekdays, I try to make as many plans and be as active as possible. I spend enough time at work, and I deserve to have a life outside of it as well. By maintaining that balance, I do feel that it is possible to boost ones happiness in the workplace.

Brave New World is on the mandatory reading list in grade school, so most of us have already read it, but I suggest reading it again if your mind is a little fuzzy on what it’s about. The Pleasures & Sorrows of work is non-fiction, so it may speak to a different audience, but it’s a fairly quick read and I found it beneficial to have an insider’s peek into the professions of others.

You can also check out my review of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work on the International Arts Movement page here.

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My First Time in San Francisco: Part II

Sunday was my last full day in San Francisco andKevin and Ihad the entire day to do whatever we wanted. Although Fisherman’s Warf is a very touristy area,we went anyway so I could check it out. If there’s one area of San Francisco that is most like Times Square in NYC, it would be Fisherman’s Warf. There are tons of tourist shops full of gaudy San Francisco memorabilia and a lot of chain stores. Kevin and I got there early enough that we were almost done meandering through Fisherman’s Warf by the time it started getting crowded. We had breakfast and walked around the marina so I could see the seals basking in the sun on the docks. I’m not used to seeing seals in Michigan or New York, so it was cool at least for me to observe the seals in such close proximity.

While we were walking around leisurely, I convinced by boyfriend to go on a carousal ride with me. We were by far the oldest people on it besides the adults watching their kids, but I had a lot of fun and was laughing the entire time. 🙂

Before moving on with our day, Kevin and I stopped at Ghiradelli Square to buy chocolate. I had originally wanted to try the Ghiradelli milkshake that I had heard was delicious, but I was still too full from breakfast so webought some chocolates for later instead (and two chocolate covered strawberries that we nauseatingly fed one another).

After a little siesta, Kevin took me on a tour of his alam mater–the Univeristy of California, Berkeley. I was curious to see what the campus looked like and I was anxious to compare it to the Univeristy of Michigan’s (Also because we have a little rivalry going on–U.S. Newsranked Michigan as #14 and Berkeley as the #21 best university in the world 😉 ). It is actually a very beautiful campus, and we had a lot of fun walking around. What I like the most about it are the giant Redwood trees that line some stretches of sidewalk and there is even a little stream that runs through a part ofcampus. It was very tranquil. It actually reminded me of Michigan’s campus during the summer when the grass is green and the trees are lush
Feeling nostalgic, Go Blue!). Berkeley’s campus squirrels are also just as friendly as the ones at Michigan that I used to feed all the time. While we were at Berkeley, Kevin drove me to Grizzly Peak, aka “”makeout point,”” so we could share a kiss. We were on the top of a mountain overlooking the city with a clear view of the Pacific. In fact, we were so high up that I felt

a little scared of the height, making it all the more exciting.

To end a perfect day, Kevin and I had an amazing dinner at Burma Superstar,awarded Best Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area. And it is a title well deserved. Kevin and I had a feast of Tea Leaf Salad, Vegetarian Samusa Soup, Superstar Vegetarian Noodles, and Firey Vegetables with Tofu. It was all delicious, and if there is one restaurant I will go back to when I fly to San Francisco again it is definitely Burma Superstar.

I had the best time visiting San Fransisco for the first time and spending quality time with my boyfriend. It has only been a day and I already feel nostalgic. Although, I wasn’t moved enough to want to move there. I’m still in love with NYC, and my trip to San Francisco actually just reassured me that this is where I want to live for the next several years. While San Francisco is cleaner, the air is fresh, and whichever way you turn you are surprised with another beautiful view, I’m addicted to the highs and lows and the adrenalineof the city. Another big factor for me is transportation. Unless you live next door to your place of work you need a car, and I simply hate driving. I like being able to either walk, takea train, or takea bus to wherever I need to go in the city that is abundant with new things to do/see, restaurants to eat, places to shop, etc.

Thank you so much San Francisco for showing me a great time this weekend, giving me ideal weather during my visit, andfor the backdrop for the gorgeouspictures that will forever make me smile, but it’s now time I get back into the hustle and bustle of the real city lifeto which I’ve become accustomed.

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My First Podcast Interview on MyNY

So, interesting story–Patrick James Lynch tweeted at me after stumbling upon one of my new blogpost tweets detailing my adventures in NYC. After checking out Patrick’s site to make sure he was legit, I agreed to do a podcast interview with him.

Podcasts are a different kind of beast I’m not that familiar with, but I was interested in seeing how it is done. Plus, MyNY is really cool because Patrick interviews people living in New York–whether or not they are natives or transplants like myself–working in different professions. He does not discriminate. He has interviewed New Yorkers ranging from a wide va

riety hobbies and professions including law enforcement, body building, textile/metal/fabric design, actors, musicians, etc. all with their own unique story which adds to the authenticity of the MyNY podcasts.

In this interview, Patrick and I discussed the first time I visited the city, my move, efforts to adapt to city life and make new friends, and…zombies. Yup, zombies.

You can listen to the whole interview here or check out the sample interview below:

By the way, all of my Michiganders out there, do you have an accent like mine? I obviously don’t notice it myself, but apparently I stick out like a sore thumb to all of my new

East Coast colleagues and friends. Anyway, don’t judge me for saying “”um”” way too many times and the fact that I still sound like a 12-year-old girl. 😉
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New York’s First Snow

This was the perfect weekend to be sick. I caught a cold late in the week, so by Friday I was desperately needing the weekend to rest and catch up on sleep. On Friday night I met up with a girlfriend for dinner at GustOrganics, an all organic restaurant here in NYC. I love GustOrganics because everything is delicious and there are several vegetarian options. I've had the Homemade Ravioli and the Veggie Quesadillas and both meals are delicious. The Pure Vida Daiquiri is also amazing. In fact, I could keep going back just for the daiquiris because they are so fresh and the hint of banana provides a sweet aftertaste yet they still pack a punch. Two will leave you feeling great for the rest of the night. This is really a wonderful product, I’m very happy with it.

On Saturday I awoke to a street full of snow. New York's first snowfall of the year! I had saw on the weather forecast that snow was coming, but I guess it didn't really register until I woke up to a snow covered street below. It was so peaceful and comforting to be warm in bed watching the snow fall. I still wasn't feeling well on Saturday, so I took some medicine and spent the entire day in bed reading and watching movies and TV episodes. Besides still feeling sick, the fact that people didn't start milling about until the late afternoon made it much easier not to feel guilty about staying in bed all day. In fact, the only time I stepped foot outside the apartment was to get a smoothie which is only three doors down. Good news is I definitely got rest. I watched Midnight in Paris, a few episodes of Pan Am, The Ides of

March, and I Don't Know How She Does It. I also finished the first book of The Hunger Games trilogy. I'm addicted and I'll be sure to devour the remaining two books quickly (book review to follow shortly). Overall, I'd say it was a pretty productive day of catching up on movies I've been wanting to see for a while.

Luckily, I had made plans in advance for Sunday, so I had to get out of the apartment. I met up with a friend for Stumptown coffee at Ace Hotel. It's great coffee. Then my boyfriend and I headed to Union Square to The Market, which is my favorite designer market full of jewelry and accessory vendors. I bought an awesome 20s inspired hair piece. Then we had an early dinner at one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants, Curly's. Finally, we kicked off the night watching the Giants v. 49ers championship game. Kevin is a die hard 49ers fan, so it was quite amusing watching him pace back and forth while screaming at the TV.

I had a great weekend. Most weekends I try to do as much as possible and am always running all over the city. This past weekend I was grateful for my “”snow day”” allowing me to stay tucked inside my apartment. I haven't had such an uneventful weekend since the weekend Hurricane Irene came to town, but it was just the kind of weekend I needed. 🙂

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Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Sexy, entertaining, guilty pleasure are all words that come to mind when trying to describe Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I heard about the series from a co-worker who described the trilogy as written porn. I'm not really into cheesy love novels, so I originally dismissed the idea of reading it until I heard that not one, but several of my co-workers were reading it and were all hooked. I think I realized what I was getting myself into when I went to buy the novel from Amazon and found that I could only get it for my e-reader.

For the first half of Fifty Shades of Grey I wasn't convinced I liked it. Although the main character, Ana, is close to my age, I found her to be mousy and annoying. It wasn't until her and Christian started sexing things up that I started getting into it. It's an easy read that you can get through quickly (though, chances are you'll want to savor each chapter), but I respect the author's somewhat expansive vocabulary, making me have to look up a few words.

I think only an hour had gone by after I finished the first novel that I couldn't hold out any longer and downloaded the second, Fifty Shades Darker. It was then that I became thankful I could only get electronic copies of the books, preventing others from knowing what I was reading. Reading Fifty Shades of Grey in public made me feel a little giggly guilty. The books get pretty descriptive and sexy, so I would glance nervously around while reading in public and try to shield my e-reader protectively to prevent anyone from seeing any inappropriate passages.

I suppose inappropriate is not the correct word. Although Christian and Ana's sex life is not quite the norm with the “”red room of pain”” containing all sexual toys, their love and the ultimate act is what many people's relationships are like (or at least what they wish it was like) behind closed doors. E L James' trilogy is sorisque and is causing such a buzz because she brings fetishes and “”kinky fuckery,”” as it's called in the book, to the spotlight in written words. I applaud James actually for takingthe risk and turning very private, intimate sexual boundaries into a guilty reading pleasure on every woman's 'must read' list.

It seems like everyone is talking about Fifty Shades of Grey. Glamour says “”it‰غھs not just a page-turner, it‰غھs setting fires to some marital beds and women everywhere are saying it's helped revitalize their relationships.”” Wowzers. Well, okay, I do admit that there were a few times I'd grin up shyly at my boyfriend while reading the Fifty Shades of Grey books next to him. I even welcomed him to read a few pages to get some ideas. What's more though is James' ability to keep the story moving. She gets the reader's attention in book one and–what's hard to do but somehow she does it–she's able to make Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed equally as entertaining. I did not get bored with the story because there was constantly another piece of drama unfolding and continuing character development. What's interesting with the character development of Christian is that even though he is overly possessive, protective, domineering, and a control freak, James is able to turn his actions and sad childhood to make the way he behaves into a hot coping mechanism that–dare I say it–is almost appealing.At the same time, the non-stop drama and the odds of a twenty-something billionaire falling in love with an un-established, arguablyunremarkable college graduate are very very very slim and unrealistic. It's fun to get wrapped up in Christian and Ana's fantasy life, but unfortunately, their fun, possessive romance cannot be (entirely) mirrored.

I really enjoyed the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I became so hooked that I tried reading during any spare moment, however brief, even if I only had time to read two pages. I greedily took in Fifty Shades of Grey just as Ana did…okay, inappropriate. Anyway, ladies, I definitely recommend reading at least the first book. I was thoroughly entertained, and hey, you never know, these books might just spice up your sex life like it has for so many others who've read them 😉
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EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women's Cancer

This past Saturday I completed the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women’s Cancer. The event started in Times Square and finished in Central Park. When I first heard about the walk, I was hesitant to participate because I knew there was going to be a ton of people and I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic, but I decided I wanted to have that experience at least once, so I registered. And I am very happy I did. There were thousands of people and you could feel the energy in the air. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits despite it being crowded. I am also thankful that my boyfriend, Kevin, joined me as well. His grandmother had breast cancer, so it was important for him to run in her honor.

Since the inception of the EIF Revlon Run/Walks in 1994, It‰غھs committed fundraising participants have made it possible for the EIF Revlon Run/Walks to distribute over $65 million to support pioneering research, deliver diagnostic treatment services for medically under-served women, and provide psycho-social & financial support to women facing cancer and their loved ones.

The event kicked off with some opening words from Revlon Brand Ambassadors Emma Stone and Olivia Wilde. Jimmy Fallon was the MC. Then, a long blast of confetti at the start line marked the beginning of the walk/run. There were so many people it took a while to get going, but once we were a half mile in we were able to move around more easily. The 2.7 mile course started in Times Square and ended in Central Park. After the finish there were a dozen or so tents set up with event sponsors goodie bags.

I truly

did enjoy myself at the EIF Revlon Run/Walk. Kevin and I ran half of the way and walked the remainder. It was a fairly nice day, and it was even nicer to finish in Central Park which felt lush with the arrival of Spring. Most importantly, I was happy I got out of bed early on a Saturday morning to show my support for important cancer programs funded by the efforts of EIF Revlon Run/Walk participants and other supporters.

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Ghost the Musical on Broadway

I was really excited to see Ghost on Broadway. I have always been a fan of Ghost the movie. Plus, a friend (who also happens to be male) said it was good, so I figured it must bereally good then. Unfortunately, I am now doubting my friend's taste.

I'm really bummed about it because Ghost the musical had so much potential. Everyone loved the movie, so if you're sticking withthe same storyline, how could you mess it up? But they did. In their attempt to make it more modern and stand out from other musicals, I think they took their eye off the ball and was too focused on the playing field so to speak.

From the moment the opening credits are projected onto the curtain, it's clear that this musical adaptation of the beloved feature film makes great use of high-tech, cinematic elements. These stage illusions ghost Sam walks through doors, spirits and bodies instantly separate into two beings make this show a seriously supernatural experience. Projection is used for everything from basic backdrops and scene-setting to back up for a music video…“” (Ghost).

The digital projections were pretty

cool, I give them that, but even so, some of itwas too corny. It seemed that the show relied more on the use of high-tech than it did on good acting and dancing. The

music, for one, was bland and forgettable. With most shows I go to there is at least one memorable song/scene that is catchy and sticks out in my mind. I quickly forgot about all of the Ghost songs shorty after leaving the theater. Secondly, the choreography was just LAME. I think you'd call it contemporary dance, but considering there was a lot of dancing throughout the show, they should have made

it more more exciting. Everything about it was just mediocre.

There were a few times throughout the show I turned to look at my boyfriend to gauge his reaction to the corniness. Maybe I had too high of expectations prior to seeing the show, but I was definitely disappointed.The best part about Ghost is Richard Fleeshman, who plays Sam and is a complete babe, but even with the eye candy, I still can't say I recommend seeing Ghost.

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